muninnhuginn: (Default)
Nearly missed that Channel 4 was showing this (I don't watch enough TV these days to see the adverts for upcoming shows).

Uncomfortable viewing.

I think actually seeing the "execution" of the convicted rapist made me think more of its similarity with Orwell's Two Minutes Hate.

It looked confusingly like an episode of Star Trek:TNG or an off-world episode of one of the Stargates. It's the colour-coded clothes, of course, which are entirely part of Atwood's book. But there's a reminder of the colour-themed costuming that often occurs in sf on TV. And I'm not just thinking of uniforms, here, but the whole "look" a particular culture is given, which is always a bit too neat and tidy (a bit like historical dramas where all the costume and furniture is absolutely of the date of the show, rather than the usual mishmash of old and new that most people live with and in) and often colour themed.
muninnhuginn: (Default)

I've had various experiences, or in some cases lack of experiences, with several service providers over the last few weeks. The differences between the different organisations and how communication and choices have been handled is interesting to say the least.

Online banking

Our bank has decided to charge for its current account. Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Our account has been changed, has had extra features added, for which we will be charged a monthly fee. If we don't like it, we can switch to a new, basic package (offering very much what we used to have anyway), but if we do nothing will be kept on the new account-with-frills even though we didn't ask for them in the first place.

I don't, at all, like being signed up for something without being asked first, even if I'm given an opt out. I'm idle. I procrastinate. I'm exactly the kind of person who is going to fail to opt out, even if opting out is the best option for. But we have been provided with the form if we want to opt out and the features of each of the accounts have been clearly spelled out.

What we don't have is a request for the information they need for the travel insurance, card protection and mobile phone insurance that are offered as part of the new package. In theory, my phone is covered, but they know nothing about this phone's details or even if I have one. I guess that means if I try to make a claim, I won't be able to.

So, were I awarding points, I'd be giving $US Bank* about 4/5.

Mobile phone

I have insurance on my mobile phone arranged by my mobile phone company. The mobile phone company have changed which insurer they use. They've written to me to tell me about this change and have given me the chance to opt out of this contract with no penalties (ie they're treating it as if I've been sold in new policy and I have the cooling off period). Nothing else is changing. If they hadn't told me about it, I wouldn't even have noticed when next month I had a different insurer.

Points for Phone company: 9/10.

TV, broadband and landline

We're now with our third cable TV company. That's over a period of 15 years and the changes have never been our choice, but entirely due to company takeovers. When the last takeover occurred, very recently, I got a cheery but uninformative letter (dated January, arrived in February after the business changed) and an insulting brochure from the allegedly charismatic and fun businessmen associated with the brand. What I didn't get was any information about how my old bundle of services (phone plus broadband plus cable TV plus extra channels) mapped onto the new offerings. The insulting brochure, which seemed to assume I was a teenager with a stereotypical teenager's wants and needs (were I a teenager I'd've been insulted, too), didn't list such things as TV channels included in any particular package and the small print at the end was sufficiently small I gave up trying to read it. One of the things it did mention was the fact that there'd be an extra charge for paying by cheque rather than direct debit. For historical reasons, I received two bills, one for a fixed amount for some of the rental part of the services we received, the other which included the small variable amount for phone calls made. The fixed one was paid by direct debit; the one with the variable amounts wasn't. I wondered what would happen with this, since there was no indication as to how our bills would change with the change of supplier. I'd have liked to have had it explained to me, but it wasn't. Last month I got one bill, direct debited, for the entire amount. No explanation, but at least I didn't get stung for an extra payment on one bill without being given the chance to make the change myself. (Of course, I'd rather go on paying by cheque: that way I check there's nothing funny going on with the amounts charged.)

Wednesday night, the Sky fell in. Now, what I don't watch a lot of TV, some of what I watch has gone: no Bones ;-(

There's "information"** on the corporate website, but I don't suppose we'll be getting a letter from that charismatic businessman, apologising for the loss of service and reducing my monthly payment, any more than there was a proper set of terms and conditions and confirmation of what services we were being provided with at what price.

Points for nthell's successor: 1/10.

What to do, switcheroo?

I'm in a position where I can do nothing to fix all of these things and, save for the loss of David Boreanaz, if I do nothing I'll be getting much the same as before, maybe a little more, and paying a little more. Actually, I'll be doing some sorting out. What irks tho' is I'll be reducing the amount paid to the folk have been most transparent and communicative about what's been going on: I'll be canceling the mobile phone insurance, since that's one of the items included in the new banking deal. This, plus switching who I pay for my card protection, ie canceling where it is now and signing up with the same service via the bank, will save a large proportion of the amount we'll be paying in account charges. So the additional features, travel insurance, identity theft insurance, etc will be effectively costing us the difference: about four quid a month. Apart from needing to chase up ensuring the insurance policies and the card details are all up-to-date, a reasonably simple switch.

The cable/broadband/landline situation is altogether more difficult.

We quite frankly don't need a landline. Even when the current free deal on voipprovider runs out, I think for the amount of phoning we do, it, plus an actual phone handset to use it with and a dial in number is probably just as good a deal as a landline. I do, after all, have a mobile phone as backup and in real emergencies acquiring a pay as you go phone is as hard as walking down to the supermarket and picking one up. We could, without losing too much we wanted, slim down our TV channels, although I'm still not clear which package offered either by the cable company or the satellite company will offer what we want (for instance; ensuring we continue to get the radio stations we listen to, or we'll have to buy another DAB radio). Sorting out broadband provision is complicated too: we either need to do it via the cable from the cable company or we need, as far as I can tell, a BT phone line (which we don't have and don't want).

There's a bigger problem in choosing what to do with the cable TV. To get back what we have lost means switching to the very company that is on the other side of the dispute that has caused the loss of the service in the first place. I'm not sure I want to put my business with the odious Australian any more than I want to have it with the ballooning buffoon.


* Names disguised to protect the innocent.***

** For which, understand insults and blather.

*** But not that much....

muninnhuginn: (Default)

Yup, I watched. If I were Veruca Salt, I'd've sent my appropriately accommodating Daddy out to acquire me a little green flying lizard so I too could wreak havoc through the government department of my choosing.

And otherwise:

  • Pretty green flying lizard flying around office spaces is a little reminiscent of Torchwood's pterodactyl.
  • Folk standing on tall buildings looking out across city landscapes, all too reminiscent of Torchwood.
  • Band of intrepid investigators, in cool clothes, preferably including long black coats,  marching through the trailers and episodes, rather reminiscent of Torchwood reminding me of Buffy/Angel.
  • Neat tunnel through time/space rather like a stargate.
  • Even its website looks like the one the Beeb put up before Torchwood came out. You can even check out who has the untidier desk.

So, yes, just a tad, dare we say it, derivative.

But the effects, the saurian-infested prehistoric landscapes (OK rather reminiscent of Walking with Dinosaurs except there's more plot in WwD), the cute, green flying lizard, the monstrous head bursting through the boy's bedroom window (OK, that was a bit Jurassic Park)--they were good.

There was, for all my feeling that plot, character and script came way behind effects and style, the odd good line.

"Miss, there's a dinosaur in the playground."

(I once reported that my homework had been eaten by the cat to a similar reaction of disapproving disbelief. [It was true, too. The homework was somewhat mauled and my ink had not proved waterproof.])

It'll fill in the gap until Dr Who returns, I suppose, for Looby Loo, at least.

I just wish they'd had the sense to call it Primæval. It looks way cooler. Or maybe that's the point: Primeval, the show that just can't hack its ligatures.

Did I mention the rather lovely green flying lizard, by the way?

muninnhuginn: (Default)
Or maybe half right.

When the news of the return of Dr Who first came out, there was much speculation as to who Who ought to be.

After a lot of thought, I decided I'd really rather like Danny John Jules.

But it wasn't to be.

Checking on Looby Loo this afternoon I find her watching M.I. High.

Ah well, not quite The Doctor. But Hong Kong Phooey's not a dog any more. (But then it was the cat that had all the brains.)
muninnhuginn: (Default)
Just go and read. I hadn't realised that that what it was missing was Dylan T.

(And for the record: ep. 1, bored [and what's with the Nerys Hughes-alike?]; ep. 2, very bored [more Nerys and my earworm's tuned into Half Man Half Biscuit]; ep. 3, set a reminder on the digibox, sat through it but read a book and only took enough notice to register Gareth Thomas who I never rated anyway; ep. 4, oops! I was too busy being bored by Inspector Frost.... To put that in perspective, I actively watched the first three Wooden Bobs, but that may be purely (?) 'cos I fancy Gisborne.)
muninnhuginn: (Default)
On the wireless, so it'll be so much prettier, on Sunday we have Bergerac as Robin Hood. Much riding through the glen in an elderly Triumph, then?

And today's useless piece of trivia is that Mr Nettles also appeared in Robin of Sherwood.
muninnhuginn: (Default)
The hens are soggy. Mrs Fred, especially, loses her extreme fluffy buffness and looks much reduced in volume. Jack, however, does the water off a duck's back thing: the drops that gather on top of her glossy black feathers do look like little crystals. Time methinks to put the larger winter cover over their run.

The weekend, apart from forays to Looby Loo's music class and a pleasant lunch at Efe's, was rather dominated by adaptations of 19th-century novels. I'd missed the beginning of the rebroadcast of the 1990s BBC Pride and Prejudice space (when are they going to do the proper one from the 1980s? Colin Firth is not my idea of Darcy), but enjoyed watching most of the last three episodes. Looby Loo was captivated, so I may have to acquire the relevant DVDs (yet again, she shown just how girly she is). I guess she'll have to watch the repeat of Jane Eyre too. I don't think it will be any more frightening than Doctor Who. I suppose if she can enjoy having Sherlock Holmes stories read to her, Jane Eyre wouldn't be too difficult either. (I think I'd heard it on the radio before I read the novel myself when I was ten or so.) Of course, as with Jane Austen's works, I don't actually own a copy. I read those books when I could still borrow the copies from my parents' bookshelves (300 mile long arms I do not have). Having watched the programme on romantic novels on BBC four, I'm rather tempted by the "revamped" covers on offer for the Jane Austen novels. I assume that a similar reissue of Jane Eyre. (I'm impressed today by the Dragon's ability to cope with book titles and authors names with almost no intervention. I really don't need to type very much these days.)
muninnhuginn: (Default)

Okay paraphrasing a little, but that's the rule, apparently, for the epic two-part stories in SG-1.


Yup, we vegetated in front of From Stargate to Atlantis on Sky One.


Intriguing. Tho' we're not convinced that a whispers hirsute Teal'c will be quite the same.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

Seem to have watched more TV than usual the last couple of weeks--a product of feeling lousy and attempting to get a lot of knitting done.


Last week's viewing included Reign of Fire.


not that we could spoil this one! )

We also watched the second half of the SG-1 two-parter, Heroes, twice, and considered a third viewing.


well, we don't all have Sky )

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