A residence in Hollywood? Just maybe?

A funny thing happened during my job hunting this week. Normally, when you apply for a job, the start is going to be (relatively) soon, exactly how soon depending on the whims, and needs of your potential employers. But the job that I should have registered for on Monday, and been assessed on Tuesday, but for events mentioned earlier in the week, wouldnt actually start until November. Why, because it would be working at the brand spanking new shopping centre in Bradford, which only actually opens to the public on the 5th November. Yes, the Westfield shopping centre, only a “few” years late is finally going to open for business! Guess what, they are looking for concierge agents already, well in advance.

Good news, on Thursday, when I got there, seems there are still vacancies. And there will be an assessment day, for those roles on the 20th. And if you pass, you hear soon after, great stuff. The thing is, thats quite a gap between getting the job, and starting work, and getting paid. I know, I could look for something temporary in the meanwhile, and maybe I would, and should. Though as mentioned before, finding anything at present, for someone of my age, quite challenging! And as an ex workmate has already discovered, our ‘Dear Leader PM’ has decided that for whatever reason you’re not genuinely job hunting, you’re not going to get paid benefits. Lovely chap, so glad I didnt vote for him (yes, sarcasm alert there). So they might get equally feisty with me, probably would, such a ghastly bunch!

In the mean while, I’m carrying on the search for more current jobs, though I’m beginning to get to that ghastly window where employers arent going to be so keen on me, given I’m going away on holiday in 6 weeks time, and those with longer training periods arent going to be interested. Already had one, agency enquired this week, no holidays in first 8 weeks, and I havent even started the process yet!

So, as is my way, I started thinking laterally. Dangerous thing I know, but all the same. No, I dont mean thinking, but if anyone wants to solve that problem, offering me a position, I wouldnt say no! No, I meant the lateral thinking bit lol. Suppose I know I’ve got a job at the end of August, which doesnt start till the beginning of November, what options does it open up? Well, given the fact I’ve been pretty miserly with my redundancy money, one idea came to me. A month away, in the US, in my own rented apartment somewhere, living like a local, with a local address (of sorts). And yes, Hollywood did come to mind, though a couple of other West Coast cities also came to mind (Seattle, San Francisco) because lets face it, for a week, they are a lot of travelling. But for 4 weeks, hmm… And before you say that I’ve only recently spent 10 days in Hollywood, believe me when I say I barely scraped the LA area in that time. Long Beach, Anaheim, Burbank, most of down town…not at all.

Friends have even found me a couple of sites, with plenty of suitable places to rest my head wherever I choose to. But given how badly this job hunt has gone, can you seriously see this playing out as I’m planning it? I wish! Mind, if I could find a call centre that was prepared to interview me now, offer me a job to start in November, that would be handy! Its not like these places dont recruit all the time, but I suspect ‘regulations’ wouldnt permit it.

But yes, I must admit, it didnt take long (a matter of hours, in all honesty) for the idea to grow on me, if I could work it. Yes, even if its not truly my place, the idea of having a Hollywood address of my own, even for just 4 weeks, would be wonderful.

OK, I’ll wake up to the reality now, its not going to happen, I’m sure, but I can wish, and plot…No, I’m sure the dream wont go as far as finding a job in LA lol, but again…! If someone wants me to dress up as Iron Man (girl) or something, and have photos taken, I wouldnt say no. Not sure the Jean Harlow look would be popular enough nowadays.

Right, the video. A room (or more strictly, an apartment) with a Hollywood view? Wouldnt that be something, if only for 4 glorious weeks


A writing retreat

As many of my blog readers will know, I write stories, and have done for about 15 years now. All the early stuff, plus a few more recent ones can be found here

Warning, some of the early stuff isnt all that great, unsurprisingly my writing skills have developed over the years. As have my tastes. Most of my recent stuff, the mind control level is either so minimal to be negligible, or not even there at all. And to be honest, nowadays I write far less sci fi, and far more stuff written in the 1920’s or 30’s. Though occasionally, as with my latest piece, which I finished today, I have been known to connect both.

In this case though, the story is actually set in the current day (or strictly, about a year from now), as a follow up to my latest piece, “A Hollywood Happening”, which you can find here,


Though strictly, the modern day actress who stars at the end of this, and entirely in the new story, is loosely based on a 1920’s and 30’s bit part actress, who I discovered under hypnotic regression, was me, in a previous life! But of course, the modern day Clara Johnson is just a personal view on how her life would be today. I suspect this piece will appear on that Archive you see at the top in good time, though it may go out as an ebook as well.

But enough of that, though it sets up this blog, its not the main reason for it.

On Twitter (I’m lurking there as @harleanlook, if you want to link), one of the groups I follow is a writing retreat, somewhere near Seattle, called Hedgebrook. And every year seemingly, they invite female writers to apply for a stay at their delightful retreat on Whidbey Island, and write in seclusion. You can also enjoy the scenery, good company, and everything else, sounds amazing. And from what I’ve seen, and read, some amazing writers have spent time there, and loved it. The link to their site


Yes, a humble writer like me would love to do something like that, but me, beat off the competition, cant see it. But a bit like a delightful man at Loughborough University, for some reason, they think I should apply, and give it a go. Why not, you say, its not like I’m working at present or anything, after all? Well, actually that was part of my reason for not considering applying, there’s a fee involved with application, and I really ought to be preserving my funds. Oh fine, shot down, someone like me, the fee would be waived.

So now, what the hell, I’m going to go for it, though with no great expectations of winning. But yes, it would be an amazing place to go, if I won, I must say, so fingers crossed. Thing is, this wouldnt be a short, so I guess I’m either going to write the Jean Harlow biography I’m told I should do, turn “No Place Like Nome” into the full length story I’m told it should be, or do a crazy piece of sci fi, probably involving robots, and transformation! Realistically, it has to be the “Nome” story, I have been looking for a reason for years to develop that, and I should do that. But… Maybe I need to be hypnotically regressed, and write the unique Clara Johnson (auto)biography, though I can see much of a market for that!

The video. Its about writing songs, not novels, but its close enough!

Its got to be perfect!

As many who know me from the Forums know at least, I’m a fan of baseball. Please, dont ask me why, I’ve no idea? Unless its because I played rounders when younger, and there is some similarity I guess? Though as far as I remember, pitches are a lot more gentle in rounders lol! Oh, and for my pain, and to make it worse, I’m a Seattle Mariners fan. Why, probably because its the first US city I fell in love with.

Most Americans already know, they arent going to win the World Series anytime soon. To be honest, they arent even likely to make the playoffs anytime soon either. So hey, when something good happens for the Mariners, I’m going to mention it. In all honesty, they probably have one star, a pitcher named Felix Hernandez, though to most Mariners fans, he’s just called King Felix. And this week, he threw what they call the perfect game, only the 23rd in Baseball history, and thats going back some time! Some might call it justice as the Mariners lost to a perfect game at home earlier this season. Oh, the victims of Felix, Tampa Bay.

No, I didnt see it until tonight, and then all I’ve seen is the most important 27 pitches, the one on the video here. I heard mention of the end of it, was watching  a game on ESPN America opposite it (Think it was Dodgers @ Giants?) and they picked up on it through the last couple of innings. Oh, and mlb.com helps too, with their gameday thing.

Alright, they are going to finish bottom of their division, almost certainly have a losing record and all that, but for one night, the Mariners hit the headlines. Well alright, you might say a 6 pitcher combo ‘no hitter’ earlier this season also made the highlights, but this is kind of special. Thanks Felix, for giving me a special moment

Yes, you’ve worked out the video lol


A picture of me!

Yes, feel free to run away now, if you’re so inclined lol.

The funny thing is, I thought I’d posted this on here, but seemingly I only posted it on my main blog, not this one. So as to be totally unbiased in scaring my readers, here is a ‘photo’ taken while I was in Seattle in April


Yes, you’re right, its not a genuine pic, I have no idea if its even possible to get to a point at that angle from the Space Needle, to be honest. Though that is genuinely me! What happens is, when you first enter the Space Needle at ground level, they take your picture in front of one of those screens. And no, I didnt break  the camera lol.

When you reach the top, and have done your trip around the viewing platform, there are a series of machines where you can view the picture taken, and have an option to having various views behind you, all strangely enough including the Space Needle in them. All quite nice, but this is the one I chose. The surprising bit was, you could have it emailed to you, for free! Now that was a nice surprise, believe me. You could buy a nicely framed one, but as I wouldnt do much with it, I settled for this.

To be honest, I like it, I dont often seem to get decent pictures of myself, but this one… No, I’m not going to win Miss World, not even the over 50’s version lol, and even if I desired them, I wouldnt wait for the rush of marriage proposals either. But short of a professional makeover shoot, this is probably as good as I get.

Yes, you’re right, no make up was involved in this picture, I’m just that way inclined, and besides which, I would rarely find the time, even if I could nowadays, which I probably couldnt, its been too long for that. And hey, I could hardly hold up the queue, even if I’d had any with me.

The song, well, its nearly as old as me! I dont know if I bought the record, or whether it was bought for me, but I once owned the original Piccadilly label 45, featured in this video. As I would have been 4 when this came out, I cant be sure which it was. I do remember playing it on record players for a few years after that though.


Shocking happenings

No, not me getting a large voltage jolt through my body, but if the offer is there lol… No, this is far more stunning than that.

For those who follow me, and my baseball addiction, you’ll know I’m a Mariners fan, for my pains. No other reason than they are a Seattle team, a city I like a lot, but anyway… The first baseball field I ever saw was this one, on my first bus ride into Seattle nearly 10 years ago now. Didnt mean much at the time, but anyway…ironically, because of the long delay with American Airlines this April, I still havent seen them live, but maybe one day, that will happen.

Anyway, thats not the point of this posting. As any general follower of baseball will know, the Mariners are no world beaters. Indeed in 2 of the last 3 years, they have been more of a basement dweller than anything else. But I love them, all the same. But it has to be said, that when they go into Texas, to play the mighty Rangers, you dont expect good results. Yes, the last 2 games, I sort of nervously peered at the mlb.com website, hoping the defeats werent too painful.

Err, either they didnt get the message, or the Rangers just thought they were going to get a stroll in the park, because when I looked on the 30th, at the previous nights result, the Mariners had won 10-3. Not only was the win a shock, the Mariners reaching double figures was even more so. So alright, the next morning, I was expecting the dragon to have spurted flames, and taken their revenge.

Err, wrong again. This time the scoreline was even more amazing, 21-8 to the Mariners! I didnt think they acored 21 in a week, let alone 1 game, especially against the Rangers! But yes, it was true. They had a night off last night, probably to get over the shock. Seriously, it was so they could move on to their next series, starting tonight against the Chicago White Sox, but they might have needed the shock recovery too!

It wont last, it cant possibly last, but I wanted to enjoy this one moment while I could.

The video is probably what the Mariners management might have said to the fans after those games, it so rings true, anyway


The video, for anyone of a nervous disposition, is from the New Romantics era, just to warn you lol.

Until the next time, signing off from the US

Mind, thats not as dramatic as it sounds, all things permitting, that next time will be in September, though a long way east from here! Tomorrow morning is a fine example of why I hate travelling home from the West Coast, the flight leaves Seattle at 8.35 am, so you can imagine the time I have to be up, etc… Mind, apart from packing, and a quick round up, I’m ready to go now.

Its been a lovely trip, seen again a few old sights, seen a few new ones too, and indeed the Amtrak station in the midst of a much needed makeover. One really good point, it wasnt work, I needed the break! I’m not saying I’m ready, or willing to go back there, but all the same… I did see some really nice looking apartments en route to Seattle from the light rail, but was good, and didnt make an appointment to look at them, in case the temptation was too great.

I’m not looking forward to the flight back for several reasons, though they say lightning doesnt strike twice in the same place lol! Unfortunately the knee has stiffened up again, and I know that a pair of long flights (even with decent leg space) arent going to do it any favours! Its my own fault, I’ve done too much walking lol! But all matters, its not hard to see why this will be my last West Coast trip for a while, its just too much for the body, at my age. I know, but all these injuries I’ve had dont enjoy long distance travel.

So thats it, until September at least. I know roughly where I’m going then, though I’m sure Kate will happily keep most details top secret until much nearer the time, or later lol! And there I will stop, need to start packing, then one last round up, then bed. Need to be up by about 5 in the morning (10 pm now), so…

See you all, God willing, back in England very soon.

A first today

After the Space Needle today, I went on to the Science Museum in Seattle, only just around the corner. In terms of science museums that I’ve visited, its not the greatest, but still warrants mention for one reason.

Because my visit there was part of the City 6 pack, I automatically got a choice of IMAX film, and even that wasnt easy to do! The one I missed out on, was Tornado Alley, which tempted me, because I suspected that at least some of it would be from Kansas. But the other one was set in the Arctic, and Alaska, so alright, that won out.

What I didnt notice at the time of making my choice (I’m blonde, for heavens sake!) was that the Arctic one was one of those 3D films, something I’ve never seen before. Its weird, and not just the glasses, though wearing them, in front of your own, is definitely an experience in itself. The sensation is amazing, they had snow seeming to come out of the screen in the opening credits, and then all the words of said credits, turned to ice, broke up, and seemed to come flying towards you as well. And yes, at one point, I ducked out of the way lol!

Seeing a film in 3D for the first time is quite something, I was most impressed. How I looked, might be another matter entirely though! Also, I have to say it, I’m not sure I would like to watch sport in 3D, seeing a ball literally flying towards me would probably put me off more than any extra enjoyment I might get! Lets just say its something I’m glad I’ve done, but wont be rushing to repeat. But I suppose its like a lot of things, you get used to it in time, probably just me showing my age?

Tomorrow, while the weather holds up (though about 10 degrees lower than today), I intend to do the harbour cruise, and see Seattle from a different perspective. I also plan to visit the Aquarium, something I enjoy doing in places, though I have never quite worked out why? Soothing effect maybe, otherwise, not a clue.

Sorry for those who enjoy them, no video tonight, I just couldnt find anything suitable.