Thursday, 28 July 2011

Apples and pears

Stairs are a bit of a mystery to me. I mean, I know how they work, obviously (although catch me on a bad day and you might not believe this). But until now I have lived my entire life on the ground floor, so have had no real need for interaction with stairs on a day to day basis. I grew up in a bungalow, and the first two rooms I have lived in at university have both been on the ground floor. Now however, I have moved  into a new house where my room is not on the ground floor. It's not even on the first floor, but the second floor. Mindblowing.

Getting over the stairs thing, the other thing that worries me slightly about living on the second floor is the lack of solid ground below me. Being on the ground floor significantly lowers the risk of falling through the floor, but with two floors of nothingness beneath me, I worry that the floor will give way and one day I'll wake up in the kitchen sink, 15ft below where I went to sleep. Irrational I know, but it's the little things in life.

It's no wonder that when I do encounter stairs, I struggle more than the average person; couple my lack of practice with the extreme dislike gravity took to me on the day I was born (or extreme attraction, if you will) and you will see that I never had a chance. I have a feeling I may become well acquainted with the sofa this year.

Glee Season 1 Episode 1

Out of boredom, and admittedly a little curiosity as to what all the fuss is about, I have finally succumbed to the world of Glee. As expected, it is decidedly average-like a dull High School Musical, without the Disney je ne sais quoi.

By the end of the first episode, only a couple of the characters had actually gained my interest. Rachel (Lea Michelle) seems quite central, I can imagine her undergoing some sort of Mia Thermopolis style transformation from geek to chic.

I can tell that several of the characters, including Sue Slyvester, are going to annoy me a lot if I continue watching the show.

Despite the ungripping storylines, the final song of the episode, Journey's "Don't stop believing" picked it up a bit.Overall though, I am struggling to see what all the fuss about this show is. I will carry on watching this series later so watch this space...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A whale of a time

I'm having a  whale of a time working in the gift shop at London Zoo, "turtley awesome" as one of my friends put it. Toucan play at that game, I thought, so I decided I wouldn't take any more of his jokes lion down.

It's aard vark in the gift shop, we spend a lot of our time pandaing to people's needs. When we're had a rush of school kids through, the shop looks a bit bear. I like stocking up but the top shelves are a bit of a pain, and being on the short side myself, ostrich to reach them. Some of my colleagues have exceptional customer service skills, so okapi them to look good myself. As well as that, it was quite giraffety in there today, the temperature was a lot koala than other days.

One of my favourite products we sell are the gorilla hand puppets. They are very realistic, I was looking at them early and realised that they're so uncanny, it's like a chimp off the old block.

Lunchtime is always fun. We are allowed to wander around the zoo, looking at the animals. Tiger, or not tiger? that is the question I normally ask myself.

As much fun as it is working there,  it's also exhausting, so we're normally dancing on the sealion when it's time to go home.

I've also learnt a lot about the animals. Lions, for example, are not mere cats. They are so much more than that.

Visited the zoo and wondering what to do next? Why not head to the West End and and go to the theatre? I hear Elephantom of the Opera is good. Or head to the Odeon in Camden, they're showing Rhino what you did last summer. For something more active, give flamingo dancing a go.

You at the back. Yes, you. Stop laughing. You may be finding these little puns amusing, but you can badger bottom dollar that other people aren't.

Well that's enough of this monkeying around. It's the end of the day so Iguana go home now. Alpaca bag and I'll be off.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Zoo days

I spent a large portion of today working with very badly behaved lions who wouldn't stay put or do what I wanted. If you are one of those people who finds it amusing to destroy displays of cuddly toys in shops, just for the fun of it, please don't. I guarantee that in doing so, you will destroy what little remains of the till monkey's shop assistant's soul. Disney may have cited health and safety reasons for removing their giant mountains of toys from their shops, but I'm guessing it had more to do with protecting the sanity of their staff. There's always one kid that wants the one at the bottom of the pile, even though the 6 above it are exactly the same. And of course mummy and daddy are always happy to oblige with whatever little Charles-Hugh-William Jr. wants.

I also had a lady asked me if we sold thongs, because her shoes had broken. Took me a while to work out where she was going with that one. Turns out Americans refer to flip-flops as thongs. Definitely going to remember that one for the future.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Aardvark kiss

Day two at the zoo and the training continues. Today I got a tour of the zoo. Sad to learn that the elephants no longer reside in Regent's Park, they were my one memory of coming to the zoo as a child. We also got trained on what to do if a dangerous animal escapes (FYI, general gist=run). It doesn't sound like anything too dangerous has escaped before, except a red panda which spent a night chillaxing up a tree in Regent's Park before returning home for breakfast the next morning. Standard.

Highlight of the day had to be having an aardvark licking my feet. It's nice to be adored at least once a day. No comments about how my job must be "aard vark" (say it in a funny accent) please!
That's the only animals we got close to, but I have big plans to befriend many of the keepers (penguins top of the list of course!)

Since people have found out that I work at the zoo, I have had requests to steal; a penguin, a gorilla, a baby elephant, an oseolot (not entirely sure one of those is, but it sounds angry), an anteater, a meerkat and a giraffe. I think I'm going to need a bigger handbag.

Zoo fact: Giraffes tongues are long enough to lick their ears.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Desperate Housewives-Season 1

So I finally jumped on the Desperate Housewives bandwagon (a few years too late, I know)-and I'm hooked! I've just watched all 23 episodes of the first series within 3 days and can't wait to get my hands on the second series.

To be honest, the show is not entirely what I expected (a group of attractive middle aged women sitting round drinking coffee, doing yoga and gossiping). Whilst this does occur, the show is so much more than this, as shown with a suicide in the first episode, with a body count to rival the sleepy English village of Midsomer.

What's so brilliant about this show is that most women will be able to identify with at least one of the main women of Wisteria Lane. I personally think there's a bit of Susan (Teri Hatcher) in me, in that I tend to panic, fluff things up and generally act hysterical. Pleased to say I've never stalked a boyfriend though :-). I love the way the dramas of each of the families are entwined with each other, and as the mysteries unravelled  as the series came to an end, I was utterly gripped.

There's also a lot of eye candy for male and female viewers too. Gabrielle and John make a very attractive couple. If the baby's his, it'll be a little stunner!

I've just shot myself in the foot a little whilst writing this-I looked up Teri Hatcher on, where her character is named as Susan Mayer/Susan Delfino. I'm guessing wedding bells are on the cards in a forthcoming series then.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The day I joined the rat race (something else which disagrees with me)

There are very few jobs in which you can spend half an hour of your shift watching penguins and seagulls thrashing it out for the meal of fish being thrown to them, but fortunately for me,  I have one of these jobs.

Today was my induction day as a seasonal sales assistant at ZSL London Zoo. Having read the full information pack for new employees, containing information on what to do in case of fire, dangerous animal escape, bomb, or terrorist threat, I was beginning to wonder what I had let myself in for, never more so than when I paid the obligatory £18.75 train fare at 7.05 this morning. (more on that interesting journey later...)
All I knew was that I was to turn up at 9am wearing black trousers and black shoes. The rest was a mystery. I was just praying that I wouldn't be put on duty in the reptile house. Nothing gives me the creeps like the yellowing eyes of a hungry python.

After a brief introduction we were taken to get our uniforms. My usual work uniform consists of a forest green coloured polo shirt, black trousers and black shoes. I like a bit of variety in my life. Compare and contrast;

 Current work uniform, to be worn with black trousers and black shoes (company logo erased)
New work uniform, to be worn with black trousers and black shoes.

No variety for me then.

We also got a brief rundown of the interesting questions that staff have been asked before, including, in all seriousness, "Which way to the dinosaur enclosure?" Oh dear.

All in all a good day, all  the staff seem really friendly, and it was rounded off by watching the penguin show. I just find myself somewhat confused with so much new stuff to learn. And I confuse easy.

On another note, I have also come to the conclusion that I am allergic to commuting. I passed out. On the train. Twice. Each time waking up on the floor of an overpacked carriage to find 6 suited and booted city commuters peering down at me as I came round. Once was bad enough, but twice is just embarrassing.

Never a dull moment with me around.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The obligatory reaction-to-phone-hacking-scandal post

Unless you've been living in the back of beyond (or, like a certain Miss Brooks, you happen to be on holiday every time something big kicks off), you will have heard of the phone hacking scandal to hit the News of the World recently, and it's subsequent closure.

As an aspiring journalist, the press surrounding the press has in recent weeks worried me. The injunction hype involving a certain person who may-or-may-not-have-done-something-and-who-you-may-or-may-not-know-but-I-can't-tell-you has left many journalists with their hands tied, and their freedom of speech removed. As a demographic, I think that the journalist world received much sympathy, or at least empathy, from the general public when this gagging left them unable to go about their day to day jobs. Now, however, the general public are left questioning the integrity of the entire journalistic community due to the unjustifiable acts of a select few (several of whom were not actually journalists, but private investigators), and had left people questioning whether further action needs to be taken to restrict the way in which investigative journalists go about their day to day jobs.

In addition to the people who were hacked, there are other victims here. The current employees of NotW, many of whom won't have been working for the paper back in 2002 when this started, and even those who were are unlikely to have known anything about this scandal, let alone been involved. They are now out of a job, although there is a rumour that News International will be able to offer some of them jobs in other brands of their massive empire. Those who aren't so lucky will likely have their names blackened just by association with NotW, thus hindering their abilities to find employment elsewhere.

 Like many, I am expecting to see a brand new Sunday paper launched by News International within the next couple of weeks. As far as I can see, it's a win-win situation for Murdoch and co; Despite pulling all advertising on this week's edition of NotW just hours before it was announced that it was to be the final one, they're bound to make a fortune off of the back of it. Despite many readers initially intending to boycott it, there will no doubt be an increased demand for this week's edition as people scramble to read NotW's own reaction to the week's events. Murdoch and co. appear in the public eye to have done the 'right thing', thus allowing them to continue with their even more important money making scheme, the takeover of BSkyB, which completely overshadows the NotW in terms of revenue it will make.   NotW will leave a massive gap in the otherwise saturated Sunday paper market, allowing News International to create an entirely clean slate for themselves, and perhaps allowing other newspaper companies to attempt to fill the gap with their own brands.

 Rumour has it on Twitter that the domain was registered two days ago. James Murdoch made the 'shock' announcement of the closure this afternoon. Go figure.