Monday, February 16, 2009

Good Job Hunting

My Owner currently is currently engaging in a strictly human activity: Job Hunting. For years, I have heard this word bandied about and imagined that the procedure was far more active and adrenaline pumping than the depressing, corporate grey reality. I pity humans. Sometimes. I used to imagine my owner creeping about the city, clad out in brown and grey in order to blend in with the surroundings, whilst keeping an eye out for Job Vacancies.

These Job Vacancies manifested themselves in a physical furry form and pottered about the urban prairie in groups, sniffing the air and snuffling the ground from time to time. I imagined that my owner would be keeping a look out for lone or unaware vacancies caught off their guard. When that moment happened, my owner would snarl into action, leaping over cars, rolling over pavements, chasing after the Job Vacancy as it bolted into bushes and sewers. Once the vacancy had been caught, my owner would clutch it, feeling it wriggle as it struggled in her hand, gaze at the job description written on its under belly and feel satisfied. Then she would march to the nearest job centre to get her job.
My ummm imaginings of a Job Vacancy

You know, I really had a whole world worked out based on this concept. I assumed the job market was where you could go and buy a Job Vacancy if you didn’t have time to hunt for a job, or you could maybe trade a Job Vacancy you had caught previously. When I heard that the current job market was bad, I assumed that this would just mean more people hunting for Job Vacancies on the streets. I had always assumed it was hard to trade your Job Vacancy at the job market and that feral Job Vacancies were fairly scarce, so it was just better to catch one and make do. This would explain my owner's rather weird and pointless job history.

So, you can imagine my utter surprise, followed by extreme embarrassment at my cat-brained stupidity when I realised my entire imaginings about this were, in a colloquial sense, complete bollocks. Yesterday, I stumbled across my owner looking at Job Vacancies online. The conversation went something like this:

“Miaow, what ya doing?”
“Job Hunting.”
“I thought you had to be out and about to do that?”
“No, I’m looking at Job Vacancies online?”
“You can do that? Is that so you know which type to hunt down?*flexing my claws*Maybe I can help?”
“Err yeah…hunt…*sideways glance*…I guess…..more like ‘apply for’ though.”
“Apply? You have to apply to catch one?!”
“Well yeah, but it’s not catching one. You find a job vacancy on line, apply once you find one by writing narcissistic, inflated crap about yourself, maybe then you get an interview, then maybe you get a job.”
"Oh so it's all don't have to hunt them anymore?"
"Tabby what are you talking about? There's no hunting involved, I mean, ha ha, it's not like Job Vacancies are alive, like little animals that roam about the streets...."

It must have been my eyes widening, my mouth dropping open whilst the rest of my face stay completely expressionless and the little grey cloud of reality that formed about my head, that gave me away.

“Aww Tabby what’s up?…Did you think….? Job…Hunting…, come have a look. This is a job vacancy….here’s the application…’s a person specification.”

At that moment I wanted to cry at how dull the existence of humanity can truly be. Here in front of me weren’t fuzzy, communal animals with jobs written on their tummies, but pages and pages of words like, ‘Communication Skills,’ ‘Person Specification,’ ‘Administrative Procedures,’ ‘Competancies.’ That last one, competancies; having to write how you meet the competency for: ‘Encourages coworkers to ensure a new version is effective,’ or ‘Facilitates systems for knowledge transfer between teams and departments’, must be the dullest thing one can do with their spare time because I don’t even know what they mean.

The moment I first saw a person specification

But there was one that truly stood out. One of them was listed as ‘Is self aware.’ Nothing else added. All I could think was luckily my owner is conscious being and able to recognise her own reflection in the mirror so hopefully won’t have any problem with that. Also she obviously has the added bonus of having self-awareness flow through her in bucket loads, where she scrutinizes herself to the point of neuroticism. Maybe they want it to be at some objective spiritual level and will just be expecting a cloud of thoughts to appear at the interview instead of her physical self, because she is so self aware that she no longer needs her physical body. Or something. But no, because that would be vaguely interesting and interesting is clearly something that Job Hunting is not. I will no longer continue my imaginings about Job Vacancies.

However....Tax Returns….now that is something that sounds cool. It sounds like a film. I really want to find out who Tax is. It sounds like a cat’s name. Maybe he’s a hottie?

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy 牛 Year

Well, it’s the a new Chinese year. The year of the Ox, 牛niu (pronounced neee-oh, well almost..), Happy Niu year. Oh god kill me. Anyway, today I introduce a guest writer in the form of my wretched owner. She has a Chinese New Year experience that she wants to write about.

So January 25th was the Chinese New Year celebration day. Imagine a week long New Years Eve celebration multiplied by Christmas plus Ramadan and fireworks that have taken a little performance enhancing druglet. Add this to a city with a population of 17 million where its citizens are only just recently embracing capitalism and generally having fun and you may be able to imagine the extreme excitement and mania that is Chinese New Year.

Fireworks start sounding off at around 10am and the resulting sound experience is:

//Bang bang bang (sonic)BOOOM *car alarm – meep meep meep * Bang poof fizzle *pause* Boom, BANG *car alarm*// and so on.

I spent the evening bringing in the New Year in between my two favourite structures in Beijing, The Drum and The Bell Tower (below is The Drum Tower, as viewed from the Bell Tower) having my ear drums disintegrate in time to the banging of the fireworks.

An old man brought along his fluffy little dog. You know the ones that are so inbred and weird that their hearts are already beating like a drum machine. Why, why would you bring it somewhere that was definitely going to scare the crap out of it? Unless that was your actual idea? More about that later… The dog was going mental.

Anyway, I like animals and was unable to resist the opportunity to photograph and film this bundle of fuzz. The owner spotted my interest and immediately scooped him up and plonked him in my arms. I initially hesitated, worrying that a firework was going to explode and little doggy was going freak out and bite me. Or shit and vomit all over me. Or die. Or maybe all these incidences would play out one after another in quick succession, a weird chain of events like some twisted chaos theory, each terrible incident setting up the conditions for the next. I’d be left covered in undesirable matter holding a dead pooch. Whilst this would all be taking place, the owner would be gazing up at an exploding firework or simply tying his shoe lace and would therefore not witness the event
. He would return his attention back to a wretched me and his dead dog and simply, erroneously assume the worst. I’d end up having to explain myself in terrible Chinese feeling like I had become Larry David. It would not be cool.

Anyway, it was fine. The dog calmed down in my arms and burrowed its little nose into the crook of my arm and tucked its little paws in beneath itself. It was returned to its owner alive and I was just covered in a bit of dog hair. A total success. I think I like dogs an extra 0.5% more.

The night was air was freezing and eventually we gave up trying to stay warm and enjoy the noise level. We ended up in bar that has comfy couches, pool tables and cats. I spent the rest of the night taking pictures of moggies 猫咪 in order to show Tabitha that there are other souls for her to mingle with.

It's February 8th, the fireworks are still exploding constantly and it's hard to keep constantly reminding myslef I'm not in a war zone.

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