20140206 – Snow, snow, snow 29″; National Ability Centre Volunteer; Standard letter of complaint to lazy Companies

Thursday – cold with some snow. 

Lazy start to the day as I accompany Florence Nightingale to the bus. She’s off to the hospital. Hit the slopes for 11:00. Get a really lazy 5 runs in, boy it’s colder than a well diggers arse in January.

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Invention of the Week is a “smart bra” that only unhooks when its inbuilt sensors, which monitor a woman’s heart rate, reach a level that indicates she’s . . . “excited”. Only the Japanese could dream up such a perversion of technology for technologies sake. Perhaps next they’l invent a chocolate oven complete with matching app, or a thong that starts singing when you’re nervous. Mind you it could be interesting as it pings open, and they flop out, every time the women sees something in the sales, or something that excites or frightens her.

Thought for the day:

If muslims got rid of the death penalty as punishment for apostasy I wonder how many muslims there would be left?  

Friday – snow and clouds.

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Dumped 5” overnight and best news is it was after grooming so an awesome, hard work powder day.

Of course if Ross was here I’d be able to hear some exotic superlatives as I ride the bumps. Awesome, but me legs are burning. Sadly no powder alert so I missed the best of it with a lazy 10:00 start. Need to rely on the snow plow as my powder alert. If there’s been a dump overnight then they’re out at about 04:30, more reliable than the Park City email.

Just to get a bit more exercise I stroll around to the gym in the evening for a “Free”, how I love that word, Yoga session. It was pretty brutal but i survived. Never seen so many bends and twists, felt like a cross between a wet rag and a pretzel. Unlike a British yoga session it was surprising to see men out numbering women.

Invest in some scales. Amazing how well the TE Ski Diet works. 6 lbs lost in 6 weeks, without having to cut back on alcohol. I’m at my lowest weight for what must be at least 10 years.

 

Coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, has so far been over-shadowed by the threat of terror from Islamic jihadists. Cursing videos posted on the Internet by jihadists promise that the “demon Olympics” will have an “atmosphere of fear and terror” and tell the athletes that “Satan is with you.” Even Egyptian-born al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri gave his blessings by calling for a “global jihad” against the Sochi games.

Muslim jihadists watch the games with bitterness, envy and criticism. Competitive sports are not an important Islamic value, especially if compared to the mental and physical training of Islamic youth for jihad. It is important to note that Islamic culture often discourages competitive sports, singing, dancing and self-expression, and this is the fundamental reason why there are few prominent Muslim athletes. Soccer seems to be the main event for them. Of course female contenders have to cover themselves in case any perverts should become tumescent with anticipation at the site of their hair, face or ankles.

Perhaps a new sport of “explosive jihad” should be added to the Olympics. Could be judged on who goes off withe the biggest bang. I’m sure only fundamentalist from the religion of peace would be sick enough to participate, thereby eliminating more scrots.

Saturday – snow all day and not so cold, relatively.

14” of fresh powder overnight. I didn’t hear the snow plow this morning though, and the volume IMG 0717was turned down on the iPad so I didn’t hear the phone call to tell me there was a powder alert. Fortunately, well not actually,  I’m doing my National Ability Centre (NAC) training today. So the best powder day since we’ve been here and I miss it. Life can be so cruel. But then when you see the disabled skiers the NAC takes out on the mountain you appreciate how lucky you are. What really blows my mind is watching these blind skiers. Can you imagine what that must be like, it really freaks me out.

Learnt how to lift the various skiing aids, complete with disabled student, on and off the chairlift; correct PC terminology, I’ll no doubt excel in this area; how to act as a blocker to stop loony boarders, and the occasional skier, crashing into disabled skiers; how to pick them up if they fall. But no one mentioned that because you’re interacting with the equipment you have to ski without poles. Years since I did this and amazing how difficult it can be.

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Looks like I’ve found out what my facial recognition problem is. I think I’m suffering from prosopagnosia, facial agnosia or better known as face blindness. Face blindness is thought to be the result of abnormalities, damage, or impairment in the right fusiform gyrus, a fold in the brain that appears to coordinate the neural systems that control facial perception and memory. It’s no joke when I watch a film I have real difficulty distinguishing characters unless there are 1 male; 1 female; 1 blond or each sex; 1 dark haired of each sex; beards are good, but preferably not on women; black of each sex works; baldies help. It can be quite disturbing at times, like when I went to pick our grand daughter up and wasn’t entirely sure which one she was. Fortunately I’m ok recognising Wendy as she’s the only female in the house.

Only in the UK:

David Cameron was forced to accept the resignation of his Immigration Minister today after he employed an illegal migrant as his cleaner.

Mark Harper said that he had been shown documents by his employee showing that she had indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom but he discovered this week that they were forged.

Sunday – too warm, cloudy with snow.

12″ more fresh powder so drag me sen out of bed and catch Eagle for that unadulterated virgin IMG 2286powder. Not champagne powder though, more like skiing through 6″ of salt. Still awesome and worth the supreme effort. A tad busy up there, but not as bad as a Saturday. Get spoilt by the quiet of the weekdays. For the first time my powder skiing seems to be coming together. Lean back more, lean into curves and keep low. Leaning into the heels seems to be the answer.

Guy on Eagle lift told me the UK won a skiing medal. Nearly fell off the lift in amazement.

By 11:30 it’s a whiteout. Time to make tracks for home. My bodies gyroscope gets very confused when it doesn’t know up from down, especially at 20 mph and above.

I think I’m having a time white out. Totally confused on what day of the week it is.

Wendy gets to talk to the kids, FaceTime is great. Have a chat with Kevin and Rosemary, really is just like being there, but without the wine.

Finally start to catch up on the winter olympics. Given that we’re skiing we should make the effort.

Well we’ve got HBO, fortunately on free trial for 3 months, but so far we’ve not bothered with it. BBC, UK channels and Netflix have more than enough to offer. HBO’s only strong point seems to be no adverts.

Well swat my hind with a melon rind, do my eyes deceive me? Has the EU finally grown some gonads:

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The European Union has called for Saudi Arabia to respect the public worship of all faiths.

The European Parliament said that while Saudi Arabia was an important strategic partner, Saudi authorities should accept that it is a human right for individuals to worship any religion in public.
Issues like terrorism, Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Syrian conflict, post-Arab-Spring transition, and better relations with Iran, were all key areas in which the EU said Saudi co-operation was needed. However, it made clear that if this partnership is to be effective, [Saudi Arabia] must respect basic human rights and civil liberties .

MEPs demanded that the Saudi state show respect the public worship of any faith and to foster moderation and tolerance of religious diversity. Saudi Arabia has an abysmal record on religious freedom.

In February 2013, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh said it is necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula.

Apostasy – conversion from Islam to another religion – is a crime punishable by death and Saudi Arabia is one of the last countries in the world where public executions still take place.

Monday – I think.
 
29” new snow over the past 3 days. Today’s a bit of a white out but  with 2 – 6″ fresh powder on topIMG 2273 of corduroy it’s bodacious skiing. Worth the early start. Had a good mornings skiing -10 runs before lunch. Wendy had a walk to Einstein Bagels for a breakfast selection and then walked up to Payday to meet for lunch. Well tea and coffee.
 
Then later in the afternoon I need a bit more exercise so we have a walk into town to the bank and supermarket for some beers.
 
Catching up on the Winter Olympics and yes we did win a medal in snowboarding.
 
Here we go again with more censorship and attacks on freedom of speech:
 
Atheist students at a London South Bank University have had a poster featuring a flying spaghetti monster banned by union officials, out of fear that religious students would be easily offended by it.

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The South Bank Atheist Society (SBAS) poster featured the monster in place of God in a mock-up of Michelangelo’s famous Creation of Adam fresco from the Sistine Chapel, but it was removed from the freshers’ fair last week.

South Bank Atheist Society president Choe Ansari said:
This incident is just one of a catalogue of attempts to censor our society. I never expected to face such blatant censorship and fragile sensibilities at university. I thought this would be an institution where I could challenge beliefs and in turn be challenged.

All I have seen is religious sensibilities trumping all other rights with no space for argument, challenge or reasoned debate. It is not what I expected when I came to university.

Union censors at the London South Bank University removed the posters from the society’s stall overnight and then barred representatives from printing off more, ludicrosuly citing the visibility of Adam’s genitals as offensive. But when society members offered to blur out the genitals, they were told the problem with the poster concerned religious offence.
 
I hope these poor over sensitive religious fanatics realise they’ll never get to FSM Heaven – miss out on the Beer Volcanoes and Stripper Factories.
 
Tuesday – sun, cloud, a little snow and very cold.
 
Up on the slopes for 08:30 ready for my first NAC volunteer session – is this really an holiday.

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Great morning as a volunteer helping an instructor with a youngster, who’s disabled, ski on one of these mono skis. These kids are awesome. The instructor was in one of these mono skis too.  
 
Youngster and instructor survived my first day. Only ended up in the ski lift pit once due to problems pulling the student onto the lift. It’s all more difficult than it looks, bearing in mind that you have to ski with no ski poles, and with your skis on, you have to pull the student up if they fall over. 
 
Puts my skiing to shame. Notice the title National ABILITY Centre. The real emphasis being on ability. 
 
Then, after 3 hours helping, I just catch a much needed coffee followed by some serious skiing, with poles thankfully.
 
Now I know the Americans have managed to screw with the language they were given, but hey, on the crowded bus today no one apart from the driver and Wendy spoke English or anything vaguely resembling it. Looks like they have the same problems we have.
 

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Now this is what I’d often like to do as a result of all those crap websites and software out there.Needs to be 2nd floor or above. The higher the better.
 
Don’t you just love those lazy, good for nothing companies that send you emails telling you how much you owe, your car hire details etc., yet expect you to log into their bloody awful site to find out the full picture, like BT, Hertz, Halifax, Santander and the list goes on. Well here’s my boiler plate (cross out those, if any, that don’t apply) complaints letter I’m sending to them.
 
Dear Sir / Madame

Yet again you’ve sent me an email telling me:

I owe you money / my car hire is due / my flight is due / renewal is due / asking for a meter reading / …………………………………………. but forcing me to log into your site to find out the relevant details. Makes me madder and hotter than a program trying to divide by zero.

Has it never occurred to you that, I’m the customer who pays your wages, and rather than allowing the greedy little nerds in marketing department try to engage with me by getting me to log into your:
awful / useless / badly designed / confusing / common senseless web site.
 
In the hope that you can sell me something else, you could treat me with the courtesy and respect I as a customer deserve by:

Having a URL in the email (ask your IT department what it is if you haven’t a clue) that takes me direct to your web site with just one click. It’s not not rocket science, trust me, and most email apps even have a simple insert facility.

Have a URL (by now you’ll know what one is) that not only takes me to your web site but also fills in my name. Wow wouldn’t that be better. If your IT department don’t know how then sack them and get someone who does.

Have a URL that takes me to you web site and even logs me in. Again not rocket science very doable.

Have a URL that takes me to you web site, logs me in and present me with the appropriate page of the details I need. Again very doable.

Better still tell me if:

there is nothing to pay / it’s just the regular monthly payment with no extras / it’s below £x.

Therefore saves me the trouble of going into you web site.

Better, better still, tell me in the email, the summary details and provide me with a URL link direct to your web site for a complete transaction list.

Better, better, better still tell me in the email the relevant details, amounts and dates to save me going anywhere near your accursed web site. Wouldn’t that be heaven.

Now I know if you can even be bothered to answer this complaint you spring to the notorious, totally misunderstood and abused “Data Protection” defence. Because of course Joe public doesn’t have the wit to understand that. You think you can blind us with legalese and make us think you’re doing us a great service by “protecting us”. But I suggest before you do so, you take the trouble to read the Data Protection Act 1998 and consider which of the 8 principles would be contravened by such a common sense, customer focused, ease of use approach.

If your IT department tell you that any of the above is impossible then I suggest you:

sack the lot of them and replace them with some competent programmers / pay me a reasonable fee to organise it / sack you marketing department replacing them with customer focused, common sense individuals / better still sack the marketing department anyway, they’re usually the source of all evil, don’t give a post it note about the customer. Once you start to focus on the needs of the customer rather than trying to manipulate him you’ll find that success follows.

Now in all my years I’ve never dealt with a more hopeless company than Comcast, they’re a nightmare to deal with, you could do a comedy series on their antics, but just to rub it in they seem to have got the hang of it when it comes to emails for payment:

Dear Comcast Customer,

Your monthly bill is now available. Please sign in to My Account to view your bill and other important messages or notices regarding your Comcast services. 

Bill Overview

Amount Due: $36.59
Payment Due Date: 02/27/2014


Account Information

Account Number: ****1234
Service Address: 1234 ANY STREET
  PARK CITY, UT 123456

Note: If you are enrolled in automatic monthly payments, your payment will automatically be deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit card on the payment due date.

If you have any questions regarding your bill, please visit our Help and Support Site for more information. 

Thank you for being a valued Comcast customer.

Sincerely,

Comcast



Simples. The bills within tolerance so I don’t have to waste any more time on it. Not only do they send you the above but they also send you a brief video that explains “your” bill using actual values. All without needing any log in or other crap. How neat is that?

If they can do it why can’t you? 

You’ll have to forgive me for this boiler plate letter but there are so many other companies out there who don’t give a dam for their customers that I’ve had to resort to this approach and please make allowances for the syndrome I suffer from. It doesn’t have a medical name, yet, but basically I go through life thinking: I’m a customer; I pay your wages; I’m important to you; I expect some common sense; I expect you to test out your web sites; I expect you to test your letters; and you should be making my life as easy as possible. You’ll be glad to hear that I’m not a danger to myself or the public, although your antics do make my blood boil and induce in me a strong desire to come around to bang heads together and hand out brown envelopes with a P45 in them.

Yours With Boiling Blood

Tony 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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