Corporate bollocks.

Jan 18, 2008 | | 0 comments |

At least when I worked for E&S we were unencumbered by layers of corporate overhead. Not so any more. During open enrollment last year, I elected to leave all my health coverage as it was. Come January, for some reason I was terminated from Blue Cross / Blue Shield and enrolled in SelectHealth - a local outfit. I complained to HR and to corporate who told me it couldn't possibly be an error on their end, and that it must have been something I did. They then went on to tell me I couldn't change back to BC/BS until november this year. Cut to today when a termination letter arrives from SelectHealth, backdated to January 1st. It shows the duration of coverage of zero days with an enrollment and termination date of January 1st. So I've paid two sets of health insurance premiums in my pay packet now, and it turns out I wasn't covered by any insurance at all. I've not been re-enrolled in BC/BS so because of some corporate cock up, I have no health insurance at all right now despite having paid for it.
Nice.

Why my job gives me satisfaction.

Jan 17, 2008 | | 0 comments |

This is why we spend so much time agonising over our simulation system and the details, so that when pilots get into a critical situation for real, people walk away.

A BA 777 crashed at Heathrow today, well short of the runway, collapsing all the undercarriage as it slammed into the ground. Everyone evacuated OK with only 13 injuries. From the initial description, it sounded like wind shear just off the end of the approach. Now it seems they lost all electrical and engine power as the gear came down so the pilot had to glide the aircraft in. He missed the housing estate and road and managed to get it on the grass inside the airport fence.
One quote from BA chief exec Willie Walsh : "We train hard for incidents such as this, and all that training has paid off today."

Irritatingly, the BBC are reporting this as a 'miracle' which is something I detest. To call something like this a 'miracle' detracts from the skill and judgement of the people responsible. It belittles them. In this case, the pilot did a great job.

More irritating still is that they reported "Police say the incident was not terror-related." Why must everything slightly out of the normal have the "T" word in the news? If there was no relation, which any halfwit could tell you was the case, then why even mention it? Why not just leave that line out of the report completely. The only possible purpose for that line is to keep the subject fresh in people's minds so they continue to be afraid.

Any toothpaste you like as long as it's whitening.

Jan 16, 2008 | | 0 comments |

I suppose it had to happen. Crest - my toothpaste of choice - have discontinued all their regular toothpastes. All their products are now 'whitening'. I don't want to scrub the enamel off my teeth thank you very much. So I guess I've got to try Colgate now - they still have two products that aren't whitening but I wonder how long that will last ?

Avis. Pt. 2

Jan 15, 2008 | | 0 comments |

It seems I might have booked a car. I tried again online and their system failed again so I called the one number I have that works from the US, and hey presto, I got a car. I guess we'll see in March if it actually worked as I've not had a confirmation email through from them yet.

That's right. I'd forgotten - England is broken.

Jan 14, 2008 | | 1 comments |

"I know", I thought, "I'll just book a rental car for when we're in England."
Or not.
At least not with Avis and not today. Four times I tried on their UK site, and four times a "technical error" prevented the booking from going through. I really want to book this because they offer a 'guaranteed model' where you can reserve a specific car. In this case a 1.9TDI Audi A4. So I called my credit card company - that's normally the culprit. Nope - they approved it each time Avis requested it. So I called Avis. Well. I would have done except that all but one of their 24 hour numbers don't work from overseas, and the one that did was closed. And I quote : "Thank you for calling the Avis 24 hour reservations centre. Our office is now closed.". So then I tried the US site, which didn't accept the UK login, and which doesn't offer the guaranteed model 'select series' options.
You know, this really isn't that difficult. Amazon cracked the problem of a universal login ages ago. And for the most part, when a company says '24 hours' for a phone number, they don't mean 'when it's daylight in our part of the world.'

I'll try again tomorrow.
Apparently Avis aren't trying that hard despite their slogan, but I'm fucked if I'm going to give Hertz any more of my money after the last fiasco I had with them.

11,050 vertical feet.

Jan 13, 2008 | | 0 comments |

Great ski day today. Mike M came with me and spent the morning skiing with me before heading off for the more challenging stuff on the other side of the mountain. I was pleased to have conquered another nemesis of mine - Fleet Street - a section of slope previously well acquainted with my arse. Towards the end of the day I could tell I was getting tired. I bailed out on a left hand turn after cocking up a left-right turn and getting up too much speed. A kind passer-by brought my uphill ski down to where I was laying :-)