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Tag Archives: Randomness

Lead-less

Ladies and Gentle-wotsits it is my most sad of duties to inform you that after many years of diligent, unstinting service that PaperMate NonStop has ….. stopped.

We first met sometime back in 1986 at a trade convention at ExCel London, I was at College and as members of the IQPS invited to attend. Wandering around the office administration and secretarial ‘services’ (it was the 80’s innuendo abound), marvelling at this new word processing technology that the offices of the day were moving into but our College was not, getting to play with the contraptions of reprographics and binding, there were plentiful mounds of branded freebies and persuaders.

One of the stands was PaperMate to service the secretary with all her scripting need, plus stylish pens for her executive boss as well. I remember the posters of the NonStop held in beautifully manicured figures against the crisp lined note pad and the indecipherable squiggles of Pitman Shorthand (we were taught Teeline which didn’t need lined paper or think and thin strokes). Along with their brochure and a small telephone message pad adorned with their logo and hearts was the NonStop pencil all in a small carrier bag.

As a treasured item NonStop was kept for something special, nestled beside the run of the mill pencils and a few Derwent Cumberlands (the Rolls Royce of pencil, according to Dad). After college NonStop joined the ranks in my home office, where across the past 34 years we have scribbled, ticked, crossed, shaded and drawn countless times. The natty eraser at the end sadly never reached its potential, preferring to leave a greyed smudge across the paper rather than lift the erroneous graphite. NonStop has battle scars, a few scratches and the clip broke off many years ago, but duties were carried out with out fuss or fanfare.

The young whippersnapper from the pen chest has been promoted, it will not feel the same as my old faithful friend, but during these most difficult of times, we must all learn to adapt.

Farewell my ever faithful mate to paper.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2020 in General, Uncategorized

 

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Zaberdak

In these odd days ahead I’m trying to find things that my brain wanders to and muses over. Such as, how come I know all the ‘words’ to Zaberdak by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch, although I remember seeing Marmalade perform it live.

Dave Dee wrote it to illustrate that at the time (mid 1960’s) “any garbage can get into the charts”, it means nothing, has a good melody and has been copied by others.

For those intrigued the English words over laying the made up sounds are “Look for meaning, not in words, but in the way you’re feeling. If it’s love, we’ll understand, for love is all revealing”.

Quite poetic. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2020 in Music

 

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Tick Box Engineering

I’m at it again. Another customer survey has dropped on my mat. This one a lot more properly put together than the previous poorly photocopied double sided single sheet job, this is a twenty page booklet.

As you can see, the choice of options for the various questions is rather well thought out and worded, with seven levels of perception. It went on to ask how I felt about particular situations in my personal circumstances.

However, it was the next question that let it down. It was “Does the service help you to achieve this” with a yes or no answer. I had a problem with this because I wanted a third option, so I could put “sometimes” or “to some degree”. Putting no, is not justified but putting yes seemed to give the impression that all was hunky dory.

As I got to the last page, I wondered whether I had been sent the survey in error, because the question asked whether I purchased additional care independently and how this was paid for. You see folks, I self-fund, I get zero financial assistance from any Council or Benefit. So cheekily I added a box to the set and added that.

Yes, I am a rebel!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2020 in General, Review

 

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Read the Read.

After reading the tweet from the QI Elves, it again reminded me that learning a new language is fraught with oddities and difficulties. I’ve always been slightly envious of those who are multi lingual, I’d have loved to been competent in Spanish, but having to try and wrangle with French and German at school, scarred by enthusiasm or persistence to try.

I have a vague recollection of an old black and white movie, possible with Stanley Baxter where he was trying to teach potential German spies during World War Two how to speak English clearly, I remember them tripping up over how to pronounce Slough but getting confused that rough isn’t pronounced ‘rouw’.

Another tweeter added a link to a poem called “The Chaos” by Gerard Nolst Trenité written in 1922. Quite the read.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2020 in Films, Uncategorized

 

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To License or Not To License…

I’ve been following the ‘debate’ on Twitter about the possible scraping of the BBC License Fee and making the BBC a subscription service. It’s been quite interesting weeding through the ignorant crap to find the intelligent comment. I have always felt that many people (myself included) don’t really know how far and where all the tendrils extend but I have also felt that like with any non-commercial cantered organisation, it is likely over staffed and mildly inefficient and archaic in its ways – and I think this is so with the BBC.

How people access their media entertainment has vastly changed, the style, genre and quality of media has dramatically changed – not all for the better. Statistics and research shows that the under 30’s are not sitting watching tv in general, or the BBC in particular, live as it airs but tending to pick and choose via the iPlayer on their smart tv’s and mobile devices. But they are still accessing BBC tv, however it is all the other branches of the organisation that are getting overlooked when people are questioned about it.

It stands to reason that people will only comment on the area of the corporation they access, that’s the only bit they know. So what of the BBC do I regularly access.

  • BBC tv, admittedly I don’t watch as much as I used to, but I do watch numerous dramas series whether it’s weekly ones like Holly City, serial dramas like Peaky Blinders, or one off dramas like the Christine Keeler story; several quiz shows fun ones like Richard Osman’s House Of Card and impossible ones like Only Connect; a lot of the tennis especially Wimbledon; and films. I watch things live as well as via the iPlayer.
  • BBC radio. I listen to The Archers each week, and often listen to panel games, comedies and dramas on BBC Sounds. I used to listen to BBC2 daily when I spent mornings at my desk but it’s a habit that has been broken. As a child it was the local BBC station we had on for news, weather, traffic, to hear if my school was closed on snow days, etc.
  • BBCNews. Generally I tend to avoid the news but I do tend to watch my local BBC programme most nights, and tend to catch the BBC headlines. I find the delivery (if not the content) less sensationalised. I will often peruse the website for info, but find the content dated compared to some news sites.

Making the BBC a commercially motivated business will have an impact on the quantity, quality and variety of out put. It was interesting to read via some tweets areas that didn’t immediately spring to mind, such as The Proms and national and local orchestra funding, children’s tv, the nature and history out put, local news and magazine interest reports both local tv and radio, the publications available, these kinds of areas that cannot stand alone as viable businesses but can collectively support each other.

What I didn’t realise until today was that about half of my license fee covers salaries and pensions – that is staggering.

What worries me is how any change would affect what’s freely available, how much content would be lost, how it will significantly narrow what is produced being lead by what cheap to make and easy to mass sell.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2020 in General, In The News

 

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Crushed Crushes

Scrolling through FaceBook I happened across a link to a podcast about Kirstin’s thoughts on teen crunches and her endeavour to re-purchase the vinyl of her youth. It was such an interesting story and I found her insights into the rites of passage of tweenie, teen, crushes on idols and how they have a place in shaping our future feelings. I heartily recommend the listen.

The podcast can be found at Records And “Celebrity Crush” Stories

I missed the whole posters on the wall crush thing of youth for a number of reasons. My exposure to pop music was incredibly limited by today’s standards. Although the radio was on in the kitchen every morning, it was the local BBC station and more to do with news, weather and traffic reports. The radio was not on in the car on any journey, whether into town or off to holiday at relatives hours away. I didn’t have a radio or Hi-Fi of my own, in my room until I was thirteen, and I was rarely in my room.

Top Of The Pops was on every Thursday for half an hour and sometimes artists would chat and perform on tv shows like Des O’Connor, Wogan, Val Doonican, etc. I didn’t get to browse record shops or devour every printed pixel of magazines. Living in a rural village, a few miles from anyone near my age (or school) so I didn’t have the interaction with others to discuss, swap, swoon and so forth over pop groups and singers.

Sometimes when visiting an Aunt and Uncle my cousin would have a few lp’s he was happy to pass on to me (I’m sure I still have some). These were treasured items, revered and prized, because he was so cool, so modern and with it, being so much older than me.

Listening to Kristin was interesting, hearing her describe this electrifying tingle of something towards a face they’d never likely get to see in person, let alone get to know properly. Yet somehow this crush seems to be a method of mentally experiencing a fresh emotion, a dry run of recognising and learning the beginnings of attraction when seeking a potential life mate. As we get older, the crush item of our tween years becomes ‘uncool’ or ‘child-like’, as we progress to edgier, cooler, icon. Discarding such follies as we go and grow before looking back nostalgically and reminiscing about those feelings.

What is also interesting, as I scroll about particular Facebook groups and pages, there are some 50+, 60+ year olds still behaving all squealy girly over an image of their teenage crush, as if they were both still in their mid-teens.

Music seems to be the only art form that sparks such reaction. Few have the same swoon like devotion to an artist, sculptor, actor, writer etc. Maybe because music is something that involves the whole of the brain and roots into our psyche in so many ways.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2020 in Life

 

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Death and his paperwork

Alright, so you’ve made your will, had the conversation about whether to be cremated, buried, frozen, shot into space or stuffed and mounted, you think you’re done, prepared, sorted – you are so very very wrong.

The bureaucracy following the death of BigSis highlighted how things have changed since the death of our parents. As things move more online, there are many changes and additional consequences to systems, procedures and ownerships. Back in the days of pen and paper, even slate and chalk, a bank would use common sense when trying to access or move funds and things could happen within a couple of days, nowadays accounts are frozen, details need to be verified, confirmed and copied for the deceased, as well as the recipient. Don’t expect it to happen in anything less than two to three weeks.

It’s time for me to get my affairs in order, make sure that access and answers are at hand. My brain is racing away, with detached sentimentality, desperate to go through cupboards, draws and boxes to get rid of all my accumulated bits and bobs, to get stuff sold via the relevant specialist, online sites or charity shops, there are even pangs of guilt about the items destined for the trash, those items that are unsellable, unrecyclable, just junk. But the body has neither the strength or mobility to do it.

The old noggin is even wondering whether it is possible to bequest my Amazon purchases, like you can physical purchases. If your partner is the named Amazon account, when they depart, so will the access to everything they have digitally bought/subscribe. Accessing their account is technically fraudulent, even if you know the details and have permission, after they’ve died. More and more our utility bills, credit cards and banking is done online, and unless details are written down and kept somewhere safe, your executor will have zero clue where to find your funds, the same with utility bills and income sources. So much was more straightforward when you had a statement or bill through the post to act as reference, with its account numbers and names all there.

Fortunately I don’t drive, again online access means that now once a driving license is cancelled, so is the road tax and ownership papers attached to that persons details, so if you share a car with your partner, that’ll be an urgent call to the DVLA needed.

As a super single there will be bills and the need for funds before probate and such is all sorted, so I am considering opening a separate account with another named party so access to urgent funds can be managed.

Maybe it is morbid but it is a necessary conversation. After all, your nearest and dearest deserve to have things run as smooth as possible, rather than add to the stress and distress.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2020 in Life, Uncategorized

 

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