Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Ugly Models

So today I took a step out of my comfort zone. I went for an audition for a character modelling agency  Ugly Models. I figured it'll be good to try something 180 from the norm and if something comes out of it then great, but if not I haven't quit my day job. 

I thought I'll play it cool but the truth was I was so nervous. There were people there of all shapes and sizes and boy there were some characters that'll make you think WOW.  It was then I began to think what are my qualities and will I make the grade. Anyone that knows me know that I'm a sort of everyman, an average joe you might say. What make me unique to stand out amongst theses guys?  But then I thought that being average is not a bad thing to be, after all you need the average Joes. We can't all be special characters because if we all are special then no one is (I know, movie reference). So I waited and eventually my turn came. This was my time to shine and show them who I am. I was placed in front the camera and the guy said talk about yourself. I opened my mouth and talked about my job. I know, I know. In my defence I was nervous but geez. The job is something I do it isn't me. I least I hope so. I was kicking myself for that. I think the camera man realised because he asked if I had ever auditioned before, LOL.  It also didn't help that I was immediately up after the knife juggling trans-person. I mean come on, how was I going to top that? :-) After that performance I looked like wallpaper drying.  

Hey you know I got to laugh at myself because I gave it a shot and who knows what may happen out of this my personality my shine through my nervousness.  For anyone interested check out ugly's website on

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Power of complaining...

Working for the local government you meet a lot of interesting people. Especially in my job at social services. You learn alot about life and people and one of the things I have seen is how unfair the world can be for some people. I'm not referring to any physical, mental or learning imitations on the individual. But rather it's about how the few can grab the most and the vast majority scrounge for the few discarded favours. Social services give money to the deserving and they are all assessed on their needs. However there are the few people on the social services register that know how to buck the system to get what they want. I call them the "complainers". Because local government is accountable for their actions by various political heads there is nothing worse that having bad press where it says " council fails resident". They will do anything to avoid that including providing what I call "hush money" but the official term is compensation. There is one particular type of service user which are subject to this payout. I call them the complainers. They are the one who shout and scream and throw tantrums and threaten to call every newspaper in the land if they don't get what they want. Of course all these claims are investigated by the complaints department but more often than I am comfortable with to avoid the complaints escalating to the ombudsman They are given a "we are sorry for the delay in your service" payout and will give you a lumpsum as means of compensation(and to keep you quiet). So now the rules of the games have been set. Clients know that if they complain and really push it they can join the compensation culture and get a hand out.
I'm not saying they are all like that. But the few rotten apples do spoil the bunch. I have therefore learnt an invaluable lesson. Me, the quiet as a church mouse, think that if I eat all my vegs and don't cause any waves all the good things will happen to me, me. Boy did I get that wrong.
Two years ago I joined one of Britain's executive members flying clubs which gives me flyer miles. I realised that I am travelling a lot more lately and with this one particular airline. Loyalty should be rewarded. After all they are one of my favourite airlines. Well that relationship was sorely tested when I returned from one of my long haul trips and discovered that my air miles had not been added to my account. I gave them time and patiently waited. However after a week I thought I'll send them a gentle reminder via email querying what is happening with my air miles. I received an email back saying that they have no record of my flight that the club membership and flight details must match. I check my account and notice that my surname was placed as my first name and my first name as my surname. Silly me. Of course when I write an email explaining the mixup they will see my point of view, understand and rectify the problem and credit my miles. So off my email went with sweet innocence dreams. I waited patiently for a response. Nothing. No response. No air miles. So two weeks later getting a bit worried I sent them a letter. Nicely typed and spaced. Full contact details etc, asking can they please add my air miles, if it's okay with them. After all I did mke the trip and sent copies of my tickets as evidence and the proper order of my name. Surely this could be settled quickly and orderly. No dice.
It was now a month and a half and I had not had a response to either email or letter. And I was not happy. Infact it would be accurate to say I was in a right huff. I mean how dare they ignore me, their loyal flyer. It is by no hard stretch of the imagination for their IT people to pop into my account and change the order of the name, after I have provided them with all the evidence of the flight. I mean come on, really.
So knowing that big companies whose livelihoods depend on public goodwill particularly in a highly compatible market, fear nothing more than bad customer service I decided to hit them where it hurt. I wrote a snarky email talking about my experience and not understanding why can't they see the logic of what I am saying particularly since I provided all the evidence and if this is the way they treat their customers I would not be using their services again. Furthermore I will be recommending to my friends not to use their service. Off my email went. Two hours later I received an email saying that my account will be credited with the right amount in 3 working days time. It was. :-)
At my work they offered a scheme where I can purchase computer products at a reduced rate through my salary which also meant my paying less tax and getting a discount on the final product. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. So I placed my order and waited for my delivery. And waited for my delivery. And WAITED for my delivery. Two months later and no sign of the goods. I knew it was too good a deal.
Of course to calm our fears they periodically sent emails that they are working hard on getting the goods to us. Then one day two months after i signed my contract with them we all received an email stating that they were having problems with their suppliers and that we had a day in which to make the decision to cancel the order or continue to wait for a further four weeks at least with no guarantee of a delivery date. I WENT SPARE!
Now those of you who know me I'm generally a quiet kind of guy. A doormouse you might say. Well at least I give off that impression until you piss me off. And that's what this email did. I have always prided myself on my ability to not let my emotions get the better of me. Instead I channel my angry in getting even. BTW-that ain't a good thing.
I quickly started doing some researsch on online goods and service law. What are my rights as a consumer. What are the company's responsibilities as provider. And topped it off with a call to the trading standards agency. Now armed with knowledge. A flurry of emails started going back and forth between me and the company. I used a lot of legal terms and showed that YES Mr big business I can play hardball as well as you. My last email gave them a "do or die" choice. Give up the goods by a certain date or I'm coming after you.
The result of my little tirade was in less than a week I had my new IPhone.

So what have I learnt from this. If you want to be heard make a nusciance of yourself or as Elenor Roosevelt so eloquently put it. Speak softly but carry a big stick.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


It's been three days since I started the gym and my pains have pains. I joined because I promised myself in 2012 that I would restart working out. I want to look better and feel better about myself health wise. I used to be in the gym last year and I probably went for 2 months total. That isn't so bad if I didn't pay for a year in advance. LOL. So this year I am determine to make things happen and not just sit at home and hope hat they happen.

I'm beginning to realise just how much of my life is lived in my head and not outside of it. Ouch Even though I know what I am suppose to do to achieve the things I want in my life still I place mental blocks, and obstacles in my way. And they are very clever that I am able to fool myself into thinking I deserve the behaviour that I engage in. I work hard all day I deserve to come home, sit in front of a TV/relax and do nothing don't I? DON'T I?

Apparently I don't. Ouch. Well let me clarify that, I do deserve to relax if I want but I also need to realise that every action has a consequence. If I sit on the couch for the next 5 -7 hours when I get home that is 5 - 7 hours that I am not committing my energies to creating the life I want. I saw this video my a man named Jeremy Yost. Jeremy was seriously obese and wanted to change his lifestyle to a more healtier one. Within a year Jeremy's weight loss was astounding but what was hard hitting for me was his motivation for getting up and deciding to lose the weight. Like all of us he had a vision of what he wanted to achieve. But that wasn't enough. He sat down and wrote down the pros and cons to achieving his dream. He discovered that there were more pros than cons and began to action it.  and what amazing results.

He discovered that what was stopping him from achieving his goals was his not having a strong enough, and clear enough vision of what he wanted to achieve in his life and when he got that vision in his mind and wrote down his goals it became a reality for him. I'm going to be following his example and applying myself to achieving my own goals and creating a strong enough vision that it will motivate and encourage me to achieve all of them.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Happy Birthday to

Another birthday, another reminder that I'm getting older. But don't get me wrong I don't feel as if I'm getting older but better. Growing into my skin you could say. I look forward to the day when I can get my freedom pass, complain about the disrespect of young people today(I'm already doing this), and pass wind loudly in the middle of a rude carriage and laugh my toothless mouth off.  LOL.

But you know I discovered something out recently which makes me gratefully for living in a big city everyday. I work with a number of people from all over the world and I discovered that in some cultures birthdays do not have as great a significance as it does in Western society.
In the Western world a birthday is a day of celebration. It is a day to rejoice with other members of your family and friends that, I was born, I am part of a community, this is a rite of passage. A birthday says YES I exist. But if you are born into a world where you don't know where your next meal is going to come from, where your home is shelled almost daily by enemies of your state, political party, culture, religion, creed, class, or race, or where the fact of being born female is more likely to send up waves of lament rather than applause then, yes, a birthday isn't something you look forward to or even bother to remember.

Personally, I don't really "celebrate" my birthday. I know it's there, I acknowledge it but it's another day for me and I get on with it. I suppose when I was younger there was more of a significance. Age 7 the age of reasoning, Age 13 Puberty(eke!) Age 16 can learn to drive(still haven't), age 18 can vote,  21 can drink etc. There were all milestones and "rites of passage" in a growing individual life. But side I've been over in the UK My focus has been more on surviving and making sure I do the right thing for me to succeed. When I look back at it between the ages 24 and 30. I barely noticed the day. The one big day I started paying a little more attention was at 30. Where I tried to get drunk for the first time in my life and failed miserably. I ended up getting tipsy, slipping my drink all over my best friend and trying to lick it off him. Hmm, maybe I did get drunk. I'll hate to think I did that while sober. :-)

So anyway here's to me (and you if you are celebrating a birthday today) being on the wrong side of thirty and growing old disgracefully.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Looking good for 2012

New Year's day and I've still kept my resolutions.

I got up early and managed to make it to the New Year's day Parade. It's been years so it was a nice reminder. As usual the event was dominated by American teenage highschoolers. There were cheerleaders, tumblers, acrobats, floats and marching bands. Of course because this is England the floats are relatively small. Nothing to compare to the floats of gargantuan proportions of our American cousins.

The one thing I found disappointing is that though this is England, the British representatives in the parade were a poor showing. They were nowhere as sharply dressed, or enthusiastic as the Americans. The difference in American and British culture stood out sharply and it was a pity. We looked like the poorer cousins. I suppose we Brits no our strong points. We great at thinking and working out the finer details, but what the Americans excel at is he old razzle dazzle. All show no substance.

After the show I went to the portrait gallery and wandered around for an hour or two. Great portraiture pieces spanning the last three centuries from the 18th to 21st centuries. It's interesting to see how the subjuect changes over time from images of the royal and ariscocratic models to our modern day celebrities. I think I was more inteested in the art as an artictic endevour rather than the sudjects. I like going up close to see if i could see the brush strokes and how the paints themslves are mixed on the canvas. Funny how when near to the canvas or board you see sploshes of paint mixing, swirling, and frozen in mid movement and from a distance this crash of colour produces something remarkably beautiful.

I've been reinspired to take up my brush and dabble again or perhaps look for an art course to register on and learn the finer details of paiting.  Click on my paint on the left of the screen to see my dabbles on Flickr.

Be good. Stay positive.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year 2012

Hello's the start of a new year 2012 and time to clear out the old and usher in the new.
2011 was an interesting year to say the least.It start off full of promise but like most promises life can get in the way. I think the lesson I've learnt is that I should do only one thing at a time and not try to achieve everything at the same time. This usually results in my not doing anything and sinking into a state of depression.

I promised myself that 2012 was going to be my year of being British. What does that mean I hear you ask? Well, it simply mean I'm am going to try and engage in activities that are traditionally British activities. Events such as BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, visits to the lake district, see all the museums cultural centres like Shakespeare Globe theatre, Stonehenge, etc. The one tradition I draw the line at is visiting Thailand and hooking up with some lady boy. I do have my limits. LOL (kidding).

I am actually looking forward to all this and hopefully I have learnt from my mistakes in 2011 and wouldn't repeat them in 2012. After all those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. So wish me luck and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!.  May it be an Olympian one! lol.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Sometimes Destiny and Choice are the same thing

There are many proverbs in the English language about the subject of opportunity and chance. 
  • Opportunity only knocks once
  • Opportunity seldom knocks twice
  • Strike while the iron is hot
  • Time and Tide wait on no man
  • When one door shuts another opens 
They are all common sense truths based on humanities shared experience. Unfortunately in the past few years I've had forgotten about these basic truths and life lessons though evidence of its existence is all around me. Like many of us I'm so caught up in the mechanisms of my everyday life that I can't see the forest from the trees. There are times in our lives when opportunities are handed to us and we ignore it or say no. And yet, strangely these opportunities present themselves over and over again in our lives in different disguises, vying for our attention.  Now all that is required is that we stop and see them for what they are. 

I was talking to a friend of mine earlier this week and we were discussing how unhappy we are with the way things are changing in our lives particularly that growing sense that we're not in control of our lives. After all , if i am the captain of my ship why am i crashed upon the rocks. She then told me the story of her boyfriend and how his life is totally different. Her boyfriend (lets call him Hans) is a small business entrepreneur who has had varying degrees of success and failure as all businessmen but the one constant that has remained with him is that whether it is during periods of success or failure he is always open to opportunities in his life. After a prolong period of success he lost everything when market forces and competition moved against him. the consequences of which he ended up living with friends on their couch. During his successful years he met a lot of people, he has an extroverted personality so he talks with every and anyone. One such person was the manager of a London Hotel. During a conversation one day and the manager mentioned that they have a German business group staying at the hotel and they were currently looking for an interpreter. Hans offered his services (he speaks multiple languages of which German is one) and the upshot of it was he was offered the job as an interpreter for 6 months, stayed free of charge at the hotel and saved enough money that when the interpreting work dried up he when straight back into business which he continues to this day. He could have been despondent about the initial business failure and given up on himself but he didn’t. He just kept on going and doing things. This is a philosophy that worked for him and had been taught to him by his grandfather. His grandfather was in the second word war and he passed on the lessons that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and that he should live life for today seizing each opportunity that life gives him.

After hearing this story it made me want to be more conscious of the opportunities that present themselves in my life. Recently I had been thinking of purchasing an iPod as a gift for my little cousin and was talking to a friend of mine as we looked online to see that the price was a bit steep. Then that very evening when I got home there was an email from apple about getting a replacement iPod for 1st generation holders. Normally i would have ignored this email but then i realise this could solve my predicament. A new iPod for free.  So i took a chance and ordered one.  SNAP! Synchronicity don't you just love it. 

However recognising opportunities has been and continues to be a conscious effort on my part to keep my eyes open and see the chances open up before me. And yet being able to spot an opportunity isn't enough.  It's about following up those opportunities taking chances and acting upon them. WithoutWriting took such a chance. Whether or not he was conscious of it at the time , an opportunity arose for him to leave everything he knew behind and explore a new country for at least 6 months and he took it. I've got to say I'm very proud of him. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to learn about yourself and learn about your limitations and strengths.  Immigrating to this country on my own I know what it's like to leave behind all that you know and  throw yourself at the deep end. But i wounldnt trade this experience for the world. So here to keeping your eyes peeled and ears open for that knocking sound.