Saturday, November 22, 2014

GAMING POST: Do You Drive Stick?

Some of you fine, smart and incredibly attractive readers might remember that I spend a bit of time playing Ultra Street Fighter IV on my PS3 as training to try and participate in Tournaments.

Well I found a local tournament which is nice and this lunch time I headed to the venue and invested £250 on a little research and to see how using a Fight stick feels. The Fight Stick that I used was the Mad Catz Fight Stick Tournament Edition.

Foolishly jumping in to Blanka’s Electricity Ultra would have been less jarring.

In my defence the last time I used any Fight Stick style controllers in anger with any modicum of skill was before the birth of Hit Girl. Think about that for a second, let it sink in… no stop thinking about Chloe Grace Moretz I was just making a point, this is serious business people.

Anyway switching from pad to Fight Stick is hard make no mistake shoryuken forums says it should take 2/3 months to switchover from a pad and I think that is probably right. I was  initially jumping all over the place even more than my top 1500 PS3 Juri usually does, it took me a solid five minutes before I could manage two of her fireballs in a row and then I got cocky proceeding to mess up for absolutely ages. Juri is pretty easy on the execution  but I would still put my success rate at around 10% over the course of the session.

Not something I’d want to repeat on Ranked without a few solid sessions of training. One thing I will say is that when I switched to Decapre and Chun Li things got substantially easier. Air DCM was a little trickier to pull off but quickly got easier. Charge characters SEEM easier with a Fight Stick but that’s on a 40 minute session, after a week maybe ask me again I may have changed my opinion. That’s enough from me feel free to drop a comment about changing controller types and whether or not you stuck with it and look for a report from the tournament if I manage to make it sometime during the weekend probably Sunday. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First Day At Community Work Placement

So this is the second day of my start at my placement, I will be not be naming it here to lessen the chance of blowback. On my first day I got in early not necessarily by choice that is just the train timetable crumbles. I was the third person to get in before me were two other members of staff both of whom had no idea I was coming and were definitely not prepared for me.

Then the manager came in and things… pretty much stayed the same. I spent hours just waiting for a tour of the office. At no point did they sit me down and talk to me about what they expected me to do, they were incredibly vague.

The manager barely acknowledged me the whole time when she wanted me to do something did she come to me and explain? No she went to another member of staff in my hearing telling them what I should do it was incredibly rude and made me feel like I was worthless.

I was told that everyone would muck in on the less desirable tasks and then got a taste of those tasks when I was taking some documents downstairs to a classroom got handed the manager’s glass of water to take down with me. Maybe I made too much of it but it just felt wrong.

Oh and here is where we get into the rules and regulation stuff. To fully understand the import of this we need to go back to before the placement last week Monday when I was at Seetec and the Manager sprang the fact that I had a placement on me without warning. Now some of you out there have a tingle of where this is going but let me lay it out for the rest.

If you ever get sent to a Work Programme or Community Work Placement Provider or like me if you do the double because you did something unspeakable in a past life THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to remember is DO NOT SIGN the data waiver. The data waiver is this form in the case of Seetec that is at the back of the booklet you get to keep that tells you all about the wonderful things Seetec will do for you, if you read the small print you will realise that if signed will authorise Seetec to do whatever they want with your CV and personal information leaving little real comeback for you.

As far as I know you can revoke the data waiver later I think it is in the regulations but you’ll learn that the DWP and Work Programme Providers (WPPs) only ever use the rules and regulations that benefit them and do the best to hide the ones that protect you.

So I did not sign the data waiver both times I went to Seetec so that means that they cannot share my information with third parties, that is a bit legalese so you probably want an example of what a third party is, a placement for the Community Work Programme is a third party so when the Seetec Manager handed me my letter/Job Seekers’ Direction and said “the manager was very excited to have you at the placement after seeing your CV” I knew that yet again Seetec had done something very, very wrong AGAIN.

Seetec should never have shared my CV with the placement I got sent to, they broke laws in doing so, Seetec never should have kept a copy of my CV I made it clear to them on a number of occasions in WRITING that I did not consent to them holding a copy of my CV. What they should have done is got in contact with me and asked me to send my CV to the placement, of course I could have refused but wouldn’t as I find that 5 attempts at wrongful sanctions in two years is probably as much as I can take without just giving up. However it seems Seetec much like the DWP who referred me to the CWP without informing me of my write to appeal just don’t do rules.

There is more to be said next time perhaps I will write more about the actual experience of CWP and whether this placement is helping me to learn new skills or is based around my preferred job type. Got questions about something you didn’t understand then just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you if I can answer or at least try to point you in a direction that can help.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I had hoped I would never have to come back to this place after a host of bad experiences but here I was again. The first thing I was treated to was an appointment time that Seetec didn’t know about, it was actually set up for a time during their lunch period. A taste of things to come? I hope not.

As a result of the jobcentre and Seetec not being able to work out an appointment between them I was treated to an induction by the manager who I have an outstanding complaint against, so that was fun. Still she treated me with respect and didn’t do anything wrong and explained how Community Work Placement works which I’m not going into as you probably already know having come to this.

There isn’t much in the way of placements for administration and I’ve been told that if they can’t find me a placement then I will get placed in another industry.

I had an interesting talk with one of the advisors at Seetec who always treated me well who was surprised that I got sent on CWP as he knows I am ready to work and also knows how much work I’ve put on things like getting interviews. He admitted to me that it was likely because I had educated myself on what I SHOULD expect from the Jobcentre. Also because I challenged him on the punitive Claimant Commitments they are largely a tool to sanction people right off the unemployment figures.

I still have a challenge to the referral to Community Work Placement in with the Jobcentre Plus Manager so we will see what happens. For now I will follow the rules and not keep up a further fuss and trust in the system. Trust BUT Verify.

For all others out there struggling in the same way, if you are someone who was recently made unemployed or if you have a good employment record you should consider challenging the CWP referral especially if like me you have already had a volunteer position set up.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

#MorganvilleLive - Rewatch Marathon For Morganville: The Series

Love Morganville?

Been too busy to check out Morganville The Series over at Geek & Sundry?

How would you like a chance to watch the show alongside author Rachel Caine?

How would you like to hear from Claire (Lindsay Seidel) and Shane (Jordan Taylor Farris) and send them your questions as you rewatch all six episodes?

On Monday November 3 at 11am Pacific Standard Time 7pm Greenwich Mean Time the rewatch will begin with the two actors and you get to follow along and participate in the discussion using the hashtag #MorganvilleLive. 

Not to sound like a cheesy late night informercial BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE one lucky fan who takes part will win a live Skype session with Amber Benson who plays Amelie in Morganville: The Series but is well known for her role as Tara on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The giveaway goes live November 3 11am PST, 7pm GMT.

You can learn about all things Morganville the show and the books through the links below. I hope I will see you there for #MorganvilleLive.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

MORGANVILLE THE SERIES Behind The Scenes Exclusives

Have you been following Morganville The Series? Have you been enjoying #Halloweek on Geek and Sundry? Need more Morganville check out these Exclusive images.

Morganville had its World Exclusive Premiere at London Comic Con at MCM, I was lucky enough to be there and it was a blast to hear from author Rachel Caine and the Cast of the show. Robert Picardo was on particular form if there is YouTube footage out there it is worth watching.

A quick guide to Morganville Vampires by yours truly

Maybe you’re a fan of the Morganville Vampires series of books and you haven’t yet taken the leap to see if the series captures the heart and soul of that amazing series. Perhaps you like all things Vampires but haven’t yet read the books either way I can’t recommend the series enough so much that I am just going to put the first two episodes here.

Morganville: The Series – The show stars fan favorites Robert Picardo as Oliver (Star Trek: Voyager) and Amber Benson (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) as Amelie, as well as Lindsay Seidel (Claire), Jordan Taylor Farris (Shane), Haileigh Todd (Eve), Ben Easter (Michael), Nikki Donley (Hannah), Afomia Hailemeskel (Monica), Jessi Mechler (Gina), Taylor Murphy (Jennifer), Gregory Connors (Brandon) and Chase Ryan Jeffery (Myrnin). It is directed by Blake Calhoun, known for his award-winning and groundbreaking digital series Pink and Continuum, the show was filmed on location in Texas on a Blackmagic camera.

So you can experience in a similar way to how I did except without that female Saiyan warrior sat in the row in front of you.

After you make it through those make sure to take a longer look at the Geek & Sundry Channel on YouTube there is so much more awesome contained within I particularly recommend Caper.
Anyway I have promised you exclusive content so behold.

First we have Jessi Mechler (Gina) waiting for her shoot in Chemistry class

Second Susanna Gibbs and Jordan Farris (Shane) on set

So that's it from me just to remind you that Morganville The Series is the direct result of its fans and an incredible campaign run by Rachel Caine on Kickstarter which was then matched by Geek & Sundry. No big Hollywood studios just real fans with a passion for a series they have been enjoying for 8 years wanting to see it come to life onscreen. If you'd like to help make sure to Tweet out the new episodes when you watch them and keep an eye on the Morganville The Series and Rachel and tell them and Geek and Sundry what you think of the show so far.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sentenced To Six Months - For Being Unemployed

So it happened for the terrible crime of not being able to find a job in one of the most deprived areas in the UK I have been sentenced to 6 months of unpaid labour which is longer than you can be sentenced for committing an actual crime. It came out of the blue in my second meeting and hit me for a loop.

Apparently three years admin experience
is not good enough

Now I’m stressing out wondering how I am going to find time for actually looking for work and also how I am going to avoid getting more spurious sanctions from Seetec who manage the CWP programme. They have already put me up for 3 or 4 sanctions that I managed to get overturned in the end. My relationship with them can be best described as poor as I am currently waiting for the result of a complaint I escalated up to OIA.

So now I spend yet another series of nights writing letters to complain about my treatment by the DWP instead of researching new places to look for work or finishing off an online application. This is a short post because honestly I am too mad to trust myself to write more. Time after time I have to overcome the obstacles put in place by the DWP and the WPP and CWP organisations trying to profit from my misfortune.

I have read that in a lot of cases people get referred to Community Work Placement after challenging their advisors which it could be argued I did when I refused to sign the Claimant Commitment without having the chance to look at it in detail or maybe when I didn’t hand over my CV. That is where things have got to people who exercise their rights or simply the rules and guidelines of being a Job Seeker are punished and transferred away to be someone else’s problem. So if you’re reading this don’t believe the government and media hype about the unemployed being lazy you wouldn’t believe how much strength it truly takes to be treated like this and not snap.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

PERSONAL BLOG: Claimant Commitmentt Time/First JCP Since WP

On Monday of this week I had my first proper advisor appointment at Jobcentre Plus. To give you some idea of the sort of anxiety this caused I was up there in the JCP some 20 minutes early to calm myself down and steel myself for the various inescapable arguments. The Claimant Commitment stuff had not been done beforehand because amazingly they wanted us to blind sign it without any negotiation.

Once we got started I realised that this wasn’t going to be all that easier than dealing with advisers at the Work Programme. There is still a lot of being treated like a child and not a person no looking at things for instance I had to correct something about my CV even though he had it a copy of it right there that he could look at.

Things got interesting when the Claimant Commitment came up for ‘negotiation’ I put those quotes because he wasn’t interested in any negotiation more intimidation but to be fair I have come up against those who have been worse both in the JCP on while on the Work Programme.

Basically to cut a long back and forth short I have just spent the last few days working on my challenge to the Claimant Commitment which I will be handing in next week. Not sure if it is going to result in them stopping my benefits so I am cutting back on everything and hoping to weather any storm.

I’ve written a letter challenging aspects of the Claimant Commitment this is the summary that I want agreed. If you want some help with the letter you can drop me a comment and we’ll sort something out but I recommend unemployment movement and/or JSSA (Job Seekers Sanction Advice) they have helped me countless times.

I will use jobsites and employer websites to find and apply for jobs I can do.
Suggestion 3-4 times per week
I will ensure I have an up to date CV that I can tailor for jobs I apply for.
I will respond promptly to contacts and notifications from employers and jobsites

I’m not sure if I am going to get a sanction but hopefully I will find out on my first JCP Signing Monday and/or my next proper appointment on Wednesday I of course will keep you posted.

If you're having Work Programme or JCP feel free to talk in generalities in the comments ideally not using your real name because you're only a Google away from getting into trouble but the community is here to help.
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