Friday, 21 August 2009

I'm back, baby! the great Bender 'Bending' Rodriguez would say.

After about 5 months I'm back on line, having moved flats & being hacked off over BT's dalliance with Phorm http://

So, an evening spent swearing & muttering (well, more so than usual) but I'm updating everyting, listening to La Roux "Bulletproof " on You Tube & looking forwards to playing some TF:2.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Adventures in patience

Last night I was out with my mate Martin in his car & he hit a deer as we drove through the Grandholm area of Aberdeen. This part of the city is mostly housing, but as it is beside the river Don there are lots of wooded areas & riverside paths. Deer are quite common in these parts.

The deer was stunned, still breathing, had no blood visible on its fur or on the road but was not moving by itself. We figured it may be in pain and distress & so we called directory inquiries (the '118 118' guys) asking for the SSPCA number.
They nearest branch they found was in Edinburgh. One frustrating automated respose later I was put through to the administrative office answering machine which told me the office was closed for the day.


Soooooo I had to call the police non-emergency number to ask if they could get hold of the local SSPCA offcier on duty. The bobbies said it was a reportable incident & as neither Martin nor I wanted to leave the scene of an accident (arguably an offence in itself, but unlikely given no other person or vehicle was involved) we waited in the car, since it was bloody cold.

After about fifteen minutes the deer got to it's feet, obviously having recovered enough to ge tthe hell out there, then shakily bounded off into the night & seemed to be using all of its legs. The SSPCA chap called Martin back for directions & we told him he might want to save himself a trip. He said that if the deer was up & moving then it would probably be alright, thanks for letting him know & he wouldn't come out all the way from Ellon after all.

However, we still couldn't leave the scene as we were expecting a police unit to turn up at some point so we continued to wait. And wait. And wait…

An hour and a half later the bobbies still hadn't arrived, bumped deer not being an especially high priority occurrence naturally. I called the non-emergency police number again to ask what the situation was. They said something on the lines of "Oh, we tried to call you at your flat" to which I reminded them that we were under the impression we had to stay at the scene as it we had been told it was a reportable incident.


It did give us the opportunity to bring to their attention that the deer by this time had recovered enough to get to its feet & disappear into the night. We also mentioned that the SSPCA chap had called earlier & wouldn't be coming out after all.

The police then said "Oh, well, thanks for letting us know, you can go now".


It did give Martin & I plenty of time to catch up & blether about life, the universe & everything - making the best of the situation - but we did come to some conclusions;

If you park your car with its hazard lights on in Aberdeen outwith the city centre no one will stop to ask "Are you OK?". This we believe to be something to do with the fact that they saw two blokes rather than a damsell in distress.

Yes, we do realise how dodgy it may have looked to passers by (suspicious minds and all that). It would have been worse had we put the interior light on, though.

If two blokes park up for up to an hour and a half at night with the car hazard lights on you give passers by some impromptu street theatre. We felt like fish in an aquarium. It must have been a slow news day.

Concussed deer are definitely a low priority for the police. Next time say you've knocked down an "old dear" (no, not really, but we had a good laugh at that one for several minutes.)

We did wonder if the control room duty officers were running a sweepstake on how long it would take for us to get bored & call them back. I reckon somewhere a police sergeant is chortling to themselves.


Thursday, 22 January 2009

Hello everybody,

I just thought I'd share with you an event that brightened up my day considerably last Saturday.

I was sitting down at my desk at the flat with a nice, big hot cup of tea & was watching some videos on You Tube of James Randi. You may have heard of him.

He's a very clever fellow from America who, as a former magician & entertainer, has debunked pseudo science, quackery, psychics & other assorted ignorance for decades. He's the chap who has a $1,000,000 prize available to anybody who can demonstrate & prove the paranormal or the supernatural (arguably one & the same). To date, no has. The only reason I mention this is that it put me in so good a mood I was felling especially devilish & happy with life.

The land line rang. Now, the only folk who tend to call me on the land line are either my dad, or BT asking if I'm still happy with my telephone service. I very rarely give out my land line number, preferring to use my mobile or work number. Admittedly friends will sometimes call my landline to tell me that they can't get me on my mobile (yes, I know, it's either charging or I'm in the shower).

Upon picking up the hand set a well-spoken women asked if she could speak to the house holder. Now, I'm sure she could as I her vocal chords were obviously in working order, but she took my response of "Yes." to launch into how an unspecified 'we' are looking for householders to feature in a magazine. From start to finish the call took about 10 minutes, but the salient points are detailed below;

"So, which company, organisation or body do you work for?" asks I.

"Weatherseal" says the well spoken lady.

"So this is a sales call then?"

"No, we are surveying and we haven't had a lot of contact within your area."

"So it's a marketing call then? I see", says I.

Intrigued I ask her how she got my phone number and post code I am told that she just gets a list handed to her. I tell her I appreciate that, it doesn't really answer the question and then tell her that the post code for the area she has called is a new development that is less than ten years old. I point out to her that given this, the windows are almost certainly all going to be under the manufacturers guarantee. This information is no big secret.

"Ah" comes down the line from the well-spoken lady.

I suspect she has now lost her place on her call flow chart, as we have a brief Q & A into what her company does & why they think I'd be interested in being in a magazine for windows I neither need nor want, or a conservatory I cannot have as I live in a flat. I ask her if she's ever heard of the Telephone Preference Service, which admittedly is an opt-in service provided by the Direct Marketing Association but at least is an attempt to self regulate. She has not.

She says she will get her supervisor.

Now these days most attempts to escalate your grievance about cold-calls are handled by the caller stating firmly "No, I am authorised to handle any & all issue relating to this call". Presumably this frees up the supervisors to listen in to their employees calls, the better to put pressure on perceived soft-touches in the cubicle farm to meet their targets. I class it as empowered obfuscation on the part of these organisations to try to quell dissent from the unexpecting house holder. Not today, however.

I personally deem the caller getting her supervisor on the line as a minor success in the great buearocratic scheme of things. After all, it costs their company money to call me & I feel I am providing a useful social service in that the person who has the next number on the list has a chance to go outside, get some fresh air, miss an unasked for telephone call & not be bothered by these people.

"Hello, my name is ******, how can I help you?" comes a well-spoken chap on the end of the line.

"I'm not sure, you called me after all." comes my reply. I ask him if he's heard of the Telephone Preference Service.

"Ah. Yes. When did you sign up to it, as it can take up to 28 days from registering for the number to be mandatory removed from lists".

I grin ruefully as I tell him "The middle of last year."



They called me, they escalated the call, they hung up. I class that as a minor victory along the road of life. And gave me all the time I needed to finish my nice, hot cup of tea...