My soul is cleansed


I said a few blogs ago, that I felt that I was in something of an employment rut. That whatever I did, and however close I got to getting a job, something would always get in the way. Like a striker in a goal rut, he just can't hit the target. Never more than right now, is that analogy so true.

So I called Corcoran Parker first thing on Tuesday. The girl I needed to speak to wasn't available. She was there, but doing accounts. And apparently that gives her an inability to speak on the phone. So I leave a message, and apparently, she'll call me as soon as she comes available. Of course, come 16:30, I still haven't got my call back, so I end up calling them again. "Oh didn't you get my voicemail?" she says to me. "The employer wanted someone with a little more admin experience." Not much I can do about that, but where the hell was this voicemail that I was supposedly left. It wasn't on my mobile, & it wasn't on my home answerphone. Anyway, that job was a no go. I am though still on the list of people waiting for work. Although that hasn't served me too well in recent weeks.

Fast-forward a couple of days to today, and as normal, I go to the gym. I start my workout at about 09:15, and by the time I'm done at about 10:25, I have 5 missed calls and 2 voicemails on my phone. They are all from Corcoran Parker, and both voicemails are saying they need me to call them back urgently, because an immediate placement has come up. The last missed call was at 10:04. I call them back at 10:27, and within those 23 minutes, the place has already been filled. And once again, Rachael isn't even available to tell me that in person. This is what I mean about being in a rut though. Last time, it was the fact I didn't go to the gym, that I wasn't up in time to get the call on my landline, and missed a placement. This time, I am away from my phone for about 70 minutes. I get 5 missed calls from 09:32 to 10:04, and I call back as soon as I can, but the placement is gone. It's like there's some puppet-master making sure that I'm never in the right place to be there when a call about work comes in. Last time they couldn't find my mobile number, which I would've heard ring, and I was in bed a few minutes too long and can't hear the house phone from my room. This time, I'm up too early. Had I instead got up at 08:30 like I sometimes do to go to the gym, I would've been with my phone for the first call. Had I got up at 07:30, also like I sometimes do to go to the gym, I would have finished my workout in time for the last missed call. Instead though, today I got up at 08:00, putting me in the only scenario that I would miss all 5 fucking calls. I swear to Christ this is some kind of fate. I am not supposed to be employed this Summer. Even that placement at Russell Cooke got cancelled at the last minute. Whatever I do, I just seem to be missing out on work. It's getting very frustrating.

What makes it even more annoying, is everytime that I'm about to ditch this agency and go a different route, something comes up. First off, I get this placement at Russell Cooke. Supposedly being about to have that placement everyday for about a week, kept me from going to another agency. I even invested in 2 Primark shirts at a total cost of £6. Even as I was about to sign up for this baggage handler job, I was in dialogue about another job, that never materialised, but with so many doubts about the baggage handler job, that pushed me over the edge to stop that application, and stick with this agency. And there's been other things as well. Everytime I am about to go a different route, it will just seem like something is about to happen, and I stay available to this agency instead. Now with only about 8 weeks I am available for employment, it's almost too late to go looking elsewhere. The time of finding a job, and actually starting a job would probably take me 2 weeks. Who is going to employ someone for 6 weeks? No one. I'm now essentially tied to this agency, that I am seeminly cursed not to find work with. Fuck it's frustrating.

Also on the subject of work, the job I was interviewed for in Canada, said that they would let me know if I was successful or not, by the end of August. Today is the 28th, and I am yet to hear a peep. Call me negative, but I think that's a bad sign. They're obviously going to make sure that they contact anyone who they're offering a job to. But if they aren't giving you a job, they have nothing to gain from making that effort at a busy time of year, so I'm not too optimistic right now. I initially said that I'd wait until September before getting in touch with them to find out what's going on. But I want to know asap if I need to make other arrangements, so I might send off an email either today or tomorrow to find out what's going on, rather than waiting until the other side of the weekend. Apart from anything else, I got emailed a couple of days ago about another resort actively hiring. Shit jobs, like cleaning rooms and stuff, but it's better than nothing. I think I will message them actually. Maybe as soon as I finish this, to find out what's going on. If I know I haven't got the job by the weekend, then I have an extra couple of days to get something else sorted. I'm job hunting in two different continents right now, and neither is turning up with work. It's hard to express how frustrating all this waiting around for work really is. And being this late in the month, I now rate my chances with this resort in Canada as closer to 20/80 against getting the job.

There aren't many positives about this lack of work, but one, is that I've had a lot of time since I last wrote a blog to work on this website, so I've made quite a lot of changes. This may take a while.

Firstly, I've added a downloads page. I don't really have anything for people to download, so the page is currently just links to the download pages of phpBB and Gallery, the two open-source programs I use for my forum, and to host pictures respectively. I'll hopefully think of some items, or stumble across some items that viewers of this site will actually want to download, and that I can host on this site, rather than just being links to download pages of other sites, so that the page has some real use.

Next, I've updated the links page. I've been finding these forums so useful, that I figure other people could benefit if they knew about them. In addition to the 3 that I mentioned in the last blog, I have started using HTML Forums as well, which also seems really useful. And these forums have been providing me with a couple of uses. Firstly, they have been generating traffic for my site, as I have a lot of queeries about things on the site, and I've been making sure to include the URL where possible. And secondly, they have been really useful in progressing with other features I want on the website. There are a lot of things that I am unsure how to do. In these vast forums, there always seems to be someone with an answer. And it is because of a queery I posted in these forums, that I now have a favicon for this website. A favicon being the little logo that appears next to the website title if you bookmark it, or on the bookmarks toolbar (I didn't know it was called that either). It doesn't seem to be working in Internet Explorer yet, but in Mozilla, it works fine. At the moment I am using a 16 × 16 pixel version of the globe that sits under the flashing 'Jro's World' logo at the top of most pages. It doesn't look great though, so I may change it. This was a weird thing to instigate into the website. At first it didn't work. Then suddenly, without changing a thing, it worked. I've no idea why, but it's there, so I'm happy.

Next, I have introduced a live webcam to the website. I know it was something that I said I probably wouldn't do. But then someone in one of the forums directed me to Stickam. And from what most people were describing as a Webcam screenshot notoriously complicated process in adding a webcam to a website, Stickam simply gives you some code to paste into a page, and voila, live webcam. I still have to sign into Stickam to get the feed. But now, anytime I go onto Stickam, I have a live webcam feed going to this website. I have it on right now. No one is watching it, but it's there. When I was testing everything out though, people did feel the need to watch. I would start talking to myself to test the sound, and at one point I had 3 people watching me. As soon as I'm being normal, not a peep. But there you go. I'm not sure what use this webcam will ever be. I'll probably stream live feed most days when I'm home. I can't see what anyone will gain from watching it. But it's there now, so I may as well make use of it.

Last time I wrote a blog (I think it was last time), I was saying I was thinking about getting rid of the Extras page, I just didn't have anything to replace it with. Well now, I have 2 new pages: Downloads and Webcam. Yet, I have kept the Extras page there. I'm still not sure whether to get rid of it or not, but I'm starting to get to the point that I have a lot of content on the site. And content is good, it means that people have things to look at. So although, slightly sick and completely irrelevant to my travel, I might keep it. Still undecided.

Beyond this, I updated my profile page, changing the quotes section. I also read the my story page for the first time since I wrote it in April. And I was surprised by how good it was, without wanting to sound too arrogant. The first ¾ of the page was exactly what I wanted. It was an overview of how I became the person that I am. I actually found it pretty interesting to read back. The last ¼ wasn't as good. I think it's because by that point, the things I was writing about were quite recent, so I remembered them too well and got into unnecessary detail. I edited this a little bit, but it might require more work to get it how I want it. The first ¾ was perfect though.

On top of this, I realised that Gallery (the program I use for photo albums) do a sitemap. I had a sitemap for this site that I had made, but that only included a total of 62 URLs. This sitemap on gallery seemingly has the URL to every photo, so is 1,633 URLs. I have submitted this gallery sitemap to Google. There are no errors within it, but I am yet to receive the details of how many of these URLs will be indexed. Of my 62 URL sitemap, 20 are indexed, and they are all real pages. It might not sound very good, but this is a rise from 14 yesterday. But sending them 1,633 URLs of photos, I doubt many will be indexed. We'll see.

Now having been using these forums, I have seen a real surge in site traffic over that passed couple of days. And not just of people glancing at the website. I am having people seemingly take an interest in the content on here, judging by the amount of time pages are being looked at for, and the number of pages people are looking at. So that's good. And people are starting to reappear on my Analytics report as well, so I am getting repeat viewers, which is what I really want. I don't expect this to last before I start travelling, because no one is going to want to read a travel blog when I'm still at home, and the rest of the content isn't really changing, but it shows promise. It shows that people found an interest in what they were seeing, which is really encouraging. I have also had the first people sign my guestbook. Admittedly, when asking people to review my website in the forums, I was requesting that people sign the guestbook to get the ball rolling. But still. It shows people have been here. I am still the only member of the website forum, so unless I want to talk to myself more than I already do, I need to encourage people to sign up. But what the hell am I going to use the forum for at this stage anyway. I am very pleased with the progression of both the website in the passed 3 days, and the amount of people viewing it and the signs I am getting from them. A lot of people are requesting that I change the font of the green left buttons in the forum reviews, because they're apparently hard to read, so I may address that at some point. But things are being very positive.

So there's been a lot of progress in the passed 3 days. Now if you're still reading at this point, you're probably asking yourself, what the fuck does all this have to do with cleansing your soul? Well today is day 40 in the 100 day detox. Last Summer I went to 56 days, but found out on the 40th day from an Omanian friend I have (the same one I went down to London to see for the weekend 2 of 3 months ago), that "According to Islamic law, I have now cleansed my system from toxins and my prayers will be counted." So fucking rock 'n' roll. For the second time in the passed couple of years, my prayers are now being listened to. Supposedly. It's not helping me get a job, but you can't have everything. I only stayed cleansed for 16 days last year. This time around I should have 60 days of a cleansed system. I should be able to wangle a fair bit of stuff out of the gods in that time, so lets get some non-alcohol beer, and partay! I am officially cleansed.

There have been a few things in the news that have been of interest to me over the past couple of days. Firstly, the tories for once said something that I agree with. This video and this article on the BBC website, put simply, says the tories blame fat people for being fat. I've been saying that for years, but finally some common sense. Someone has actually piped up and said, that actually, it's not the fault of McDonalds that you're fat. It's not the fault of Burger Fat person King. And it's not even the fault of Coca-cola. You're the one who is responsible for what you take into your body, and how much you exercise, so quite simply, if you're a fat fucker, it's your fault. No excuses. They didn't use those words, but that was the gist. It is finally some common sense. Finally, someone is getting to the heart of why people are so damn obese in this country. Quite simply, people are weak-minded, and people are lazy. Too lazy to educate themselves on what they should be eating, and too lazy to get to the gym, or go for a run, or a cycle, or a walk, or a row, or a kayak, or an exercise class, or a swim, or any of countless exercise options. It is just finally some common sense, rather than blaming companies for how we treat our bodies. All companies like McDonalds are doing, is bowing to market pressures. Everyone knows that a McDonalds meal is bad for you. Yet people are willing to pay for one, so McDonalds are going to keep on supplying them. If the people make the choice to stop eating them, then McDonalds will stop selling them. The buck stops with the consumer in this case. It's finally some common sense from a political figure.

Now I said a while back in a blog entry that I wrote, that I think that rising energy costs are somewhat of a blessing. That they will stop people using fuel unnecessarily, and will be a god-send to the environment, which, in my opinion is an issue more important than any other we face in today's world. That assumption was confirmed yesterday, as Hot-ass cycling Trafficmaster revealed that congestion is down 12% for the first 6 months of this year, when compared to the same period in 2007. All I can say, is keep those prices rising. Linked somewhat to what I just said about obesity, if people realise that they don't need a car to go ½ a mile to the shops, or to go 3 miles to work everyday, when walking or cycling are just as adequate, then only the environment can benefit. If energy costs rise high enough, then we may just have some hope of delaying the impacts of climate change. I have though noticed an increase in the number of people cycling at the moment. There is seemingly many more cyclists on the road than there was this time last year, which I think is great. Apart from it's harder for me to find a place to park my bike, but a small price to pay. Let's keep those energy prices rising! Incidentally, an article about this ease in congestion is found here, also on the BBC website.

What has caught my eye more than anything else in the news in the past few days though, is Russia, claiming it now recognises the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. This has been big news for a couple of days. Though my stance on this whole topic is very different from what Western politicians and media would like me to think. I fully back Russia. Firstly, the indication I got from the images I saw, is that the population of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, do not want to be a part of Georgia. The partying that accompanied this Russian statement verified that. Then on what grounds does Georgia have to continue to govern these people? Can someone please indicate the difference to me, between this situation, and China and Tibet, for example, that is heavily condemned by the West. There is none. These are regions Georgia of people whom do not wish to be governed by the people who claim sovereignty over them. And if a region wishes to be independent, then why should formerly established national boundaries continue to be adhered to, when the people within them do not agree with them. And if you agree that the independence of these two states is the right thing for the region, then although brash, the actions of Russia are the only way to ensure such an outcome. No amount of diplomacy would lead to a Western-backed Georgia, willfully giving up these regions. In affect therefore, this is the only way for them to enjoy independence. It doesn't mean that they will get it, as a meaningful Western response is still forthcoming. But, it's their best chance. What I did love, was I was watching Newsnight 2 or 3 nights ago, and I cannot remember the personnel involved in this exchange, but someone on the US side of this disagreement was asked, "What can the US now do about Russia?" The reply: "Well, we can condemn them." You're going to condemn them... I'm not sure that is going to upset them too badly. Bottom line, militarily, there is fuck-all the US can do. Diplomatically, I don't really think there is too much either, so I am eagerly watching this issue. Until someone convinces me otherwise though, I agree with the actions that Russia has taken.

I have never hidden my distain to many of the systems that we live by in the Western world. And then Western foreign policy is essentially bullying other countries to live the way that we do. To see a country stand up against the West, and stick up a middle-finger as Russia has just done... I think it's great. Someone is finally saying "fuck you" to Western leaders. And they're refusing to obey Western disposition on how to behave. They're saying fuck you to what "should" be done, and it's great that someone is finally doing so. If I was a country, I would be Russia. They're hard-ass, they're fearless and they're anti-establishment. I think this is what the world needs. Someone to stand up to the West, and finally question why they do, what they do. I fully back Russia.

I do have to ask the question though, how does Russia's massively condemned foreign policy differ from Western foreign policy. The only difference is that the Western powers don't agree with it when Russia does it. How is Russian troops in Georgia, any worse than US & UK troops in Iraq? How is Russia using it's political clout any differently from Western countries issuing sanctions when they don't agree with something that a state does? It's not. The only difference here, is that this goes against the script written by the US. They might sugar-coat their Iraq Russia invasion by talking about weapons of mass destruction, but there is really no difference. We are starting to see a demonstration of the strength of what, despite what many people like to think, is still a world power. Similarly, can you argue Russia's justification for being wary of the US positioning troops in many of her surrounding states? If Russia started positioning troops in Mexico, or in Canada, would the US worry? Of course they would. Yet for some reason, when they do it to Russia, the Russian's are overreacting. It's bullshit, 'one rule for us, one rule for everyone else' foreign policy. Despite only hearing this story on Western bias news mediums, I still back Russia in everything they have done on this front. And will continue to do so until I have reason to think otherwise.

I do wonder how this will affect the US presidential election. Russia has essentially challenge the metle of the US in this step. They have made a move, and they're saying to the US, "your go." And realistically, there is nothing that the US can do. This will hurt their pride, and it will be an indication to the US public, that they are not the untouchable country that they like to think they are. And in times of adversity, who do you want leading your country? A hard-ass, or a pacifist? In McCain you have a republican, another George Bush, someone who won't be afraid to exercise their military muscle when necessary. In Obama, you have a literate, intelligent, pussy. He's a nice guy, he's a likeable guy. But who would you want as your president at this time, a nice guy, or someone whom an aggressor will fear? This can only go to serve McCain with a boost on the way to the elections. I'm still rooting for Obama, but this has to be a blow to his popularity.

Final Olympic medal table The olympics is now over for another year. And I find it fascinating how world power is reflected in sports power. China first, USA second, Russia third and GB fourth. This to me, is a fair reflection of the power of nations in the world today. Power being defined as a collection of political clout, military power etc. Just anything that makes a country powerful. I may be seeing through British eyes that GB is the 4th most powerful nation in the world, but all things considered, I think we can still hold onto fourth. What I find fascinating though, is that I think the US also see US olympic medal table this trend in world power being translated into sporting power, because of all the countries that document the olympics, the US finished atop the medals table in just one. The US. Despite China claming 15 more golds, the US still count themselves the winners of the olympics, even if they are the only one. Something picked up by Kevin Eason in this article from The Times.

You know it's amazing, even though I know no one is signed into watching my webcam, just knowing that I am being broadcast on the Internet, it makes me a little conscious of what I'm doing. Talking to myself, having my hand down my pants etc., things that you're normally happy to do when you're alone. But just on the premise that someone might start watching, it's going to take a little getting used to. Ah well. I'm not really a shy person. I'll get used to it. One last thing, I've added to my fitness and nutrition library today, getting a book delivered from a shop on Amazon. The complete book of abs by Kurt Brungardt. No idea if it's any good yet. I'm hoping for some good nutrition advice and some structure to get added to my somewhat random ab workouts. I'm hoping this is the answer, so with no job, I'll hopefully get through it pretty quick so I can learn what I need to from the book before I start travelling. It's a lot bigger than I expected, so I damn sure won't be taking it with me. That's me finished for today.

The Complete Book of Abs


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