Tag Archives: complaints

Get Yourself Alienated – Part 1

So a few weeks ago, after I got back the results of my medical testing, I was ready for step two in the process of getting my ARC (Alien Registration Card). Time to head to the Immigration Office in Suwon.

Going to the Suwon Immigration Office (수원출입국관리사무소) should not have been nearly as annoying of an adventure as it turned out to be. This part in the ARC adventure was made infinitely more difficult thanks to the vague incompetencies of my “supervisor”.

I thought the instructions for the medical testing were bad. This may have been worse. She handed me a hand-written note with the name and address of the office. In Korean. Then the telephone number (I don’t have a working phone). Then the “instructions” on how to get there:

Suwon Subway

DongBack station ——-> kihung station ———> youngtong

Basically, this translates to “Take the metro from Dongbaek Station to Giheung Station. Transfer from the green line to the yellow line. Then get off in Suwon at Yeongtong Station.”

Hey! I mean… it’s nearly there, right? Never mind that she managed to spell every bloody station incorrectly. But the awesomeness doesn’t end there.

She also (kindly?) had printed me a map of the area where the immigration office is. All in Korean, but hey! At least I know… nothing. I know NOTHING. Because she didn’t think to print me a map WITH THE DAMNED METRO STATION ON IT.

When I mentioned that, her response was “Oh, the station is near to there.” She didn’t seem to get that it doesn’t matter if it was literally two minutes away, if I walked in the wrong bloody direction, I wouldn’t find the damned office. I tried my best to get her to understand the issue, but I don’t think I got through to her as she said, “Maybe you look on the internet.”

Thanks for nothing, Supervisor. I did look it up on the internet, and it looked to be about a 10 minute walk. It took FOREVER to find online though, as Google hasn’t mapped the new metro stops out that way yet and Daum maps is all in Korean. But I thought I figured I knew what I was doing, so I relaxed a bit.

Then the next issue came up. Super (that’s my new nickname for her, deemed such right now) didn’t tell me how much the fees would be, or what documentation I should bring. So I figured I should check it out.

The most likely source for solid information seemed to be hikorea.go.kr (even though they ended up having the fee wrong), and it was then I realised that I didn’t have a key piece of information: A copy of the school’s business registration.

Yarg! So not only did Super manage to give me shite directions, she failed to tell me what I should bring with me, what the shiznet would cost, or the documentation.

So I was delayed a day as I was supposed to go to Suwon in the morning, and had to wait for Super to get me the docs I needed instead. Once that was sorted, I was able to go to Suwon the next day.

The metro in Seoul is delightfully simple. It can be a headache of transfers, but the signage is super good and it is relatively easy to use. The issue came when I stepped out of Yeoungtong Station and had no fucking clue where I was.

As in, no clue. Zero. I turned in a slow circle just outside of Exit 1 and wondered in which direction I should go. Rather than just head down a street (one looked no more promising than another), I thought I would try another look at my map – both the paper shitter that Super gave me as well as the one I had saved on my iPad.

It was then, with me trying to juggle all this stuff, that a tiny Korean lady came up to me and started speaking to me in Korean. I told her I didn’t understand Korean (in Korean) but showed her the shitty map with the Suwon Immigration Office on it in Korean. And… bingo! She seemed to know where it was. Bless you, Korean lady. She pointed me in a direction, we bowed at each other, and she walked away.

I walked to the intersection and stopped to take notes. Mostly because I don’t want what’s been happening to me to happen to the next teacher that comes. It’s just not a fun experience. So I was trying to write down the name of that intersection for my notes when behind me I hear the world’s hugest, weariest sigh.

The little Korean lady is back. I smile at her but realise I have no real way of communicating “I’m okay, I’m just writing this down so Super can’t take torture another foreigner”. She clearly thinks I’m mentally disadvantaged in some way.

So, what does she do? She takes me by the arm and walks me to the next intersection, points me in a direction, and says something (I’m assuming “Can I trust you to find your way from here, simpleton?” or similar) in Korean.

HOW CUTE IS THAT? I loved that little impatient Korean lady.

If only Super was this helpful.

It was easy breezy lemon squeezy from there. (Turns out there was even a more straightforward route, but I don’t blame sigh-at-me lady). I was there in less than 10 minutes and ready to get through the bureaucracy of the Suwon Immigration Office.

UKBA Complaints – Why Did I Bother?

On 18 February 2013 I sent in a complaint to the UKBA via email to UKBACust1568@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. I finally heard back last weekend. Let’s just say it’s another department at the UKBA that seems to be utterly useless. Here is my response to them.

To Whom it May Concern,

Your response to my complaint email of 18 February 2013 is absolutely unacceptable.

Firstly, I had been informed by someone (of course no names were given) who responded to my call to 0870 606 7766 that I would hear back within 10 days. The email auto-response I received said it would be 20 days. Your letter is dated 17 April 2013. Your agency does understand that my life is essentially on hold until this is decided? Every delay causes issues to applicants.

Secondly, key information is missing from the letter regarding my case – an entire application was left of the timeline summarised in the letter. Does it change your response? Not really. But it does show how little attention has been given to my application overall.

I draw your attention to the third paragraph of the letter you sent (I trust you have retained a copy for your records) in which you admit that the letter I was sent in response to my first application contained erroneous detail – to wit that the payment details had not been provided (which they had) and that rather it should have said that the agency was unable to draw payment. The final line of this paragraph is “I apologise for the confusion that this may have caused you.”

You apologise for the confusion? Seriously? The “confusion” that this has caused me is a rejection of my application and I am now facing deportation. The extent to which your agency is trying to downplay this is insulting.

Finally, I would like an explanation as to why your agency does not simply request an alternative form of payment when they are unable to take payment with the details provided. The funds were definitely in my account. Was it possible that my bank disallowed a payment that size? Possibly. But because I had no idea that the UKBA had failed a payment attempt and there was no record of it on my bank statements, how was I to know?

Further, had I gone into your offices to process my application and my payment had failed, would you have just said “sorry, that’s it, you’ve been rejected”? Of course not, that’s ridiculous. You would have asked for a second form of payment. Why are those applying by post being punished in this way?

Rushanara Ali, my MP, has written to both the UKBA and the Home Office on my behalf because of how my application has been handled. I have also applied to appeal the decision at the First-Level Tribunal. I was hoping that it would not have to come to that, but based on how my application has been handled since the beginning and now how my complaint has been treated, I cannot see any other course of action.

I have also sent in a letter and all supporting documentation to the “case worker” who refused my application. He’s not responded, naturally. I would have attached the documentation for your convenience, but your systems will not allow a file that size. I hope that you will be able to access it via your internal systems and perhaps someone at a higher level within the agency will be able to look at this situation more reasonably.

Wunderlist

People think I’m an OCD, type-A, highly organised person with bountiful energy for putting everything into it’s right place.

This isn’t entirely accurate.

I’m actually kinda lazy, which is why I’m so organised about my stuff. I can’t be arsed to look around for things: My keys, a t-shirt, lipgloss, my next highest priority task, whatever. So I put always put things exactly where I can find them.

At work, I always write down what I need to do and/or remember. I’ve just always found it easier to get those things out of your brain and somewhere else so you can use your brain for other things. Having the “Oh yes, I must remember to X” thought again and again (where X remains constant) is a waste of brain juice.  So I write it down and I don’t worry about it anymore. It’s the equivalent of putting my thoughts where I can find them again with less effort.

This habit means I am constantly searching for the best way to capture this list of things to do or remember.

I often go back to paper, but that’s not always the best way: It means your stuff is only in one place and losing the notebook or post-it means you’ve lost the list. Bad news.

So I’ve been trying multi-platform electronic capture systems.

At work, I’ve been using Evernote for awhile now. I use it on and off – it isn’t a perfect to-do list, but it is extremely flexible and has other uses.

I signed up for Orchestra, Asana and Strides recently – but I think that they will be better for project task capture – where multiple people are working on one larger goal. I haven’t played with Asana yet, but the quick play I had with Orchestra and Strides showed that Strides has the potential to be the better system.

I also use Epic Win – but until it goes multi-platform (I WANTS IT IN A BROWSER) and allows me to organise my tasks into lists, it isn’t going to be the best use for me. I refuse to let it go for my personal to-dos though, it is simply too fun to “level up” for getting chores and such done.

Today I decided I would try Wunderlist after hearing so many good things about it. Available across all platforms, free, beautifully designed and easy to use.

How I feel so far?

What a fucking ball-ache to get it working on my fucking iPhone.

They need to get this sorted.

I signed up using “Register with Facebook”. Now, I rarely do that, Zuckerberg already knows too much about me. But I’m starting to hate all these different logins so I thought “what the hell”. Two clicks later (had to authorise it, innit?) and I was in.

Had a play, loved the interface. Created a “get WL app” task and got right on doing that so I could check that off as done.

Not so fast, cowboy.

The app needed my username and password. Um, whut? I logged in with Facebook, you douche. I don’t know what the sweaty fuck my username and password is for Wunderlist.

So back to the website. Looked like my username was potentially my email address. So I tried that. But what about the password?

I had no idea, so I tapped “Forgot password” on my phone. The app immediately went into a never-ending “thinking about that” cycle. raR.

So I went on the interweb and googled “WTF, Wunderlist?” (or, more probably, something about the issue I was having). Turns out that if you retardedly register for the site with Facebook, you have to reset your password to get a password.

Sigh.

So I go to the website and do that. Which was simple, to be fair. The interface is rather intuitive. Got my new password via email, back to the site, changed it to something I could remember.

Back to the phone. Put in my email address and newly minted password.

Back into the abyss of a never-ending thinking cycle. Fuck you, app.

Turns out that there was a cross-over of “I forgot my passwords” (one from the phone, which I didn’t think worked because I had to kill the app to make it stop fucking around) and another from the website.

I finally got the password to work by repeating the steps above and then trying the app again.

Now that I’m in, it looks cool and we’ll see if I actually use it or not. But what a fucking ball-ache to use if you try logging in with Facebook.

The lesson in all this is: Facebook is evil.

I’ll let you know if I actually use the fucking site now that I’ve gone through 30 anger-filled minutes trying to get it to play nicely with my phone. Now to check off “Write blog post of how fucktarded FB registration on WL is” from my list.

UPDATE: And now the app is unavailable. THIS ISN’T HOW YOU WIN MY LOVE, WUNDERLIST.

Being grown up is hard work


You’d think I would be completely and utterly used to being broke by this point in the month; seeing as how by this point in the month I am usually completely and utterly broke.

But this month has been different. Sure, sure… I spent some cash on some new clothes yesterday – it has been a long time since I’ve had anything new and I was looking pretty shabtastic at work. But I knew I had the funds for it before I spent it.

That’s the thing: I knew I had the funds. I was actually pretty chuffed, it was looking like I was going to make it to payday with at least a tenner left in my account.

And that’s why I was so absolutely devastated when my card was declined at M&S on the way home tonight.

Turns out all is well. I’ve checked my account and there *is* still money in there (not a lot, but at least I’m not at a negative number yet). I called the bank and there isn’t a block on my card – they think it was the store’s machine. I’ll try getting some cash out tomorrow to check that it isn’t the card. I hope it isn’t the card. I hate waiting for another card.

All the way home and until I got online and checked the situation out, I was nearly sick because I thought that I had overdrawn my account and was officially out of money until payday. Again. Here I was, feeling all harfy bunger about being broker than broke and hanging out in my overdraft… even though this has happened to me (running out of money, not breaking my card) nearly every single month of my life. Why was it so different this time?

I think it hit me hard because I have been better behaved (financially) recently. I was finally feeling like I had a wee handle on my finances. I’ve got my debt to a point where it will be paid off within the next three years and the monthly payment (note the singular “payment” instead of “numerous paymentS”) isn’t killing me. I’m being far, far more cautious about my purchases (as in: other than my clothes buying yesterday, I haven’t been buying anything but food). (And beer). It is only eight days to payday and I still have a bit of cash. This would have been unheard of even three months ago. Or last month.

So to go from feeling all like a GROWN UP to feeling like a penniless turd again tonight really threw me. GAH. I’m happy all is well, but I really could have done without feeling – even if just for a second – like my attempts to get my shit together lately were all for not.

click the picture for the funniest blog entry ever on why being an adult is hard

I’m feeling better about the situation. Now I just have to get over being angry because I had to deal with not one but two stupid people at the bank over the phone. I should have bought beer instead of groceries…

How’s my week been?

I’m going to tell a story to illustrate how my week has been going.

At work, the majority of us (read: everyone except the directors) have shit office chairs. You know the ones. Worth about £60 and the only thing you can adjust is the height (until the height adjuster thing breaks). But you can roll around. And you can swivel. Which are both good.

About a month ago someone stole my chair whilst I was off for the day. It even had my name on it. I haven’t bothered figuring out who the thieving bastard is. Hopefully they’ll get theirs one day. So I have been sitting on a shit meeting room chair (read: no adjustments, no swivelling, no rolling) for about a month.

Yesterday someone stole my even shitter chair after I left for the day. So when I came in, I had no shit chair, no shitter chair… no chair at all.

That’s a true story. And that’s how my week has been going. I hope your week (whoever you are) has been better.

My growing agoraphobia and other stories

I’ve never been all that fond of groups of humans. I love individuals. That’s why although herds of people give me the willies, I’m happy to observe them. Just as long as I’m not thrown in the throng of the quivering masses, all is well. But as soon as I have to subject myself to being surrounded by them… not so good.

Which is why there was so much donkey-ball-sucking about this weekend.

First, Friday. 

Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day. Where the British celebrate thwarting the Gunpowder Treason by blowing shit up. How appropriate.

Tyran had the grand idea that we go watch the best display of fireworks from what was supposed to be the best vantage point in the city – Battersea Park. Idiotically, I agreed, never thinking that a bajillion other people in the city were planning the same thing.

The first part of the trip being balls was partially my fault. I assumed we were meeting at Clapham Junction. So I hop a busy train at London Bridge and cruise to Waterloo East. Bust through to Waterloo and… what a clusterfuck. So many trains are delayed, the station’s packed, and everyone is looking at the departure boards instead of where they are walking.

Fortunately there was one (already severely delayed) train going to Clapham Junction waiting at a platform. I haul ass to get myself on it as there was no way of knowing when it would depart. Well, it sat there for another 10 minutes while more and more people shoved their way on.  Finally, when the train was busting at the seams, it left.

As soon as it started moving, a light bulb went off: There are a handful of stations that begin with “Clapham”. Was I sure, positively and 100% SURE, that I needed to go to Clapham Junction?

Turns out I’m retarded. We were meeting at Clapham Common, which isn’t the same thing as Clapham Junction at all. So I get off the sweaty, packed train at Vauxhall, and take the Victoria Line to Stockwell where I could catch the Northern Line going south just two sweaty stops to Clapham Common. Not as easy as getting on that same damned line directly at London Bridge, but doable.

Until I tried to get on the Northern Line.

The platform was so packed that people were backed up all the to the escalators. Instead of joining the queue I left the station and caught me a bus. So far, so good –  the right bus came right away and I even got a seat. It was fabulous and I was feeling pretty smug about my decision.  Until the bus started rolling.

Turns out I’m retarded. There was so much traffic – vehicles and people – that the bus crawled. Crrraaaaawwwwllled. It was painful. And because I wasn’t familiar with the burough I was in, I was reluctant to get out of the bus and walk. So I stuck with it.

To cut a long, whiny story short: By the time I got off the bus at Clapham Common I was beginning to daydream about an apocalyptic future where I was the only survivor. People were swarming about and getting in my way. There was no mobile signal as every twat in London was on their phone in a two square mile radius, so I couldn’t even contact my people to try and find them.

And while I was standing at the station, the fireworks started. I could see the odd little spark above the tree line, and that was about it. So with an audible “fuck this shit” I turned from the station and, upstream from the human turds all floating down towards the river to watch the fireworks, I headed as far from the crowds as I could get, angry and miserable.

But all is well that ends well, and Friday ended well. It ended in a quiet pub with lovely ales on tap and a great dinner with two of my friends. I swore I would never toss myself into a crowd like that again. Sadly, that was an oath I couldn’t keep.

On Saturday…

I went with Tyran to Camden. The busiest tube line and station (or at least, it felt that way) to walk along the busiest street and into the busiest market. And it is full of tourists, which is even worse. But despite the crowds, we had a lot of fun (and I got a lampshade with pirates! WIN.)

Because I apparently can’t get enough of people (yarg) or the TFL (fuuuuu….) we headed back home for a brief reprise and then back out to go to a house party. This meant hauling ass across the entire city from southwest to northeast. Most of it was okay… except the bus. I never, ever want to ride a bus in northeast bloody London again. I swear I overheard the bus driver call another bus driver a “cunt”. Loudly. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out that he was armed. Never again.

The party was fun though and got to have some nice chats. We may have missed our bus stop on the way home but the trip – relatively sans people – was quiet and nice even though we got home late.

I thought I would be safe on Sunday. 

Sure, I had a gig to go to… but gig-goers are more my kind of people. I mean: I am a gig-goer myself, and I’m (mostly) okay. So why wouldn’t they be?  Fuck me.

The bus was another shit-show in a weekend of TFL shit-shows. We sat perfectly still in traffic for a good 30 minutes. Fucking awesome, TFL. Do that. Do exactly that. Despite the best efforts of the traffic of Hammersmith trying to fuck us over, we made it to the gig nearly on time – we just missed part of the opening act.

The crowd was the worst I’ve had in a long, long time. So bad. In front of us were two guys: one with eye-wateringly foul body order and the other one with some lower-intestinal gastric issue. Look asshole; just because I can’t hear your farts doesn’t mean I can’t smell them. Idiot.

To my left was the douchiest douche that ever douched. Seriously. While waiting for Rodrigo y Gabriela to take the stage, he was busy sexting. It wasn’t the sexting that put me off so fucking badly. It was that he was sexting three girls simultaneously. Way to go, Romeo. But he wasn’t so bad. Douchey, but at least he wasn’t stinky like Team Offensive Odour in front of us. No, no. What was AWESOME was when a very loud, very obnoxious and very, very drunk girl tried to pick him up. She stood beside him and very loudly expressed her views about how much the music sucked. I feel punchy a lot (anger issues, eh?) but that was the closest I’ve come to actually punching someone in the face at a gig.

Behind me was a mouth breather. Who was breathing on my neck. Sick.

To my right (thank goodness!) was Eva. Who is normal. And smells nice. And is considerate enough to not scream about how shite the music is throughout the concert. And is actually quite lovely, as she is the one who took me to the concert.

Sadly, to HER right were more idiots. A hobbit, an ugly woman in cat-eye frames and their two unbelievably annoying friends pushed in beside Eva and then proceeded to push everyone else into us who tried to push their way past them. Bad karma, dudes.

Good thing the music was fucking awesome.

So that was my weekend of transport woes and hatred of my fellow mankind. By the end, I just wanted to punch everyone in the cock. And I thought commuting all week was bad….

>Lament of the Loner (or Lonely)

>Alternative title:  One is the Loneliest (or most expensive) number

I need a break.  Not a holiday, per se, but a break. In other words: It doesn’t have to be additional time off work. It could be something I do in a weekend. And it definitely can’t be expensive… I’m watching every pence in anticipation of Moms and Harv coming over.  It doesn’t have to even be all that bloody interesting… just somewhere away for London for a day (or two) and then I can pretend that I “got away from it all” without breaking the bank, as they say.

So last night I went online and thought I would find myself a cheap weekend city break type deal. Of which there seem to be bajillions. Some of them looked awesome. Some of them I could afford. Some of the ones I could afford looked half-way interesting.  Some of them checked all the boxes on my must-have list of something to do this weekend (note: “all my boxes” = cheap, bug-free, out of London).

But alas, there was an issue with all the “deals” that I was most interested in (read: could afford). Sigh.

Don’t single people travel in this fucking country or what?

It really burns my potato that I had no issue at all getting transport and accommodation for one all throughout Asia but try to book one night for one person in fucking BRIGHTON and that shit won’t happen. What the eff, Britain?

The most infuriating were the “spa breaks” – almost all of them are for two people only. I mean, what’s the benefit to me? I get how you benefit, Mr. Hotel. But if I’m having a relaxing day of massages and shit I don’t want to hear anything but the sweet nothingness of solitude, you bastard.  I don’t want any gossip or other chitchat and I don’t want to spend the day in a bathrobe with a friend. And I don’t know how I would feel about dating a guy who was into going to spas. The jury is still out on that one.

The worst were the deals that were flexible enough to allow singles to partake in them… by tacking on a bloody £50 surcharge. WHAT. THE. EFF. It should be cheaper for one, a-holes. CHEAPER.

So, anyway. I ended up not booking anything. First, I don’t really know what part of England to go to. I thought it would be nice to go somewhere near the ocean (which I miss) even if it is raining. But I don’t which seaside towns are good and which ones are, in fact, abandoned movie sets for horror films that went straight to DVD.  Then, additionally, I depressed myself because apparently no one but me wants to (or has to) travel on their own.

Somehow I ended up needing a break from planning a break.  Maybe I’ll just get a bottle or two of wine and go get trashed in a park instead this weekend. I’d still get to indulge in some (semi) fresh air and forget all about the week. Right?