20160408 – Yeah, I Can Still Pull The Birds; Wot No Crutches

Friday – hot and sunny

Look no crutches.

Look no crutches.

Take the Mercedes 350GLK for a spin up to Alta and Snowbird ski resorts. It’s very nice but prefer the Kia Sportage.

DSC_8231The drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon is beautiful this time of the year. There’s still plenty of snow around as the base altitude is 8,530 feet and they get an average of 514″ snow a year – some proper snow. Although it hot so the snows like skiing on a slush puppy.

Stop for coffee at Alta. Wendy quite likes this resort, it has the advantage of all the easy runs on one side of the mountain and the real plus point that “SNOWBOARDERS ARE NOT WELCOME”.

Snowbird.

Snowbird.

Afternoon coffee and Kindle time out on the front lawn. My that suns hot.

Time to get back into “House of Cards” on Netflix. Wendy finds it so relaxing to sleep through that she has to watch two episodes again to catch up. Forsake BBC and spend the evening consuming “House of Cards” episodes. AT this rate we’ll easily finish season 4 before we depart. Sadly so far not as good as season 1 but still compulsive viewing.

 
Speaks for itself. Let's get out:

Speaks for itself. Let’s get out:

Religion – Beyond Belief

 
Renown Astrophysicist Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson explains what went wrong with Islam:


Saturday – hot and sunny

Is this the only sort of bird I can pull these days?

Is this the only sort of bird I can pull these days?

We decide to go down to the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake. We’ve been there before and were impressed. Not very often Victor says it but it was money well spent. Great collection of birds and the 30 minute indoor bird show is spectacular. Highly recommend it, the only minor downside is that they haven’t come up with a solution to replace netting with glass panels or some other means of enabling you to take good photos on a lot of the outdoor exhibits.

Our all time favourite the Road Runner.

Our all time favourite the Road Runner.

Call in for a coffee at Starbucks on the way back. Then as a real treat I get 5 new pairs of underpants from Walmart. They’re great quality, her in doors says they wash well and they’re cheap – probably made in some 3rd World sweat shop so no doubt I’ll get a well deserved, psychosomatic, genital guilt rash every time I wear them!

And here he is doing what Road Runners do best - running.

And here he is doing what Road Runners do best – running.

More “House of Cards” in the evening. Square eyed and confused with all the plots and politics. If the political conventions are anything like that then no wonder the countries in a mess – they’re like a scene from Christian Lion feeding with thousands of banner totting gobby braying donkeys, dressed like clowns and jesters. Only in America!

Religion – Beyond Belief

 
2010-10-05
 

DSC_8583The European Union’s border agency admitted Tuesday it cannot fully track the flood of refugees pouring in, and said a “staggering number” of Europeans have joined terror groups only to return to the continent amid the migrant wave.

Europe reported a record 1.82 million illegal border crossings last year, according to Frontex, but the group conceded that the true number of illegal crossings is probably much higher because so many refugees have entered Europe undetected.

DSC_8573“There is no EU system capable of tracing people’s movements following an illegal border-crossing. Therefore it is not possible to establish the precise number of persons who have illegally crossed two sections of the external borders of the EU,” the report stated.


Sunday – warm and sunny

Wendy does Smores. A girl guide speciality.

Wendy does Smores. A girl guide speciality.

A sad day, it’s the last day of ski season. Resort closes until summer.

Too much fast food!

Too much fast food!

Lazy morning. We start to pack away some of the ski gear and winter clothes. Janelle our next door neighbour, whose place we’re renting for winter and summer next year has kindly given us access to the ski lockers in the garage and a locked cupboard in the main bedroom so we can leave all our gear here ready for next February.

Wendy has lunch at home and then we drive up to the mountain for the closing day celebrations, well should really be a wake and commiserations. It’s a party ski day so there’s a lot of skiers in outrageous costumes, making it a party atmosphere. My favourite goes to the girl skiing in a bikini, with a couple of chapel hat pegs to confirm how cold it is. They have a group on with a female singer whose voice is harsh enough and loud enough to make your ears bleed. We give that a pass. Then there’s free Smores and that’s it. Wow they really excelled themselves with a closing down party!

In the evening we watch the last few episodes of “House of Cards”. What a weird ending. Not the best season but still worth watching.

 

Again speaks for itself. Let's get out:

Again speaks for itself. Let’s get out:

Religion – Beyond Belief

 
DSC_8552In the interest of free speech, and hopefully desensitising muslims, I was thinking of applying to Blackburn with Darwen council to host a show of the Mohamed cartoons shown in Texas that caused so much hoohah, But then, as expected, I see that someone in London tried to host such a show and had to back off. As she said “The risk of running this exhibition is simply too high. When setting out to do something like this, one has to be prepared for the possibility of threats, or even violence, but it’s easy to underestimate the impact such things will have on the people around you. There’s a very real possibility that people could be hurt or killed, before, during, and after the event.”

Wouldn't argue with this one.

Wouldn’t argue with this one.

A sad reflection on the state of affairs in the UK, supposedly a democracy that applauds the freedom of speech. Why have we ever allowed it to come to this? What more oppression from this so called religion of peace does the future hold? We really need to get a grip before we wake up one morning lying next to her in doors shrouded in a black bin liner; I have a beard infested with leftovers from the last weeks dinners; my knees have callouses on them from 5 daily cow towing; free speech has been finally abolished and we’re all living under Sharia law.

Now let's see , are there any nice shiny bald headed landing sites out there?

Now let’s see , are there any nice shiny bald headed landing sites out there?

Remember the Monty Python films. No one died or was injured over them. Why is it that just one sect of a religion (they don’t all agree with the banning of images) cannot stand back and laugh at its self. Do they really believe that a supreme being cannot cope with a few cartoons and a bit of comedy.

Bear in mind that In Islam nothing in the Qur’an explicitly bans images. In Shia Islam, however, images of Muhammad are quite common nowadays, even though Shia scholars historically were against such depictions.

 
Boiler plate letter to annoying Companies:

Dear Sir / Madame

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

DSC_8416I owe you money / my car hire is due / my flight is due / renewal is due / asking for a meter reading / there is an important letter (usually a public announcement and not something that requires all the secrecy of “The Secret Fives” treasure map) …………………………………………. but I am forced to log into your site to find out the relevant, usually trivial, details. Makes me madder and hotter than a PC 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 the marketing department try to “engage with me” by getting me to log into your:
awful / useless / badly designed / confusing / common senseless / crap web site. In the hope that you can sell me something.

DSC_8335Instead you could treat me with the courtesy and respect I as a customer deserve by:

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

Better still 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.

DSC_8305Better, better still have a URL that takes me to you web site and even logs me in. Again not rocket science very doable.

Better, better, better still 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.

Of course perfection would be to tell me in the body of the email, all the relevant details, amounts and dates to save me going anywhere near your accursed web site. Wouldn’t that be heaven.

DSC_8298Now I know if you can even be bothered to answer this complaint you will spring to the notorious, totally misunderstood and abused “Data Protection” defence. Because of course, you think 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 (yes those blue underlined words are the now infamous URL you so well understand) 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:

Snowbird.

Snowbird.

Sack the lot of them and replace them with some competent programmers / pay me a reasonable fee to organise it / sack your 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, a load of self serving individuals who 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 probably 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, they even make BT look marvellous, 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

Alta.

Alta.

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. Please make allowances for the syndrome I suffer from. It doesn’t yet 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 from you; 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. I’m receiving medication for it but so far with little success. You’ll be glad to hear that my syndrome is not contagious, nor am I 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