Tuesday, 31 January 2012

IWSG: I ain't got no job singing the blues:

First Wednesday of the month don'tchaknow and that means its again time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.
It isn't much about writing this month but instead it is something that has been on my mind for a little while now.

See I quit my job this year. so that I could go on a graphics course which, don't get me wrong, I'm still super excited about but it's just that for the past five years I've been employed as a security guard and now, relatily speaking, I'm not.
There's a part of my brain that can't accept this. “You've got a good job” it pleads “you're getting older. You're not good enough, not smart enough. Not. NOT NOT

I've been wrestling with this part of me every time I'm filling out another form and my heart was in my throat until I finally got the courage up to hand in my application.


I think that it's less the fear of the unknown and more the part of me that's comfortable where I am. Job, real life friends, internet friends [1] all the things that a body could want in life [2]
The absolute worst case scenario is that I fail everything and wind up collecting the unemployment benefit forever but since I'm going to put everything that I have into my work on the course I am pretty certain that this isn't going to happen but there's still that little niggly naggly seed of doubt there.

I detest the unemployment benefit because its money that hasn't been earned and some people see it as a right, doing everything they can to stay on the lists for as long as they can [3] however it's a sweeping generalization to say that everyone collecting the benefit is like that because once you're in the clutches of Work and Income it can be very difficult to get out again.

Sit down and let me spin you a tale.

Once upon a time I went on my OE and returned to NZ healthy in mind and body. I signed up at the unemployment offices with bright eyes and high hopes.
Find me a job merry receptionist” I said, and swept my hair back for effect “for I've no wish to collect the benefit and I'm motivated enough to try anything”
That's the attitude” she smiled and handed me the job list

I went through the job list and applied for anything that I was remotely qualified for [4] and made a point of going in each day to apply for something new or to check on my applications.
Well days turned into weeks and my own pavement pounding had netted me nothing but holes in my shoes and a new understanding of the phrase “Don't call us, we'll call you” Eventually I moved into into Petone and received a new case officer who called me in for a meeting to discuss how things were going.

I didn't have a good feeling for this meeting because I'd more or less become one of the no hopers who didn't care that they don't have a job as long as they have money for whatever they need.
When the meeting came around we had a bit of a talk about this and that. I let him know about my own work seeking efforts which were, at this stage, sadly lacking and also the jobs that I had applied for over previously.

He tapped away on the computer to bring up my file.
That's funny” his brow furrowed
What is it?”
You don't go by any other names do you?”
No. None at all”
According to this you haven't been registered with us since May of 2002. It says you cancelled your benefit because you found work?”
Yes I'd started working at the Woolworths Supermarket. Look I've been getting the benefit regular as clockwork, what about all those jobs I applied for?”
He shook his head “I'm not seeing them anywhere in the system”

It's a testament to the power of words that I remember those words as clearly as anything. It's been 5 years and I remember them so very clearly.
I couldn't believe it, all that time and effort had been totally wasted and it felt exactly like someone had slammed a large tree branch into my chest [5]
Well, do you have any jobs available?” I finally asked with tears in my eyes

Yes, tears, it was that much of a blow. I had been able to accept that nobody wanted to hire me but to learn that I hadn't even been on the list? Yeah, there were tears.

He retrieved my old friend the job list and I didn't even bother to look at it before handing it back.
All of them”
I can't just put your name forward for everything. Give it a proper read through”
It's just that I really need a job. I'm sick of this benefit and want to work”
He tapped away at the computer again “I can get you a cleaning job at Mcdonalds”
I have to take it”
It's in Porirua”
I'll take the bus”
You haven't got a car?”
No” I wondered if he'd listened to a thing I'd told him “I'm poor”
Wait there” he went off and talked to a few people before returning “how do you feel about security?”
Alot better than I do about cleaning Mcdonalds” [6]

To cut a long story short I had a quick interview over the phone and a proper one was soon scheduled.

That day I left those offices on the biggest high ever. Birds sang just for me and the sun shone down with a smile on his face. If there had been more people around we would have broken out into spontaneous choreography. I was that level of happy.

But now I'm leaving a steady job in a thriving industry to go and do what? Paint some pictures?
In part. It is a graphic design course after all and this is a field that I've wanted to explore for quite some time, I was going to do it last year but thanks to another guard quitting at the same time and the schedules suddenly being changed every week I decided to put the studies on hold until now.

I end this badly written angst fest of a post by saying that the silver lining in all of this is that the hours of the course are 0900 – 1500 monday – thursday with fridays set aside for study.
After 5 years of 12 hour shifts this is going to feel like luxury and it means that I'll still have time to do the blog! play computer games! write the book!
Look for work naturally

  1. Who are like real life friends only with more lol's it's all in the accent I understand.
  2. No girlfriend, in real life or on the internet. I am le sigh
  3. The technical name for this kind of person is bludger
  4. As you do.
  5. Which is something else that I know from experience
  6. Apologies to any Mcdonalds workers who are reading this but I've put in the hard yards under the golden arches and have no desire to return.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

An Award!

I got an award from a blogger who, at this point shall remain nameless. This is because with the award comes a numbered list of requirements and here at Jabberwockery we're all about doing it by the numbers.

1: 15 Bloggers:
Since I'm pretty certain that everyone I follow has already received this award or something similar I'm going to deviate from the rules, thus showing my versatility, by listing the sites that I visit regularly.  On reflection I look at way to many webcomics. [1]
  1. Cracked
  2. Sinfest
  3. Questionable Content
  4. Goblins
  5. Order of the Stick
  6. Erfworld
  7. Not always right
  8. Wasted Talent
  9. Dinosaur Comics
  10. XKCD
  11. Sluggy Freelance
  12. Lackadaisy Cats
  13. Looking For Group
  14. Weregeek
  15. Cakehead loves Evil

2: Add the Versatile Blogger Award.


3: Thank the blogger:
Cleemckenzie who writes all manner of thoughtful and interesting articles [2] at The Write Game was nice enough to include Jabberwockery in her list of blogs.  Thanks again.

4: Bits of information
  1. I have a scar across my right knee from where I split it open trying to do karate kicks.  Slightly lower down is a small depression from where I gouged a large chunk out when I came off my bike.  Such things are status symbols when you're young.
  2. I own a broadsword and occasionally fight with it [3]
  3. If/When I go into business for myself my offices will be called Black Dog Studios.  This is a reference to my dog, Tui [4]
  4. I very nearly managed to get Speak Softly Love played at my grandmothers funeral.  It is, perhaps, more commonly known as the theme from The Godfather and it is awesome [5]
  5. The book I am writing is the first part in the Worldsong series.  The first book is Harts Change, the second is Harts Blood and the third is Harts War.
  6. If the authorities ever got a good look at my notes folder I'm certain that I would quickly become a person of interest to them. Religious Cannibalism rubs shoulders with methods of amputation and arcane rituals.
  7. I can't think of a seventh thing so I'll share my recipe for homemade ice blocks:
    1. Take whole Peaches or Nectarines.  The exact type doesn't matter but stone fruit work best.
    2. Put fruit in ice cream container.
    3. Put ice cream container, now containing fruit, into freezer.
    4. Time passes.
    5. Take fruit out of both freezer and ice cream container in any order.
    6. eat ice blocks. outside and with a towel to help clean up.
5: The Rules: [6]
1. In a post on your, blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
2. In the same post, Add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.

6: Inform each nominated blogger:
There is no step 6! [7]

  1. Good idea that.  Put the links that take people away from the site right at the top.
  2. Naturally enough.  Otherwise she wouldn't be the VERSATILE blogger.
  3. Finally!
  4. Usually over who's going to do the dishes.  The roster is on the fridge for a reason people
  5. Newfoundland/Ridgeback Cross.  He developed very bad arthritis in his hips and it was the first time that I, personally, made the decision to take him to the vet that last time.
  6. She would have laughed about it.
  7. I admit it.  I did this whole post with that joke in my head

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Everything you didn't want to know about writings Favourite Character Blogfest

Kellic Sparrowhawk.
This is an entry for a Blog Challenge from Everything you didn't want to know about writing. All you need to do to enter is click the link, sign up and reveal to the interworld exactly three things:
  1. Who your favorite character that you've written is.
  2. Why exactly they are your favourite
  3. A snippet of writing so we can all go “Ooh” and “Aah and, if you're very lucky “We want to publish you. Right now!”

Friday, 20 January 2012

The dangers of Aliens and a cunning plan

As Mankind steps once more into the vastness of outer space with talk of manned missions to Mars [1] I think that it's time the collective governments of the world acknowledge two things
  1. That the Voyager probe was a success and they have been in contact with several alien species for a number of years
  2. That these same aliens have been monitoring the radio signals which are generally bounced off satellites.
This gives us two very important facts.
  1. That the aliens are too busy sitting around watching TV to invade earth
  2. That the earth has been the most coveted prize in the universe and the signals that we've sent into outer space have been the most effective propaganda campaign ever.
Hang on. I've seen those films and the only thing an alien is going to learn from them is that Humans are soft, squidgy and go well with chocolate.
Ever watched a scary movie? I mean a really, really scary one that had those bits that you just couldn't watch so you covered up your eyes until it was over. We'll have to assume that the Aliens monitoring us are doing the same thing when the Hollywood aliens start losing.

But that doesn't make sense. Not every Alien is going to cover his/her/its eyes/optical tendrils when it gets too much. Levels of scariness are pretty much relative anyway.
That's why we're pumping so much money into the movie industry. With the amount of movies and movie monsters that we've produced the odds that the alien couch potatoes have had to look away are pretty good.

This is pretty flimsy.  All right we'll say the whole “propaganda” thing has worked and Hollywood magic has stopped several alien invasions. What happens when we finally get far enough into outer space that we actually meet the aliens and they discover that the movies are only a convenient fiction?
But they won't be.

But they are. I hate to break it to you and any aliens that happen to read this but movie aliens are not real [2].  When our astronaut and cosmonauts extend the hand of friendship then all we're going to hear is the zappy zappy of laser cannons [3]
Unless. Oh no you've got a plan don't you?

I may have a contingency plan with which to protect our nauties. All we have to do is follow the Jabberwockery Survival Guide to Outer Space Encounters With Alien Lifeforms or J.S.G.O.S.E.A.L for short.

That doesn't spell anything

It doesn't have to. It's a simple three step plan guaranteed to protect the lives of everyone on the planet, off the planet and anywhere in between.

You've seriously sat down and thought about this?

You won't have that attitude when JSGOSEAL has just saved you from having your face eaten. [4]


STEP 1: Spaceships.
  • All spaceships produced on earth will be called Nostromo, Enterprise, Defiance or Serenity.
  • The official name for any earth space stations will be Babylon Five.
  • All earth colonies will be referred to as Penal Colonies. Any actual penal colonies will be referred to as holiday locations [5].
STEP 2: Education.
  • All incarnations of Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Firefly will be taught as fact [6] to children in schools. Holidays and events referred to in each of these series will be celebrated/mourned/acknowledged on the appropriate stellar dates [7] The odds that someone has already managed to combine the timeliness of these are pretty good.
  • On graduation all students will take on the professional names of Kirk, Riker, Ripley, Janeway, Jayne, Ivanova or River Tam.
STEP 3: Preventative Measures.
  • While traveling through outer space the various ships of humanity will be sending out a very important message via robopigeon to any aliens in the vicinity.
  1. and completely overlooking the fact that Tarzan has already beaten everyone there.
  2. They're not? Prepare to invade!”
    “But Sir, Doctor Who Marathon”
    “Irrelevant! Wait. Which Doctor?”
  3. It's the guns that go “Pyew Pyew” Presumably NASA training covers this at some point.
  4. I was bored at work. This is where most of my post ideas come from.
  5. Thus giving the unsuspecting vacation aliens a very nasty surprise
  6. Not Star Wars because that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.
  7. Today for instance is “Captain Mal kicked a guy into the engine and it was totally cool” day.
  8. You have to pay extra for a musical version. It is sung by a Johnny Cash impersonator because if we don't have the man in black then what's the point of going?

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Grandiose World Changing Theory Time

I haven't done one of these since I made a modest proposal.


A few days ago my car was very nearly involved in an encounter at an intersection.  Nobody was hurt but the other driver was in the wrong but simply sped away with his middle finger raised proudly [1]

By the time I got home I had cooled down enough to stop swearing at him and settled down for a good hard think about road safety, the vehicles that we all use and how I can make it safer for everyone. [2]

Friday, 6 January 2012

The A-Z Alphabet Challenge

Here's what I've started working on this week.  

As you may or may not already know the A-Z alphabet challenge is taking place again. You can find proper details and sign up at Tossing it out but it boils down to over the month of April the goal is to make a post on your blog each day and work your way through the alphabet. 

This year I've decided to take the precaution of actually writing a few posts ahead of time, which is to say most of them, with any luck I should only have to clear up the odd spelling mistake make a slight change here and there.

I promise that this year I will be more proactive [1] in visiting the other blogs in the challenge. I wasn't able to get around to a lot of them due to time constraints [2]

The subjects that I chose the last time around were wide ranging and some were clearly spur of the moment nonsense [3], this time around I've decided on a more organized approach to each post.
The topics themselves will still be chosen more or less at random from the various dictionaries and lists of obscure words out there in the internet but the questions that I ask will be the same on each one.

The new questions:
  1. What is it?
    Clearly a few paragraphs describing it can only ever be a good thing [4]
  2. Where do you get it?
    The howtos and wherefores of obtaining one for yourself. The exact whys are left for yourself to answer,
  3. Using it in real life:
    It's all very well having one but what do you do with it and is it supposed to be that shade of blue?
  4. Using it in writing:
    Sometimes I pretend to be a writer, it's like being an author only the pay isn't as good.  Nevertheless I'll jot down a few ways that the subject of the day might be used in a story.
What has been left in from last year?
  • I'll be keeping the jokes and also the actual useful stuff, for people who like that sort of thing.
  • Footnotes that can only be seen by really cool people.
  • Obscure references that require you to have an extensive repertoire of knowledge before you can even hope to get the joke.
  • Homages, dedications and a lot of other fancy words that boil down to mean “shamelessly stolen from Monty Python”
  • Shameless plugs for Harts Change
  • Singing, Music and a fun time to be had by all.[6]
Not content with finding strange words and terms to overanalyise.  [7] I'll also present a few words about an author and their work.


  1. Also to lower taxes. Naturally these promises will be forgotten once I'm actually elected
  2. Roughly translated this means that there were so many blogs and I needed to sleep and go to work at some point.
  3. But they do say to write what you know
  4. and an indication that I won't be doing anything from Lovecraft since half of his bestiary are indescribable horrors. That is, if you don't count the fact that by labelling them as indescribable you have, in fact, just described them. Oh Cthulhu Fhtagn!
  5. Oh by the way I'm writing a book. I might have mentioned it once or twice.
  6. Ve vill know if you are not havink enof fun. Ve vill be vatching you expecially.
  7. Also because I finished the first couple of articles and they were a little lacking in length.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

Well I promised a big posting for this one and here it is. 

On those days when the muse decides to sleep in I scribble up backgrounds for random characters.  Sometimes they go somewhere and sometimes they don't but it does help to give the creativity neurons a bit of a jump start.

The images all come from old issues of  Dragon Magazine and there are many, many more waiting behind that link.  I've had masses of character portraits since forever ago, at first they were scanned from my comics, ensuring that everyone looked suprisingly like Superman and The Hulk.  Since I've had the Internet the collection has quickly reached extreme proportions.
Sorcerers Net has a very nice collection from all sorts of sources.

So here are a few starters, if they inspire you to write an epic 5 novel saga then all I ask is 10% of the gross and if anybody asks where you got the idea please don't say "This blog had a whole bunch of them, silly fool was just giving them away" 
I'm quite sure that I'll already be kicking myself hard enough thank you.