Tuesday, August 26, 2014

From the frying pan back into the fire again

Yesterday I didn´t post because I was too busy celebrating. Yep, just like I dreaded I was fired thanks to the usual antics of guys from the jobcenter.

Well, to tell the truth I was going to get fired in any case but I hoped to get a new contract where my employer would pay for my health insurance.

And I wouldn´t have to bother with the jobcenter again. So on Monday morning I got the good news that this new contract didn´t go through. My boss would have liked to do it but even he has a boss and that boss also has a boss. And I guess it´s a hard sell when you want to give somebody a new contract and the first thing he is going to do is go to the clinic in Markgröningen to get his knee fixed followed by 3 to 4 months of rehab.

What a marvelous way to start a week. The next thing I did was go to my health insurance company to tell them what was up and after that I went straight to the unemployment office. There I had to tell the complete story of my misfortune again and they sent me over to the jobcenter.

Now for those of you outside of Germany this is how it works when you are unemployed in this land of milk and honey. The unemployment office and the jobcenter used to be one thing. They did everything in regards to unemployment ( which was mainly get you a job instead of the paperwork that is their main focus now ) and you had one address where you could go to get everything. Then somebody - probably a community politician - had the brilliant idea to split it into two separate things. So one of them could always claim that they were not responsible and tell people that they had to go to the other building for that. " You could not go to the job interview we arranged for you because you had no money ? Sorry, that´s the other department. We only do job service here. And since you didn´t get to the interview you will not get paid for the next 4 weeks. Next ! "

So one hand can always claim ignorance about what the other is doing because they we tired of being the guilty party when things went south. 

Because let´s face it : in eleven out of ten cases the unemployment office is going to mess up things for you in worse ways than anybody else can or dares to imagine. Like my current predicament. But with the new system of being two separate entities they could always shirk their responsibility.

So you have two places you must go to when you loose your job and now it´s not as bad as it was because now the unemployment office and the jobcenter in Ludwigsburg are merely a few hundred meters apart. They used to be in different parts of town and I remember well how much walking from one building to the other and back was involved when you had to apply for things. I guess in a lot of towns that is still the case.

Anyway, there is still a lot of walking involved which isn´t exactly a walk in the park when you have an injured knee. I had to spend almost my last bucks to get there after my visit to the health insurance company and I hadn´t eaten yet. Lately I have made it a habit to get a small pizza after going to the health insurance company because there is a pizza delivery and shop right at the bus station. But as luck would have it they were not open and since I hadn´t slept much I was tired and hungry when I finally got to the unemployment office with my control slip. Of course they didn´t really have time for me because there was some construction going on and they were going to switch off the power so they were closed for the rest of the day. But at least I got an appointment for the next day.

Which was probably for the best because I´m not really the most diplomatic person - especially when I have been lied to and taken advantage of - and I was already starting to get into a mood.

Since there was nothing else to do for the rest of the day I went home and even forgot that I wanted to check if I had won the big lottery money.

That would have really helped me out of my misery. One big jackpot and all my troubles are over. It´s really unbelievable that in the 21st century money is still the big problem solver. The rich people also cry ? Dude, us poor folks do nothing else. So like I just said, I forgot to check the lottery ticket but I remembered that I had to buy a new light bulb if I didn´t want to go blind and I almost shat my pants because of that. No, not what you are thinking. I didn´t almost shit my pants because I remembered I had to buy a new light bulb. You hear of these things that old people get all exited and with all the drama they relieve themselves without noticing.

And that´s what I am now. One of the old people. But no, that was not it. And it also wasn´t that I leaned down to grab the light bulb and nature took its course. The thing was that before buying the light bulb I had eaten at SUBWAYS - since the pizza shop had been closed - and although I had been on the toilet right after it ( no pun intended ) just when I had bought the light bulb and was on my way out I got the distinct feeling that another toilet break was due and that is was getting urgent very fast.

Now I should have mentioned that I was doing my shopping at the new Wilhelms Galerie shopping mall and they have a chart with every shop on it. So all I had to do was look for the toilets and go there. That sounds easy. The only problem was that the toilets are not where they are on the chart. So I went up to the second floor, down again to the first floor and back all the while my business was becoming more and more urgent.

If a nice woman with a on the parking decks on the third floor hadn´t told me where to find the toilets I surely would have either shat into my pants or made my business in some dark secluded corner of the parking deck.

So, I had been sacked, I still had no health insurance, I wasn´t even unemployed anymore, I almost shat my pants because I was old so I did what everybody with almost no sleep would have done after a day like this : get a sixpack. And I´m not talking about bodybuilding here, buddy ( but you already guessed so ). When I got home I put the beer into the fridge, then I picked up my latest amazon package from the kind neighbour who accepted it while I was out fighting the elements and the world at large ( I don´t know when I´ll be able to pay those comics ), changed the light bulb in my room - the new one is like looking into a supernova compared to the old one - changed out of my sweaty clothes and got plastered.

I tried to do a new post later in the evening but the internet was acting very strange and I was not in a good mood. So I got rid of some of the things on my computer and prepared some of the pictures for my next posts. Last week I had been on the Comic Art Fans website again after a long hiatus ( I think I landed there looking for pictures for my MASTER OF KUNG FU MONDAY posts ) and I found a lot of pictures of original black and white art. As a blogger it´s always difficult to find good art - or art that helps you to illustrate certain points - and because of the many great original pages that collectors are selling or just want to show there I was thinking about doing a new feature that I could call BLACK AND WHITE ( fill in day of the week here ). Despite there being a lot of ESSENTIAL and SHOWCASE volumes being out there a black and white page is not the same as an original art page where you can see the pencil lines and the brush strokes the artist was making like in this page by Alan Davis.

Anyway, as usual when I fire up the laptop I got late so I had another beer and watched an episode of the MUPPET SHOW before going to sleep.

Which is SO much better, let me tell you. The Muppet Show is already damn funny to begin with but after a cold one it´s hilarious. Which brings us to Today. I never get much sleep before an important appointment and I tried to stay in bed a bit longer but once I´m awake there´s just no use so I went to the jobcenter very early. There were almost no people there including the ones that work there. My case worker was also not there and while I had taken the first volume of the John Sable Omnibus to read there ( always take something big to read if you have a doctor´s appointment or have to go to an office ) I was much too tired to read.

I had already bought the second volume a few years ago but I always kept off buying the first one. But now that I wasn´t sure what was going to happen to me I wanted to close as much unfinished business as possible.

You might remember that a few posts back I mentioned that I got the german SABLE album that has the first two issues but while it´s the same material I´m glad I had the opportunity to compare. The Mike Grell art looks really better in the bigger format although I must say that I was a bit surprised by how much of the art is still in the smaller format. When I first bought the second volume I was a bit disappointed by how small it is but if you want to read a big chunk of this series for a good price this is the way to go. Anyway, let´s get back to my adventure at the jobcenter.  

As much as I can´t sleep at home when I have to go somewhere as much I can sleep in every office, bus or toilet. Which was another thing that was like the day before. I had to walk up and down from the first floor to the second floor, back again and then to the third floor to find a toilet that wasn´t locked. For me that exemplifies the jobcenter to a t : there are toilets for the visitors but they are out of order. Then they tell you to use the toilets for the employees but they are all locked. You try to go to the women´s toilets as a last resort but they are also all locked. So that in the end you have to think outside of the box and use the toilets in the third floor unless you want to sit in your own feces for the rest of the day.

Man, Today I´m really talking a lot about toilets and taking a dump and the likes but I guess that´s what is to be expected when you talk about Germany´s great bureaucracy. So after waiting another long while my case worker arrived and we could finally start sorting this mess out.

I still don´t know what happened or why it happened. I don´t even know when exactly it happened. I know is that my case worker doesn´t know.

Or she´s just not telling. It doesn´t make any difference either way. It makes no difference that I always believed my case worker and followed the rules. Oh, you don´t get much money from the unemployment office so you should get a low income job. You will still get your monthly payment and you will ahve some extra cash. Oh, sorry, my mistake. Since you earn more in your new job than the meager pitiance we give you you won´t even get that anymore. But don´t bother. We´ll still pay your health insurance so that´s not a problem. And guess what comes next ? One day you find out that your unemployment status has been revoked, your health insurance was cancelled two years ago and your knee is effed up.

But like I said, without anybody to verify it that´s just my story and it doesn´t help me with my current situation anyway. I now have to apply again for the status of unemployed which means that I have to fill out a new application with all the paperwork and bells and whistles as usual. I had hoped that for once I would be spared the whole song and dance routine but who am I kidding here ? I´m much to old and too experienced to really believe that. Somehow I knew it was going to end like this. I knew I was going to loose my job because of those idiots from the jobcenter and I knew I had to fill out all the necessary papers all over.

The only good thing about this is that since it´s a brand new solicitation for unemployment money I will try to get help from some experts so that they have to pay me what they are obligated to pay by the law instead of the meager amount they tricked me into the last time. Momentarily that is the only silver lining on this big thunder cloud that is hanging over me.

And if that should really all come to pass - which is a big IF in capital letters - and the jobcenter pays once again my health insurance in two or three weeks time ( I guess I have to pay the monthly rates for the past two years until then out of my now empty pocket ) I can look forward to get a knee implant and months of rehab before I can work again. Yay !

You know, the more I think about it the more I realize that I´m in the same position as Walter White in BREAKING BAD. The only difference is that I´m not a chemistry teacher and I don´t know how to cook meth.

So now you know about my current situation and as usual I have to wrap things up here since I have to start with the paperwork Tomorrow. Sorry that we didn´t get to talk about comics but I wanted to explain why there may not be that many new posts the next few weeks. At least this post was not as oversexed as my last one since I had a few complaints. And the usual guys begging for more of that content. So for all the people out there who are starving for pictures of hot babes here´s one of Tatyana Ali in her pre show dress of the 2014 BET Awards. No viagra needed here !

Little Ashley sure has grown up nicely since her FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR days. Although she already showed some great potential back then.

Did she have a booming hardbody like a teenage Janet Jackson or what ?

Man, with that terrific body and a voice to match Tatyana Ali´s the total package - and I´m not talking about Lex Luger. You work that body girl !

Although she still could take some grinding lessons from Janet Jackson.

Especially this move is very popular with the male audience members.

Back to Tatyana Ali she really bOObed all out in later movie appearances :

Okay, I think my crude attempt at an segueway for my first video Today went just a little bit off the rails but Tatyana Ali is just an absolute dream girl ( what I wouldn´t do to her ) and I had a rough day. I´m a big fan of talk shows and some of them I can only watch on the internet. So I wanted to post this clip of the british Graham Norton Show where Will Smith and Gary Barlow perform the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

For the second video I had to go to MyVideo since the GEMA has blocked in on You Tube - as usual. It´s the great Udo Jürgens with the unofficial anthem of the unemployed masses in tribute to my new social status.

Our last video is of a more comic related matter and as usual it has been - kind of - instigated by Terry Hooper who has been posting so many european comic interviews on his blog lately. This one is with the great Hugo Pratt about his CORTO MALTESE series and I chose it because you see a lot of his artwork in this one including the master himself drawing.

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Destiny is not the path given to us, but the path we choose for ourselves.


Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Seriously? Complaints about the women in your last post? Wow. I guess I shouldn't be surprised -you realised I was joking in my comment, right?
Been a bad few days and trying to relax with DVDs that no longer play the English audio track(??) Is there a German audio track? No. Finnish, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. Shit couple of days then I see your post. Seriously messed up system...like the UK! Hope it gets sorted out. I have no reason why but your toilet problems raised a smile (first in two days) -probably because I HAVE been there, bro. No translation of comics into German or Spanish going? In this life only the rich laugh -$3million or just over £1m for Action Comics with Superman and here we both are scraping money together to make ends meet. We went wrong somewhere,bro!
Anyway, listening to Jennifer Rostock to relax and I hope you can get some sleep and rest.
Take care.

SUBZERO said...

Yeah, thanks for your comment. How is the old saying : the center cannot hold. This system is seriously effed up.

And I know that most comments about the women in the posts are not that serious. We still like to look....

Anyway, I´ll probably watch the EMMYS now since there is nothing on german tv. As usual.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

German TV seems to have gotten bad as UK TV. Constant repeats of the same programmes, films "reality shows" -ah for the dats of Mit Schirm, Scharm und Melone!

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

I tried going on You Tube Germany looking for videos about German comics. Apart from a couple Erlangen shorts (under 5 minutes) nothing. However, searching You Tube Germany I typed in "Comics auf Deutschland"...I got about ten documentaries about Nazi flying saucers, Nazis in general. Seriously -Germany cannot be that far behind that it has virtually no German comic documentaries?? I totally, like, hold you responsible, okay?

SUBZERO said...

I can´t think about any german documentary about comics. The best things are if they talk on tv about them and those are loaded with all the usual prejudices against comics. Most comic documentaries on german tv comes from America or France ( mostly on arte ).

There are a lot of great comic artists like Wäscher or Geier or such cult comics like Die Digedags and Abrafaxe but there are no german comic documentaries I know of. There was a report about the YPS Hefte on the german news but only because they relaunched it as a science magazine for adults. They later on printed a facsimile edition with some comics to appease the revolting old time comic fans but that was it.

So no, I don´t think there are any german comic documentaries.

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

That is just...awful. All the German media students, comic collectors and not one can be bothered looking at German comic history -I bet 100% of them still believe there were no comic strips in Germany during "The Tiff" (or World War 2 as some call it.