D4D

I do not think that word means what you think it means

Archive for the category “2017/18”

Toronto

So, where was I last week?  To cut a long story short, Toronto.

Basically, last year I got really lucky.  CocaCola had a summer holiday promotion where the label of each Coke product was printed with a design and a code. And as I drink a lot of it, I thought “What the hell”, and kept entering codes from them.

And I won.

At the time, they were saying that you could claim the holiday at the destination on the winning label – and in my case the winning label was for Dublin. I really wasn’t overly bothered – I’ve been to Dublin, after all. But I got to the point of thinking “Sod it, might as well claim, at least it’s a break”, and then when I spoke to them they said “Which destination on the list did you want?”.  So I went back to the list, and saw that Toronto was on there, which has always been on my list.  And that’s what I did.

The prize was actually for up to four people, and included flights, half-board hotel, and transfers between the two. All told, quite a significant contribution.  I only went with one friend in the end, with a room each, so it was all good.

The run-up to the break had been fraught – it’s where a lot of the “You had one job” post came from – but the break itself went well. (It turned out that the agency in question had made fuck-ups in every single aspect of the booking, although I’d caught all but one in the run-up to the holiday, and the last one finally bit us in Toronto, where the agency had booked the transfer to the wrong hotel – same brand, different location, a $100 taxi ride apart)

All of those fuck-ups are being dealt with, and have been referred back to both the agency and to CocaCola as well, so it should be entertaining to see what crap hits the fan from that.

Anyway, the week itself was great. We had a hotel right in downtown Toronto, which meant that everything was easily available, and during the week, we covered pretty much everything we wanted to in the city. It’s a very walkable city, and we covered about 70 miles all told during the week. As well as the classic touristy stuff (CN Tower, driving to Niagara Falls etc.) we got to do culturey stuff including the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and also visiting most of the local districts and regions within the city. It’s been busy, but not hyper-busy.

We got back yesterday, having been awake from 6am Toronto time, flying back at 18:30 Toronto time, arriving at Heathrow at 06:30 BST, and I then beasted my way through ’til gone 10pm on Sunday before admitting defeat. Hopefully that should enable me to reset my body-clock somewhat.

It’s been well worth it though, and all told I reckon it’s pretty much balanced out a bundle of the money I’ve given to CocaCola over the years…

Old Gigs

This year seems to be another one with a lot of band revivals – and I’m happy about it.

First of all, the band “The The” announced that they were going to do their first tour in twenty-odd years.  Having been a fan for a long time, I got tickets.

The first-announced one, back at the Royal Albert Hall (where I saw them *cough* years ago) is the single most expensive gig ticket I’ve ever bought – the gig sold out in minutes, and I was in the queue, so the only ones that remained by the time I got there were ridiculously costly (but also have hospitality included, so I’ll make it pretty much work out, somehow) but fuck it, got one anyway.

Then they announced a second gig, this time at Brixton Academy on the following night. Much much cheaper. So I got one for that too.

Later, they also announced a smaller warm-up gig, in Nottingham. Yup, got that too.   (It’s ridiculous, and I just hope it’s worth it)

There are a couple of others this year as well, including Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, both of whom I’m going to see.

And then yesterday, the Cowboy Junkies announced they were coming to the UK for three concerts – in Glasgow, Manchester, and London. I think the last time I saw them was on their last visit here, although for some reason I appear to have missed one a couple of years ago – had tickets, didn’t go. I’ve been a fan of them even longer than I have of The The, so it was a no-brainer.

Glasgow and Manchester went on sale today, and I’ve got one for Manchester. The London ones don’t go on sale ’til the end of the month, but I’m already seriously considering getting one for that too. It’ll depend on the price, but it’s pretty likely, if I’m not going to see them again for another decade…

You Had One Job

[This follows on from a conversation I was having over the weekend, so I thought I’d write a bit more about it here. You lucky people]

This year so far has in many ways been an exercise in frustration.  I’ve felt like I’m keeping on having to fight things all the way, just to get people to do their sodding jobs.  It’s incredibly annoying, frustrating, and just leaves me tired and pissed off.

I know I’ve written about this kind of thing before – it seems to be a bit of a theme round here. And it’s not even like I expect miracles – all I want is for people to do their fucking jobs right. That’s not too much to ask, surely?

For example, one of the current bugbears has been a particular travel agent, who is supposed to be organising a break.  It’s been in the process now for about six months, with the travel happening next month.  I’ve given them a decent length of time and space, and absolutely nothing happened. Indeed, the only time anything started happening was once I got in touch with them about six weeks ago, to find out what was going on.  All of a sudden the tickets and so on appeared, along with acknowledgement that they’d dropped the ball, that the initial contact had left the company and there’d been no handover or successor assigned to deal with me.

The problem was that the names on all the bookings – flights, hotel and so on – *all* had spelling mistakes. I’ve raised it with them, and they’re “going to deal with it”.  But man alive, this is the job they’re supposed to be good at, that they do all day every day, and they still make mistakes like these?  I’m honestly not reassured, and won’t be until I’ve arrived at the destination and know that everything has worked out.  Which is hardly a relaxing start to a break, it’s fair to say.

The stuff with the bank, the car insurance people, and the windscreen people have also been fine examples. Along with several others I’m not in the mood to add just yet to the list here.

All I want is for people to do their jobs. Why is that so bloody difficult?

Non-Stop

This last week has been (and continues to be) pretty non-stop, even by my standards. It’s been a weird mix of work, social, and work-related social.

I’m still trying to calm things down – and weirdly, at the moment my weekends seem to be freer than my weekdays, so I suppose that’s some kind of progress? But as usual, something has to give – and this time it’s been writing on D4D™.

I’m aiming to find a better balance of things, but right now it’s all on some kind of weird mutant seesaw/roundabout combination, and figuring out the physics of that is pretty tiring in and of itself.

I’ll get there, though.

Aging – Making Improvements

Following on from my general feelings of being flattened and feeling old, I’ve also been doing some stuff to try and alleviate it a bit, or at least to give myself better information.

The first part of that was a general health review, a visit to the GP to get basic information, as well as booking myself in to get blood tests and so on. (I try to do that every couple of years, as there’s a family history of stuff like underactive thyroid, type two diabetes, heart issues and the like.) As usual, that all came back fine.

The blood-tests were more of a pain in the arse – mainly because I live right on the border of two health authorities, and my surgery refers me to the authority that’s not the one for where I work. So it took me a couple of weeks before I could be bothered to go that way and get them done.  But again, once it was done and I’d bothered rinnging up to get my results, everything was fine there too. A couple of figures that aren’t perfect, but everything’s still well within acceptable range of ‘normal’. Which is enough for me. I’ll probably work on them a bit, but it’s nothing that’s even important, let alone urgent.

As usual, they all say I’m too heavy – file under “Sherlock, Shit, No” – but then when they see the figures, and the speeds/distances I usually walk at, they seem to worry less.  I’m still working on losing some again, but it does somewhat lessen the urgency when they pretty much shrug and go “Oh, OK”…

Following on from that, I got the aforementioned eye-test, which was also positive.  Small changes, but nothing major, and the optician said that my eyes are a lot healthier than those of most people who have similar levels of vision correction to me.

Oh, she also worried me by telling me that people with my level of vision correction are at risk of detached retinas – something that has never been said to me before! – but that mine were OK.  (I mentioned this to my parents last weekend, and they added to it by saying ‘Yeah, there’s a family history of doing that, too”)  So that’s been great, being told all of a sudden about a potential future health issue I wasn’t even aware of.  Joys.

Anyway, all told I’m actually doing OK.  Now if I could just get my brain to follow the same path, things would be wunderbar

Aging

One of the reasons (I think) for the current phase of my feeling somewhat flattened is relating to me feeling a bit old currently.

That’s not as in “Oh my God, I’m old” and so on, it’s more just some realisations that I’m no longer the age I am in my self-image. Mentally – and many would say emotionally – I’m nowhere near 46.  But this year so far I’ve been feeling older – the fun stuff like new aches, just generally feeling rougher than I have previously.  It’s all just a bit wearing, no fun at all, and quite demoralising.

Alongside that, over the first three months I put on some weight, which wouldn’t then easily shift in the usual ways I use. Also quite demoralising.

The final bit of the jigsaw was getting an eye test a couple of weeks back. While the prescription hasn’t changed much, it’s changed enough, and we’re looking at my next set of glasses being varifocals.  So yeah, I’m feeling a bit old at the moment.

I’m working on it – and that’ll be a follow-up post to this one – but at least I am working on it, and so far that feeling of being flattened is at least lessening as a result.

Q2

For whatever reason, the second quarter of the year is changing pace a bit.  As I said previously, the first three months hasn’t really stopped, and I ended up booked up with stuff every single weekend.  Easter weekend was the start of a quieter bit, where things will (I hope) be a bit more settled, and not quite as hyperactive.

Of course, saying that, I’ve got some bits already booked in, including five concerts in June (two on successive nights) and a couple of theatre things, as well as a week in Toronto (that’s going to be a whole big post of its own later on) and a few other odds and sods, but it’s definitely not (yet) as manic as the first quarter.

So yes, there’s a fair amount that’ll be happening, but also significantly more down-time, which is no bad thing.

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