Wednesday, 26 October 2011

I have the most peculiar feeling that i might be a mote depressed. 

Nothing to pronounced.  There's no hankering for peering over the sides of a canyon nor popping my head into an oven - although due to the sheer size of it, i'd have problems fitting it in.  No just a lethargic, why did i bother to wake up in this century moment of ennui.

There are plenty of doom and gloom-laden stories to keep any pessimist (who could scream critical and jaded before mama or papa) more than occupied, and happy flicking channels with a bath sized bucket of extra-sweetened cotton candy popcorn on one side of the chair and an auto-feeder the other. And that's just for breakfast.

Even so, there's that mote of depression that simply fails to lift, and i can't place my finger on it.

Outside it's cold, grey and raining, which normaly puts me in an extremely happy mood - as long as my core body temp hovers above double figures.  The dreadful neighbours upstairs appear to be slamming the doors less.  More buses seem to be switching off their engines, despite the fall in temperatures.  The feral kids of the blocks appear to be spending less time outside - due to the cold - so peace and quiet  is more the order of the day.

For six months of the year this is the period i'm wishing (apart from christmas day and the no bus bonus) to start, more than any other.

Now it's arrived, i'm momentarily out of sorts and a mote depressed! Where is that really grey lining when you want it.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


As a part-time eve online player - and a rubbish player to boot - i periodically pop back into the eeniverse  - especially when i have far better things to do or news of a player revolt reaches my ears - to view all the fun i'm missing or trolling trogs i've happily escaped from.

Compared to the early years, today's gameplay is a lot more involved, with ships costing anywhere in the region of hundreds of millions to many billions, gamers have a lot more to lose or gain making the whole experience one for those with patience and a view more set on the long-term.

But don't let the games complexity deter you.  After a few hours you'll be happily (with a lost ship or two behind you) progressing along which-ever carer path you choose.  You can either remain a generalist which will take time to become good at manufacturing using blueprints which hardly waste any materials in equipment production, or firing missiles with increased speed and greater damage, the same for guns, or specialising down one particular path, finding a niche subject and milking it for all you're worth.

The biggest fun however, is being part of the player corp where financial/material and social gains are made - if your leader knows what he/she/it is doing.  But whether you camp miners, or mine missions, dart the hole, or pirate your way to infamy; the game is as inclusive and as fun as you and those around you choose it to be.

Over the years players have found ways of using the game to produce artwork, books, and even a wonderful piece of machina: clear skies which brought great hilarity with such terms as trust in the rust and top and bottom wingy bit.  There are plenty other references and throw-aways which originate from the game play.  If you've previously played or are a current player, watching clear skies adds that extra little layer of iron-oxide to the fun.  Playing isn't a pre-requisite to watching though.  So sit back, dim the lights, maximise the screen, as you look towards clear skies!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Xmas 2011

Ah that festive time of year rolls its weary head around, when the ringing of tills and hopes of retailers takes over the mindset of a 1/4 of the planet.  A momentary period of happiness, the well-spring of hope, that's always dashed cruelly-bleeding on rocks of our own yokes.

Yes, xmas card production wings its way planet-side for yet another landing; 40 days and falling!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

ETA with a definitive end to their struggle, the death of  the ex-libyan leader?  What  next, total peace and reconciliation between israel and the palestinians?

The end of tyranny and start of the new

So the old libyan despot is dead, long live the new libyan despot - once he (or she) is installed.

With the old out the way and the dust still to settle, who benefits from his removal?  And what is it with ex-leaders and holes in the ground or drains?  Surely they could go down with a little bit more in the way of dignity!

The following brief video clip of gunshots, rejoicing, and what looks like the body of the old leader comes via the guardian, via youtube, via al jazeera.

Argos online continuing blues

I thought my mathematical adding up ability was rubbish; but argos it appears to have beaten me hands down.

Their online site is currently running a special offer which ends on the 20th January 2012, where you can save £30 if you purchase 3 products in a package, instead of each one individually.

The items:
1. 5+2 drawer chest - oak,  £87.99p
2. 3 Drawer bedside chest - oak £46.61p
3. 2 Door wardrobe - oak £103.99p
Total: £244.59.

The buy all three items in the one package special price?  £279.97p.

Yes, you read correctly, and with figures changing on a daily basis it's an easy mistake to make.  Although odd that it was one of two items i randomly looked at.  So if you mistakenly pay the special package price of £279.97, instead of buying them separately which would total £244.59, the whole transaction could on the face of it, actually set your wallet back by an extra you £35.38p, or £65.38p if you expected to be actually making that £30 saving.

But don't take my word for it.  Following this paragraph is a snapshot of the offending page, simply for others to wanting to confirm my calculations for themselves, before the details are unerringly corrected.  Just to make sure that neither my adding up nor the calculator i'm using are, in this instance, incorrect.

So where exactly does their creative imaginary £30 saving - they appear to have conjured from nowhere - actually come from?  It certainly can't be from the figures they've provided on their own site.  Unless, you have to submit all your details and reach the payment stage before the accurate figures are displayed.  If that is the case, then again in this day and age, that's bad policy.

I know this looks like i'm picking on them, but really guys & gals this is the equivalent of walking past a line of pots which are pristine and well cared for to see one that has more chips in it than the local chippy, the earths dried out and what used to be a thriving bush is now a dead twig... oh that's why i enjoy shopping there!  I'll give it a few months.

Argos retail blues

UK retail sales rose by 0.6% over the year to september 2011, and was 0.2% higher than august figures, and even higher than analysts (and how many of them saw any of the financial hiccups the globe experienced over the past few years) forecast.  This places septembers figures firmly in the area of a sliver of a shaving of a slice of hope, that goes by the general name: margin of error.  Naturally once a few months have sailed by, the figure will probably be re-statistised - downwards!

Yesterday argos came out with figures that if today's retail sales result had copied, would have pushed consumers into running for the bunkers, emptying shops and hunkering down for years to come.  I thought it more probable that due to the economic squeeze, consumers would be seeking value, service and reliability.

In light of the results and considering the type and style of offering that argos supplies then there really is no surprise in their 70% drop in profits.  If they improved their surly staff and stopped selling such rubbish stock that had a 50/50 chance of breakding down, they'd probably be far more successful without being the holder of the reputation they have.

John lewis has a reputation for allowing customers to return goods that don't work.  Argos has the same reputation.  The prices between the two outlets are remarkably narrow, yet the experience couldn't be more different.  Merchandisers at jl seem more 'lucky' with the batches they buy, and  jl sales staff appear more concerned about the customer and that ever important customer experience.  On the other hand, customers of argos (from their sales figures at least), appear to have finally twigged that as good as their offering is for taking back faulty goods whether for replacement or refund without a quibble, it does reach a certain level where if 1 in 2 purchases have to be returned to a store, customers will begin to wonder if the hassle it causes, is really worth it!

Now before lawyers of argos descend, i'm talking from my own experience and word of mouth (first hand) reports from other people.  In my case, the last major purchase was a laptop for £370, which worked for four months before upping its last, forcing me to trudge back to the store.  Thirfty five days later, after calling and no-one knowing where it was or, even, what was wrong with it, i received a call saying it was ready at the store for my collection.  Twenty-four hours after collection, the dreaded click of death afflicted the hard drive and that was that.  It went back to the store, and i accepted a credit note.

The only way argos won't go the way of woolies is if they up their game.  With online stores offering better for cheaper with just the same amount of hassle, an increasing number of customers will choose other avenues to throw their money at and vote with their shrinking economic feet.

Quantum levitation

Each day the increasing breadth of knowledge produces not only better products, but inches ever forwards towards that realm of potential promise where shirts are washed and dried in an instant (if you do your own washing that is), travel takes no time at all and there are certainly not any queues, leaving us looking back and wondering when it all happened.

The other day one of the neighbours had her 100th birthday, and in previous year (so i've been told) used to reminisce about periods when horse-drawn carts and horse poop used to be the highlight of the day, whilst  to get from the the uk to the usa you had to take a few weeks out, sailing the ocean blue. 

Along with those centenarians who say things are just too noisy now, let's hope that quantum levitation enables an improvement in the species' lot, and is not simply used as another means or excuse for waging war, in the name of the people.

Many thanks to dcm for the link.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

TFL's engines of change?

This morning i dragged open the living room curtains which creaked and groaned expressions of disapproval, expecting to see two things: one, the windows of the living room would be beaded with condensation as the flat begins its autumnal transformation into a winter mold paradise, and two, buses would be sitting on either side of  road - belching out their toxic fumes - making living here less healthy than placing an abode above a powerstation's smoke stake.

I was, briefly, wrong (which is odd) on both counts.

Half an hour later the engines remained switched off.  Which is curious.  Normally, regardless of whether its warm, hot, cool or freezing, many of the drivers leave their engines ticking over... unless, unless there is some sort of unofficial (but they all know about it) inspection taking place and they're putting their best behaviour front and place - which is generally the case when relative silence descends on the area.

Which means there was probably a reduction in the level of pollution i was sucking into my lungs during the morning and so, probably, without any other type of test to confirm a contributory factor to waking up feeling rather quite cheery.

Naturally the mood soon dissipated.

Now i wonder what's happening in the republic of southern sudan?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Other glimpses

It's enjoyable peering into differing genres of music; whether happy handbag (do people still say that) to, in this case, grime and creed. 

Viva la difference.

UK energy policy?

According to the governement here in the uk, we (the plebs, proles, not them) all use far too much power, and as we're all complaining about prices we should therefore be growing thrifty and economical so ensuring we can go on using them long into our dottage.

I hope the same applies to all those business who have windows ablaze with lights, oh wait, as they all have money which is tax deductible, they can keep the lights burning more or less for as long as they wish.

But i fully agree, we should all do our bit and reduce the amount of power we use.   Sadly after checking the amount of power i use i really can't reduce my usage anymore...   Silly me, of course I can. 

Now, where did i put those twigs?

Monday, 10 October 2011


Someone really should put that toothless old dog down and out of its misery.
The asa.  

Truly protecting the industry's ability to fleece its customers since november 2004.