Showing posts from July, 2011

On wearing sunscreen

As I have my clear-out, I’m enjoying another voyage of discovery through my iTunes library.  I can’t believe that it is 12 years since Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen was all over the global radio waves, and I was on an exchange in a very sunny Waiblingen. Halcyon days…Equally, I can’t believe that 12 years later I still haven’t grasped the fact that “worry is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.”

On throwing away the menu

I am having a bit of a clear-out and I have found a menu for Chili’s Indian Restaurant in Newbury. I’ve never eaten there, but I remember picking up a menu as I walked past, and keeping it because I’d found something blogworthy about it.I’m not sure what that thing was though.  It could be just the name (let’s face it, Chili’s is a good name for a restaurant).  More likely, it was the fact that they serve a dish called “Mysore Chili Chicken.”  That sounds like one for the brave or stupid.Whatever the reason, I have just put said menu in my recycling bin, where doubtless it will stay until those nice union types realise that working for more than a week a year is not actually that unfair.

They say a picture paints a thousand words…

…especially when said picture has a thousand words in it.From

On why you should never buy a bike from Halfords

Even though I really knew better than to buy a bike from Halfords, I’m ashamed to admit that I was taken in by their Cycle to Work Scheme offer with my previous company.  Sadly, although it turned out to be cheap(ish) it has not been a particularly cheerful experience.I am now on my third bike, having rejected the previous two under warranty and I was cycling along the other day when the chain-guard fractured and caught itself in the rear wheel.  Thankfully I was on a quiet road, so I was able to dust myself down and carry on without too much damage.To be fair, this failure is not Halfords’ fault per se but the way in which they have dealt with it is worth documenting here.  I took the bike, and the remains of the chain-guard in to the store and asked if they would order me a replacement under warranty, which they said was not a problem.  However, they called me up this week to tell me that apparently it was “not a chain-guard” but a “bit of packaging which I should have removed befor…

On having a Sixth Sense

I would have thought that if you have a Sixth Sense then you probably don’t need to be told where the meeting is.

On being annoyed with things

Ideally, I’d have time now to give you all the gory details about my latest encounter with Vodafone.  But because I wasted my afternoon in their shop yesterday I’ll have to spare you that for now.In an ideal world I’d also have time to rant about my frustrations with programming in VBA for Excel.  But as that is also wasting my time and not helping me meet my deadline I’ll spare you that for now as well.Right now I’d like to force the Vodafone boss to use Excel.  And force the man at Microsoft who is responsible for all the idiosyncrasies to try and take out a Vodafone contract.  Putting them in a room together and seeing who kills the other one first could be quite entertaining…

Set fire to the rain

Capital FM's current choice of tune is an appropriate accompaniment to the current activities of the idiots next door. You get the impression that they would if they could. I don't know whether it's the CRT monitor or the plastic jug which is providing us with some nice acrid smoke, but either way I'm not enamoured with the idea of having to shut the windows on what was a nice summer evening.

On what your dictionary says about you

There’s been a lot of phone chat in this Corner of the Blogosphere recently, which has probably been quite boring for most of you.  But one of the upshots of the recent phone-drama is that I have a shiny new HTC, which I am delighted with.For once, let’s not dwell too much on the phone itself though – I don’t want to risk getting any closer to claiming the title of Dullest Blog In The World.I have just been quite amused to look at the ‘Personal Dictionary,’ which is the list of non-standard words my phone has accumulated as I text.  Words I have found the need to save to the dictionary in the last week include “faff,” “muppet” and “blogged.”  It would seem that you can probably get quite an accurate picture of someone from such a list…

Heartache? Why not sell it on eBay?

I am not in the market for an expensive white watch.  Neither am I convinced that the sales pitch for it is anything other than a clever ploy to attract attention.  But, as evidenced by the fact that I was drawn to it via Twitter, this eBay Auction has certainly grabbed the limelight.Genuine or otherwise, it’s brilliant…

Killing the romance

When it comes to music, I am a fan of The Killers. “Hot Fuss” is one of the very few albums I’ve bought on a whim and loved.This evening, I pointed iTunes to “Sam’s Town” (another of their albums) for the first time in ages and caught myself paying attention to the lyrics of “Bones.”It all starts off so well, with references to going to look at the stars and holding hands in the ocean.  If you like a bit of romance from time to time, it’s potentially quite evocative…until Brandon Flowers bursts out with “But I don’t really like you.”For some reason, I love it.  It’s quite a tune as well.  However, if you’re one of these people who agonises over what music to have for your first dance at your wedding then I’d probably suggest agonising over something else.

On why BA should shoot their advertising agency

Those of you who have been compiling a list of “JP Facts” will know that I generally like flying with British Airways.  Amongst other things, I enjoy the fact that the “all inclusive” nature of the service reduces the hassle of booking a ticket and flying somewhere.  I like the fact that rather than having to take out a small mortgage to be able to afford a “cool refreshing J2O” I can order a G&T ‘on the house.’  I like the fact that I can enjoy said G&T in peace and quiet, without constant adverts for smokeless cigarettes, and the fact that I can expect the plane to land safely without the need for a fanfare to be played.I also like the fact that despite this, flying with BA doesn’t have to cost more than flying with easyJet or RyanAir.  For example, I went to a wedding in Germany last September and because it was Oktoberfest, some of my friends actually paid a lot more to fly with RyanAir without hold baggage, than they would have done to fly with BA.  The problem is that BA…

What if God was one of us?

There is a definite correlation between the amount of grey hair I have and the number of tracks in my iTunes library which could now be classed as ‘retro.’  Like grey hair, however, retro is not necessarily bad, and some classics have definitely found their way out of the woodwork as I sit working this morning.Now 34 seems to be a particularly good source of gems, including “What if God was one of us” by Joan Osborne.  As a Christian, I find the following verse quite ironic, because I believe that it is through Jesus that God has revealed his face, as it were:If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that
you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
Nonetheless, I still think that the song is more than just a good tune, and actually think that some of the questions are no less valid from a Christian perspective.  Do I really want to see God’s face?  What would I ask if I had just one question?Strangely enough, I a…

More on Customer Service

I feel that I ought to say thank you to Chris from O2 for taking the time to read and comment on my last post.  It was a more thorough response than I got from Vodafone via Twitter and makes for interesting reading.Of course, some of the extra touches are nice, but the price differential was just too great for me not to move.  After all, if Vodafone’s deal is just for new customers only I’ve still got two years before I need to worry again, and moving networks these days is a cinch.  The thing is, however, I had made the reasonable assumption that some things should still be expected, no matter how much (or little) I chose to pay for my phone.  After all, even on RyanAir I’m not sure that passengers pay for a flight to Venice and expect to fly to Oslo a day later instead.  Do they?  So why did Vodafone not send me the phone when they said that they would? Why did they have the wrong deal on their system when my SIM arrived?  Also, it’s one thing to get irate with a non-UK call centre …

What price customer service?

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or haven’t blocked me on your Facebook Newsfeed because I talk too much will know that I recently decided to transfer my phone back from O2 to Vodafone.The main reason is that my O2 Sim-Only contract conveniently came to an end two days after my phone died, and when I got in touch with them to discuss an upgrade they were completely uncompetitive.  I pointed out that Vodafone and Three could both offer me much better deals, but I was told that O2 “don’t try and compete on price” because they “have the best network.”  I would question this, not least because their network apparently lacks the technology for me to receive SMS delivery reports on my Nokia. However, to be fair to O2, they do apparently offer a better warranty on handsets and on the few occasions that I have needed to call their customer service team I have not had much hassle.  This last point is important because my reason for leaving Vodafone after many years with them is because th…

The lack-of-telephone experiment

Technically, I should have entitled this post “the lack-of-mobile-telephone experiment” because the good old landline has been quite a feature of the last few days.  To say that I have been completely incommunicado would be a bit melodramatic, even for me.Anyway, how am I getting on?In no particular order:I have had to learn the landline number for the house I live in……but I still don’t know how to access the answerphoneI have had an excuse to hand out the business cards in my wallet, because they show my landline number at work……but then had nothing to refer to when someone asked me for the number they should call me back on. I had to find the key for my drawer and locate the business cards inside without creating too much of an awkward silence.I have been the proud recipient of a friend’s first tweet……and called a random person in Cambridge twice after said friend’s husband failed to tweet their landline number to me correctly.I have, on occasion, been more punctual than usual……but …

Colour doesn’t matter–it’s what you do with it that counts

Seasoned visitors to this Corner of the Blogosphere will know that I generally think that you can tell a lot about someone by the car they drive.  It is also common knowledge that if you ask a girl what car she drives, a typical response would be “a blue one” or “a green one.”  In some situations, therefore, this poses something of a dilemma.  Assuming that her response isn’t “a pink one,” or in most cases “a yellow one,” guys like me are faced with a potential choice.  Do we want to pursue the relationship only to find out later that she pootles around in a Daewoo Matiz?  It’s a risk…When I was in Shetland, I discovered that Toyota have made an attempt at avoiding such social awkwardness in the shape of the Toyota Aygo Blue:This provides a potentially convenient solution.  “Blue” describes both the colour and the model and everyone knows where they stand.  No further questions need to be asked and there is no need for the guy to live in fear of discovering that he’s ended up dating s…

Thoughts from the Archbishop

This morning, I found myself reading an interview in The Guardian with Rowan Williams.  It was an interesting read, I have to admit.Although I’d recommend the whole article, I particularly like his views on the Atheist vs Theist debate.“Argument has the role of damage limitation. The number of people who acquire faith by argument is actually rather small. But if people are saying stupid things about the Christian faith, then it helps just to say, 'Come on, that won't work.' There is a miasma of assumptions: first, that you can't have a scientific worldview and a religious faith; second, that there is an insoluble problem about God and suffering in the world; and third, that all Christians are neurotic about sex. But the arguments have been recycled and refought more times than we've had hot dinners, and I do groan in spirit when I pick up another book about why you shouldn't believe in God. Oh dear! Bertrand Russell in 1923! And while I think it's necessary…

On life without a telephone

If you read my last couple of posts, you will know that I am currently without a working mobile telephone.  It could be two weeks before mine is repaired and unless the battery on the old phone I keep for emergencies suddenly comes to life, or someone is kind enough to lend me an O2 compatible handset then I am going to have to get used to it.In some ways I am actually looking forward to it and view it as a sort of social experiment.*  Ironically enough, I have just had a week without my phone because I decided it would do me good to leave it in ‘Offline Mode’ whilst I was on holiday.  This was surprisingly easy when I was out of the country without much of a care in the world, but back in the real world things could be a bit more difficult. Especially since I now know that some texts sent to me whilst I was away never got delivered.  I know that if someone really wants to get hold of me they will find another way, but it has created a bit of a nagging feeling that I might miss someth…

Phone Update

They say that you learn something new every day, and yesterday I learned at least two things.Firstly, I learnt that more people are likely to offer help with coding in VBA than with problems with a Nokia E5 (I had a better response to my last cry for help than I did this time).Secondly, I learnt that although Nokia’s software leaves a bit to be desired, their customer service can be pretty good. We all know that I really value good customer service at the best of times and once I found their CareLine they were really helpful.  Sadly their attempts at diagnosing and fixing the problem over the phone were unsuccessful but they are going to collect and repair the phone for me under warranty.  Good times.

Nokia E5 Help

When I promised some non-political rants, I envisaged writing something more interesting than asking for help with my telephone.  But it is my blog, and needs must.As you may have gathered from the title, I have a Nokia E5.  Don’t ask why – since their PC Software (Ovi Suite) has become so temperamental, I have no good reason to have stayed loyal to Nokia.  But we are where we are.So what’s the problem now?  Said phone had become very slow, especially when opening messages, so I decided to perform a hard reset (*#7370# in case you are wondering).  So far so good.  Then I opted to restore my contacts and settings from the backup I had made first (I didn’t bother with the messages because I thought that an over-full inbox may have been the problem).  Ovi Suite completed the operation (so far so good…) and the phone restarted.But now it doesn’t do anything.  The main screen is blank apart from the network status, profile choice (“Silent”) and battery status along the top.  If I press the…

Credit where credit is due

I know that you’re probably fed up with me chattering about the bin strikes in Southampton, but hang on in there.  If rubbish strikes and political rants aren’t your thing I will have something for you soon.In the meantime, however, I am pleased to announce that the bin men were on duty today and have taken not just the overflowing recycling bin, but also the boxes and bags of recycling which stood beside it.  Maybe it’s the sunshine but the uncomplaining nature of the team was a far cry from the jobsworths who came round a few weeks ago.  Proof, then, that some people do know what it means to be ‘hard working.’Talking of which, I also ought to demonstrate that I know the meaning of that phrase.  Bye for now.

Let’s start a war…

There are some things in life of which I am slightly proud, even though I really shouldn’t be.  Being asked if my tan is fake is one (though it most certainly isn’t).*  Another thing I can now add to that list is receiving my first abuse on Twitter.  If you already follow me, or have been reading the torrent of tweets in the sidebar you will know that @shawgreen kindly tweeted that I am apparently “still putting the prat into Pritchard.”  Sadly it wasn’t particularly good abuse, but beggars can’t be choosers.  Maybe it will come in handy if I decide I ever need a strapline for this blog.Although one could argue that I should have had better things to do with my time than respond, I was sat on a bus at the time.  So I really didn’t.  The first thing I did was to note that “nonsensical 'insults' with nothing useful to say are the sad hallmarks of a self-righteous 'socialist'” but then I decided that I should try and be constructive and enter in to a discussion about the …