Friday, February 27, 2009

Fun Gift Pay-It-Forward Thingie

A blog friend of mine (that would be you, Miya!) is doing a gift thing, and I decided to get in on the action for a bit of fun. Here's the deal, in her own words.

"The first three people to post a comment get a prize, from me, to be sent without warning anytime between now and the end of the year...and it could be absolutely anything (hence the fun!). The catch is this: first you have to post the same "deal" on your blog and THEN you get to leave a comment telling me you're in!"

My gifts will probably be copies of my written work, because why waste a good opportunity to promote?

Any of you want in?

Ottawa Weekend!

Violet and I are taking the train to Ottawa today to enjoy a weekend with my parents. We haven't seen them since Christmas, and Violet and I haven't had a trip since October (or possibly November, I can't quite remember) when we visited my cousins in Port Sydney. It will be good to get away from our worrying financial situation and have some fun in the Nation's Capital.

Also, I'm planning to meet up with my fellow blogger, Wendy. Very much looking forward to that.

Still no word from Home Depot for Violet, but I have a two-day phone job lined up for Monday and Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Job Update

The news isn't great, unfortunately. The job I'd hoped to start today evaporated, or to quote my temp agency contact, "The client put the job on hold." I transferred the last of my money from savings (all $200 of it) and paid the cable bill, and now I'm hoping for some kind of miracle.

Heh, the data entry job that wanted to pay me $8 an hour? They turned me down, too. They found another desperate soul to exploit.

On the plus side, Violet is even closer to that Home Depot job. They called and asked for business references this week. Hopefully by Friday we'll have some very good news there.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jobs Lately

Let me tell you about the time I've been having lately with employment. Hopefully it will make for a fun (if slightly depressing) read.

First, a bit of good news. My wife Violet is THIS close to landing a job with Home Depot. She's worked for them before, and loved it, so everyone keep your fingers crossed for her this week!

Now on to me. This February I've had a grand total of 6 working days. One of them was through a temp agency, filling big cardboard boxes for a company. That was two days, for 11 paid hours.

The other four days came from a group that hires people to be human signs for real estate companies. They pick their employees up from a central location, drive them out to the various sites, fit you with a box-like costume that is the sign, then leave you by the side of the road to wave at cars (and hopefully attract a customer or two). You work for five hours, not counting the hour of travel to and from the location, and the company buys you a cheap fast-food lunch (budget - $5) after two hours.

It's a pretty easy job, but mighty boring. My first day was brutally cold, and I nearly lost my fingers and toes. The next day I dressed much warmer, and brought my old Sony Walkman (yes, I still have one of those!) with me and listened to an audiobook. That helped pass the time.

This sign job is only two days a week(Saturday and Sunday), and the pay works out to $45 a day. Not a lot, but better than nothing. Trouble is, they can only pay their employees when the real estate company pays them. If the company is late with that payment, you get a whole load of bounced cheques. And it doesn't help matters that they post-date all cheques by two weeks. This weekend when I showed up, there were a lot of people complaining about problems with their cheques. I'm pretty sure mine went through; I'll find out soon enough, I guess. Also, the company had also overbooked employees, so I was sent home with no work (but with a cheque for my second weekend, dated March 7).

It seems as if they are taking advantage of the economic climate and exploiting those desperate for work, but apparently they've been working this way for at least eight years. It's just the way they do business. And they don't mean for the cheques to bounce, they just don't have any money at all to pay people if the real estate companies are late. Not a great way to run a business, but there we are. They may have work for me again, but I doubt I'll go back. That is, unless I have a problem with my cheques.

But while they aren't taking advantage of the current economy, the place I interviewed with this week proudly admitted that they are. They wanted me (and employees like me) to put in an 8-hour Monday to Friday work week doing data entry and research, for $8. That's right, less less than minimum wage. Basically, if hired they'd get me to sign a contract that would allow them to pay me that, in order to make it legal. There's lots of people with your skills sending us their resumes, they told me, because the job market is so bad, and we're gonna totally take advantage of that. Because after all, there's only so much money to go around, and we've gotta keep the big bosses happy.

Un. Be. Lievable.

All is not doom and gloom, however. One of my agencies has me up for a 6-week, $12.50-an-hr job, and I'll find out about that this week. And Violet will find out about Home Depot this week too. Wish us both luck. And financial stability. It's been a long time since I've had that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where's My Blog?

When I looked at my blog this morning, there was nothing there! At least, no posts. I had to log in and edit around to get my posts back. Whew. Hope that doesn't happen too often. I shudder to think of a world denied the glory of me!!!

It's been a slow weekend, writing wise. I just couldn't think of the next step for Kids Who Know. Like I said earlier, I might be nearing the end, or it might go on a bit further, and I haven't quite decided how I want to play it yet. I'm hoping I'll get back into it today.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Che-Che-Che, Ha-Ha-Ha

What's with that title? It's the Jason theme from the Friday the 13th movies. I saw the remake yesterday, and it was a good bit of gory fun. Not quite as entertaining as Freddy vs Jason, or the graphic novel Freddy vs Jason vs Ash(from Evil Dead & Army of Darkness), but still a good time in the cinema. Plus, I saw the teaser trailer for the new Transformers movie! Awesomeness was upon me. Transformers is my favourite fantasy (a fact I rarely, if ever, conceal), and the first movie was extremely cool, so naturally I'm pretty excited as all heck.

As a followup to my last post, I have an interview scheduled for next week. And the email for that interview came in when I was fully clothed, which ruins that one theory of mine.

I'm 24 chapters into my new novel, Kids Who Know, and I'm loving it. I'm also nearing the end, possibly. I say possibly, because sometimes in stories I simply don't know. I'll find out how it ends when it ends. This is different from most of my stories (like Epoch and Evil?), where I had an event I was leading the characters toward. This new story is really stretching me, and I feel very good about that.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Good Things Happen When I'm Naked...

Okay, okay, before you all get grossed out, let me explain. I was just coming out of the shower when the phone rang, and it was about a job. When I'd finished the phone interview, the first thought that entered my warped little head was the title of this entry, which I thought would be a hilarious blog entry title. At the very least, it would get attention!

And fear not, I am presently fully clothed. Try and contain your disappointment.

Will I get the job? Can't say just yet. All I know is that I passed the phone interview. Hopefully some great news will come soon. And I'll be in the shower when it does.

Friday, February 6, 2009


My last post was a bit of a downer, so I thought I'd get everyone's spirits back up with more pictures of my adorable wonderkitty, Karma! Isn't he cute? You bet he is.

One of Karma's favourite sleepy spots is the third shelf in our linen closet. If we don't close the door, we end up with furry towels!

Here's Karma having a cuddle with his daddy.

Karma trying to eat my parents' luggage.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2009 Update

I was hoping that this year would be a dramatic improvement over last year, but the dramatic turnaround at Casa Carter hasn't happened yet. I'm back to my usual unemployment woes, and the fact that I'm jobless during the start of the Second Great Depression doesn't exactly encourage me. I went from trying to figure out what kind of job I want to have to scrambling to get my hands on anything. The temp agencies have told me things are really quiet, and most job leads I follow simply don't bother to return my emails. Trying to stay positive has been hard.

Still, at least my writing hasn't suffered. I'm up to chapter 22 of Kids Who Know, and feel really good about how it is turning out. I'm also devising another Middle-Grade novel, using one of my favourite unpublished characters. I've written five books with this character, and have high hopes for the series if I can just get the first book sold. They are fun for me to write, and right now fun is what I need.