Friday, 18 April 2008

The World Has Had Enough (Of Me)

Guess how mad I am, and whether or not I'm going to take it anymore. Go on, guess.


I've had an annoying week. Let me caveat that immediately by saying it wasn't totally horrible. Season five of 24 continues to delight, Canyon and I ate lots and lots of Chicken Francese (the recipe she found is like the Food of the Gods, and not the kind that makes rats go nuts), I bought a bunch of great comics, and I broke world land speed records criss-crossing the cold and forbidding wastelands of central London to finally get to see Michel Gondry's misunderstood inspirational fable Be Kind Rewind (more on that, and the allure of swedeing, in future posts, hopefully, though I often say these things and never get around to them).

So why the Howard-Beale-esque rage? Because I get very annoyed, in a futile stylee, over things that mean nothing. Seriously, I do not think these moans can be considered worthy of any attention or pity. You can randomly pick any other person on the planet and they will be having a worse time than me. I'm about 99% certain that statement is correct. However, these things are on my mind, and some of these statements might count as advice for living. Firstly, and leastly, I'm annoyed that ITV are still run by a collection of inept dicks.


In their finite wisdom, they have dropped the second episode of the nine episode long first season because they only had room for eight. Why the second episode, I hear you ask?

"Episode two was the only show we could drop without spoiling the storyline," an ITV spokesman said.

Sky and More4 and E4 and C4 have been doing their best to make sure that US shows are being aired on UK TV very close to the US air date to try to stop illegal downloading from happening, and that's great and commendable. Thumbs up to them all for doing it. Sadly, with the major terrestrial broadcaster treating its viewers as if they're just gawping advert absorption units and its product like nothing more than a wooden block to slot into a random schedule hole, there has been no better argument for downloading as the future of TV than this insulting decision.

I railed against The Market the other day, but soon we're going to be able to watch what we want when we want and not have to listen to whiny ass ISP jerkoffs bitching at the BBC for coming up with something that people want because it's making life difficult for them ("Customers who are paying for unlimited downloads actually want unlimited downloads?!?! We never saw that coming!"). This is The Consumer talking, The Market. We want something. Provide it. Prove your worth. Or fuck off. Next annoyance!!!


Remember when I got all excited about buying a TyTn II phone? The one with a lovely keypad? Forget I ever said anything. It won't switch on. Until I want it to switch off, at which point it will switch on. Then I will try to access messages, and it will ignore me. And freeze. So I will try to switch it off again. And it will, after three minutes. Of course, messages will appear one femtosecond before it closes down. Then Windows will crash. When it's not inoperable due to bugs. And the power button is unresponsive. And it overheats. And I have to keep opening the back and yanking the battery out to deal with the multiple crashes. And typing anything takes forever as there is a 40 second lag between me inputting things and it appearing on the screen. When it goes wrong I feel like Quicksilver the grumpy speedster mutant.

What's worse is I got it via Orange, and I can't get a signal at home. And what's even worse than that is that my £35 a month tariff with unlimited thingies is costing me £55 a month for no apparent reason (I wanted itemised billing but am not getting it), and when I handed in my old phone to get £100 back, it was five months before I found out I'm getting that money back £4.72 a month for 18 months. It's turned out to be one of the worst purchasing decisions I've made. Compare that to Canyon's iPhone, which she is using right now. It is a sheer marvel, totally indispensible, and gorgeous to boot. Even better, it's dropping in price because that high price appears to be the thing that stops people from accepting its brilliance. Embrace the brilliance! You won't regret it. Next grievance!!!


Dell computers do not like when you trip on the power cable. They really don't. Take it from me. The wonderful McC (not the yet-to-prove-his-worth film director McG) recently exhorted us to buy an iMac, and I'm still wary (even though the iPhone is making me love Apple despite the evil that is iTunes blighting our lives), but when our Dell laptop broke down again this morning, I really pined for the magnetic power cable connection on the iMac, and would happily buy one just for that feature. We kicked the cable on this laptop (which was a lovely gift from some lovely people and we both appreciate it more than you can ever know) about a year ago, and since then we have to wrestle with a loose connection for about an hour a day, just to charge the battery. This morning it looked like I'd wiped the hard drive for the second time this year, but thankfully I haven't. Nevertheless, we're not impressed with Dell. (This whine is not directed at the lovely lovely people who bought the laptop for us. It has been incredibly useful. To be honest it's me I'm mad at, not the computer. Please ignore this rant.)


New rant! I bought The Mist from Play USA for many more pounds than I would have paid via Amazon.com, and thought I might have made a mistake, but it turned up in four days. Four days from America! And I didn't have to pay postage! At the same time I did that, I bought I Am Legend, Zodiac (Director's Cut), and DC's The New Frontier, all from Amazon.com, all very cheap. They showed up a fortnight after The Mist, and postage cost a bit, but my beef isn't with Amazon. It's with customs, and Royal Mail. £15 customs fees, with £8 of that paid to Royal Mail for handling the package while they wait for me to pay the fee. I'm pissed that we still have to pay for things like that, though I will confess to not understanding the system and perhaps there is a reason for us consumers to have to pay charges (will The Market cry if we don't feed it some pounds?), but £8 to Royal Mail?

For what? Storing the damn thing on a shelf at the sorting office for a couple of days? Is it to pay for the electricity that powers the barcode reader that scanned it a couple of days ago? Is it because the grey card telling me of the charge is more expensive than the red cards we get posted through the door when the postman can't deliver an item? Or is it, as I suspect, an enormous money making con job by a bunch of crooked money-hungry assholes who are shutting down our local post office, inconveniencing hundreds of people just to increase profits? You decide. I'm busy sitting in a studio in a wet raincoat shouting at the camera while my best friend William Holden gets drunk and shags Fay Dunaway.


That said, Royal Mail are the Justice League of America compared to Transport for London, who provide a shitty, expensive service for Londoners that increases the stress levels and unhappiness quotient of an entire city, and just to pick on me, have coerced millions of people to take on Oyster cards which can horribly fail for no real reason. This week I bought a £41 week season ticket, and the ticket machine I used to charge up my card took the money from my debit card, and then told me the transfer of ticket had failed prior to suddenly shutting down, leaving me with nothing on my Oyster card but £41 taken from my bank account. The ticket office guy (who was very helpful and apologetic, in direct contrast with the jerkstain executives running the company) had no proof I'd tried to buy the ticket, and had to charge me again. £82 for a week's travel! I have been advised to reclaim it, but I'm concerned that even with a bank statement showing both purchases they might not believe me.

I might have to glue my card and phone to this laptop and throw them all out of a window at this rate. Of course, anyone reading this will be able to point out that there are many worse things in the world, and they are right. It's just silly stuff that means nothing in the scheme of things, and I'm blessed compared to the vast majority of the world. However, all of these irritations and annoyances pale into insignificance when we come to the thing that has caused me the most psychic pain this week.


Two days ago my brain radio was invaded by repeated playings of Matthew and Son by my least favourite recording artist ever, Cat Stevens. It was like the world handed the pain-baton over to an imp in my head, and he went nuts punishing the shit out of me. Does Cthulhu hate me? Did I irk Zeus?


ETA: I'm now pissed at customs as well. My DVDs arrived and the crumpled box had been pulled open, inspected, and then haphazardly resealed with a bit of sellotape with hardly any glue left on it. And Paramount skimped on the box for Zodiac, meaning the disc got loose and rattled around inside, scratching it up. What's the betting if it's unplayable and I send it back to Amazon.com the replacement will get hit with more customs charges? Everything everywhere sucks. ::sulks pathetically just because he hasn't had his coffee yet::

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