Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Sequel - Just THREE Questions!


Following up my last blog post, where I ranted about being asked "just two questions" by a person in telesales, I was rung up the other day - at dinner time - by a lady who promised that she just had three questions to ask me.

As may be obvious, particularly to anyone to read the last post, I have a very low tolerance threshold for telesales, but, thinking that I might be able to get another blog post out of it, I decided to run with the call and see how far I could manage.

 So, the lady asked "Can I ask you just three questions?"
 "Yes."
 "Do you live at [my address]?" she asked.  Nice easy one for starters.
 "Yes, I do."
 "What's your age bracket? 20s, 30s...?"
 "30s." I said. Again, no problem with this.
 "What bracket is your household salary?" she asked, following this up with a list of options. I picked whichever bracket we fall in.
 "Have you EVER had a loan or mortgage?"
 "Yes."
 "Are you interested in recovering the cost of Payment Protection Insurance from any of those products?" she asked. (side-note - one day, people on this planet will have no idea what PPI was. You lucky people, future humans)
 "No." I responded.
 "Who is your broadband provider? Sky, Virgin, or TalkTalk?" she asked.
 "None of those, " I said, "we're with Kingston Communications."

 Something you need to understand for the next bit - in Hull in the UK, we're on a separate landline phone network to the rest of the UK.  The rest of the UK is with British Telecoms, but we're not. In times gone by each city would have its own phone network, but over time all of them, except for Hull, formed a single big network.
 The effect of this is that 99.9% of the internet providers in the UK don't offer internet in Hull. I just tried using uSwitch to search for broadband providers, and instead of the usual choice of 70-80 deals, it gave me a choice of one.

 So, she then asked me "Would you be interested in saving money on broadband?"
 "No, I can't change my broadband." I said.
 She helpfully explained "I'm not saying do you want to change your provider, I'm asking would you like to save money on your broadband?"
 "No, I wouldn't, I'm in Hull and there's only one provider, so no thank you." I explained further.
 She repeated "I'm not saying do you want to change your provider, I'm asking would you like to save money on your broadband?"
 "No, thank you, I don't want to." I said, hoping this was the end of this question - particularly bearing in mind the call had definitely included more than three questions at this point.
 Yet again, she repeated herself. "I'm not saying do you want to change your provider, I'm asking would you like to save money..."

 I hung up on her.

 I hope for another call in a few days which this time will have just four questions, so I can keep the blog material coming.

Before I go, I should say that Marketing 4 Startups has kindly let me blog on their website about what makes a good blog post, so do feel free to take a look.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Just Two Questions...


I got a phone call on my mobile at work the other day. I didn't recognise the number, but I use my mobile phone for both work and personal calls, so I took the call anyway.
 "Hi, is this Michael Raven?"
 My heart sank. You can immediately tell from the background hum of a busy call centre, the slightly poor quality of the line and the persons demeanour that they are a telesales operative, using a cheap headset, in a large room full of telesales operatives using cheap headsets.
 I don't have a great tolerance for telesales, but I try to be polite initially.
 "Yes, it is."
 "Great! Now before you hang up, can I just ask two questions, and then you can go about your day?"
 This was a different approach, I thought. Two questions is pretty brief.
 "Yes."
 There was a silence for several seconds, until the telesales person said "Mr Raven?"
 "Yes?"
 "Am I ok to just ask you two questions, and then you can hang up?"
 "Yes."
 "Yes?"
 "Yes." I said once again with slightly more emphasis, hoping that the guy would pick up that the emphasis was me saying Get On With It.
 "Okay, so first question, do you live in a house?"
 "Yes."
 "Yes?" he said. He seemed surprised, as though every other person he ever asked answered that actually no, they live on a narrowboat.
 "Yes, I live in a house." I said, again, emphasis building further. If the emphasis was shown you would have seen a small sign on the ground saying "Yes", and immediately behind it a forty foot swaying tower of large, heavy, jagged rocks, and painted on each rock would be "GET ON WITH IT".
 "Now I'm going to ask you the second question, and then you can go about your day Mr Raven, is that okay?"
 "Yes."
 "So, I'm just going ask this one final question and then we're done Mr Raven, as you'll see it's only taken a couple of minutes out of your day and I think you'll find-"
 I don't know what the rest of his spiel was as I was so bored I just hung up on him. I don't know who drafted his sales script but I would have been quite happy to skip the parts where he told me how quick the call was.

But it has made me wonder what the second question was - while it was probably something like "Do you want to save money on your home energy bills?" I live in hope that it was actually something far more exciting like "Would you like to have in your home a cat that knows karate?"

What do you think the second question was?  Feel free to drop your second question in the comments below :)

Finally, thanks so much to everyone that's subscribed to this blog via email or via an RSS reader, I just seen that I've now got over 300 subscribers which is really awesome :) If you don't subscribe yet but would like to, there should now be a "Subscribe by Email" box at the bottom of every page of the blog, with a Subscribe button, or if you use an RSS reader you can subscribe through that. Thanks again!

The caption for an RSS feed. Exciting stuff!



Friday, 28 July 2017

Schrodingers Ticket


I like to keep an unchecked lottery ticket in my wallet, it gives me the possibility that I may have won the lottery, and be able to go off and retire at any moment.  A bit like Schrödinger's cat, the theory is that as long as I haven't checked the ticket, I might have won. I can fill my thoughts with the possibility that if everything gets too much I can quit my job and finally do all of those things that we want to do, like track down that really annoying guy in the office and hunt him with a crossbow, safe in the knowledge that a helicopter, fake passport, and a pretend cousin in Bolivia are available to start your new life once you've taken your revenge.

Sadly, I've checked this ticket and I haven't won.  I'll have to buy another.

In other news...


FYI to any survey companies, if you need surveys completing by someone in the 18-34 bracket, let me know today, from Sunday I'll have to remember that I'll be in 35-44 years old grouping!

It's not five years ago yet Facebook, there's still a day to go! 

Man, that was some tasty cake, two flavours (chocolate one and lemon the other if I remember right), handmade by my wife, she's awesome :)

Friday, 21 July 2017

A lack of J


You know the nursery song about the alphabet? Well, my keyboard currently goes "a b c d e f g, h i..."

And stops there.

The letter... um, the letter that comes after I and before K, won't type on my keyboard.  The only way I can get it is if I find it in a document or on a web page and copy and paste it in.

And then when you do that, the letter tends to keep the properties from the original source so you end up with words that look like:

 jam

and...

juice

and even...

Juniper


And as a result the words don't always fit with the formatting of the rest of the text.

Not only do I have this to contend with, but my mouse also seems to be dying. I'm not sure what is going on, but I have two mice, and both of them seem to be at breaking point, either refusing to work altogether or being very erky - i mean... hang on.

I meant to say that the mouse is being very Jerky.

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventures of Man With a Broken User Interface!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Doctor Who - the 13th Doctor announced

Today geeks up and down the UK, and around the world, sat watching the male tennis final at Wimbledon, waiting eagerly to discover who the next Doctor Who would be.  Personally It's the first time I've willingly watched tennis for some time.

And it's going to be the first time the Doctor has been played by an actress, Jodie Whittaker.

By Photoblogger79 (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I can't say that I know a great deal about Jodie, although I understand that she's been in some fairly high profile stuff such as Broadchurch and a few films - I'm pretty limited in what TV and films I watch! But I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.  I'm going to say something which will bring me a great deal of hate.

I'm not a huge Peter Capaldi fan.

I don't dislike him, I hasten to add.  There's some bits of him being the Doctor that I really like. However, I've not been hooked to his shows the same way I was with David Tennant and Matt Smith. Maybe I haven't given him enough of a chance - the only reason I got into Dr Who at all was one Christmas when I didn't have anything else to do so I watched a day of Dr Who shows and became addicted, so maybe I need to give him a proper go.

How about you?  Let me know in the comments if you're looking forward to the new Doctor, or if you're disappointed it wasn't somebody else (Kris Marshall was hotly tipped, and I think he would have been ace, a bit like Matt Smith maybe).  And if you've watched Peter Capaldi, should I devote some hours to him?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

New Web Address


Hi!

I'm very pleased to announce that I have a new address for my blog - www.mikeraven.co.uk - I've been meaning to get an address for a while and felt it was about time to bite the bullet.  My blog is still hosted on Blogger and the old address will still work perfectly so no need to update existing shortcuts.

In other news...

Yep, Wednesday market was closed on Friday. That'll show any latecomers.






Thursday, 6 July 2017

Uncommonly Good Goods

I've been pleased on this sponsored post to work with uncommongoods.com, a great website that showcases products from some of the best makers around.

Even in the world of the Internet, where millions upon millions of people connect every day, when it comes to buying gifts it's still not so easy to find something unique, something that stands out.  It's all too often I find that when you search for something to buy you end up being shown the same 3 or 4 products that have come out of an algorithm-calculated listing because they've got the best ratings or the website thinks it's the thing that you want, and you don't ever get to stumble across something a bit different.

However, I've been fortunate enough to come across a website where there are a great selection of unique products available.  Personally I often struggle when it comes to events like weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers, you want to get people something unique and memorable, but it's hard to find the right thing.  Uncommongoods.com has some awesome categories for these, you can see their selection of gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and baby showers here.

I really love this personalised wedding wall :)

Would it be wrong for me to get a Mustachifier for my niece...

Anniversary gifts is a challenge I've got coming up in the near future actually, my parents were married on the same day as I was born - it's an interesting story actually, on their wedding day my parents got married in the morning, and in the afternoon my mum was feeling a bit unwell so my dad took her to see a doctor.  She was worried that the food at the wedding has bad and she had given everybody food poisoning, but it turned out she was going into labour (she had no idea that she was pregnant!) and I showed up in the evening! So this year I'm going to check out some of these awesome anniversary gifts from UncommonGoods for them.

I think my mum might like these recycled glass tree globes...

My dad, however, would probably prefer a personalized whiskey barrel :D

Uncommongoods.com isn't just a marketplace for awesome items, however.  They have a strong environmental and social mission that leads the organisation, with the organisation minimising their environmental impact, ensuring that their employees are treated fairly, and they've donated over $1m to non-profit organisations around the world.  So you can feel good about your shopping too :)

For me, it seems like a great place to find some new, often personalised, gifts that you probably can't get elsewhere, directly supporting makers and creators.  Well worth checking out!


In case anyone is looking for birthday presents for me, check out their mens range - I like the look of Beeropoly :D


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Guest Post - Admin

Today my dad guest blogs about one of his most favourite subjects, "Admin".  I should explain that Admin is a term that my dad uses not just for paperwork, but also for all of those little processes and procedures followed in every day life.

---------

Thanks to stevepb for the image


So, to Admin.

Only they could do it. It is beyond the scope of most mere mortals to comprehend, but admin are 'different', like chalk and cheese, they see a different world to the rest of us.

For example, if you yourself lived in these parts, I dare say you would call North Ferriby Infant School (Church of England) -

North Ferriby Infant School (Church of England)

- or some close approximation thereof.

As the saying goes, it does what it says on the tin, the name would be descriptive in an entirely sensible manner and good folk who deserve to breathe air would know exactly what you were talking about!

Ah, but Admin, ah no, for them common sense is forbidden - unless it is specifically demanded and detailed in official guidelines because, presumably if normal people understand what you are saying despite official guidelines and admin jargon, well you have clearly failed miserably.

So, the above mentioned school has a sign outside which proudly states to one and all "Welcome to the KS1 Building"!

Excuse me? Only admin can have the slightest idea just what KS1 refers to.

I am bemused by the fact that despite guidelines, political correctness, admin jargon etc lingering traces of normality stubbornly persist amongst the office staff and the powers that be have decided that the rest of the world needs a sign welcoming them to the above abomination. (note: the school is excellent, it's the name that gets me - KS1 indeed!)

.. and someone was paid money for this decision!

NB Deliveries must not be made to the KS1 building, as another sign informs everyone, indeed no, deliverers of deliveries must find the KS2 building across the road!

Do normal people really talk like this?

Really?

PS I once enjoyed a friendly chat with an admin person, over a pint of alcoholic beverage or several. I somewhat outrageously enquired whether one was still permitted to scratch one's arse if the desire occurred, and he told me in all seriousness that this was still currently permitted. However, should I wish to scratch anyone else's arse, I would require a licence to do so. Either way, such activities must not be performed in public as the word 'arse' has erotic connotations and may cause uncontrollable urges in some individuals, and then only between consenting individuals.

Disclaimer: The word 'arse' mentioned above was only written down behind locked doors with both my feet in a bucket of cold water. This PC does not have an internet connection for fear of hackers, be they government or freelance, becoming over excited.


Why not pop over to my parents website, www.facebook.com/RavenMagical where they offer all kinds of magical and new age goodies!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Call To Action

So, I'm working on a book at the moment.  It's all at very early stages, and comes with a hefty proviso of "may never see the light of day" but at this time it's all very exciting, particularly how it gives me another reason to avoid doing unimportant things like doing the washing up or getting a shave.

I need your help.

Except you, Dr Dawg.

Specifically with blog subscriptions!  I will be approaching writing agents in the not too far distant future and part of my sales pitch will be talking about my blog.  I'm aware that there are a committed number of people (thank you, each and every one of you) who do stop by regularly to check out my blog, most people don't currently subscribe, which is absolutely fine of course, nevertheless I'd like just to flag up that if you would like to subscribe you'd be very welcome :) I don't tend to post that frequently so hopefully it shouldn't result in a sea of notifications for you.

If you would like to subscribe then on the right hand side of the page (if you're viewing this on a proper desktop computer that is) there should be options to subscribe by email or to subscribe using an RSS reader, if you use one of these. If you're viewing this blog on a phone or tablet, as about half of people do, if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page there should be an option to "View Web Version" - if you could just do this this one time then the links will be available on the right hand side for you to subscribe.

If, by chance, you've stumbled across this blog and this is your first time, here's a post for you to check out, you'll get an idea of my typical nonsense.

Many thanks to all that do indeed subscribe :)

Now, back to thinking up insults relating to that Ohioan master of blogging, Tim Clark. He's a great man but his dog...

Well to be quite frank, I think his dog is a little out of control.  It's awarded itself a doctorate, tried to become President, I think it's suffering from delusions of grandeur. I think Tim needs to take Dr Dawg to the vet for some sort of procedure, perhaps to be neutered. I don't know if it would make any difference but, for the sake of humanity, it's worth a try.

I couldn't have said it better myself.
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