Archive for November, 2009

Back sliding.

Hi. I’ve come to a decision; if I’m giving up on Taekwondo, give up on it. I’m treating myself to a month and a bit off, then my new year’s resolution (and my xmas present) will be to go back to Wing Chun Kung Fu, joining with the full package. This is about £100, what with the uniform, membership and insurance. If I do it all in one hit though it will show this time (my third attempt at joining this particular club) that I am serious and committed.

My first time my life revolved around getting wasted, so it was doomed from the start. The second time Wendy was unemployed so money was tight, and I wanted to do both Kung Fu and Taekwondo (so I would have the flashy head kicks and the up-close fighting excellence) but that was just too expensive. I chose the cheapest one, Taekwondo, at less than half the price per lesson.

Now, as I have mentioned, I just want a fight-winning style. Any style is only going to be as good as the person who teaches it, and the Sifu (Chinese for the Japanese ‘Sensei’)of this club was taught in Hong Kong, as a kid, by the sons of the legendary Yip Man. The same chap of whom they have just made a film, and Sifu of Bruce Lee.

That’s a pretty impressive lineage.

With my current sax obsession I can only fit in one fighting style and Wing Chun is nuts and bolts fight winning. So I’m slobbing out now, but I’m equally excited and nervous at the prospect of going back.

I wagged it/ had a days holiday yesterday. Find out which in a few hours when I go in to work. They are supposed to return your holiday request forms the same shift as you tender them. It was over a month since I put mine in, I asked my manager if I could have the form back (approved or denied) on about six different occasions. Nothing. So I kept quiet about it last week and just took the day off. Bollocks to ’em!

I’m in today, off tomorrow. Got to try and get the mighty Micra MOT’d tomorrow. More money.

Still no news about any driving jobs. I will have to sit down and concentrate on getting that TA application off tomorrow.

One good thing at work, when I went in on Friday the place was abuzz with gossip. It turns out the GM and his assistant (the hit-men who were brought in to shake things up, turfing de-kit out of our jobs and bringing in agency workers, trying to make the cleaners all agency etc) have both been demoted!

The Gm has been demoted to transport manager and his deputy (Ass Man -assistant manager- to borrow from Chuck)has been demoted to shift manager.

Smell the schadenfreude!

Karma really is a bastard.

Talking of which, I guess the Buddhism didn’t take. I see and approve of the better way, I follow the worst. Trying to get a job killing people just so I can get on with making money. I don’t have a problem with killing people, in the general sense.

But Buddha is pretty categorical in saying that it is not a good thing.

I have been rationalising why I can’t follow the right path since I started to take an interest in it. This is pretty much crossing the Rubicon though. I don’t believe in an after life, but Buddha seems to have it cracked as to how to live this one.

Guess I’ll just have to muddle through.

Anywho, got to get on,

later,

Buck.

It never rains…

but it pours.

I’ve not been blogging much of late because nothing was happening, then, like the proverbial bus, three come along at once.

I bought Wendy a skirt off eBay a few weeks ago from  Lilith’s Gothic Crypt. Take note of the name and tell everyone you know of it. When it finally arrived I thought my troubles were over (getting any communication out of the seller was a problem, then the postal strikes- a pox on the Royal Mail!). A few days later I thought to ask Wendy about it and she admitted that she would never be able to wear it because it was so poorly made. The waistband had been sown twisted in several places, it looked cheap and tacky, and the seem didn’t hang right making the skirt look puckered at the bottom.

I wrote to the thrice damned Lilith’s Gothic Crypt, enclosing photo’s and asking for a refund, and saying if I didn’t receive a reply within a week I would be leaving feedback. I did try to sort it through eBay’s resolution centre, but because the seller had put ‘no returns’ on the advert I got an automatic response saying that a refund wasn’t available.

Which, by the by, is (as I understand it) illegal, anyway. The distance selling regulations say that I am entitled to a refund. Her stating that she doesn’t do refunds does not affect that. That would be a contractual right, which can be added to a statutory right but can never take away from one. I remember that much from my brief stint as a Citizens Advice volunteer.

I was ignored, as I was kind of expecting given the previous level of communication. I left feedback saying ‘Crap comms, worse product, no refund. Waist sown twisted, seams off. DO NOT BUY FROM!’, and left it at that. I thought that was just £25 I’d have to put down to experience, and at least I’d left shitty feedback.

Then I got an email off eBay saying they’d removed my feedback because of it’s offensive content!

No sirree bob! Straight onto them and cancelled my account. Bastards!

Tomorrow Wendy is going to print off the distance selling regulations, then I get to write a letter quoting the regulations and if I’m still ignored I’m then referring  it to the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Ombudsman Service who automatically impose a £250 fine I’ve just found out.

Justice will be mine!

What other news, oh aye, they finally got the new rigid trucks in today at work. Big huzzah’s! Went into the office, said the new rigid’s are here, what about my driving?

To no-one’s surprise they instantly moved the goalposts. Now they are waiting for the volume to pick up then they can send me for an assessment. 

An assessment! That is not Warehouse-to-wheels, there is no training in that. I’ve paid for my training, got my licenses, all I need is a day or two with a driver beside me to show me the job and get my confidence up and they won’t even do that!

An assessment. I could have taken that straight after passing, when the driving was still fresh in my head, but I wanted to make it easier on myself and get the final part of warehouse to wheels.

All that hot air boils down to a vague promise that at some point I can have an assessment. I’ve been waiting for months for fuck all. Thanks for nothing.

I’ve been given a few hot tips for potential employers but they are not recruiting at the moment. Promising though.

I have a day off tomorrow so I will be double checking my T.A. application (didn’t send the attachments back with the last email, oops) and getting that off again. Checking the job centre and a few other sites, and generally trying anything to get me out of my current job. Bastards!

My only other real news is that my attempt to break free from the tyranny of T-mobile (on my ‘phone) has failed! The internet company said they couldn’t get the code (remotely) to unlock it so I am going to try a place in town tomorrow.

Lovely, lovely, lie-in tomorrow!

Later,

Buck.

Give them the vote…

I was driving home from work today. It’s only a twenty minute drive whatever route you take. On the way home I prefer to take the longer route by the motorway which affords the illusion of haste. I pulled out of our works onto a single carriageway, behind a car with a huge boy-racer red stripe over it. It shot off, and I tootled after. The road became a dual carriageway after the next island, and I caught up with the boy racer who was staying in the inside lane. As I drew closer I considered overtaking, then fell back when the car swerved half into the outside lane, then just as precipitously pulled back in again. I gave the crash-waiting-to-happen a big gap. The same happened again.

The situation stabilised so I ventured an overtake. As I drew level it was a woman lighting her fag! She’d obviously been routing in her handbag.

A mere two islands later I still hadn’t made it to the motorway, but as I pulled across the island the car to my left drove straight out in front of me! I was standing on the brakes and sliding to a stop before I’d properly realised what was going on. The car pulling out in front of me stopped and I slid to a halt an inch or two from hitting it. I stared at the driver, a bit stunned at the stupidity, and it was a woman holding her hands up in a ‘sorry, can’t be helped’ sort of way! I mouthed ‘you stupid bitch’ but more incredulously than angrily.

I made it to the motorway and was chugging along minding my own business when I noticed the traffic was slowing ahead. Everyone was queueing to get into the outside lane, as a National Express coach was holding up the middle lane. This struck me as odd as they are usually barrelling along. As I got closer I saw it was being held up by an artic lorry. Now I know the lorry isn’t allowed in the outside lane, but I also know they are limited to 56mph, and this one was on and off his brakes.

As I in turn cleared the lorry there was a car, about five feet in front of this honking great lorry, doing an apparent speed of less than 56mph in the (which by this point had become) third lane, with two empty lanes to the left of it, being driven- obliviously-,  by, you guessed it, a woman with an older woman in the passenger seat!

Fuck me! It’s only a twenty minute drive and I saw three life threatening situations, all by women drivers!

OK, today was exceptional, I don’t normally see anything, or if I do it’s me doing it, but goddamn!

Unbelievable. Those who know me know I’m all for equality in every sphere and am a liberal that is always ready to see the other chaps point of view, holding no contentious beliefs (with the possible exception of the belief in the mass sterilisation of the religious, fascists, chavs and ugly people) but woman should stick to buses, and I don’t mean driving them.

Buck.

Saigon…..shit.

Hi there. The title is a reference to Apocalypse Now, in case any one missed it.

I’ve sent my T.A. application back.

If all goes (well?) to plan that should be the start of it. Back to the army. Different war, same shit. Saigon….shit!

Got to be done. I need trucking experience to get a decent civvy driving job. The catch 22 is they won’t give you a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. So I’m screwed.

Work is really pissing me off. They keep telling me they don’t know when the new trucks are arriving. They have just paid shit loads of thousands of pounds for these trucks, you’d think they’d have some interest and idea when they were actually going to arrive. It’s not like they could have been lost in the post, they are bloody great big things, hard to mislay.In the mean time I have been plodding on in my role as an order picker. Now they’ve gone and screwed that up as well.

We have a minimum pick target we have to hit each shift, but now they have slowed the trucks down and expect us to still hit our target figure. And they are gearing up for xmas, so we had to do a 2-10 yesterday (Saturday night!) and because there was no work for us in grocery they sent us all into the freezer. They joy never stops.

So I’ve seen my arse, spat my dummy and generally am miffed. Off to the army I jolly well (try to) go. In an odd kind of way I would like a tour of duty in a ‘hot’ warzone. Last time we were all primed but it was a (desert) storm in a teacup. They told us we were being sent out as bait (to get killed so they could discover the position of the Iraqi artillery) and we were to man our guns and keep doing the job even if our best mate was lying screaming next to us, then…..nothing. We got away with only a handful of deaths. (on our side.) Kind of hard to get over that. All steeled and prepared then no release.

Anywho, in a way it would be good to get back to it.

The manager I previously discussed the T.A. with was saying that if I do get mobilised (and the CD ROM the army sent me said, reading between the lines, ‘you will get mobilised’) work has to pay me whilst I’m on active service and the army pays me as well. And I get all the driving experience I need. The M6 will seem a bit tame after that.

Going to have issues with Wendy over this. She thinks it would be a bit of a risky venture.

One thing at a time.

I might not get in.

I might not be mobilised.

If I am mobilised it might not be in warzone.

If I am mobilised in a warzone I might still not see any action.

That’s my latest news. It might all come to naught, but it’s another iron in the fire. Can’t be doing with doing nothing any longer.

Buck.

This an’ that (innit!)

Hi, I’m enjoying a long weekend off work. I was off Thursday, in Friday, off Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Bloody lovely! I’m just waiting for an email from the National Lottery and all will be perfect.

The one blight on my well being is my poorly thumb. I dropped a pallet container door on it at work. The door itself is only light, you could pick it up with one finger. It is five foot tall and tubular steel and it fell over just as I was reaching to pick the one beneath it up. It cracked me across the quick of my thumbnail and sweet Jesus did it hurt. I was hopping around for a couple of minutes, swearing and laughing, unable to believe it was hurting so much!

For that much pain you want to be sticking a limb back on, not fannying around with a small bruise under your nail. The lack of street cred was crippling. Wendy said I’m a big baby. Thanks for the support there, wifey. It woke me up and I had to go and ice pack it (and neck some ibuprofen) at two in the morning.

This has a knock on effect on the comfort of my saxing. Yesterday my saxing was as painful to me as it is to those who hear it. It’s my right thumb, the one that takes the weight of the sax and holds it forward in position.

Poor Bucky. I’ve known suffering. Wendy was banging on about the time she broke her arm and had to try and sleep with four steel rods drilled through the bones in her arm. Small fish compared to a bruised thumb. But we men don’t like to make a fuss.

No point is there? It always gravitates to ‘ I was in labour for thirty six hours’, anyway.

The saxing is progressing apace, despite the suffering for my art and the withering lack of sympathy I endure. As I said on my Blogger blog (will have to pick one or the other soon, it feels like I’m developing a typing stammer) Pete, the sax sensei, isn’t giving me chance to master one chapter of the book from which I’m learning, before he’s turned the page onto two new chapters. I’m always playing catch-up. He said he’s pushing me because he thinks I’m capable.

Little consolation as I spend an hour murdering new notes I can’t read, and times I can’t do.

Hey ho, it means I should get up to speed quicker, just harder.

Finding his way down to Baker Street…

Which is another point, all the bloody sax bits I’ve been looking up from pop songs seem to be played on alto sax’s. Dammnit!

The floor! I’ve finally got around to lending that forty five degree angle cutting device off Wendy’s brother, and whilst by no means perfect the job became do-able as the colonials would have it. Look:

I never said I was a floor laying woodwork monkey, OK? For me that’s pretty damn OK.

I have been obsessing over my sax of late as you are doubtless all too aware, to the exclusion of my martial arts. I got to thinking, in one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, there is a vampire, Otto, as memory serves.

Stick with it, I am going somewhere with this.

I have read the self-proclaimed intelligentsia saying that the Pratchmeister’s works are allegorical in their themes.

Otto had taken the pledge and was staying ‘dry’. No more blood for Otto. Obviously that is an allusion to the T.T. world of abstaining alcoholics. So far so bloody obvious. But he then went on to portray Otto as totally fixated on photography (to give it a comic twist, flash photography -light being something of an issue for vampires-).  His point was, and mine may eventually be, that the single minded obsessive energy that Otto had previously focused on drinking (blood) was now being channelled elsewhere.

We’ve got there in the end. My question is, rhetorically, has Pratchett expressed a truism?

Is this why I have been so focused on my martial arts, and now am single minded in the pursuit of sax mastery? Is it just something to do, now that I no longer drink?

Not that I am concerned if it is, just wondering is all.

On the subject of martial arts, I had a moment of epiphany last night. Keep it to yourselves, but I have finally decided that as soon as I get my driving job, and therefore have more money, I am quitting Taekwondo and going back to Wing Chun Kung Fu. (The style which Bruce Lee was taught.)

It’s not a decision lightly made, but I want a fighting martial art. Which should be an oxymoron. Sport martial arts, especially where you do all the head kicks (which I love *sob*) but are buggered if someone goes to punch you, are not what I want. Some might point out that it’s taken me eighteen months to work this out, but previously I was planning on doing both.

Now I realise if I’m working sixty hours a week, two late nights is enough time away from home. Also now I’m saxing I just want a practical, down and dirty, fight winning martial art. Learning Taekwondo just so I can show off when the fight is won seems like too much hard work.

There is still no change with the driving. Still waiting on the new trucks, so I can have an old one.

Right, that is about it. I’m all up to date, going to get some grub and start the saxing!

Later,