All 26 entries tagged Personal

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February 15, 2006

Orpheus in the Underworld

Writing about web page http://www.warwickstudentopera.co.uk

Balatant plug follows:

Next week, from Thursday until Saturday, Warwick Student Opera are performing Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld:

Orpheus is:
'The first of Offenbach's outrageously funny 'send-ups' of Greek mythology, this is an unashamedly Gallic version of the classic legend of Orpheus's pursuit of his wife Eurydice, who is carried off to Hades by Pluto – much to the annoyance of Jupiter. A highly disrespectful romp, it involves nymphs, shepherds, gods and goddesses, with the fun reaching its climax in the riotous revels of the celebrated "Can-Can". A lively and highly enjoyable show for both performers and audience, with many world-famous tunes'.

It will be great fun – so do come along and see it! See the website for more details.


December 01, 2005

Customer service? The NTL saga continues…

Please forgive me, for I must rant.

NTL
Those Gods of organisation!
We, foolishly, decided to go with NTL for our internet and phone last year, mainly because we had no phone line and they are the only ones who do free installation. I rang them and asked them to come and install broadband and a phone line at the beginning of the year. They came… and only installed the broadband. I rang them and they said they needed someone else to set up the phone contract seperately. So my housemate Amy agreed to do this and organised to have them come and fit it. Three engineers came on three seperate occasions, all with different and wrong ideas about what we wanted and all unable to complete the job. Each of these times someone had to make sure they were home to let them in.
Meanwhile, they had begun charging Amy for the phone line we never got. After many phone calls we got fed up, decided a phone line wasn't worth all the fuss, and Amy cancelled the direct debit and told them we didn't want the service. We then had a series of threatening letters asking for the money Amy wasn't paying them. We had lost count of the amount of times Amy had rung them (from the phone box at the end of the road, I may add, because we had no land line and our mobiles did not permit freephone numbers!) to reiterate that we didn't actually have this phone line and that they could come round whenever they wanted to check!
Eventually they got the message. But that's not the end of the story…
Our broadband contract ended (as far as I thought) at the end of June as we were on the 10-month student contract. So, bearing in mind our previous experiences, I cancelled the direct debit once we'd paid up. In mid September I began to get calls from an 0800 number to my mobile phone. I couldn't answer because the microphone on my phone was broken, and anyway I don't normally return calls from unknown numbers unless they leave a message. So when I got my new phone I answered the 0800 call and – surprise, surprise – it was NTL wanting to extort another 3 months' broadband charges from me because they'd forgotten we were on a 10-month contract! I corrected them and the bloke said that my account would be updated. A week later I received another call and had the exact same conversation with someone else, so clearly my account hadn't been changed at all. Thereafter the phone lines went quiet for a while so I thought it might all be resolved…
Until about 3 weeks ago. I received several missed calls from them before they rang me when I could actually pick up the phone. This time they wanted to check with me why I'd stopped my contract with them and ask whether I wanted to use their services in my current property. I told them, emphatically, no, and asked if they would please stop contacting me.
Since then I have received a phone call from them nearly every day, and have picked up at least three times, each time reiterating my previous sentiment and asking them to stop calling. To no avail. So I am going to send them a letter saying that I'm reporting them to the Trading Standards Agency and see whether that makes any difference.

I haven't finished yet!

The SoftBack Preview…
Is a book club to which I belong. They do the usual thing of sending you a recommended title every month which you must reject if you don't want it. I sent them a letter two weeks before I moved house, in June, to give them my new address. I was unable to change my personal details online, as there is no facility for it, or by phone (which I'd have preferred), because their entire phone system is automated and doesn't involve any real people! By the middle of August I had become suspicious that they had ignored my letter as I hadn't heard anything from them.
So I sent them another letter, reiterating the change of address and asking them to cancel any orders I hadn't rejected since the end of June, as I hadn't received them due to the move. But, lo and behold, three weeks ago I was sent a book I never had the opportunity to reject.
So I then rang up their automated service to return it. They operate a courier service to collect returned books. However, they don't even commit to a specific day, let alone a time, when they will call and they charge £3 a time for the service even if they don't pick up the book! So, living in a house of students with erratic timetables, I decided I couldn't take the risk, and I presume every other working household in the UK would have a similar problem.
Thus, I sent the book via Royal Mail to them, asking them to refund the price of the book, the delivery cost they charged me originally (as I'd already told to cancel everything from June until the date of the second letter), and the £7 I spent on posting.
And, what a surprise, this week I received a bill from them for the book and the postage…
Which means another letter…

Seriously though, how do companies get away with such ineptitude? Everyone I know has at least one company that they've had to deal with that have been similarly useless, so why can't something be done?! The removal and outsourcing of call centres and lack of proper administration and communication is costing millions of people lots of time and money. When will we really get to the end of our tethers and decide that something has to be done?!


November 16, 2005

Home

I miss having a proper home to come home to. I miss having my family there who I have an easy relationship with no matter what.

I don't spend enough time in my flat at uni to maintain constant relationships with my flatmates and thus the place seems quite empty to me when Justin's not here (which is, of course, most of the time :-( ). But leading a busy life like I do means that this situation is unlikely to change for at least a few years, particularly if I want to move around and work/train. But will I, at some point, decide that I do in fact value having a home to come back to more than whatever else I might be doing at the time? And what will I then be able to do about it?

There was a time, up until a few months ago, when I never thought I'd think about changing my plans to feel more at home. I thought of Leam as home rather than the town my parents live in and never gave it a second thought. But recently I've realised that neither this year or last have I actually felt really comfortable in the houses I've lived in, and probably not even in first year because even then I was being criticised for not having any free time to spend with my housemates and was feelilng incredibly claustrophobic being cooped up on campus. But I thought at the time that I was happy in each situation.

What do I really value the most? And will that change?


November 02, 2005

Photos!

I have (finally) got around to putting up lots of new photos, including Figaro, tour and the choir party this weekend! Browse at your leisure.

October 30, 2005

Yes, I am a sheep…

Usually I take these things with a pinch of salt, but I actually think this one was quite cool because it made me realise that I am, in fact, really happy at the moment… long may it last!

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
8.7
Mind:
7.2
Body:
8.6
Spirit:
7.7
Friends/Family:
5.9
Love:
7.7
Finance:
7.2
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Also, it was quite comforting to see, when viewing the overall stats for the people that have taken the quiz, that all the averages went up through the age groups (apart from body, which is not unexpected). It's cool to know that we all have better things to come.


October 24, 2005

I pondered, when I travelled past multitudes of fields on the train this morning…

… sometimes I'd be a lot easier to be a sheep.

October 21, 2005

Again, in an effort to contribute something more lighthearted…

A: The most Audacious thing you’ve ever done
I really can't think of an example… surely I can't be that dull

B: Favourite Badger joke
Ummm…

C: Favourite Curry
Something along the lines of a pasanda.

D: Number of drinks it takes to get utterly Drunk
As demonstrated effectively on Tuesday night, two large glasses of red wine, a V & T and a Baileys seem to do the job remarkably well.

E: Your most Effeminate characteristic
Since, according to various online dictionaries, effeminate characteristics can only apply to males I don't have any.

F: The last thing that you got for Free
A lovely Chinese meal at the Phoenix last night, paid for by our lovely colleagues at Jeol.

G: Number of times that you’ve visited a Gym
Many, though I'd much rather do something more stimulating.

H: Where you call Home
As Andy said, my spiritual home is probably the Music Centre (though I don't get to spend enough time there any more – MOAN)

I: Any Instruments that you play
Clarinets (various), flute, piano, voice (technically an instrument? I mean you'd never really say that you play the voice!).

J: Favourite Juice
Pineapple

K: Song that you would sing Karaoke to
Interesting. I was asked the exact same question at dinner last night and had no answer…

L: Number of times you’ve Laminated – and if you’ve achieved your laminating qualifications from the MC Office yet:
Having laminated Colin Dean's head over the top of Colin Touchin's I think I probably deserve the MC prize for laminating ineptitude!

M: (As seen on the BBC News website:) How much Money do you think you’d need to be happy?
It's interesting – everyone's answer to this has been along the lines of enough-to-keep-food-on-the-table. And mine is the same! Gosh, we're all so unmercinary (if that's a word).

N: Favourite Naan to have with aforementioned curry
Peshwari of garlic

O: Your Oldest possession
Some 200-year old editions of… some novels, can't remember which.

P: Your worst Phobia
Spiders, though I have mastered it to a certain extent – the critical turning point was when I was faced with one 2 ins across when I was in the flat on my own.

Q: Something that makes you feel Queasy:
Two glasses of wine, a V&T and a Baileys

R: Recent New Year Resolutions made, and how many still going
I gave up making them a few years back due to the repeated sense of failure every time I gave in.

S: Favourite Season
Summer – I love the long, light evenings. And autumn when the leaves start to change colour.

T: Number of cups of Tea consumed per day (on average):
I have been converted to coffee by the naughty people at work. Average consumption about 3 cups a day.

U: The most Useful lesson you’ve ever learnt:
That sometimes I'm not going to do stuff as well as I had hoped, and that I just have to get on and accept it.

V: Number of Valentines cards received (either in your life or in the last year – depending on how popular you are!):
5 in my life, 1 last year.

W: A film that can make you Weep
There are lots

X: Have you ever dyed your hair to become Xanthocomic (Blonde: link)
Nope – would be kinda pointless really. I did dye it brown and when everyone else had blonde with brown roots I was the other way round – it's surprising how odd that looks!

Y: Your Youngest memory (removed the yeti question now I’m afraid!)
Being in intensive care when I had epiglottitis just before my second birthday.

Z: Favourite animal you could see in a Zoo
Phacochoerus aethiopicus


October 16, 2005

Jerzy says my blog is too serious…

…so here is a little game:

link

Apparently the longer you take to get it the more intelligent you are….

SOD - I must really be as blonde as I look!


October 12, 2005

Spooky!

Gav has an entry on his blog entitled 'Shiny, happy people'. Consequently, a few times over the last day or so I've sung maybe only the first line of the corresponding song to myself. Vib, a postgraduate student in my lab, was sitting in the office just now having not seen me for at least 2 hours and randomly started singing the same song for no relevant reason. Has my (haha – check my grammar there, Tommy!) singing of the song got it stuck in her head too? Do things like that depend on our personality or are we all ingrained to do it to an equal extent?

October 11, 2005

Feelings and how they change

Isn't it odd how you can go from meaning the world to someone to being completely insignificant in such an incredibly short time? Where do those feelings go? And can you actively control what happens to them or are you a victim of your own subconscious?

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