Tag Archives: National Ability Centre

20140706 – One more off the bucket list; Summer is as good as winter; Living the dream.

Sunday – hot (86F) and sunny.

 

I hope this string doesn't snap.

I hope this string doesn’t snap.

I’m on duty as a mountain host for the day. Smile stapled into place and ready for the onslaught of inane questions. Wendy’s off to the Outlet stores shopping. It’s what women do best. Too hot. Our home has no air conditioning just big patio doors to open downstairs and upstairs and ceiling fans. It’s even too hot to sit out on the deck and no way do we fancy a jacuzzi in this weather. Day on the mountain goes pretty quick. With a very relaxed team of hosts. Everyone just gets on with the job.

An overwhelming majority of the public now believes that people must speak English to be considered “truly British”, a national survey has found. 95 per cent now believe that speaking English is essential to being a member of the United Kingdom, compared with 86 per cent a decade ago. Seems like common sense to me, but our loony liberal PC storm troopers aren’t too keen on common sense. Heaven forbid immigrants should have to learn English. It always amazed me how many even 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants families never spoke English in the home and expected schools to provide extra resource to teach them. Pots for rags.

 

If I wake up in a morning and my elbows aren’t touching wood (meaning coffin)… it’s a good day!

 

George Carlin on Religion, great comedian just love his rants. Well worth watching. Hilarious:

 

Monday – hot and sunny again.

 
Up and out for 09:00 as we hike up Crescent Mountain Grade. Must have crossed nearly every ski run on the mountain. Wendy’s a whinging, weary, wilted, walker by the end of it. 86F out there even though we were up and out so early. Well done Wendy you made despite all the protestations.

Being as poor as squirrels with no nuts, we have no car – so un-American. I’m sat in the shade while Wendy does a weekly shop, then we have to haul it all back home on foot and on the bus.

Wendy tackles Crescent Mountain Grade (CMG).

Wendy tackles Crescent Mountain Grade (CMG).

Reminds us of how life used to be when we were kids with no cars, just them things on the end of our legs and a bus. Not even a bike. Crotch droppings these days, and I include my kids in this, just haven’t a clue. We remember frost on the windows in the mornings, that was even on the inside of the single glazed windows; no fire lit, so freezing cold until someone lit one; hardly any milk, so tea on me cornflakes; sugar buttes, and if you were really wealthy bread and jam to fill up with; outside toilet; tin bath on Friday night and kids were last in the cold murky waters. No skiing holidays, no cruises, no summer holidays. If you were really lucky you got a day out on the train to Skeggy as my Dad worked on the railways so we got a free ticket. No colour TV, no 3D TV. Just no TV. But worst of all no computers or Internet. We’ve never had it so good.

Need a proper beer, so that rules out any of these American pinkel waters. 2 Pilsner Urquell sat in the fridge just begging to be opened. Only 48 minutes and 12 seconds before they’ll be sliding down the side of a beer barrel, not a posy flower vase.

But hang on how can you have an Oktoberfest in with no beer? Ask the Mormons they seem to know how. Isn’t his a blatant infringement of the 1st Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”.

My winter office. Closed in the summer.

My winter office. Closed in the summer.


 
Religion strikes again.

Tuesday – very hot and sunny again.

 
Up at the crack o sparrows to avoid the heat. Mind you some technogeek, he shall remain nameless, set the 06:00 alarm.

Things are looking up, even managed Cammy’s trail without needing shoe leather. Then spent 30 minutes discussing US politics with Dick, a staunch Obama supporter, here in the midst of this extreme right wing Republican Utah. Mind you Park City is a little ungodly, enclave of Democrats – a real Sodom and Gomorrah.

Where's the snow?

Where’s the snow?

Worth an early start, not too hot.

Park City makes it even easier with more alcoholic beverage businesses per capita than any other place in the state. So whether you’re looking for a local brew or just a glass of wine, you won’t be left high and dry.

 
What a veritable cornucopia of birds on our deck, mind you they do eat more bird food a day than we can afford. Sadly these two geriatrics forgot their binoculars so we don’t get to identify them all.

Isn't nature awesome> Just look at the beauty and symmetry.

Isn’t nature awesome> Just look at the beauty and symmetry.

Wendy and I cycle down – the key word there being down – to Kimball junction for a spot of shopping. But first a Starbucks moment to help me gird me loins and a psychoactive stimulant to ease the pain.

Finally decide to lash out and buy some Camelbaks for our walks, mountain biking. There big on “hydration packs” over here nearly as obsessive as “Gluten free”.
 

I see that the religion of permanent offence has been at it again because of another film / cartoon. Like most of these efforts they’re certainly not Oscar material but in the interest of improving the threshold of tolerance of this pernicious religion I’ve posted details of where it can be viewed.

Aisha and Muhammad

The Dramatic Life of a Little Child Married to the Prophet of Islam

As announced in an earlier press release, the movie, “Aisha and Muhammad”, has been released on schedule.

The release has been coincided with the US Independence Day on July 4 as a mark of respect to the American victims in the battle against Radical Islam.

The full movie in English can be viewed online from the following website links:

http://www.islam-watch.org/video.html

 

  Sometimes I pretend to be

 

NORMAL

 

But it gets boring……

 

So I go back to being me.

 

Wednesday – hot and sunny then at teatime we get a downpour.

 
I’m up and out for 09:00. Well made it up Town lift side, Sweeneys switchbacks and Johns trail. Feel like a drowned water rat by the time I get to the top of Payday lift. It’s so humid you could beat the water out of the air with a boat paddle. I think I’ve lost 8 pints of sweat. Thankfully my new Camelbak helps is pretty good. Good job Wendy didn’t come, the earache would have been too painful. At several points it was just an uphill scramble – think I may have been lost.

A well deserved swig of water at the top of Crescent Mine Grade. A tad too hot for Wendy.

A well deserved swig of water at the top of Crescent Mine Grade. A tad too hot for Wendy.

Can now advise guests on Townlift hikes. “Don’t bother. If you must do it, go down.”

After lunch get myself a locals $70 point ticket for the PC MARC gym or any classes. 10 points, so just $7 per class or gym access. Go to a Yoga class. Can’t believe I survive an hours yoga and not a drop of sweat on my brow. Now that means I’m either getting fitter – mind you I am at my lowest weight today in living memory, not that impressive when you consider I can’t remember what I had for breakfast – or after this mornings hike there’s just no sweat left in me.

Then the heavens open up. Raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock and then hailstones. In typical American fashion even the raindrops are bigger and better. Wendy’s gone shopping but miraculously she misses a drenching. This is the first serious rain we’ve seen since we got here. Please tell me this doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing a perambulating, inverted, black bin liner next. Mind you the thought of one hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding or better still skiing does stretch the imagination.

I get perplexed that so many people get upset and rile against another mosque being built, or an old pub being converted into an islamic community centre. I think, in true PC multicultural loony liberal fashion, the mosque or community centre should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance. That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, which would be gay, “The Turban Cowboy,” and the other a topless bar called “You Mecca Me Hot.” Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant, called “Iraq of Ribs.” Across the street there could be a lingerie store called ” Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret,” with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods. Next door to the lingerie shop there would be room for an adult sex toy shop, “Koranal Knowledge,” its name in flashing neon lights, and on the other side a liquor store called “Morehammered.” All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us, so their mosque issue would not be a problem for others.

 

Yes, we should promote tolerance, and if you are not laughing or smiling at this point… It is either past your bedtime, or it’s midnight at the oasis and time to put your camel to bed!!!!

 

What is it with this American obsession with everything being gluten free. It’s every where and everything. I’ve written to the local water board, various wine growers and brewers  asking them to confirm their products are gluten free. Now I worry whether my petrol should also be gluten free, will it harm my engine.

A cynic – not me of course – make think it’s just a marketing ploy to exploit and rip off the gullable, thick, health freaky obsessives. Are you surprised that gluten free is always considerably more expensive.

But the facts prove it’s just another rip off fad, with a NORMAL loaf of bread costing £1, while gluten free costs £3.

Bear in mind that less than 1% of the population are coeliac. While many are convinced that – coeliac or not – avoiding gluten will make them healthier, a study published last year in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics disagrees. It concluded: “There is no evidence to suggest following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population.” “Indeed,” it continued, “there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity.” Other research has indicated that gluten-free diets are often low in fibre and can be linked to deficiencies in B vitamins, iron and folate. Inevitably, in the US, a gluten-free backlash is already under way. “Coeliac: the Trendy Disease for Rich, White People”, is a typical recent headline in the popular blog, Science 2.0.

Unfortunately, the gluten-free community has even less tolerance for jokes than for pasta. Thankfully I can continue to eat macaroni pudding with impunity and at minimal cost, thats if I can persuade her indoors to cook it.

People often wonder why I’m keen on baked beans followed by macaroni pudding. Well when I was at “bilateral” school – best not to ask. I always went to my Grandmas for lunch – well not being posh we called it dinner. Every day she’d serve me baked beans, with a nob of butter of course, cooked until dry (anything less than 15 minutes and they’re raw). Followed by a macaroni pudding, also cooked to perfection – until dry and curling at the edges. Every day for four years. Then one day I asked “Grandma, do you think we could have a change of menu”? That was it, never got me baked beans or macaroni pudding ever again. What a deprived, or was it depraved, childhood.
 

Thursday – warm and downpour late afternoon.

 

Hmm... lets see this cakes for two. So why do we have a 35% fatty rate?

Hmm… lets see this cakes for two. So why do we have a 35% fatty rate?

Lazy morning for me. Wendy’s off to be Florence Nightingale. Lunch time I go for a MTB ride and then call in at the hospital for a complimentary coffee and read of the paper in their comfortable lounge area. Good to people watch all the Florences in their lime green blouses scurrying around and spending most of their time chattering away like Mocking birds on LSD.
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Then in the afternoon I’m doing training for my Robin Hood archery (a Nottingham lad) stint at the National Ability Center. Amazing place for the disabled and when you see what they achieve it’s quite right they use the word “ability”.

Bike home and get caught in a real downpour. Fortunately it’s very warm so it doesn’t really matter. Quite a change as I can’t remember the last time I got really soaked right through.

In the evening we’re off out to dinner at Tricy and Rivers (possible home exchangers). They live up in Deer (aptly named) valley. They have an awesome 5,000 square foot home. Only the FSM can guess at what or why you need 5,000 square feet. Good meal, good company, good conversation and good beer. They have 4 other guests for dinner so it’s lively conversation all round. One of the guys brews his own beer and brings a load of samples. They’re very good, not a bit like the home brews I last tasted. Have a very interesting conversation with him and get to sample an excellent Kolsch and a Pilsner, none of your typical American pinkle water.

National Ability Center archery range.

National Ability Center archery range.

Only in America.

Close by parking spaces at the gym for fuel efficient vehicles. I’ll define fuel efficient – LPG, electric or over 30 MPG (well it is America).

 

Friday – cloudy with rain thunder and lightning in the afternoon.

Angela does archery. Just look at that perfect release.

Angela does archery. Just look at that perfect release.

I’m on mountain host duty and Wendy’s at the hospital. Another easy day with the Friday crew.

In the afternoon the heavens open up and some thunder and lightning, every things shut down while it passes. We get to leave early.

Then it’s off out to dinner yet again. This time with Rick and Lynda, potential home exchangers. They have a lovely home up on Park Meadows. Just love the way American homes tend to be so open plan with kitchen, dinning and lounge all one big contiguous open area. Great evening, awesome food, wine and best of all company. Never ceases to amaze me how friendly and how much home exchangers have in common.

Just test driving a bike for the disabled. Hard work. Managed to crash it when a car tried to reverse into me.

Just test driving a bike for the disabled. Hard work. Managed to crash it when a car tried to reverse into me.

Please tell me the World hasn’t gone mad:

Liverpool confirm Luis Suárez’s £75m move to Barcelona pending medical. Who’s Luis Suarez? He’s a footballer who bit one of his opponents in the World cup. Not only that it’s the 3rd time he’s done it. Barbaric. What did FIFA do about it? A slap on the wrist and a few months ban. Why wasn’t he prosecuted for GBH or assault? These guys are role models for kids. Hey kids if someone upsets you, bite them. Over paid morons. Why wasn’t he banned for life. Instead he’s being transferred and will no doubt receive a big chunk of money. Sounds like some sort of experiment in creative stupidity. But it’s football, what can you expect?

 

Saturday – very hot and sunny.

 

Bump into a lady at the bus stop.

Tony: “That’s a nice dog. What make is it?”IMG_0834

Lady: “Oh it’s a spaniel / poodle cross.”

Tony: “We had a spaniel but it only had half a brain. Does he have a full brain?”

Lady: “I don’t know we adopted it!”

Owner obviously is the one with a half of a brain.
 
On duty as mountain hosts yet again. So hot just try to avoid the sun all day.
 
Then we’re off to the hospital staff party. Free food and entertainment at the National ability centre for all hospital staff, volunteers and their families.
 
They’ve a climbing wall, ropes course, archery and disabled bikes – well you know what I mean – for you to try.
 
I’m totally freaked out by heights.
 
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Don’t you just love the American obsession with food. They walk up with a giant burger, just drooling fat, calories and cholesterol, and are then distraught when they can’t get 52 ounce diet coke. Oh well have to make do with a normal coke. How can anyone drink 52 ounces of sugar or even saccharin?

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That's better. Just 3 feet to go.

That’s better. Just 3 feet to go!

What a great opportunity to try all these facilities. Will I try the climbs again now it’s off my bucket list? Who knows. I will still be petrified but I suppose familiarity will help overcome this fear.

Let’s not forget however that all these facilities at the NAC are in the main for the disabled. Yes, they get people with disabilities up to these heights and even have a shaky wooden bridge over 50 feet up that you can go across in a wheelchair. Can you imagine the sense of achievement these kids, and adults, must feel.

20140308 – Skiing in a Zimmer Frame. Is my skiing really that bad?

Saturday – too hot and very sunny. Melting the precious snow.

IMG 2629

Lazy day off skiing today. Wendy and I have volunteered with the NAC to help set up for the NAC’s Red, White and Snow gala dinner up at the Montage Hotel at Deer Valley. Spend the morning helping out; setting trees up; tables and chairs; hoisting trees up onto the balcony while Wendy helps layout the items for the auction. Dinner costs $4,000 for a table of 10, so do the maths. Then there’s the charity auction as well. Of course the Montage is a really plush hotel, cheapest room for a night is $1,150 plus taxes no doubt and tips of course. Costs more than we pay for 2 weeks in our superb home from home. It’s not called Deer Valley for nothing.

In the afternoon we have a bike ride to the supermarket – oh the excitement, oh how we live.

IMG 2630

Then we get to have afternoon tea – one has to have standards – sat on our deck in the brilliant sunshine. It was warmer out than in. I can see in summer we’re going to really enjoy this deck.

Of course no American home would be complete without a barbecue, and yes we have one. It’s a sizeable gas one, so we checked it out. It works! Just needs a good clean as it looks like the previous people must have barbed every day for a year and never bothered clearing away any of the debris. Nice job for Wendy.

Why is it that when I want to renew my tax disc I  have to provide either the 16 digit reference number shown on your renewal 
2014 RWS Logo FINAL reminder, or the 11 digit reference number from your Registration Certificate (also known as the Logbook) and your vehicle registration mark (number plate)?

Isn’t the reg no unique enough for you?
Why when I want to make an vehicle online enquiry you need the make as well as the Reg No?
Isn’t the reg no unique enough for you?

Are they frightened someone will pay my tax disc for me?

Sunday – a sunny blue bird day.

Meet Randy at 09:00 and have a great mornings skiing.

Hal was going to join us but it looks like he forgot that the clocks went forward so he didn’t make it.

IMG 2645

Wendy, Carol and Angela all go down to Salt Lake to see Disney on Ice. Wendy really enjoyed it. I passed as did Hal, apparently he fell asleep through it last year, and as I fell asleep through Toy Story 3 I thought I’d better pass.

Of course no afternoon out would be complete without a merchandising opportunity with a trip to Costco.

Spent the afternoon researching HTML5 and CSS3. Learning these two and then creating some web pages in them is my next project. I’ve decided to put my Physics on a back burner and try and keep my IT skills up to date for now. Who knows perhaps I could go and help out at the BBC iPlayer department. Certainly even an illiterate 5 year old could do better than that bunch of apologists for IT professionals. 

IMG 0740

Bought an Ultra Tough Ultrasteel Adjustable from Walmart, all for less than $2. Comes complete with a warning that “This Wrench contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm”. Fortunately this would appear not to be a problem in the other 49 states, as it miraculously must change it’s molecular structure to be less harmful, or is not “known” about. Now I know that the US is the land of litigation warnings that hot coffee can burn; that you should not put your dog in a microwave oven. But come on this warning has to be as stupid as the steel is tough.

Perhaps to be on the safe side I’d better hang the wrench 50 feet away from the house and hope that it doesn’t kill the tree, which probably has a preservation order on it.

Monday – cloudy, cold and very windy. With the promise of snow later in the day – let us pray.

IMG 0752

Up and skiing for 09:00. Fancied a “bit of black” – am I allowed to say that – today and for the first time since we’ve been here Widow Maker, a black diamond, has been groomed. Wendy can put away the insurance policy, I survived. Very pleasant, as was Dynamite. “A black diamond a day keeps the fear at bay.” But, I still ski with more style on a blue or double blue.

Have a great morning skiing and the snows pretty good. By 10:30 I’ve filled me ski boots and had some great runs. And yes my boots are still hanging in their but need the tender loving care of some Araldite. I do so hope they’ll survive. After 20 comfy years they’ve served me well and I’m really attached to them.

IMG 2641

Then I’m on volunteer duty at the NAC. Looks like my skiing’s that bad they put me in a 4 Track zimmer frame – a frame that has two skis already on, you can stand up in it with your ski’s on while, like a zimmer frame, while Jim, the instructor, has you tethered and takes you down the mountain – greens only as it’s too unstable on blues or blacks. See pictures. It’s part of a sign off process for Jim. My role is to play a 64 year old who used to ski; had a medical problem 5 years ago that made my legs weak; not been able to ski since; needs a zimmer frame to walk with. Jim’s being tested by Don, the education programme manager, to see if he’s ok to be let loose on teaching with a 4 track.

Good couple of hours. Certainly different. Don’t know whether Jim passed or not.

Weight loss is going well, as is the drinking. Down to my lowest weight for at least 10 years. 13St albs, in proper units of measure. That’s 19 lbs lost since November.

Wendy’s finished yet another knitting master piece. This time it’s a bobble hat, with extra big bobble as requested, for Jasper – see picture.

IMG 0745

Iranian TV shows a disgusting cartoon video (just to show that I harbour no bias a copy can be seen here) of Jews being gassed in the Holocost and even taking an inhaler of ZycloneB, the gas used in the gas chambers.Well it seems that the religion of peace doesn’t mind cartoons of Jews:

Yet, even a simple cartoon of Mo causes riots, burning, fatwas and killing in the name of that pernicious religion.

And to top it all, the islamic World ( yes I won’t even grace the word islam or muslim with a capital letter) now is banning the new film Noah. It seems that the film had been banned for reasons of religious intolerance. The film conflicts with all religions. Out of respect for these religious sentiments, we are banning the film.

The sunni muslim institute Al-Azhar issued a statement condemning the movie, saying it should be banned. It rejects the screening of any production that characterises allah’s prophets and messengers and the companions of the Mo [the religious character Muhammad].

Well that’s good enough recommendation for me. I’ll be sure not to miss the Noah film.

Tuesday – Sunny and cold with 6” powder snow overnight. As it should be.

IMG 0906

Volunteer for the NAC at Deer Valley. Why is it when I volunteer it’s a powder alert day?

Talk about a complete body workout. It’s a really tough session as  the young girl we’re supporting has very little use in her legs and we have to help her to walk and manoeuvre her on skis. Lots of snow ploughing and pulling her along on skis. At one stage she get’s that tired that we have to call the ski patrol to sledge her down to the bottom of the mountain. By 12:00 I’m knackered too. However manage a great afternoons skiing at Deer Valley.

Hal, Carol and Angela come round and we set up baby gates and cots ready for Jaspers arrival.

Here he goes again:

THE hate preacher Anjem Choudary and his followers could face prosecution under anti-IMG 0913terrorism laws after appearing to promote al-Qaeda-linked groups on a busy London high street while demanding the creation of an Islamic state.

Extremists drove up and down the road in a white van emblazoned with a logo synonymous with jihadists in Syria. They also handed out badges featuring the symbol to children.

Haven’t we had enough of this joker who has 4 children, sponges off the state he despises and wants to see overthrown. When will someone grow some gonads and chuck him out the country to somewhere that has the Sharia law he so pines for. I’m all for human rights etc but this scrot is just trying to chop off the right hand and left foot of the all the infidels that feed him. France have had the guts to ban him. Lets use the democracy that he so despises and pass a “common sense” law, kicking him out.

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.

F1f2f014 8f74 11e3 518299d

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.

IMG 0994

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:

IMG 2280

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