Friday 22 March 2013

Rotten Apple

A short post just to get something off my chest.

The Boy's computer - an Apple MacBook has gone wrong for the second time in three months.

The last time they replaced the hard drive, and it has the same problem again.  The first time it died, I bought him a back-up drive because nothing had been backed-up...only to discover  that he had one already but had just never used it.  This time there is still no back up, and the computer contains his 'A' Level course work as well as the video from our last skiing holiday.  The Boy is an idiot.  I had told him that he MUST back everything up.  As a teenager, I can only guess whether he;s just too lazy or thinks he knows best.

But that is not the point of my little venting of spleen.  When I took the computer to the Apple shop, they did agree to replace the disk.  They have to, it's still under warranty.  They even offered to let me have the broken hard-drive back.  But they refused to recover the information on it.  That'll be the 'A' level course work.  They say it's not their responsibility.  I say they have both a legal responsibility because it's consequential damage, they deny it.  When I say 'they', I mean the shop manager 'Elissa' and her hidden bosses.  Worse still, they refuse to repair the machine at all because I won't sign their terms and conditions which specifically exclude data recovery.  I may be on my high horse, but I think they are legally required to repair the computer and I'm not obliged to sign onerous T&Cs.  They promised to e-mail me with a way forward.  They haven't.  The cost of recovering data I'm told could be anywhere between £300 and £3000. That's a lot.

I can't say I've ever been a fan of Apple...I've never bought one of their products for myself.  I like the way they look, but have always had a feeling there's something quite Big Brother about the company and the way they operate.  I'm not anti...just not bothered one way or another.

And I can't help feel that their 'fanboys' are blind devotees of a cult.  Cults are never a good thing.

In this case, they clearly don't care about a customer, or that their product is faulty.

So what do I do?
Do I take them to court?
Or do I bow down, remove my trousers and let them shaft me from behind?

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Completely Bent

I've reached that time of life (you may notice that is a bit of a theme at the moment) when many of my male friends and acquaintances have abandoned their wives of many years standing and taken up with a young filly. Many is a bit of an exaggeration   A few is an understatement.  Some doesn't do the numbers justice.  Of these rather too obvious middle-aged men, a number have chosen to procreate, thus creating yet more overly-complicated family relationships that typify modern western democracies.  I don't entirely blame the men as I remember when I was single at the wrong age, I kept meeting attractive young ladies who were clearly on a mission to start a family.  None the less I cannot avoid feeling that the men are the dumb ones.  Who at an age when you want a decent nights sleep chooses to have a baby?  I've held this view for many years, as I remember when The Boy was a smiling, giggling, round-faced baby often spending my days in a semi-comatose state due to over-tiredness.

This morning those memories were brought back into sharp focus.  The Boy was ill last night, and he was puking up every house.  I felt it appropriate for me to get up and sympathise everytime he wretched, so whilst I don't have the screamingly painful stomach he has, I can barely keep my eyes open, can't focus on the task in hand and feel curiously detached from the world.  Which is not good when I've got a ton of work to plough through.  So  absolutely no more babies for me.  Ever.  The Cat's Mother will be pleased.

Before I got home for my very disturbed night, I has been in Windsor, specifically at The Firestation Theatre with two more characters... Hereford Man and Ski Girl.  I met them when The Boy was just tiny and we've been good if not close friends.  He has two daughters who are at Exeter University, and she has a decade old daughter.  I'd been invited to see the new show by Lee Nelson.  I'd never heard of him, but took up the offer, on the basis that once before I'd invited Hereford Man to the Foo Fighters only for him to announce at the end of the show that he'd never heard of them.  Wow.  There's an odd logic there somewhere.

I arrived a little early and sat quietly playing on my phone in the bar whilst supping a Guinness.  That is until a woman decided to strike up a conversation with me.  I can tell you she came from Milton Keynes, has been trawling the internet for interesting things to do and that she was staying in a bed and breakfast round the corner.  She could tell you precisely nothing about me.  Eventually my friends arrived, and rescued me.  That didn't stop them ribbing me for pulling.  Milton Keynes woman didn't quite disappear out of my life though as she was one of those audience members that enjoyed participating in the show by shouting out at regular intervals.  Eventually, during the second half, she moved down to the front row to get closer to Mr Nelson.  I  can't tell you how nervous he suddenly became.  It's a very small theatre with the audience and performer separated by about a metre or may be two.  The words 'stalker' and 'bunny boiler' came to mind.  Anyway he was quite funny...although the photos of a man having sex with a horse and infected genitals were not to everyone's taste.  Including mine.  With a degree of inevitability I was picked on (yep it happens too much for comfort), but I survived quite well, unlike the lad after me who had his testicles squeezed.  Comedians are an odd bunch these days.  This one had evidently been arrested at a football match the other day in his guise as 'Jason Bent footballer'.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

St Patricks Day

Whilst I regularly hear cries of 'Bugger Blogger', I rarely hear 'Darned Disqus', but that may be the cri de coeur this week.

Whether I wanted it or not, Disqus decided last week to 'upgrade' me to the latest version....I was afreared of problems, so not entirely surprised when Hippo said he could no longer comment.  I seem to remember that was a problem once before, and the only solution was to turn the damned thing off.  As I mentioned in the past, I only included Disqus by mistake in the first place, so it's no big deal, except that I will lose all the comments that have been published...and that's a bigger deal.  But needs must.  Just as soon as I've worked out how to do it.  It will also mean that I lose the brand new 'whats on around the web' feature which they kindly included as a gesture of unfathomable kindness and generosity.

I'm looking a little bedraggled at the moment.  As I get older, my sleep gets more and more high on my list of things I would wish from a genie would be a good nights sleep.

The four of us went off to the totally incredible Wiltons Music Hall on Friday night.  It is the most remarkable place, and you do get to step back in history when you go in, so if you're in London make a detour and pay it a visit.  And do donate because it's still short of funds.  We were there to see a musical re-working of The Great Gatsby.  It's a book I've never read, but the offspring have studied at school.  I've only see the film about thirty years ago I would guess and had forgotten the story line.  Anyway a play that's full of deeply unpleasant characters.  Apart from Nick who's a lovely fellow.  In the play if not in the book.  Not only was the thing belted out with aplomb, but there was also much audience participation ..the actors mingled before the performance and during the interval...we all got to have a great sing along around the piano, and then returned to the auditorium where we got to dance on the stage.....

Saturday was bucket game night...names of the famous and not so famous are dropped into a bucket and the rest have to guess who it is.  This time there were three rounds...first the general guessing game, then a sort of charades version, then you could only say one word to describe the character.  It's a game the Cat's Mother and her friends have played all their lives.  I'm a recent introduction to it.  They love it, I loathe it.  A good time was had by all, and in the tradition of the game, the boys team beat the girl's they always do.

And Sunday was St Patrick's Day. This is a day when I recognise my Irish Grandfather and can also mention that I've been to St Patrick's grave.  That gives me all the cred I need to participate in the celebrations.   As usual in London, there's a big parade, and the Olympic volunteers were there in force.  This time we had a roll of grass to carry as well.  It was a jolly day and even the rain couldn't take the shine off it.

Monday 18 March 2013

Stealing from the poor to pay the rich

This is a year of great change at home.

The two offspring will disappear from home during the summer.  The Cat will go off to a university, yet to be decided.  The Boy is having a 'gap yah', some of which at least will be spent partying and instructing in the ski resort.

The Cat's Mother and I will be empty nesters.  It's a big house, we'll rattle around.

Oddly, I have been pigeon-hold as a 'Daddy Blogger' by various media lists, but as it is The Boy's 18th birthday in May,  my days as a Daddy Blogger are numbered.  I never really understood how or why I was on those lists...after all I've never given a parenting tip in my life.  Well not a decent one anyway.  So I wonder how I will be re-categorised.  Perhaps I won't.  I don't much mind.

At the same time I've decided to give up membership of my professional body...yes after 25 years of being a Certified PR man, I will just be a consultant.  I was hoping I would get fireworks and a gold watch, but I've not even had a response to my not of resignation.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, I've never been that comfortable with people who bend the truth to earn their crust because almost to a man and woman they are shallow, unthinking and uncaring.  I thought I might do a top ten worst PRs, but really the worst are so hideous I can't bear to type their names....and by naming only ten I would be missing the hundreds that are guilty of distorting the truth day in day out  A special mention should go to Alistair Campbell whose manipulations Beelzebub would be proud of...he was being featured on a repeat of Top Gear last week, and I just had to walk out the room.

There is one PR man I like though

The news that Cyprus is being bailed out should be good news, but in fact it has sent shock waves around the world.  I'm sure you've read about it.

The principle that individuals that have deposited money in banks should not be penalised has become well established since the start of the financial crisis.  This has been an important principle in helping restore confidence.

But in the case of Cyprus, a tiny little country with a tiny little economy, the jack-booted financial institutions have decided that it is the people who must pay for the follies of the banking sector.  We've all suffered from the reckless negligence of the bankers, but in this case the knife has been stuck in and twisted and twisted. There's no real reason for this deal to have been done like this other than the suggestion that it will secure some Russian money which has been illegally salted away in Cyprus.  In truth there's a big question as to whether that money is there anyway.  And anyway that won't stop many, many not very well off people getting hit hard. There is a large ex-pat British crowd out there..Grandma and Grandpa in Cyprus are amongst them.  In my experience these are not wealthy people who have salted away their millions, but rather hard working, often working class people, who have saved hard to be able to retire to the sun.  They've suffered badly in the last few years as interest rates have plummeted, and as the value of sterling has collapsed causing their pensions to be worth less. Or do I mean worthless?  The maths is simple.  Imagine you've got £100,000 tucked away...that's a lot.  But with today's interest rates, you'd be lucky to earn £3000 a year.  Have you ever tried to live on that much?  So, many of the ex-pats have taken up working in one way or another, but wages out there are not what they are here....not even close.  So whilst they and the Cypriots get hammered, the sweet talking bankers continue to sun themselves on their yachts in the Mediterranean   Nice.  if you've got no conscience or moral fibre.

In the meantime, it looks as the deal may unwind and with it all the efforts that have been taken to prop up the European economy over the last several years.  After all don't think that the snatching of private savers money will stop in Cyprus.  The Greeks, the Spanish, the Irish, the Portuguese and the Italians will all be quaking in their boots today.  And don't think that Britain is too far off either.

The conspiracy between the political and financial elite continues