D4D

In the firing squad when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Annual Car Costs

The start of October is expensive when it comes to the car, because it’s the anniversary of when I bought it.

So first there’s the renewal of the vehicle tax, although happily that’s not a big expense at £30 for the year.

Then there’s the insurance renewal, which is always a fun dose of bureaucracy and weirdness. And at least that one is an expense that’s spread through the year – I could do it in one payment, but find I usually can’t be bothered.

And then of course there’s the MoT test. Never fun – even if it passes with no problem, you’ve still spent time beforehand worrying about what’ll happen, and figuring out as many of the financial permutations as possible.

Last year, it passed the MoT OK, with just a couple of advisories – although one of those was about the brakes needing attention next year. So I knew that was going to come up, as well as the MoT and a service – which makes it all already Not Cheap.

Luckily though, that was it. I got one small advisory for this year, but absolutely nothing else to worry about. I suspect the clutch is likely to die sometime this year (although I said that last year too) which’ll be an expense at some point.

But for now, it’s all sorted, and my wallet isn’t as light as it could’ve been, so I’ll take that as a positive…

 

Withdrawn

Over the last week, I was supposed to go to two different concerts. In the end I didn’t go to either of them.

The first one turned into a farce, with tickets not delivered, a venue with a remarkably disinterested customer services team, and all just became a lot more hassle than it was worth.  I’ve been in touch with them since, and there’s been some progress, but still, not a good experience at all.

The second one, well, I just wasn’t in the mood at all. I’d purchased the ticket when the gig was initially announced, but as it came closer to the day I was totally unfussed about it, not at all excited or even looking forward to it.  And then on the day itself, I’d been for lunch at one of my favourite places (newly re-fitted and re-opened) and was feeling epically fat as a result, which isn’t really conducive to a good concert.

In both cases though, I also just wasn’t really in the mood for dealing with people – and particulary the type of vacuous bastards that seem to be the gig-going majority at present.

I was going to write a bit more about how I was dealing with it, and some of the other stuff around sociability (or lack thereof) but at the moment I can’t really be chuffed to do so.

More during the week, I’m sure.

Equinoctual

Today is the Autumn Equinox, when the day and night are equal in length.

What that means is the from now until next March, the nights will be longer than the days.

Winter is coming, my friends, winter is coming

Kindling Discontent

Last weekend, while down in Devon, I lost my Kindle. Entirely my own fault, and primarily due to being a dickhead – but still, bloody annoying.

I ordered a replacement pretty much immediately, and hoped that Amazon had improved the method for restoring all the books I’ve got onto the device. It’s been a bloody awful experience the last couple of times, but the last time was three years ago. So, knowing how swiftly they release new stuff on AWS/Cloud, it’s got to have been worked on, surely?

Welllllll, yes and no.

The experience is a bit better – at least now it keeps a record of what books have been put into Collections (think of each Collection as a bookshelf) which sort of makes things easier. But not much – because you can’t actually select, for example, a set of Collections and say “Deliver these”.

Instead, it’s still horrifically manual, and dirt-slow. You have to go to the Amazon site, and then “Manage Content and Devices”. If you only have a few books, then great, that’s fine. I haven’t – I’ve got about 600.  So even selecting the maximum of 200 books at a time – which is sort-of easy, although still involves scrolling the page down until it’s got that full 200 listed, and then “select all” – then takes forever to actually push them to the Kindle.

With the Collections, once the books have been pushed to the Kindle, it should then put them into the right places – so that’s at least a small improvement. Last time, I had to re-add books to the Collections as well, which made the entire thing a massive pain in the arse.

The thing is, none of this should be difficult. So long as one does backups of the device (and the Sync process is actively encouraged by Amazon, so one can read a book on one device and then continue it on another) then it should be a simple matter of going “Copy the stuff from this backup onto that machine”, in the same way it does for my iPhones.

All told, even with the improvements, it’s a rotten first experience with a new device. It surprises me just how bad it actually is – the entire thing seems to be something that Amazon doesn’t expect to happen, or that’s only been tested with five or ten books. I wonder if it’s something Amazon will ever get round to fixing…

Anniversal

Having gone through the six years of the bankruptcy process (as I’ve written about many times in that period) today marks a year since that process completed. Time flies, and all that rot.

It’s the final real anniversary of any significance though – even though it came off my record a year ago, most of the banks work on a “Six years plus one” basis (fuck only knows why, but that’s their choice) when it comes to ‘full’ current accounts and the like.

So that’s where we are now – the full “six years plus one” is complete.

It shouldn’t affect things much – it would be nice to have a ‘full’ account with overdraft facility and so on , but only because that’s another thing that is good to have.  I’ve done fine over the last seven years with no overdraft and never needing one, and I don’t see any reason why that would change now.

However, it does mean I’ll almost certainly move away from my current bank’s offering, purely because they were lying dicks about it all the way through the process. Once I’d gone through the first year where I was officially bankrupt, I was fine to have a basic current account. When I got it, I was totally honest with the bank, and they said I could try to apply for an upgrade to a ‘full’ current account on a regular basis (every six months or so) and see how I did.

It was only after three years that anyone mentioned that they wouldn’t give me an account until the “six years plus one” – ‘but it’s not that we have a policy, sir, it’s just that’s how it works, we won’t do it before then‘ – and so had basically lied and wasted my time for all those reviews.  That did cost them money in the end – a complaint went all the way to the Financial Ombudsman, who found in my favour.  (The rule in this case is keep a record of all paperwork and appointments, so you can show a history of wasted time, and stuff that you wouldn’t have done if they’d been honest and said to not bother for seven years!)

So yes, I’ll probably change banks for the current account – I’m not yet sure who to, but we’ll see what happens.

But the most important thing really is that now, seven years on, there’s nothing else keeping me back.

Wallets

Back in October, based on a recommendation (and a liking of the style) I bought a new wallet from Rains. Not the cheapest of things, but also not world-shatteringly expensive, I liked the (slightly weird) sort-of-rubberised material it’s made from, and that it wasn’t leather.

Over the last three or four years I’ve swapped wallets a few times, trying out new things and designs, most of which haven’t really worked out for how I do things.So far though, the Rains one has suited me pretty well.

However, last week I realised that the rubber holding strap was breaking – along the line of the cut-in company name, which wasn’t really a surprise.  But for a not-cheap wallet, I would still have expected it to last better than that.  So I emailed Rains to say about this problem, and attached a photo of the problem.  I could’ve lived with it – once it finally snaps I could cut the strap off completely, and it wouldn’t affect the actual functionality at all – but still, might as well let them know.

Within the day they’d come back to me, offering a replacement or refund – and either way, to not worry about returning the faulty one.  I chose a replacement, which was sent out the same day, and arrived (from the Netherlands) a couple of days later.

I’ve again offered to return the faulty one (I figure they could at least see what’d gone wrong – but maybe it’s more of a common thing, I don’t know) but they’ve insisted on me keeping that as well, so fair enough.

All told though, I’ve been really impressed with Rains and how they’ve done things. There’ve been no questions or quibbles at all, just a simple smooth process that really stands out from most places. It shouldn’t stand out just for that (ideally this should be just how things are done) but it definitely does.

Scheduled

At the moment, there’s an advert on TV for Just Eat, and it freaks me out a little bit.

There’s one part of it where they talk about people “ordering their usual”, and doing so at a specific time – implying that it’s the same thing every week.  And that just weirds me out, that there are people out there who do the same thing every week, who eat the same meals with little to no variety.

At the same time though, it’s odd in other ways.  I’m just as bad at being uninspired when it comes to meals and so on – but that’s when I’m just cooking for myself.  If I’m paying for it (i.e. a takeaway, a restaurant meal or whatever) then I’m going to go for random stuff that I fancy eating.

So I think it’s the combination – that there are people who are paying for their meal and still only having the same thing at the same time – rather than *just* that it’s the same thing every time.

Anyway, it weirds me out – even though in some ways I’m also a massive hypocrite about it, as I’m semi-guilty of the same thing, but only in the privacy of my own home…

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