D4D

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

Archive for the category “People”

Slow Roads

Every so often I have a day where I just want it to be over – not in any kind of self-harm way, just when a lot of things have turned to shit, and all I want is to go home.

Unsurprisingly, today has been one of those days.

It started OK – it was cooler last night, so I actually got some sleep. I’d got a meeting down near Reading, so once I was awake at 6am, I left to get down there while avoiding the worst of the rush-hour traffic, and aiming to be down in Reading before it even really started. That mission was kind-of successful, in that I was down there by 8.30 – but still, it took two and a half hours to do a journey that I can do on a weekend in an hour, or just over.

The meeting itself went OK, and I’ve got a bundle of work to do, which will make life entertaining.

Afterwards, fortunately I checked routes home on my phone, and found that the M1 had been completely closed due to a fatal accident.  It’s an area I know pretty well, so I knew I’d got a bundle of cross-country routes I could take, and that’s what I did.

However, it seemed like every single part of that route, I was preceded by slow-moving drivers who had nowhere to go, or no desire to get there.  The entire way back was spent going at 30 or 40mph on roads where the limit was 60, and all on what turned out to be the hottest June day in more than forty years – warm to the point where even the car’s air-conditioning wasn’t really managing anything.  (I may need to look at re-gassing it, but we’ll see)

All told, the journey home took two and a half hours – most of which was just due to being so much slower than I would’ve been on quiet/non-busy roads.

So, by the end of it, I was just wanting to be home, for it all to be over and done with.

It’s going to be the first day in several months where I haven’t achieved my steps-per-day walking target – I could still have done it, but frankly, with the temperature and everything else, I just couldn’t be arsed.  In fairness, I’m already well up on the week’s target anyway, so a day off is perfectly doable (and I’m doing a bigger walk at the weekend too) but still, it’s also the first time in ages where I’ve had a day with such levels of failure to be arsed.

CrowdFunding

OK, I’ve got a new doozy of a conspiracy/cynicism thing for you.

Remember a few years back, Cameron belted on about how cuts in services meant that “Big Society” should step up, and do the things that councils and governments could no longer afford to?

Well…

Since then, we’ve seen an explosion in crowdfunding stuff – goFundMe, JustGiving, etc., – and now, any time anything happens, one of those appeals gets started.

What if…. What if those crowdfunding sites are the Big Society plan – people paying what they can to help those less well off, or in trouble because of situations that’ve been initiated by councils and governments?

So like today, ‘raise £200,000 to help people at Grenfell‘ – a fire that’s at least been contributed to by the negligence and shitness of funding by councils and governments. And what’s the betting that those crowd-funded compensations take the place (to a degree) of councils having to take the strain and fund accommodation, clothing etc.?

It’s dark as fuck, but somehow it also makes sense…

#1 Dad

Sometimes, you see something, and your brain just goes “What?!?”  (or words to that effect, but with more swearing)  Currently, there seems to be a theme connecting that with both Father’s Day and Star Wars.

Last year, we had the card with Kylo Ren…

[Spoiler from two years ago –  Kylo Ren kills his father]

This year, I’ve seen this in Sainsbury’s…

I’m pretty damn sure they haven’t seen the same Star Wars films I have…

On Being A Cretin

With life taking several turns over the last year, I’d given up a bit on going to the gym.  OK, I’d given up on it a lot. So I’d put my membership on hiatus, paying a small maintenance fee rather than the full monthly amount. (Because while I’m definitely an idiot, as will be shown shortly, I’m not a complete idiot)   It meant I wouldn’t have to pay a re-joining fee etc., and could reactivate things really easily once I was back to being in the mood for it.

Last month, I decided I wanted to get back to going.  Again, a number of reasons, but mainly just realising I wanted to do more, as well as some preparation for my idiot event in September – of which more later.

So I went to the PureGym website, logged in, and reactivated my membership.  Oddly, I had to pay a joining fee again, but I thought I’d just not read the terms and conditions properly, and it’s not a huge amount, so there we go. The proper payment comes out of my bank about a week later, and all good. Job done, I’m going back to the gym from June 1st.

Come June 1st, I look at my bank account, and there’s that maintenance charge again.  Weird.  Maybe it’s connected to that billing cock-up where I paid a joining fee.

So I call PureGym, to try and find what’s going on.  They tell me that the Direct Debit reference I’ve given them isn’t connecting to any of their records, so they’ll need more information from the bank, to know where that DD started, where it’s going etc.   Annoying, but indicative that a significant cock-up has occurred.

I ring the bank, and speak to someone there.  Let’s cancel that under the DD guarantee, here’s the details, it’s a Direct Debit for The Gym…   And a light goes on in my head.   I’m a cretin.

For whatever reason, I’ve got “PureGym” in my head as the one I’m going to. (And it’s one I was a member of, in two different locations)  Only that’s not the one I’m using. I’m using “The Gym”, and that’s where the maintenance payment’s come from. So I’ve re-joined a gym I don’t want, and not restarted the membership of the gym I do want.   For fuck’s sake.

The lady at the bank (having laughed) reinstated the DD for the Gym, and re-paid the money to them that’d gone out that day.  Then I went back to PureGym, explained that I’m a complete idiot, what had happened, and asked if it was possible to get my money and joining fee back from them.  No problem if not, we’d class it as an idiot tax, but if possible it’d be great.

And they did. It’s not a standard thing, but I’d not used the gym, it was still on the first full day of “membership”, and – I suspect most importantly – I’d admitted it was entirely my fault, and that I’m a moron.  (It also made them laugh, which is fine)

All told, I got lucky in many ways.  I’m lucky that (in general) my bank are pretty good on this stuff. I’m lucky that both gyms in question are month-to-month ones rather than contracts. I’m lucky that the people in both cases were nice, and obviously far more used to people shouting and swearing, and making out it’s all Their fault.

I’ve not lost anything (except some self-respect) and it’s all worked out.   But man alive, do I feel like an absolute cretin.

London

[Somewhat inspired by a friend’s post on Facebook]

I was in London on Saturday – it was a pleasant day, sunny, loads of people around, having a good time.  Note : This is NOT going to be one of those “it could’ve been me” posts – I fucking hate that shit, trying to make a drama out of one’s own life when others have been in that drama for real.

I walked over London Bridge twice, and had drinks and food in Borough Market. Again, loads of people out in the sun, sightseeing, visiting the city.

I wasn’t there when everything happened later, I was home, and had been for a while.

I have plans in London on Thursday and Friday for a conference in Westminster, then on Saturday to see a play in Soho, and the following weekend for Taste in Regent’s Park.  I have these plans, and I won’t be changing them.  I’ll go to the places I want to be, I’ll live the life I have, and want to have. I won’t let fuckwitted extremist bellends change my life.

Some of it is statistics. I know that there are, on any given day, literally millions of people in London, and only a tiny, tiny minority are bellend extremist shit-for-brains, so the risks are pretty low – but primarily it’s because it seems to me that the best, and perhaps the only response most of us can make to this kind of thing is to carry on as normal.

The odds are ridiculously low that I, or anyone I know, will ever be involved in anything similar to what happened on Saturday night. And if those odds bite me on the arse and something does happen to me or anyone I know, then I’ll deal with those events and repercussions the best I can. I still won’t let the dickheads beat me, though.

Bank Holidays

Here in the UK, today is a Bank Holiday – and that link is an interesting read, if you want to know more about why they exist etc.

Since moving to the current house – in my head it’s still the ‘new’ house, but that’s patently untrue, having been there five years now – I’ve become far less of a fan of Bank Holidays, mainly for one significant reason.

I live near(ish) to the only pub in my village. Usually that’s fine, there’s little-to-no trouble, and it’s all pretty decent. I’m yet to darken its doors, but that’s a different thing entirely. People come, people go, and it’s all good.

On Bank Holiday weekends, however, people seem to become fuckbags. The pub itself usually has some kind of event on – a band or whatever – and opens a bit longer, and both of those things are fine.  But by the time we’re mid-evening, there are always people screaming and shouting, having arguments, and generally being cocks. And that goes on ’til gone two in the morning. Every Damn Time.

You can hear these arguments all around the place – the people involved try walking/stomping away, only to be followed by the other party, screaming and yelling to “get back ‘ere” and whatever (or my favourite, chasing after them yelling “Go on, fuck off then!”, which I still can’t get my head round)  Fortunately, it rarely gets nasty – once or twice it has, but usually it’s just loud and twatty.

For me, it’s unavoidable. I live close enough to be in earshot, and to be on the main route back to most of the rest of the village, so short of being away on Bank Holiday weekends, I can’t miss what’s going on.  It’s not a huge thing, just an annoyance, and it grinds on me after a while.  The thing is, it also makes me not want to visit the pub at other times – and to be fair, I don’t need much of an excuse on that score anyway. It’s just another factor that adds to my Reasons Not To Bother.

One Minute

Yesterday, a lot of people held a one-minute silence for the victims of Monday’s bombing in Manchester.  Personally, I don’t really understand why this appears to have become one of the “done things” to do for any tragic event.

Yes, the bombing is awful, and should never have happened. The people who did it are unutterable motherfuckers, and deserve to be damned to whatever eternity their religion believes in. The victims shouldn’t have been victims, because this shit shouldn’t have happened.

But it did, and so we go on.

But what do these silences actually do? They re-focus attention on the event (but of course we’re not going to give terrorists the air of publicity that they crave, except when we then have every news broadcast for the next 72 hours focused pretty-much-purely on that event) and make people think about it even more.  But we’re not going to let terrorists change our lives, are we? Except when we do, when there are now more armed police on the streets, and even more security on the streets, in airports and elsewhere – all of which changes our lives, and makes us think about terrorism even more.

I know the silences started off from the two-minutes-silence on Armistice Day – and I’m fine with that.  But when did they become the done thing, the marker for every event?

I feel the same about the huge numbers of bouquets at the sites of deaths and tragedies.  I get that people want to voice their sympathies, but when did a bouquet and gifts become the way to do it? It’s almost enough to make you wonder whether it’s not the florist industry behind it all, in a similar way to Valentine’s Day, just to improve their own profits – but this time out of the grimness and death of others.  And the sodding cards that go with it – the ones that get read out in news broadcasts, that all seem to be suspiciously “on-message” for whatever’s been being reported.

The real start for the floral stuff seemed (to me) to be the death of Princess Diana, when flowers appeared everywhere, in true Damien Day style. Since then, they’ve accompanied every bloody event known to man.

Fine, people want to show their concerns, voice their sympathies and so on. But surely it’s better to do so with donations to a particular cause, with speaking up about (in the case of Manchester) terrorism and the like, to actually do something, rather than pay lipservice through a wallet and a minute’s silence?

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