Monday, 23 December 2013
That is to say that one of our presents this year was a box of goodies that we cleared out to make space on the floor - only for Giles to decide that the box was a fantastic new place to sit.
And so it is that several days later the empty, decorated box is still in the centre of our floor - only now it is slightly more of an obstacle because of the semi-resident cat.
So whilst Giles prepares himself for Christmas how are the rest of the Pixie Clan getting ourselves in the mood for some Chrimbo Cheer whilst working ever-so-hard (honest) in our jobs in the run up to some much needed time off?
Well, as the long suffering readers of this blog will know I am rather fond of creating List-o-Fives (none of which ever add up to only five) and so here's a list of things that we often share to get us in the mood:
Christmas Televisual Feasts (available on "terrestrial" TV - ie non-subscription channels):
#1: Doctor Who (Christmas Day)
Back in the 1960s a single episode of Dr Who aired on Christmas Day. It was, for the officianadoes out there, a middle episode of The Dalek Masterplan (13 episodes long) called "The Feast Of Stephen" - it was the last time the show would air on Christmas Day for 40 years. However, ever since the re-boot of the show about 7-8 years ago it has been an annual thing. This year sees the final story of current incumbent in the title role Matt Smith running around yelling a lot and waving a sonic screwdriver at anything and everything - threatening to assemble ad-hoc furniture at every turn (presumably). The last few have been a bit disappointing so I am hoping for a return to form this year as we see the arrival of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor...
#2: The Sound Of Music
Some time in the 1980s they passed the Von Trapp Law meaning that it was illegal for The Sound Of Music to be left out of the Christmas schedule from thereon - or so it feels as every yuletide the screens fill with what feels like six hours of tap-dancing nazis. After all: what could be more festive? The way that most people watch this film is in bits -the first hour one year, the last hour another year and the twelve hours in between in odd bits whilst avoiding the Queen's Speech. Very few people watch it in a single sitting unless they are really, really bored.
Don't ask me why this is part of the festive programming but as with Sound Of Music it is now on every year. A fascinating fact is that Ronald Regan was, at one point, in line for the role of Rick so we must be eternally greatful that they elected him President instead...err.....
#4: Father Ted Christmas Special
The hapless residents of Craggy Island get lost in Habit-hat (a specialist shop for Priests...) and narrowly avert a scandal thanks to the quick thinking of Ted: who is awarded a Golden Cleric award as a result. Father Ted was a fantastically daft and funny sit-com, cut short too soon by the death of it's star.
#5: Blackadder's Christmas Carol
Ebeneezer Blackadder, the white sheep of the dastardly family, is visited by the spirit of Christmas who inadvertently shows him how much better off he'd be if he were evil. Blackadder is still one of my favourite all time sit-coms and this subversive version of Charles Dickens is amongst the best on offer.
#6: It's A Wonderful Life
So it turns out that my mother has never seen It's A Wonderful Life and, when i described it to her, she said "well that doesn't sound much fun" (or words to that effect). She is, of course, wrong - the film is rather odd because it's mostly slightly depressing until the uplifting bit where if you don't cry then, quite frankly, you have no soul. James Stewart is, as always, a joy to watch - but be warned: if I find out that if you watched the colourized version instead of the original black and white i shall be severely disappointed with you to say the least.
#7: The Box Of Delights
A children's TV series that first ran in the early 1980s about a magic box, an incredibly posh young boy and a ripping adventure yarn that could only ever be written in England. True some of the special effects were naff even then but it still has a certain sense of magic. The best way to watch this is episodically so that the final episode falls on Christmas Eve (which is when it is based to happen)
Some other films for your consideration:
The Wizard Of Oz (Herself insists its on at Christmas - not aware of it myself but it wouldn't surprise me in the least)
Scrooged/The Muppett Christmas Carol - one or the other of these is always on and both are worth your time
Merry Christmas to all bloggers
Saturday, 23 November 2013
Monday, 11 November 2013
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Thursday, 22 August 2013
To his place above the chip shop
You can hear the trucks go by
You can smell potatoes frying
And you know that he’s half crazy
And you’d really like to leave now
But he feeds you bread and marmite
That came all the way from Tesco’s
And he shows you his apartment
And it really is quite grotty
And just when you mean to tell him
That you’ve got to catch the late bus
He offers you some biscuits
That have chocolate on one side
That just seem so very tempting
And you want to call a taxi
When he tells you all the time
He’s been wearing womens’ undies
Now you’ll never wipe that image from your mind
Barry used to be a sailor
At the local water centre
And he used to own a speedboat
That he won on some old game show
But when he knew for certain
He was moving to the chip shop
He swapped it for a Rover
Which came all the way from Luton
And he gets out some more biscuits
With some jam in and rice paper
And he’s got a stamp collection
That could clearly last for hours
And there’s no sign of that taxi
And you’ve lost track of the time
And you’re thinking of those knickers
Yes you know you’ll never get them off your mind
Now Barry takes your hand
And he leads you to the chip shop
But the food is far too greasy
And your ulcer is complaining
And he really is depressing
As he talks of stamp collections
But he gets out some more biscuits
And this time they’re digestives
And you start to feel quite guilty
That you find him oh so dreary
He is leaning out for love
And will be that way forever
So you eat another biscuit
And you finally hear that taxi
And he chases you outside
Still wearing women’s knickers
And that image never fades within your mind
By the way - my blog is only allowing me to create posts in HTML - does anyone have any ideas what i can do about this?
Thursday, 1 August 2013
Thursday, 18 July 2013
Cast your minds back a while to my most recent film review will remember that I promised to bring you my thoughts on Man Of Steel which I had every intention of getting to see whilst it was on the big screen
Sadly time and tide have defeated me and I just haven't had the time to get to the flicks and now it seems to have finished.
So instead of the aforementioned review of MoS I will attempt to bring you some other reviews. There might be five of them but then again probably not.
#1: Bruce Springsteen Live (Concert)
A couple of years ago I made the decision not to go and see Brucie when he toured with his Seeger Sessions band firstly because I hadn't heard the album and knew that he was mostly doing songs from that period and secondly because I wanted to see him with the full E Street Band. This, having heard the live album of the tour, was a mistake as the tour was definately unmissable - only I did.
So when The Boss announced a gig in my hometown with the full E Street ensembe I knew that I had to go regardless of the extremely steep charge of the ticket
It was a day where the weather was busy ominizing: dark clouds scudding across the sky and threatening to let loose their heavy load - indeed as we walked down towards the open air arena it was already trying to rain. Fortunately it held off and even threatened to clear entirely.
On this particular tour, The Wrecking Ball tour, the evening is divided almost equally into three: the first hour is a combination of a set list and a requests section, with Bruce picking signs requesting specific songs from the audience and showing them to the band - which they then proceeded to play. The second hour was an album from start to finish (we got Born To Run) and then finally a third hour of mainly greatest hits
Having just looked up Mr Springsteen on wikipedia I find that he is only a few years younger than my dad and should probably be requesting his free bus pass - and yet where many older rockers seem to be going through the motions of a pre-ordained "this is the bit where i pick someone out of the audience" ritual (U2 and The Rolling Stones I'm looking at you) Brucie managed to make all the improvised bits look, well...improvised.
I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan and consider the man to be a poet so am naturally biased, but Argent (who went with me as more of a Springsteen virgin) was suitably impressed and remarked both on the tightness of the band, the energy and the accessibility of the music.
True - with it being a stadium gig the sound quality wasn't great, but if you get a chance to see the man in action then you really should take it whilst you can.
#2: Bruce Springsteen: Tunnel Of Love (album)
Whilst on the subject of Brucie I've been enjoying something of a Springsteen-a-thon on my way home recently, listening to each studio album in chronological order until I have reached this mid 80s effort which was the first Springsteen album I ever heard, but equally had not heard again since.
I was lent it by a friend just shortly after it came out and can remember not being that impressed and I have to say that time and a revisit have done little to change that opinion. The problem is that for some reason at this point in his career he decided to ditch his trademark sound of guitars, gutsy saxophones and working man lyrics and go for an almost entirely keyboard led album that reeks of the sort of over production that makes the 80s infamous. The best song of the album is Brilliant Disguise, but the work as a whole lacks soul and depth and is a million miles behind any of his high water marks.
Still, and possibly inevitably, whenever i think of Springsteen it is always the cover of this album, with him leaning on the bonnet of a white cadillac resplendent in suit and bootlace tie, that comes to mind.
#3: Much Ado About Nothing (film)
What do you do when you've just finished the biggest blockbuster special effects movie of your career and have two weeks off before you start making the TV series? Well, if you're creative genius Joss Whedon then the answer is that you call up all your friends and say "Hey, come round to my house and we'll make Shakespeare with the iambic pentameters and everything"
The result is a black and white, slightly out of time rendition of one of The Bard's better known comedies in which any fan of Whedon's work won't be able to resist pointing at the screen and saying "Eh, isn't that whats-his-name from Buffy/Firefly"
As with all my reviews I shall try not to give any spoilers away other than to say that after 5 minutes or so you get used to the dialogue and find yourself immersed in an entirely believable and slightly claustrophobic world. Top plaudits should go to Nathan Fillion who steals every scene he appears in as well as to the two main leads of Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof who hold the piece together extremely well.
The only negative i can find is the two perplexing flashback sequences, which at least on first viewing leave you wondering exactly when they are happening and what they are supposed to signify.
#4: The 100 Most Pointless Things In The World (book)
I feel sad for those of you in other countries that have never had the joy of watching the TV game show "Pointless"
The formula is this: comedian Alexander Armstrong (and why is it, btw, that game show hosts are always comedians here?) and all round clever person Richard Osman invite four teams of two to answer questions on a number of topics - with the twist that they must find the answer that the least people thought of, thus showing that they know something more than the average Joe Public whilst aiming to score the lowest of the contestants or achieve finding something that no one else knew - ie a "pointless" answer
It is arguably the Blockbusters of the 2010s - IE a game show at approx 5pm that has gathered a cult following and deservedly so
So when I saw the book on sale during a low moment at the train station I picked up a copy expecting good things - however, it was not what I had hoped for.
What I had hoped was that I would find some of the topics that people had known the least about listed inside accompanied by an interesting, but ultimately useless, fact about said thing. Instead it was a list of 100 things that Alexander and Richard found irritating or pointless that, whilst amusing in its own right, was ever so slightly pointless (to coin a phrase)
#5: The 3G Apple I-phone
One of the things that came with my new job, along with endless commuting, was a works i-phone.
I've never owned anything by Apple before unless you count a couple of cans of Strongbow (cider) and a few Beatles albums...(yeah, ok, you got me - both different kinds of apple) - largely because I don't use my phone anywhere near enough to justify the exorbitent monthly charge of having any i-gadgets
The main reason I have it is to call/receive calls from people who I am working with and to receive emails on the move thus making me a "modern and dynamic employee" and as far as it goes the i-phone is perfectly fine. It has a much longer battery life than most phones i've used, possibly due to the 1-D graphics and seems to be of comparable quality to other phones and has even led to me listening to podcasts for the first time
But the one area where it annoys the hell out of me is the amount of things that need to be done in co-ordination with other i-gadgets.
Take, for instance, putting a favourite song as a ringtone. Now this is something that i expect to be able to do as a standard thing on my phone - with my personal phone I can go onto any tune-purchasing website, download the song to my phone, stick it in a certain folder and then set it as a ringtone - done in two seconds without any fuss. With the i-phone i can still download, albiet grudgingly, from any site i want - but i then need to get a ring-tone converter from i-tunes, chose which 30 seconds of the song i want to set, go home to my PC and log into i-tunes, connect my phone to my PC and somehow (i still haven't figured this bit out yet) co-ordinate the i-tunes on my computer with my phone and ONLY THEN somehow magically get a small fragment of said song set as my ringtone. Call that technology on the move? I don't.
#6: The Chap Who Delivers The Metro Newspaper To The Train Station (usually about 2 minutes after I've crossed to the other side)
Aah The Metro - a kind of smorgasbord of news that no one else could be bothered to print, available in train stations and busses across the land for free and then, shortly afterwards, abandoned on seats and floors for people to trip over. Full of worryingly adult content for something that is readily available to be picked up by any given five-year-old travelling on public transport and an endless source of unintentional humour
About twice a week the aforementioned Chap manages to deliver the magazine before I cross over, meaning that I can flick through the pages just quick enough to a) catch my train and b) avoid losing too many IQ points and his method of delivery is to screech to a halt at the station, climb out with two big bundles in hand and throw them with abandon at the locked door of the station master not even pausing to remove the two strips that keep them bundled together.
This has been causing me endless frustration as it meant that I had to prize out my copy from underneath the straps, often ruffling or even tearing it (both of which stress me for reasons I can't quite explain) until this morning when - late as ever - I watched from the other side of the tracks as another passenger inadvertantly showed me how to remove the straps without a pocket knife or the necessessity of losing fingertips.
Still, come on mate - would it really hurt you to put them down carefully and remove the strap? Probably yes...
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Well folks, I'm still without a computer to call my own and as there haven't exactly been people banging down my door saying "Hey Pixie, where are your posts" I've been taking a break until such time as a good idea popped around to my door, let itself in and made me a nice refreshing cup of tea.
My life over the past couple of weeks has mostly involved travelling on trains which has inspired me to create one of my much sought after list of fives that never add up to five. This time its things on trains that annoy, frustrate, or are down right pointless
#1 Train Announcements
Don't get me wrong here, having an announcement - automated or not - at every station is generally a Good Idea. What I object to is the train guard coming onto the tannoy five seconds later and telling you what Automated Lady told you five seconds ago, then the Automated Lady coming on again to tell you once more incase you were too stupid to get it the first two times
Enough with the announcements already - once when we are about to leave and once when we are about to arrive is enough.
Although, to be fair, the train announcer who announced the following probably deserves some kind of prize:
"Ladies and gentlemen we would like to apologize for the fact that it's Monday morning. The problem has been reported to management and we expect it to be resolved in about four and a half hours"
#2 Trying To Sleep
It can't be done. Firstly because of the endless announcements which seem to be specifically timed to shout at you over the tannoy just as you are dozing off and secondly because of the seats. The train seats are specifically designed so that there is no way to put your head back without suffering some spinal injury, that the wall is too far away to support your head at an angle without the same result and that the window ledge is too thin to rest your arm on to support your head. Plus if you DO decide to place your bag on your lap, rest your shoulder on the contents and your face on the palm of your hand (resulting in a suspicious looking red mark on your face) you risk the ever-embarrassing headbutt as you nod off into the person sitting next to you
#3 Ticket Booking Sites
If you were too look on the train website you could be easily convinced that every day for the past couple of weeks I have been breaking the laws of physics and performing an impossible journey - BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU LOOK THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT IT.
Usually you will find that the website tells you one, or maybe two, routes which they consider to be the fastest. They won't necessarily be the most economic or the best one for you and the only way to find these out is via a series of trial and investigations that would leave Sherlock Holmes whimpering in a corner. Plus the savings are mostly imaginary or only available if you can afford to buy the £12,000,000 ticket that works out a whole 50p cheaper
#4 Too Many First Class Carriages
Anyone who has ever travelled on a high speed train in England will know the pain of standing in a train corridor for an hour because there are no seats, or be familiar with the smell of wet armpit on the subway. But what is particularly galling is that all of the people standing could easily sit in relative comfort (well, as comfortable as train seats can be) if they just took one, just ONE, of the totally empty first class compartments and replaced it with another second class one. Yes, I know that they charge twice as much for the privilege of having half a train to yourself - but simple maths alone should tell you that a full carriage will still earn you more than an empty one at twice the price.
#5 Train Station Prices
There are few places less lovely than a train station forecourt. They are full of the noise of endless announcements and the smell of desperate people ready to jump over each other to grab one quarter of a seat should the arrivals board ever prove to have more than a passing resemblance to reality. So what else can they do to make you miserable and take even more money from you: yes, that's right, allow a chain store to move in and sell you expensive chocolate, coffee, cold pastries and wetsuits (if anyone can explain to me why motorway service stations 400 miles away from the nearest puddle and train stations have suddenly started selling scuba gear please let me know)
Of course the smart person walks around the corner to the kiosk outside where everything is priced as per usual, but then rail executives know all too well that a person in a train station is a Person On The Edge, and therefore gullible
#6 Annoying Kids Making Endless Beep Beep Noises with the latest Gadget-o-thon
Don't think I really need to argue this one very hard, other than to say that I was once an extremely annoying child - and to anyone who met me on what were the permanently broken down trains of my youth when I used to carry my magic tricks around everywhere - I am deeply, deeply sorry.
However, that does NOT excuse the kids that sit with their Nintendo DeeplyStressing machine turned to full volume
Anything I missed, please let me know
Thursday, 6 June 2013
I can just about remember shops that specialized. Little corner shops that would order you something in if they didn't have it, sweet shops that would weigh out a pound of gobstoppers, little electric shops where a chap in a brown overcoat would locate some solder and a 9" screwdriver from a dusty shelf. Butchers and Bakers who would cut your meat or wrap your loaf of brown bread for you while you waited
There was even a greengrocers shop at the end of the road, next to the hairdresser who looked like Benny Hill.
Now, of course, we live in a fast paced world where we don't seem to have the time or patience to go to specialist shops - we want everything under one roof and we want it cheap and thus the supermarkets are doing a much better job of taking over the high streets than any invading army ever did.
Not that small shops don't exist - they are still out there, but in my view they are missing a trick by failing to offer the personal service that is missing in a big sell-it-all shop.
For instance - at the moment I am looking for a tablet computer, as I will shortly be without the laptop that I have been using to write these blogs with - something that I can use on the move for reading, something that can be used with a keyboard so I can write and something that can store and allow me to play with music apps - but getting clear advice on which one is the one for me is a pain.
Lets take an imaginary shop and call them: PC Supermarket - this is a shop that sells TVs, laptops, fridges, printers, ink cartridges, stereos - but inevitably the staff, as a result, are mostly focused on sales and don't actually know a great deal more about it than you do
So surely there is a gap in the market for the small specialist shop that only sells laptops and tablets where you can go and get proper, informed, advice. You'd think so, wouldn't you - but the few that I have tried so far are no better than the corporate giants
It's like earlier this year I was looking for some new music equipment - a home recording box to replace my old and battered tape system - but when I went into the local music shop the response was "none of us really do any home recording"
Not the most helpful response and not one designed to inspire confidence in the idea of future custom at that venue
Maybe this is a British thing, but my general experience of small shops is that they are generally run by people who seem to show nothing but disdain for their customers - especially in the face of a question , people who despite living what is presumably their dream job of owning a company that reflects a life-long passion seem to be longing for death and will only grudgingly take your money. Musicians are particularly bad for this as the moment that you walk into their private guitar show room they stare at you like you are from another planet.
So come on guys - given the opportunity I'd much rather support the small businessman and would cheerfully take my hard earned money to a place that I can rely on - just give me some proper help when I need it
(NB: in the interrim period whilst I obtain a new machine there may be a break from blogging - please bear with me and normal service will be resumed as soon as possible)
Thursday, 30 May 2013
Thursday, 23 May 2013
However - onto Les Mis and immediately anyone who has been following my blog in any way whatsoever will know that if there's anything that I hate more than Rugby, Football and Jazz it's musicals - as a story telling genre I find them hard to bear at best and padded out with 3-4 hummable tunes at worst.
There are, of course, exceptions - Baz Lurhman's "Moulin Rouge" was genius and I would recommend Return To The Forbidden Planet for its cheese value, but those dreadful ones where they get lots of ABBA or Spice Girl songs and attempt to tell a larger story with them and pretty much anything by Andrew Lloyd-Webber are, in my humble opinion, best avoided.
But Les Mis does actually have some pretty good tunes and the thing that appealed to me about this film was the approach to getting those songs onto the screen. Whereas in most movies of musicals the songs are recorded months in advance, meaning that actors had already made their acting choices before meeting their fellow cast, the cast of this one had an earpiece in so they could hear an off-stage piano and react live to what was happening.
This, for me, was the big success of the film as everything felt much grittier and more realistic. True you could argue that Russell Crow and Hugh Jackman are not the greatest vocalists in the world, but their voices more than suited the story and I was surprised to find that Sacha Baron Cohen (a person I've never had any time for in the past) was stealing the show as the tavern owner
As with anything written by Hugo this is grim writ on a big scale - but the film still managed to stir the emotions - definitely worth a look - even if you hate musicals
3: Star Trek: Into Darkness
There was a brief battle of wills between myself and the local multiplex over this one, as I wanted to go and see it - but at the same time I was determined to stick to my policy of avoiding 3-D films for as long as I am still able to do so. Finally the cinema did announce some 2D showings - but I suspect this will soon be a thing of the past if the attendance (admittedly at a mid-week screening) was anything to go by
So - Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the gang are back for another of JJ ABrahams's re-boots of the Trek series and this time Chris Pine (previously, for me at least, one of the weaker points of the first one) seemed to be stepping more comfortably into the huge shoes (although hopefully not huge ego) of Shatner
Supported by a strong cast, some excellent visuals, something approaching a coherent plot and an old and deadly enemy this gave me the vague hope that if the current rumours that JJ Abrahams is really attached to the next Star Wars film then it might not be as gratuitously awful as the prequels
I won't say anything more about the plot other than that central villain Bennedict Cumberbatch is a name to be reckoned with, in more ways than one, and probably made the right decision when he turned down the TV role of Doctor Who a few years back
There's some nice nods back to previous stories throughout, although the appearance of Leonard Nimoy as Old Spock is so pointless that I feel secure in telling you that he's in it because it in no way, shape or form spoils anything that happens in the movie.
I'm still not sure where I stand on the new emotional Spock, but after the truly dire Next Generation movies its nice to see Star Trek looking fresh and having something to say for itself - definitely watch this if you are a Sci-Fi fan, or even just like action films as you will still get something from it regardless.
NEXT UP: Man Of Steel - inspired rebooting or pointless sequel spinner?
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Thursday, 16 May 2013
When you think about it being human is a weird thing - we live in a world entirely of our own making, where we can never have any perception of how the others around us see and experience things and, in fact, as far as we know other people could be little more than robots that go back into their boxes for storage when we are not there. How much better the world might be then if we could only see and experience things that others do - maybe then we'd be more tolerant.
Anyway: have you ever found yourself in a situation, maybe at work or in some social group, perhaps at your local church or speakers club, where you find yourself becoming the "reliable one": the one that everyone turns to in order to get something done, feeling under more and more pressure to be there and unable to turn away feeling that if you step down then no one will offer themselves to take your place?
Or perhaps you've known someone at work who either you or they were convinced without whom the whole thing would fall apart? Someone who marched into the manager's office believing themselves indispensable and demanding more salary, only to walk out again without a job?
Well: I'm going to let you into a little secret and that is that one of the hardest lessons in life is that no one, and I do mean no one, is indespensible
In one of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy Douglas Adams talked about a machine called the Total Perspective Vortex into which subjects would be put so they could finally see their place in the universe - the effect of which was insanity or death. Sometimes working for a big company can be like that too - you can feel like a grain of sand on a never ending beach.
But here's the thing: it's ok to be dispensable. It's perfectly fine to let go and to walk away. The weight of the world does not sit on your shoulders and nor should it have to.
If you want to take on more responsibilities at work, at leisure or at home then do so - but you should never feel that you HAVE to do so and nor should you feel under pressure to keep on doing something when those around you just shrug their shoulders and say "ah but you do it so well" - because ultimately the world will keep on turning and there will always be someone, somewhere who can do it too.
Thursday, 9 May 2013
PIXIE: Hi yes, I'm trying to make an inquiry about season tickets
Incomprehensible Member Of Staff (IMOS): Yerrs, where were you heading
PIXIE: From my home to Central Smokey.
IMOS: Ah yes, you can buy two tickets from there, Ticket A the £Modestly rip-off price or Ticket D the £Extremely rip-off price
PIXIE: It's actually the two prices inbetween I'm trying to find out about - my search result on your site came up with Ticket B: £100 more than the Modest rip-off and Ticket C: £100 more again, but still less than the £extreme rip-off
IMOS: Ah yes, but Ticket B requires that your journey goes through or changes at Timbuktoo, whilst Ticket C requires that you go through change at Outer Mongolia
PIXIE: Well, yes - but that's what i'm trying to work out you see - because I was hoping that you could define "goes through" for me.
IMOS: Your train has to go through there
PIXIE: Yeeeees.....but here's the thing - There are two routes that I can see from my house - the Extremely Slow Train Company (ESTC) or the NeverHadSex Company (guessing that readers will probably work out who this company is). Now ESTC takes about 2hrs to get to Central Smokey, but if I change at my nearest city for NHSC then i can get there in just over 1hr. So: the NHSC route takes it THROUGH Timbuktoo, but it doesn't stop there - does that count
IMOS: Your train has to go through the station for the ticket to be valid
PIXIE (Slightly frazzled now): Yes, but can you define "goes through" - the train DOES "go through" the station - it just does so at 100 mph - does the train have to stop there, even if i remain on the train, for it to count as going through?
PIXIE: No it doesn't?
IMOS: Yes, it does
PIXIE: So it does, or it doesn't?
IMOS: The train has to go through the station for the ticket to be valid
PIXIE: OK let me try a different tack then. Ticket price A only allows me to go on ESTC routes and nothing else - therefore it is the cheapest price yes?
PIXIE: Great, finally some clarity. B-UT Ticket Price B allows me to get on any train SO LONG AS it goes via Timbuktoo - whatever that actually means - right?
PIXIE: AAAH, but you see - the only train that will go through my local stops and stop at Timbuktoo is the ESTC, and the only connection i can get from there to Central Smokey is also run by ESTC - so what you're effectively telling me then is that I'm paying an extra £100 for the privilege of catching exactly the same train, yes?
IMOS: The train has to go through the station for the ticket to be valid
PIXIE: You know, i used to have a toy talking robot dog as a kid that had more stock phrases than you do. OK - so ticket price C means I have to go via Outer Mongolia, but that otherwise I can catch any train yes?
PIXIE: But the problem here is that the only train to Outer Mongolia won't get me to Central Smokey till nearly midday and has to change at three other locations - so now you're expecting me to pay £200 extra for an even more useless ticket?
IMOS: The £extreme rip-off train ticket does allow you to catch any train
PIXIE: Yes, but that's over £300 more per month than the ESTC for what, with changes in service, is effectively a 15 minute time difference in journey per day. Which is why I'm trying to get you to define "goes through" for me. If it means "must stop at" then it should say "must stop at" so that people with second languages can clearly understand what is being said. Buuut - if it means "goes through" - IE merely has to pass through the station but doesn't actually have to stop whilst in the process of doing so - then I can have the option of switching to the NHSC service and save myself some time - so please, for the love of God, can you just tell me does the phrase on your website "must go through" translate as "must stop at" or not???
IMOS: The train has to go through the station for the ticket to be valid
Cue sounds of muttered, but still copious, swearing and the sound of a disconnect
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
The sun is drying the washing on the line and summer is wearing her skirt and showing her legs for the first time this year.
Sitting with heater plugged in , with a jumper on and a hot drink in my hand to stave off the shivers
Thursday, 25 April 2013
So for old time's sake and because its been a while - here's a list of 5 things you can do to pass the time
#1: Tea Tennis
Find an unsuspecting member of staff - someone who will sometimes say yes to a proffered cup of tea, but will sometimes say no. Then, and without telling them what you are doing, take it in turns to offer a lovely brew. If they say yes then you score a point, if they say no then your opponent scores the point - NB: this game only works until the victim realizes what you are up to at which point (assuming you haven't finished a match) whoever is in the lead wins
#2: Radio Bingo
If you are allowed to have a radio on in your office tune it to a local radio station. Local radio stations, at least in the UK, seem to come off a production line and are identical. The set up is: A male (main) presenter who is about 5% as funny as he thinks he is, accompanied by a female (support) presenter who is 95% more intelligent than she pretends to be on air (but has to play the idiot for the job)
The play lists of these stations vary little from day to day - so the trick is to write a list of artists that you think will be played on a specific day - and the first to tick them all off wins
#3: Imaginary Shot Drinking
I don't drink alcohol very often - I've had a bottle of wine open for nearly two months now and its not finished yet and I certainly wouldn't advocate drinking at work, but I have a colleague who has a habit of saying the same phrase quite frequently and so I recently tried to imagine downing a shot every time they used the verbal crutch. Just as well I didn't do it for real as I would have been inebriated in under ten minutes and dead within twenty
#4: Lunctime Walk Bingo
I actually went as far as to create some rules for this one before realizing that I see the same things far too often. For instance:
* a single abandoned shopping trolley would gain 5 points because just seeing one alone is so rare, whereas for every additional trolley you see would cost you a point
* A freshly broken window would get you a point, but you can only count it again if it hasn't been mended after 3 months
* A speeding car that fails to indicate would be minus points as its so frequent
#5: Scanning Cricket
A bit out of date this one as scanning documents is so rare now - the rules were that you gained runs until the scanner malfunctioned and then were "out" - you could probably devise a modern equivalent that counts emails with attachments against without
#6: Word Of The Day
This one is courtesy of Argent who was once challenged to try and get the phrase/word "Babycakes" into a meeting with a client. The rules, then, are clear - pick an obscure or made up word and challenge your fellow workers to work it into a conversation or meeting without anyone questioning it.
The prize in each of the above is a cup of lovely tea (or possibly coffee if you're that way inclined)