Friday, December 30, 2005

And like that it was all over

Blah blah twelfth night blah, but it feels all over, doesn't it? Maybe it's working part-time that does it. I'm not on holiday, I haven't taken any extra time off over Christmas, and the fact that it all fell on a weekend makes it even stranger. I get a total of one extra day off work for the holidays, which somehow seems wrong.
Not that I haven't been sitting on my ass, mind you.
This year I revived the childhood practice of actually telling people exactly what I want for Christmas, and it has paid off handsomely. Books with pictures of ships on the front (a special mention here to the lovely Folio Society edition of Thomas Cochrane's memoirs from Eoghan) and new beds for the dogs were the favourites, as well as my own virtual dog on the Nintendo DS. I haven't quite figured out how to work it properly, and it turns out you can't really use it on the train because you have to talk to it in a loud voice, and my real dogs don't like it very much, but it's a good thing to have around. It reminds me that I don't always have to be doing something useful with my time, or worrying about not doing something useful.
Nice to see no major natural disasters this year either.
New year's eve will see me and Mister Monkey settling down with a full haggis dinner and a nice bottle of ice wine in front of the new Bose speakers (another favourite present) before having an early night. Start as you mean to go on, I say.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's a blog for, if not to complain about UPS?

I ordered a package from the US. I didn't know it was coming by UPS, no-one told me. "By Air" it said on the company's website. I guessed, you know, pixies or something. So I was quite surprised on Monday evening to come home and find a UPS InfoNotice in the hall telling me that the driver had tried to deliver the package at 9.40am. Surprise surprise, I was at work. There was nothing on the notice to tell me when they would be back to deliver again, because Irish delivery guys never like to tell you anything, because then you might expect some fucking level of fucking customer service from them.
Anyway, mea culpa, I forgot to bring the InfoNotice to work the next day and didn't call them. Sure enough, the driver had been and left another one, this time at 9.10am. Again, no clue as to when this masked stranger might turn up again, but I had a pattern to work from so I guessed it would be today. So I rearranged my morning and reckoned I would go into work a little bit late.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
At 10.30 I called UPS and was told that the driver had left the depot with my package and that if I didn't want to wait for him I could always feel free to drive over to Ballymount Industrial Estate and get the package myself. I declined.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
At 1.30pm I called UPS and asked if they had any idea when I might get my package. The girl on the phone said no, they don't give times, but it would "probably" be before 5pm. I pointed out to her (in a much more polite way than I am doing now) that shipping companies with far less sophisticated networks can at least tell you within three hours or so when they're likely to deliver. Mighty UPS, one of the biggest delivery companies in the world, apparently, can't do that. I asked, very politely, if there was some way I could register a complaint. The girl said yes, she took my name and phone number and said she had registered it.
So I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
At 5pm I phoned them again and got someone who could be based in Ireland, but let's face it, is more likely to be based in a faraway land. She left me on hold for 15 minutes while she checked where my package was. It turns out, right, that the driver had to return to the depot early and couldn't complete his deliveries today. So I would get my package on Friday.
Good thing it's not important, I told her. I then apologised to her for being abrupt, but said that I was pissed off and even though I wasn't pissed off with her, she was the one on the phone. She laughed and said that the despatch centre was very busy at the moment.
It amuses me that some poor woman who is possibly on the other side of the world is trying to make amends for the fact that Irish delivery guys just don't change. Just because White Van Man is now Brown Van Man doesn't make him any happier about sitting in heavy traffic on a rainy day.
All this over some stupid Christmas present that the person may not even like or want.
My humour is not good today.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fat comic and the forces of sodomy

Post titles like that make me glad I don't have Adwords on my blog.

We went to see Dara O'Briain in Vicar St. last night. Whatever its limitations when seeing bands, Vicar St is a great place to see comedy, especially if you've got front row centre seats on the balcony, where you get to look down at the full house below you. Dara really is just a quality performer. Two hours of varied, hilarious, well-observed, clever comedy that never understimates the intelligence of the audience is hard to come by, but he delivers it.
My particular favourites are the image of some young person jogging along beside technology asking "what have you got for me today, technology?"
"Well, I've got a phone that you can carry around and call people from anywhere in the world!"
"That's brilliant! What have you got now?"
"I've got a phone with a camera attached, so you can take pictures of all your friends!"
"That's brilliant! What have you got now?"
"I've got an iPod that plays your music and stores your photos!"
"Oh shit, I've got a stitch. You carry on without me, I think I've gone far enough."
He breaks up the second half of the show very cleverly too. Having been invited on to the BBC's Room 101, he spends some time thinking about all the things he hates (opining that comedy is the ideal art form for petty things you hate. Broad strokes of emotion? Leave that to music. Irritating people you met on the train? Comedy!) but of cours they only used a few. So he has made a list of other ones, which he gets someone in the audience to read out. It's a good plan, because as soon as the interest in one topic starts to flag (assuming it does), he can just switch to the next thing. Smart.
He is just class, bless him.

All change

To the delight of people like Simon and Mr. Monkey, I've made the switch from PC to Apple. It didn't seem like such a big deal now that Apple will sell you a keyboard with a delete key on it, but it has meant big changes in other areas. I now use Safari for my web browsing, and my old blog provider does not fully support it. Sure, I can write a post, but I can't include italics or bold text and other basic, fun things. So I'm testing out Blogger to see if I like it.

This could take a while. I fear change.

Moving house

All the stuff from here down is in the process of being moved over from this blog:
Perfectly cromulent

It might take a while.