Thursday, 28 May 2015

AN EVEN MORE BORING POST

National Radio has gone a bit 'Country' today. I've heard Willie Nelson and a lot of other cruisy country singers during the morning and afternoon.



It sort of fits though as it's a really nice day. Winter chill is on the way but the sunshine is nice. I've got the sliding door to the deck open and feel quite warm when the sun falls on me as I'm working at the computer.

It's hard to believe that it's June next week.

I'm finishing up shortly and heading off downtown for a stroll and a coffee before walking up to Ponsonby. I play snooker every Thursday with Gary after he finishes work (well, teaching) so that'll round out a pleasant day. We have a couple of glasses of wine afterwards.

Pizza tonight - I've got salami, mozzarella, chillies, and other bits and pieces in the fridge for topping.



Wednesday, 27 May 2015

SOMETIMES I GET FUNNY LOOKS.

Sometimes I get funny looks from people in cafes.



Now to be clear I'm not Richard (of RBB). If I was then that might explain it.

No, I get funny looks when cafe workers ask me if I want my savoury item heated up.
I always say "no, I'll eat it as is".
They think that I'm strange but the reason is that pastry items heated in a microwave go soggy and become inedible. I'd rather eat a cold pie than a soggy one.


Monday, 25 May 2015

I'M GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS WORLD


So should I be put down?
Or should I just disappear like a dinosaur?



Why has life become so bloody complicated?

OK, I know that the world's population has more than doubled since I was a whippersnapper but the premise that I was sold on, as a whippersnapper, was that life would be easier with the looming technological advancements.



Not so I've discovered. The computer age hasn't made things easier. Maybe it would have if things had developed differently and we were all brave enough to embrace the developments but unfortunately conservatism and corporate greed has kiboshed it for us.

A computer - whether it's a bloody big IBM  monolith or a Samsung or Apple smart phone, long after the initial financial investment and subsequent (obscene) profit-taking should be now cheap as chips.
Unfortunately they're not and if they appear so it's because they're tied into a bundling deal by those new-to-the-scene telecommunication companies who, like hyenas, rip the flesh off the downed consumer.



After we've spent our hard-earned cash or, as is more likely, committed to an onerous delayed payment deal or a hyena's bundling deal we think that we're ready to 'make our lives easier'.

Good luck to that I say.

I'm in the middle of a bit of a hectic 6 week activity. I'm buying and selling an apartment. I'm negotiating on-going involvement with an employer and I'm planning a move to another country.

Easy?

Well it should be if:
  1. It involved face-to-face discussion with the principal parties or,
  2. It could all be done via e-mails, websites, and generally the Internet.
Sadly no.

I think that I've sorted out the banking side of things. The 'easy-to-use' on-line mortgage application applications as advocated by my bank are a crock of shit. The problem is, that my bank has chosen to go the people-free on-line route so getting to talk to an 'English is my first language' person proved difficult. We danced around for a week via a combination of on-line communications that had to be resolved by telephone and finally face-to-face discussions to get what was a very simple arrangement finalised. The exercise which should have taken two days at most ended up taking 6 days,

The company thing is sorted.

Now I'm working on trying to get into another country. This country cost the lives of my two great-uncles on both sides of the family in European conflicts in WW1 and  to my father and three uncles being seriously injured in WW2.  Did this give me any 'brownie points'? No.

The UK Visa application process is diabolical. Removing the responsibility for processing visa applications from British embassies and high legations around the world and creating an on-line application business is for what reason exactly? To give the ambassadors and high commissioners more time for golf? To free up staff time for more important business like keeping their blogs up to date and making cupcakes for visiting dignitaries? No.

I think that it's designed to make the application process so bloody difficult that people give up (the guy I had a meeting with today said that he'd tried to work in the UK but it was just too hard to get in that he came to New Zealand instead). As well as deterring people with little or no English-language skills and reasonable intelligence I think the machine is designed to drive applicants to using consultancy firms who charge thousands of pounds to process applications. I reckon that the UK Govt. is getting some of that.

I've taken the on-line process as far as I can. I've paid the $700 compulsory application fee and put together my documents for posting. I've taken all the documents out to the NZ Immigration office in the back of beyond in Auckland, presented them for checking and stamping, getting photographed, having my signature recorded and my fingerprints taken. Are they satisfied? Has the application process finished? No Way.
I now have to package up the original documents plus copies including my current passport and my old one (lucky I kept it) and post it to a British Embassy post box in Auckland. Apparently it then gets sent to Manilla for processing. Manilla. In the bloody Philippines! Haven't they heard about Wellington in New Zealand or are we so personna non gratta that it's not an option.

So. The on-line miracle starts to break down. I spent 3 hours on-line processing the application but still had to drive to the 'back of beyond in Auckland' to have the application checked and stamped and then post it to bloody Manilla. To make things worse the application rules inform me that a registration for UK Health Services has to be done before the application can be posted. I've tried to process this about a dozen times in the last two days but the system is down. It won't accept my registration or payment. There is no person to talk to.

Give me the good old admin days anytime.




It mightn't have been very efficient but at least it was reliable.