Jul. 25th, 2015 05:18 pm
muninnhuginn: (alien kitty)
I've done my back in. Just like the previous two occasions, but veering towards the worse of the first time rather than the not so bad of the second.

So, no trip down to Wells with M to drop Looby Loo at Latin Camp. Bah! I like Wells. (I like wells, too, but that's something entirely different.)

Now how to explain to the fading Little cat that there is absolutely no way I can stand her sleeping on me tonight.
muninnhuginn: (Default)

To steal direct from an earlier email:

Okay, I give in. Today was not meant to happen.

So, due to

  • a rather painful and bloody encounter with a corner of the Wendy house
  • the conflagrating toaster
  • bruising myself twice whilst clearing up the cat-sick

I'm not risking going out today. I've still got the third disaster to contend with--and I'd rather do it at home. I'll leave you all guessing as to which of the three incidents does not constitute a catastrophe and remain here nursing the headache.

See you all soon.

The ravens

ETA: Later, I sliced a finger whilst slicing the potatoes for supper. The magic threesome is attained and I can go to bed safe, if sore.


May. 8th, 2007 10:48 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)

And not in a nice, cuddly cyberman sense.

No, ntlVirgin "upgraded" the software on our digibox. It's worse than ever. Less control over our list of most used channels, no way of canceling a bookmarked show or having multiple bookmarks to choose from later, a complete inability (as opposed to a regular wonkiness) to keep its list of shows in line with the time out in the real world, and a need to reboot several times a day.

Someone needs to be deleted.


Mar. 27th, 2007 12:15 am
muninnhuginn: (Default)
I wish that was creative words and not words as blunt instruments.
muninnhuginn: (Default)
Now I know my hearing ain't what it used to be. It wasn't what it used to be when it used to be it. I blame all the piccolo practice. And the brass sextet and just behind my head through all those orchestra rehearsals. Still...

When you cold call me, could you do so in an environment quiet enough that I can actually hear you over the background noise? Hearing the jabber of several hundred other conversations from your call centre does not aid comprehension. I'm not going to buy from you. But I'd like to know who I'm talking to, so I can complain that you rang me in the first place.

When I go to your website to buy tickets for a show, I do not want to suddenly have a blast of music through my headpiece, especially with no option to switch it off. If I hadn't already promised that we'd go to the show, I might have changed my mind (especially with the extra quid per ticket booking fee).

[This may be the first of several grouchy posts: the ravens feel exceedingly at odds with the world.]
muninnhuginn: (Default)
Dear Granta,

Thank you for the latest issue. I'd like to tell you a little story. It's more of a saga, really. My epic struggle with your online survey.

Yes, I was a little surprised at the cryptic comment on the plastic wrapper--
"Your ID is: XXXXXX
Use it to tell us what you think about Granta"--
(I hate your plastic wrapper, btw. It's hard to open. It's too small to reuse as a plastic bag. If you sent things in brown paper envelopes, I could reuse them or recycle. And then you had the nerve to ask about my green credentials.) But I binned the packaging anyway. So my first annoyance was having to retrieve the wrapper from the bin after I'd found the invitation to participate in your survey inside the usual plastic-wrapped (yes, more plastic) pile of bumph. If you were able to print an ID and a message, then you could have quite simply included a message telling me not to throw the wrapper away immediately. At least, I only had to ferret around in a bin full of used tissues and not the full panoply of household waste.

So much for mistake number one. Mistake number two was another small irritation arising from your--shall we call it thoughtlessness? unhelpfulness? To get to your site, since it's my standard method, was to type "g Granta" into the address bar of my browser, which took me to a results page with the Granta website address at the top. One click and I'm there. But there's no link to the survey, so I have to type it in myself in the address bar. I hate typing. I reverse too many letters and end up doing everything twice. If you really wanted me to fill in your survey, let me click through to it from a big welcoming link.

If I hadn't already begun to suspect that you didn't really want me to take the survey, problem number three would have been a very broad hint. I typed in my ID. I typed "c" and used auto complete for my postcode (remember I can't type straight). Note, this is the very same postcode you had printed on the plastic wrapper just below the ID you provided me with. The first time my input was rejected I assumed it was one of those formatting things: I learnt to use a keyboard and to format letters aeons ago and still habitually, whether typing manually or setting up automatic text, place two spaces between the two elements of my postcode. So I assumed that, like some other forms I've filled in online, your form could not cope with two spaces or even one space and wanted a block of six characters. This, I tried. No luck. Still it said: "CustomerID and post code don't match." I nearly gave up. Only the lure of a possible book token kept me trying. You gave me this information. I checked very carefully in the order I typed the numbers in. I'm pretty certain I had them right. But they weren't recognized. At least, I could have another try. Well done, if not well written, for giving me the following: "If you don't remember required details click here to take the survey, and complete all requested details." I did. Click, that is. And filled in the tedious details you already had (and incidentally have had since the publication of your second anthology of new British writers however many years ago that was. Why did you need to ask how long I had been subscribing? Don't you have financial records for the last couple of years, at least? Don't ask unnecessary information. It simply annoys). Success! Onto the form itself.

The questionnaire: oh, the joy of closed sets of options. As I noted previously, I've been getting Granta for quite a number of years. No, I can't remember what first prompted me to subscribe. Please, let me have a "don't know" option. Explicitly. Not by default by letting me skip the question. Or was that one where I had to guess/lie? At least when you asked me about the type of books I like you let me enter the words I chose. Perhaps it's not your problem that your input box was a little short for me to be able to see all the things I typed (I'm sorry. Maybe that's my problem for having a magpie mind).

And then we get closed questions again. Internet access, home -- yes/no, work -- yes/no. But, my home is my place of work. (I refuse to say I don't work, 'cos I do. But, while I can guess what you're trying to find out, I don't know how to give an answer that is helpful.)

Actually, it's the closed nature of your questions plus the use of option buttons where I think you needed check boxes sometimes (yes, and they really are different) that really lets you down. The implication of a question with option buttons is that you must choose one. Sometimes, for example where you ask about occupation for those who are waged, you use option buttons. As I'm not waged, I look for an unwaged option because I've been trained to assume that the form will come back to me requiring an input due to your use of option buttons. Option buttons tell me I must choose one and one only. But here I can get away with no input at all. Later, and this is where I howled with annoyance, you ask about four interests and four types of engagement in these interests. It's a good thing I can honestly answer at least one level of interest for each (although I forgot to answer one and the form complained: heaven help anyone who had no interest in sport at all). However I could only answer one of the options for each interest, despite the fact I wanted to say yes I do enjoy drama at home and attend public events/performances. For music, I think I wanted to click all four answers. Option buttons mean select one from a list; check boxes allow me to select none, one or many. I think you really needed check boxes here. Your answers here will be incomplete, I believe, to the point of meaninglessness.

Oh, and if you give me the option of not minding as part of a range of feelings from agree to disagree, please don't lose the don't minds and force me to have an opinion. The poor "don't mind" answers disappear when I submit the form and I am prompted to enter my answers again. I really don't mind about these things and you were apparently willing to allow me not to mind.

I think it's only polite, too, that people are allowed to opt out of giving certain potentially sensitive information. I mean things like household income. It's good to tell people that they can opt out over these things to. Similarly, it would be nice to be reassured about how, and especially how not, the data you collected will be used. You haven't said you won't sell it to other people. So maybe it's a good thing I can't submit the form (actually I could, after changing all my don't minds to other answers and when some other responses that asked for responses which weren't relevant then changed their minds and let me skip them). I'd like to trust you enough to assume that you won't use it for purposes I would object to, but I've no way of knowing. If your company procedures are as well organised and designed as your questionnaires, I'm inclined to feel that I can't trust you at all.

The final disappointment was, especially with all the closed questions you'd asked, there was no place to add any additional comments of my own. This is standard in most surveys to the point of being a cliche but it is useful for all that. So these are my comments: Don't produce an online survey without testing it to destruction so that the poor end users don't have to. And make it easy to use and with space for people to really tell you what they want to say.

So thank you again. It's while since I've had the opportunity to test the usability of a form and revise online form design.

muninnhuginn: (Default)
So, in a fit of September enthusiasm, I enrolled on a course yesterday. All about foraging for wild food. Evidently, there aren't enough hunter gatherers in the vicinity of Milton country Park. So it's off.

Oh well, back to frequent consultations of Food for Free.
muninnhuginn: (Default)

I always look at Treat of the Week in The Grauniad's colour supplement with interest and hope. Occasionally I'm boggled. The recipe a few weeks back that required a punnet of blackberries, for example: whoever knew that blackberries came in punnets? Double-layered plastic bags or a colander, maybe, but punnets? Doesn't that imply a financial transaction and, er, shops?

Last Saturday's treat was Sesame Ginger Halva, which I made yesterday. Highly recommended.

Acquiring tahini (and the absence of milk in the house) necessitated a visit to Tesco.


First off, earlier in the summer, the move began to "integrate" the organic products into the rest of the store, instead of having them coralled in several separate little sections (until Xmas last year the dry groceries were next to the refrigerated section so I only had to find milk and meat elsewhere--joy). This means far more hunting around and walking through the store instead of a quick nip around a small subset of locations where I can find everything.

Second, the process has been so protracted that it's meant even more hassle. Things have moved piecemeal, and their destinations have been shifted around too, which must have been just as annoying for everyone else using the store.

Third, during the move several items seem to have been "lost". The organic range has contracted: there's certainly less meat; only one brand of organic strong white flour (Tesco's own) instead of a choice of two or three. There's some things I just can't find, too: Kallo organic rice cakes, unsalted; organic tinned pineapple.

On the board of customers' comments there's a quote from one shopper saying they'd like the organic products shelved alongside the rest of the stock. So my idea of convenience may not have matched others' experiences. (I'm being charitable here and not giving in to the suspicion that the quote is a plant.) However, I wonder what the effect has been on their revenues. I've not quite stopped using it (it is virtually our corner shop): I'm buying meat on-line for the freezer now; I've never bought much fruit and veg there (the box scheme's been going longer than the store has existed) and at the minute we're harvesting our own stuff and benefiting from others' surpluses; I try to use local stores where I can. But currently, it's double clubcard points on all organic goods. Have other folk failed to find their usual purchases and gone elsewhere?

muninnhuginn: (Default)

Why does the act of putting on sun cream make one even hotter than before.

Before I was merely boiling. Now, I'm well basted too.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

Can't find this! Haven't been to pixies since this and have no idea where I put the darn thing. Nope, the bag of spare dice does not have d20s or anything else of great use.

This is I maintain the end of the world, if not the entire universe.


Nov. 7th, 2005 07:49 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)

Some sort of bug.

Back soon-ish.


Oct. 31st, 2005 12:48 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)


So that's the day's accomplishment.

So that's the hands buggered for the day too. Left fingers won't straighten. Left index and middle very swollen. Heavy knife work is not a good idea. A six-year old with said sharp knife, less so.


Oct. 28th, 2005 01:03 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)

I've finished the socks that were buried in the crash.

Not a pleasant experience those final few inches (especially unknitting the last 18 rows and redoing them correctly) with the plaster dust and bits of brick lodged in the sock and gritting up the yarn. I didn't have much choice, since putting the half-finished sock in the wash with its stitches on safety pins would almost certainly have cleaned it at the expense of continuing at the same tension. So no pictures until they're both washed.

I feel no pride in the things now, since they were spoiled before I'd done with them.

I also found the process of finishing off the loose ends, tedious at the best of times, desperate. I reached out for the snips in the sewing box that isn't there, which was stupid when I wasn't sitting in the usual place (that being on the other side of the temporary wall next to the real wall that must be rebuilt), failed to find them and had to potter around looking for a pair of scissors instead. I truly felt lost without the ever-open (stupidly so, that's how it got broken and filled with rubble) sewing box that I use every day. I couldn't even tidy up properly as there's nowhere to stow the knitting needles I'm done with for the minute and the darning needle. And I've no idea where my file of patterns is to store the sock instructions and no safe place for the cute little beaded stitch markers. Ah well. The sewing box went off to be fixed. If it can't be I'll simply have to buy a new one--preferably bigger.

Next to finish Kyoto, which was sitting on my projects box beside the sewing box. It was also caught by the inbound wall. With Kyoto I'd reached the point where it was ready for making up prior to knitting the edging. I've just got to decide whether to undo the seams I've already done before washing all the components or whether to sew it up, wash it and then knit the edging. It's cotton so it won't shrink. I can't face the prospect of another period of getting on with what can only be described as knitty-gritty (or gritty-knitty).

Then there's half-knit Rufus to clean up and finish for Looby Loo.

But today the priority is finishing a big black hat for a little witch.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

And therefore time for the annual whinge about Tesco

  1. Having just put out the Hallowe'en (am I the only person who respects that apostrophe in Hallowe'en these days?) clobber on its shelves
  2. Having moved the organic groceries in order to display the Christmas chocolates thereby displacing the tissues to another part of the store (at least they put a sign in front of the refugee organic goods telling us where the displaced tissues were, a courtesy not apparently extended to the purchasers of organic stuff).
And Boots has its Christmas stock in, too.

Can't we just have a peaceful autumnal lull between going back to school and the end of year consumer madness?

(Am feeling extra grumpy since Tesco had, for the second or third time, no organic mince, and the trip to Boots was caused by the sudden need to buy Diflucan. Bah!)

muninnhuginn: (Default)

I was going to write about how my daughter is behaving, but when I threatened to post the truth--even anonymously--she said I wasn't to. So I shan't.

Suffice it to say, she could never behave as badly as the cat that pee-ed all over the box of rubbish for recycling last night.

Does this go any way to explain why I got up at 3.00 a.m. to make some space to put pen to paper?


Jul. 6th, 2005 04:34 pm
muninnhuginn: (Default)

Je suis désolée.

There will be no escape from this.

I can see quite a few Parisians breathing sighs of relief.

So, there'll be no funding for sport outside the capital for the next six or seven years. There'll be chaos in the capital whilst the infrastructure et al gets upgraded, or there'll be chaos at the games because the infrastructure hasn't been upgraded. Or both.

And it could all go pear-dome-shaped.

LeMonde says it's all in the lobbying.

muninnhuginn: (Default)

As the day approaches the multi-cliche (no I can't remember where the e-acute has gone!) point, I know I left school carrying Looby Loo's cardigan as well as the rest of her clobber (and the umbrella... and the doorkey... ) but I didn't have it when I got home. Retracing our steps ("Go back! Go back! Go back! Go back to where you were!" to quote the immortal Blue's Clues) produced no tangible result save sympathy from a retired dinner lady.

Still, we'll get something extra next week to replace the sadly furry raspberries (that ought to be a band's name) in yesterday's fruit 'n' veg box.

And the bread machine's attempt at sabotaging last night's loaf didn't deprive us of an adequate, if stocky, supply of bread.

And the sun is out and it no longer rains in the kitchen. The letter to thefirst salvo in the war against the neighbours is unsenthas yet to be fired.

And yet, the words "unmitigated" and "disaster" and "incandescent" and "rage" keep pairing themselves off for some kind of dance in my brain.

Enough. Now I can stand by the sink without an umbrella, I ought to wash up and cook supper.


muninnhuginn: (Default)

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