bookmark_borderWeekend of OSSUM!

Sometimes things just work, pieces fall into place and without really realising it you discover you are happy, content and completely at peace with the world.

And, coming from a grumpy bugger, that’s saying something!

So it transpired that Saturday and Sunday melted into one big pot of OSSUM. A slow paced Saturday, an amazing night out in Edinburgh until the wee sma’ hours with some lovely people and no small amount of fun, and then a Sunday of wonderful lethargy.

Not going to say any than that, but did want to capture the moment before the memories fade, such weekends are few and far between… the resolution of next year, MORE PLEASE!

bookmark_borderPlease don't lie

This post is prompted entirely by my recent interactions with Royal Mail, but the hold true for many organisations.

Life, as we all know, has times when it just seems to be ganging up on you. Nothing seems to go right, nothing happens the way you expect and you are left in an uncomfortable place and without enough, or some times any, knowledge or information you quickly become frustrated as you are not sure what to do next.

So when, as a customer, I reach that place the last thing I want to hear are lies. They may be lies offered in good faith, but they are blatant and completely without excuse.

The most common lie I’ve heard is the lie of affirmation. Being told that I matter, or that the organisation is very keen to improve their service and help solve my problem, and other such positive affirmation is not useful and likely to only irk me further.

Apologise by all means but please mean it, and please make sure it is immediately followed up with an offer of help.

And when you have really stuffed up and I, the customer, point this out, have the good grace to agree, rather than look for excuses that I, the customer, have no control over. I’m sure that crucial system was down for a short while and that is the root of all evil in the world, but hey, it’s not my problem.

Lastly, and this is sometimes the worst of all, please please PLEASE do not send me out a questionnaire after the event. Remember, I’ve been angry and frustrated, lost in the midst of YOUR processes and systems and most likely I’ve been the one trying to peace together information from email A, website B and phonecalls C, D and E as, for no good reason (trust me, my company builds this stuff, there is no reason why you can’t have all your systems talking to each other).

That questionnaire is usually a stock affair with a nice welcoming “ohhh we are good people and not only that we are trying to be better!” waffle at the start, and is constructed in such a way as to make REAL feedback almost impossible.

People like me really don’t want to write letters of complaint, and you know what, when things go bad that’s ok. Just don’t lie to us. Tells us you know something has gone wrong, share the information with us, talk to us and be human. We don’t expect everything to work all the time, but the way you handle things when they go wrong makes far more of a difference than you seem to realise.

bookmark_borderRound up the usual suspects

I love movies. I love the thrill of them, the cinematography, the way they move you, the way they lift you up and make you soar, or the way they quietly affect you and alter your point of view.

I love big ridiculous blockbusters, loaded with special effects and noises, that don’t care about plot lines or character development, which require you to check your sense of disbelief in at the door.

I love subtle, story-driven movies that pull you along, relying on subtle emotions and plot points to convey a simple message.

I love complex thrillers, twisting and turning, bemusing me as I second guess the next scene, leaving me gasping at the final reveal.

I love old movies, caught in times past, evoking the glamour of Hollywood in lavish technicolour.

There are very few movies I won’t watch. Horror and I don’t get on too well but we have an agreement (I don’t choose to watch them very often, but when I do they try and be smart about how they scare me). And some movies just aren’t really anything, they’re aren’t bad enough to be addictive (all bad things are addictive!) nor good enough to stick in my brain.

I love movies.

Although I fear the tense has changed.

The problem is … and I guess it’s time I confess … well … you see, the thing about movies and I is … well we seem to have had a falling out. One of those “he said”, “she said” arguments that never lead anywhere and start from nothing. I’m not sure how it happened really, I can’t pinpoint it but, well, I guess sometimes you just move on, eh?

Thing is … and don’t tell the movies this… but I kinda miss them, I don’t want to move on. I miss the anticipation, I miss the stories, I miss the happy endings, the sad endings, the laughing and the crying.

Awww to heck with it, movies, if you are out there, and you are listening, please PLEASE COME BACK TO ME!!! Maybe one of my old friends will hear my plea… Shawshank for example, he was always pretty dependable…

bookmark_borderSomething I said?

This blog has always been a little up and down, stats are never constant with spikes and .. um… the opposite of spikes… ohh yes, troughs, littering my reports.

However I guess I need to rethink things a little as comments have been very light the past few weeks. I know I know you are all very busy and have better blogs to read but, more as a little experiment than any form of ego-stroking… honest… I’m issuing a call to everyone who reads this post.


Even if it’s just “Hi”, or “Bog off you self-absorbed wanker”, or “Twins? Twins that love pink? Ohh my worlds, Big Brother has gone mental this time”. I’ll leave the comment up to you.


(I’d threaten to quit if I didn’t get more than 20 different people commenting but… well I don’t want to quit, and I’m not THAT melodramatic)

UPDATE: Gosh, what a response. I am truly humbled, including those of you who decided to email instead of commenting (you know who you are, and those emails were appreciated as well). As most have rightly pointed out, a lot of people will be on holidays and these days it can be a case of too many blogs, not enough time.

If I’d actually planned this I might have been able to have a stab at how many people are reading via RSS but, roughly speaking, my daily hit count almost doubled yesterday… not sure how that translates but it’s interesting.


You SHOULD now be at

I’m still working on a few things, namely the redirect stuff (trying to figure out how to get it to forward to a specific post rather than the top level domain, for incoming links).

Dust should settle over coming days.

Right – the main redirect is in place. PLEASE update your bookmarks and whatnot as the redirect is NOT permanent. I’ll leave it there for a month or so, I should catch all visitors that way.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the redirect stuff to work when someone links to a post. Any pointers would be appreciated!

eg. Automatically redirect from:

Catch is that I’m not sure mod_rewrite is enabled on 34sp… still checking though!

Now, what have I forgotten??

bookmark_borderCalling all gays

Hmmm not the best advised post title that one… or maybe it is?

First up some ground rules.

1. I’m genuinely curious about this, so anyone flinging insults or nastiness about in the comments will be deleted and banned.
2. If I cause any offense with this then PLEASE let me know (anonymously in the comments or via email) and I’ll correct/retract etc etc. That’s not my aim. Never was.

My query is this: At what point does a homosexual joke become OK? When it’s said by a gay comedian?

From my limited understanding of the gay scene (that’s a crap word, but you know what I mean) there appears to be two camps… aww crap.. OK, rule 3. No puns are intended.

Where was I? Ohh yes, there appear to be two “trains of thought”. One is that the very fact there is a unique gay scene means that they are actively shunning ‘integration’ into mainstream society and are perpetuating the division that currently exists. The other suggests that the acceptance of the gay community into society at large means that …. umm… well something along the lines of ‘if you act like you are accepted, you ARE accepted’.

Naturally there will always be differing opinions on this, and presently I think it’s fairly obvious that homophobia exists and is still widespread. But let’s fast forward a decade or so, what then? How do we (can we?) map the current situation onto a society where being gay isn’t talked about more than, say, the colour of the car you drive?

I’m aware I’m hugely unqualified to be writing any of this, and I’ll admit that I fall into the ‘one of the lads’ style bantering about “shirt-lifters” and whatnot on occasion. Whilst that doesn’t make me homophobic it does create a culture that I’m not entirely happy with.. but enough of me and my morale struggles.

I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this. And yes I’ll be asking some friends about this over the weekend… probably after a beer or three so don’t expect me to be able to remember any of it.