Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What would Capt. Mainwaring say?

Five times this has happened now. mostly from Amazon, but now also from Alibris.
Amazon.co.uk and Alibris.co.uk, both UK sites. Both I presumed foolishly selling me English language books. But, when they arrive the language is German! Sometimes after receiving the book I have gone back and found in small print in the description it has said German language (not in the title mind you) but the last book I bought there was no mention at all. And it was expensive! Absolute Watchmen. It really is a pain in the neck.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What would Blockbuster say?

What's happened to Blockbuster in store?
They used to be brilliant for used DVD's, you could get an armload of discs for a tenner!
Now I have a quick look round then go to Asda's to get it cheaper.
Case in point, this weekend I saw Hanna in Blockbuster X-rental DVD for £6. Asda's were selling it brand new for £3!
Blockbuster had MI4: Ghost Protocol X-Rental for £9. Asda's for £7 new.
Again and again I found it cheaper to buy a brand new disc from Asda's than a used copy from Blockbuster.
How long will these guys keep going like this?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What would John Logie Baird say?

I was watching Stargate last night on DVD when I get a knock at the door.
A man flashed me a very official looking 2 part card in a flashy wallet and said he was TV Licensing.
(I have never had TV, a License, I don't even have an aerial and have no intention of ever getting one.)
I continually get letters asking why I don't have a license, over the years they just go straight in the bin unopened. Occasionally I've had inspectors turn up wanting to view the property, in the past I have let them in to verify I am telling the truth...but no more.
I am so fed up of this badgering persistence to buy a product I don't want. How many other sales people come round your house, send letters monthly asking why you don't own there product? You don't have Microsoft coming round your house do you asking if they can come in to see if you have an XBox? or Black & Decker sending mail asking why you haven't bought an electric drill do you?
Let's be straight, TV Licensing is NOT a Govt. organisation, they pretend to be one, but they are in fact a branch of the BBC.
So, last night when he asked to come in I said NO!
He was a bit taken aback, wanted to verify what I was saying.
I confirmed I had a screen, that it wasn't for TV and that NO, I was not letting him in.
he left crestfallen.
They have no right to enter YOUR property without a court order, they cannot get a court order without proof of a misdemeanor, and if there vans are as good as they advertise they know there is no signal being watched from my house so don't have anything to go on.
I wonder if I can claim for harassment?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What would the Solar Power man say?

I just finished my first year of Solar Power. How did I do? Here is the letter I wrote to the company i purchased them from:

Dear Sir,
I e-mailed 6 months into my contract to voice concerns that my system wasn't producing anywhere near the figures quoted me. At that time I had a reply requesting that I wait for the first year to complete and then come back to you.
I just filled in my 4th quarterly FiT figure, thus making 1 complete year.

When I signed the contract a few things were explained to me.
First that it was a contract, legally binding for both parties and that if the figures didn't meet the analysis (though this was practically impossible) you would make up the difference.
Secondly, it was drummed into me over and over that the figures were so conservative, due to being based on sunlight rather than daylight hours that I would have my loan paid off realistically in 5-7 years rather than the 10 on the contract.

As said, I have just filled out my 4th FiT figure which came to 2705 KW Hours.
With the reimbursement figures of 43p & .03p this is what I calculate:
2705 x .43p = £1163.15  
2705 / 2 = 1352.5 x .03 = £40.575
£1163.15 + £40.575 = £1203.725

The 'extremely conservative' figures stated on my analysis are: 4197, over by 1492

My payments this year on the loan are £185.38 x 12 = £2224.56
So I am currently out by £1020.835
My monthly Electricity payments are £41 per month 12 x £41 = £492
So, even if the solar panels managed to wipe out all my electricity usage (which of course it hasn't) I would still be under by £528

So, the big question is what is wrong? Why is it under producing to not even meet the 'extremely conservative' figures on my analysis?
What happens now? Do I expect a payment from you to cover the shortfall?
If this is showing a shortfall in the first year, which is supposed to be the optimal time for the panels, what happens for the remainder of their lifetime?

I look forward to hearing from you with a realistic solution.

I waited a week, got no reply and started to get the details of my local Citizens Advice Bureau. That same day I had a reply with a final settlement from the company giving me a cheque of just over £2700 to take my loan period down. To my estimation this amount will roughly pay for 4 years under production, or to look at it another way, just over 1 year full payment of my loan. The amount on the cheque was apparently worked out in co-operation with thr Micro-regeneration programme and a regulatory body called REAL.

Am I satisfied?
I was surprised at the no quibble payment given me. It means I payed about 11K for a 2.88KhW 16 Bosch panel system. I still have the prospect of 8 years payments left that won't be met fully by the Feed in Tarrif reimbursement but remember there is another 16 years after that where it's all profit.
I was not impressed with the sales tactics, and the overemphasis on paying my loan off early. The sales guys for the company I was with are apparently the technical bods too who work out the solar hours from your local weather station rather than the generalised government figures.

If you too are finding the same thing with the figures not matching up I would send a message. Keep track of all the figures in a spreadsheet, when you go to them be armed with accurate figures.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What would Davy McDougall say?

I must say first, I am not a fan at all of the BlueBirds, I just looked this up on the net.

It's on the news today that Cardiff City have been made an offer:

The club's Malaysian owners have proposed investing £100m on the team, a new training ground and increasing the stadium's capacity.
But it would come on condition the home kit changes from blue to red, with a dragon instead of a bluebird crest.
News Link HERE
So, apparently the fans are up in arms at the thought of losing their history. However, when I asked some of the fans at work what that history was they just looked blank at me.
So I did some Googling:
The name Blu Birds:
Cardif City are named the Bluebirds because of the play named 'The Bluebird' that was shown in Cardiff in 1908. Cardiff was chosen to host the play over many different cities and so CCFC decided to cahnge their kit clour to blue and use the plays name as there own nickname. Web Link HERE
So I thought the play must have been written by a famous Welsh Playright!?
The Blue Bird (FrenchL'Oiseau bleu) is a 1908 play by Belgian author Maurice Maeterlinck.
Web Link HERE
So, apparently, if you are against the name change it is because you are supporting a Belgian play!

p.s.: Davy McDougall Web Link HERE

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What would Neil Kinnock say?

Working in a Graphics dept. I get asked for lots of favours. Business cards/ letterheads/ posters/ photo retouching etc etc.

I have just been asked to produce a poster for a Labour Concillor showing (if he wins) that 'He Lives Here!', 'You Voted For Him!' sort of thing.

Thing is, the guy who asked me to do this is the father of the candidate, and I know him and his son a little, as you do when you've worked with someone for 10+ years.

Now on the one hand I wish the guy luck.
On the other hand it worries me that Labour are backing this guy, and that he could win and be representing a whole community.
Why does it worry me?
Because this guy has never done a day's work in his life. His dad has paid his way through life, and still does. How can a guy like that have any real handle on life and what it means to struggle in the real world?

I wonder how many more like that are out there?
I fear too many.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What would John Merrick say?

It's still very cold here in Merthyr.
Over the winter period and still now, I'm dressing in cold weather gear while I cycle.
Respect the weather.
But, it doesn't seem to matter if it's a 'hoody', a 'beanie' or even my Peter Storm fleece hat, after a while of cycling I suddenly feel a freezing blast going in my right ear. 
Because my hat has started to move over to the other side of my head.
I'm forever adjusting it, pulling it back down over my ears to keep them warm.
What's going on! Am I alone in the hat moving phenomenon?
I know that no one has a symmetrical head, and I'm guessing that subtle movements of blinking and head turning are slowly causing my hat to move off to the side of my head.
Makes me wonder how John Merrick would have got on!

Friday, March 23, 2012

What would Freud say?

I do have some strange dreams.
The most bizarre I think was when I was having a dream in which I died. I woke up quite shocked, to find I had fallen asleep on the sofa watching TV next to my wife at my parents house. As I woke and started talking I gradually started to get the feeling something wasn't quite right. After a while I realised they weren't calling me by my proper name, and then I panicked big time as I realised something was seriously wrong with everything.
And then I woke up again, in my own bed at home, next to my wife who wondered what the matter was. My first question to her was asking her what my name was. Fortunately my wife decided not to try and be funny and make a name up and told me straight. I think I would have gone mad if she had made something up.

Anyway, this was just a preamble. The dream that has got me puzzled at the moment is one I had this week. I dreamt I went into the living room to find someone or something had moved all my stereo equipment on end so it was facing the window. As I puzzled over this I noticed my PS3 was also like it, and then slowly realised everything in the room had been turned to face the window.

What the eck is all that about!?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What would Doctor Who say?

I was looking at some funny Doctor Who pics. Here are, what I thought, were the cream of the crop.
4 & 5 are gif's, click to see animation.

Friday, February 10, 2012

What would Philo Beddoe say?

I've liked Country music ever since I saw the Any Which Way movies, way back in the late 70's.
I owned the soundtracks on vinyl, they are still unavailable on CD, but that didn't stop me transferring them to my PC as MP3 format.
I liked the music so much because it was very much a story based medium. I love a good story, and I like a story in a song. I get very tired of a lot of the modern music that seems to be around these days that just repeat a few lines over and over again and again to a mind numbing beat.

I feel quite smug at the moment, my tastes in Country prevail. Groups like The Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum and my favourite Rascal Flatts, as well as artists like Reba McEntyre, Tim McGraw, and Kenny Chesney, just to name a smattering are constantly on my iPod, and it was my expectation that I would not be alone for long in liking this music. I figured it wouldn't be long before other people started appreciating this quality, lyric based, real music.

I feel smug because this week I've heard a lot of Country music on the radio, quite a few duets as stars and established musicians seek out the 'real' sound coming from Nashville, the home of Country, and an upcoming interview with Reba McEntyre.

Quality is rising.
And for any doubters, have a listen to this old classic from that first Every Which Way album…

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What would Steven Seagal say?

Possibly the funniest review I ever read on amazon for the Steven Seagal series Lawman:

I got pulled over by Seagal ...March 13, 2010
This review is from: Steven Seagal Lawman: The Complete Season One (DVD)
I'm not sure what I was doing to set off his Zen psychic powers, but I got pulled over by Officer Seagal once. I was coming back from Hong Kong market on the westbank with several small Banh-Mi sandwiches and groceries and some Asian sweets. Running toward the car with what appeared to be a severe purpose, he started yelling "Yo! Yo! Yo! Yo! STEP OUT OF THE CAR, YO?!" and things like that. So I get out, and before my heel can even touch the ground I find myself in an ankle lock with him screaming at me about compliance. Several excruciating moments later, he gets this thousand yard stare looking at my car and sniffing the car uncontrollably as he pat me down. He put his hands together and bowed the way Japanese do in more formal moments, and said "Yo, Im' gonna hafta search the car, yo?" I had six Peking ducks in the backseat, and he said I was "way over the limit" as he started chowing down on my chicken liver Banh-mi. He gave one of the ducks to Colonel Fortunato who proceeded to swallow it whole, feet first. For the next half hour they just kept eating all my food and high fiving each other, right there on Gen. Degaulle Dr! Then he turned to me, jiggling his cheeks as he shook his head and said "mmmpph well das enoughmpph you kin gompph" I went home with a car full of crumbs but I swear to God, I'm lucky to be alive!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What would Grandad say?

My good friend Andy just sent me this e-mail at work, man, I'm getting old! :

A trip down Memory Lane for the old folks and a Laugh a Minute for you youngsters who don't know what we're talking about!!!
Someone asked the other day, 'What was your favourite 'fast food' when you were growing up?' 
 'We didn't have fast food when I was growing up,' I informed him.'Except for Fish & Chip shops and we ate it all so unhygenically from newspaper wrappers' 
'All the other food was slow.'
'C'mon, seriously.. Where did you eat?'
'It was a place called 'home,' I explained.
'Mum cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.'
By this time, the lad was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I'd figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore jeans, set foot on a golf course, travelled out of the country and credit cards had not been invented.

My parents never drove me to school. I had my mothers bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow).

We didn't have a television in our house until the Queens Coronation.
It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at 10 pm, after playing the national anthem and epilogue; it came back on the air at about 4 p.m. and there was usually locally produced news and everything was live.....or film.
I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.
Pizzas were not delivered to our home... But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and many boys delivered newspapers --My brother delivered a newspaper, seven days a week.  He had to get up at   6AM every morning.

Film stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the films. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence (except cowboy films) or almost anything offensive.
If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.
Growing up isn't what it used to be, is it?
MEMORIES from a friend:
My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle.   In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it...    I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea.   She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something.   I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to 'sprinkle' clothes with because we didn't have steam irons.   Man, I am old.
How many do you remember?
Headlight dip-switches on the floor of the car.
Ignition switches on the dashboard. There were two postal deliveries per day.
Trouser leg clips for bicycles without chain guards. The street lights were turned off at about 11pm each night. Soldering irons you heated on a gas burner.
Using hand signals for cars without turn indicators. Corona fizzy drinks were delivered in glass bottles by lorry each week, and the empties returned.

Older Than Dirt Quiz:
Count all the ones that you remember, not the ones you were told about.
Ratings at the bottom.
1. Sweet cigarettes
2. Coffee shops with juke boxes 
3. Home milk delivery in glass bottles 
4. Party lines on the telephone
5. Newsreels before the film 
6. TV test card patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again. (There were only 2 channels [if you were fortunate])
7.  Peashooters 
8.  78 rpm records
9. 45 RPM records
10. Hi-fi's
11. Metal ice trays with levers
12. Blue flashbulbs
13. Cork popguns 
14. Wash tub wringers 
If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older
If you remembered 7-10 = Don't tell your age
If you remembered 11-14 = You're positively ancient! 
I must be 'positively ancient' but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.
Don't forget to pass this along!! 
Especially to all your really OLD friends....I just did!!!!!!!!!

(PS. I used a large type face so you could read it easily)