Friday, July 16, 2010

The worst bus company in the world?

I set off to meet Ian our UK press person in town this evening. Went for a bus. Stood at a bus stop, watched the satellite tracking count 'em down, the 'out of service' bus cruise past, the bus times come and go and finally spoke to the driver of the bus that did arrive (far too late to get to the meeting - this was an hour later) and told him it wasn't good enough. Wandered off home. Spent the rest of the evening writing a letter to Firstbus. Measured and reasonable I was - like I was to the driver. 1 out of 4 buses (to be fair it could have been 3) is not good enough. What if passengers decide to pay one in three fares?

I wrote to Firtbus and I wrote to Metro. I may pass it on to others for all the good it'll do. I like to think the below proves my measured tone. I urge other bus travellers (if you actually find one to travel on of course) to do the same.

Here's most of the letter to Metro. I'm tired now...

...Please find enclosed copy of a letter I’ve just sent to Firstbus. I’m really fed up with their buses not turning up, the satellite tracking system counting down the minutes to ‘due’ with no bus actually arriving and the fact that they keep putting the fares up by multiples of the rate of inflation – that particular one has been going on for years. And this is not to mention the lateness and ‘going round in threes’ which I concede is probably more to do with traffic etc than the company.

They waste my time, they waste my work’s time, they cost too much and I’m sick of it.

I’d just like to register this with you. My particular complaint is specific to tonight and I have posted it direct to Firstbus but similar things have happened far too often – and there were going to be trams from the bottom of our road starting in 2007 – though that’s a separate issue it adds to the general rubbishness of it all.

If you have anyone who gets to meet the people from Firstbus I’d be grateful if you’d pass this to them.

As I mentioned in my letter to Firstbus, I work as a project manager for a local charity in Leeds. We have staffing, transport and other problems but we keep our service working – why can’t they?

Yours sincerely

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The healthy drink rock and roll people

I got an email t’other day from the nice people at Pepsi Max. It’s another of those competition things. In short you can upload a video of your band where you get your mates to vote for it online. A person called ‘strings’ tells you to ‘rock on’! (I am not making this up!) The prize is apparently ‘legendary’

I even considered doing it. Obviously there are no issues around sugar or caffeine or selling sugary water to those who can’t afford it around the world with Pepsi…

But here is a list of what they say is “unacceptable video content”:

Anything which contains any works (such as musical, artistic or literary works) in which the intellectual property rights are owned by a third party, and which you do not have written permission to use
Any depiction of alcohol consumption
Any depiction of smoking
Anything which could bring the Pepsi Max brand into disrepute
Anything which could cause offence generally or which could be considered discriminatory behaviour in particular in relation to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and disability
Anything which could cause fear or distress
Anything which involves children under 16
Anything which depicts or encourages unsafe practices, such as drink driving and drug taking
Anything which depicts or encourages violence or anti-social behaviour
Anything which portrays or refers to people in an adverse or offensive way
Anything which refers to or portrays members of the public without their permission
Anything which refers to or portrays people with a public profile without their permission
Anything which refers to or portrays members of the royal family
Anything that refers to or promotes religious, political or racial views
Anything that contains or promotes cruelty to animals
Anything which contains nude scenes or sexual interaction

Well crikey Moses!

I spent a few seconds on my response. I did a pitch for the video - or possibly a synopsis for the story. If you saw the full thing you'd be massively offended. Particularly if you're both PC and stupid. So some self censoring went on - I removed a couple of words. It now reads like this...

"The Q***n is a *****r ***g who ****s Cheryl C***'s drug taking ****** one legged ****** with a ******* shouting 'die *** priest die'! And if anyone doesn’t believe it we will demontrate via our **** tatoos that we have their addresses and me and David Cam**** are taking our clothes off and coming round in the unlicensed peado-mobile singing Mull of Kintyre to kill them by poisoning them with disgusting P*psi M*x (the well known child ********* b**** water) in the name of baby **** and ******ism"

Not particularly elegant I grant you, but I think it gets the point across.

But I won’t countenance smoking.

If anyone needs this explaining I’d like to say that I’m in a rock and roll band and we say what the fuck we like - or perhaps we don't...Tell 'strings' that working for an advertising company is neither big nor clever.

Perhaps this competition is not for us...

Single Mom in the Mancunian clutch

Yeah, I know, internet scam thingies are just a tax that criminals put on the terminally stupid but despite some amusement this one annoyed me:

The link said ‘you can get a grant from the British government’ so I was intrigued having been involved in grants. Basically it says to send them an admin fee and collect your ‘check’. The thing that annoyed me is that the ‘blog’ mentions several times that ‘Jane Jones’, the supposed writer is from Leeds. This is annoying because their computer knows I’m in Leeds. It’s a 'blog' complete with comments saying things like

“Hi, single mom here, Took me a bit longer than you said to receive my grant-- 44 days. But in the end it was worth it, I receive $14,300. I cannot explain how much this has bettered my life, especially in these exceedingly tough times. Here is a picture of it!”


“Laid off and living in manchester. Need some income, and this came through in the clutch. This will give me atleast another month of job searching. $3765!”

They have a funny way of talking (and paying for things in dollars) those Mancunians eh?

I suppose one shouldn't really get annoyed.

Self Serving Bastards

I am really sick of either being ripped off or people trying to rip me off.

First up we have those who rip you off and there’s not much you can do – Firstbus, printer ink companies, insurance companies and the like. All of them can just take your money and there’s little you can do about it. Self serving bastards all.

There are also the second lot are those people who help themselves around misfortune. So, for example, our driver at work had a 5mph bump about a year ago. Definitely some damage to the van. Needed a new radiator for one thing, and a couple of panels. We reckoned that at a proper professional rate it’d be about £2,000 to fix it. That’s quite a lot of money – if you won it on a scratch card you’d be happy. The insurance brokers told me quite recently that the claim was now about £15,000 and liable to rise. Everybody piled in – the people who fixed the van helped themselves and it seems everyone had whiplash injuries that weren’t mentioned at the time and no doubt lawyers and insurance people took their cut. Selfish self serving trough snouting ambulance chasing bastards all. Have I already told you about this? Probably...

More recently we took a hire van back to the company we got it from. After 6 months of use it has some minor scraping to the paint on one side – and a tiny dent about ¼ of an inch long. We guess this was pretty much gradual wear coupled with rubbish paint. Fair enough though, there was a bit of a paint scrape and the tiny dent. Bit of touching up and smoothing over perhaps? I’m sure there are clever ways of doing this kind of thing these days. £50? £100? £200 even? The company have 2 quotes for us - £750 or £1,000! Nowt we can do, it’s business, we’ll have signed the blank cheque when we hired the van. More SSBs

This sort of thing genuinely makes me feel ill - even when it's not my money

Oh no - It's Facebook

Is it just me or is Facebook a bit rubbish? I don't mean the concept of it all (let's not go there) but the fact that when you write people a message it all goes wrong and you can't see what your typing and the cursor won't hold if you type more than about 4 lines. Then you go to 'friend requests' or various other pages (oh yes, friends, I do get 'em) and it says 'done' at the bottom left but the page is just blank - so technical glitches is what I mean.

I thought these sites were worth millions and were supposed to work?

There are things in the modern world that work. Just not car clocks, digital gizmos with batteries, oh batteries of course, Satnav, buses and well...there are some things that work in the modern world. Honest

By the way, please please please let me know what you're up to in Farmville (is that what it's called?), I couldn't bear it if you kept it to yourself

And I still can't track down me old mate Gordon Duffy from school!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

More politics

Question - according to the new (ish) government the current economic problems are a result of 'the previous government's mismanagement'. My question is, how much money that New Labour gave away to banks would they not have given to the banks?

I also want to know when we get it back - was it a loan or a gift? And what was the interest rate?

Blimey, sounds like I've been listening to 'Any Questions'

World turned upside down

Tory Home Secretary (or Justice Sec or whatever) accuses the previous 'Labour' government of making up prisons policy with "a chequebook in one hand and the Daily Mail in the other". Did that really happen? He's absolutely right of course (if he did say it).

But how did this happen? Labour are friends of the rich, crack down on the poor, everything in 'the private sector' is brilliant, pay all our taxes to their mates in 'the city' and blah blah blah. If only I could believe that the Tories were somehow more 'on the left'.

But what do us pinko Commie liberal bed wetters do now?