VISIT THE HIPPY'S NEW SITE: Spend some time chilling out with the hippy...He used to be "the most shroomtastic stoner on the internet!" until the UK banned fresh magic mushrooms. He's still "the biggest internet celebrity you've never heard of!" He'll make you laugh, he'll make you think...he'll make you wish you were a hippy too!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

If you recall, I was spending today at the offices of one of my prospective employers, training on their computer systems. It went very well.

The gentleman who trained me was very nice, he is a veteran of the job I will be doing. He said I was easy to teach. He was right, in as much as I have used the same system in the past and it was all pretty familiar to me.

In general, it was a very undemanding day. I arrived for 11am, my usual 10 minutes early. I listened to a mini-disc while I was travelling; today's selection on the outbound portion of my journey was "Absolution" by Muse. It rocks, and is a powerful choice of hard-edged, emotive music.

There's something very satisfying about listening to music while travelling on public transport; it's like starring in your own personal music video. Everything seems to “quantize” itself to the beat of whatever song is on your headphones, it makes for a very surreal experience. That's good, I can cope with surreal.

Everything about this possible new employer is organized; it's a very big and well-known company. I am sure you could work out who it is, if you really wanted.

The gentleman doing the training collected me from reception and brought me into their offices, which are massive. He briefed me about what we would cover and he was pleased to see I knew about the software. I think of myself as being fairly computer literate and I picked up on the new bits quite quickly.

He was very optimistic and encouraging about my future with this firm. He said there would be tons of work, more than I was promised. He also said that the guy who brought me in his known for his "talent" spotting; being recruited by him is a very good thing. I may have a future with this company, though I don't want to jump the gun and get too excited.

We broke for lunch and I got a building-pass photo taken. It was a digital camera, so the guy making the pass offered to let me approve the snap. I said what I always say after the first one, "that's as good as it gets."

It's true, I am not the best looking guy on the face of the planet. I'm average, very average indeed. If you passed me on the street, I doubt I would even register, except maybe that I am a little fat. That wasn't true a month ago when my hair was verging on a proper hippy-length, but today it's quite short. Dressed smartly, well as smartly as I can do with my substandard wardrobe, I blend in with the other slugs commuting to work.

After getting my photo taken, I had the chance to wander the building a bit. I found several of the many canteens and cafeterias, the shops, the dry-cleaner and most importantly, the smoking areas outside. As an enthusiastic consumer of tobacco, I was pleased to find out that there's a place to go for a quick puff. It might even be cool to have a sneaky spliff out there at night as well, but I won’t push my luck till I am sure. Someone mentioned a smoking room inside as well, but that will need to be discovered another day.

I finally decided on which canteen to have my lunch, it offered a pretty basic selection of institutional British food, but it was passable. A full turkey dinner with all the trimmings was bland, but only cost £4.50, so I'm not complaining. I wolfed it down and returned to finish my training.

We only continued for another hour, we covered the ins and outs of Microsoft Outlook, which is a piece of piss, since I have used it before. I thanked the gentleman kindly for his time and encouragement and jumped back on the tube for the return trip back to north london.

Musical selection for the return: No-one Ever Really Dies, which you might also know as N.E.R.D. I know I have mentioned them already, but I am still in awe of their latest album, "Fly or Die". I can hear Prince, Hendrix and loads of other influences in the music, it's fantastic. I am still down with N.E.R.D.

I walked through my front door at 3:30pm, so it was quite a short day for me, but I'm not complaining. All of this is helping to ease me back into the routine of working. It’s a bit like gently putting your toes in the water, to get used to the temperature, before diving in head first.

Tomorrow I'm up and out early again, this time to sign-on. As far as I know, unpaid training should not effect my dole, though if things keep moving in this direction, I'll be signing back off in no time.

I think I should try to find an accountant next week, as I've never formally been freelance before and it seems like a bit of a tax nightmare to me. Schedule D - yikes! The theory is that doing this will mean I pay less tax, which can't be bad. I'll also be able to deduct my expenses from my earnings, pre-tax, so that should save me some dosh as well.

If I do this right, I'll be working less and earning more, the hippy in me likes the sound of that very much! Anyone think it will really be that good?

That is pretty much my day covered, it was a lot like the first day in a new school. At least the bad kids didn’t beat me up and steal my lunch money.

And until next time, I remain your faithful northlondonhippy. Dig it!

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