Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Planned Obsolescence

Again (and again and again) the Goat has been frustrated with the lack of support that seems to be provided for older products. Most recently the extremely bespoke watch strap that is broken cannot be replaced because “It’s an old model and we don’t do spare parts for those any more. We can sell you a new one.”

The Goat owns a fully functional high-end diving computer that is useless because there’s seemingly no way to strap it to his body.

Just one example. Another is the perfect motorcycle tyre that lasts ages, grips tenaciously, delivers excellent handling, and is discontinued in favour of one that causes high-speed wobbles and lets go on damp asphalt.

And a third is the need to fling a recent smartphone with its working display, motherboard, and case because nobody (including eBay and Amazon) has a replacement battery.

Everything I try,
Everything I buy,
Everything I do
Always turns to poo
And I wonder why.

Everything I own
Every mobile phone
If it's bought by me
You can guarantee
That it should be thrown.

If it's bought today,
Then there is no way
To avoid what's true:
“Go and buy anew!”

If I want to keep
Something, then I'm "Cheap."
My opinion's based
On my hate of waste
That's more than skin deep.

Never mind what’s neat.
It is obsolete,
And nobody cares
That you can’t find spares,
So admit defeat.

]}:-{>

Monday, July 03, 2017

Caprine Confusion

The Goat admits that he is nonplussed. The new UAE federal traffic rules were announced on about 29th June 2017 for implementation from 1st July. Some penalties have been increased; others have been decreased; the maximum legal window tint has been increased from 30% to 50%.

But here is where the confusion appears.

It has been normal custom and practice in the UAE to allow a 20km/h over the posted limit. Logical and not unreasonable, given instrument inaccuracy and the known fact that nobody NEVER sneaks, even inadvertently, over the posted maximum. And we are assured that this situation will prevail.  

 
And yet the new list includes a fine of Dh300 for exceeding the posted limit by not more than 20km/h.  

So is exceeding the posted limit by say 10km/h a punishable offence or not?

The Goat was surprised and annoyed to receive a speeding ticket earlier in 2017 for doing less than 110km/h in a 100km/h zone. In Fahrenheit, the Goat got busted for doing less than 68mph in a 62mph zone.Incidentally, just past the first 100km/h sign after a long, long stretch of 120km/h highway.

 
This is in accordance with the old Law 183, but is still well inside Dubai's tolerance level. But it's Sharjah; not Dubai.
 

The Goat suspects that these federal rules apply, but because Dubai is Special, Dubai chooses to ignore speeding less than 20km/h over the limit. Other emirates, it would seem, are not as tolerant.

The Goat also observes 1279 fines on the first day. Obviously this count does not include the speed and red-light cameras because the results from these take a few days to come through the process. Moreover, he suspects that most would have been offences under previous laws. But the fact the we see punitive action rather than compliance rather suggests that the system will take a while to become effective.

Or perhaps the novelty will wear off after a few days or weeks, and we will be back to the highway anarchy that we all know and love.

It is gratifying to the Goat to note that, at last, traffic laws pertaining to the American system of having a STOP sign on school buses have now become official. 
 

Compliance and enforcement? Remain to be seen; last time the Goat stopped behind a school bus with its STOP sign out he was hooted at and verbally abused by a nasty man in a large black-windowed Tahoe.

And finally, Law 155. Transporting inflammable ale is right out.

The complete list, should anyone be interested, is here.

]}:-{>

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Both kinds: Country *and* Western

Not my truck
"With the advent of autonomous motor vehicles," it said on Facebook, "It's only a matter of time before someone writes a country song about my truck leaving me."

So here is one.

I bought an F150
In the year 2019.
I gave it bigger tires
So's to make it look real mean.
It had a pair of smokestacks
Both made of polished chrome,
And a central-heated garage:
Somewhere it could call home.

My wife said I spent too much time
Out polishing my truck.
"It's gonna be the truck or me,"
She told me. Just my luck!

One day while I was drivin'
The radio was playin'
My fav'rite country music songs:
The best of all, I'm sayin'
I set the truck on Auto
For my banjo I was pickin'
Till I stopped outside a KFC
Where lunch is finger-lickin'

The truck parked up beside a 'Stang,
A fine automobile,
But when I'd had my chicken strips
My disbelief was real.

For my truck left me!
It ran off with a Mustang.
Yeah, my truck left me!
I shouted and I cussed.
My truck left me!
The moral to this story
Is never trust a truck that is autonomous.

Yeah, my truck left me!
It ran off with a Mustang.
Yeah, my truck left me!
I went home on the bus.
My truck left me!
The moral to this story
Is never trust a truck that is autonomous.

]}:-{>

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"The Boxer"? Rebellion

The Mis-Leader

In an office without corners
Sits a toupee’d tangerine
Where he ought to rule the nation,
But he tweets his indignation
When he’s criticized.

His tiny hands
That he used for grabbing pussies
Though, of course, not Kellyanne’s.
Mmmmmm...

Lie-la-Lie: “Yes, the Mexicans will pay.”
Lie-la-Lie: “I’ll throw Hillary in jail.”
Lie-la-Lie.


“When I want to be elected,
With the Russians I’ll collude.
I’ll get Vladimir to phone me;
If discovered, I’ll fire Comey
And erase my tracks.

Drain the swamp!
And avoid those Nasty Women!
I’m as bright as Forrest Gump
And tell whoppers ‘cos my name is Donald Trump.”

Lie-la-Lie: “I will never take vacations.”
Lie-la-Lie: “And I don’t do tax evasion.”
Lie-la-Lie. 

]}:-{>

Friday, May 12, 2017

How useful is that?

For the forthcoming vacation in Poland, Beloved Wife and Goat will meet Beloved Wife’s aunt and TMIL in Kraków at the end of May.

Travel between Dubai and Kraków is fussy and expensive. The Goat eventually found a reasonable deal involving flying in and out of Vienna in Austria and taking trains between Vienna and Kraków. So far so good. All booked and paid for. The Goat’s VISA card got its customary spanking.

And now the trouble starts.

RailEurope, the online rail booking service that was so keen to take nearly €400 of the Goat’s money during the booking process, discovered a problem with delivering the physical tickets. As the Goat discovered eight years ago, rail companies seem to have a great deal of difficulty getting their corporate minds around the concept of e-ticketing. “You must have an actual paper ticket in order to travel” It’s not only First Great Western, then. Does it occur to these buffoons that people who book online in advance are from Other Countries, and may find obtaining the physical tickets troublesome? Rail companies seem incapable of adjusting to passengers not simply rocking up to the booth and asking for a second-class return; departure ASAP.

To be fair, RailEurope does offer Print @ Home and Print @ Station services. But only for Eurostar and railway travel starting in France or Spain. But not from Austria.

“Allow nine days for delivery” says the website and confirmation email. So with this clock ticking, the Goat receives an email: “Dear Sir/Madam, we can’t send your tickets to a PO box because we use DHL. Please provide a physical address.”

It is well-known, although not by Rail Europe (nor various purveyors of financial and investment services, but that's another story), nothing gets successfully mailed to a physical address in the middle east. Nevertheless, the Goat wrote back with the address of the Crumbling Villa, plus a note that DHL will be quite capable of finding the place. “Just phone me for directions. Honestly; it is really easy.”

“Dear Sir/Madam, We need your postcode.”

Actually you don’t, on the very sensible grounds that there is no such thing in the middle east because there are no door-to-door mail deliveries. DHL, believe it or not, are quite capable of delivering stuff using mediocre street addresses and by phoning for directions. How else does the Goat get his bank cards?

“Dear Sir/Madam, we request you to provide us with the complete address including necessary landmarks for the same. We cannot ship the tickets until we do not [sic] get a complete address.”

The Goat sends the same information yet again, but this time includes major nearby landmarks (An international airport; a gigantic shopping mall or three; a huge mosque. The Goat speculates on the necessity of these, but they certainly do exist) and Lat/Long co-ordinates. He doesn't bother with what3words because of the blank looks whenever he's mentioned it before, nor Dubai's revolutionary Makani geolocation system that absolutely nobody seems to use.

The Goat has attempted to speak to an actual person at RailEurope, and even found the gethuman.com website. Hilariously, the 24/7 phone number results in a recorded message: “Our office hours are 0900-1930 Eastern Standard Time Monday thru Friday.”Clearly a very special interpretation of “24/7.” Special as in tasty crayons. RailEurope has, it would seem, offices in the United States and in India. One wonders if there are actually any in Europe…

One of the Goat’s friends, who visited Budapest over Christmas, had no such issues. She was able to book a stupidly cheap train ticket from Budapest to Prague using her US credit card, collect it from a machine at the railway station, and travel without fuss. So the Goat is forced to conclude that the Fates simply don’t want him ever to use rail travel, and have this time decided to steal €400 in order to make that point.

]}:-{>

Monday, May 01, 2017

Hephaestus

Remember back in April 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland pushed a load of ash into the atmosphere? Remember how the ash cloud grounded aircraft in and out of Europe?

I was very, very affected by this, being trapped in the UK and unable to return to my job in the UAE for over a week. I was deeply unimpressed with Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, blacksmithing, volcanoes, and other hot things. And you don't get much hotter than molten rock. Presumably I wasn't the only one railing against the gods in general and this one in particular.

I was even more unimpressed when I got back and was, within four days, made redundant. Hephaestus, you really can't take criticism, can you?

And being made redundant from my new job eleven months after that left me as dischuffed as a broken-down steam locomotive. You have had another sense-of-humour failure haven't you, Hephaestus?

Fortunately, I landed a further new job in Qatar, but as it turns out I'm allergic to working for arseh- crazy people that particular post lasted a year. This was the firm that promised me a No Objection Certificate and then later when I asked for one told me ('told me' is a euphemism for 'lied') that they'd never promised an NOC and therefore refused to issue one. Consequently I was banned from working in Qatar for two years. Oy, Hephaestus, this has now got really old.

Despite trying, I ended up travelling, taking the occasional odd job, and generally being a house elf for two years. The novel I tried to write ended up being 50,000 words of unreadable shite, so making my fortune writing best-sellers does not seem to be an option.

After two years, I landed a job in Qatar (again) and took leave of my senses. I thought I could stand it for six months, but the contract dragged on for two years. Not funny any more, Hephaestus.

And when that contract finished and I was released from the Job From Hell, I went off to Budapest to work for Beloved Wife and myself.

And here I am now, back in Dubai and looking for a job. Déjà vu all over again.

Hephaestus, I officially hate you.

]}:-{>

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Caprine Peripatetic Perambulation

A summary of some of the many inane things I've been posting on the Book of Faces.

Having arrived in Budapest, I discovered that I'd accidentally brought a little stuffed goat that Beloved Wife bought for me the first time we visited Cyprus. I took a picture and entitled it "Goats Do Roam".

This is far from the first idea on the blogosphere in which some form of mascot features in travel blogs. Nevertheless, I ended up carrying this little mascot in my backpack throughout my travels around Budapest. It's the alternative to Yet Another View That Looks Like A Postcard and neatly sidesteps the Souvenir Selfie. I don't know why I didn't think of doing this years ago.

Suddenly confronted by some random stranger who demanded to know the animal's name, I blurted out, "Caesar," and now it's stuck.

So the pun works on several levels:-

Goats do Roam all over Budapest, Frankfurt, and the UAE.
Goats do Roam is an acceptable wine, itself a pun on Côtes du Rhône.
Goats de Rome is why he's called Caesar.

Budapest

The window of Bedroom 1 just before the renovation started
IKEA arrived

Budapest and the Danube from the Citadel


Glühwein is basically Christmas in a bottle

Christmas snow outside the Gellert Hotel
Outside the New York Café,
where there are several winged satyrs holding light sconces
And opposite the New York cafe, another satyr
In the central market, USSR-era military hats
that were all Size Tiny
A piper. I briefly busked nearby
and made precisely zero money


And it seems to be cake o'clock
And at Budapest (petting) zoo

Frankfurt

Christmas markets. We went to Frankfurt this year rather than Munich,
and spent a long (UAE National Day) weekend drinking
Glühwein and eating junk

Dubai

One of those 'notorious' Friday brunches
A break from Budapest, and I managed to get the bike out

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge


I got back from Budapest just in time to be an ADDC marshal. Caesar called shotgun

Caesar became the Finish Team mascot
As the name seems to have stuck, I wonder if I should make him a toga? In time for my next visit to Historical Italy, perhaps.

]}:-{>
 

The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.