A Happy Turn of Events

It’s funny how the world works. Sometimes it is best just not to question it, and enjoy the things it throws at you.

Last night I had a pretty bad night. A miserable mood had gripped me in its foul little clutches and I was feeling the effects of being unemployed a little too much. Normally I can keep these feelings at bay, but last night, the thought of waking up and facing another day of pottering around the house with nothing to do filled me with despair. I will admit it, I was close to tears. Thankfully I had the loving comfort of my mother, and the loving, sweet, kind words of my better half to calm me down (along with a gaming session of Skyrim) to calm me down enough to sleep. Tomorrow would be a new day.

skyrim

Waking up this morning I could tell my mood had lifted, and I knew it had just been a weird faze. I didn’t have to physically drag myself out of my bed, and I was able to eat my gluten free, cardboard tasting breakfast. My father had message to do in town, so I decided to tag along, allured by the chance of a free lunch.

free food meme

As I waited for him to complete some business in a shop that i think sold electrical goods, I got a surprise phone call. It was BBC Radio Foyle, looking for me to come in and do the newspaper reviews on Thursday morning. I was elated at the prospect of doing this again, and agreed to it. Agreeing to this little job also means that I have agreed to a 6:30am wake up time, as I will have to be in the studio for 7:00am on the Thursday morning. Happy turn of events, part 1.

Happy turn of events, part 2, comes in the form of a chance meeting with an author. Whilst Christmas shopping with my father, we went into Easons for a nosy around and it just so happened that Cathy Kelly, an author that my mother is a big fan of, was hosting a book signing. I plucked up the courage, grabbed her latest book, and got a signed copy for my mum. Talk about the world’s best Christmas gift. A big bonus was the fact that Cathy Kelly was the sweetest woman ever, and was a joy to talk to. I feel honoured to have met her, and can’t wait to give her book to my mum.

Cathy Kelly and Me - 01/12/14

Cathy Kelly and Me – 01/12/14

To conclude my happy turn of events, I finally enquired about a gluten-free event that I had been told about a couple of weeks ago. I’m pretty new to the whole gluten-free thing, and haven’t even gotten a proper diagnosis yet, but at the moment it seems to me that avoiding gluten, wheat and oats is keeping me in an element of good health. I was nervous in contacting the person who was organising the event, but upon chatting to her I was reassured that I was welcome to come along, and that talking to people with similar dietary issues as myself would be a step in the right direction, even if I am working off a hunch.

So there you have it. It’s a funny old world we live in. I went from having a pretty terrible night, to having a pretty damn decent day all round. I met the lovely Cathy Kelly, I have the prospect of meeting new people at the gluten-free event, and I will be on the radio on Thursday! Tonight I’m going to bed with a smile.

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Make ’em Laugh – Joker Style

This is a blog I’ve been looking to write for a while, and now that my head isn’t buried in application forms, I think I may just get on with writing it.

One of my favourite characters of all time is The Joker from Batman. There has always been something about The Clown Prince of Crime that has always stuck with me. Maybe beneath it all I’m a raging psychopath like he is, but that is probably very unlikely. From a young age I can remember watching The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, the best cartoon of all time, hands now, no questions asked, end of story! I watched it all the time, and I think that is why this version of The Joker will always be my favourite, because I grew up with him. Don’t get me wrong I love the other versions of The Joker too, like Jack Nicholson’s Joker, Heath Ledger’s Dark Knight Joker, and the really sick twisted Joker in Death of the Family, but Mark Hamill’s Joker will always be my favourite.

The Joker 1

When rewatching some of the Batman: The Animated Series episodes now, as a fully grown woman, I am starting to appreciate not just the cartoon on a whole new level, but The Joker on a whole new level too. He is by far the funniest thing about the cartoon, and the way that he and Batman interact is just fantastic. Kevin Conroy is God when it comes to Batman, and I just think that he and Mark Hamill’s Joker work very well together.

The Joker 2

Batman: The Animated Series is definitely one of the most sophisticated and intelligent cartoon’s out there. It works on so many levels. You love it as a child because it’s full of action and adventure, and Gotham is always in peril. When Batman saves the day you feel elated and then go off and pretend to be Batman. You love it as an adult because it’s full of these one-liners that you definitely did not understand as a child. The Joker in particular had some of the best quote ever, and I do think that someone should make some mock motivational posters out of them!


Joker: I’m crazy enough to fight the Batman, but the IRS?? No thank you!

Joker: But hey, that’s the downside of comedy, you’re always taking shots from people who don’t get the joke. Like my dad, or Batman.

Joker: They sure don’t make straight jackets like they used too. I should know.

Joker: Jingle Bells! Batman smells! Robin laid an egg! The Batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker got awaaay!

Joker: (After sending Sid to his doom) Well, that was fun! Who’s for Chinese?

Joker: Live, from the city, the show that nobody wants to see but everybody will watch!

Joker: Ah, sunshine. Clean air. (Starts coughing) Oh, I hate it.

Joker: When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!

Two-Face: Out of my face, clown!
The Joker: Which one?

Joker: Whoops! Looks like our air holes are water holes, too! Water shame!


These quotes are to name but a few! Some of them are cheesy, and some of them are just pure genius. No wonder The Joker is my favourite character ever. He’s just so much fun, in a sick, twisted, very evil way.

The Job Centre

Is there a place more steeped in gloom and the stink of misery than the Job Centre? I hardly think so.

Mos Eisley

Today was my first day, my first day of signing on to the dreaded “dole,” or for some people, easy street. I am not one of these people, and I am sorry if I have just generalised a lot of people who have genuine need to be on “the dole.” I still stand by my reference to gloom and misery stink though.

I’ve been putting this event off for about a week, as many of you will know from one of my blogs about “The First 5 Days,” of being unemployed. What was my reasoning for putting it off? One, I didn’t want to go there without my dad, my moral support, and he has been on holiday for 2 weeks (the lucky bugger). Two, I couldn’t bring myself to accept that I had to go to the Job Centre. Finally three, really I am just a big chicken, and quite frankly that place gives me the creeps.

With my moral support back from his holiday, there was no getting around the fact that I had to visit the Job Centre sooner or later. Dad insisted that I do it sooner. We planned to do it today, and as we walked ever closer to the front door of the building, I found myself stating things like “I will not go back to retail!” and “I refuse to stand behind a till again, I am past all of that now.” Looking back on the things that I said, quite profoundly, I’m a little embarrassed, but I stick by those things.

As soon as we entered the building, we were met with this weird smell. I couldn’t quite place it at first, but then it came to me. The Job Centre smelled like weak disinfectant and old carpet; really old carpet, like carpet that had been in an abandoned building for years on end and had gotten a little damp. That smell.

We were greeted by quite a cheerful fellow from being the reception desk. This kind of surprised me a little bit that this guy was actually cheerful, but I soon got over my shock and just accepted that he had a pretty easy job. He printed me out a ticket and I went to wait in line, except there was no line. The place was empty, and this, to me, was great! I got seated straight away and started talking to the man behind the desk who would “sign me on.”

Job centre

This man, what can I say about him? He was pleasant enough, but there was just something about him that made me cringe a little. I thought when people worked in a place like the Job Centre, or even in an office in general, they would dress a little better. There were two ladies sitting either side of him, and they were dressed appropriately, in my view. They wore black trousers, modest blouses and nice cardigans. This man however, whose name later turned out to be Richard, was wearing a really old black jumper, so old in fact it had turned grey. He was also wearing jeans that didn’t really fit properly, and the whole time he spoke to me, he had a wad of chewing gum in his mouth. Maybe every Tuesday is “Casual Tuesday,” for him, or then again maybe that is just him in general.

As I sat and listened to Richard explain everything to me, the Job Centre started to fill up with people. The noise level increased by several hundred decibels, and I did find myself having to strain to hear the instructions I was being given. When it turned out that Richard’s computer wasn’t working the best (big surprise there) I was asked for my personal phone number and told to expect a phone call later in the day about making an appointment for an interview. Honestly I was glad to be getting out of there, however my moral support decided it would be a good idea to have a look at some jobs on the way out.

office rage

The Job Centre has touch screens, and even though they seem to work better than the staff’s own computers, they are still pretty horrendous. Slow isn’t even the word, and you actually had to apply force to the screen to get the little mouse to do anything at all. As we whizzed through the jobs, I could feel myself getting more and more depressed. A black cloud was descending upon me as I looked at jobs that I either had no interest in, or didn’t have the qualifications for. I gave up pretty quickly and rushed out of there.

As I sped towards the exit, I passed a lot of people that could have been grouped together into the “Tracksuit and Sportswear” category of any catalogue. Half the people waiting to sign on for the day looked presentable, and just about as miserable as I did. The other half, well they had an air of “Not Bothered,” about them, in both appearance and attitude. Many had prams, and two or three children tagging along. I hate to generalise people, I really do, but to me it felt like many of them were there to use and abuse the system. We know they’re out there, but I think I’m maybe judging people on the way they look, which I know I shouldn’t do. Maybe my next time will be a bit different, and I’ll see a different crowd of people.

My torment of the day is over, but I still have “homework” to do, in the form of filling out booklets with my personal details and “willingness to work.” Hopefully I will get all of this completed before I finally succumb to the insanity of the Job Centre, and lose the will to live.

Hello Radio!

This morning has been a busy one already. In fact it has been a bit too busy for someone who is currently out of a job. Surely I should still be in bed right now, watching re-runs of Frasier on Channel 4+1, but no! I am up and about, and have even been out of the house since 6:45am!

coffee-meme

What was I doing I hear you ask? Well this morning I was on the radio. That’s right, the radio. Over the past couple of months I have appeared on the radio a number of times, and for those times I was always “Heather, from Uproar Comics.” I always had an official sounding title and people knew I was there because of the business I was in. Today was a different matter however. Today I was just “Heather, a local blogger.” I was on the radio just as myself. Little old me, not affiliated with any company, any more…at the minute. It felt a little liberating.

What was I doing on the radio I hear you ask? I was on the Breakfast show on BBC Radio Foyle, and I was doing the review of the day’s headlines in the newspapers. It was all thanks to a friend, who was looking out for me. Sadly she was unable to review the newspapers this morning, as she normally does, and she offered my name up to take her place. I was flattered and when I got the call to come onto the show, I jumped at the chance.

nervousness

Nervous wasn’t even the word for what I was feeling all of last night, and most of this morning. When I dragged myself up out of bed this morning at 6:30am, I wasn’t in the best of moods. The house hadn’t heated up yet, and I was in no mood for breakfast. I left my house with an empty stomach, and it is true that when you are nervous, empty tummies are a lot sorer than full ones. My stomach was in absolute knots.

The people at BBC Radio Foyle were really lovely, and they provided me with everything I needed. All I had to do was choose a couple of headlines from the newspapers, review the stories and end on something a little more light-hearted. Simple.

As I made my notes, I could feel the time quickly slipping away, almost as if it were water running down a drain. I could hear the different segments of the show in the background, and when I heard a particular segment, I knew I was going to be next. One of the producers of the show came and collected me from the waiting area, and as we walked down towards the studio, I couldn’t help but feel like I was on some sort of death row, walking steadily closer to my doom. I greeted the presenters, they told me what was going to happen, and sooner than I would have liked, I was live on air.

onair-1

I was only on for about 5 minutes to start, but that 5 minutes felt like a lifetime. I talked about the relevant headlines, I chatted amicably with the presenters and I even got them to laugh. I stumbled over a couple of words, due to the crippling nerves I was feeling, but somehow I kept the worst of it at bay. Once my section was completed, I left and waited to do the second around.

The second time round, which was roughly 45 minutes after my first segment, was a lot easier. It flowed better and I managed to talk about different stories too. I ended my final segment by talking about the Belfast Film and Comic Con, definitely a topic close to my geeky heart. I wasn’t able to go to it, but a close friend had attended, and I’d gotten the lowdown from him the day before!

So not too shabby for an unemployed blogger such as myself, I do feel like I’ve actually accomplished something today!

Would I do something like this again? Definitely! Will I be as nervous the next time? Definitely not!

If you would like to listen to my little stint on the radio you can listen to the show on the BBC Radio Foyle website HERE. (I start at around 45min and then again at 1 hour 45 minutes!)