B’Day

September 17, 2008

No, it was not a poor spelling for a follow up to Wat Da Daddy’s post on cleaning ones bottom, today I turned 32.

They say that you are only as old as you feel, but I think that could be the problem. My back aches, I am tired, I am forgetful (I lost my wallet, which since been found by the wonderful Mrs Geek), and my previous post was an “In my day”! I promise I am really only 32!

So in time honoured fashion of people feeling too old, I am going to ignore my birthday and tell you about Bart’s birthday which was on Saturday.

It started way too early for a Saturday. Most weekends he is up with the birds, and we tell him to read until his sister wakes … an arrangement that suits everyone. This Saturday, this was not an option. You could see the excitement oozing out of him.

He had been wanting to take guitar lessons for the past year, and the teacher finally got a opening, so we got him a guitar, and having had him “play” for us, after all of one lesson, I can say it is not nearly as bad as we had anticipated. There is something quite relaxing about an acoustic guitar, even when played badly.

BowlingAfter opening his other presents, it was time to get ready for his party at the local bowling alley, who it turned out had 5 children’s parties on and 3 members of staff. 2 hours of chasing around after 10 eight year old boys, given soft drinks, cake and balloon swords, I felt like a sheep dog on overtime. I fear this may have aged me 5 years on its own. Still I think they all enjoyed it and Bart certainly did, which is what counts 🙂

Make A Wish

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Back in my day … the grass was greener, the summer was warmer …

September 12, 2008

and shops knew how to treat people.

Frozen Until I Can Get Good Customer ServiceI hate shoddy customer service! There is absolutely no excuse for it, and I hate to admit that it seems to be the way things are generally progressing.

I sound like someone’s granddad when I say things like “I remember when the person in the shop would …” and you can complete the sentence with so many things

… smile.
… remember their ps and qs
… pass me my change instead of throwing it on the counter
… not talk on their cell phone whilst making a minimum effort to serve me!

Garrhh !!!

I like the idea of voting with my feet and just not using these places any more … but it is becoming ubiquitous.

Online Customer ServiceAnd this is with real shops, the internet brings another level of indirection which in general just increases the likelihood of poor service… and the ones that outsource their customer service are even worse.

Recently others (RC and Helen (followed by crazy harrassment)) have used their blog to highlight particularly bad service.

However, today I experienced Exceptionally Good customer service, and I figured it would be worth mentioning.

A few weeks back I bought some new Headphones for Emily.

Fast-forward to yesterday, and one of the ear buds decided that it had had enough and so I was down to single ear listening. This is not that unusual, it certainly is not the first pair of ear buds that decided to do that. However, it is the first set that I had paid quite so much for (this was before we started cutting back).

In the past I have bough quite a number of things from amazon, and had very little problem. The biggest problem was finding a phone number to get hold of them on!

Well they seem to have sorted that since then, as rather than you call them, they have a link that gets them to call you … Instantly! Literally my phone rang within a couple of seconds.

I then explained my problem and how I felt a high end set of headphones should be more robust, half expecting to be told that it was my fault for “Excessive wear and tear” or some other such non-provable loophole, but the chap just fronted up and said it was no problem, he would send one out straight away.

I was blown away by their attitude. SO refreshing. I would seem they could not do enough for me … I had 30 days to return the original set, which means I could get by with my one ear set until the new set arrived. The parcel arrived this morning (I reported it at 2pm yesterday! That is quicker than when I originally ordered it), they have offered to refund the postage charges for sending the original set back via a recorded delivery. And they have apologised for any inconvenience that I might have suffered!

In an age of dying customer service, this is exceptional treatment. So to amazon … I take my hat off to you … BRAVO

[Note: I am under no delusion that this post will affect their bottom line, I just thought they deserved the recognition.
P.S. I will also point out that this was amazon.co.uk … and I have no idea if this behaviour is universal]


Wow

September 11, 2008

I don’t want to bang on about Obama … but I just read this on Phil Plait’s blog.

I’ll say it again WOW!

To summarise Phil’s Summary, six individuals concerned about the state of science and science education in the US created a group called Science Debate 2008, and they called for a presidential debate on science. So far Obama has replied (for the full reply link), McCain claims he will, but has yet to do so.

It is very detailed and very interesting reading, but the long and the short of it seems to be that unlike Bush, he has either actually read the science (or at least employed someone to tell him about it) and is keen to allow science to continue without political interference.

Pinning his colours to the mast in such a bold statement is possibly a risky move for a politician. It may help counter the claim that he has avoided giving definite answers.

Again, McCain has yet to respond, but I will be amazed if he responds as frankly and unguardedly as this, let alone with anything like a Pro-Science stance (Particularly based on his running mate). Time will tell.


LHC

September 11, 2008

For those of you that are not in the know … the LHC is the new Super Collider being run by CERN in an attempt to find the Higgs Boson.

There have been some Kooks that have looked at it and determined that this may just cause the end of the world! They look at the maths and based on some fringe physics determine that we may just create a black hole that may gobble up the earth, ignoring that the same physics predicts that any such black hole will just evaporate in a puff of Hawkins radiation.

Just in case though, I have added a link for your convenience http://hasthelargehadroncolliderdestroyedtheworldyet.com/. I have inspected the source code for website and the author offers a full refund if he is found to be incorrect


My name is Mr Geek and I am a ____oholic

September 10, 2008

OK so I got tagged by RC. I need to do the following:

List 5 current addictions and then tag 2 people.

It will take a little effort to keep it down to 5. Time to come clean. In this over diagnosed world I would suggest I have an odd, if not paradoxical blend of OCD and ADD*. The OCD makes it so that everything I do is an addiction, and I get frustrated if I am not given enough time to do it to perfection. This conflicts with the ADD which pulls my attention away from one obsession and focuses me on another then another. The end result is that I am a perfectionist that does a half assed job at everything and gets frustrated with all of it 😆

I would have liked to claim reading among my addictions, and for a long time it would have been #1, but it has been so long since I read anything I really can not. Just waiting for the next trip on the ADD addiction roundabout!

So here goes.

1) Diet Coke OK so the people that know me in the real world, know that my Diet Coke addiction is extreme. I drink way WAY too much! This however is being addressed the hard way by our recent need to budget 😦 Damn you cold turkey 😥

2) Emily OK, so I have not updated you recently, shouting about my shiny new gadget when I am meant to be budgeting just induces Mrs Geek’s technophobic discrimination. However, I do find that I am constantly playing with it whenever I have 5 minutes to myself. Between twitter, reading my blogs, podcasts (see below) and Aurora Feint (simple blocks game that is totally addictive).

3) Food I know it is not really an addiction in the true sense, but I seem to have a problem. I would love to trim a few pounds here and there, who wouldn’t, but my historical technique of increasing the amount of exercise seems to be failing me. (1) because I can’t actually find the time to dedicate to exercise what with the whole family life and all (2) because it makes me hungry and I eat. I know it is not rocket science, I just have to eat less … I just seem to suck at eating less. Some people eat to live … I live to eat!

4) Podcasts This is sort of related to 2, but I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Every now and then I do a purge of what I listen to, but then I find a whole bunch more that just drag me in! At some stage I will do a post detailing what I listen to, but I never seem to catch up.

5) Bloggs You notice I did not put blogging. I enjoy putting my thoughts down on … well not on paper, but you know what I mean. But I am far from addicted as you may have noticed by tendency for the odd Blogcation (Thanks to RC for that word). I really enjoy reading other peoples blogs and I love the kind of community spirit that form around them. I feel concerned when someone I virtually know virtually disappears for a while. If I had more focus I could totally make a good stalker!

Anyway, as I said there are many other addictions that I may have overlooked, repressed or was just too ashamed to admit to.

I tag Nemma who I just realised was not on my blog roll (now fixed … my humble apologies) and Tendrils (and this time RC has not beaten me to it!)

Tag … no returns!

*Note: I have not been diagnosed with either of these afflictions, I am using them for illustrative purposes only. (I do have many the tendencies though)


Maggie’s Beautiful Day

September 9, 2008

As I have previously mentioned, Sunday was little Maggie’s baptism, and it was truly wonderful. Friends and family gathered from near and far!

 Maggie’s Big Dress

OK that makes it sound a little more grand an occasion than it really was, but it was a gathering of around about 40 people that we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts, and surprisingly the rain held off to allow us all to have what I know Mrs Geek and I found to be a most enjoyable day.

The event was made all the more amusing (to the guests, anyway) by the fact that I was hobbling around like a octogenarian, whilst trying to act as if nothing were wrong so as not to fuel the flames of Mrs Geek’s anger at me for playing rugby! I have nice friends like that.

The ceremony was beautiful and we truly are grateful to all who attended. Here are a couple of photos of the day (Please don’t draw attention to the fact that I have the posture of Igor from the old Frankenstein movies).

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The Grandmas


An Eventful Weekend

September 9, 2008

To those of you that don’t keep up with me on Twitter, I managed to put my back out on Saturday playing rugby. Well actually that probably gives be a little too much credit. I was about to play rugby as I only made it to part way in to minute number 3.

As I led on the ground in pain the one thing that went through my mind was “Mrs Geek is going to KILL me”.

It would be fair to say that there is mounting pressure for me to “reduce my exposure to rugby” as it is a large amount of time that I could (and I will concede maybe should) otherwise be spending with my family. So the thought of returning home broken the day before Maggie’s Baptism (I will post that separately) was not an appealing one. It was not helped by the fact that my team were beaten so badly that I am not sure that we managed even to come second.

I have therefore spent the last few days eating enough tablets to make me rattle and smelling like … well I know nowhere else that smells like it other than sports changing rooms. The overwhelming whiff of liniment.

Fast forward to Monday, I was told by my doctor that I should go to the worlds largest time sink … A&E (for the Americans out there that is the UK equivalent of the ER without the gun shot wounds).

Bad Back

So after an uncharacteristically short wait of about 2 hours, the doctor told me that the good news was that it was not broken … WTF !?! How was that even under consideration? And if it was, why did I not get a somewhat speedier treatment!

So I returned home with the same advice that I had self prescribed … it is simply a muscle pull, take Paracetamol and Ibruprofen and feel sorry for yourself (OK so I added the last bit).