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Archive for March, 2007

My legs are aching quite a bit today after going walking yesterday in “Thieves Wood” near Ravenshead just south of Mansfield. There is literally miles of walks and pathways of differing qualities surrounded by thick woodland. Its a popular place for dog walkers, as almost everyone we saw was either walking a dog or their children! [Read More]

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Bad Attitudes

Today I went into the city for a meeting with the boss of web design firm who had advertised for for staff. I ambled down into the town to the old Lace Market area down Broadway. Which for those that don’t know its the part of the city where all the old Lace mills and factories were once located. So, you can imagine it’s an area full of rather run down smoke stained constructions that should had been pulled down years ago. Even my mum who never swears said Broadway is a ‘shite-hole’.

I wasn’t impressed by the location of a supposedly fresh web design agency. Inside, it looked like there were 4 or 5 rooms; two of which were offices where the nobs work, a small kitchen and an open plan office area where the workers were cramped together like pigs in a shed. As for the computer equipment there looked to be a dozen quite elderly looking machines with standard CRT monitors. Only one of grunt/worker machines had a flat panel display and the rest were using cheap low grade equipment. The Boss’s PC on the other hand seemed to be of a much higher end with a large panel display.

I met the director who was a very direct chap, which isn’t always a bad thing but in this case it was. He was a typical Marketing person who doesn’t seem have much of clue with dealing with people. He certainly wasn’t a technology person, but nothing more than a one dimensional double glazing salesman that made me feel uncomfortable.

Just as abit of background. I have suffered with RSI for a number of years, but its only been these last 2 or 3 where its a much larger problem where I have had to finally bury my pride and seek medical intervention. I used to be a freelancer, but 2005 I had to give this up because the flare-ups and associated pain because so much more regular and severe that it left me with little choice.

Anyway, as the meeting progressed it became apparent that there current member of staff for the post they were advertising for had also got a repetitive strain condition.  This is where the Interviewer became defensive, vocally aggressive and frankly made many discriminatory remarks. Such when he asked he said “why haven’t you got a job delivering Pizza’s or something instead” – This statement in itself clearly shows he doesn’t have any understanding whatsoever of repetitive strain injury which is surprising since one of his own employees has the condition. The fact he hadn’t even bothered to do any research was a clear warning to me that this person doesn’t look after his employees very well.

I asked him whether the company has tried to help their current employee and he said “oooh yeah, we’ve done allot. We moved adjusted her chair, desktop and setup about”; Which is absolutely nothing. Every member of staff should have an ergonomic desktop before they get injured, providing it after the fact is too late.

Anyone who has actually bothered to look into the condition or has suffered from it knows full well that ergonomics is more of a preventative measure. If you already have symtoms  changing the ergonomics will have little effect though it could slow down the deterioration of the overall condition. What it won’t ever do, is reverse the damage as you are still using your hands for the same task that caused it. The prognosis remains the same unless you remove those tasks or change them. 

Companies are not forced to employ the disabled or injured. What they have to do is treat all application in the same way and not to make snydy discriminatory remarks with the objective of undermining certain applicants who are perceived by a narrow minded individual as ‘disabled’.

What I always try to remember is that “One Persons weakness is another’s great strength.”

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On both days I went out on my brothers mountain bike I had a near miss on the road. I don’t fear cycling on main roads, but I do have a healthy respect for the laws of the road. On Wednesday, I was cycling back from the clinic dry run and this black and white Taxi driver decided to open his door on me at the very moment I passed him. It wasn’t that he didn’t see me since we were both eyeballing each other a good 20-30 seconds as I approached his parked cab and he was waiting nearby to get back into his car. I couldn’t believe it, he waited 30 seconds already so why did he open his door before I got to him or after I passed him? Why did he open it as I was passing him and almost hitting me. It was one of the most stupid things I’ve ever seen. I of course addressed this issue verbally by calling him “a stupid bastard” as I swerved and tried to stay on the right side of the road and thus avoiding being run over by oncoming traffic.

Yesterdays incident was a little more forgivable and I had loads of time get out of harms way. A learner driver was pulling out from a parked position, but unfortunately I don’t think she knew what mirrors were and she certainly didn’t check her blind spot. She just left the nose of the car hanging out. Now if she did that as I passed her then I wouldn’t be typing but instead having a bit of a lay down in a hospital bed. My brother would had been really upset too; he really likes that bike. I chose not to swear at the learner, but instead gave an entirely pleasant hand signal and made an appropriate near miss noise. I hope the learner driver wasn’t on her test as she would have almost certainly failed.

Cycling is more dangerous than I remember, though its not more dangerous because there’s more traffic. I think its more dangerous because there’s more crap drivers on the road. One tip I find useful is to keep as much eye contact as possible with drivers when attempting manoeuvres. This I find ensures that they are aware of you and have seen you. Eye contact is important, though don’t stare or show too much emotion. Just quickly glance at the driver and make eye contact. That’s one of my top 10 tips on staying alive on the road.

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Today I got up early to attend an interview in Nottingham at a little place called kukimedia. Its only a small company, but a refreshing change even so. I approached the offices from Victoria Street and just walked straight up. I wasn’t actually sure where it was, but I did see the Cranbrooke Street sign so I knew it wouldn’t be far away. I crossed over at the lights and saw an empty furniture shop. To the left of the shop was a large metal door and a buzzer for kukimedia. After being buzzed in, I went upstairs to be greeted by Duncan who came across as a relaxed and friendly. The atmosphere was pretty laid back and they were playing the radio in the background. An addition bonus is that they even provided me coffee; a big bonus in my book. Their premises was very small and open plan, this isn’t a problem for them as they barely ever meet clients. The type of work they did was quite varied, but if I got the job then it looks like I’d be doing micro-sites, which would be fine by me; if not a little dull.

I walked through back through the Market Square, which actually I think looks quite nice with the trams. The two seems to compliment each other much better than the old square. I do think that the shop fronts need modernising to make everything look more together. Anyway, as I walked through the square I saw that the BBC was filming the BBC1 TV program “Street Doctor“. I smiled and walked through. I know I have a few problems, but I certainly don’t want them broadcast on national television, thank you.

I walked up to parliament street and caught the Rainbow bus back home. I do prefer those buses since they are much faster and cleaner. Sometimes though they do get so popular that you have to stand up and that’s the last thing you often want to do. The only other difference between the City (green) and the Rainbow (Blue) buses is that the Blue ones are 10p more for the same journey. The return journey went fast as I saw one of my neighbours and we chatted about photography all the way home. So, all in all its been a good day today so far.

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Today, I went for a tour of the back stage area of the Nottingham Playhouse. Upon arriving at the stage door, I was greeted by the senior receptionist Rosemarie Potts (Rosie) that had worked there for 25 years and said it was a great place to work. The building itself was a typical 1960’s construction and the inside very much reminded me of my old secondary school, especially the beige colour painted inner brick work. I always find it strange that they had never heard of plastering back then or even though of using plaster board in the last 40 years, but anyway I digress yet again. I was greeted by Richard Swainson, one of the two House Managers who the day before was heard talking on Radio Nottingham. Richard is a happy chap with certainly allot of spirit, though has others pointed out he probably could talk for England. I found him to be amusing and it made the tour more than the normal.

We visited the wardrobe area which normally employed 6 people, who were all out at the time. They were mid way making outrageous costumes for pantomime to be shown later in the year. The playhouse make all their own costumes, scenery and props, which after a performance are then sold off to other theatres. Nothing is thrown away, which I thought was great as it must be a real money spinner.

I was taken into the Props area where there was a guy had Vaseline all over his hands was making a model of a dog and a young woman was crouching on the floor painting a table. I’m not saying a thing, but I did wonder what those two had been doing before I was taken in there. I found the props area fascinating; I used to enjoy Art at school and always liked to play with plaster and clay back then. Its not something I’ve done for 18 years but there’s always that inside of you, repressed under the computer geeky stuff. The Vaseline man did show me a mock up of a whales tooth he had cast, painted and aged. I did go all a bit Art geeky and asked him about his technique. On a top shelf there was a really impressive mock up of an old TV camera, which was surprisingly not used by the commissioning production. So, it stays as an object of interest until such a time its needed.

I went onto the stage, which was just its empty shell. I do remember sitting in the audience at the theatre as a child. In fact I do remember where I was sitting on the second tier, watching a pantomime. I don’t remember what I was suppose to be watching, since I was only 5 or 6. What I do remember though is the feeling of being impressed by the whole atmosphere of the place. That was the first time I ever went to a theatre, so seeing it again was like revisiting old happy child hood memories.

Looking up above the stage, you could see the scenery lifts, which were apparently all on manual pullies. You’d think it would be all electric nowadays or automatic, but it not. I did wonder if there was a specific job someone had that consisted of pulling those ropes. On the other side of the stage area there were two sparkies that looked like they were doing some maintenance work on the lights. I wasn’t introduced to them and I got the distant impression they don’t like human company being creatures of the darkness that bought light to others.

At the back of the stage area, there were two talented painters who were spraying large stage backgrounds. I would call these two young ladies, artists as painters imply that they are decorators. I could appreciate their work, but painting was never my favourite thing. I always did terribly badly at it at school. I’m always jealous of anyone that can paint well as its a media that I could never figure out; particularly painting in colour.

Richard guided me back to the reception area. I was eventually fetched to go over the road for an Interview with Valerie Evans (Head of Administration) and another Richard (Richard Surgay) who I believe was the Sales & Customer Service Manager. They were both very nice people and I believe it went very well. Probably one of the best interviews I had ever been to. That’s not because the questions were easy, it was because it was the sort of environment you’d love to work with people that genuinely enjoy what they do. That was obvious.

The interview last for 45 minutes and I left there on a high note with a bounce in my step. Today was a good day. Whether I get the job or not, just having a look through the keyhole onto this world really made my sole sore as there is apart of me that wished I could had done something more artistic than moving into Computers.

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