Friday, 30 December 2011

Eircom Customer Support… not!

Or Eircom – a shower of useless shites...

I had a pop at Vodafone in the last-but-one blog post, as my Internet connection is giving credence to the idea of the "www" initials standing for World Wide WaitThing is, I now believe that the fault lies with Eircom, who supply the phone line to the house.

You may recall that an engineer, or technician - whatever they like to call themselves – paid a (second) visit before Christmas?

He first mistook a scanning device for a phone, and was puzzled when he couldn’t hear a ringtone. After that inauspicious start he pressed a button on some meter he had, and informed me that the line was “100% fine”.

What he never even bothered doing was taking a look at my ancient phone point – or whatever the genuine 70s object you see in the pic above is. Take the cover off this old yoke and you are confronted with a veritable Medusa of messy wiring, which doesn't look like the stuff of a "100% fine"  phone connection (below).

If the lazy shite had updated this antediluvian box with a modern one when he troubled my threshold, I’ll wager that my Internet connection would be functioning properly now.

Vodafone are trying to organize a third visit from Eircom, which they hope will rectify the problem.

Let’s hope they send someone who can at least recognise a phone when they see one.

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Sunday, 25 December 2011

Ho ho woes of the Santa lookalikes

Something festive for you now:  an amusing video which describes the plight of some not-so-jolly gentlemen who look like a certain red-besuited denizen of the North Pole.

 Funnily enough, one of the characters in the video used to work in my place and I often remarked on the resemblence myself. Thankfully I never expressed it...

Happy Christmas all.

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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Vodafone Customer Support... Not!!!!

This morning, I found myself passing Glasnevin Cemetery on the way to work and thinking "hmmm, that looks quite comfy"

Why?  Well, over the past week or two I have been dealing with Vodafone customer care; in tandem with the devilspawn, illegitimate offspring of State-owned Telecom Eireann, Eircom.

If you are wondering why there have been so few blog posts lately, look no further than this desperate letter I  sent to Vodafone today.

Dear Madam/Sir.

I am sending you this email as I do not know where else to turn at this point.

My wife and I moved house two weeks ago and are Vodafone customers (phone and broadband).    Since we moved to the new address our broadband connection has deteriorated to that of a 1990’s dial-up equivalent. When we phone Vodafone customer support (which we have done many, many times) the representative invariably confirms that there is a problem with our broadband, and resolves to have the line checked.

The day before yesterday someone from Eircom came out and checked the line (at Vodafone’s instigation), before confirming it was in working order.   We still continued to have problems with our agonizingly slow connection so, again, we got back onto Vodafone Customer Support.  Again, they confirmed the connection was not correct and said they would send someone to check it.

This morning, a totally disinterested Eircom technician came out to check the line.  After first picking up my wife’s shopscan handset – mistaking it for a phone – he eventually concluded the line was “100% OK”.   He added that our internet connection was through Vodafone he could do no more.

You can guess the rest...   When we tried our connection again it was still the same.   Vodafone customer support ran a series of tests and confirmed there was still a fault.  They said someone (I presume from Eircom) would come out to check our line tomorrow.

It is beginning to resemble some Kafka-esque Groundhog Day at this stage, and I now fear we will be without a proper broadband connection all over Christmas.

If the matter cannot be resolved tomorrow (December 23rd), we would like to cancel our account on the grounds that the service we are paying for is not being provided to us by Vodafone.

I hope you, the person reading this email, can do what no-one else has succeeded in doing so far, and get our connection sorted for us.


***** *********

Let's see what happens then, shall we?  

Or not. 

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Monday, 19 December 2011

Speeding Biker does 150 mph (240 km/h) on Donegal regional road

Do you remember racing motorcyclist Barry Sheene? He had many crashes and spills during his illustrious career, so many in fact, that much of his body was held together with nuts and bolts by the time he hung up his leathers. 

Once, he lost control of his machine when he inadvertently drove over a slug while banked into a corner. It doesn’t take much to make you lose control of a motorbike, as you only have two small patches of rubber keeping you in contact with the road. 

Then throw in a lot of power and the fact that two wheels – unlike four – are inherently unstable. Leave a motorbike standing upright and it will fall over – it’s just your balance and the wheels’ gyroscopic effect keeping you perpendicular when in motion.

It would make you wonder what the guy (as I assume it was) who made this onboard video from his Yamaha R6 was thinking. You’ll notice the road, in Donegal, is rather narrow and is riddled with junctions and gateways to boot – each one offering the potential for a car or a tractor to emerge. 

Look, I’m no Gay Byrne. I’ve driven a car with four fat ZR-rated tyres at 250 clicks on a quiet, unrestricted Autobahn. Believe me, that was hairy enough, and it takes a bit of time to stop from that speed, should you have to.

I wouldn’t like to guess the braking distance of a Yamaha R6 at 240 km/h on a bumpy rural road...

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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Moving house IS stressful...

They say moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, along with coping with a bereavement, being made redundant, getting divorced, or phoning Vodafone customer support.

Moving house, I can vouch, is extremely stressful. Not the actual moving bit, like packing all your possessions into boxes and helping the man with a van transport them.

People make a fuss about that, in the same way as some folks do about making Christmas dinner… why?  Put the turkey in the oven, drink several units of alcohol, take it out, place it on the table. Sorted.

The worst thing about moving house is the financial worry of it all. Especially if you buy first, then sell. If you tell an estate agent you have to sell your existing gaff when make an offer on another one, they will laugh in your face. Chains are no-nos, you see.

So, after securing a millstone mortgage on the new place,  I had a personal news blackout (as well as a few beer-induced ones) as I hoped the buyers of the old manor were doing the same thing. I mean, think about it. The Euro is on the verge of implosion, and the Shinners think closer union with Britain  -  in the light of its veto on closer fiscal governance for the Eurozone  -  is the way forward. Strange times indeed.

Then you have other Little Irelanders talking about a return to the Punt, for pity’s sake. Do that, and our money – those of us who have any at all – would be as valuable as confetti at a League One footballer’s wedding.  Ibec would love it, as exports would be cheaper.   We would hate it (even its current advocates) as everything would be more expensive. It would be like Weimar Germany all over again, as people filled up their wheelbarrows with currency before heading off to the shops for a loaf of bread.

These were the thoughts filling – and wrecking – my head as I waited for the sale to close on the old house. That and the image of someone being swept out to sea in the mother-father-and-grandparents of economic rip tides, watching the safe and familiar shore disappearing forever, as the financial gap between buying and selling widened, with house prices sinking still further. Not nice.

Thankfully, it all worked out in the end. Oh… and the broadband is back.

Happy days, despite it all.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Santa attacked at IKEA store in Ballymun

A Yuletide story for you now.

I spluttered on my Weetabix earlier when RTE’s Morning Ireland reported that Gardai (Irish police) were investigating an attack on Santa that took place in Dublin yesterday.

It seems that ex-builder turned Father Christmas, Kevin Shiels, was doing his Santa slot in IKEA, Ballymun, when he was set upon and punched by two-fourteen-year-olds. An elf was at hand, fortunately, to call security.

Things are getting more surreally bizarre in this country every day, they really are...

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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Political tee-shirts

Wear your political tee-shirt, with sacred college scarf; discussing the world situation, but just for a laugh.

The Specials, Rat Race.

Not that we have much to laugh about here, paddling deep in the ordure due to political shysterism and incompetence. Or should that be "incontinence"?

A friend of mine has started up a cottage industry making political tee-shirts that are very heart-felt indeed.  No showy studenty semantics here, these ones call a spade a f***king shovel. 

See for yourselves.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Enforced hiatus

Sounds painful, and it is.

The blog is undergoing an enforced hiatus at the moment, due to a house move.  Its seems that it can take up to 15 days to sort out your broadband with my provider, which seems a pretty long time.  Granted, not as bad as when you had to personally know a politician years ago, in order to secure a phone from the P&T (Department of Post and Telegraphs), a forerunner of Eircom. 

I have now been assured that a shiny new broadband line will be in place next week sometime, unless some dastardly conspiracy is afoot (well, it is the Internet after all!).  

Meanwhile, it's a case of only getting to a connection once or twice a day for now... so sorry that comments on the previous posts have been taking so long to appear.  Thanks for your patience...  please bear with it for a little bit longer.

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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Teachers, poets, have much to answer for in Ireland...

"They think they have foreseen everything, but the fools! the fools! the fools! they have left us our Fenian dead; and while Ireland holds these graves Ireland unfree shall never be at peace."

Well… we’ve been “free” now for nigh-on 90 years, and we’re still not at peace. In fact it’s arguable that we are relatively worse off since blood-sacrifice headbanger Patrick Pearse made his signature oratory at the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa in 1915.

There are people out there, perhaps in the majority, who still think those oft-quoted words constitute a profound statement.   The patriot living tend  to recall the following, penned by the same author, less frequently:

Little lad of the tricks,
Full well I know
That you have been in mischief:
Confess your fault truly.

I forgive you, child
Of the soft red mouth:
I will not condemn anyone
For a sin not understood.

Raise your comely head
Till I kiss your mouth:
If either of us is the better of that
I am the better of it.

There is a fragrance in your kiss
That I have not found yet
In the kisses of women
Or in the honey of their bodies.

Lad of the grey eyes,
That flush in thy cheek
Would be white with dread of me
Could you read my secrets.

He who has my secrets
Is not fit to touch you:
Is not that a pitiful thing,
Little lad of the tricks ?

Pearse, conveniently, was a schoolteacher – as was Dev himself (see pic above, kindly sent in by a reader). Quite a few other of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, with its two invocations to God, were self-proclaimed poets... as most poets are.

Then you had once-socialist-internationalist James Connolly (who had seen Esperanto as the future lingua franca of a liberated proletariat... language being a barrier to international unity and understanding) getting all disillusioned after the failure of the 1912 Lockout and the slaughter of the First World War, throwing his lot  -  and his Citizen Army comrades  -  in with the vanguard nationalists, Catholic supremacists, and Gaelic Leaguers of the emerging Irish bourgeoisie.

Is it any wonder things worked out the way they did?

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Children's allowance to be cut by 10 Euro?

A few years back – I think I mentioned it before – I played bass guitar in a rather mediocre pub/wedding covers band. It was an interesting enough experience, in its way, and brought me to such glamorous venues as the Drake Inn (Finglas), Hartstown House (yup, Hartstown) and The Furry Bog in Whitechurch, Rathfarnham (and if you think that particular part of south Dublin is the epitome of faux middle-class respectability, I dare you to check out Whitechurch).

They were the rougher ones. Some smoother places were The Tram, near Guinness Brewery in town, and the Clonsilla Inn. Even Tramco, Rathmines, brim-packed with 500 semi-naked young ones – an awful distraction altogether – was graced with our dubious presence one Paddy's Night. But the more coveted gigs were to be found on a certain day every month, namely the one when the children’s allowance money came in.

There has been much moaning, groaning and gnashing of teeth lately with the rumours that said allowance might be cut by €10 a pop. And no wonder - that’s two pints of beer or a 20-pack of John Player Blue and a packet of peanuts. Parents have a right to be indignant when the "mickey money" is under threat - "mickey" being a quaint Hiberno-English colloquialism for "penis".

In times such as these, however - when we are looking at a 2% VAT increase, yet more taxes for the motorist in a country with a desperately inadequate public transport system, another raft of “green” taxes and all the rest – why shouldn’t a cut in children’s allowance be countenanced? Especially when it is questionable how much of it is actually spent on children?

Having experienced a childhood of Frank McCourt-style poverty myself, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else – but surely, in the present climate, is there not an argument for at least means-testing the children's allowance?  And maybe distributing it in such a way that the little brats themselves are the beneficiaries - by means of vouchers or something similar?

Or is this another Irish sacred cow that nobody can even question?

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