Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012 - 14

Net Loss – a blow by blow account of web withdrawal

Wednesday 28th March

I’m without the Internet. This is either down to a faulty modem, a faulty Ethernet connection or the possible cause of a dog being sick. Now, that isn’t a usual reason and as unlikely as it seems if you eliminate all the possible, whatever you are left with must be the answer.

Lexy is a wee bit poorly at the moment; she has an upset tummy that has led to several puddles of dog vomit spread throughout the house. We’re a bit worried, but we know dogs and they get tummy upsets sometimes. Anyhow, I switched the PC off last night (Tuesday), went to bed and then went to work this morning. Got in switched the PC on and couldn’t get on the net. Thought it might be a local fault, left it alone for an hour, came back and it was still off. I ran a diagnostic. It suggested a modem problem; I looked under my desk at the lead and saw there were two foamy pools of sick, nestling in between the wires, but not near anything live. I checked everything; cleaned the mess up; hovered and sorted out all the wiring and reconnected it. Still nothing. Rang Virgin Media. Told the above to no less than FIVE different people in a call that lasted 1 hour and 28 minutes, two-thirds of that on hold and nought was solved. Incidentally, the story was told without the vomit part.

There’s nothing wrong with my Internet and there appears to be nothing wrong with my computer. Everything is set up correctly, so all Virgin Media collective tech support department can think is that there is either a problem with the modem itself or the cable between it. Unless of course Lexy, in her convulsions knocked the actual box and dislodged something in there.
As this is going to double up as my next blog entry, I’m sure there will be updates between now – 11.40pm on Wednesday 28 March and whenever I get back on line on my own computer...

Stats

It’s stats time at work. The first indication of whether or not I am doing any good at my job. I haven’t got much of an idea at the moment, because the data I’m working with is too large for me to make any snap judgements or guesstimates, especially as the goalposts appear to have been moved rather surreptitiously. Suffice it to say, my gut feeling is figures are going to be up rather than down over the two term period, so I’m going to have to base some of my conclusions on subjective points rather than factual ones.

The thing is, I’m growing increasingly paranoid, which, trust me, is an unusual feeling for me, even when I know the bastards are out to get me (as has happened in the past). I just get the feeling that I’ve not turned out to be the person they thought they were getting. I am absolutely not strict – I’m reasonable, and whether or not my figures come out positive, I don’t think my way is the way of my keepers. Barely any of my ‘clients’ hate me; most of them think I’m the coolest thing since whatever their lively minds think is cool this week. One of my colleagues told me the other day that the kids love me; they think I’m fantastic. Whether that gets my job done isn’t the point. I’m supposed to be the devil incarnate. They shouldn’t be fist-bumping me, they should be cowering away in fear and loathing and perhaps I’m just being paranoid...

Day Two Withdrawal

Thursday 29th March

Fortunately, I am able to access my emails at work, but a lot of my usual haunts (goat porn, Burn their Face Book, 50 Muslim Alcoholic Lesbians) are blocked and I’m suffering a weird cold turkey type withdrawal. My sad hour – the hour after dinner – is usually spent playing Scrabble, Bejeweled Blitz and ignoring what my friends have to say; but I can’t do it at the moment and it has left this huge void.

I told the IT boys at work and they gave me a new Ethernet cable – that didn’t work, which 75% rules the dog out of the picture. The odds are the modem is on the fritz, the bad news would be if something has gone wrong inside the PC. Diagnostics suggest that isn’t the case, especially for reasons gone on at length earlier in this diary of despair.

The strange thing is that I have done without the net before, to varying degrees of irritation, but because this is an unknown problem and could take a long time to solve I’m taking a calm, resolute, approach to it. I see a raft of expense on the horizon for various reasons and none of them are likely to solve themselves and I’m not just talking about computers.

Anyhow, I need diesel and the pub and I expect a long queue for one of them so I’d better get a wiggle on...

Day Three – resolution

Twas the modem. I have a shiny, brank-spanking-new Virgin Media Hub – a kind of cross between Hal 9000 and Spongebob Squarepants. Everything is good with the world again.

Stats II

I was being paranoid.

The stats aren’t bad. In fact, in places they’re pretty good. I don’t quite understand them, but I seem to come out looking okay.

Work also quite lovingly cocked up my birthday; thinking it fell during the Easter break I got my present and card today, despite being at work on my birthday. Still, muchos Homebase vouchers, a nice card, with some lovely messages and a bottle of Merlot, coupled with a pretty glowing appraisal made for a really good final day of term.

Dog Sick Blues

Lexy continued to vomit. The wife got worried, took her to the vet and while she was out, Ness decided to start splattering the house with her own brand of bile-based secretions. I had said it was probably a bug and while the wife was spending money on Lexy, Ness was proving me right.

By the time Lexy got home she wanted food again; she was ravenous and back to her usual self. I went to the pub with Roger and came home to a sea of sick. Murray had joined the ranks of the infirm. There were piles of regurgitated dog food everywhere and Marley, unaffected by the virus, was eyeing them up with greed in her eyes - she likes a bit of sick, especially some other dog's vomit with added lumps.

24 hours later and Lexy is eating again; Murray and Ness are quiet and being starved and Marley, a dog with a cast iron constitution, is as right as rain. As she has had the other three's up-chuck all to herself and sampled each one and still not come down with the bug, all I can think is she isn't going to get it.

Your Needs Fulfilled or Your Money Back

The by-election in Bradford West has to be a wake up call for all three major political parties. For Labour the decision is simple, you have two years to get rid of Millidee and elect a leader that the people don't snigger at. For the Tories it is simple - parts of the country will never vote for you and if you don't want to be forming coalitions for the next five generations you have to stop looking out of touch, aloof and employing wankers to run the country. The Lib Dems need to accept that they are finished as a political party.

I said on my old politics blog over two years ago that this country needs to wake up and start looking at electing people that want to run the country. People who probably work tirelessly in communities, who would be proud to serve their constituencies - whatever the pay - and wouldn't kowtow to the needs of corporations, tradition or compromise. I would never suggest for a second that Gorgeous George Galloway is a beacon of human common sense, but the fact he could attract so many non-white votes while campaigning on issues that meant things to the residents, suggests to me that it can be done somewhere else with a Joe Nobody who is altruistic, not self-serving, who is committed to real not rhetorical change.

Some guy on Newsnight said he can't see a government in the rest of his lifetime not being some form of coalition. He forecast as many as 10% of all seats going to independents, who will eventually hold the balance of power. That's great, but these 10% will be tempted by the promises of personal gain, of executive seats on boards, of holiday homes in Dorset or whatever temptation turns genuine politicians into selfish, forelock pulling, lackeys and what we need is that 10% to resist and hold out for the right decisions.

I said politics needs to change radically because people are fed up with it. I really hate it when Parliament is broadcast during PMQs and we see whoever is in power sneer at the opposition. It's like watching the bully in charge of the sand pit and as a result nothing ever gets answered. Wouldn't it be a great world if Ed Balls, when he was asked if he would reverse the 45p tax cut if Labour got back into power, had said, "Yes. It will be the first thing I do." Or "No, we'll see how this new band works." But instead we were treated to a load of words which really said 'I have no idea what we're going to do and if I had I'm not going to tell you because I'm shit scared that I'll say something I regret.' Political debate is like my mate Colin - 500 lengthy and convoluted ways of saying 'yes' and 'no'.

I really believe that political parties either need to disband or change in such a way that allows people who vote the same but do not share the same methods of achieving the best outcome to co-operate and exist within the same umbrella party. This kind of smacks in the face of my philosophy, but you have to have a structure that allows these individuals and small groups to function in a working government, otherwise nothing will ever happen. Therefore you need to either abolish or radically alter the role of the whips (and while you're at it also abolish lobbying from anyone with a vested financial interest). If I vote for an MP who opposes a military action, but is forced to vote in favour of it because of his party allegiance, then that MP has failed to uphold one of his pledges and should be subject to a by-election. MPs should be elected and allowed to vote for what they believe in rather than what their party does.

If the yoof of today carry their ambivalence of politics with them and it continues to seep into the younger generations, then politics will change or we will face revolution. We need to make people believe that politicians are actually doing their job and doing it in the best interests of the people who voted him or her in power. Even if that person is elected with only 51% of the majority, then that person has to best perform in the interests of that 51%, plus also attempt to pacify and impress the 49% who didn't vote his or her way. Surely the best thing a politician can ever hear is, "I didn't vote for him, but I can't deny he's done a good job"?

If we truly had a parliament made up of people who served it in the interests of the people, we might still have all the problems we have now, but we also might feel the people in power are actually doing things to make it better; because at the moment all we have is people telling us how much worse it is going to get while knowing that the word 'worse' is relative.

Stuff
  • I have mainly been listening to House of Love, the symphonic Led Zeppelin and quite remarkably Gary Numan.
  • Chavs will be started this coming week.
  • Skins ended poignantly and that was good.
  • I appear to have stopped getting Lobster Spam.
  • I have two weeks holiday.
  • The weather is going to suck.
  • The wife is not working today, for the first time in ages, but is sitting downstairs with the mother of all headaches. I think the stress she put herself under over the last three days has finally caught up with her.
  • The Saturday from hell beckons...

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