Thursday, October 23, 2014

PERSONAL BLOG: Claimant Commitmentt Time/First JCP Since WP

On Monday of this week I had my first proper advisor appointment at Jobcentre Plus. To give you some idea of the sort of anxiety this caused I was up there in the JCP some 20 minutes early to calm myself down and steel myself for the various inescapable arguments. The Claimant Commitment stuff had not been done beforehand because amazingly they wanted us to blind sign it without any negotiation.

Once we got started I realised that this wasn’t going to be all that easier than dealing with advisers at the Work Programme. There is still a lot of being treated like a child and not a person no looking at things for instance I had to correct something about my CV even though he had it a copy of it right there that he could look at.

Things got interesting when the Claimant Commitment came up for ‘negotiation’ I put those quotes because he wasn’t interested in any negotiation more intimidation but to be fair I have come up against those who have been worse both in the JCP on while on the Work Programme.

Basically to cut a long back and forth short I have just spent the last few days working on my challenge to the Claimant Commitment which I will be handing in next week. Not sure if it is going to result in them stopping my benefits so I am cutting back on everything and hoping to weather any storm.

I’ve written a letter challenging aspects of the Claimant Commitment this is the summary that I want agreed. If you want some help with the letter you can drop me a comment and we’ll sort something out but I recommend unemployment movement and/or JSSA (Job Seekers Sanction Advice) they have helped me countless times.

I will use jobsites and employer websites to find and apply for jobs I can do.
Suggestion 3-4 times per week
I will ensure I have an up to date CV that I can tailor for jobs I apply for.
I will respond promptly to contacts and notifications from employers and jobsites

I’m not sure if I am going to get a sanction but hopefully I will find out on my first JCP Signing Monday and/or my next proper appointment on Wednesday I of course will keep you posted.

If you're having Work Programme or JCP feel free to talk in generalities in the comments ideally not using your real name because you're only a Google away from getting into trouble but the community is here to help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


This weekend Rachel Caine and Geek & Sundry will be presenting the World Premiere of Morganville: The Web Series based on the Best Selling YA book series Morganville Vampires at London Comic Con.

Despite recent posts of a more sombre nature this Blog is happiest when I’m writing about cool books and cool shows so imagine how happy I get when the two combine and it works out. This weekend over on this side of the Atlantic down in London Town we have London Comic Con, I don’t have the time or the proper knowledge to tell you everything that is going down there but one thing I am really interested in is the World Premiere of Morganville Vampires: The Series.

I’ve been a fan of this ever since I randomly saw a post about it on another books forum and thought “a town run by vampires, colour me INTRIGUED” so a trip to a well known online store and some listening later (I can’t recommend the first four audiobooks enough) and I knew I would be a fan till the end which was great because I had a lot of books to get caught up on.

What is Morganville Vampires about well I would tell you it is about a super smart and somewhat sheltered but brilliant young girl scared out of her dorms who stumbles on the secret her college town is hiding when she moves into the town proper. It is run by Vampires.

With the help of her three friends Claire Danvers struggles to survive and grows up in ways she couldn’t imagine as she delves into the secrets of Morganville. It has crazy science, horror, friendship and some of the best dialogue I have read in a YA novel.

I freely admit I was late to the series after Harry Potter, Twilight and Alex Cross reminded me that reading was awesome. I had a look and this was the first time I properly mentioned Morganville Vampires in my blog.

To give you some idea of my love of all things Morganville, Texas I have linked some reviews I posted on my blog.

You can find out about Rachel Caine’s appearance along with some of the cast from the show here

Well enough waffling from me check out the Trailer below then if you can’t get to Comic Con make sure to check it out on its Geek & Sundry Premiere on 27th October.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Work Programme Returners

At my last monthly Seetec appointment I was given an appointment for the jobcentre about a month or so in the future. I was told it was a small group session in a small sort of mini-office where us Work Programme types used to go to sign.

I arrived a little early and was let in at 9:00am which was the time of the appointment. There were five of us in the group meeting with an advisor who identified himself of one of a group of three advisors who deal with us Ex-WP people.

The first thing he did was talk about what we could expect the different options for what we might be expected to do but you guys know that daily signings, various courses and/or 30 hours a week Community Placements which is controlled by Seetec FYI.

After this the next thing was that the advisor handed us all Claimant Commitments and asked us to look over them and after assuring us that we could negotiate it asked us all to sign them. I said I was not happy to sign at that time and you could tell the advisor was less than pleased but after a while I think he realised that I wasn’t going to budge so told me to take it away for the first proper appointment. He also said something about legally I have to have a signed CC before my first appointment so maybe he might be setting me up for a wrongful sanction.

The Claimant Commitment also has the Jobseeker Profile on the back of it but makes it clear that it is not part of the CC. Then we were told that it was mandatory to go to this site and do one of the modules. I can’t put into words how condescending this site is, it reminded me of some of those videos from the 90s that Seetec using on their Elvis site.

Then we went on to talk about My Work Plan. There was a heavy move almost badgering to try and get us to use Universal Job Match. Then he went on to talk about the fact that steps were no longer acceptable which didn’t make a lot of sense but served to try and scare the crap out of us about how much time we spend job searching.

Oh we got taken on a tour of the Jobcentre’s computers and how to use them which requires use of our emails to sign on mention of whether not they record everything we do there also of interest is the fact there are no phones at the Jobcentre now so if you want to call someone and don’t have credit you’re shit out of luck, the advisor saying “well everything is online now”.

The last thing of interest was being told to bring in my CV which I have no problem with but I will not be leaving them with a copy after all the rubbish I went through at Seetec. Hope this helps for people coming up to the end of his sentence on Work Programme.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ultra Street Fighter IV Training

So I have been playing Ultra Street Fighter IV and trying to get to grips with the changes from Arcade Edition. I am also trying to learn some new characters, my current main is Juri. My aim is to play like this.

Obviously I am nowhere near this level but I am training and slowly getting better. I play on the PS3 which posed some problems at first with that official controller. So I did some research and managed to find a half decent alternative for a pretty low price.

It does take some configuring to use it properly and it took me ages to figure it out because I haven’t had a PS3 for all that long. The secret to getting the Sega Saturn USB controller to work on Ultra Street Fighter IV is to configure it as the first controller and obviously to have a proper PS3 controller of some description (one with a PS button) handy to navigate.

The result is a controller a heck of a lot cheaper than a £100 joystick. It is kind of scary though to make use of a copy of a control pad I used more than 15 years ago. A control pad that was a copy of an earlier pad that is 20 years old (give me a second so I can go cry).

(UPDATE) Yep it is broke. It always felt a bit flimsy but not 3 months flimsy. Nevermind I picked up an adaptor which is supposed to be lag free so I can use my old Sega Saturn controllers (I have like 3 or so) should be here by next week.

Anyway I have a couple of videos of me playing below.

Juri VS Poison

Juri VS Evil Ryu

You can find me training most likely in the evenings on PSN USFIV (UK Time) searching for opponents who are not lagging like hell. So far my best rank is D+ though I am not entirely sure how ranking and battle points work.

What games are you playing online? Yes even you COD types can talk about how awesome you are should you feel it necessary.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


A while ago I told you about a Chinese mobile phone of mine that developed a fault and the fact that the Amazon Marketplace business (WMicroUK) who sold it to me decided not to honour the 1 year warranty that I purchased it with ignoring my emails and any interventions from the Amazon team.

The Phone itself was pretty solid it just developed a touch screen fault which I expect is reasonably common.

Well after about 3 months I finally just got the confirmation through from the credit card company telling me that they accepted the chargeback and will be refunding the payment. Yeah that is a heck of a long time but for someone on a very tight budget the outlay for the phone (£130) was a lot of money even though in theory it would be a saving over most contracts if it had lasted a year.

If you’re in a similar position having bought something from Ebay, Amazon or other online retailers you need to know your rights. An electronic device is expected to have a certain life before developing faults my phone had only lasted 7 months and it is reasonably that a phone should 1 if not 2 years.

I used these links to help me out and eventually went with the chargeback option hope this helps someone.

You should also have a look at Section 75 which can help.

Monday, September 22, 2014


So I got stopped by the police today which certainly hasn't happened in quite some time. So to fill in the details it happened just after 10 in the morning while I was on my way to an appointment when these two guys stopped me, I don’t live in the nicest place so I was wondering if this whole situation was going to go south but the men identified themselves as police officers (plain clothed seemed weird but whatever).

They had a lot of questions including:
·         Where are you going (remember it is 10 in the morning)
·         Where are you coming from?
·         Where do you live?
·         How long have you lived there?
·         Do you have documents on you to prove you live there?

I felt that this was more than a lot of prying especially as they hadn’t given me a reason to stop me and didn’t stop anyone else who passed while we were talking. They also treated me like a threat all the way through speaking to me with one in front of me and one off to my side so I could not see both men at once. When I opened my messenger bag to get my notepad to take their details the guy in front of me moved closer like I was going for a weapon or something.

To be honest I had no plans on giving them any evidence (bills etc.) to show my home that speaks way too much of the “Papers please” nonsense that is best left out of any country claiming to be democratic and free but when I pulled out my notepad there was a prescription slip in it that they pretty much grabbed it off me. However, that was not enough for them and they called in my details to have them checked out centrally. After that went through they finally let me go on my way. No reason given for stopping me and no receipt for the questioning (someone reminded me that I really should have asked for one of those).

In case you ever get stopped by the police I added a couple of links below that you might want to read through. Oh and I did make a complaint not sure if it will go anywhere but you have to register your grievance when people do something you think is wrong. That's all from me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Well maybe not the very best but perhaps a contender. What am I talking about? Well as you might know I got a PS3 a little more than a year ago and have not had much use out of it after I finished Sleeping Dogs (which was EXCELLENT) so I had been looking for a game I could really get into. I decided to back to my formative gaming years and picked up Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. I figured I was good enough at Street Fighter Alpha but I was not prepared for all the changes and updates over those years.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about starting a YouTube channel or in reality adding videos to one of the channels that I already have. Unfortunately if I wanted to make gameplay videos like a lot of people out there I found it wasn’t going to be cheap so I’ve mostly been looking at game capture devices but I am still doing my research to see which is worth the cost of investment.

For now though I have been playing SSFIV: AE (with a standard PS3 controller – NIGHTMARE) and trying to get a good understanding of one or two characters. Obviously for those that follow the community Ultra Street Fighter IV is the current game so I am looking to pick that up next week I especially need it because I want to see if I can ‘Main’ one of the new characters.

I’ve been researching the fighting game scene and it is a little complex much like the game itself on first glance I hope to head to a tournament in the next month to get an idea of how things are. At the very least it seems like I’ll have to research a multi-platform joypad or fighting stick as the tournaments tend to be X-BOX only.

Anyway if you were wondering which character I started training with first then the pictures should tell you a story. I hope to go for at least three characters to be comfortable with, in say a couple of months and I’ll probably post up my gamer tag after I do some security research on that, nothing wrong with paranoia.

So what fighting games do you play? Or perhaps used to play? Answer in the comments.
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