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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Kitchen Complaints, Part 2: Man vs. Dishwasher

Here’s another reason why I turned away from my old plan of being a journalist. Deadlines. I like writing, and I get all my work in on time, but when the two come together, I fall short; the end of part one made the claim that part two would follow later that same day.

That was a week ago.

But whatever. Here we go again.

Doing As I’m Told

I’ve been pretty lucky with my employers. Everyone says that you can’t get on with your boss, but for the most part I’ve been pretty gifted with friendly employers who tend to treat their employees like people, rather than their lackeys.

Not all of them, mind you; there’s been several irritating incidents when I’ve been talked down to as if I’m a child, when really, I’ve not been doing anything particularly wrong.

I like to think I can admit when I’ve made a mistake. Which is why my biggest employment-peeve is when someone else has a slight misunderstanding, or makes a mistake, which then leads to me taking the brunt of the telling off.

I mentioned how in one of my previous jobs no one would wipe down the plates when they dropped off dishes and leftovers at the sink. Well, at said establishment, there was a system. When you brought your plates in, you’d wipe off the leftovers into the bin (which no one did), and then stack your plates in the correct size-dictated pile (also something no one would do), so the whole organisational process would flow that little bit smoother.

And as the new guy, who was left with the brunt of the washing, I would usually be sent back to the scene at the exact moment when the manager would walk by, and ask me why I hadn’t stacked ‘my’ dishes in the correct order, despite the fact that I would have literally just got there. The condescending tone would return to their voice, and the urge to smack them upside the head would re-enter my mind.

I didn’t do that of course. And luckily as time went on, I did more shifts in their subsidiary cafe than I did in the main restaurant, meaning I had less contact time with my manager.

The Scientifically Made Sandwich

Specifically though, I like order when it comes to a job; it gives me an set of objectives, and something to try and stick to whether others do or not.

My current job, in the deli, also has a system. You take orders, make said orders, check for customer satisfaction, and exchange currency. When you’re not taking an order, you clean. Whether that be the shop or the dishes, there’s always something to do.

It even shows in the way I make sandwiches apparently. Yesterday someone asked if I took science, because she believed the way I constructed my sandwiches was rather formulaic.

However, at my other job, which I kind of feel a bit bad complaining about at the moment since I’m typing this post out from behind the counter, there seems to be no order.

It may be because I’m still pretty new here, but from what I have seen, I couldn’t sleep easy if I ran this place. Again, that’s not a jab at the management, they’re perfectly good people, I just like a little bit more organisation than they do (which anyone who has seen my bedroom will probably find ironic).

On my first shift, the only extra task I had was some lamenating, so I took it upon myself to clean up the shop. I found the spare alcohol was in no particular order, meaning restocking the shelves took ages because I could never find the bottles that were missing from the shelves amongst the jumbled mess. That had to change.

Then there was the fact that the biggest clock in the shop, and the only one visible to the customer was off by 15 minutes. That was next on my ‘to change’ list.

Then there’s the fact of washing up. I’m fine with washing up. It’s basically my other job. But for some reason, rather than just cleaning up after yourself or as a team as we do at the deli, the responsibility of dishes around this place falls to the shop keeper.

This is irritating for three reasons:
The first is that I don’t actually use anything here that needs washing, so I’m purely just cleaning up after others, who just leave stuff all over the place. I found a bowl that at some point contained pasta under the counter. How long it was there, I do not know.

The second is that as the shopkeeper, it helps if I’m in the shop, not the furthest point away where I can’t see who’s coming and going, which is where the dishwasher is.

The third and final problem is the fact that once I take things out of the dishwasher, I’m never entirely sure where to put them. After locating the cutlery, I noticed there was nowhere for forks. I asked a colleague where I should out them.
She just laughed at me and said “You could probably just put it wherever you wanted and no one would say anything”. Which, obviously, was not what I wanted to hear.

The Titular Dishwasher

Now I realise it might sound like I’m complaining about rather menial things, and not appreciating the simplicity of the job I’ve been given. And that is true. I am complaining unnecessarily, but there’s a reason, and that reason is the titular dishwasher.

It’s been broken ever since I started here, and probably quite long before. The top shelf is literally hanging off its hinges, ready to break at any moment. This also makes loading it rather difficult, as, with things not connected to the pulley system, you run the risk of breaking everything every time you pull a shelf out, or push it back in.

Still, as always, today I persevered, only to find that since I was here on Tuesday, it’s been broken even more, as now it doesn’t even close. So everything has to be washed by hand. But it just so happens that this week in particular, everyone else has done even less washing than usual, leaving more dishes for me to do. Not only that, but the boilers broken, so there’s no hot water to do the dishes. Add to that the usual fact that the dishes and cups are still half full, grimy and dotted around the place, and you have a series of trivial little matters that this morning I was too tired to be dealing with, and thus have subsequently put me in a foul mood, not helped by the fact that all my jobs are otherwise done and there’s no customers to take up my time.

There’s only so long I can faff around on my phone without feeling guilty.

Heart Radio’s music choices are currently the only thing keeping me calm enough that I don’t head out to find a sledge hammer so that I may finish my grudge match against the dishwasher.

This isn’t over.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Life

 

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Moving Plans, Moving Places (or ‘Kitchen Complaints’)

There is no conceivable way that I’m going to finish writing about every season of Doctor Who before tonight. I’ve only watched halfway up to series three, I’ve only posted about series one, and I’ve not even finished writing about series two. It’s just not happening.

This isn’t me giving up, however. I’m not rescinding my previous declaration; I’m just altering it slightly.

Thing is, when I decided I was going to write about Doctor Who, and drafted my ambitious ten-post series, I was still living in Llanfair, freshly back from America, and bored out of my mind. Since then, I’ve moved house, got a job, been spending more time with certain groups of friends on and off, attended family functions, and got another job.

I haven’t been this busy in at least two years (although truth-be-told, I’m not that busy now. I only work a few days a week). And so obviously, something that I decided to do when I was anything but busy no longer has its place. As I said, I will get back to that, but that’s not what this post is about.

What is this post about? Well, I’m not sure really, but criticisms of what’s going on in ones life can always make for amusing reading, so I’ll go with that.

And what do I have to complain about? Work, I suppose. I’m grateful for it, obviously; I’m desperate for the money. But there are always those little things, aren’t there? The little touches about the workplace, or tasks handed down to you that you just can’t bear.

My first new job, working at a delicatessen, has left me pretty well off, if I’m honest. The only actual complaint I would have would be my declining amount of hours each week, and that’s partly my fault anyway.

So instead I’ll complain about something much more futile that really has nothing to do with how the establishment is run at all: the leftovers I have to dig out of the sink.

The Muck Hole

Yeah, the muck hole. I think the chef/my-sort-of-boss at the deli thinks I love washing up. I don’t; it just kills time quickly, and there’s always some of it to do. Plus, you can’t make a mistake washing up, like you can with an order. It’s peaceful, relaxing, and after you’ve been in the hot steamy kitchen for over an hour, stepping out into a cool breeze makes it feel like you’re entering paradise.

The biggest downside is, of course, that by this point you stink of all the dishes you’ve just had to clean. And the reason they smell so bad is because no one ever wipes them down or empties them! Its not that hard! There is a bin right next to the sink! (This isn’t particularly aimed at my current workplace, this is something I’ve found in multiple jobs). And then, there are the people who not only don’t wipe, but dump all their metaphorical shit in the sink, and then walk off.

I swear to god, two weeks ago, I dug out the contents of what I can only imagine was a whole chicken and bacon sandwich, just crammed into the plug hole.

Or mushrooms; mushrooms are bad. I like mushrooms, but I can only take so much of them when they’re cooked and on my plate. When they’re soggy, flaccid and feel like a butchered slug, I have no intention of touching them. Unfortunately, I have no say in the matter, because its my job.

I have a load more to say about this, but as I’ve been typing I’ve come to realise that this needs to be split in two, lest it become too long for anyone to bother reading, which I fear it may be already.

So today’s my first solo day in the aforementioned second job. When my shift is over, I’ll be back with part two, and a host of new complaints, I’m sure.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2014 in Life

 

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Film Review (Sort of) – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

After watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, lots of things came to mind, and as I broached the subject of writing a proper review, I realised for this film I just couldn’t do it. Now, I’m still pretty lacking in my knowledge on writing a proper review, but one thing that seems to be pretty important is to not completely spoil the film for your reader.

Of course, I don’t intend to do that, but some of the twists and turns in Dawn are such that I couldn’t not discuss them. So, when I say [SPOILER ALERT], this time, I really mean it.

But know that although I will be reviewing things; this isn’t so much a straiht-up review, so much as my thoughts on various parts of the film.

A 20th Century Fox Film, Directed by Matt Reeves

Released: 26th June 2014

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Judy Greer

Review: So, to look at the film, I thought I’d talk firstly about the story, then a little bit about the characters, before rounding off with some final thoughts on the product. Here we go.

The Story

It’s been a while since I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but even without that fresh in my memory, Dawn never felt like it was going too fast. During the opening credits, we are greeted with a mix of news alerts, that quickly reveals that in the past 10 years, the human race has become all but extinct. The film then begins with Caesar, Koba and Maurice from Rise, with a host of new Apes and even a new generation, who have forged a “home”, a “family” and a “future”. However, trouble returns when a couple of the younger apes find some surviving humans. Not wanting war, the Apes and the Humans are forced to work together to maintain a peace; which inevitably fails, as people from each side cannot let go of their distrust of the other.

This is the first film in a while when I hadn’t watched a trailer beforehand. In fact, the last time I watched a film like that, it was probably Gravity; and so I was going into the cinema without even a basic knowledge of what to expect beyond Man v. Ape. And so, I was spared the disappointment that I found with both Guardians of the Galaxy and Godzilla, in that I could enjoy the film with fresh eyes.

I found the plot to be just as rich and entertaining as the previous film, with just the right mixture of humour, action, and strangely enough, romance. The build-up to the final battle doesn’t feel forced at all, and the fake-out where we find the actual final battle will be between Caesar and Koba is even more rewarding.

The way the humans are reintroduced to the Apes is similarly interesting. They are not hunting them for the sake of it, they just happen to find the Apes have created their new home near the Dam which they seek power from. The conflict is seeded from the start, and is worked on very slowly to find its end point.

The Characters

As the film started, one of the main things I started thinking about was that how, especially more recently, some films, no matter how good they are, you can’t escape the fact that it’s the actor you’re looking at, and not the characters.
An example: Doctor Who; in Doctor Who, whoever plays the Doctor is predominantly known to the world around as The Doctor, usually because it is their breakout role. However, in the recent 50th anniversary special, you can’t escape the fact that John Hurt isn’t the ‘War’ Doctor, but the ‘War’ Doctor is John Hurt.
That’s not to say he’s not convincing; it’s just that his face is just too well known to think of him as anything else at this point. It happens all the time whenever a big name actor is brought in, and rather than just having their name in the credits like everyone else, they have a ‘with’ thrown in, or a ‘featuring’, or ‘and _____ as _______’.

However, when you’re watching a film where most of the actors I was familiar with were monkeys, that problem flew away. And everyone’s always up for a bit of Gary Oldman, so his inescapable presence didn’t hurt much either. In fact, the motion-capture monkeys were so believable and moving that in the future, when I think back on who Andy Serkis is to me, it may well be Caesar, and not Gollum as most people would expect. His character arch in the series is a really moving one, and although he may sometimes stray into darkness, he’s still everyone’s favourite character, which made me all the more shocked when he was shot down by Koba. Without a good enough memory to remember characters from the previous Planet of the Apes series’, I couldn’t remember how vital Caesar was to the franchise, and thus was unsure of just how he could survive a bullet to the chest. He’s not Optimus Prime in Transformers, where no matter how many times he gets killed, he will come back. I honestly believed that he might stay dead, and the rest of the film would follow Koba’s war with the humans, under who’s leaderships the Apes would fall down to the same level as humanity.

And although I loved the film I did see, that would have been something I would just as happily have watched, as despite being a seemingly horrible character, Koba’s darkness was just something nurtured in him by humanity. Like Carver on the humans side, Koba’s motives are understandable; the way humans have treated him, and the way their tests backfired and wiped out humanity are motivation enough for both characters to do what they do. Although they are the ‘bad guys’, they become so in a way that you don’t really blame them for what they are doing. Even when Koba plays dumb before shooting two humans point blank in the face, you’re more amused by his antics than you are shocked by his brutality.

Conclusions

So with good characters, and an interesting plot, there’s my brief sort-of review of the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Personally, I can’t wait until 2016 when the sequel comes out; I think this has been one of my top five films of the year. Not necessarily good films mind you, just the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, namely…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

22 Jump Street

Non-Stop (What can I say? I love Liam Neeson).

Of course, that list could change in the next few weeks, what with a Dwayne Johnson starring Hercules and another shot of The Expendables coming up…

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Film & TV

 

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