CO-SHANG AND WELCOME TO GEEK PIE!
My name is Caroline, this is my blog and it's a pleasure to meet you.
I live with my sister on the outskirts of swinging London town, in a flat we're constantly one late rent payment away from losing.
At the moment I'm a journalist in name only (check out my sexy business cards) and I'm desperately searching for my first job in journalism.
That's pretty much what this shebang is all about. Shall we see what I've been up to today then?
Feel free to sign up and talk about anything either on the tag board below. It's usually occupied by weirdos, headfucks and best avoided around midnight
Yesterday Breezy and me were given a simple brief. We were furnished with £15 and told not to return until we bought something suitable to give to a lady who was hosting a party in honour of St. George. We had to be back before 2.00pm and ideally with some change.
So with Breezy's P plates in place, the money being clutched in my hot sweaty little mits and with Breezy's very shoddy mix tape in the deck, it was to Uxbridge we were bound.
Now, I think I should expand on the nature of this "mix tape" and I'd appreciate some clarification as to whether it should be considered a "mix tape" at all. To start with, it only has four songs on it. Secondly, all these songs are from the Kelly Clarkson album (any teen girl angst bellowed over 80's rock riffs is a winner for Breezy), although they have been shuffled to play in a slightly different order to the tracklisting.
Uxbridge itself was bustling with Saturday shoppers and with the West Drayton 12-13 year old pram pushers jabbing the back of our ankles with their kiddie karts, we both knew that we didn't want to be there too long. But we couldn't think of anything to buy.
We went to Debenhams, but the stark strip lighting and all the different types of shit they sell started to give me a headache. Any place that gives me lots of choices about stuff (book shops, record stores and cafes) often causes this reaction.
The clothes shops were a no-no. On Saturdays they always are. Every single one of them seems to be playing a fucking Ibiza anthems album at top volume. The Saturday staff all appear to be people that if their parents were offered a labotomy or oxygen starvation at birth for their offspring, they opted for both. They stare straight through you, their mouths agape, with their hair scrapped back and their horrid black roots showing.
"Have you got this in blue?"
"This top. I was wondering if you had it in blue? Cos I've had a look round and I can't see anything..."
"Whaaat? Have you looked by the dooooor?"
"Erm, yeah. But this is day wear and that's all nightclubby stuff over there."
"Oh." She then stares blankly back at you, making you question whether or not you are the retarded one. You look over your shoulder and she's still staring and then it's your time to speak.
"Is that it?"
"I think so."
Anyway, we weren't really sure what the lady would like. We got to her parties. We eat her food, drink her house dry and chat to her but we don't know her well enough to make decisions on what she should go out the house wearing. The same goes for smellies. I think you have to know someone pretty well before you start making steps to determine how to improve their natural odour.
With time slipping away and our inspiration capacity dwindling, we started to get a bit down in the mouth. We didn't have long left and we still couldn't think of anything to buy. We were rubbish at present buying and this realisation led to us walking around in silence for a good 25 minutes.
The only time the silence was broken was for Breezy to admonish me for some of (I thought, winning) my suggestions. "What about a CD?"
"Or a paper weight? She works from home a few days a week and she must have lots of paper."
"Please stop talking. Stop thinking, in fact. Please shush."
"I saw a really nice vase in TK Maxx the other day..."
"I can't believe you don't stop talking. Please stop or I'll have to hurt you or myself. That's what your thoughts are driving me to."
With silence enforced upon me, Breezy suggested we split up. We halved the money and she said if either of us saw anything we had to give the other one a call on their mobile. I agreed and off I wandered. I looked round the Pavilions, a bible shop down Windsor Street and Tesco Express before winding up next to Big Issue selling Ted outside Woolworths. Fuck, I still couldn't think of anything.
Then my phone rang. It was Breezy. She said she was in Marks and had found a potted plant in a fancy vase, but she was £2.50 short. She needed me and my £7.50 there straight away. Feeling slightly off the hook, I started to walk towards the shop when suddenly I was thrown.
It was a boy. Something about him at that moment in time meant I had to have him. I tentatively made my advance. I had to exchange pleasantries with the crowd he was with, but within minutes money had changed hands and he was all mine.
Daily life without Spongebob in my life
Suddenly he's here and the change is instantaneous
I went to Marks. But before I could introduce him to Breezy, she took one look at the pair of us, shook her head and demanded the money; a despairing tone resounding in her voice. I still had the £2.50 she needed, so I couldn't really see what the problem was.
We paid for the plant and as we were walking to the car, Breezy started to soften towards the newest addition to Geek Pie.
"He's so stupid looking. But you can't hate him. Him and his stupid face. Just make sure he doesn't get in the way of my rearview mirror, okay?"
"Hee hee! OKAY!"
And it was with that, that Breezy, Spongebob and me drove back home. Mission accomplished and with smiles on (nearly) all of our faces. As for my Mum's change, I think the presense of Spongebob must have stunned her into silence because she's still not asked for it.
What a result!
The post purchase adventures of Spongebob and Caroline
Posted at 10:38 am by Carrot
Karma comes to those that wait
I've always like the idea of karma. Do good things and good things may happen to you in return. Not being a religious person, it's only really registered on my radar as a result of My Name Is Earl and I'm using it as a basis for conducting my daily life.
Is it wrong to find fancy Earl? Fuck it, I don't care.
Although there are times where I think all my good work has probably come undone. Usually when I'm standing in the check out queue, cursing the person in front of me as they stand there painstakingly counting out all their loose change to pay for their weekly shop.
Anyway, subscribing to the notion that doing good things for people means that good things might happen to you is not a bad way to live your life, even if I do come unstuck sometimes.
I helped a lady carry her pushchair up the stairs at Kings Cross station the other week, I'm forever dolling out change to charity people now and I even helped an old mantis off the bus the other day. This was after her arthiritic joints and hobbly walking style made me think that although her first stop might be outside Tesco's her second would almost certainly be the floor, had I not intervened.
As yet, I don't think any the good stuff I'm expecting in return has hit me yet. I expect it's like anything, you have to wait at least 28 days for delivary. But, then today I had some very good news, which I think might be mysterious karma dealer's way of thanking me for all my good work.
I had a phonecall from one of my course tutors asking that I give them a call. He told me that there is a job going at a tech magazine based right in the centre of Swinging London Town. He gave me the editor's phone number, email address and told me to phone him as soon as possible.
I duly did, not even stopping to make myself a cup of tea, something that is virtually unheard of in this house. I spoke to the editor and I told him all about my current predicament regarding jobs, but that I'd still really like to be considered.
He asked me to email over a copy of my CV. I told him I already had. He said he was having a look at it over the phone and he ummmm'd and arrrr'd in all the right places --although I'm sure I heard him stifle a laugh when he must have got to the part where he read what my degree was in.
He said he liked what he was seeing and invited me for an interview on Tuesday. If all goes well I can start at the end of next week.
Karma. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Posted at 08:42 am by Carrot
All aboard the nighty night bus
Life feels pretty good at the moment. I've still got my hoarsy voice, but being dosed up to my pollen swollen eyeballs with hayfever drugs certainly makes for a very contented life.
I get up. Have a Weetabix,sometimes two. Dick about with my myspace blog (which makes me feel a bit uneasy discussing on here. I don't want this Geek Pie to think I'm being unfaithful). I then head to the bus stop and wait for my bus to Uxbridge.
There are three buses I could take. There is the 427 which stops at every stop along the Uxbridge Road and makes the 25 minute trip to town feel like it lasts about three days. It's usually populated with the old, decrepid and those who seem to like smelling like they've just bathed in someone elses piss.
The drivers have to cope with a lot, which makes sense if you consider the number of people they must let on and off along this route each day. As a consequence they are typically grumpy and go out of their way to make all their passengers lives a misery. I've heard the excuse on the Northern Line about late running meaning that everyone has to vacate the tube, but never on the buses.
That was until I rode on the 427 the other day. I think the driver had just had enough of all the school kids, the whinging old folk and the younger hipper people (like myself) who stand there grimacing as they end up nose to armpit with one of their fellow passengers.
Then there is the 607. This does the same route as the 427, but it doesn't have as many stops on it. On a whim most of the drivers completely ignore passengers at the stops they're supposed to pick up from, but gladly collect them from stops they're not supposed to. Anarchy reigns! This is partly the reason this route is name the "schiz-o-7", but so to is the fact you seem to get a very high number of Hayes weirdos on it.
Personal favourites include the bloke that walks around with a basketball up his shirt and Dancing Joe. He has an old school Sony Walkman and dances to whatever tunes he has playing on it. If he catches you staring at him he threatens to "cut ya good!"
Lastly we have the U7, and a personal favourite of mine. It's yellow and always seems to arrive just in time to save my ass from a kicking from the bad kids that hang around my bus stop. The drivers are always happy to see you and when they see you running, they never drive off. I think the yellow colour must chill them out.
Anyway, after I've ridden the bus, I walk to the gym and work on getting myself a toight arse. After that I take my hayfever stuff because the fake circulating air in the gym means I don't need to worry about an attack of the sneezes while I'm there. Also, I have enough difficulty working out how to operate the equipment there when I'm lucid, let alone when I'm drugged up.
The return bus journey is usually much more pleasant, as a result, and then I spend the rest of the afternoon asleep. Breezy will then come in and tell me off, complaining that I look like Side Show Bob because of the chronic case of bed head I'm rocking at the moment.
But still, it's quite nice feeling spaced out all the time. Yawn. Night!
Posted at 11:57 am by Carrot
Last night I kept waking up in the middle of a sneezing fit and I think I might have done myself some real damage.
I've had a headache all day, my eyes have been itching and my throat has gone completely hoarse. It's definitely my hayfever, I just don't know why it's so bad at the moment.
Anyway, the hoarseness isn't too bad an attribute to have. Firstly, it provides my singing voice with a nice raspy edge and I think it's making my speaking voice sound a lot sexier as a result. The latter is paying dividends.
For instance, in the newsagents this morning I got given a bag for my purchases after I asked if they had an Diet Coke and vanilla (trying to develop my palate you see) rather than just the regular stuff. Usually you have to wrestle the guy to the ground to get a carrier bag. Having a husky voice is so cool.
However, there is a slight downside. Trying to get on the bus this morning and asking the driver if he had any change was made into far more of a trial than it ever needed to be, mainly because the driver was a cock.
Everytime I asked, he'd lean over and cup his hand over his ear before exagerratedly gesturing that he couldn't hear me and telling me to "speak up, luv!" In the end I gave up and just handed him a fiver, only for him to turn round and say he had no change. Seething, I stomped off in search of somewhere to get some.
Now I've just got think of some other ways of using this new found power of mine and putting it to good use.
Posted at 08:37 am by Carrot
I don't love it when you call my name.
There are certain places that I don't like hearing my name. For instance, during the reading out of chruch obituaries or that bit at weddings where they ask if anyone knows why the lady in the big dress shouldn't marry the guy in the ill fitting suit. Other places include during Neil Diamond and Status Quo songs (but there is not much I can do about them) and when I'm half naked in the gym changing rooms.
According to a survey conducted by Grazia, 98% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Go to my gym and hangout (and most people do literally) in the changing rooms for a bit and you'll soon discover that this these stats don't seem to apply here.
It seems the people with the best bodies walk around cowering behind towels and get dressed while nearly standing in their locker. You can't be seen staring directly at them --it's a gym, not a peep show-- but out of the corner of your eye it's quite funny to watch as they hop around getting changed desperate not to flash even the tiniest bit of tit or muff. It's usually the younger people who go to the gym that do this.
On the other hand, the wobblier members of the place seem to take great pride in wandering round with as little on as possible. No towels, no shame and a real proud swagger when they walk. I think it's great that they can do this, and feel so comfortable with themselves. All I'm asking is that they at least sort out some of their unwanted body hair first or at least try and conceal their caesarian scars.
Anyway, back to the original point of the post. Yesterday, I'd just finished my workout and was getting changed out of my sweat soaked gym stuff. I'm neither a "let it all hang out" type of person or a locker jockey, if that's what you're wondering. I have a very sophisticated system, which I don't feel at liberty to share with anyone here. So there.
Then I heard my name. I froze. I thought it was gym etiquette not to get chatting to anyone when doing so could throw their concentration and lead to them to accidentally drop and uncover something they'd rather keep hidden.
I turned round with determination. I would not be thrown. I turned round and was greeted with an ungodly sight. The Mum of someone I went to school with standing there completely in the buff. I was mortified. Obviously, this was never conveyed on my face because if it was I don't think she would have carried on the conversation as long as she had, especially if she had any idea what was going through my mind right then.
Here's a taster: "SHAVE. WAX. IMMAC. ANYTHING!" It was also clear that she'd have to be doing a lot more in the gym than accoust young folk such as myself if she ever wanted her thighs not to meet in the middle anymore. The same could be said for her neck and breasts.
She stood there chatting to me about what her daughter was up to --studying for either some law thing or marine biology. I wasn't really concentrating-- and then listed what her other three kids were up to as well. Nothing I said could hurry the conversation along either.
When she mentioned her youngest's name I searched franctically in my head for any recollection or memory of them so that I could convey that I knew already what she was going to say about them. Unfortunately, I got the wrong sibling completely-- her youngest isn't a boy called Phillip, it's actually a girl called Helena. Fuck. And this little mistake just made her go on more.
I tried to maintain eye contact with her at all times, but it made me realise that when you have conversations with people, your eyes do wander a bit. Taking in what they're wearing (in this case not a great deal more than downy fluff and muff cover. Vomit), their overall mannerisms (very expressive and showcasing quite a bit of armpit hair) and watching their reactions to what you do too. The last one was easy, she kept looking me up and down as I stood there with a towel covering my bottom half and a hoody on the top.
Eventually she left me alone, after making me promise to give her daughter a call and passing on her best wishes to my Mum. I showered and then scooped up all my belongings and crept into one of the tiny cubicles that no one ever uses to get changed in. I just felt with all these people overexposing themselves, would it really be so bad if for once someone decided not to put so much of themselves on show?
And also, I was thinking back to all the judgments I was making about old Hairy Muff Mary (not her real name) and remembered people could be thinking stuff like that about me. Hmmmm, not willing to run that risk and so it was with giddy abandon I got got changed. Just the only person privy to it was me.
Posted at 12:29 am by Carrot
After my interview on Wednesday, I got in and checked my emails. There bold as brass was one from the dentist's magazine. They were offering me the job.
As bad as it sounds, my heart sank. Now I'm left with lots of decisions to make about all the speculation I've been putting in over the last few weeks. With no other offers on the table, it looks like I might just have to bite the bullet and take the job.
My car won't be happy and I've got a horrid feeling that I won't be either after about six months. It's so far removed -- in location and subject matter-- from where I want to be at the moment.
Also, they want someone for the long haul (they said at least 18 months) and that's definitely nowhere near how long I saw myself staying there. I was thinking, put in a sly 9 month placement and then fuck off. Get a better job and leave the dentistry publishing mourning my departure.
They've given me a start date and I'm really going to have to put my thinking cap on to work out what my next move is going to be. Moneywise, I desperately have to start working soon. I just don't want to feel like my hand is being forced to take a job I'm not anywhere near 100% sure about taking.
So in the meantime, I've been applying for other stuff. Quite promisingly, I've got another interview next week for a trainee features writing position. Again it's miles out the way (what is it with me only being offered jobs in the arse end of nowhere?), but the job is a lot further up my street then the other one.
So who knows. Fucking hell I need a drink. But, I mustn't succumb!
Posted at 08:42 am by Carrot
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I've made a couple of changes to my life the past few days. The is that I have made a solemn vow never to drink ever again, or until my birthday. Whichever comes sooner. Oh and what do you know? It looks like I'm going to be greeting my 22nd year with a champagne toast and JD chaser.
Basically, what I'm saying is that I've quit the sauce until my birthday (June 7). It's mainly for health (the number of times a hangover has contributed to my lapse in gym attendance is frankly appalling) and reasons of vanity (must get rid of wine belly).
So yesterday I started back at the gym and I have achey muscles around my knees to prove it. Also, my hair stinks of bleach and vanilla because I forgot to take my shampoo and conditioner and had to make do with the free stuff from their pump despensers. Yuck!
I'm also finding this a great distraction from the job stuff that is currently overloading my primative brain.
I've got my third interview at the Dentist magazine today. I've invoiced them for the work I did last week, so --even if I get nothing else from them-- at least I should get some money.
It's a third interview. I've never got this far in before. Usually it's been two interviews at most and then I've either got it or I haven't. A third interview is a completely new and daunting prospect for me. Not really sure what to expect and it's making me a bit nervous.
Think the best thing to do is to show no fear. Therefore, I'm just going to lay my cards on the table as soon as I get there. Start the money ball rolling straight off.
" Hello? Yeah, whatever. C'mon let's just cut the crap. How much are you going to be giving me and what reg is my company car going to be?"
They'll probably be some bargaining. I'll offer to take a pay cut in exchange for a coaster for my coffee mug and exemption from making the tea for the first three weeks I'm there. Judging from the nature of the magazine, I don't think it'd be too unreasonable to ask for weekly tooth whitenings, scales and polishes either.
I think I've got the measure of the situation and I think I'm going to be fine.
Posted at 01:23 am by Carrot
It's barely spring and I've already got hayfever. My eyes are itchy, my nose is tickly and I keep getting that horrible feeling like I've got ants crawling in my ears. I hate spring/summer or whatever the hell arse is going on with the weather round here.
Anyway, I think I might have a partial soultion to my job woes. Again, this is all hypothetical because they haven't actually put their balls on the line and said I've got the job yet. I'm thinking that if they offer it to me, I'm going to say that I can't start until the beginning of May.
I'll tell them that I've got some freelance stuff to complete (I've actually got a kick ass idea to pitch that I''m working on at the moment) and so I can't start straightaway. This will give me time to hear back from the other place I had an interview with up in town on Thursday. The lady said she'd contact me in a week and a bit to discuss further interviews (or perhaps to disparage me for even attending and wasting her time in the first place).
Then if they offer me a job, I'll take that one and graciously decline the other. How sneaky and underhand?
I'm not totally going to dismiss the first one until I've been to the third interview. Some people in answer to my plight (thank you readers and posters on Life Itself) have sent me some good suggestions to put to my interviewers to make my life easier if I took the job. If they agree, then maybe I could take it and my life wouldn't end up the empty husk with no social life that I'm envisaging it becoming should I take the job.
But my car has also chucked in its own opinion about what I should do. As of yesterday, it decided that it didn't want to go anymore and if it can't be fixed, all this job angst might be for nothing. With no car to begin with, I can't get there to work in the first place, let alone enough to help me put a down payment on a car. Bit of a shitter.
Again, this might all be a complete waste of time. After Wednesday they might conclude that I'm not the person they're after at all. If that turns out to be the case, I might print off this blog and my various posts for help I've posted on Life Itself, Myspace and round my neighbourhood, demonstrating the amount of thought I'd been wasting on a magazine where I'd be responsible for writing stories about toothbrushes.
Helps to put it in to perspective, doesn't it?
Posted at 01:55 am by Carrot
Being unemployed and being handed a legitimate reason to sit around and do nothing on a weekday is such a blessing. That's why I love bank holidays.
If things go a certain way this week (I got to a third interview and they offer me a job) I might not be unemployed for very much longer. This is, of course, a very good thing, but there are a couple of niggly things at the back of my mind making me think that taking this job might not be the best thing to do.
First up, it's based 50 minutes (if there is no traffic) or an hour and a half away (when every Tom, Dick and Twat decides to take to the road) from my house by car and is miles away from anywhere. I know if I was working up in swinging London town, the journey would take a similar amount of time, but I'd be closer to some kind of civilisation.
Pretty, but would you want to spend the rest of your life negotiating this on your own or the drinks menu of your local with all your chums?
The place that might be offering me a job are very sociable after work because they all live in the same village nearby. If I wanted to join in, first up, I wouldn't be able to drink (sacrilege) because I'd have no way of getting home. Also at lunchtime they all either go home or sit at their desks. I'd have no choice but to stay at my desk--bcause everywhere worth going is miles away-- and that's not something I really enjoy doing.
When I have a break, I need a break from everything to do with work. The desk, the computers, the phones ringing, everything.
To be honest, the biggest question is the effect all the travelling is going to have on my social life. I don't have much of one at the moment and I can see me having even less of one if I took this job. They told me that the shear amount of work to do each day means that everyone working there stays a lot longer in the evenings then the official 5.30pm clocking off time, but that's not a problem for them because they all live so close by. I expect to have to put in some overtime, but after all that I'd get home at silly O'clock, go to bed and get up again.
Since I've come back from uni my social life has sucked the big one. Most of my mates from school I have either lost touch with or they've stayed on at the places they went to uni at, a testament to the shittiness of my hometown. I haven't got many mates left round here and I can see myself drifting apart from the ones I do have left. Most of them work weekends, so I have to see them during the week or not at all. Or they work in town.
If I had a job in town I could finish late, go for a drink with everyone and hop on the train home. That's what I used to do at the other places I've worked. I just keep thinking country life might not be for me.But then the catch-22 is that I really need a job.
What the fuck am I going to do? Any suggestions?
Posted at 09:27 am by Carrot
What's with the long face?
I like to think of myself as a resourceful person. For instance, In the past I've made my own clothes (note the word "made" and not the word "worn" there) and wrapped an entire wardrobe in wrapping paper to try and make some kind of interior design statement. It's just a pity that the statement I seemed to say was: "YOU'RE SHIT AT THIS! QUIT NOW!" Obviously, I'm not terribly good at being resourceful, but God loves a trier.
However, one thing I've always been good at is making the best of a bad situation. Today was going to be a good one. I had the tiny issue of a job interview to get through first, but once that was out the way I was going to meet up with one of my old uni housemates and spend the rest of the day drinking.
Unfortunately, at the eleventh hour (literally, it was 11pm last night) she phoned to say that she wasn't going to be able to meet up; that we'll have to do it again some time and blah, blah, blah.
Disheartened, I then had a thought. I'll just go out with someone else and thus the day would be saved. Hurrah.
Or at least I thought it would be. Do you have any friends that it always seems like a good idea to meet up with and then when you do you remember all the reasons why you were secretly happy that they moved away to Bath four years ago? Well I do and that was who I ended up meeting up with instead.
This boy's name is Graham. I've known him since I was about six or seven and he's always been the same. He's always been about six feet taller than everyone else, so he stoops when he walks and I can never drive him anywhere because he can't fit in my car. Or at least that's what I tell him. He's got ginger hair, is a bit spotty and he's slimmer than the chances that anyone would ever choose to have his babies.
But, first and foremost, he is the biggest defeatist I have ever met and so as soon as he opens his mouth you start wishing you weren't there. He never seems to see the good in any situation or anything that happens to him.
I met him today at a pub near Old Street, because that's near where my interview was. He stalked in, having to nearly half his body height in order to make it through the pub door and avoid banging his head on the ceiling.
He sat down and we started talking. He's got a new job (good), it's pays well (good) and the work is not hard or too boring (good). But, everybody there hates him and he doesn't want to be anywhere people might not like him. Part of me really wanted to tell him that maybe he should leave right now, but I'm a nice person.
He said that he'd love to play guitar in a band for a living, and me being the supportive person that I am asked him what his band was like.
"I don't have a band. No one wants to play with me."
"Why? Have you placed ads and stuff?"
"Well, how do you know that no one wants to play with you then?"
And that was pretty much how the rest of my time spend with him went. I was planning on spending the whole day in the pub, but after an hour he started to really bring me down and we parted company. Now I'm back home and quite capable of typing lucidly, not exactly how I saw today going.
I just don't know how someone gets like that. Completely and utterly unable to register any kind of emotions other than complete indifference and pessimism.
Hmmm, and I thought I was a grumpy sod.
Posted at 08:29 am by Carrot