hantsbear: (Feel My Koala-y Wrath!)
I think that pretty much sums the way certainly the UK has gone and, I would venture to suggest, the USA has gone.  Nobody sees the bigger picture.  Nobody looks to the longer term.  "We want a better NHS, but you want to put up taxes to do it?  Over my dead body!"  "We need more social housing, but my Council Tax bill will go up?  On yer bike!"

As a result, here we are in Brexit mode and the USA apparently heading happily towards a Christian theocracy.  And now people are starting to realise the cost.  Pound drops massively against the dollar and the euro.  Prices going up.  True, the "promised" downturn in the economy hasn't happened.  Yet.

What amazed me the most about the Brexit vote was the fact that areas that have benefited from significant amounts of money from the EU decided to vote to leave, such as the Welsh valleys.

Lemmings.
hantsbear: (perkele)
I am disappointed in 17,410,742 of my fellow countrymen.  They favoured economic suicide "because we've managed before, we've managed again".  Forgetting that 40 years have passed and the world is a completely different place.  Forgetting that unity is strength.  Thinking "ooh there's too many of Johnny Foreigner in our country" only to be told post vote that the Leave campaigners have no solution to the immigration crisis.  Both major political parties are falling to pieces at a time when we need to be decisive.  And I'm stuck here with a nay-sayer who still thinks, despite everything, we will be better off out of the EU.

Seriously considering running away to Sweden and hiding in my sister's sommarhuset.  In any case, am watching developments in Scotland very closely.
hantsbear: (happy pills)
Oh boy, is the black dog kicking my butt at the moment.  Work is well, just hell.  Constant change that has to be implemented NOW.  And you have to be doing it perfectly NOW.  And we need these reports from you to back it up NOW OR ELSE.  Added to the fact that I have been effectively written up for something purely subjective; something I had had no complaints about until this last year after 8 years in the organisation.

I cannot see a positive outcome.  I am applying for other jobs but I am not getting even an interview.  I tried for an internal post for a department that was apparently crying out for staff.  Nothing.

All my fight  has gone.  I have stopped discussing it at home because His Lordship gets wound up and keeps telling me I should do this and I should do that, but I feel it would have no impact on anything.
hantsbear: (Feel My Koala-y Wrath!)
There are times, and it has been happening a lot lately, when I come home from work and I wonder "What on earth have I done to deserve such punishment?"
hantsbear: (Don't F*ck With Me!)
One thing guaranteed to make me really snarky when dealing with Customer Service representatives is the phrase "Well, it says quite clearly in our Terms and Conditions..."

Translation : "Oh you are a complete dumb-ass, aren't you darling?"

Have you tried reading some of those Terms and Condtions?  Trying to find the right paragraph, subsection and sentence?  Honestly, it seems to be the one perk in an otherwise potentially soul destroying job, to smugly prove a customer wrong...

Grr.
hantsbear: (helga)
So, after a 11 month delay, we finally get to go on our Grand Tour of the West Coast.  3.30 am Thursday 2nd. October saw His Lordship and myself hauling our cases into his beloved Soul for the 30 minute trip down to the long stay car park at BHX.  Checked the car in for its 2 week holiday and wash and jumped onto the coach to the airport.  Checked luggage in, explaining we had a very tight connection (1 hour 15 mins at Frankfurt) and they dutifully put a label on the bags to that effect.  I had got a couple of express security passes, which turned out to be a godsend as even at 4.30 am, Birmingham Airport was pretty busy, and we were straight down the fast lane and through security in 10 minutes.  Went to the gate to await boarding. As the minutes passed the time stated on the boarding pass, I got a little twitchy and went to the desk and explained that we had a very tight connection.  "Don't worry", said the agent "there's fog at Frankfurt so all planes are being delayed and we are having to wait for a landing slot.  All the other flights should be affected." Pacified, I returned to His Lordship.  We were, I suppose, only 10 minutes late boarding and then sat a few more minutes while they tried to negotiate an earlier slot.
  Take off and landing smooth, but my heart sank when I saw that we had been parked off gate and had to be bussed in.  For some reason, despite FRA being one of the largest airports in the world, a lot of planes are parked off gate, which adds to the time passing through the airport.  The bus arrived in concourse B and we had to get to concourse A/Z.  I can't remember how later we were but the attendants on the flight had told us that our connection to Seattle was still ok.  We trekked round the corridors of concourse B and boarded a train over to concourse A/Z.  We had to go through another security check point and into concourse Z (the non Schengen area of concourse A) and rushed to gate Z52.  To be greeted by unsympathetic gate personnel who told us that boarding had been closed as the flight had been parked off gate.  If there's nothing that p*sses me off more, it's gate personnel who just don't appear to care.  Wearliy, we trooped back down the concourse to the Lufthansa Service Centre.  Here, we had much more success.  The agent was polite, sympathetic and diligent.  She must have spent about an hour searching for options to get us away that day, stopping every so often to check stuff with her supervisor and usually returning with water or snacks as well.  Eventually, she was successful.  She managed to route us to Oakland via Los Angeles.  A bit later than expected but we were grateful none the less and with a cheery wave, we set off back to the gate for the flight to LAX.  Looked out at the gate to see a 747-800 waiting.
  Boarding time came, and Steve went first to the automatic gate, which produced a seperate piece of paper, which the passenger behind him had to call him back for.  I was a few passengers back and saw this thinking "Ah, seating re-assignment".  I went through the gate, picked up my little piece of paper which was marked "UPGRADE BUSINESS".  I had a huge grin on my face, having experienced Lufthansa Business Class before.  Steve was on the escalator looking back at me quite puzzled.  We met up at the bottom.
  "What does this ticket mean?"
  "What it says - we've been upgraded!"  So, we went down the Business Class air bridge and found our way upstairs to our seats to oodles of luggage space and complementary champagne, flat bed seats and a rather friendly bearded steward.

  Stop right there.  We did not join the Mile High club.

  So, we arrived at LAX comfortably rested and fed.  To high nineties temperatures and a walk outside from the international terminal to Terminal 5, with much kvetching from His Lordship who does not do the heat.  Checked in for the Delta flight to Oakland, which was a Canadair RJ (another bugbear of His Lordship - hates small airplanes).  But they had given us Economy Comfort seats so we could stretch out, so that was a bit more comfortable.  Arrived at OAK about 10.00 pm PST.  About 30 or so hours after waking up.

zombie steve

   Tried to find the bus to the car rental station. which was nowhere near the stand it was advertised, but eventually united with our vehicle for the next 2 weeks, a Dodge Journey.  And so, thanks to the gods of SatNav, we found our way to our hotel and flopped onto our beds...
hantsbear: (Feel My Koala-y Wrath!)
So, have closed my twitter account.  Hardly used it, but it got hacked for the second time by @sshats from a certain large officially homophobic wasteland.  Bye bye twitter it is.
hantsbear: (grrrr...)
In a grumpy mood today.  It's a strike day and I have been undecided all week as to whether to strike or not.  In Smethwick, it wasn't too bad as there would have been a reasonable number of people supporting in the office.  Hinckley, is an unknown quantity.  I suppose I am more of a pack animal than a leader in these matters.

The strike is all about the government increasing public sector pensions, on top of pay freezes and caps and the "promise" of regional pay.  Public sector pensions were revised in 2007 and even recent reports (in the Daily Mail of all places!) have said that they are affordable.  However, the current administration, which hates both Trades Unions and Public Servants, are effectively increasing payments for a poorer payout to bring us in line with the private sector.  Well, if they wanted to do that, why didn't they just close all the final salary schemes and replace then with money purchase schemes instead?

What the additional payment is is a tax on public servants to punish them for proliferating underneath the previous administration.  Only it's not really palatable to call it that.

Still, I should be thankful that I have a job and a pension.  But it's difficult working for an administration that treats its staff with utter contempt.  Much like a lot of private industry I suppose.  I suspect they are softening us up to sell us all to the private sector...
hantsbear: (grrrr...)
...the number of people with free bus passes who think it's also a priority boarding pass and push you out of the way to get on before you.  Next time, I'm stealing their crutches.
hantsbear: (The Beginning)
Damn this lethargy.  Over a month and no post.  Sorry guys - I am still here - honest, but still trying to get to some sort of state of equilibrium.  The dining room and garage are still full of boxes but the momentum and the will to empty them isn't there.  So, I suppose I feel a bit in transit still.  Part of me just wants to go through the boxes and be even more ruthless and get rid of even more stuff.

Heigh ho.  Ask me again in a month or two when I move into my permanent office and can start to walk to work.
hantsbear: (pain)
I don't know why, but every time I have a day that ends with me feeling severely p*ssed off, I invariably end up at the local McDonalds in Oldbury.  Usually, I avoid "Mucky D's" like the plague - my fast food of choice over here is KFC.  However, there's something about being in a foul mood that sends me somehow to those golden arches.  Mind you, I do like their chocolate shakes even if I can feel my arteries clogging with their artery hardening wallpaper paste-ishness as my cheeks collapse to suck the last globules from the cup...!
hantsbear: (all glory to the hypnotoad)
Things are a bit static at the moment.  Main blocking point is my transfer to an office closer to Steve - it just isn't happening at the moment, and I'm really not sure how long this situation is going to last.  The Powers That Be within the organisation told one office that I've been in contact with, that has vacancies that they will categorically refuse my transfer unless it is an emergency.  I wrote to the HR person concerned about 10 days ago; she only read the e-mail last Tuesday and has not replied yet.  Reading the official guidance, anyone requesting a transfer is pretty much at the bottom of the pile unless they can claim an emergency transfer, which, I am told is nigh on impossible to obtain.  I will probably end up trying though, because this is stressing both Steve and myself out...

Oh well (sigh)

New Shoes

Aug. 30th, 2010 09:00 am
hantsbear: (pain)
I hate buying new shoes.
Well, that's not quite true.  It's not the buying of the things; it's the month or so of blisters and covering my feet in sticking plaster, mainly because I can only really buy inexpensive shoes not tailored to my feet.  When I get a pair that are comfortable, I wear them until the soles wear out.  Sometimes, I strike lucky and get a pair that are comfy straight away - bliss!  I tend to wander around the office in socks, preferring to kick my shoes under my desk.
I had to buy new shoes yesterday.  I think they will be ok but time will tell...
hantsbear: (Seriously Pi**ed Off...)
Most of the time, I kvetch that I do not seem able to pass my driving test.
Some days, though, perhaps the population should be thankful that I am not behind the wheel, as I can be the most impatient pedestrian in existence.  Cussing the volume of traffic; speed or otherwise of vehicles and some drivers inability to use an indicator.  So, if I were let loose behind the wheel...

Probably best not to think about it.
hantsbear: (pain)
Every four years, England gets infected with a particularly virulent disease.  Red crosses on white backgrounds appear everywhere and the media whips the populace (or at least those who give a damn) into a rabid frenzy, using metaphors usually used during World War II.

Except me.

I loathe and despise football soccer.  It has rather a lot to do with being forced to play it at school and being generally cr@p at it, enduring the wrath of the rest of the team along with the inevitable humiliation of being the person left at the end when sides were selected.  And fought over as to who didn't get me.  Major boost to the old self esteem.

If I could, I would be on a plane right now to somewhere that didn't give a damn.  Alas, I can't.  I will just look forward to the inevitable schadenfreude when Our Beloved Boys get kicked out of the competition for being, well generally, cr@p.

It's much more fun than watching Great Britain come last in the Eurovision Song Contest again.
hantsbear: (Will Talk For Food...)
...and the answer seems to be an overwhelming "Erm..."  The Conservatives have the most seats, but not enough for a majority.  Labour could possibly form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but the Liberal Democrats don't want anything to do with Gordon Brown, the current PM.  And the Green party finally got their first MP.

At the moment, the Liberal Democrats are talking to the Conservative party, which makes for uncomfortable bedfellows, since the Conservative party is against reforming the voting system and intend making radical cuts to the national budget, not spending on public services.

And we all know how much I love the Conservative party...  hah!
hantsbear: (Mandy)
So, in a months time, we are to have a general election.  Conservatives, led by the Eton educated David Cameron, who will most likely asset strip as much as possible of the civil service (privatised again, oh joy) so that they can fund tax cuts for a small percentage of the population.  Labour, led by the ever dour Gordon Brown, who few people trust since the days of Lord President Blair.  Then there's the Liberal Democrats who most likely get 20% of the vote but return less than 9% of the MP's.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Monster Raving Loony Party is putting up a candidate in my district...
hantsbear: (pain)
Know what my pet hate of this day and age is?  Getting on a bus and some teenager has got their music - usually some form of rap cr@p - playing audibly.  Nobody says anything, because they will at minimum be told to F off, or worse.  So, I sit, grind my teeth and think of what I would like to do with a baseball bat.

Rant over...
hantsbear: (Life)
I am going to have to get my head round a very simple fact.

Given my current financial circumstances, it is very unlikely that I will be able to travel outside Europe for at least five years.  Maybe not even ten.  Barring miracles, but you see, there's a problem there.  I am an atheist and, as such, do not believe in miracles.

So, looks like I'm stuck here then...

And, yes, I know I'm whining.  There are a lot of people a lot worse off than I am.  Does it make sense if I say that I wish I had never experienced, because then I would never miss it?  And the fact that I miss long distance travel cuts to my craw.

hantsbear: (Don't F*ck With Me!)
One thing that really bugs me about my life is my inability (according to the Driving Standards Agency) to drive a car.  I have proved to their satisfaction that I can drive a motorcycle but not a car.  And this has just been brought into sharp focus this morning as I tried to schedule a delivery from IKEA, which was being made by DHL.  I placed the order last Wednesday for a book case and two CD tower cases.  They advised me their approximate delivery date was Friday 9th. October.  Great, thinks I, I've got the day off anyway.  I had a call yesterday while I was out from DHL to schedule the delivery; unfortunately, I was out all day.  They called again this morning on my cellphone - they can deliver next Tuesday (which I cannot make as I am on training Tuesday through Thursday) but not Friday as it was fully booked.

I am relying on these purchases to help me empty out a few more boxes and start to make the apartment a bit more habitable - less like cardboard city.  It seems that I now have to live like this until October 30th. which is my next day off.  The fact of the matter is, all the boxes hanging around depresses me - I look at them all and think "where the hell am I going to put it all?"  And I am not the best person for motivating myself.  I know that if Russ were alive, he would be, at minimum, giving me Fierce Eyebrows.  And so we add "Missing Russ (still)" to the list of things depressing me at the moment...

But anyways, back to the lack of ability to drive.  I have taken (at last count) seven tests - which probably doesn't seem like much - at various times in my life.  Problem has always been running out of money to continue with the lessons.  And so, it is usually a few years in between attempts.  And in between, the test increases in difficulty - some other thing gets added; last time, it was reversing into a parking space and having to quote basic maintenance.  All very laudible things to undertake but just adding to my frustration.

The worrying thing is I am afraid to try again - I am toying with the idea of going away somewhere and doing an intensive course, but the last time I did that, the instructor shouted at me when I did something daft and as a result, I lost all confidence.  I would love to be able to drive and it seems that it is unacheiveable for me.  Or is it?  Do I try hypnosis?  Do I try a pill?  Am I that desparate?  Or frustrated?

Answers on a postcard, please.

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