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Friday, February 29, 2008

Even more Jill Sobule 

Oh boy, another gushing blog about Jill Sobule. Skip this one if you're easily embarrassed.

Many belated thanks to Vincent Blackwood again for the link to Jill Sobule's next album site.

To the uninitiated, Jill is financing her next album from donations. Being a great fan of her work and desperate to hear more from her, I donated some money. You can easily do the same if you have access to PayPal.

As Vincent mentioned in an earlier comment, there are a lot of donations from the UK. Perhaps Jill will get the message that there are a lot of people here who love her work.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mind reading 

I just saw this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7254078.stm

My first thought was of Lawnmower Man cyberspace addiction for gamers but then I thought how such a technology could be used for the rest of us to replace these clunky old keyboards and mice.

But then I read the bit about how the device can also assess your mood. That’s the scary part. Do you really want to write an email (or whatever emails become) to that snotty customer with the device reading your evil death-wishing mood and sending that along with the message?

Can you imagine emoticons with real emotions! Argh!

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Mother’s Day 

At about this time of year I get reminders from all sorts of establishments reminding me that it’s Mother’s Day soon (in the UK) and that I should spoil her.

Well, I would love to, I really would. Nothing, and I mean this, nothing would give me more pleasure than to see my mother and give her an enormous bunch of flowers, spoil her rotten and tell her how much I love her. Unfortunately, my mother died in 1991. It’s a long time ago but still something I’d rather not have slapped in my face each year.

I’m not unique. Hundreds, thousands, millions of people have lost one or both parents. A friend of mine lost his mother only a few weeks ago. All of us, but especially him and all the other people so recently bereaved, could really do without this cynical marketing exercise.

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Virgin Media vs BT 

I just had a chat with someone whose phone line has been out of action for about as long as mine. He’s with BT, however.

As I suspected, both seem to be as bad as each other. I won’t kick VM out just yet, in that case, but I still won’t take them with me whenever I decide to move house.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Spam email #10: Make sure every night you show her what a REAL MAN can do in bed. 

One of my colleagues suggested showing her a PowerPoint presentation.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Virgin Media - part 1,398 

I have a phone line again. The Virgin Media man came to see me and did a repull. Whatever that is.

Interestingly, he was meant to be a two-man crew but I counted and there definitely was only one of him. He was also supposed to be digging up the path but he didn't need to do that. He also had no idea what he needed to be doing because his work docket only gave the barest information possible.

He did his job and I can receive calls from the outside world. I still cannot make outgoing calls, however, on either line. I am still blocked and, according to customer services, will still be blocked for possibly another 24 hours. The balance on my account is currently zero, thankfully.

What remains to be seen is whether the anomalous usage of my line while I had no phone line has been sorted out with the repull or whether it will return and I have another bill for over £400.

What is in no doubt at all is that I will never use Virgin Media again and would never recommend them to anyone. When I next move house, they will not be coming with me and, if I feel it's worth the bother, I will terminate my account with them.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

F***ing Virgin Media! 

On Saturday, a Virgin Media repair crew was supposed to turn up at my house, dig up the footpath and lay a new phone line for me. They didn't.

I wasn't at home. I was told there was no need for me to be there so I stayed at David's. Probably a foolish move.

The was evidence for a visit: my recycling bins had been moved and there was a 12" length of cable left on my doorstep. No digging though so I decided to call them to find out what was going on.

Apparently, the crew had turned up and tested the line. Very clever. That wasn't what they had been booked to do.

I was given a date for them to come and try again. It was for the end of the month: two weeks away. That would mean that I was without a phone line for two whole months. I wasn't happy and asked to be put through to disconnections.

After trying to get me to agree to another repair that was miraculously nearer but I told the man that I really had no confidence in Virgin Media whatsoever and that I really did want to disconnect.

He agreed, stopped trying to keep me as a customer and proceeded with the disconnection. However, there was a problem; My account had been frozen.

"Why?"

He would find out. Hold. Horrible loud music.

He cam back and told me my account had been frozen becuase my call charges for this month were rather high.

"How high?" I asked.

"£475," he replied.

"WHAT?" I asked. My highest bill to date has been £60.

Don't forget as well that both my phone lines have been out of action for the last six weeks. There is no way I could have made those calls.

Although he couldn't tell me the numbers called, he could say that they were to other Orpington numbers and were for four or five hours at a time with the occasional call to the speaking clock.

I'm now waiting for them to call me and tell me how I could have made the calls and what's to be done.

Needless to say, any reservations about disconnecting from Virgin Media have been blown away. Even if they were the only phone company on the planet, I would rather use two tin cans and a piece of string.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Train 

I haven't ranted about the train for a long time. Nowadays, it takes an especially bad journey to give me enough of an incentive to want to write about it.

Today I missed the 8am train by a matter of seconds and so took the 8:20. I sat at the front and I was soon joined by a woman talking loudly on her phone just behind me and a couple of ladies applying makeup and sorting out their hair. This was before we left Orpington! However, the woman on the phone ended her call and the ladies in the salon finished tarting themselves up before the train got under way or I ceased to notice them.

All went well until we got to Grove Park when a large woman sat beside me, forcing me to lean into the aisle somewhat. Another equally large lady stood in the aisle beside me forcing me to lean back into the fat woman on the seat.

Meanwhile, a woman carrying way too many bags was poking me in the leg with her umbrella. It was her that I hated more than anyone else and I came within a hair’s breadth of actually saying something to her.

I didn’t say a word, however. I knew that the temptation to embellish my comments with sarcasm would get the better of me or I would come across as an incoherent loony and either way, I would look bad.

I’ve also seen a few similar situations devolve rather rapidly … shouting on the train or a stand-up fight in St Pancras tube station. I don’t want to be part of that.

What I will try to do is make sure I get the 8am or even the 7:56 train in the morning. That might mean walking. I need the exercise anyway.

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