July 20, 2018

Summer reading list

Summer. Bored. No plan. Too hot for my currently slow brain. Not in a good place.
So hiding away in books.
Lots of vintage UFO books here, probably the weirdest of my interests. Won't detail the books as I don't think too  many people are interested ;)

Not read yet:
Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop. I admit I bought it because the side of the book is aegean blue (can't see it here) and has pictures inside.
The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson. Bought it because it's called Boreal Horror in French. I do hope there's some horror in there...
The Farm at the edge of the world by Sarah Vaughan. Bought it because that's currently where I'd like to be.

Partly read:
Yeah, I have the habit of starting several books at a time.
The 37th Parallel by Ben Mezrich (e-book). Don't think I'll finish that one though it's kind of short. It's based on a real story of a guy investigating cattle mutilation. Sounded intriguing. It's not.
Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd (e-book). Too complicated and convoluted for me. 2 intertwined stories, one set in the 18th century one in 80's London. I gave up after 2 chapters. Might try again if I find a French translation.

Kotori by Yoko Ogawa. Loved it. Ogawa is one of my favorite writers. This one didn't disappoint. The Japanese word "kotori" has a double  meaning, it's either "little bird" or "kid snatcher". But nothing horrible happens here, it's a soft, nostalgic and a little sad story of 2 brothers, one of whom loves birds and can only speak in bird language.
Fuku Fuku stories by Konami Kanata. A manga about a cat named Fuku Fuku (oddly re-named Choubi Choubi in French). I am not that crazy about manga in general but those by Konami Kanata are really neat. Her most famous work is Chi's sweet home (also a cat). Very kawaii

NB: The glasses are actually a photo prop as I can't read with them on ;)

July 10, 2018

Day Job, part 7 - in the office

Random photo of a work space with a cat
We never heard again  about the middle of the night alarm incident. But sure enough when we went back to the shop everything had been moved around and things were missing.

Some days, when you were really unlucky the boss would ask for help in her office.
You'd just have to file some papers, plastify some sheets...but mainly you'd do nothing at all...you'd just wait there. Not that she was working much either.
Let me tell you about my first afternoon there...I had to file about 20 sheets of paper, which took me about 5 minutes...and I took my time. That's all I did. From 1.30 to 4.30. Meanwhile, my boss made several doc appointments, called some friends, made some online personal payments...that's about it. But, "that was a great work day!I did so much!"
And you should have heard her, how she was compeletely overhelmed by the amount of work she had to do. Worst part, I think she was absolutely convinced she was overwhelmed. But she also knew she was not working much as she would pretend to work when someone else would enter her office.
An when she was actually doing something , it was so slow and so unefficient.  It usually took a whole afternoon to place ONE order...and every single time, she'd close the page without saving and we would have to start over.
My last full day there, we had to check 2 bills we had gotten for the same orders...so we had to compare the 2 lists. I just wanted to do it, quickly, by myself. But nope, I had a sheet, she had the  other...after half an hour (and not much progress) she decided she needed her glasses she had forgotten at home. So she left, just like that...she disappeared for 40 minutes and came back without any glasses.
Thankfully I had my phone.
She had very limited computer skills...her computer would take over 10 minutes to open in the mornin as she never closed any programs. And it was a mess. She never quite understood what a network was either, so she kept "losing"  files. Seriously at first I thought she was joking when she was making stupid things on her computer.
The look on her face when I once told her to "click right and scroll down"...like I was suddenly speaking Chinese. And that time she thought "customer helpdesk" was a person's name...
I quickly learned to never volunteer any help...but sometimes I would just burst out  out of frustration.
And the bizarre things she'd ask for her Excel files...making it obvious she never had any training.
Yet, pretty much everyone seems completely oblivious of what she was really like...she was always being so nice and helpful...
And you know what the scary part is (yes, because there is a scary part)? She was the one in charge of workers safety. She was the one who had to be up-to-date with emergency procedures.
So there was nifty signs all over then place, exit signs, fire alarm signs...But on the other hand, we had only one set of keys for the shop. There were bars on every window in the shop and only 3 doors, the 2 back doors had to be locked all the time, the front one could only stay unlocked during the shop opening hours. 3 locked doors, one set of keys...with 4 people working there we spent half of our time looking for those damned keys...imagine in case of fire...I brought up the problem, no answer...as usual.
Normal from someone who could not understand that a product we received frozen with the mention "has previously been frozen, cannot be frozen again" is a MAJOR health hazard. That was the last fight I had with her, I had to insist and insist (though I was, I didn't know yet,  in the middle of a major infection and battling high fever) for her to call the company who had sent those frozen products to us. And you know, though I was obviously unwell, she had me wait 45 minutes before she called. In retrospect I should have just left...after all, not my problem, not my responsability. But I stayed. She was instructed to destroy the products right away.

Read           part 1 here                    part 2 here                    part 3 here                    part  4 here                    part 5 here                    part 6 here

I could go on and on about that...but this will be the last installment. It didn't leave me in a good place and the dramatic ending didn't help...

July 02, 2018

An unusual visitor

My cousin and her family came for a visit...this is Bailey's the dog. She is an adorable basset hound.

Helping  with office work

Being cute in the garden

Playing with the plush hedgehog

Helping in the workroom

She pretty much inspected every single square centimeters of the house

 The cats were less than impressed :D
 You can see more photos of Baileys in this post

June 28, 2018

Diamond painting - a new way to waste my time, huh hobby, I mean

Maybe you have come across those on social media already...but I had never heard of those until recently.
Diamong painting, they call it...though there's no painting and even less diamonds.
It a bit similar to paint by number which I never liked and pixel art.
You basically glue little plastic squares on a sticky sheet according to the symbols. Sticking sh*t on sh*t is my one and only gift...so that was made for me :D
Easy and time consuming...just what I needed.
The result is perfectly kitsch and I am not sure  what to do with it.
Next I'll probably need the sad clown, the crying  kid and the howling wolf...

Symbol chart

The little plastic squares stick to the "pen"...

The first one I made. Obviously the larger the painting, the more definition you get...that one was a bit small...

June 25, 2018

New dangle plugs for your stretched ears!

Just added to my Captain cosmos webshop.
I am no longer updating my Dawanda store but if you prefer purchasing through Dawanda, I can list them there for you.
All my plugs are sold as pairs unless noted as singles.

June 18, 2018

Day job, part 6 - money hungry...

Dino at a Jamie Oliver restaurant in London...greedy much? 
I was really uncomfortable most of the time as I absolutely didn't trusted the boss and many of the regular employees there. Within 2 weeks I knew they were being less than honest with public money. And soon the boss knew I knew and the situtation grew really akward as I always refused to be bribed.
You see, after 2 weeks in the job there was what they called a "special sale". A big shop brand regularly gave large amount of non edible items they no longer had use for, like items used for their photo catalogue or discontinued items. Bedsheets, cutlery, plates, napkins, stationery, toys, school supplies and all sorts of decoration trinkets. The sale was taking place in the office building, not the shop and I volunteered to help that day (because my 2 other colleagues had already been there long enough to know they didn't want to do that LOL).
My job was to follow the customers, one at a time (like in the shop by the way, because as the boss stated: we have a special public here, you can't trust them). We were repeatedly told that we couldn't choose anything for ourselves until all the regular customers had gone. Like I wanted anything but that's another story.
My boss was at the till. No tickets. Nothing recorded...only the boss writing things down, very randomly, in a spiral notebook...and making up prices as she went. Let's say that several pages were torn out of that notebook...and as the day went by, the pile of stuff behind my boss just grew and grew as she was getting all sorts of junk for herself and her friends (she kept calling them all day). As the look of dispapproval of my face grew as the day went by, she felt she had to tell me several times that she was paying for that...
As I spent the whole day there and have a pretty good memory,  I had a fairly accurate idea of what was left at the end of the day...

Then there was the cash fund of about 60 euros. We were only supposed to count it at the end of the day after counting the day taking. It was locked in the boss's safe every day. When the boss was not there it was always interesting to find someone to open the safe for us. On several occasion we found no one...and had to use our own money as cash fund :/
When I put the money in the till in the morning, I couldn't help but count it...I mean, I did it without thinking much...one day 10 euros were missing...we didn't dare say anything...and put the money back out of our own pocket. Then it happened again with smaller amounts...I refused to put the money back, so we just said we probably had made mistakes when we gave back change. And one day there was 40 euros extra. On 60 euros, it's hard not to notice a  40 euro excess. Wow, we were just a stupid dishonest bunch, how could we make a 40 euro mistake. Because it had to be our fault, right, that 40 euros appeared in the safe overnight.
Let's say we never had any explanation.
A year goes by, and the special sale event is organized again. I am not volunteering this time...but bad luck, the room where it was usually held is not available...so the special sale would be held at the shop. Damn.
Also this time we knew what would be on sale as we had carried the boxes in the locked cellars ourselves. A single worker (not from the shop) was supposed to do that...but there was just too much for one person so he asked us to help. Our boss was less than happy about that...but had no valid reason to refuse.
A few days before the sale, I was in the boss's office when the side-boss (remember, the chick who hated our guts because she hated our boss?) came in and said, "I have noticed a lot of things have gone missing in the cellars, like every year" and left. Boss pretended nothing happened. And indeed, stuff was missing.
The day before the sale, we had a group meeting and the boss told us we had to make at least 4000 euros (like there was anyhing we could do to make people buy more junk)...on the day of the sale, the boss's boss comes in and tells us we have to make 3000 euros. Boss's face remained perfectly blank.
And yes, the spiral notebook was back...and pages went missing again. And she accused us of not only stealing but putting and hiding stuff for ourselves. The shop was tiny and crammed to the brim with stuff...seriously if we had wanted to hide or steal something it would have been soooo easy. After the first day sale, I was so pissed with her that I took the ugliest blanket there was (and that nobody had wanted because it was shit-ugly) and sort of hid it...you know, where I was sure she would see it...and sure enough, on the next day suddenly the blanket was in the pile of stuff she was "buying".

And that time one of my colleagues saw the boss steal 20 euros from the till. My colleague didn't say anything right away but in the afternoon, when she counted the day taking in the office, she said to the boss"here's the money minus the 20 you took earlier". Boss explained it was to test us. Right.

And there were all those shop papers I knew I had filed, lying around, with the numbers obviously tempered with...and the office supplies that were obviously taken from the "special sale cellars" hidden in the boss's shelves...and the stuff she ordered for herself and told everyone that it was for the shop clients  (we couldn't even put aside a pack of paper napkins for the customers...so sure, she would have special orders for some...) . I am still waiting for the money for some of that stuff, like a Tefal baking tray...and the stuff she took "to give Christmas presents to the old people in the retirement home".

There was an alarm in the shop...as the code has never been changed, pretty much everyone in town knew it...Well, the night after all the special sale items had been brought in, the alarm rang in the middle of the night. Usually the workmen boss would be in charge and would go check what happened. Oddly (or not) it's our boss who was informed and went to check...with the help of the big boss (who happens to be our boss's BF, if you remember). And the next morning, the big boss came in our boss's office when we were all there (I had never seen her there before) and exclaimed "How odd that alarm went off in the middle of the night!"

Read part   part 1 here
                   part 2 here
                   part 3 here
                  part  4 here
                  part 5 here

June 11, 2018

Day Job , part 5 - poor unfortunate souls...

By now you already know that we were treated like dog poop most of the time. We also always had second hand work equipment. Thanks heaven we didn't have a uniform like the cleaners because I am sure those would have been hand-me-downs too. The till chair was an old battered desk chair, all crooked with a bit of broken plastic coming through the fabric where  you had to sit. On a rare occasion when the boss visited us, she sat on it and she finally noticed the dangerous  bit of plastic. She had the chair thrown away and we got a second hand plastic garden chair to replace it. A chair  without wheels, which was a real pain as we couldn't open the till drawer.
One of my colleagues showed up with a desk chair she found in the trash on the streets one day. The chair is still in use there now.
You would think that the clients would be treated better. Ha! To my boss (and quite a few of the office workers) they were just scroungers, low life scroungers. The boss once accidentally refered to them as "my paupers" one day. That went well with me.
There were all sorts of complicated rules to gain access to the shop. You had to have an access card, that the boss printed when she thought of it. I never understood the point of that card as all clients were listed in the computer and you could check there whether they had access or not.
Then there was a spending limit on food items, hygiene items and cleaning items, but not on some of those items. And it was only one visit a week, or 2 if it was a bigger family and if the boss felt like it.
The rules were pretty complicated and changed often...so try imagining explaining them to Syrian refugees with no knowledge of French or English...
And let's say that the rules were a lot more flexible if the client was white.
The other very odd part is that the boss was adamant the social workers who sent people to our shop were not supposed to know the shop rules. In a grand spirit of openness and transparency. Then again, the social workers would have soon noticed the rules kept changing and were different from one group of people to another...
My joke was: "You're entitled to the free stuff on Mondays every 3 weeks if it falls on an even date and your family name begins with X and it's not a full Moon. "
Every morning we would get free fruits, vegetables and dairy products that we gave to the clients. They were not supposed to choose. "If you're hungry, you take what you're given" dixit you-know-who. Also some of the products were wayyyy past their prime, like mushrooms reeking of amonia. We were supposed to give them anyway.
Once a month we got large boxes of random stuff from shops. Unsold items, either because the packaging was damaged, or the dates were too close or the items were discontinued. All good on paper. Well, sometimes it was ok. Sometimes not so much. The cleaning products, washing powders were in the same boxes as food products...everything was mixed up...which makes food products unfit for eating, that's the law. But who cares? Not my boss. Everything is drenched in Detol, fine, no problem. Everything is covered in mice or rat pee and feces...no problem, just clean the boxes. And twice we had to clean worms -_-  I have no problems with insects, they don't disgust me or anything...but seriously...on food items?
Then every week we'd get fresh products like cold cuts and pizzas, lasagnas...new, but wow, no respect for the cold chain. And they ended up in our all rotten fridge anyway....the fridge with a completely illegal temperature of 12° inside in the summer.
Oh, yeah, disgressing again, but no air conditionning in the shop...during summer we had tempearures up to 40° inside....We were allowed breaks in the air conditionned room...in the other building across the parking lot...and were given 3 water bottles for 4 on the first day, 2 on the second days, 1 on the third day...and nothing afterwards...We were also instructed we had to use glasses and not drink directly from the bottles. NO, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!
Some clients openly told us they were embarrassed coming to the shop :(  If only they had known.
I took it upon myself and threw away a LOT of stuff because I really didn't want to poison anyone even if it was not my responsability.
The boss always threatened us with visits from the health and hygiene services. We didn't see them once in all the time I worked there. I sure would have like to meet them.

Read part   part 1 here
                   part 2 here
                   part 3 here
                  part  4 here