Monthly Archives: November, 2015

Its been a long, long time

I suppose I’d better thank Andy Murray for giving me some blog material today, because I was trying to think of a subject to write about, then he did me a big favour, so…

The last time that Great Britain won the Davis Cup, the World Cup of Tennis for want of a better term, Jean Harlow was still alive! Yes, it really was that long ago, 1936 in fact. They reached the final again the following year, but that was it, until 1978, when somehow or other, they again reached the final, to be defeated. And lets be honest, apart from a few years when Henman, and Rusedski represented GB, we havent really had the players to get that far, on the whole, as a team at least. Indeed, just 5 years ago, they were one step away from dropping into the bottom rung of tennis, but this weekend…

Its hard to consider the difference in how things were arranged back then. Instead of having to battle through a number of rounds, as now, the reigning champions simply sat back, let everyone else battle it out, and then only play a challenge final. So in fact, the last time prior to 1978 that GB actually qualified for a final was 1933! To say getting to competitions back then was different too. None of this jetting around the world to play, as per now, of course, they didnt exist!

The other obvious difference back then too, all players were amateur! It was only in the late ’60s that professional tennis even became recognised as official! But this weekend, in Belgium, after 79 years, Great Britain again became the champions of the world. Fine, mainly because of one man, Andy Murray. We have a few other decent players now, but none in the top echelons of the sport. Ironically, Belgium were in the same position, with David Goffin.

But yes, its nice to know that after all this time, Britain is on top of the tennis world, yet again. Hey, I’m not a big fan of the sport, but lets face it, in terms of sports played by much of the world, we arent at the top of many! Great news!

Fine, the video. Bit like GB last winning the Davis Cup, its an oldie. Not quite that old, but it does mean I couldnt find a live performance, but besides all that…

(Not) doing the thing that I want to

Yes, fine, I think if I tossed a coin at present, called both heads, and tails, it would wedge on the side of the coin. As in, any decision I settle on at present seems to be the wrong one! yes, thats right, I’m sat at home, typing this up, feeling that I made the wrong call yet again. Ah well…

Lets go back to last week, when I got offered a not very exciting job, for about 5 weeks, guaranteed, or I could take a gamble, wait to see if I got on the clinical research trial, and earn more money, in less time, and have way more fun. Thats right, I took the boring percentage option, and got it wrong, big time.

I had low expectations of the job, and I’ll be honest, I havent been proved wrong on that fact yet. Its fair to say I know how the poor men in the trenches in WW1 felt to some degree, we were pretty much employed just to be shot down, and save other faces the hassle. Oh, and the Capita fascination with trying to achieve ridiculous targets still happens too. I’d heard about this issue from people in the tele-betting dept in Rotherham, where morale was low, or worse. This week I’ve experienced it, and its not good. As in, my rest time is far superior to any of the other ‘infantry’ but they still want me to improve on it. So my write up time is on average, 2 minutes better than anyone else, but the challenge isnt to stay that way, its to make it even shorter. Oh, and their attitude to Customer Service seems to be to keep the calls short, however that affects the service to customers. Fine, thankfully 3.5 weeks to survive, thats all.

Oh, and the other issue, yes, you’re right, I did get selected for the trial, so at this moment in time, I could be doing something interesting, something new, and happy. Whereas now…Yes, I made the wrong call, again. Ironically, if I’d seen a message from the clinic earlier on Wednesday, I might still have had the option to do it, but by the time I saw it, and called them, they’d called up the reserve. Fine, I’ll do one in the New Year (my contact there tells me there will be some interesting things happening in February), for definite. But now…

And oh, that fact isnt helped by the decision of the Bus Drivers of Huddersfield to go on a 1 day strike on Monday. So guess what, on top of everything else, I’ll have to get up early, and walk a mile and a half into town, oh joy! And to think, I could be safe, in a nice warm clinic, instead of walking into town, in the rain (according to forecast), what fun!

So yes, I wouldnt describe my mood as sunny at present.

Oh, lastly, a moment of silliness. Given I will be on my own over Christmas (the others go down south before I finish work on 23rd), I jokingly took a look at flights to LA, leaving on the 24th. No, I cant do it, cant really afford it, but wondered just what the premium was for flying that day. There was one, but not as much as I was expecting, to be honest. Utterly impractical, as by the time I got there, all shops would be shut, so I’d be going hungry over the Christmas holidays, not really on. Oh, and seemingly my lovely apartment isnt rented out between November, and April anyway.

So, all in all…I did contemplate a certain Britney Spears video as apt, but preferred the irony, and class, of this instead. Lou Reed, live, take that, and party!

I’m beginning to remember how bad my local train company is

During the 8 months or so of job hunting, I’ve had a couple of “fun” moments with Trans Pennine Express, but thankfully not very often, and nothing catastrophic. Of course, for part of that time, (nearly a quarter) I havent concerned myself with their incompetences, because I havent been in the country. But then, this weekend, when attempting to get between here, and Leeds, I’ve been reminded how awful they really are.

It might be harsh blaming them for a couple of events this week, but in the end with a bit of diligence, and an effort to make things easier for passengers, they could have done more. But TPE, and doing things efficiently arent terms that go together.

Earlier this week (Thursday), I struck lucky. I managed to get the last train they managed to run through from Manchester for several hours, due to problems with a rail. Yes, it was a few minutes late, but all was fine, I had allowed enough time, got there fine. And the tailback hadnt occurred going the other way when I was coming back (agency registration), so I got back before their whole system collapsed. And it did!

Yesterday morning, I planned to get the 8.21 train to Leeds, for the start of the training session. I actually got the 8.13, which finally turned up at 8.27! So despite getting an earlier train than planned, I was running pretty close to being late! In fact, strictly, I was, because no one had told us how to get into the building, so it was only when someone else came along, that 3 of us got in.

We finished the course for the day about 4.00, and I headed back for the station. Remarkably, the 4.20 arrived more or less on time, and did leave on time. It then crawled slowly to Huddersfield (no other train in way, previous one was over 10 minutes before), arriving about 6 minutes late.

Then, today! I got to the station just before 9.00, the 9.18 train (first of day) was showing on time. Remarkable for a Sunday, and yes, you’re right, they didnt live up to claim. It got later, and later, finally turning up at 9.25. Got on, got a seat, only to hear that we were going to be slightly delayed by a signalling problem. Fine, I had about 10 minutes margin, so with luck…

It never left Huddersfield, well, not in the direction of Leeds, anyway. At 10.00, it was announced that the train had been cancelled, and they would be attempting to arrange some coaches, to get people to Leeds. Thing is, there were about 250-300 people on that train, another one had pulled in with similar numbers, and coaches can hold 40-50 people. Not good maths, and besides, its 50 minutes to Leeds by coach when it does arrive, not the 20 by train. So I gave up, and came home. When I got here, I found out they “hoped” to have replacement coaches running by about 11.30. When they did start running, no idea, as they never made the live running list.

I rang the company when I got home, and explained the situation. Whether they believed me or not, no idea! Got to go in, in the morning, so we will see. I dont know how much, or what training was done today that I’d have to catch up on, but we will see. So I might yet get to be a clinical research guinea pig after all! Fine, I’d prefer that, assuming I’m selected, but, its not the point!

And yes, as I say, indirectly, today’s problems dont really lay at the hands of TPE. As it was the first train of the morning on the line, it may be that it was only when they tried to set them, to let us go, that they found out. But at the same time, they have a reputation for being one of the worst companies for over crowding, for delayed trains, and pricey fares! So all in all…Yes, I’d discreetly forgotten how awful they are, until the last few days.

Hopefully, in the morning, the 7.55 train will have 6 coaches, will run on time, and my evening journey will be smooth too. Oh, and pigs fly!

The video, what I did this morning, about the most incompetent train company I’ve had the misfortune to know.

Your baby, on the telephone line

Fine, as promised, the confirmation of what I was pretty sure of yesterday, but finally knew for definite about 2.30 this afternoon. Yes, thats right, this weekend, I will be training, for an operators role, commencing on Monday, for a month, at least. I know, it might be a bit/lot longer, and I should be thrilled at the news, but for the obvious reason, that news is tinged with regret.

I know, I know, its work, its a decent (but not sensational) wage, and it will pay for Christmas, and the like, but…its not the medical trial that I wanted to be part of. Yes, its fair to say, had I had a genuine choice of both, I’d probably have chosen the clinical trial. It would be something different, it would be more money, and yes, I could have had some mental fun with it, and probably some writing too, even if the reality was far more boring, as my friend, Ruth, described it.

But yes, in the end, the thought that this might lead to a longer period of work, and get me back in routine, combined with the study still only being a ‘maybe’, I really had no choice. So yes, I’m delighted to be back in work, but at the same time, I’m going to have to settle for wondering what that research experience would have been like.

Answering calls, taking messages, dealing with basic queries, should really be a piece of cake for someone like me. So, in all probability, I should have a job for a while, with luck, and I got the role without being asked a single competency based question, and that really is a bonus for me. But missing out on all those blood tests, EEG readings, and taking new drugs into my system, yes, it hurts. Ah well…

The video. Well, I might be spending a lot of time on here, during the next month, maybe more.

I do the street life

Because there was no place I could go. Funnily enough, the song featuring that line isnt the video tonight, gone back further in time for an old glam rock classic.

But yes, on Monday, I felt like I was a walker, doing the street life, down a street in Brighouse, in the industrial area of town. Why? Because I was hunting for the address for my interview! In the end, I found a wonderful lady (at the 3rd place I enquired), who looked up the number of the firm, rang them up, and discovered I’d been given the wrong address, they’d moved from there 2 years ago! I did get a humble apology from the guy at the recruitment agency, but anyway…

That was when I found out why the man at the firm was a bit concerned about how I would get there without a car. Brighouse, easy, no trouble at all. Greetland, one bus an hour, hmm…? I was inclined to give it a try anyway, but when on top of that, I discovered the last bus out was just after 5 pm, I saw the light, and didnt trouble anyone.

And no, I might have been street walking (lol), but the dress drops down to my ankles, and I was in low heels, not stilettos! Mind, I got one offer, but just passed by…quickly!

Still waiting to hear on my medical tests, to see if I’m qualified for the study, but as selection wont be made until the end of this week, or the beginning of next (due to go in end of next week), its not a major concern. Having said that, I may not be doing the study yet, even if selected. Here’s why.

Yesterday, I got a call from the one really good recruitment agency I’ve dealt with, Elite Recruitment, at Cleckheaton. Seriously, they are in a different league to everyone else around here that I’ve found! Seems a division of Capita, dealing with all things property wise, are short handed in their call centre, in the run up to Christmas at least. So, they’re looking for operators, to help with the tide of calls. Training this weekend, to start on Monday. No, not full training, but enough that we can deal with basic stuff, and pass on details as required. And only a month guaranteed. I showed cautious interest, given I can earn 1.5 times more (and a bit) in 2.5 weeks or so, on the trial, than I can for a month there, and I would have time to write, and things. But, its an offer…

So, this morning, I got a call from someone, telling me more, and asking details of what I’d done, and the like. Just inbound calls, nothing more, so… But, I’m still thinking, if I’m doing the trial, money wise, and interest wise, I’d prefer that. So I mention the subject, then ring the agency, and say what I’ve done. In the meantime, I try and contact my friend at the research place, to see if she’s heard any news. As you can see above, nothing definite yet.

So, when the agency rang me back this afternoon, to find out what the news was, I pretty much had to make a choice, there and then. Given that this morning, and again this afternoon, it was mentioned that with a decent performance, I would in all likelihood be kept on after the month, I’ve bitten the bullet, and said I’ll do it, take the job. Now, just waiting for confirmation officially of all this, which I should have tomorrow. So yes, you might get a bonus blog lol! Be a short one if I do, but…

Yes, I know I’m going to regret not doing the medical trial, I had really been looking forward to it, in so many ways. But practically, I’m being offered a job (maybe only for a month, but…) guaranteed, or I can say no, and hope I’m selected for the trial. So in the end, it had to be done. But you’re right, after a few false alarms in the past, I am not saying I have got a job, until I get that email tomorrow! Irony, its just around the corner from William Hill!

Ah well, doesnt look like I’ll be hypnotised either (that was Saturday morning), but at least I wont have to walk the street, looking for businesses that are no longer there!

Video, not the biggest Roxy Music hit, but an early song

Someone’s looking at me

And no, just at present, I don’t mean the Doctor’s at the Medical screening either. Yes, thats on hold at the moment, as I’m waiting to hear back on the results of all the tests I had done on me. Hopefully, they will all be OK, I will be selected, and it will happen, as I’m looking forward to the prospect of it.


Yes, in the meanwhile, and strictly, until I’m sure the big event is going to happen, I’m still job hunting. The two interviews last week, despite what I thought was a decent/good effort, joined the ‘no thanks’ club, unfortunately. Still, I will pick up the flag again, and fly tomorrow into another attempt to find honest employment. This is actually more of an Admin role, with some Customer Service thrown in, so would probably suit better, so fingers are crossed. Confidence still feels battered beyond belief, but at some point, I will pull through.

That also leads into another recruitment agency registration on Tuesday, the people I’m applying for this job through. Hopefully by Tuesday, its still needed! Though yes, you’re right, assuming I’m selected, I’d love to find a job now that only wants me after the clinical research trial, but…Yes, I know, the way my luck is…Fine, I’d love a job, regardless.

OK, last thing strictly on the job hunting front. One of the ‘promoted postings’ on Twitter came from a recruitment gentleman, stating this

If recruitment is important enough to get it right then trust a team to help you. We’ve been doing that since 1998

Clearly it was aimed mainly at employers, not people like me, but I put up a posting, asking if he fancied the challenge of finding something for little, unwanted me. Seems he did, I sent him my CV, and got an email back with a local agency to ring tomorrow. So yes, maybe social media really does work?

Mind, according to one dear friend on my other Facebook account, I’m going to be moving to LA in about 4 weeks, to live, and work. She might yet be proved right, who knows who might have seen my interview over there, and just be waiting their opportunity? I can’t see it, but it would be fantastic.

So far, the only other person looking at me this week, is the Doctor, tomorrow morning. Yes, I need to get that precious letter, so I can apply for my new passport, and become a woman, at the one place I’m currently not, and then that battle will be over, at least. I did sort of gather he may not be the biggest fan of me doing the research trial, when I spoke to him on the phone, about the request for my medical info, but there is no way he’s talking me out of that. The only things that can stop that are, a problem with my results, or, heaven forbid, getting a job that has a starting date before mid December. Yes, I know, the latter, stop laughing, it will happen sometime! 😛 Oh, forgot, there is one more this week. A hypnotherapist on Facebook (again, my other account) was offering reduced rate relaxation, and stress busting sessions, and I’m going to them on Saturday morning. Only £25, hopefully do some good, no harm should be done anyway. Unless they want to turn me into their hypno slave… about as likely as me getting a job at present lol!

Right, the video. One of the lesser Boomtown Rats hits.

Wired up, though not to be zapped.

Well, I dont know if any of my readers have ever had a full medical screening, in relation to going on clinical trials, or for any other reason, but now, I have! Really enjoyable experience, I must say, I only hope that the test results come back fine, and that I get selected to go on the actual trial now. If not, I’m sure a certain wonderful lady will be trying to find me something I can go on, even if the stay isnt quite as long. But hopefully, this will be the one…

OK, fine, dont laugh. The hardest thing this morning, the fact that I could only drink water in the last 6 hours before the screening. Yes, I know, I could, and did survive without coffee for that period, but it was hard! Someone here was trying to tell me it would do me good, but I still dont believe her. That first post screening coffee (free, at the screening place) may not have been the greatest cup of coffee of all time, but I didnt care!

Anyway, before we got there…

I actually got there a few minutes before planned, as for the first time ever, public transport ran smoothly, and got me there before the time the route planner said! Anyway, the lady on reception rang through to my contact, Ruth, and we met in person for the first time, as opposed to chatting on social media. Yes, she’s a lovely person, and I’m not just saying that because she’s going to read this. The guided tour impressed me, the facilities available, a comfortable bed in the ward, and everyone I met seemed nice. I was taken in a room where some ‘experiments’ are done, mainly in the sense of eating food in an isolated setting, and seeing how much people would eat. There was some interesting looking machine in there, but I cant now remember what Ruth said they used it for. Sounded interesting, but doubt it will get used on me, all the same. Well, fine, they want me as a clinical guinea pig, but besides that, I felt welcomed regardless of that.

Then, screening proper. All the relevant form filling, and signing, just to prove I was doing all this of my own free will, and nothing else. Breath test collected, urine test delivered, and then down to serious business. Yes, I really, really got wired up, and connected to a machine. Fine, it was an ECG machine, and those electrodes were taking readings from my heart, not zapping me in any way. It probably was longer than it felt that I was connected up, but it did seem very brief to me. But…

OK, then the fun bit. Well, I’m not sure fun was the right word, more like frustrating, but anyway. Yes, blood test. The lovely lady tried to find a vein, suitable for drawing some blood, from my right arm. Seriously, nothing suitable! Thankfully after a bit of effort, we found a vein on my left arm willing to give up blood, and problem was solved. Only downside, I’m told I wont be able to do any research involving IV’s in the future, as you need at least 1 good vein in each arm for that, shame!

And then, starvation over! Yes, allowed to eat and drink again, provided with a free sandwich, and hot drink. After that, a quick physical checkover from the Doctor, of my lungs, heart, and stomach, and then that was it. Finished my food and drink, signed out, and headed for home. Now all I can do, as I say, is await the results of the tests, and hopefully hear the good news that I’m selected for the course.

Lets just say the journey home wasnt as smooth as getting there, and leave it at that!

So fine, part of my reasoning for doing this, is the one that probably gets many people doing them, the money! Yes, I’m not down to my last farthing or anything, but a major boost to the bank account will be useful, all the same. But do you know what? At the same time, I said all along that I wanted to do something different, and interesting, and this definitely fits that bill.

Yes, seriously, you can pay me the money, I need it, if only for Christmas gifts and things. But to be honest, doing something like this is going to be a new experience in my life (if selected), and I’m really looking forward to finding out what its like to be a clinical guinea pig. Of course, if someone wants to upgrade the experiments, or do some surgery on a part I’d rather I didnt have, then great. But no, thats not going to happen, but I think the ‘real thing’ will be exciting too.

Would I be doing this, if it wasnt for some wonderful, and witty lady doing their social media? Maybe, I’d seen the adverts on Facebook before I spoke to her, and considered doing it, but she just settled the issue. So hopefully, 2 weeks tomorrow, I’ll be fasting again for a while!

Video, well, I was wired, though not for sound!

Who to thank for your mobile phones, and your internet? An actress!

101 years ago today, in Vienna, a baby girl was born. Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, in fact, a good Jewish baby. Well, I assume she was good, at least. You’re right, thats not the name she made herself famous with, as an actress, that was Hedy Lamarr. I’m not going to bore you with all the details of her movie career, and past history, if you want to read that, Wikipedia can guide you at

But during WW2, she patented something relating to frequency-hopping spread-spectrum, which helped the Allies to win the war. What wasnt known at the time, or indeed for about 40 years after, was the importance of this. Then companies started developing something called mobile phones, and guess what system they had to use to develop these devices? Yes, you’ve guessed it, frequency-hopping spread-spectrum! It was only when they tried to patent it, they discovered that they had been beaten to it, by over 40 years!

So they had to track down Hedy Lamarr, pay her off to gain the rights, and the rest is history. And yes, you guessed it, some of her other scientific work is how the internet developed. So the next time you ponder the scientific genius that allows you to make phone calls, or trawl the internet, just consider this. A movie actress helped to make all this possible!

See, not all actresses were just pretty faces!

If I was a Carpenter, I could build Harlean’s house!

Alright, I’ll attempt to write a fairly short blog (I know!) just to let you know the news, I have finally got around to requesting the deed poll certificate in my new name. Yes, it had to wait until I got back from the US to get it done, as I didnt want any fun flying to LA, and back, but now its done. Seemingly, if I’d kept it to myself (and close friends), I could have done it beforehand, as its only when you officially present the paperwork to the authorities that it becomes formal, but anyway…all sorted now, and done.

And yes, the clue to the chosen first name is in the blog title, eventually I settled on the one that I really wanted in the first place, despite my concerns about the name match, to some degree. But in the end, I knew I had to do it, so…

Last night, I ordered the deed poll certificate in my new name, Miss Harlean Stephanie Carpenter. I’m guessing most who know me will carry on calling me Steph, or Stephanie, and lets face it, I might take a little while to get used to anyone actually calling me Harlean anyway lol! But I’ll enjoy it when they do! Now, if anyone can transform me to look like the original Harlean (Harlow) Carpenter, I’d appreciate it!

I did it now, on the grounds I’m either going to be in a job in the next couple of weeks, and not needing a passport for ID anywhere, or I’m going to be doing my clinical research trial, and not needing a passport for a while, for ID purposes at job interviews! Once I get the certificates, I’ll need to go to the doctor’s surgery, and get my name changed, at which point I’ll request the letter from him, confirming I’ve lived as a woman for 5 years, have no plans to do otherwise in the future, and then apply for the passport, as a woman! Yes, the last element of maleness will be gone! 🙂

I might still get the Gender Recognition Certificate at some point, though given the passport is the last thing that shows me as male, its a moot point. I really couldnt justify the cost at present (£140), though maybe when I (finally) get a job, or the money from the research trial, I might just get it done anyway, as a true last step to being a woman.

Anyone wanting to like this news, or congratulate me, would be nice.

Fine, lastly, the video. Yes, the clue is in the title, focus on the first part. Fine, I cant see anyone offering to marry me, and I’m definitely not having any babies, but otherwise…

Impressed, and intrigued at the interview, so I’m going back.

As people know, strictly, I’ve been job hunting since April. Fine, I didnt try very hard in April, due to the fact that I knew I was away for the 2nd half of the month in LA, and no one was likely to start employing me before I got back. Then yes, again, in much of September I was doing similarly, a week in New England, and then due to 4 weeks in LA I was going to be doing, all of which meant that in October, I really wasnt trying at all. I did send in a few applications in the last few days before I came back, but otherwise…

The rest of the time though, I’ve been trying hard, and finding it a trying experience. Mind, whether the break has done me good, just maybe, as I did a phone interview tonight for a job, and found it an absolute stroll. Mind, they didnt ask any competency based questions, so that might have helped lol!

Anyway, lets go back a few months, in the very early days of job hunting. As was known back then, and still holds up to a great degree today, I’m looking for something new, a different challenge. Fine, its generally all call centre stuff, but not the betting industry. And one I saw, and took my eye, was for the call centre at a medical research place in Leeds. Ticked the boxes, something interesting, something fresh, so I took my chance…and blew it!

Yes, as I said, it was the early days, I really wasnt well prepared for all those competency based questions (some would say my skills are still limited, including myself), and I didnt perform all that well, and therefore, didnt get the job. But in the interim, after the interview, and before I left, I got a tour of the office side of things, and was duly impressed by the set up. And fine, at the time, I did think to myself that if I was ever going to volunteer for medical trials, it looked a nice place to go. Not that I know what others look like, but anyway…I didnt go any further with it at the time, and went back to job hunting, with little joy, and sort of forgot about things, like volunteering to do a medical trial.

Then in September (not sure if it was before, or after the New England trip), on Facebook appeared an advert for said medical research place, looking for people willing to do study checks. So, out of curiosity at first, I ‘liked’ their page. What I discovered was that the person (or persons) doing their page there, clearly loved her job, and made it entertaining to read their posts, not boring, as so many businesses are. So I got to thinking again, maybe I should go ahead and do it? So I enquired whether transgender people were fine for these (rather assuming I would have to do one open to both genders), she checked, and yes, it was fine, as I’m not doing hormones, or anything (I suppose I should be grateful to Leeds NHS for being useless for something lol), so I can go ahead and do it, and now I am. Yes, booked in for my screening next Thursday, for a trial starting towards the end of the month.

Actually a trial that holds special interest for me, as its related to an arthritis treatment. Yes, thats right, the old girl with stiff joints, trying a new treatment for arthritis, what could be more apt? OK, fine, the money I’m getting paid for this will be handy, both for continuing to be able to pay rent, and to buy Christmas presents and the like, though I’m not broke…yet! But yes, regardless of that, doing something like this really appeals, so I only hope now I finally pass an ‘interview’ (the screening), and am able to do it.

Oh, and that lady doing the Facebook (and as I have since discovered, Twitter) pages, she’s even more of a character than I thought, and I’m really looking forward to meeting her on the day of my screening.

Who knows, maybe they can arrange to trial me on a drug that makes you sail through competency based questions testing, that would be handy! Then I might cinch a job afterwards, beginning to need it!

Right, lastly, the video. Well, I thought this kind of apt. Thompson Twins, back on stage? Well, Tom Bailey is at least, great news.