Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Have A Plan

Yes, that's right. A plan. Obviously, you've heard this all before Dear Constant Reader. But I am determined to move from stressful living in London with debt to just getting on with a peaceful life in Folkestone without worry. I must do it. It's time to grow up! 

Yoinked from Asian Hunks

Friday saw me attended Stephen K. Amos' "Feelgood Factor" at the Hammersmith Apollo. It was alright, click the link to see my review.

Otherwise nothing much to report (beyond receiving a very envy-inducing email from Arwen. Tut!). Soon, Dear Constant Reader, I promise to be one post a day exciting!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sexism, Racism And Customers

If you do not believe sexism and racism are deeply embedded in our culture, then I'd urge you to spend a couple of days in customer service. I've seen it before in other places of work, but now that I work for a charity serving a very diverse client base, I have to say I am truly depressed by how openly it's professed.

Today a lady phoned and the first thing she said was "Thank God it's a man, the women you have there can't seem to understand simple concepts". Now I had to bite my lip and not give her a verbal lashing over the phone, but she is just one of many. No man has ever said anything sexist over the phone to me about women. But women seem unable to STOP themselves being sexist against their own gender. Be it a woman who wanted someone to come put up a shelf "As we don't have a man here in the office" to this most recent stupid comment... it's everywhere.

Racism is even more common. I encounter open racism from customers about others (be it colleagues, neighbours or contractors) every day. They don't even hide it, or say it obliquely. They just come out and say it. Whites against blacks. South Asians against blacks. Blacks against Arabs. It is universal and disturbing. I sometimes find myself forgiving the old, white folks who phone up and mutter on about some such person of some such race. I know I shouldn't but I just think that the miserable old sod doesn't know any better. But when I hear some lady of Pakistani origin talking about her Somalian neighbour as if they were murderers, I can't quite believe it. She must have experienced some form of intolerance in her life. How can she go and dish it out to someone else based not on their actions but on their origins?

And then I struggle. My customer service minded self tells my good citizen side to keep quiet, let it go and just deal with the customer and get rid of them. But inside I want to scream "WHAAAAAAAAAT DID YOU JUST SAY????" I want to shout at them, tell them there is no place in this world for such openly expressed hatred for others. But I don't...

I confront tenants all the time over their aggressive behaviour and swearing. Unfailingly they back down and change how they speak and what they say. I think it's time I stopped rolling over and letting these backward thinking folk get away with their prejudices. So from tomorrow I promise to confront people about what they say to strangers over the telephone.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sometimes I Think The Whole World's Insane

I must be very, very weird. I mean that in the mental sense, so no comments such as "Yes, a 6'8" gay guy is pretty strange" please! :p

I cannot understand other people. I don't understand people's interest in the personal lives of celebrities. I don't understand why people don't just look where they are going. I can't comprehend why people get so emotional sometimes.

Item: Window shoppers. They walk along, staring off to the side ploughing through others with no care. I cannot imagine being so unself-conscious.

Item: People who get to the checkout, wait in line for 5 minutes, pack their goods AND THEN decide it's time to begin the "Where did I put my wallet/purse dance?".

Item: People who get to the checkout, wait for all their goods to be scanned BEFORE they even start packing. What is that all about?

Item: Customers who give you a long story, and then when you offer a solution (and acknowledgement you have understood and heard their rather uninteresting story) they repeat themselves. One in every two customers do this. It's as if they had spent so long figuring out what they were going to say when refused before they picked up the phone, that when their problem is resolved within a minute they can't comprehend what to do.

Item: People who start speaking over you when you answer the phone.

Item: People who cry because their cooker is broken.

Item: People who feel the need to make out in public places.

And the list goes on. Almost everyone I see is engaged in an activity I find perplexing, illogical and mad. Which must mean... I'm the mad one. I must be totally insane. Lock me up! Please... get me away from these people.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekend In Hythe

Sunday saw Jim and I headed down to Folkestone, via a pick up in Snodland of my Nan, for some time with my family. Some ongoing family drama meant I didn't see my sister that much but she did make an appearance.

For the evening entertainment, and some Valentine's Day time alone, Jim and I headed into Hythe to find NOTHING WAS OPEN. The Globe, The Red Lion, the Chinese with the scary Chinese lady, and just about any other pub we could find was closed. We eventually found ourselves in The Kings Head, which turned out to be a quiet, but agreeable, Shepherd's Neame pub where we had a few drinks.

On the way back, in honour of the Chinese New Year, we grabbed a Chinese takeaway and headed back home for a lovely meal and then Pan's Labyrinth to finish off the night.

The next day we met my Mum's new partner's daughter, Natasha. She was nice but was somewhat akin to Taz of Tazmania, and terrified and exhausted us to the point we made a fast exit home.

I may be having only a four day week but work is... STRESSFUL. Donations to the "Keep Jae Out Of Work Fund" or clicks on my sidebar ads gratefully appreciated! :p

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Too Much Drink?

Thursday evening Mum and Stuart came up to Hammersmith to see Massive Attack at the Apollo. I met them after work, although our meeting was delayed by the fact the traffic around Queen Charlotte Street is HELL. I managed to actually catch them up as they went round!

We had a few drinks in the Ram, discussed allsorts and then parted ways. I headed home to find Jim in the local and I joined him for a long night of drinking into the early hours. After that we popped into Nettie and Paul's house on way home... at 1.30am. As you do.

Yoinked from get ur pantz on

Friday, and I headed home and had a bath before I again went down the local to find a rather cheery Jim. Another night of drinking ensued. All very nice...

Today, has been very, very quiet. Strangely enough given sore heads!

Tomorrow we head down to my Mum's for a Valentine's Day in Folkestone. And I hope there's still snow after the chaos of the last few days down there! I want LOTS of snow!!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Dark Streets Of Whitechapel

Work is, at the moment, a source of great stress and upset for me right now. Soon, I hope, it'll all be over... one way or another. By Thursday things should be far more relaxed. Alas not tomorrow though! Sigh. So it came as surprise both to myself, and Jim, when I accepted his offer to go out with him, Denis, Nal, and H for a meal.

Our first stop though was a reconnaissance to the Prince Albert pub, here in Greenwich, which is undergoing refurbishment. Well when I say undergoing, reports had obviously been vastly exaggerated. It was more like refurbishment had just start 5 minutes before we arrived. With little thus to see and comment on we decided to make our way to the station. Much hilarity ensued as we all got our own type of ticket... surely given we were all going to the same place via the same train this was completely impossible but not in London of course!

Our destination was Shadwell from where we were to walk to Whitechapel and one of Jim's newest favourite restaurants; Needoo's.

As always the food was gorgeous and cheap. Added fun was had because Nal has eyes bigger than his stomach. When his order was brought out, an extra table was added to the end of ours. True story.

With added cute but world-weary waiter (I like to make up stories about my stalking victims lives, he struck me as a newly arrived immigrant who has discovered that his dreams of earning decent wages were cruelly shattered upon his arrival to our dismal country) and a lovely atmosphere it was a nice way to forget about all my work stress.

The walk back to Shadwell was bitterly cold. Another cold snap is definitely upon us!

After a nightcap in the local, it was time for bed and the horror of work in the morning... :(

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Sunday, February 07, 2010


1) My usual Eurovision post will not be happening this year. Well not here anyway! Instead it is now over on my latest blog (yes, Dear Constant Reader, the world really was crying out for yet another blog from me!) here. It shall be kept up to date as per tradition and my live blog etc. will happen over there this year.

2) Folkestone, Folkestone, Folkestone. The move must happen sometime this year. And whilst I am not looking forward to the stress of moving, every time it's brought up or Jim shows me a property, my heart goes all a flutter. There is something deeply draining about living in London, and I cannot wait to escape this place. It's been good but it's time to go home.

Jim was just showing me a flat which is directly opposite Faulty Towers Hotel (or what used to be it anyway). Don't you think it'd would be most fitting to return there? Full circle indeed!

3) Nuf the Venus Fly Trap has sprouted a flower stalk. Yes, through some miracle, she still lives despite drowning/drying out several times over. I've ignored every suggestion given on her upkeep by every expert thus I shall ignore their advice and let her flower. For better or worse, it's what she wants to do!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Harley Street Hell

Yesterday morning I had to visit Harley Street for an Occupational Health referral. It had been hastily arranged by Human Resources the evening before, who had asked me to go on short notice as "a favour" as they had received a last minute cancellation.

I agreed but, being fully aware of how things usually turn out, I made it quite clear to them that I'd be happy to go "only if they know to expect me". Thinking that by specifically mentioning this, I might avoid problems I turned up at Harley Street the next morning relatively relaxed.

Harley Street (for those who don't know, this is a London street which is renowned for it's medical associations) is basically a street full of expensive doors that say "You can trust us, only a very reassuringly expensive place would be able to afford a door like this!". I turned up to the designated address (which had a less than expensive door) 30 minutes early, and having found it wandered around for a while to avoid upsetting the receptionists. A quarter of an hour before my appointment I returned and was rather concerned to find the company I was looking for was not listed on the entrance buzzer. Hmm... regardless I snuck into the building behind another visitor and found my way to the office with the same number as the people I was looking for. I rang their bell, but there was no answer.

I returned downstairs to discover a well hidden reception for the building and asked the Indian gentlemen there whether he knew who this company was and if they were available. Not only did he not know them, nor did he seem to understand the English language, he also seemed convinced the address I had was next door's address (despite the fact the canopy outside clearly showed I was at the right address) and escorted me out of the building.

I phoned up HR and advised them of my predicament. They asked me if I was at the correct address. I told them yes. They gave me directions to the correct address. I told them I know them because I was already there. "It's on Harley Street." they said helpfully at which point I started to cry a little inside... After 5 minutes of them attempting to direct me to the position I was already at, they agreed with my suggestion that they find a phone number for the doctors and try to reach them that way.

10 minutes later, and well past my appointment time they came back to tell me that no one had informed the doctors I was coming. "HILARIOUS" was one of the words I did not think to use to describe the situation.

The doctors finally arrived and, after I'd given the idiotic receptionist a look that might very well have killed him as we walked past, were actually very efficient and pleasant, but needless to say I had a few words with HR upon my arrival at the office.

Stupid, stupid people. Grrrr...

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Articles Of Faith

God, I wish I believed in God. I think, after a few years out of religion, I've come to the realisation that belief is something that makes life a lot easier. That's not a statement in support of it, of course, nor am I in anyway suggesting it makes belief any more honest. But faith does have some upsides.

As you should know, Dear Constant Reader, I'm a former Christian and a former pagan (Wiccan mainly). When you're feeling down as an atheist you actually have to get off your bum and do something to change things. No good sitting there praying or wishing for change. That won't do anything. But when you have faith, that praying or wishing for things gives you a, fake, sense of control over a situation. "Oh God, please deliver me from this evil" etc. helps you sleep at night.

As you may be aware, I've been feeling a little down of late. No one reason, just a general case of Black Dog. And it got me nostalgic for my pagan faith where I might have tried spellcasting or praying in order to see me through to better times. I remember the reassuring warmth that would come over me, "knowing" the Gods would see me through. I look back upon those times with a sense of longing for those feelings again, feelings I know to be fake and useless, and at the same time I look back with disgust at my stupidity.

It's weird, but sometimes I forget how powerful those feelings were and perhaps that makes it difficult for me to be sympathetic to the religious. I've walked in their shoes, and I should be a little more forgiving when they suggest bombing Iran to start the end of the world or they start stoning adulterers.

Nah... maybe not. Wake up fools!

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist