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Evil hours...

Sadly, it is "for the moment" a NO to working afternoon only, however if there is a 'space' they will let me know. I think, to be honest, they simply don't want to give the position to the minimum-wage foreign tidier-upper. Now, you could say I am getting paranoid and reading too much into things; and in return I could ask you to tell me who the hell goes around asking for staff to work the afternoon shift (that's 2pm to 11pm!) and then says "sorry, no places are available". I guess they just need to sit on it for two months and then it won't be a problem anymore...
In return for this piece of news, I will flatly refuse to do any 'exceptional' Saturday shifts if it is the 2pm-11pm shift, followed by a 5am-2pm on the Monday. Sorry, I can't shift myself around that quickly. I've been existing on about 4 hours sleep each night this week as it is, and I, as an "agent de production" who has spent nearly three weeks toting binbags around, swishing floors, and carrying heavy stuff... I'm not going to kill myself over this. And that's that.


If it's such a crap job...

Some people have emailed me to agree that shift work is evil, one said "I feel your pain". Thanks for all of that. I know I'm not alone, for one thing there's everybody else in the place and then all the other places like it.

One thing that I should clear up is those who ask "if you hate the job that much, why are you still there?". The answer is simple. It's a job. It is my job. Incidentally the first I have had here in France (those who knew me prior to writing this will know I've gone through all sorts of garbage and half-promises and utter drivel). Well, now I have a job. At the end of it, some money to either look for a second-hand car, or to keep our aging Renault 5 on the road. And for me? Broadband. It is my job that will get me on-line again. I used to run up obscene phone bills in my dial-up days, mostly to ArgoNet (an Acorn-friendly ISP). I miss the convenience of searching for answers. Looking up TV schedules. Being in touch with my friends. I should point out that the friends I have over here are... how do I say this? They're (mostly) retired people. I know, personally, nobody that is my sort of age and with my sorts of interests. On-line, I know a number. We share long emails, due to my internet time being stuffed into a half hour weekly (usually).
My job is going to get me on-line. I am quite prepared to put up with all sorts of sh!t for ~3 months for that. I've been six years without and I miss it a lot.

There is another thing to consider as a benefit to being the janitor. If targets are not met, if all hell breaks loose and production buggers up big-time, it is extremely unlikely to be my fault! ☺
Oh, and that bit about "you may need to stay later if the work is not done?" Balls to that. My built-in excuse is my mother who collects me (I don't have a driving licence). I'm not going to have her hang around an extra hour, expecially at 11pm, because somebody somewhere screwed up. Furthermore, as night shift will have already clocked in, do you think they'll pay us and them to be there at the same time? Don't make me laugh!


Amélie in HD!

We recently went to a vide grenier. Literally translated, it means "empty attic". If you are British, think of a big car boot sale in the middle of a town. If you are American, it's like a town-wide yard sale. [suggestions for other countries welcome]

Didn't buy anything except a DVD of "The Dead Zone" for €0,50. Mom looks out for books, I look out for DVDs and computer bits. I did see a gigabyte of DDR memory for €15 and I might kick myself if it was a good deal, but I don't know it's operational condition and, worse than that, I don't actually know what memory goes into Aiko. I think it is some form of DDR, I know it isn't a SIMM. Are DDR and DDR2 compatible at lower speeds (100MHz FSB)? I will have to search out that PDF I downloaded and make a note of what goes in Aiko. Anyway, I know had €20 so I figured fifteen for unknown RAM is probably either a damn good deal or a bad sting. A guy, years ago, managed to bag up a Maxtor harddisc that I purchased and in doing so swap it for one with no label that had a huge dent in the lid (and the upper platter heads destroyed). I'm not annoyed (now, was then!). It's a rite of passage, isn't it, else we wouldn't have the expression "once bitten twice shy".

That's when mom saw an HD DVD of "Amélie". I said it sounded nice, but I don't have any way of playing HD DVDs. She said it plays on the computer. Yes, my technophobe mother spotted something I hadn't. It was not an HD DVD, it was a normal DVD containing something that the computer can play in a higher resolution than normal TV pictures. Yay mom!

(click picture for larger version)

I fed it to Aiko. WMP version 9, 128MHz RAM, 450MHz CPU (!), 64Mb graphics card, stereo sound... Oh, and the display was 1024×768 as the monitor can't do any better. I think it managed a hiccup of picture followed by a long pause, and another hiccup, pause... it was like trying to get my older machine to play DivX full-screen! Anyway, completely unwatchable as you can imagine it would be, but - wow - the image quality. I clicked the locator bar and went to the part where she is messing with the gnome in the middle of the night. Incredible quality, and this isn't even it's best output. I'm really looking forward to a day when I have a computer that can hack this.

Here's a gratuitous scan of the DVD! (as before, click it if you want it bigger)



At a different vide grenier, for €2, I got something which, today, I cleaned up, washed, make look nice and shiny again.
Perhaps when I get broadband, which will necessitate a phone line, I will plug this in for a totally retro feel. It's a phone from 1977, and nifty in that while one speaks, we can both listen.

Somewhere, and I have no idea where, I ought to have a red 'British' telephone of the same sort of vintage. I think there's a difference in impedence between the phone network of the two countries, I just thought I'd drop that in as a little throwback to the days when phones were simple devices with no logic whatsoever. Perhaps one day I might even get around to putting together a little exchange... for the hell of it (circuit diagrams and old kit welcome!).
This phone, as with my red one, is remarkably simple. Soon I'll take some 'inside' pictures and scan the circuit diagram attached to the inside of the casing.

By the way - I was thinking how much easier it would be to dial '112' instead of '999', and I was making to myself 'dialling finger' gestures (something our young iPod generation would have no idea about!). Anyway, it my memory failing me in my old age (34, pah!) or is the dial on this phone 'backwards' to British ones?


Your winter weather prospectus

Fresh from BBC World's teletext:
Okay, it'd have been better if it was told to me by the cute Irish girl on Sky News, but this is okay. The news is okay. Wet I can handle. For one thing, I'm getting used to being damp at work (the floors/tables tend to be 'cleaned' using a sort of pressure washer thing - and it is extremely difficult not to have some amount of splashback). For another thing, the cats live in an outbuilding that is maybe 100 metres away across a field. Doesn't sound like much, but you wind up pretty wet if it's an unfavourable night. But then I remember days when I was at college when people would be lurking in bus shelters, phoning friends, and so on when the bad weather came and I'd just get on my bike and cycle home. Sure, I'd probably be wet through, but that's easily fixed by washing and drying the clothes and having a shower or a bath. At least I was home, not still trying to sort out what to do! Being wet never bothered me that much. Cold? That's a different story. ☺
Anyway, I know a lot of people who heat their houses so they can walk around in a T-shirt in the middle of winter (shame on you!!!) will hate me for this, but I'll trade warm/wet for cold/dry any day. If this winter wants to be warm and wet, bring it on!


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