Category Archives: annoyances

Easing into the morning

I remember a time, in the past, when I used to listen to Lyric FM in the morning. This seems to be increasingly hard if not impossible.

I remember a time, in the past, when Marty Whelan was one of the biggest stars in Irish radio. And then he went to Century.

Century was a good station; I regret that economically it just didn’t make it. However, Marty Whelan was well suited for the morning on popular radio. Less so on Lyric FM in my view.

It seems like you have a choice of two distinct styles of radio in the morning in Ireland; news, or chatter with some music thrown in. There is no easing into the morning any more. And when you switch on Lyric, the so called classical music station, it’s a bit regrettable to be encountering, amongst other things, Paul Brady and Bon Jovi. I don’t hear 4FM playing much in the way of Rachmaninov. And 2FM probably doesn’t play much Tchaikovsky either.

So.

What I’d like is a radio show – on Lyric – that doesn’t play music which is pretty ubiquitous on almost every other radio show in the country. I mean, Bon Jovi get an outting on every local station and most of the other nationals as well. I’d like that music to be classical and easing me into the day. And most of all, I want it presented by someone who doesn’t feel the need to be entertaining and banterful and bashing my ears with drivel in the morning.

In Ireland, this is too much to ask. So, if I am within network connectivity at the relevant time, I listen to YLE Klassinen from Finland. They play mainly music, mainly full works and the music is broken only to tell me what it is and to read the news once in a while.

It’s not that hard.

In the meantime, my view is that Marty Whelan belongs on 4FM.

Leaflet drops

Over on the Journal, there is a local election candidate complaining about No Junk Mail notices.

It’s an utterly depressing piece. She hates No Junk Mail notices because she interprets them as meaning 1 of 2 things; you want no unsolicited mail or you don’t want any of the stuff that isn’t political.

I think there is an element of wishful thinking there. Most people who don’t want junk mail don’t want any; they are sick of constantly recycling stuff that comes through their letter box. I have a dustbin inside my front door because at least then, dealing with it takes less effort than it would to be to bring it into the recycling bin in the kitchen.

The issue – as I see it – is junk mail is overdone. I fill the bin every week. NO kidding. And it is only going to get worse because the elections are coming up.

I don’t really know what to do about that. The Secret Candidate wants to know on what basis people make decisions. Well, a lot of them make decisions based on candidate affiliation and no bleating about individuals is going to change that, particularly when you’re a member of Fine Gael

Taking a step backwards though; junk mail causes work for people, work they never signed up to, and work they don’t want to have to do. I’m not short of stuff to do; random strangers causing housework for me isn’t top of my list of acceptable activities on their part.

I don’t feel sorry for political candidates in this respect; the point is they aren’t any more special than my local Chinese take away; they’re only ever really interested in talking to me if a) they want my vote or b) I’m not asking them for something. My experience of dealing with canvassers is not positive in terms of engagement. Terence O’Flanagan did not want to listen to the idea that I didn’t appreciate people nicking money out of my pension.

In my experience, most political candidates or there representatives do not want to engage with me. Their definition of political engagement is me, voter, agreeing with them, votewanter.

So back with the secret candidate’s irateness. Whether they like it or not, their newsletters or VotezPourMoi literature constitutes an advertisement for their personal brand. It’s rarely informative and often it’s tempered. Labour, when banging on about the jobs they created out of nothing to via Job Bridge and whatcapitalstuffcanwedofor cheap, never told me exactly how  much of the pension levy paid for that.

Whether the secret candidate likes it or not their election leaflet drops are still adverts, still unwanted by a lot of people.

It is not the only way forward.

Double parking lines and clearways

In the best scheme of things, at 7 on a Friday, it usually takes about 15 minutes to get from my house to Saint Stephen’s Green carpark. It’s not my favourite carpark (actually do I even have a carpark I actively like in Dublin – probably not) but it’s handy enough for the National Concert Hall, I don’t have to figure out how to get to it indirectly because of the oneway system, and it probably doesn’t cost me too much time versus trying to find my way to the carpark at the Conrad.

So the National Concert Hall gigs on a Friday start at 8. I left hope at 10 past 7. Mostly, you’d think that’s more than adequate time to get to the National Concert Hall for 8pm.

I made it in the door of the National Concert Hall at 1 minute to 8. And this happened because I spent a lot of time on the south quays between Matt Talbot Bridge and O’Connell Bridge going nowhere. And that was after two frustrated drivers had tried to kill me on the Matt Talbot bridge by changing lanes in front of me without looking to see whether there was anyone actually in the lane already.

Initially I figured the cause was probably bridge works for the new bridge. It wasn’t.

The only explanation I can see was that someone had parked in front of a bar not too far from O’Connell Bridge, partially blocking one lane. It caused chaos back as far as the Matt Talbot Bridge. I’m sure they were facilitated by having the car right outside the pub they were darting in and out of but it caused chaos for many, many other drivers.

I’ve long been of the view that many of the problems with traffic in Dublin could be alleviated if drivers stopped doing things like this. When I was coming home from the National Concert Hall, having elected to avoid Dawson Street as it has works on it at the moment, Georges Street was a symphony of cars parked in clearways and on double yellow lines. They were parked in bus lanes as well but as it was after 10 o’clock, and most of the bus lanes are not 24 hours that might be probably slightly more forgivable.

I’m not a fan of clamping cars. I think it’s wrong but in any case, clamping is not a solution for people parked in the wrong place.

I used to live in Brussels and there was a bus I used to take to and from work that had a junction which was notoriously difficult for the buses to get around and which was a clearway/tow away zone. Some talented driver of a Volvo parked one day and the bus could not clear the junction. It was a tow away zone, as I said, and the car was taken away as soon as the tow truck arrived.

Maybe we need to consider this in Dublin at this stage. I’m sick of hearing people in Dublin criticise driving in other cities when Dublin is second only to Athens in my experience of poor driving in western European countries.

UPC price updates

I had an email from UPC the other day informing me of contractual changes which would also include an increase in price of 7.92 in my package.

My package already cost 85.99, negotiated after a similar letter some time last year; not absolutely certain but I think it was in the last 12 months. At that point, it transpired that although I was under the illusion I was on a package, I wasn’t, and so I was being nicely charged for separate products.

At the time, I voiced some discontent that UPC, in writing to me to tell me they were charging me more money, had not thought to provide me with the information that if I changed to one of their bundle products I could save, oh it was about 30E at the time.

So, some calculation done, it appears my monthly charge from UPC would go from 85.99 to 93.51 but I could save 3.50 if I signed up for MyUPC. I believe I already have this but it’s irrelevant.

Currently, the top price available bundle that you can buy from UPC is 80E, one of the Horizon bundles. It is – according to the literature on UPC’s website – a faster broadband product with a greater download allowance. I can’t see the upload speed but I assume it’s at least 10Mb up if we have 150 down. ACtually I can’t even see what the products are at the moment because UPC’s site is not responding and unfortunately, when I tried to call them just now, I wound up on hold for their phones ringing 20 times. I do not have time for this unfortunately.

So again, I am asking – this time publicly – why can’t UPC, when they are writing to tell me they want more money, that I can also available of different more modern less expensive products.

I’m currently a full time student and 13E a month, over the course of a year long contract is quite a bit of money. It represents almost 2 months of a 80E a month contract for one thing.

UPC are looking for comments on their customer service at the moment.

 

 

on interests and judging them

Shane Hegarty has written a piece in today’s Irish Times which you can, if you’re so inclined, read here.

but it did hint at a key point about the modern foodie industry, which is that its chief product isn’t delicious meals, artfully presented: it is waste

He’s talking in the context of waste of time buying cookbooks, waste of time taking pleasure in your cooking, waste of time in taking instagram photographs of your food, waste of paper in printing cook books which will never be used.

I think he’s wrong.

I own about 100 cookbooks. Pretty sure it’s in that zone because they were recently counted and this does not include myriad copies of Delicious, Donna Hay, Tesco and Superquinn magazines. I also have an A4 notebook into which I glue oddball stuff cut out of magazines, newspapers, the backs of ingredients containers and such like. All of it gives me very great pleasure even if I do not cook.

I’ve always taken the view that if it’s feeding yourself is all it’s about, then you really only need one cookbook, be that either Nigella Lawson’s first one – How to Eat, or, possibly better, one of the Good Housekeeping ones. But that’s really not what it’s all about. There is something beautiful about opening a cookbook, looking at the pictures, and considering whether you will cook this or that.

It’s a pleasure to read cookbooks; not just cook from them. And sometimes you will cook from them and get things right, or sometimes you might not. It is ultimately a voyage of discovery.

In that respect, you cannot possibly consider the acquisition of books – of any type – which give you pleasure as a waste. Effort in cooking, likewise, is not a waste.

Una Mullally’s making a list, kind of

Una Mullally wrote a piece for today’s Irish Times. It was called “The 60 Most Creative People in Ireland“.

I have some issues with it. Mainly encapsulated in this neat little disclaimer included as paragraph 6. Don’t worry if you missed it.

 don’t give out to me about a lot of these being Dublin-focussed. That’s where I live, so that’s where I interact with most creative stuff. SOZ LEITRIM, etc. Also, DECLARATION OF MULTIPLE INTERESTS: I do know some of these people, but that’s life, innit

Any writer worth their salt and having the guts to stand over what they are writing would not include any sentence along the lines of “Don’t give out to me because…” blah blah.

Either you can stand over it or you can’t and clearly, something titled “in Ireland” shouldn’t need to be defended with “and a lot of them are from Dublin because that’s where I live“. As for

I do know some of these people

Amazing.

I wonder what the overlap is.

 

Seriously? Seriously?

Via various year end round ups, I happened on this piece:

Are wetsuits the burka for the cold water surfer girl?

It was written by a woman.

I spend a lot of time on cold water beaches, the sort of beaches that are cold water even in the summer. My one and only wetsuit choice is a 5mm minimum. I may go 6 this year if I can find one. I have spent time in this water. It. Gets. Cold.

But guess what, that cold is not targeted only at women. You know, on beaches where women are forced to cover over everything because It. Is. Bloody. Freezing. Men are forced to wear wetsuits too for the same reason.

 

Strange that.

So yeah, it snowed overnight

This goes out to the two drivers who left my estate before me, plus a myriad other bunch of drivers I encountered on the road to work.

Clear your car of snow. Properly.

Here’s the checklist.

  1. Clear the windscreen.
  2. Clear all the windows
  3. Clear all the mirrors
  4. Clear all the lights
  5. Clear the bonnet.
  6. Clear the roof because if you don’t, this might mean later that clearing the windscreen or the rear window was a waste of time.

I use a dustpan and brush which may or may not cause the occasional scratch but I can live with that. Said dustpan and brush is in the box in the car with the de-icer and the spare bottle of oil.

PDF reading in Windows 8

You know, I quite like the idea of a built in PDF reader coming with Windows 8. Unfortunately, I don’t know who did the testing but there is one absolutely huge problem with it. It will only allow you to read one document at a time.

This renders the application completely and utterly useless to me. It’s pointless to provide software which doesn’t give basic functionality like the ability to have two documents open at the time.

Business Week – right up there promoting the place of women in the workplace

Business Week readers invited to vote on which business school has the most attractive females
This really happened

I feel sorry for men sometimes. They try and persuade women that they are modern, forward thinking people who do not treat women purely as eye candy and who don’t judge women just on a subjective value of beauty and then a supposedly grown up business magazine pulls an adolescent stunt like this. Bad and all as it is for women, it reduces men down to making decisions about business school based on the quotient of available beautiful women. I know most men are brighter than that.

Meanwhile, Harvard Business Review is writing a piece on the progress women have made in the workplace in the last 40 years.

 

ETA – 11 November – Business Week pulled this from their website. There’s a still a reference to it on their FaceBook admittedly but it looks as though a certain amount of of outrage got through.