I don’t want to ask again, but I will

Hey, people. I’ve got this fundraising widget on the right for Alzheimer’s Research Trust, a charity I am trying to raise £200 for by running in a six-kilometre road race in a couple of weeks’ time. I am raising funds offline for St Andrew’s Hospice. I’ll try to beat my current time of 40 minutes, so you know I’m making an effort.

Ahem.

Every pound counts, so even if you can’t afford to donate a lot, please consider £5, which is just US$10 or S$15. It’s not a lot of money.

C’mon.

Open letter

To Whom It may Concern,

Please turn the tap off when you’re done washing your hands. I suppose I should be grateful that you’ve washed your hands at all, but leaving the tap trickling wastes water and it annoys the fuck out of me when I have to turn off this tap every single time I use the bathroom.

Love,
Andrea

Mapping with no navigation is ideal

I am totally considering installing smart2go and MapLoader because I’m too bloody cheap to buy an AtoZ (although I really could use one). It looks pretty much perfect for my needs.

This weekend I…

Shock Horror
  • met Jeff at his hotel to have dinner at The Ubiquitous Chip (very expensive for what it was)
  • had a drink at Jinty McGinty’s and The Wee Pub
  • ended up at Karbon (not really my kind of place, what with all those people looking for a shag)
  • slept in, and met Jeff again at Borders (he was hungover all day)
  • had lunch at Bier Halle, then walked around town (saw Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s School of Art) and to the West End (through Kelvingrove Park and the museum, but it was closed)
  • had dinner at some pub, then bought cheap (ish) books and had a final drink at Nice N Sleazy
  • slept in again, then went to the shops for my lunch for the week
  • computered on a freelance project
  • had dinner at Ravello’s
  • computered some more while Neil watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Life interrupted

I’ve had a passing interest in Pompeii, deepened when I read the novel by Robert Harris, and now it’s on my list of places to see before I die after seeing these slides. Via Neatorama.

Being a grown up can really suck sometimes

There’s not a lot happening at the moment, as my life looks like this at the moment:

  • wake up, wash up, get dressed, make my sandwich, eat yoghurt, drink tea, get car out of garage
  • get to work, spend all day at work (and put up with colleagues bouncing a small yellow ball around and talking shite)
  • drive home, have dinner
  • one of three things for an hour or so — go to gym, play on computer, craft
  • shower
  • bed

Very exciting. On the weekends I get to watch Saturday Kitchen on BBC 1 and the hobbit chef on STV and finally, in triumph, shop at Asda in Livingston.

THIS weekend, however, will be a bit different. My friend Jeff is in town, and he wants us to go to a CLUB tonight. A real club. With duk duk music (ugh) and everything. And we’re to go sightseeing (judging by the weather, it’s gonna be a museum and not outdoors) tomorrow.

Words cannot express my alarm at the disruption of my timetable and well-planned, comfortable life. I may strike over this.

More pathetic political point-scoring

GAH!!!! So the rail strike may start again next week. That’s a pain. From what I can tell (again, but I’ve done more research this time), the RMT is striking because there was a UK-wide agreement on a cutback to 35 hours a week and Network Rail in Scotland has not implemented plans that have gone through in other parts of Britain.

Network Rail says what worked in England may not work in Scotland, and the RMT says Network Rail attempted to switch shifts from 12 hours over three days to eight hours, cancelled safety briefing days (unconfirmed on the Network Rail site), and have carried out ‘rule book’ testing in signal boxes. Also, since the strike started, the RMT have accused Network Rail of placing ‘scab’ managers in the signal boxes who are inadequately trained (Network Rail says the replacement managers are well-enough trained, thank you very much, but then they would, wouldn’t they). Network Rail says they have offered, on more than one occasion, to go to Acas. The RMT have completely rejected this, saying that decisions made in arbitration with Acas are not enforceable, despite BBC Radio Scotland pointing out that it can be if both parties agree to abide by the decisions.

Let’s take this one at a time. I think (and Neil was the one to point this out) that eight-hour shifts are surely safer for passengers than 12. I don’t see any issue with testing at all — are the RMT signallers incapable of doing their jobs and cannot stand up to testing? Network Rail have had to bring in other signal managers BECAUSE of this bloody strike, because they need to provide some service, and RMT is directly responsible for that. The fact that the RMT has categorically rejected any sort of arbitration and dispute resolution through Acas lays bare their intention to make all our lives difficult.

(Aside: this morning, the SNP’s Feargal Something Or Other — why is it always the SNP who like to show how unfit for government they are — said the “First Minister Jack McConnell” and “Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Tavish Scott” should be held accountable because the government puts money into the rail network and should have resolved the dispute, even though Network Rail is a private company. He banged on and on, repeating their names over and over again, accusing them of doing nothing, ignoring the fact that if the government had spent time on it the SNP would then accuse them of sticking their noses in a private company’s affairs when they should be concentrating on governing. And so the cheap political soundbites continue in anticipation of May’s election.)

The more I read and hear about this dispute, the more disgusted I am with the RMT. Sure, I agree that if a company is trying to exploit its workers, they have a right to industrial action (even though I’m Singaporean). However, in this case, the RMT has shown quite conclusively that they are not willing to even try and compromise, neglecting their professional responsibilities, and being completely and utterly selfish. I have no sympathy for their Scottish signallers, who appear to be on a great deal, well-recompensed for a job with amazingly short hours, and yet they are demanding to dictate all terms of employment to their employer.

Who the hell do they think they are? Bring on automation, I say!

Sources
RMT strike in Scotland continues, Network Rail, undated
48-hour strike action by RMT signal workers in Scotland over safety issues and the failure to implement a 35-hour week to go ahead, RMT, 3 March 2007
Scottish signallers’ strike ‘rock solid’, says RMT, RMT, 7 March 2007
Union slammed for not using Acas, BBC news, 8 March 2007

A baldly greedy, cynical scam — IMHO

The European Convention on Human Rights must be one of the most abused codes there is in the UK. This time it’s a teenager who wants £70,000 from the Highland Council because she was placed in Protestant foster families and sent to schools that weren’t “suitable for her learning disabilities.”

The teenager alleged Highland Council had “failed to facilitate” her religious persuasion throughout that period, the court was told.

Um, if your foster family went to a Protestant church, were they banning you from going to a different one? Has your forgiving, turn the other cheek Catholic upbringing been irreparably damaged by living with a God-fearing family that practises their religion slightly differently from yours?

The girl also complained about being sent to schools which did not provide lessons suitable for her learning disabilities, spelling and hand-writing problems.

Since I don’t know what that specific learning disability is, I can’t comment. Her school should have noticed she was having problems and adjusted their teaching accordingly.

The girl claimed that as a result she suffered anxiety, depression and educational impairment and was still being treated by doctors.

She also claimed that she found it hard to get a job and has suffered loss of earnings as a result.

No doubt her current ‘issues’ and treatment are being paid for by the NHS. As is her right (so I am led to believe, for surely the government is financially and legally responsible for everyone’s actions — yes, that’s sarcasm). And at 18, I highly doubt she is earning enough to claim £70,000 from the local council.