Update on how my life's going.

[Written 21st November, 2008]

Been a couple of weeks since I updated, and a fair bit's been happening, so figured I'd better post something.

I'm working! Finally heard back from the company Kit works at, started there just over a couple of weeks ago. Call center, doing all manner of accounts, on the last day of training today, will be on afternoon shifts (2-10.30) starting Monday. Like any job (barring the one where I was paid to sit in a portkabin, drink tea and watch telly for £10/hour), it has its ups and downs, but I can't help comparing it to Ventura. Ventura was the only call centre I've ever worked in, and it was a staggering load of old bollocks in comparison.

Just off the top of my head, I'm sat typing this on the Psion, at work, between calls. And no-one gives a toss. I can read. I have a cup of coffee. I'm wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. The average age of the employees here is over 19. And because of that, the company policies aren't written like you're in a classroom. No-one, in short, is threatening to give you detention.
There's downsides, of course, but they're not directly work related; there's the standard problem of paid holiday time being all but a myth in the United States; compared to the minimum 5 1/2 weeks any full time job offers in the UK. I think that's an EC thing where they're actually required by some law or other to give you, but over here they're simply gobsmacked that anyone could even have such an amount of free time. I'm not sure whether that says something about them, or something about us...

And then there's the buses. It's about 27 miles away from where we live, and while public transit isn't bad in St Louis, that means it's a 20 minute bus trip, then onto the metrolink train for 3 stops, then another bus for half an hour. It could be worse, but total trip time is about ninety minutes to two hours each way. And a fair wait between stops. This is fine at the minute, but I wonder if the headlines in a couple of months will read WIMPY BRITISH GUY FOUND DEAD OF EXPOSURE AT BUS STOP.

Eventually, given both of us work here and Michael can hop on the highway, we'll be looking at moving closer. Until then, it's a fairly minor inconvenience which feels much bigger when the bus doesn't turn up. ;) Happily, yesterday Kit bought me a scarf hand woven from Win and Awesome, which keeps 99% of the cold out.

That's it on the work front so far; life is reasonably quiet so far. It's NaNoWriMo month, which is going fairly disastrously as usual. This year, I'm blaming the sudden employment and change of circumstances after 12 months of doing not very much at all; if I'd started work a month earlier or later, it would have been easier to fall into a writing pattern. As it is, I'm erratically jumping between scribbling what I can between calls, any time there's a seat available on the bus, and before I go to bed. Not given up yet, and have five full days off coming up to tap stuff up. Gonna have to be doing several thousand words a day on each, mind. We shall see.

Oh, did I mention Enterprise Rent-a-Car rang back last Monday, 'wanting to touch base' about a job again? This is roughly four or five weeks after they last called, and all but admitted they were having enormously difficulty with the concept of dialling international numbers and dealing with a six hour time difference to get references. Given the company I now work for managed this within a matter of days, I can't say I'm overly bothered that they didn't get back sooner. Not to mention their bizarre, otherworldly 'no beards but moustaches are OK' dress policy. For people answering phones. I could see this if I looked like Grizzly Adams or ZZ Top (not the drummer), but I'm not sure how this applies to goatees. Perhaps it's a consequence of the post 9/11 environment, and they don't want anyone looking too much like a terrorist or clichéd villain :P
Anyhow, in the end I just rang them back at midnight and a left a polite voicemail saying the equivalent of 'bugger off'.

And that's been my exciting month so far.


A sudden realisation.

It's election day. And as much as I am interested in politics, as much as I don't want to see the Republicans in office for another 4 years, and as much as I'll no doubt be watching the coverage, I've realised this:

I'm far more interested in who'll be replacing David Tennant than I'll ever be in who replaces George W Bush.

Now I'm aware of this, it's nice to know that I have my priorities in order.

PS. Day three of Nano. 250 words off 5000, so on target so far. If only I knew what it was about.

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All right, I'll admit it...

...listening to the new Metallica single on the radio, and it's not bad. Not 'buy the album' good, but I might have to arrange a copy by other means.
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    surprised surprised

Irregular update

First off, the online situation. Last week our modem decided it wasn't going to work any more, and sullenly refuses to light up whatsoever. Financial situation being what it is, we're having to hold off getting a new one for a week or two, so won't be checking here very often.

To add insult to injury, my PC did exactly the same thing a couple of days later. Posting this on Michael's PC at the minute, and my own setup involves the already convoluted tangle of wires being plugged into the laptop and using that as a tower. It's a bit Rube Goldberg, and the desk is starting to look like the TARDIS console, but it's working for the moment.

In other news, and I can't remember if I already said, but the green card has finally arrived. Had an interview with Enterprise Rent-a-car to work in their call center, and apart from a rush to set up a social security number, things look promising. Completed the online application, then had a phone interview, then an online questionnaire, and then an actual face to face interview. Now I'm waiting on a background check, and I can only assume the next stage is the swimsuit competition.

Other than this, things go swimmingly.
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    good good

The obligatory once a month update

Though really, not a lot has changed since last month. Kit still hasn't found a job, though she's looking. I've still not got a work permit, though all the paperwork's in. It's still too bloody hot. Money is scarce. The cats huddle together, whispering threats of mutiny.

If anything does happen, I'll be sure to let you know.

Shameless plug to second blog


I've set this up to try and socialise these bloody Helium and AC articles I do, in the forthright, upfront hope of attracting some hits to them. Go see. Click on anything clickable. Read the articles. Don't read the articles, but click anyway. Earn money!* Tell your friends. Make it a friend, if you have a blogspot blog. List it on Digg. Hire billboards in Times Square. Fly planes in intricate acrobatics with those smoke canisters, you know, whatever that's called. Sky writing? Go. Go now, before it's too late!

*For me, obviously, not for you
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    hopeful hopeful

Update about not a lot

13 weeks since I posted last, apparently, so figured I'd better put something. Main reason I haven't is because there's been nothing to update. If you read lunameow's journal, you know that the green card situation is currently just sitting there, waiting for them to process; on the plus side, they're not being pissy or discovering new forms that we haven't completed, on the downside they're taking every single of the 60 days they estimate it takes to process. In the meantime, my bank balance hangs right next to the wire, and is kept afloat by my darling wife and family.

I continue in fine health, as do the cats. The weather continues to be chosen at random, with a tendency to be 90 fucking farenheit  in the day. I continue to while away the waiting period with Internet distractions, with a couple of new ones: Ficlets, where you have to write a piece of fiction no longer than 1,024 characters, and the Discworld MUD, where I've ended up signing up for a sort of advisory group into expanding the Ramtops. It's not a coding or building position, just a thing where you suggest ideas to add to the several hundred square miles of wilderness they have there. It's a bit ill-defined as to what I'm supposed to be doing, I think it's just a case of throw shit at the wall and see what sticks to it. If they like any of it, you then go into a bit more detail. Either way, it doesn't really cut into your 'wander round and rob NPCs' time.

So, there you go. See you in another 13 weeks or so, unless anything happens.
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