Tag Archives: H.P. Lovecraft

Back On The Chain Gang

Let me start by asking a couple of questions. How many of you cut the cheese at work? How many of you get to hide the salami as part of your regular duties?  As to the first, I reckon we can all plead guilty, in that at one time or another, we’ve all let slip a Silent But Deadly in the elevator, disguised a guff in a meeting by shifting in our seat or simply kept walking towards our cubicle whilst maintaining as nonchalant an expression as possible under the circumstances.  As to the second, well, office romances bloom from time to time, and I guess the supply closet is largely wasted space, but that’s not what I had in mind.

You see, all jocularity and sophomoric humour aside, cutting the cheese and hiding the salami are what I do pretty much all day. Since the turn of the year, I’ve been working in the deli department of my local supermarket. After being taken on in a temporary capacity to sell Christmas trees, ( See “A Forest” and “On Repeat”), the store found me some other tasks to fill out my time after we sold all the trees ahead of schedule and then offered me the chance to apply for an opening in the deli. To be honest, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make, as I had nothing on the horizon. The vacancy was posted internally only and I duly applied and was interviewed twice before being offered the spot. In truth, it was made clear, though not explicitly, that the job was mine as long as I applied.

I’ve never had a food service job, so although I was happy about the work I did have some trepidation as to the tasks involved. I should point out that I was hired for the Closing shift, which is 1:30 to 10 pm. I wasn’t thrilled about this, being very much a morning person, but beggars can’t be choosers, although the three day weekend prior to starting did allow me time to adjust to the new schedule. I managed the transition pretty well by treating 11 am. the way I used to treat five am and not going to bed until two thirty or so.

I live only a mile and a half from work, so decided it would make sense to walk rather than drive, especially as short trips aren’t good for the engine and it costs money. I splashed out on a cheap pedometer and began tracking my steps, miles and calories burned in my usual OCD manner as I thought this would be a good way to see if I can lose a bit of weight. It also gives me the opportunity to listen to some of my almost endless podcast playlist, on the walk home in particular helps me decompress. Mind you, walking home alone in the dark is probably not the best time to listen to a podcast that involves readings from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I also made the decision to take shakes to work for lunch and leave them in my locker and carry little to no cash to discourage me from buying lunch at work. Add to this the fact that I’ve stuck to my plan of not buying candy or chips, and you may not be surprised to learn that I lost 10 pounds in two months. Whoo hooo! I’m quite happy with this as you can imagine, and if I lose another 20 we’ll be talking real progress. Naturally you have to take into account the fact that I’m on my feet all day, but still, it’s not to be sniffed at.

I’ve fitted in pretty well to the team and get on well with everyone. Most of the department are middle aged or older, apart from the kitchen crew, but even they have a sense of humour and are willing to help  out as needed with other stuff and the department manages to get through the day even if we have someone out or are swamped with customers. I know it may seem like an odd  place to work for someone on the spectrum, but it forces me to interact with people all day and remain friendly and engaged whilst doing so, so in a way it’s a kind of aversion therapy, especially when you realise that there’s nowhere to hide and you are always on show, like some sort of zoo exhibit.  I made a very conscious decision to muck in wherever needed and make the effort to do things without asking: a policy that seems to be paying off, as is my effort to interact with my colleagues as much as possible, despite my natural instinct to avoid giving away personal information.

The last three hours of the day are fairly quiet, and this is when we begin the cleaning and shut – down procedures, a long process which leaves me pretty much beat as the level of cleanliness involved is much higher than that required at home. Still, the work gets done and I haven’t heard any complaints so far.

The downside of this is that by the time I get home and eat dinner, it’s around midnight, so my desire to do any kind of housework is severely diminished, and I wish I cleaned my kitchen as well as I clean the Meat and Cheese area. It’s not that I live like a slob, but my counter top is never empty, nor the kitchen table devoid of clutter. By the time I get home I just want to veg out and watch a DVD – usually an old “Doctor Who” episode from the library and eat my Poutine, which has become my comfort food of choice. I’m only drinking one night a week, as I finish at seven pm. on Friday and can get to the taphouse for a couple of beers with the lads. The middle shifts on Friday and Saturday are a recent change, and I’m not complaining as it also allows me to go over on the evening boat and have some extra time with my sweetie on Saturday. I don’t miss drinking as much as I thought I would and it makes it more of a treat than when it was a daily event, and of course, it’s saved me a bit of cash into the bargain as well.

I won’t bore you with all the details of my work day as it essentially consists of taking orders, slicing meat or cheese and wrapping said product. I do have some opportunity to chat with customers, and by and large are a happy bunch who appreciate the level of service and the range and quality of products the store has on offer. I’ve had a few difficult customers, but more of that another day.

I’ll sign off by saying that despite this job not being what I went to business school for, I’m enjoying myself, have avoided any major gaffes and have been accepted into the team, so I’m in a happy place right now.

Oh, and in answer to your original question, yes, that is a salami in my pocket… but I’m still pleased to see you!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Work

Entertain Me

Now that I have a lot more spare time on my hands than I’d like, I have had to find ways of occupying my attention. For someone who claims to be an avid reader, of late I have had very little motivation to open a book. Technically, I have two books on the go at the moment, one being the complete fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, and one on the history of the Celts. For some reason, I just don’t have the patience to sit down in a quiet room and read. I suppose I should get back into the habit while I still own some books, but who knows if I ever will.

I have been spending more time than is good for me playing video games, though. Even this attraction is beginning to pall, however. As you can imagine, new games are not in my budget, so I have been replaying those I already own. I have been a big “Call Of Duty” fan ever since  I had the opportunity to play the “United Offensive” expansion pack nearly 13 years ago.  Much as I love blowing stuff up, sniping and shooting fascists in the back as they run away, the games all blur into each other after a while, as there are a limited number of situations available, and one mad dash through a city or the countryside in an armed vehicle with a bunch of enemies in hot pursuit is very much like any other, be it in 1944 Normandy, modern day Russia or some post –  collapse nearish future.

This leaves television and films, and this is where I have to expend some actual effort. I don’t miss having television service, not for a minute, as the vacuity of most television makes even the biggest of super-massive black holes seem small and insignificant. when I do find something worth watching I tend to burn through it in very short order: A  case in point would be season two of “The Expanse”. I watched the first season on disc borrowed from the library, but as season two isn’t out yet, I looked online for a streamed version. I burned through the entire season in three days.  I know this is not much to those of you for whom binge watching is a fact of life, but in all probability you follow many shows, perhaps even on a one episode per week basis and have enough in your queue to keep you occupied. I don’t and now have to wait 12 months for the next season. Presuming of course, that I have a roof over my head and a screen on which to watch it.

Netflix has never appealed to me, as even $8 a month isn’t worth it to me, especially as there are plenty of free options. My sweetie subscribes, but she doesn’t watch all that much, and she tends to request films that don’t interest me at all. Of course, streaming has it’s drawbacks, and this manifested itself recently. My daughter is a big sci fi / horror fan ( the subject of a future post), and as she has inquired about my H.P. Lovecraft interest, I suggested we watch “The Whisperer In Darkness”, a film produced by the HPL Historical Society and made in the style of a 1930’s movie. I spent quite a while trying to find a feed that didn’t require me to subscribe and didn’t try and get me to download malware under some spurious context, but eventually one was found and we sat down to watch. Alas, it was not that simple. The feed was so slow that we watched the first 20 minutes in 10 second bursts with five second pauses in between. Even pausing the feed did no good, so I searched again and eventually found a feed that didn’t pause. Yay.

DVDs are my other, if somewhat limited choice. The county’s last DVD rental store shut down a couple of months ago, although I never used it, so make of that what you will. The library has a good selection, but it’s difficult to get the timing right. My sweetie and I watched all five seasons of “The Wire” on discs borrowed from the library, but the wait time for various seasons meant interruptions to our viewing, although it’s so great a show it was worth it. My own collection is also something of a problem, in that 90% of the films I burnt onto disc from the DVR in my married days were ones I’d already seen,  so I have little new content. I own quite a few movies and series, and recently  re-watched “Band Of Brothers” over the course of a week, so it will be a couple of years before I watch it again.

I dug out “The Prisoner”and am only three episodes away from the end, but I’m having difficulty in motivating myself to finish the set. The show hasn’t aged well, despite its’ cult status. I hate to write that last sentence, but it’s true. I haven’t watched the show since my ex bought me the complete box set for Christmas before my son was born, and it may well be another 16 years before I watch it again, if at all. To be honest, the show hasn’t stood the test of time. At times it borders on high camp and pastiche, the production values don’t hold up despite it’s high budget for the time, and the final episode is so pointless and full of dross as to define explanation.

The English football season is still two months off, so I don’t even have that to look forward to on Saturday mornings. I realise that all of the above can be categorised under “First world problems”, but once I’ve finished my work, my job searches and any chores I am motivated to undertake I still find myself with too much time on my hands. Does anyone have the complete run of The Simpsons on DVD they could lend me? It’s going to be a long summer.

 

.

Leave a comment

Filed under boredom, Reading, Television, Video games

Orange Crush.

I’ll put the primal screaming on hold for a second and try to be rational about this. I make no promises, though. So, where to begin? Despite following the election closely, by Monday of this week I just wanted the whole nightmare to be over. Enough was more than enough, and for the first time I didn’t bother reading many of the articles on the Guardian website. Even I was glutted by the coverage, like a once hilarious catch phrase repeated ad nauseam.

Lacking television, I knew that listening to the radio at home and sober wouldn’t do it for me, so I headed off to my favourite watering hole early on Tuesday evening to watch the results. A small crowd had gathered to watch CNN on the two screens that usually provide sports coverage as I took my place and sipped at the first of several  pints of stout, keeping one eye on the screen whilst reading “The Economist”- a publication that has become a security blanket as much as a source of information over the past few months.   I wasn’t too concerned by the early returns, as there was no doubt in my mind as to how the Confederacy would vote, but as the evening wore on and the gap refused to close, a sense of foreboding descended upon me. People drifted away, but I stayed until almost 9pm before heading back to Singledad Towers and logging on to the Guardian website.

It only got worse. Much, much worse. As the red column crept inexorably towards 270, I succumbed to the inevitable and called it a night, stunned by the implications of what had just happened. Wednesday was not a happy day, to put it mildly. My poor brain had a great deal of difficulty wrapping itself around the implications of the election result, and no, it had nothing to do with my alcohol consumption of the night before. Indeed, I still find it difficult to comprehend the existential crisis we face as a result of “The great American electorate” – Ha! The most oxymoronic phrase in history – choosing to elect  the Oompa Loompa In Chief.

Actually, I think Der Trumpher is in fact, TWO Oompa Loompas in a suit. The skin tone is the same, his hair has obviously been dyed, but the big giveaway are the  Oompa Loompa sized hands on what appears to be an adult human.

To be serious for a moment, though, the implications are horrific. Due to the unconstitutional and anti democratic stance of the Republicans, the Bigot elect now gets to choose at least one, and possibly as many as three supreme court justices. Kennedy isn’t getting any younger, and the Notorious RBG is an octogenarian cancer survivor. Let me spell it out: Marriage equality, Transgender rights, Roe V. Wade, environmental regulations, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, the Paris climate accord, the EPA itself ( created, as you all know, by that dangerous  radical  liberal Richard Milhous Nixon), employee protection, the Iran nuclear deal, religious tolerance, immigrant rights, gender equality, freedom of the press, the fourth amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, all of these and no doubt many more are now at risk. I’m not joking. We now stand on the threshold of a new Dark Age.

Think about whose tiny, tiny finger will soon be hovering over the nuclear button. No doubt it will be a gilt button, the finest anywhere, but just think about it. Would you give a machine gun to a four year old? That in effect, is what has happened. Except for the fact that when a four year old throws a tantrum, you can put him in his room until he calms down. Oh, and four year olds are rather more rational than President Pumpkinhead.

I’m still numb with shock, in case you didn’t realise. I feel like Charlton Heston in “Planet Of The Apes” when he sees the Statue of Liberty poking out of the sand – a prospect that is now very much in our future . How can I make sense of it all? Hillary was by far the most qualified and competent of any of the candidates. Do people really hate her that much? Is this, as it has been called, a “Whitelash” against the outgoing resident of the White House? Do people really despise and distrust liberalism that much? Is it a backlash against the establishment and entrenched interests? Ha! That would be ironic – republican voters voting for a candidate from the party responsible for the last eight years of gridlock and “Hell no!!!”

And people wonder why we’re fucked up as a species. I truly despair for this nation. I feel like I’ve been woken from a coma only to find that what I thought was reality was in fact an illusion. It’s a situation that not even H.P. Lovecraft at his inventive best could imagine. I’m floating in space with no sense of up or down, nothing beneath my feet, surrounded by an immense unfeeling and indifferent void. I know this all sounds a bit melodramatic, but how am I supposed to feel? Fear not, I’m not going to fall foul of Godwin’s Law, but the words of Pastor Martin Neimoller ring truer now than ever before.

There is no upbeat ending here, just the mental image of a boot stamping on a face for ever. I’m off now to practice saying “Eh?” at the end of every sentence and sew as many maple leaf patches as I can find onto everything I own, especially my tee shirt that says “Don’t blame me, I voted for Cthulu.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics