Day Eight Hundred and Twenty of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Late Morning Start

I had stayed up late, working on my new computer last night. I’m in a painful learning curve right now, going from a Mac back to a windows based laptop. I’m also having to learn Windows 8.1, which now is quite frustrating for me.

I didn’t get up until almost 8:30 AM which is unusual for me. I was supposed to go over to a friends’ house to help with their videos and computer today. When I checked my email, I saw that they had sent me an email at 6:30 AM and had expected me at 9 AM!

Later Arrival to Friends

I still had to do some computer work before I could leave. I had to make sure that I had emptied my memory disks that I was taking there. I also packed up my new laptop in case I needed it as well. I also had to charge my camera battery and bring the charger with me.

I wasn’t sure how long we would be working on the videos and computer there. I wanted to make sure that I had every piece of equipment that I might need. I wasn’t sure what they would have either.

I had to also gather up all of the home videos that I have. I’ve had them in a safe place and now I need to find them and bring them with me. By the time I packed everything up, it was almost ten.

Video Conversion

We both have old home videos that we want to convert to digital files. My friend went to a photography shop, who charged $50 to create a DVD. I had looked at the results and was not at all impressed. He ran the video and I took a video of it with my digital camera. The results were better and it was free!

Today, we would have a set up with a tripod as well. I had 41 family videos. My place isn’t large enough to do a good job, nor do I have a large screen. And I am hopelessly inept at running those old projectors.

My friends have sold their house so we are under a time pressure to do it now before they move. They also want to get rid of their films, projector and screen. Today is the best time.

Old Memories

As we went through all of those old home movies, I marvelled at how much technology has improved since then. I wondered if there was some kind of business I could start. There must be lots of families who want to convert their old home movies to digital–or not.

I was getting quite sentimental as I looked at these old home movies. A lot of the people in these movies are long gone. I didn’t recognize a lot of people. I need to ask my Dad since he was the family videographer. I’m going to post them on youtube under the private setting and then send the link to family and friends.

It took us all day, but we finished. Now, we are free to discard of the films. I want to make sure that all the digital files are okay and make a back up, too. It’ll be hard for me to just throw it all away.

Getting Rid of More Stuff

In addition to getting rid of the home movies, I have a lot of old CDs, DVDs and even VCR tapes I should get rid of. It’ll take a long time, but I’ll have to start digitizing all of my CDs. I did buy a gadget to convert the VCR tapes but wonder if it’s worth the bother. I wonder if there’s even a market for any of them.

I’m going to do some research on Craigslist and eBay to see if it’s even worth the bother of trying to sell any of it or if I should just donate it all. Now that I have my new computer, it should take less time so that’s good.

Day Eight Hundred and Nineteen of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Call to Wardrobe Department

As soon as I got up, I called the Costumes department of the production I am booked for next week. They did not answer their phone so I left a message with somebody. I knew that I would be in and out today so I hoped that they wouldn’t get too frustrated trying to get in touch with me.

When I did get in touch, they gave me a list of what I could bring. They also asked me for my measurements and it was embarrassing to hear that they were bigger than when I had last given them to my agent. I hope that I don’t have to wear a uniform because I might not be able to fit it!

Approval for Mystery Shop Today

I got the email from my mystery shop company approving me to do today’s shop with the bonus and to do it solo if I can’t find anybody to go with me. They usually prefer for a shop to be done with another person. In extenuating circumstances they will allow a person to do it alone.

Frantic Calls to Friends to no Avail

I did make an effort to find somebody to go with me today. Some of my friends are working at lunch time, some are away for the long weekend or going to leave early, some are already busy with something else. I probably called ten people with no luck.

Ran to Restaurant

Since I’m on a roll after yesterday’s longer runs, I decided to run to the restaurant. It took me longer than usual. The sidewalk that I have to run on through Stanley Park and across the Lion’s Gate Bridge is full of cyclists who ride a little too close to me for comfort. I got to the restaurant later than I had hoped but I did feel like I burned a few more calories to justify what I will eat.

Easy Mystery Shop

Now that I’ve done a few mystery shops with this company, I feel more comfortable. And since I’m dining by myself today, I don’t have to worry about being distracted by anybody, too. It wasn’t too busy, as well.

Because I am dining alone, I can be a little more extravagant with what I order. Today, I order a big juicy steak among the other requirements. The service is great so I’m happy about that as well. I’m in and out of the place in 75 minutes.

Spotting a Fire

I’m so full that I can’t run to the sea bus terminal. I’m walking along when I stop and see a fire in the middle of the street on the median! At first I’m a little confused, is there a fire there on purpose? Like some display? This median has tall grass, a special landscaping that is decorative rather than plain grass.

But no, a cyclist has also stopped. Apparently, a careless driver has tossed their cigarette out the window and it has started a fire in the tall grass. I saw two large wet cardboard signs on the sidewalk so I went over to try to stamp the fire out but the flames climbed to over six feet. The cyclist advised me to stop and said that the fire department was coming.

A car stopped and gave me their water bottle and told me to throw it on the fire but that did little. An office worker had spotted it from their building a brought a fire extinguisher. That got it out partly and then the fire truck arrived.

I get so angry with smokers like that. I see lots of smokers who toss their still lit cigarettes on the street when they are walking, too! I couldn’t believe how fast the cigarette had started that fire.

Stupid Customer Story for Geek Squad

I was so happy to have finally bought my new computer. I tried to use it yesterday but for some reason, the lid was locked. I tried everything that I could, but it would not budge. I even googled from my old laptop what I might do but didn’t come up with anything.

I stopped at the store where I bought it and went to the laptop that I had bought to see if I could ask one of the staff how to open it. But the display laptop was different. It had no latch. I wondered if I had gotten a different laptop! I went to ask and they advised me to bring it in.

I was really tired but I went home and returned to the store with it. The IT guy took it out of the box and flipped it open. I was speechless. I had been trying to open the back of the laptop. I was so used to having a latch on my laptop for years.

I felt like the biggest idiot ever. I told him that he now had a good story to tell about the stupidest customer who was trying to open her laptop from the back and didn’t think to try the front. I couldn’t wait to get out of the store…I still can’t believe I did that.


Day Eight Hundred and Eighteen of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Early Morning Run to UBC

It’s been a while since I did a longer run so I was looking forward to this run to UBC that I usually do every week. I thought that I might have some difficulty running uphill after slacking off for the last while. I wondered if my pace would be super slow, too.

I had a good run. It was not too hot, so that was good. My pace wasn’t as slow as I thought I might be either. I just did a nice, steady relaxed pace. It wasn’t overly easy but not too difficult either.

Volunteer Gig

It’s been quite quiet on campus because of summer holidays. Today, there were clusters of groups taking orientation tours. The students looked quite young. I was a little alarmed because their parents looked a little young (compared to me!) as well! Ah, old age marches on.

The next week when I am volunteering, it will be a totally different atmosphere. It will be packed with students. I will have to dodge between students on my run here. I’m not looking forward to it.

Ran Downtown

After a short break after running home from UBC, I ran downtown. I felt pretty good in the 11 mile run in the morning and now I would run the 3 miles downtown. I’m a little proud of myself for being able to run well considering I haven’t run that far in the last week. I guess this is my muscle memory kicking in. Today, my total would be around 18 miles.

Two More Movies

I went downtown to go see two more movies tonight. My free movie passes expire on Sunday and I can’t use them on Friday or Saturday. I was running out of movies to see so I went to see Expendables 3 and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Both were just fine. I hadn’t seen the first 2 Expendables and it didn’t seem to matter. I had actually worked on the last Planet of the Apes a few years ago. I was amazed with the CGI on this one. I have one movie pass left. I’ll use it on Sunday.

Phone Message from Costumes Department

When I got home, there was a message from my Extras Agent saying that I had been picked for a gig next week and then another from the costumes department of said production. Of course, I didn’t even check my messages when I was in the movies.

By the time I got the message, they had closed. I’ll have to call them in the morning to confirm what they want me to wear. I may be given a costume or I may have to take wardrobe for them to approve.

Last Minute Mystery Shop

I saw one email from the mystery shop company’s scheduler after midnight. It offered a generous bonus for anybody who could do a last-minute shop tomorrow, Friday. I was free tomorrow and I would love to get that bonus.

I emailed her and said that I wanted to be considered for that shop. I think that they may have trouble filling it because of the long weekend. So many people leave early. To my surprise, she responded right away!

There were two issues, one, I’m already booked to do a shop this Sunday and usually you are only allowed to do one shop a week. And two, I wasn’t sure if I could find a dining companion at the last-minute. I said that if I could get an exception for those two, I would love to do it. I waited over night, hoping that it would get approved.

Day Eight Hundred and Seventeen of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Last Nooner Yoga

This is the last free yoga summer class put on by Lululemon. I can’t believe that summer is almost over. It was so nice to run downtown and then do an outside yoga class in the view of the mountains and water.

Today’s class attracted hundreds of people. Unfortunately, many of them did not hear about this free summer class until this very last class. The instructor did announce that it is likely that they will have the same program next year, so that’s good at least.

Friend Fighting for Actor Upgrade

I have been helping my fellow actor friend compose a letter asking for an actor upgrade on her last production. She had been hired as a special ability extra, which means that whatever the role is, it takes more skill and they are paid accordingly higher. After working on the production, she realized that what they had asked her to do was more of an actor’s role.

A lot of times, a production will have a role which is clearly an actor’s role but counts on the extra either not realizing it or not having the courage to speak up about it. It saves them money. In order to try to get an upgrade, it can be a really stressful process which involves the union, agent and production.

Sometimes, the extra does not want to run the risk of offending the casting director or the production. They might get the reputation of being a trouble maker. I urged my friend to try for it even though I warned her that it would be a lot of work.

I have applied for upgrades. One I got and the other I did not. I am glad that I stood up for myself. I don’t agree with the production that said that it was not an actor’s role but I did fight it as much as I could.

Message from Extras Agent

I got a message from my extras agent about the very same production my friend is fighting for her upgrade! My role is for a housekeeper. This is the second housekeeper I have been. My days of playing a young ingénue are long gone obviously.

I did not get picked for the other two-day gig. But I also got submitted for a car TV commercial. I have worked on this one before and it was a perfect day where I worked in a community garden and got paid several hundreds of dollars for only two hours of work. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the TV commercial for sue!

Movie Marathon Number Two

I had my second night of movies, using up my movie vouchers. This time I saw three movies again, all in a row. I was pretty tired by the end of the night.

I still have another three movies to go before the offer ends this Sunday. I should have started this weeks ago so I wouldn’t have to cram it all in, in a few days! Oh well, I’m such a procrastinator.

Day Eight Hundred and Sixteen of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Met Up with Old Co-Worker

I met up with my old co-worker. We usually meet every week but she was on holidays and then she had to go down to the US to take care of a family emergency. Her 37-year-old cousin had a brain aneurysm, miraculously survived that and then stroked out in the hospital. She’s going to be fine but is still in the hospital.

When something like that happens, so unexpected and disastrous, it really makes you think about how precarious life can be. I don’t take my good health for granted, especially when I hear about things like this. I feel even more vulnerable because I am alone and my family is so far away.

Mystery Shopping Assignment

I wanted to do one more mystery shopping gig before the end of the month. I saw one come up and got booked on it. They were offering a bigger bonus than usual and it may be because it has to be done during the long weekend.

I asked my friend who has not been out on a shop with me yet and luckily, she is in town. Of all my friends, I think that she will be the best suited to the job. She is very detail-oriented and observant of service when we go out to other restaurants. I’m glad that she can make it.

Hoarders Meeting

I attended my first hoarders meeting today. I ‘graduated’ from one program last year and then took a different one this spring which just finished. Now, there are these monthly 90 minute meetings attended by the past ‘graduates’.

I recognized 3 others in this group who had been in this past group. One girl had been in both programs with me. I was surprised to hear that some of the older members of this monthly group have been attending for years!

I think that it is a good idea for me to attend these meetings as much as I can. Despite having had taken two programs already now, I still have a long way to go as far as getting rid of things.

Still No Word on Jobs

I am still holding out on getting two days work the next week. I have not heard anything back from my extras agent. I thought that they would have some idea by now, but apparently not. In the meantime, I know that some of my friends have been working.

I saw the TV commercial that I had auditioned for but lost out to, by a friend. I have to admit that my friend did a good job. But still, it’s hard to get these constant reminders on TV about jobs lost.

Movie Marathon Part One

I have to get rid of a ton of movie passes by the end of the month. So tonight, I watched three movies in a row. I saw 100 Mile Journey, Boyhood and Magic in the Moonlight. The first two were good but the last, the latest Woody Allen movie was awful. I kept wanting to fall asleep. I wish I hadn’t seen it. I have three more passes tomorrow.

Day Eight Hundred and Fifteen of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Cross border Shopping

It’s been months since I’ve been down to Bellingham, across the border. I’ve always had friends offering to pick up my mail for me so I hadn’t bothered. But now, I have banking issues that need to be sorted, in person, so I have to go down.

Met Old Work Friend 

I met an old co-worker from my last firm. She lives just across the border. She crosses the border three times a week to work! I got to the border at the time we had arranged but I was stunned to see the long line even for NEXUS, the express border line! I was 20 minutes late! I can’t believe that there are so many people go across on a Monday morning!

Banking Problems Solved

I opened a US bank account almost 15 years ago when I was selling on eBay. Back then, it was important to have one when dealing with paypal. Even after I had stopped selling on eBay, I maintained the account, only keeping a small amount in it at any time. Now that I’m going to resume selling, I need to make sure that I have everything ready.

It was originally a no-charge bank account but now I have been paying U$39 a year. In addition to that, I would get charged U$5 every month that I didn’t make 8 transactions. And I’d also get charged a fee if I used my overdraft protection, too, regardless of the amount. They were nickel and diming me to death. I had tried inquiring about finding a cheaper account but I was told that there were none.

I opened a US bank account with my Canadian bank that is head quartered in the US. That way, I could transfer money to that account online. But, I found out that it charges me U$4 a month! So I tried one more time at my present US bank to see if there was anything that they could do for me.

Luckily, I got a person who actually gave a damn and found me a no-charge account. I wouldn’t have the minimum number of transactions requirement. I wouldn’t have checks which was fine since I never wrote them. And I wouldn’t have to pay U$39 a year.

Although I was happy to get this changed, I was a bit annoyed that nobody ever bothered to find this account before when I was asking. I have paid so much in fees lately and this all could have been avoided had I had this new account.

Pick Up Computer

After I returned from the US, I rushed over to the store I had bought my computer from yesterday. I actually paid for the service to make my computer ready. I don’t usually have to because my brother does that for me, but he won’t be here until Xmas. I can’t believe that I finally have a new computer after almost 8 years!

Lost Out on Audition Opportunity

There was a message on my machine when I got back. It was from a casting director who wanted to check if I was available for an audition tomorrow! Unfortunately, he called me after I had left for the day. I never check my messages when I’m in the US because it costs so much! I tried calling my friend to tell her I’d be late and I got her answering machine and those few seconds cost U$2!

Because of that, he didn’t book me and I lost out on the chance. Oh well. I emailed him to apologize. I so seldom go down to the states that it’s not worth it for me to get a US plan or phone for just that rare time somebody will need to get in touch with me.

Lost Out on TV Commercial

I got an email from my agent, too. She said that I was not picked for the TV commercial that I was so hoping for. Again, oh well. What can you do. This constant rejection is hard on a person. I need to get something soon or I’ll lose all confidence.

Day Eight Hundred and Fourteen of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Slept In

My usual early morning free yoga class was cancelled this week so I got to sleep in. I have been pretty tired from all the early morning volunteering that I have been doing for the half-marathon. I was looking forward to sleeping in. And yet I some how woke up early, my regular time!

Lots of Plans, None Done

I had toyed with a lot of plans today. At first I was going to do a long run in the morning. I was thinking maybe 20 miles. But as the morning crept on, I changed my plans. I would run downtown and then use up one of my movie passes that will expire soon.

Then I scrapped that idea when I got a last minute dinner invitation from friends. I decided that I would run to the store, finally buy my computer and then bring it back to break it in. After that, I would run over to their place for dinner.

Another TV Commercial Submission

I got an email from my extras agent this afternoon, asking me if I wanted to be submitted for a union Post Office commercial. Sure! I haven’t worked in a while and it’s starting to make me feel really anxious.

My friends have been working, some more than others. I know that I’m not the least busy but I’m far from the most busy either. This would be a great gig because it’s union and those jobs tend to pay better. I’m crossing my fingers.

Computer Purchase-Finally!

I ran the short distance to the computer store. It was a pretty nice day, a little breezy and sunny. I didn’t notice any other runners along the way. I think that most people are avoiding the sun from 10 to 2.

I’ve researched this computer thing to death now. I can’t do it anymore. I just have to put a little faith into it. I hope that I’ll luck out and get a computer that will last me seven years, just like my last one.

I saw the salesperson who had helped me last time so I asked to see him. I felt comfortable with him. He’s around my age, the easiest way to tell is that he is constantly putting on and taking off his glasses! That’s so common with those of us fifty-something.

He found the laptop I had decided on. He had remembered from my last visit. He also recommended a tune up that was on special from $99 to $60. That would take off all of the pre-loaded programs and add a lot of others like video players, security programs, etc.

In the past, my brother has done that, but since he won’t be here until xmas, I might as well pay the $60. At this point I am tired and I don’t have the energy to protest anyway. It’s done, it’s rung up. I am now the proud owner of a new laptop. I will pick it up tomorrow.

Ran to Friends

I did a second run, to my friends’ home for dinner. I always underestimate how long it will take to get there because the last half is fairly steep. Although my friend had said 6-ish, when I got there 15 minutes later, they were worried and considered driving around to see where I was!

Computer and Video Coaching

After a wonderful dinner, I set out to help them with their ipad and laptop. There was a lost password issue and I had to work on it with their ipad and their laptop. It wasn’t difficult but it was a really long process. It took over 20 minutes before we figured it out.

Their problem is that they never sign out of their email accounts. So when the computer doesn’t work and they are forced to sign in using their password, they can’t remember the password! They didn’t have access to their alternate email either. Some of the security questions are quite unreasonable, like asking when you opened your gmail account, month, day and year! Really? Who remembers that?!

After that was all fixed, I helped them by taking video of their old home videos which were taken over 40 years ago. He had taken it to a photography store which contracted out the work to somebody who charged $50 to put it on a disc. The results were not that great.

So all we did was take a video of the playing movies. It turned out fairly well, all considering. We are going to play all of the home movies, taking video of them and then burning them to DVDs. I have a whole stack of my own home movies, so we will do it at the same time on the weekend. I’m looking forward to that. Maybe there is some home business based on that?