Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 - 30

Tempting Fate

So, friend Roger took the plunge last week and 'upgraded' to Facebook Timeshite, because of the inevitability of it and the fact it appeared it was becoming compulsory on May 12. Well, May 12 has come and gone and I still have the old interface, but I'm not kidding myself; I expect to see an announcement at some point at the top of my page telling me I have 7 days to conform or it will just convert it without any input from me.

I have to agree with some person who posted on a website about the impending changes, when he said that we don't pay for Facebook, so we really have to put up with whatever they throw at us. However, you could argue that if you prefer using Word95 and don't like the version in Office2010, then you'd carry on using the original, even if it wasn't as... interactive.

I decided that if you can't beat them, then don't give them anything. So this morning I have unliked just about anything that can be construed as a potential advertising opportunity. I have removed all of my photos, all of my personal details, in fact, I've removed just about everything from my account and have untagged myself from a number of photos. Come the day I am switched over, I shall go through my account with painstaking annoyance and remove everything else I no longer want Facebook to have access to. And, I'm all too aware that they will still have all the original information, because that's what they are, just a massive market research tool.

You could argue that I've cut off my nose to spite my face as many of the bands, writers and things I like are no longer available to me and that eventually I'll have to succumb to the pressures of Facebook unless I want to be alienated from what's going on. I think I can manage. I managed well enough before Facebook. Actually, before I joined Facebook I had far less spam and targeted advertising popping up in my inbox or just popping up; so you never know, I might actually see less of a vomit flow of shit I am not interested in.

My Facebook account is likely to be used for what it was originally designed for - an announcement page. My blog postings will continue; any interesting bits of music I want to share with people and the very occasional status update; I will also still play Scrabble, but my interest in the other two games I play has waned to the stage where I'd rather sit and read than waste my time blowing up things to get top of a leaderboard that means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

I might be reneging on my promise to quit Facebook (I still might), but I'll be buggered if I let Zuckerberg and his bunch of faceless cunts rule my life.

Insure Me

Last year I dropped the Co-op as my car insurer, because they didn't offer me, a loyal customer, a decent deal. I ended up at Swinton - an agent - and they found me a good deal, but they also attempted to infiltrate my life in the same way as Facebook wants to. It ended up with me writing to their head office and telling them if they continued to bombard me with calls, emails and letters, I would take my business somewhere else, regardless of the cost. They stopped. For a while.

Mt insurance is due for renewal at the end of this month, but since about the 20th of April, I've had a renewed bombardment; including calls at work - despite telling them never to ring me during school hours - and calls when I have been at Sainsbury's, getting in the shower or taking a shit. Once, they caught me and a rather exasperated me said to them, "Why are you contacting me?"
"Oh, we need to confirm details your last insurer didn't give us."
"Hang on, we've done this already. Last June, I spent almost a month chasing up the Co-op and I eventually gave you everything you wanted. What's changed?"
"Oh we just need to ask you a few questions." So I said he could ask away.

All his questions were things that I couldn't or wouldn't expect my previous insurer to have known any how: is it still parked on the street; have I had any convictions; is it the same car, same people, etc. Once he'd concluded, he started to talk about something else and I stopped him. "Surely, as you have all the details, why do you need to discuss 'deals' with me? Surely, you just look for the best deal for me and tell me about that; if I want it I'll buy it."
"Oh, but you might want extra cover or breakdown or..." I cut him short.
"I just want the best and cheapest deal, monthly payments and that's it. I have breakdown cover independently; I have no need for anything else but car insurance."
"But, I have to inform you of the offers we have."
"No you don't. I don't want to hear them and besides, I have to go. You have my details, work for me." And put the phone down.

I've had five answer machine messages left since then; all asking me to call them to discuss my insurance. I think I know how this conversation is going to go...

But here's an interesting one for you. You know Direct Line and their wacky adverts and the line about them not being on comparison websites? Do you know why? I got my Sedici insured with Churchill, about 5 minutes ago - Swinton can go and do things with the willies - because it was £140 cheaper than Direct Line and offered a courtesy car, which the other didn't. I also got breakdown cover which was £40 cheaper than Direct Line.

"We're not on comparison websites" because you'd all realise they're more expensive than many equally as competent insurers.

Squeaky Bum Time

Today signals the (almost) end of the football season for another few months - it'll all be starting again in August, but don't forget we have wall-to-wall football to 'enjoy' throughout the summer. The Euros, the Olympic Games and because Sky (and Channel 5) scrape the bottom of the barrel, we'll also have inconsequential preliminary qualifying rounds for the Champions League and Europa League. This might see someone like Fulham or Everton starting their season at the end of June with a trip to the Faroe Islands or Moldova.

Makes you wish for years that end in odd numbers, doesn't it? I mean, FIFA holds the Confederations Cup on odd years, but as they are usually contested by winning nations, we have no fear of ever playing in that, eh?

This has been an exciting year for football, but it could have been so much better - really. But I would say that after my team spectacularly plummeted downwards after Amiable 'Arry was linked to the England job. The minute Woy got the job, Spurs started playing good again. The FA owes us big time and should petition UEFA if we finish 4th and miss out on a Champions League spot if a ricochet off of Fernando Torres arse improbably wins Chelsea the title in Bayern Munich's back garden next Saturday.

Don't get me wrong; part of me would like to see football played 12 months a year, because for the first few weeks after the season finishes I'm at a loose end most weekends and the sports section of the paper becomes as important as the Family section. But once I get into the summer vibe (good weather is always a help), I enjoy the weeks without having to bite my nails, get pissed off or suffer the glee of Arsenal fans; in fact I still think the season should start in September, which would require an extra 4 games to be played over the next 8 months; or they could just reduce the number of teams in each division and make an extra one to make up for the excess.

Actually, these players get paid more than enough money; playing twice a week most of the time should be a prerequisite.

Is it really right to be watching the cricket or tennis and have 'latest scores' appearing at the bottom of the screen? Or did that stop with Grandstand?

  • I have been listening to Classic Chillout 2, which the wife was going to throw away. I can understand why.
  • I am nearing the end of The Wind Through Your Bumhole and it is rated as good.
  • I am nearing the end of Homeland, which is rated as good.
  • I am in the doghouse. The reason for this, I find quite ironic and almost amusing.
  • Orchard and Harry Crawford.

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