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Posts Tagged ‘Blog every day in May’

  1. People are useless

    May 22, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Rant about something 

    There are many things which annoy me, but one of things which annoy me at work (and I don’t think this is limited to my organisation) is that so many people are USELESS.

    They can’t read anything properly.

    They can’t reply to anything in an intelligible fashion.

    They’re only interested in their own field of work, nothing else is remotely important, and whatever you’re working on is piffling in comparison so you need to drop everything the minute they need something from you.

    But the thing that really gets my goat at the moment is people who can’t give their attention to ANYTHING unless they’re in a meeting about it. Somehow, without discernibly producing anything of value most of the time, they’re ‘too busy’ to think about any topic until you’ve got them sat down around a table.

    Several times I’ve had people say to me ‘Oh yes, we must have a meeting about [blah], it’s really very urgent and important’.

    ‘Hmm, really?’ I’ve thought. ‘Could you not just send me an email about it? No, OK, we’ll meet in four weeks’ time, the earliest window you’ve got in your busy and important schedule to discuss it.’

    Meeting day comes around. They describe what it is they want on the website. I say yes that’s fine, you just need to produce [whatever content it is, usually a few hundred words of text, maybe with an idea of what structure they want].

    And then… nothing. NOTHING HAPPENS. Months pass. Literally months. I’m not exaggerating. In one case I actually waited TWO YEARS for them to do this (remember it was urgent) piece of work, without which I cannot do the work they demanded from me.

    Usually after the first few months have passed, they contact me again to ask if we can have another meeting ‘to review where we’ve got to and keep this moving’. With a sigh, I agree to the meeting, in another four weeks’ time. We get to meeting day again, and I ask what happened with them writing the content we agreed upon.

    ‘Oh we haven’t started that yet, never enough time in the day’ – carefree laugh.

    So NOTHING. You have done nothing at all. And now we have to have essentially the same meeting again, where we agree on the same actions, and I leave the room knowing that I’ll probably never hear anything about it again until the next meeting.

    How can people work like this? How much money is wasted paying salaries around the world so people can sit in rooms, discuss a subject, and then produce NOTHING?

    WHAT IS THE POINT?

    Office work has a reputation for feeling and being futile, and it is well deserved. Pushing paper around can seem a bit pointless. But meetings with idiots are in my opinion one of the worst parts of working in an office. If you haven’t completed the actions from your last meeting, you shouldn’t be allowed to have any more until you do. And if you haven’t done them after two weeks you should be shot in the neck and composted.


  2. HSBC has given my blog about a million hits

    May 21, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A list of links to your favorite posts in your archives

    There is one set of posts that immediately leaps to mind when I think about my blog. They date from 2010 and recount the saga of a set of complaints I sent to HSBC about their fraud prevention policies and customer service. Even today, almost three years later, they still get more hits than any other posts on my blog, and have slowly accumulated more and more comments from people with experiences similar to my own.

    My protracted argument with HSBC, and the subsequent £100 that they gave me to shut me up, marked the start of me being a much more assertive consumer, and one who is much more willing to take their custom elsewhere if a company behaves badly.

    The posts are a bit long, because they recount my and HSBC’s correspondence in full, but they are fairly entertaining, and I’m still quite proud of the fact that I didn’t give up and eventually managed to corner them into accepting they had done wrong. So if you have a spare ten minutes or so, give them a read.

    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus

    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 2, they may now insert the pot as well

    Why HSBC can go fuck themselves with a massive cactus – part 3, the forearm’s going in

    Why HSBC can continue to fuck themselves with a massive cactus, but can do so £100 lighter


  3. It’s a struggle

    May 20, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now. 

    Well, I’ll tell you what I’m struggling with. This challenge. It’s really hard! I was doing OK for the first week because I was able to write a few posts in one go and get ahead of schedule. But then I used up all my slack and suddenly I was struggling to keep up, and I’ve still got ten more days to do.

    In particular, some of the topics are quite difficult. This one, for example, is really rather similar to the one from the 16th, ‘Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it’. Isn’t that the same? And it was hard enough to think what to put for that.

    My friends who are doing the challenge too seem to be doing roughly the same as me – keeping up for the most part, and occasionally posting suspiciously late in the evening. So at least it’s not just me. We’re going on holiday on Sunday though, so I sort of need to write… erm… ten posts in the next five days. Shit.

    I guess I’ll just have to fudge some of those like this one, which isn’t really about anything. IT STILL COUNTS THOUGH. Ingrates.


  4. Five blogs

    May 19, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Five of your favourite blogs

    I don’t actually read all that many people’s blogs. Do people not do it so much any more? I feel like there’s less need, as you can just make little posts whenever you want on Twitter or Facebook now.

    So I’m just going to do this quick and dirty, because I know you all like it that way anyway.

    Deliberate/Illiterate 
    This is Chris’ blog, my other half. Almost everyone who reads this is going to know that already. He’s doing the Blog every day in May challenge too, and even though I obviously know pretty much everything about him, I’ve still learnt some things reading it that I didn’t know before. So that’s been nice. Also he works with occasionally hilarious special needs children, and that can be quite funny.

    Matt Smith
    Matt is my best friend what I have met via Twitter. He knows lots of interesting stuff about television and technology and is well worth a read. He helps to keep me sane when I am bored at work every day.

    White Space
    Urban Cynic, as she is known online, is probably my only ‘blogger’ friend, in that I knew her first via her blog and only later via Twitter. I’ve really enjoyed following her life via her posts. She lives in Brighton too, and I kind of like that I may well have walked past her in the street and would never know it.

    Foppish Drunk
    This is my friend Lee’s blog, and he’s also blogging every day in May. He’s a very good friend who I don’t see often enough, and his blog helps me to keep up with his life a little bit better. He’s northern, so he likes to blog about things like trams and whippets and whippets on trams.

    Plaintruthiness
    This is the only picture blog in my list. I don’t know if I first encountered Jerry on Tumblr or on Twitter, but I have since met him in real life in New York. He posts photos of two things that are very important in my life: FOOD and PRETTY BOYS. So if either or both of those are your thing, I heartily recommend that you let him take you for a tumble.


  5. What a tasty-looking child

    May 18, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Tell a story from your childhood

    I was quite young. Maybe five, something like that. It was a hot summers day and Mum and Dad were outside washing our car. We used to have an old yellow car that we named Sunbeam.

    My brother and I would play outside a lot when we were growing up. Children don’t seem to do that quite so much these days. My brother wasn’t there that afternoon and I was playing outside in our front garden on my own. I call it a garden, but there was no actual soil or plants or anything. It was more of a concrete space between our front window and the yellow brick wall at the edge of the pavement. In the summer it used to all be baking hot, too hot to touch even, and would smell of brick dust.

    In the house opposite ours over the road there lived a woman called Lorry and her children. In my head her name was Lorry, but I assume now as an adult it was probably Laurie. Lorry was a word I knew though, and she was quite fat, so it didn’t seem unusual to me that she should be called that. They weren’t a very nice family and we didn’t like them.

    While we were outside that day, the milkman came and knocked on their door. Lorry opened it, and their dog shot out past her legs. It was a Jack Russell I think, so not a big dog, but to a five year-old it was large. It ran across the road, through the bars in our front gate, and bit me savagely on the leg. I screamed, and it ran back where it had come from. Dad threw his sponge at it as it ran past, which missed and landed with a soapy splat on the road. It was rather an impotent gesture, but I’m sure it was all he could think of doing at the time. The dog ran back into their house.

    My leg was bleeding quite a lot, but although it felt like it had bitten an actual lump of flesh out of me I’m told really it had just broken the skin. I didn’t go to hospital or anything. Mum cleaned my wound and put Germolene on it. Germolene smells horrible and its scent marked many scrapes and cuts during my childhood.

    A policeman came and spoke to Mum and looked at my leg. I think he might have told me I was brave, but I don’t remember being very brave. I cried an awful lot, not least because of the sense of injustice I felt, even as a small child. ‘It won’t hurt you as long as you don’t hurt it’. That’s what my parents had taught me about animals and insects. You just leave them alone, and they’re nothing to be afraid of. But I didn’t hurt the dog – I wasn’t even near the dog. I’d never been in contact with the dog. So it didn’t seem very fair that it had run directly across the road in order to bite me while I was playing happily in my garden.

    The police decided to destroy the dog. Mum told me that Lorry’s children used to tease it, so it didn’t like children, and that’s why it had attacked me. Lorry didn’t want the dog destroyed though, so she gave it away before the police came to take it and wouldn’t tell them who to. I don’t know what happened to it. I know that no one ever got punished for me being bitten though.

    It made me very wary, afraid even, of dogs I didn’t know, for quite a long time. They were unpredictable and could bite you even if you hadn’t done anything. I got over it after a while and learnt that actually most dogs are nice and just want you to play with them. That dog wasn’t nice though. It was mean and dangerous. I don’t like that dog.


  6. Gorgeous

    May 17, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A favorite photo of yourself and why

    There are a million photos of me looking variously idiotic on Facebook,  but in the end I went for this one.

    MeCake

     

    I like this photo a lot for a number of reasons. I think it makes me look fun (how deceptive) and it reminds me of some great nights out I’ve had over the years. I’ve been being entertained by Boogaloo Stu and Dolly Rocket (pictured) since 1999, which is an awfully long time, and the club nights they run are always my favourites, so it seemed fitting that my photo should feature at least one of them. Dolly also looks gorgeous in it, providing a nice contrast with my hideous cakeface.


  7. Something difficult

    May 16, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it

    This is another difficult topic for me, and I’m late starting this post because I haven’t known what to write all day. To be honest, I have a very fortunate life, so finding something to complain about regarding my ‘lot’ isn’t easy. Yes, I have various annoyances and things that stress me out sometimes. But generally I live a secure, comfortable life that would be the envy of many. I’m in a long term relationship with someone I love very much; I have a nice home in a nice town; I have a secure job doing something I quite good at; I’m fairly healthy, minor ailments aside; I have enough money to do pretty much what I  want and I never have to worry about how to pay bills or putting food on the table. It’s a lucky life really.

    Well, not lucky as such, because I have worked quite hard to get a good education, and I’ve always been prudent with money. So some of it is luck and some of it is hard work and being sensible. But whatever.

    There are only two things that I can think of that I suppose I wish were slightly better in my life.

    One is that I struggle a lot with anxiety issues. It’s not all the time, but whenever things go out of my control or I’m in a new situation, I find it very hard. It seems to have got worse in the last ten years or so, possibly because as an adult those occasions come up less frequently and so are felt more acutely. When you’re starting a new school or college or university every few years, you’re used to that change in your life happening, and it’s unavoidable because it’s a part of growing up. You just expect it. Once you’re an adult though, starting a new job or moving house is something you have to decide to do – and that’s where I fall down a bit. Making it my choice means I’m responsible if I get it wrong or make a bad decision, and so I get much more stressed by it. I really don’t like that about myself.

    I’ve got a book on overcoming anxiety which I’ve read and thought was quite useful. It doesn’t really change much though – I just forget it all when I get stressed. I think I’m a bit better for knowing I get anxious – because I’ve also learnt from experience that it will pass, and that an initial freakout I may experience is just that, and it’s not the end of the world.

    But yes, I do wish I wasn’t so anxious. So that’s one thing.

    The second is that I wish my Mum and Chris liked each other more. They get on fine, and they’re perfectly nice to each other, but they wouldn’t seek each other’s company or anything, and if you said to them they could never see each other again I don’t think either would be sorry.

    I do know why they don’t really like each other. With Mum, it’s because she doesn’t really like anyone apart from me, and any partner that I have will be someone who takes my attention away from her. With Chris, it’s because Mum is hard work and not easy company and doesn’t really give very much back. He also doesn’t like that she monopolises my time and has in the past put strain upon our relationship.

    So that’s why, and I get it, and it’s not going to change. But I wish the two of them were more like me and Chris’ Mum. I love Chris’ Mum, and she thinks of me like her own son. I could spend a day on my own with Chris’ Mum just fine. I think she’d probably love that actually. So it’s easy for me to be around her, and to be at her house, and Chris doesn’t have to worry about keeping everyone happy and civil because it just happens on its own. I feel like… I’m papering over the cracks all the time. Or trying to hold loads of barrels together with a bit of rope and they keep threatening to burst out and roll away. 

    So yeah. I’m not doing anything about overcoming this, because I can’t really. People are people, and I’m not the first boy in the world to have a slightly fraught mother/partner relationship. But this and the anxiety thing, they’re both things that I wish were a bit better in my life.


  8. A day in the life

    May 15, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A day in the life

    It is suggested that you do this topic by taking a photo every hour in your day and uploading it. Well it’s 4.20pm when I’m starting this and I haven’t taken any photos yet and the camera on my phone is shit, so I’m not doing that. You’re getting good old fashioned text instead and you can be grateful.

    Essential background to this post – Mum and Dad have been visiting again, staying in the flat upstairs. They arrived on Sunday afternoon and are leaving today. I was feeling ready for them to go around lunchtime yesterday and I’m mentally exhausted.

    OK? So here’s my day.

    Hear Chris’ alarm clock. Wake up. Realise I don’t have to get up. Snuggle down smugly. Remember Mum and Dad are here. Snuggle down less smugly.

    Get up an hour later. Have an hour left until I’m required to report upstairs for Diligent Son Duty. Wash, dress, drink tea. Savour the peace.

    Go up to see Mum and Dad. Help them pack up their things before their check out time at 11. Mum goes for a rest.

    Check weather forecast. Windy and showers. Mull over what to do.

    Take Mum and Dad to Brighton Garden Centre, because it’s the only indoor thing I can think of. Wander around looking for anything with a cat on that Mum can buy. Check out the cafe to see if they want to have a cup of tea there. It has people in it and is noisy. Mum does not approve, so we don’t stay.

    Drive to Brighton seafront. Visit JAG Art Gallery. Mum makes assistant man get out eight different stained glass trinket things so she can find the colour she likes best. Doesn’t buy one. Says she’ll ‘come back’. She won’t come back.

    Go into main part of gallery. Heart Radio is playing through speakers. Some artists are talking and laughing in the corner. “Why do people always have to make noise?” Mum laments. “I don’t know, because they’re normal?” I think but do not say. We buy a £6 print of a painting of some poppies for Mum.

    Go outside to ‘look at the sea’. It is windy and cold. Look at some dubious cafés for possible lunch. They all have music on but Mum wants to go to one anyway. I know she won’t like it and my patience is wearing a little thin, so I discourage her and we return home.

    Buy baguettes from the Real Patisserie. Eat them at home in my quiet flat. It’s not very exciting but it’s just easier.

    Mum and Dad start dithering about whether to drive home at 2.30pm (YES YES YES) or 7pm. These are the only available options to avoid the traffic, apparently. I subtly steer them towards 2.30pm, because it’s cold and wet outside and I can’t think of anything else to do that’s indoors, quiet and not too energetic. Mum goes for a lie down. I fall asleep on the sofa. Something about having them around makes me want to sleep. It’s like a sleepfield.

    They decide to go at 2.30pm, Mum somewhat reluctantly. I see them off with a cheery wave, then do a little dance in the kitchen, put on music really loudly and clatter about with crockery in celebration of all the things I’m allowed to do again.

    Potter about in my living room. Wait for Chris to come home. Renew our car insurance for something to do. Save us £180 by shopping around, snaps to me. Start writing this blog post.

    Chris comes home and we have Raspberry Martinis with fresh raspberries floating in them. I get a text from Mum saying they’re back safely and shall we speak at 7 on the phone. “YOU JUST LEFT! WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO SAY?” I think.

    Chris and I have dinner – Dr Oetker pizza with potato waffles and some salad stuff he obliges me to have so my diet is marginally more balanced – and we watch an episode of Men Behaving Badly from our DVD box set. Gary is concerned he’s only slept with three women and Tony throws up over the edge of a diving board.

    Play Tomb Raider for half an hour. It’s the new one and it’s really good. I’ve done 98% of it now, just need to find some stupid necklace things to get the last 2%. Might play it through from the start again when I’m finished now I know how to play it without being inept and getting eaten by wolves.

    Speak to Mum on the phone. They had a good journey back and can I look at what dates are available in the flat upstairs in September. THAT’S JUST FOUR MONTHS AWAY. I agree to look but consider saying it’s fully booked.

    Watch Chris play Dragon Age Origins for a bit. His character is in mouse form for a large part of it. I’m not sure why.

    Watch the Apprentice. They make some appalling furniture and don’t deserve to be alive. They should bury them in that stupid box they invented.

    Try to stream an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race but fail due to rubbish internetness, so have to forgo my fix of drag queens.

    Put my stuff out for the morning. Wonder how I’m going to do my formerly full-time job in just one day this week, because of the days off I’ve taken to entertain Mum.

    Read a bit of A Caribbean Mystery in bed. Decide I’d quite like to be Miss Marple.

    Sleep.


  9. Ten things that make me happy

    May 14, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Ten things that make you really happy

    1) Cocktails

    Cocktails

     

    I do love a nice cocktail. It’s a real treat to have one when you get home from work. Or when it gets to cocktail hour at the weekend. Or before you go out. Or if you go into the kitchen and forget what you went in for so you just make a cocktail because that’s as good a reason as any.

    2) Cocktail sausages

    Cocktail_sausages_m

    Thinking about cocktails has reminded me that I also LOVE cocktail sausages. I have a real problem with them. I could just eat and eat and eat them until I’m sick and I’d still want to eat more. I love them when they’re really cold, and when they don’t taste too much like real sausages but more like artificial bread and meat confections. They don’t have to have sticks in them; in fact they’re better without as they just slow you down. Oh god I love them. I just want to cram more and more of them into my face until the tears start to flow down my cheeks except it’s not tears it’s sausage grease.

    3) The opening bars of Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx

    This song never fails to make me happy. The beat just makes me want to dance, and when I hear the first couple of bars in a club bitches better make way because the dancefloor is MINE. It was also our first dance at our wedding, so hearing it will always bring back lots of happy memories.

    4) A nice cup of tea

    Cup of tea with a biscuit

    I do regard having a cup of tea as a bit of a treat. It’s just so warm and cosy and it makes me feel good inside. What? That’s not weird. Go away and leave me alone with my tea, you.

    5) A jacket potato with baked beans and cheese

    Various

     

    Speaking of things which are all warm and make me feel good inside, few meals are as satisfying as a nice jacket potato. It’s like a beansy, cheesey, potato hug. I love it.

    6) Grey joggers

    Grey joggers

    Speaking further of things which make me feel warm inside, PRAISE THE LORD for grey joggers. They’re just so clingy and indiscreet, and they have livened up many a walk on the beach for me. They make me very happy indeed.

    7) Waking up without a hangover on a Sunday

    happy_2

    Having a hangover on Sundays probably shouldn’t be the norm in my life, but let’s face it, it totally is. It happens so often that on the weekends where I don’t have a hangover I wake up and think ‘Oh. Well this is pleasant.’ You can actually just… do stuff on a Sunday, before 3pm, without having a headache, or feeling sick, or wanting to die. It’s marvellous.

    8) Adding my savings up

    Savings

    I’ve always liked counting my money. As a child I had a locking savings box in the shape of a pirate’s treasure chest. It even had a secret drawer in the bottom for putting EXTRA SECRET savings in. I loved it, and I loved getting all the money out and counting it up. What’s the point in saving if you’re not going to count it in little piles like a Victorian workhouse owner? And then when you’ve finished counting it you put it back in the treasure chest where it belongs.

    9) Putting things in alphabetical order

    AlphabeticalOrder

    On a similar note, I love putting things in alphabetical order. It’s so satisfying. Chris asked me to do him a favour and put the 100 references at the end of his masters dissertation into alphabetical order for him, and he said ‘Sorry, I know it’s boring, but you’re quicker at it than me’. Little did he know, I LOVED IT and quite wanted him to muddle them all up again afterwards so I could do it again.

    10) Being praised

    Pomeranian-11

    I love getting praised and I’ll fish for it shamelessly like a whoreish pomeranian. Sometimes when I’m halfway through something at work but it isn’t quite finished yet, I’ll take it to show my boss so they can praise me and tell me how good it is so far, because then I know they’ll have to do it again when it’s finished, so I get double. I like everyone to realise how clever I am and then say so repeatedly. One of the things I miss most about being in education is submitting something to be marked and the feeling of validation you get when it comes back with a good grade on it. I just want to be told I’m a good boy and have chocolate buttons thrown into my mouth.

     


  10. A public apology

    May 13, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – Issue a public apology

    This is a tricky one. I don’t apologise to people lightly, normally because they don’t deserve it and if anything they should be apologising to ME. But the topic is the topic, so I shall have to make an exception.

    I wish to apologise to Center Parcs. Center Parcs, I am sorry. I stole. I stole from you and I am sorry.

    Specifically, I stole this:

    Donald

    Yes, to my shame it is true, and it is the only time I have ever shoplifted anything. I coveted the Donald Duck badges they had in their gift shop, and even though it only cost about 99p and I was on holiday and had been a very good boy, my Mum refused to buy it for me. I must have been about 7 at the time.

    I’m not sure what caused the impulse to seize me, but after my Mum had denied me the badge, she left the shop and went to a café over the road where my Dad was waiting. I was left alone, staring longingly at the tray of around a hundred of these badges which I now could not have. And a little voice whispered into my head ‘If you were just to pick up one of the badges for a moment, then put your hand into your pocket rather than back into the tray, no one would see you and no one would ever know. It would be so easy.’

    It was rather unlike me. I’m not one to break rules really, even if I don’t agree with them, and I take a dim view of theft. But I REALLY wanted that badge.

    So I took it. With my heart pounding in my chest, I walked past the counter and out of the shop. I got outside and realised no one had even looked at me, let alone challenged me. But I then realised I either had to hide the badge forever or somehow explain my possession of it to my mother.

    Mum waved to me from over the road (it wasn’t really a road – they don’t have many roads at Center Parcs – but it was like a pathway cycle lane thing). Inspiration struck, and with some theatricality I effected a surprised face and stooped to pick up something I had noticed on the ground. OR HAD I?

    ‘Look Mum! I found this on the floor just over there!’

    This was the same badge I had minutes earlier been denied with some degree of whining and pouting on my part. In what world did I think this deeply implausible story was going to be believed?

    IN THIS WORLD, THAT’S FUCKING WHAT!

    ‘Oh that’s lucky,’ my Mum said absently.

    And that was it! Grand theft in a matter of moments, and no investigation or repercussions. I couldn’t believe my luck. All those years of being a good boy paid off right there, when it couldn’t even enter my mother’s head that I might have stolen the badge.

    But I look back with shame on my brief foray into the criminal underworld. I am lucky that my success didn’t give me a taste for it. That badge was not mine to take, it belonged to Center Parcs.

    So Center Parcs, I am sorry.

    I hope this blog post does not come back to haunt me, and preclude me from high office if I am ever vetted for a job.

    I still have the badge somewhere. It’s in a box at my parents’ house. Perhaps it is possessed of some evil energy that causes small boys to commit crimes. Perhaps a forgotten box is the best place for it.

    And the saddest part of the whole episode? I don’t even care for Donald Duck.