Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#NaNoWriMo Check Out An Excerpt

So here as promised check out a small excerpt from the novel I am currently working on for National Novel Writing Month positive comments and positive criticism are of course welcome but I will leave redrafting until after November ends in an effort to up my rather pathetic current Total Word Count.

Obviously this story is copyrighted by me.

Gold Coast, Australia

The cute accents were the delicious frosting on her Australian cake. She had been relaxing at the beachfront property leased by her employers and just taking some time off. After that job in Hong Kong there has been what another two or three she couldn’t quite be sure as she sipped on her ice cold pineapple and lemonade juice.

There was that car chase in Tokyo, then the thing with the horses in Kentucky, the unrelentingly cold nights of Siberia yeah she thought that was all of them and having remembered her jobs she remembered why she had these times off to collect herself, to pamper herself and just to be something other than the ideally camouflaged operative that she was.

They had said it was a strength of hers the ability to switch off avoiding or at least putting off the chance of burnout that all too often happens to good soldiers turning them into something that was a lot less about honour and discipline and more about cruelty. She was no girl scout but she didn’t take pleasure in inflicting pain or death it simply was preferable to her own demise and necessary for the completion of the jobs she took.

They said it was at least partly down to being trained at such a tender age but Mission couldn’t be sure her thoughts on the subject were that people were just different some more suited to jobs and roles than others, she had met enough of them after all criss-crossing the globe half a dozen times on her jobs.

It was true she admitted though that she could switch gears easily enough she had done other jobs and they were fun but of course they didn’t pay nearly as well as covert gigs and she had grown expensive tastes over the years plus she really liked working with her team they had grown into a bit of a family despite all efforts to do that lone wolf thing. It was true she liked her alone time but who doesn’t like to curl up with a good book crank a few chapters and then disassemble and clean HK .45 in their down time.

She was a little bored though just relaxing in her top floor apartment so she resolved to go to the beach, swimming in a chlorinated pool with the ocean less than 10 miles away was sacrilege if she ever heard it so she selected her beach attire grabbed an oversized t and board shorts locked up and went downstairs and into the bright Australian afternoon.

She slipped into the yellow FTO GPX she had the use of while here and drove out of the car park and out onto the main road in the direction of Halcyon Cove the local beach and while it may appear to the untrained eye that the young woman who strolled out of her holiday apartment without a care in the world the reality was that she was always aware of her immediate environment and didn’t take any unnecessary risks. When you do what she did for a living it was amazing how people could just ghost write out of nowhere pull out a gun and start shooting at you without even a “by your leave” so once again it paid to be careful.

Even the FTO was as close to bug proof as possible with all sorts of counter-surveillance measure that Mission couldn’t begin to understand but she was assured by those that did it worked very well indeed. There was a centre console that the uninitiated would just assume was a DVD player or one of those over the top diagnostic readouts from Fast & Furious but in reality its sensors were pointed outwards to pick up on any transmissions nearby.

Within minutes Mission was pulling into the car park next to the beach. After setting the anti-surveillance passive sweeping and syncing it to her wrist chrono she grabbed her tote bag with beach towel, her current book Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead and some snacks. Then it was off onto the red hot sands to find a slightly less busy place to set up and continue her relaxing time off, at least that was the plan.

It only took 5 minutes of walking to find a suitable spot which was mostly spent weaving through the towels and parasols of sun kissed people. As she shook out the beach towel which incidentally had an adorable picture of a chibi style Goten and Trunks she pulled off your top and then slipped off her board shorts. This was the part that she always felt a little funny about, strange to be so weird about showing flesh when she was a trained killer but she was.

To the wandering eyes out there sunning themselves they would see a 20 something very athletic woman standing at 5ft 8 inches tall with short spiky blonde hair and green eyes and a neutral complexion. The closest comparison people are likely to make were with a sprinter as evidenced by her finely muscled legs and arms, and Mission wouldn’t deny it she had to maintain herself far and above just being a healthy young woman. Hanging from a ledge by your fingertips for an hour just for a job is not something that happens as a result of just eating your greens.


Even if she didn’t necessarily like showing off her body Mission wasn’t one to balk at fashion so she was proud of her yellow bathing suit with open side panels that hinted at her six pack abs while leaving most of it to the imagination. She liked it because it looked like one of those ridiculous battle suits that the anime heroine would have to fight in so many shows with the fight likely resulting in it being reduced to shreds.


SEETEC: But Wait There's More

So more fun with Seetec. Something that I noticed after I wrote down my previous thoughts about being challenged about my disability. My advisor was talking about me being defensive when I came into the Seetec offices, I explained to her that this was as a result of them putting barrier after barrier to me getting back into work. Chief of these barriers was the whole ongoing fight over support with travel expenses for interviews.

Anyway we were talking about it and then my advisor said that the reason for not paying future expenses was because of the feedback they received after getting in contact with a job I interviewed for. Which job I asked and they told me, it wasn’t a job that they even paid the interview expenses for yet here they were trying to say that because of one “supposedly” bad interview they wouldn’t be paying for any further ones.

The feedback that the adviser gave me (which she said came from the head of the interview panel from my interview) made a number of accusations including me being rude to the interview panel, and a non-existent incident regarding an interruption to the interview and a lot else. I was so flabbergasted that I e-mailed the head of the interview team and she replied back with an entirely different set of feedback which said I was quiet and perhaps not outgoing enough for the role, quiet and one of the rudest people she had ever met seem a little far apart I think you’ll agree.

That is not the point though the fact is all my adviser could say when I confirmed for her that interview was one I paid for was “Oh, right” clearly either my advisor or the manager came up with that lie to try and get me to stop going on about the whole expenses thing I have no way to tell who though.

So we have here an example of Seetec actively lying to their customers about pretty much the most important thing for unemployed people looking for work – interview feedback. I feel like I should be surprised but I’m just not. I almost wonder if my advisor being nice and the manager trying to constantly screw me over, is just some kind of messed up good cop bad cop routine that is how paranoid I am when I cross the threshold into Seetec every month.


So that is that wish me luck for my interview on Friday hopefully it might be a way out of all of this and into a good job.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seetec - Maybe Train Your Staff?

So I have not written about my experiences with Seetec recently, my Work Programme Provider mostly because they tend not to be noteworthy. I just come in and mostly get told to put my personality forward more in interviews and smile so you guys don’t need to hear about that. Something happened this visit though that troubled me and I think I need to share it in case it is happening to others out there.


As part of my Work Programme thing I have to do fortnightly job searches at Seetec on their slow heavily restricted computers that only run IE 8. Not the main issue but worth mentioning as I have told them time and again that IE 8 doesn’t work with a fair few of the job sites I visit but I digress. At the last job search session I was given a paper application form for a job I’d already applied for because Seetec apparently have a link with the employer, fair enough not a problem but things get weird from there.

The application was straightforward and also had an equal opportunities section in it which asked the usual questions, racial background and whether or not you have a disability stuff like that. I filled it in and gave it to my advisor and didn’t think much more of it. Today during the meeting I was asked about that application and I replied that I had heard nothing after some talk it emerged that she had never sent the application.
Obviously I was confused as to why she did not send it out, but then she let me know.

“I didn’t know you had a disability.” She said. To which I responded ok but what did that have to do with not sending out the application? My advisor said that she needed to know that all the details on the application were correct.

So was she accusing me of lying on an application? Who knows I wasn’t going to put that to her after already being called defensive.

So what is this disability she asked, which made me uncomfortable as a question to be posed in a busy office where I from my seat next to her I could literally touch to other advisors and their clients without leaving my seat. Anyway she asked so I told her, which then brought the response I don’t think that is a disability. I then explained to her the intricacies of what a disability is and why I felt uncomfortable talking about it, she then went on to tell me about some relative with a similar condition which really wasn’t helpful or necessary and really at this point I just wanted to get out of there.

I don’t write this because I think that the advisor was being intentionally rude, I think she could have thought a little more before speaking at certain points but I think what this really highlights is the lack of training that the staff at Seetec receive is this is how they deal with disability issues with users. The advisor has struck me as very professional in most of our dealings so if she has a problem I think though obviously I can’t prove that this issue is one that runs throughout my local Seetec branch.

My issue now is whether or not to do anything about this, make a formal complaint or talk to the manager perhaps though I have had no end of issues with that manager as highlighted in my earlier posts which you can see here and here regarding getting help with expenses so I don’t feel comfortable with that as she always comes across as very confrontational. I will have to sleep on it maybe discuss it with my mom tomorrow as I go fix her computer.


I am more than happy to hear from you guys even if you think I’m over reacting.

Monday, November 11, 2013

FILM REVIEW: Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas is a 2013 film written and directed by Stephen Sommers. The film stars Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin and Willem Dafoe and was released on the 17 July 2013. The film is based on Odd Thomas the lead character of the Odd Thomas series written by popular horror writer Dean Koontz.



















PLOT

In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.

WHY I WATCHED

This film came out of nowhere as far as I could see with a serious cast. Anton Yelchin ends up working as Odd. I thought it was worth taking another chance of a film to movie adaption and I thought that maybe with this not being a YA book.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I was blown away by Odd Thomas, imagine if you will every mistake and out and out crazy change that Hollywood has made in recent book to movie translations or you know just remember The Golden Compass film and after you manage to stop screaming come back and read the rest of this review.

Odd Thomas manages to dodge the potholes that so many other book-to-films fell into by simply sticking to the script. It seems that with Dean Koontz on board for the screenplay the world of Pico Mundo springs onto screen vividly and for a fan of the books feels like home.
A brave decision was to keep the voice over (narration) from the book series, Odd Thomas is a POV narration and I have seen enough previous offerings from Hollywood to show that usually they really, really hate that but it stays in here and works magnificently. It is an essential tool for the viewer because this film and its supernatural origins are likely nothing they have seen bother without prior knowledge of the books.

I can’t finish this without talking about the great performances put in by Anton Yelchin and Addison Timlin. Anton is great as Odd portraying a genuine man at ease in his own skin despite the everyday horrors of his life and Addison is great and very visually distracting as the fiery and independent Stormy. Those two hold the film together and they have great onscreen chemistry.

Could this be the most accurate book to film ever made I think so and I would highly recommend fans of the supernatural to check this out even if you had never heard of Odd Thomas before.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo Is Here!!!

National Novel Writing Month is here people. All the planning, all the umming and ahing about which title to go with and the scribbled notes and half remembered idea come down to this and the next 30 days. I'd like to wish everyone going for it good luck and plentiful storylines.


As for me I will be trying hard again I am 50/50 about whether I can survive the challenge but I'm convinced I can at least get close to that finishing line.

National Novel Writing Month - Official Website

Check back and I should drop brief little updates and a link to my progress.
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