Thursday, October 30, 2008

"We Never Should Have Left That Island"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Teh Snowz0rz!

So, it's snowing in Birmingham! And it's absolutely freezing!

I died several times on my way home from work, from the cold. First I died of hypothermia, then frostbite, then exposure, then pneumonia, then there were two avalanches, then the common cold got me as my immune system was low from the previous deaths.

I took these two photos in the park on the way home (this one and the one above), and while they capture a light smattering of snow on the floor, they don't really accurately represent the sheer BLIZZARDNESS of the conditions out there.

I am now indoors (OBV), getting warm and observing the prettiness of the snow.


Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 27, 2008

No Tea Today

I'm going out to get breakfast now. I was going to get some drinks for the people in the office, but one of them never EVER gets me a drink. Not even a free one from the vending machine. And she gets them for everyone else.

I guess we all have a different idea of who's in our team. Everyone else feels that I'm in their team. She doesn't. Oh, and I buy her tea regularly, so she can sod off.

Therefore, as I don't feel I can get one for everyone but her, no one's having one.

And she's annoying. And not very nice. Or funny.

That picture isn't her.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another EVIL Advert

So there's another mobile service provider on the block, it would appear: Lycamobile. This is their advert from my local metro stop. It looks fine doesn't it; nice clear pricing structure, and a very appealling Unique Selling Point of 0p per minute for calls between Lycamobile users, probably to get you to encourage your friends to sign up, so you can chat to them for hours at no cost.

Unfortunately, it's a big fat LIE, as can be seen in the small print (click for a bigger version)...

So, this 0p per minute calls costs 15p to connect. Then there are no further charges for the first 30 minutes, after which time you're charged 9p per minute, which, you may note, is a higher rate than calling any of the countries on the list, excluding Uganda!

So exactly how is that free in any sense of the word? The fact is you're not able to get any free calls between Lycamobiles without paying 15p for the privilege. And then you only get 30 minutes "free", which equates to 2p per minute in reality.

I'm actually tempted to complain about this!

Edit - I just did. :-)

The "New Balance" Advert on the Metro

Man, this has been annoying me for a while.

As you probably know, my journey to and from work each day takes me on the Birmingham Metro, a tram service running from Wolverhampton to Birmingham and back. As is usual on public transport, the tops of the walls are plastered with adverts for terrible local companies and universities. One of these is the above (although it's not for a local company; more a multi-national corporation), and I take great issue with it, for the following reasons:

Let's look at it line by line...

"Your friends don't understand what you see in RUNNING."

Right well first off, that's a bit of a sweeping statement, not to mention a negative affirmation. Secondly, why the capitalisation of the word 'running'? It kind of makes it look like they've used a template for an advert, where you just fill in the appropriate words for your product. It could just have easily have been "Your friends don't understand what you see in JOINING THE ARMY." or "Your friends don't understand what you see in KNITTING."

Next, and this is where it gets a bit weird...

"They just see the missed lunches, curious stares and constant mind games."


Missed lunches? OK, firstly, what kind of self-respecting RUNNER skips lunch? What kind of approach to health is that? Is that what New Balance is encouraging?

Secondly, "curious stares" - what curious stares? Do runners get curious stares? Surely the "friends" this advert is referring to, in their abject ignorance, would be the ones giving the curious stares.

Thirdly, "constant mind games"?

Constant mind games.

Exactly what constant mind games are the runners amongst us up to? If you talk to a runner does it go...

Friend - "Oh, are you off for a run?"

Runner - "Maybe. Who wants to know?"

Friend - "Um, me. I only ask because because you've changed into your running gear."

Runner - "Who said this was my running gear? Maybe this is my ... museum-wear."

Friend - "Oh, um ... OK."

Runner - "Can I sleep with your sister?"

Friend - "I don't have a sister."

Runner - "Wrong answer! I'm going for a run!"

Because such a person probably isn't going to have friends to misunderstand him.

"If they don't see the other stuff by now, they never will."

OK, again, what? For a start, I'm pretty sure that all of us, runners or not, can see the benefits of running. You know, the healthy heart, the improved stamina, the toned body. That doesn't mean that we all want to be regular runners. I suspect that most people have tried it at some point and thought, "Hmmm, this actually hurts quite a bit. And I keep finding myself a long way from home, hot, out of breath, thirsty and with a stitch in my side. Perhaps I'll just stay at home and wait for someone to create an easy method of keeping fit." It doesn't mean we don't "see the other stuff".

And then you've got that ridiculous premise that, because someone doesn't know something right now, they will never know it. Is that really what New Balance believe, as a corporation? That must mean that they never promote from within. Either you're born a CEO, ready to step in and lead a massive company, or that's it; you'll never be able to be one.

Right, I've made my point. I'm off to get breakfast.

Sorted That Out!

Right, after much thinking yesterday, I got to the bottom of the previous night's nightmare.

Didn't expect that, did you?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Horrid Nightmare Last Night

So I was woken at around 5 or 6am this morning by a rather horrid nightmare. It's one of only a few I've had in my life that are, essentially, just weird, but are filled with a nasty sense of dread, fear, and in this case, nausea.

As usual I can't remember all the details, not by a long way. But I know that the world had gone a little peri-apocalyptic. There was a lot of unhappiness and panic around. A lot of "how are we going to survive?" and "how are we going to get food?" etc.

All of that was of course unpleasant enough, but then this thing started to grow on the ceiling somewhere in the house (my parents' house, incidentally). It was just like a lump of furry matter, kind of squarish, and most definitely alive in one way or another. No one liked to go near it, and if we hadn't been living in a peri-apocalyptic world, we'd probably have called in a specialist to look at it.

As time went on, the sense of dread about this thing increased. And one day I happened to touch it, probably with a stick, and lumps of it started to fall off. These bits fell to the floor dead, leaving something behind that was approximately this shape...

Only less long, with the head section slightly shallower, and none of the knobs and other ornamentation. Also, the long bit was floppy.

The surface of this creature was the texture of felt (something I'm not sure I've touched in many years), and was pastel colours - possibly green and orange, maybe pink ... or blue. Whatever colours it was, it had just two of them. One that covered it's whole body, and one that contrasted it that formed a few lines and markings on the top and bottom of it.

Anyway, this creature kind of peeled away from the ceiling and fell, and I caught it. I was wearing black rubber gloves, but at one point a bit of it touched my skin. This gave me such a sense of nausea, and I remember in the dream whining, "ewwww, it touched me!!!".

I then carried this creature to the kitchen in my parents house. The body section (which had no eyes or mouth) was warm, and I think it had a heartbeat. The long thin bit was just kind of floppy, rather like a tail. And the thing. Felt. Evil.

Evil. Evil. Evil.

I placed it on the kitchen table and stood back with a couple of other people, unsure what to do next. Then the creature started to scream. I don't remember it moving, but this extremely high-pitched scratchy scream pierced through all of us, and we all covered our ears. I think it meant that it was afraid, or it might have been because it was no longer being touched.

Then, out of some part of its body it released a bee. This bee was about 4 or 5 inches long, and in fact was more like a hornet. It flew almost vertically, with its stinger thrust out ready to get you. It also buzzed incredibly loudly. At that point my mum came along the corridor, and the bee flew at her legs. She moved to kick at it, andw we all shouted at her not to, as it was obviously very dangerous.

After we'd screamed it flew right at me in the corner of the kitchen, and started to move back and forth at me.

And then I woke up, with a really cold arm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Quite Interesting

Pfft! Every year around this time, a new series of QI begins. This year, for some reason, it's not. It's not starting until January! There is a Children in Need special being broadcast on 14th November, and a Christmas special in December. So no need to die yet.

Of course this means that we won't have a Hallowe'en special, which I was looking forward to.

Also, the show is going up in the world, in that it's moving to BBC1 for the first time ever.

Looking forward to it. :)

And Another Thing...

So this morning I decided it was officially my turn to get drinks in, after whatsherface paid yesterday. My reason for deciding this was that Harry Hill (not his real name) was in, along with LovelyWoman. Harry Hill buys teas and coffees for everyone always, so I owe him about a million. LovelyWoman gets them in regularly too, and is lovely, so I wanted to get her one. And whatsherface bought them yesterday, so I was happy to get one for her.

THING IS, there were two extra-bonus unknown noobs in the office this morning. So am I supposed to get them drinks? As I mentioned yesterday, I like to be a good host, but these ones aren't my guests. Also I doubt they'll ever get me a coffee in return.

Now it sounds like I might be making a big deal out of this; that I should just include them. But bear in mind that I get my coffees in from Starbucks, which isn't cheap! If I just add these two people in, and they both want, say, a latte or cappucino, that's an extra £5! I can't afford that for whimisical people who I don't know!

Anyway, I decided to grit my teeth and buy them. At least I then get to look MAGNANIMOUS AND PHILANTHROPIC. And as it turned out, someone had recently bought a round in, so I didn't need to. I just got one for myself and Harry Hill, and all was joyous.

End of story.

Best story ever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tea, in the Style of Dishwater

OK, so today I had a visitor at work so I did what I always do when I have someone visiting, and got a round of coffees in. I should probably take money from that person when I offer them a coffee, but I never do. I guess it's trying to be a good host.

Anyway, today I followed standard protocol of asking the rest of the office if they'd like one too. OK, not the rest of the office really, that's a couple of hundred people on my floor, but the people with whom there is established a symbiotic coffee-sharing relationship.

As I half-expected, one of the people I asked offered to pay for the drinks. She never gets them in herself, but from time to time will thrust you money when you're getting them in. I fake nearly-declined her offer,took her money and asked the other two people in the office if they wanted one. One of them, let's called him Paul Marshall, said he'd have a tea, but then mumbled a bunch of stuff about making it properly, with lots of gesturing that I couldn't understand. He then summed his requirements up with the phrase, "don't make it like dishwater".

Now firstly, pffff, that's no way to accept the offer of a drink! OK in the end I wasn't paying for the drinks. But if I had been, I would not have been impressed. In fact, if I could go back in time I'd have declined the woman's offering of paying for the tea, and then said something indignant at Paul Marshall, such as, "you know, Paul, you don't have to have one if you don't want one. Or if you don't trust it to be OK then you can always go and make it yourself."

That would have shown him!

And anyway, in what way is tea ever like dishwater? Dishwater is full of dirt / old food and washing-up liquid. Tea is full of tea, water, milk and sugar. There is no actual similarity. Not only that but I doubt they even taste slightly similar. It's a far too commonly used comparison and it should be stopped right now.

Labels: ,

Price Rises - The Ethics Therein Hereof and Thereafter

OK, so, imagine you're a baked potato seller on a City Centre High Street, OK?

You sell your basic potato with butter at £2.00, and it costs you £1.00 to make. You have always based your business around a two-times-cost multiplier, whereby whatever it costs you to make your product, you double it to get your retail price.

OK, due to the increase in global food costs your potatoes now cost £1.20 to make. Should you therefore charge...

  • £2.20 - thereby passing the 20p price rise onto your customers. Fair enough. Why should you carry the brunt yourself?

  • £2.40 - thereby maintaining the two-times-cost multiplier, but also meaning that you as a retailer are profiting from the rise in food costs?

  • Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    Take On Me - The Literal Version

    Said the Raindrop to the Seed (The You & Me Song)

    "You and me,"
    Said the raindrop to the seed
    "WE'll make a winning team won't we?
    Cause when I fall down
    You'll become a pretty flower
    And I'll be finally free
    From the shackles of this cloud

    And the sun will shine
    And we'll make the most of life
    Come, we haven't got much time
    'Cause all living things must die
    But I will nurture you
    'Til your petals turn to white
    And you will hold me close
    Until the last drop of me dries"

    'Cause you and me
    We have each other
    And that's all we need
    The place I'll call my home
    Is anywhere that you will be
    You and me
    (should be) MAY never make a mark on the shape of history
    But I'm glad you came to make your mark on me

    So darling when I lie down
    I hope you'll be around
    To lay your roses down over me
    'Cause I'd never keep
    To watch you fall asleep
    I wouldn't last the day
    Without you standing next to me

    Through a satellite lens
    We are just a tiny speck
    Oh, of little consequence
    In the greater scheme of things
    But from down here
    In our private little sphere
    The colours are in focus
    And the picture's crystal clear

    'Cause you and me
    We've got each other
    And that's all we need
    The place I'll call my home
    Is anywhere that you will be
    You and me
    (should be) MAY never make a mark on the shape of history
    But I'm glad you came to make your mark on me

    Yeah I'm glad you came to make your mark on me."