at the cutting edge of the envelope in the fast lane of the state of the art

Ways in which the real world is not like pulp SF:

FICTION: Brother, may I borrow your portable transceiver? As you know, it’s a small single-function radio beacon optimised for mobility, designed to convert long-distance microwave signal to short-distance for the benefit of portable systems that, for whatever illogical manufacturer-enforced reason, do not have that capability.
REALITY: Bro, lend us your wireless dongle.

vodka’n’isotopes

Great Vidya Moments: STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl.

I’ve been clearing the facility under Red Forest for at least ten minutes now, and I haven’t seen anything. I could just charge in mob-handed and trust to firepower and reflexes to save me from whatever’s lurking here, but instead I’ve been creeping slowly and quietly through the abandoned lab, sweeping each room in turn with my AS VAL. This is the beauty of a good game: you create your own dramatic tension.

Then, after what must have been a kilometre or so of taut, silent infiltration, I come into a generator room slightly larger than the chambers before, and see something dark and not entirely human squatting half-hidden behind a pillar. It’s a bloodsucker, one of the more dangerous mutants in the Zone of Alienation. I’ve killed bloodsuckers before, but it’s always a fight, and as soon as the mutant is aware of me it’ll cloak and sprint from cover to cover, erratic and almost invisible, until it’s right on top of me.

I look at the awareness bar. It’s jerking up, heartbeat by heartbeat. In a second or two, the bloodsucker will be aware of me. And, holding my breath, sitting frozen in my seat as if the thing might hear me through the screen, I reach up, switch my VAL to full auto, and savour the last second before hell.

starting to damage my calm

Neshaan: I’m in the mood to go out roller blading
(0v0) Brosencrantz: I… haven’t gone rollerblading since I was like 12
(0v0) Brosencrantz: :(
Neshaan: then your skates probably won’t fit anymore
Neshaan: ohh I’m being silly, weren’t you 12 last year? :P
(0v0) Brosencrantz: oh come on, surely you can do better than that
Neshaan: look, it’s a million degrees here, I’ve been out hiking all day because I’m bored and right now I’ve got noms that need to set in the fridge for several more hours and I’m impatient – what do you want from me?! I can’t work like this!
(0v0) Brosencrantz: GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
Neshaan: DID YOU STOP SKATING BECAUSE YOUR FEET GREW TOO BIG WHEN YOU TURNED INTO A TRANSEXUAL PACHYDERM
(0v0) Brosencrantz: ah excellent
(0v0) Brosencrantz: that’s much better
(0v0) Brosencrantz: have a sugar-free biccie
Neshaan: *crunch*
(0v0) Brosencrantz: …ow
Neshaan: *spit*
(0v0) Brosencrantz: pah, I was expecting you to *obvious dirty joke*
Neshaan: this tastes of the bitter tears of your failure to breathe life into a hopeless dream and career
(0v0) Brosencrantz: eeeee
(0v0) Brosencrantz: more!
(0v0) Brosencrantz: HARDER!
Neshaan: next time wear a goddamn facemask when you slave in the kitchen
Neshaan: preferably the one you’re forced to wear out in public so you won’t scare the school children
Neshaan: then it’ll cover your scabby head as well, I expect it’s flaking a lot now that I pulled out most of your tupee
(0v0) Brosencrantz: TAKE ME
(0v0) Brosencrantz: NOW
Neshaan: oh god why oh why did I put that in my mouth
(0v0) Brosencrantz: <3333
Neshaan: *bows* thank you, I'm here all week
Neshaan: except possibly on monday, I might be out then
(0v0) Brosencrantz: damn, I'm a glutton for punishment
Neshaan: you are a glutton for only one thing, cocksucker
Neshaan: ….cock

cease this dildometry immediately

The job hunt thus far: thirty-something applications, twelve rejection letters (most saying “lol you’re too late, the position went in two hours”), one interview with door-to-door snake oil merchants, and one dubious job offer from a dataminer which may end in Nigerian thugs cutting off my balls. God, I hate this country.

The only vaguely promising lead – which is to say, the only one that actually emailed me back not saying “nope” – had me phone their HQ, which while evading all questions about what the job actually was, set me up for an interview in Brislington, specifically on one of Bristol’s dying commercial estates. The company was something called “HI Marketing”, and if you googled them like a suspicious fuck, you will come to the same conclusion as I did – especially if, like me, you’d come forewarned by the likes of this.

Still, beggars can’t be choosers, so on Monday I showed up to a crummy one-room operation at the wasteland end of Bristol, walls lined with too-good-to-be-true cheques and cheap plastic chairs full of awkward-looking kids. The only other candidate past 20 was a fellow student from China looking for summer work, and we immediately hit it off and started muttering suspiciously about commission basis and door to door. Then our prospective employer, a jovial wide boy in a button-up shirt, started exulting to us about how good the money was, at length, without actually going into detail about pay or conditions. Turned out “HI” stood for “Home Improvement”, and we got shown a video about an Innovative Home Improving Substance which was about as cringeworthy and patriotic as old school chemistry videos from the 80s, except rounded off with doomsayer stuff about how everyone’s houses were going to explode in the coming apocalypse. Were I a) suggestible, b) a homeowner, and c) as dumb as plankton, I might have been taken in.

(Side note: The substance in question is caulk – sealant – to put on your house. The video demonstrated its amazing waterproof abilities in a tank of water, sealed completely against the liquid but through the air bubbles pumped through it – which the commentator said “proves it breathes” in among exulting about how BRITISH an innovation it was. Correct me if I’m incorrect, but the point of “breathing” is to let water vapour through. Craigievar Castle sweated itself to death and cost thousands upon thousands in restoration costs because they used the wrong sealant. Don’t clingfilm your house, kids.)

By that point, it was pretty obvious that we were going to have to sell this shit door to door, meaning commission, meaning oh god Glengarry Glen Ross vileness. To reassure us, they then told us that pay was on an OTE basis, which apparently gave us the best of both worlds and was wonderful. When I tried to ask a question about what the rates actually were or what we’d actually be doing, they told me questions should wait for the interview. The individual interview, not in front of all the kids where awkward questions would cause them to doubt that their first job was the wonderful opportunity it seemed.

For the individual interview, Del Boy’s fat cousin took me aside and asked me about being a student. Still wouldn’t explain the actual rates of pay (those would be sorted out if they “selected” me for the followups the next day) but confirmed that it was, yes, door-to-door. After this the interview was going unenthusiastically through the motions, and the entire exercise confirmed as pointless; the only upside of it was the bus journey back into town with Zimou, the other student, in which we bitched at length about Britain, Mao, working sales, China, communism, economic regulation, the state of the world and stupid iron-foundry techniques.

I wasn’t expecting to get a call back, and didn’t; he did, however, and followed it up to confirm for me that the OTE was bullshit and it was basically all commission (without even a contract). After being fucked around, driven to the dark wilds of Gloucestershire and sent marching around areas that had apparently already been picked dry six or seven times by various other hapless kids selling various other flavours of snake oil, he quit today, unpaid.

There being no jobs at all in Bristol, the various online freelance/copy-writing things I applied to having next to no work available, and the concept of paid employment for young people having become some sort of strange anachronism in the last few years, my options for pocket money (or, well, food next year) are pretty limited. However, yesterday I got an email regarding a project which a) I’m probably best qualified in the entire world to do, b) will pay £500 for something I’d have quite happily done for free. (More on that later, but this one isn’t actually a scam.)

A confirmation of the way of the world, I fear: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But I am pretty damn lucky in the people I know.

crypter crypter crypter

[20:39:41] Brosencrantz: I set up a wobsite all by myself \o\
[20:41:48] Brosencrantz: it has
[20:41:49] Brosencrantz: NO CONTENT
[20:42:20] l3v5y: I quite like the theme though…
[20:42:35] Brosencrantz: nice, innit?
[20:42:54] Brosencrantz: and very easily customisable
[20:42:58] Brosencrantz: no fucking around with CSS for me
[20:43:45] l3v5y: :D
[20:43:48] l3v5y: I like CSS
[20:44:35] Brosencrantz: you can do it for me then
[20:44:37] l3v5y: it’s like self harm, but with less blood