2013 — 6 March: Wednesday

Good morning, pension. Say "hello" to my bank account, but don't get too comfy1 in there. We seem to have reverted to a grey start after yesterday's tantalising hint of Spring. I was also faced with a miniature re-enactment of a scene from "Sunshine Cleaning" in my bathroom — in reacting too abruptly to a stubbed toe I managed to crack open the healing heel once again. I have now proved that blood is thicker than water. And needs to be tackled quickly in terms of clean-up.

(That last I knew.)

Time for a cup of the cup that soothes.

Here's hoping...

... I remember to stuff today's crockpot in time to be able to benefit from it tonight. Meanwhile, I've just read the "Anti Gravity" column by Steve Mirsky from 14 months ago in "Scientific American" (or should that be "Anti-Scientific American"?). Mind-altering stuff, I tell you:

According to Sarah Posner writing online in Religion Dispatches, talk-radio host Bryan Fischer [at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.] ... told the assembled that America needs a president who will "reject the morally and scientifically bankrupt theory of evolution".

Date: December 2011

It's an area Len and I were chatting about yesterday. His theory is basically "catch 'em young enough, stuff 'em with mental crap, and that's what they spout for the rest of their lives".2 Mirsky, meanwhile, went on to muse and amuse a little further: Evolution is a strange process indeed, to cobble together organisms who so completely and emotionally reject it. Well, evolution concerns itself with differential survival, and brainpower may not be a crucial factor.

Ain't that the Truth! Amen, brother. [Pause] Speaking of crap, here's what I've been asked to bring to my two-hour financial review:

1 - Life insurance details
2 - Endowment & life policy details
3 - All pension details
4 - Savings & investments details
5 - Information on mortgages and loans
6 - Sick pay details
7 - Monthly budget
8 - Phone & email details

Two hours? Gimme a break! How long does it take to read a list that says "1 None. 2 None. 3 Trivial. 4 Trivial. 5 None. 6 None. 7 You're joking. 8 You've got those already."? Still, as an impoverished member of the underclass I can but hope to extract some mild entertainment from the proceedings. And try not to bleed on his fancy carpet.

Blimey O'Riley

Can you believe it's not just America?


"He's not the Messiah. He's just a very naughty boy!" :-)

BT rang me...

... to have me confirm I was the account holder who pays their line rental, just by pressing "1". Slick, I thought. They wanted to confirm this because the new bank has told them about the pending change to them from what was, as it happens, primarily Christa's bank. I was too lazy to change that particular direct debit over after her death. Still, it prompted me to re-examine some of the incoming paper blizzard from the new bank that, having skimmed, I've largely been ignoring. Turns out — fair enough — it's my responsibility to move my various incoming pittances (all two of them) to point to my new account. The Pru obviously have better computing systems than IBM because they could manage this over the phone. IBM Pensions claim to need to see my signature.

"Well," thinks I, "if they're busy shutting off my existing direct debits I'd better make sure the new account has some cash in it." Smart thinking, or what? So I set myself up as a new payee at the new bank from the old bank and successfully received a one-time SMS on my mobile to authorise it. I then cyberspatially transferred some cash from old bank to new bank supposedly via 'faster payments', or whatever untruthful name they give it. It certainly left my old account promptly.

Hence my trip out to drop a DVI lead over with Len, post my letter to IBM and — while I'm in Eastleigh (the nearest branch of my new bank) — get a fancy "skin closure" bandage, buy some chocs (thus getting change for the parking fee), browse the one bookshop, and take my shiny new debit card out for a confirmatory spin and PIN change, printing a mini-statement that says...

A/C BAL        £ 0.00
AVAIL BAL      £ 0.00

... despite that "faster" transfer.

Of course, while I was...

... out, Mr Postie dumped another five pieces of snailmail from the new bank into my lap. But not the 'card reader' that I'm now hearing about for the first time. And I need that to get started with their Internet portal. I'm tempted to take along all their paperwork and suggest that "Rudolf", "Paul", Mark", "Vicki", "Phil", "Chris", "Jade", and "Jasmin" (particularly that last pair who have each sent me identical letters and forms) try getting their act together before they even think of giving me financial advice I neither need nor want.

The letter that told me the number to ring for help failed to add that after exhausting the two voicemail options on that number it would simply rattle off the URL of the banking portal that I cannot yet use 'cos I await the 'card reader' to be able to authenticate with it. And why was I foolish enough to want to ring for help? Oh, that would be the letter from Rudolf lamenting his failure to set up a bill payment to a destination account that is closed (not by me, I hasten to add).

I rarely leave a...

... bookshop empty-handed. Besides, this particular period (covering the distant era before Junior came along, and most of my time in ICL) was also a busy and interesting time in UK society. Not all of it was pleasant, of course, and...


... the music that came along towards the end of the decade was — frankly — often bloody awful. But Christa and I had a lot of fun along the way. And I wrote a number of freelance books and did quite a wodge of freelance programming while trying to keep the wolf from the door, too. It's almost like a foreign country, the past :-)

Given tomorrow's...

... forecast of pretty much wall-to-wall rain, I've just (21:14) nipped out to empty a wastebin or two. Better to do that now than when it's soaking wet. [Pause] The "skin closures" bandage is (I hope firmly) in place, and has to be left in place for as long as I can manage to give the edges of the wound a chance to knit together. I have to say, this is a horrible place to lose the skin from. But I'm done with treading (literally) bloody footsteps around on my bathroom floor, dammit. Several people have suggested I wear my new boots indoors for 20 minutes or so each day. I see the reasoning, but the blister had appeared within less than 10 minutes on the first walk...

This, too, shall pass.

If there's a piece of music...

... much more invigorating than the 1998 re-recording of Koyaanisqatsi then I'm not sure I could cope with it right now. I don't fully understand the appeal of minimalism... it should be boring, but Glass, Reich, Riley, Adams, Part, ... all hit the sweet spot in my opinion.



1  Next month I intend to be 'open for business' with my shiny new current account in Another Place.
2  A form of child abuse on a par with priestly body-fiddling, in my opinion.