b3ta.com user nordelius
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» Public Transport Trauma

not *my* worst experience, but I think I had a hand in it...
Seat reservations on trains - the dumbest idea since, well, privatisation.

Picture the scene, the minus-one-carriage commuter special between London Paddington and the South West. And it's rammed. Every seat taken, corridors full, vestibules full. We're only a few people short of thinking about using the roof.

At the front of our carriage, I sense a disturbance in the scrum. It's a middle-aged woman, fighting her way through the crowd. "scuse-me, sorry, scuse-me, sorry".

She slowly moves down the corridor, and gets to my seat.

"That's my seat" she says.

"How so?"

"I've a seat reservation"

(thinks - seat reservation, great, so you paid less for your ticket than me, and you got a seat reservation for free with it. Riiight. That's convinced me to stand for the rest of the journey.)

So I say. "No, sorry, the train is rammed, there's no seats anywhere. I made a point of getting to the station early so I could sit down."


And she pushes on through the train.

"Ah, good." thinks I, problem solved.

I settle back and try to do some work.

Halfway to Reading, she's back. With the guard. Bewildered head shaking from around the carriage.

Poor guard is obviously embarrassed. But he's only trying to do his job so I close down my laptop and start to stand up.

"Can I just check your ticket?" he says to the by-now triumphantly beaming woman.

He frowns.

"Ah. This isn't your seat. This reservation refers to the next train. In fact this ticket isn't valid on a peak time train. So you need to pay £65 or get off at the next station, and let this gentleman sit back down."

Her face falls as she shells out the extra for a valid ticked. I retake my cherished seat. And then I suddenly have an evil thought.

"would you mind my seat while I go and get a coffee?"

(apologies for length, but it was missing a carriage...)
(Fri 30th May 2008, 10:51, More)

» Professions I Hate

Let us be very precise...
Auto-electrical repair technicians.

For those of you for whom "a quick furtle under the bonnet" is a chucklesome euphemism, there are essentially two systems within every car.

There are the sensible bits that mix air, petrol and a spark together in appropriate quantities, turn stuff round and pump the waste out of the back. Sometimes tricky, but with a Haynes manual and a decently equipped workshop, mostly manageable by your average grown up. And mechanics who deal with these bits are generally reasonable, helpful and will gladly explain everything to you if you like. If this is not the case walk outside your main dealer or KwikFit and ask a random old man washing his car on a Sunday where he goes.

Then there are the electrical bits that make lights come on, music play, the battery recharge and get the spark to the bit where it mixes. These aren't straightforward. They are fucking voodoo. Even the best built modern car has a collection of random wires, components and fuses that look like that tower PC you built in 1989. And have mostly been put together about as well. Auto electricians combine the "this'll do" cack-handedness of your worst ATS trainee mechanic with the purse-pilfering lip-pursing smugness of your most irritating household electrician.

If you have an electrical fault in your car either it can be found quickly and repaired with a new component/wire and a couple of blobs of solder. Or your car is fucked.

There is no middle ground. It's either a piece of piss or your electric mandolin fund is gone and lost to a guy spending an afternoon holding a multimeter in various points around the front of your car as if he was trying to get HeartFM on your Dad's bakelite Hunter.

These guys think nothing of handing you back a car with most of it's dashboard in a box and instructing you to source an out-of-production circuit-board from a scrapyard. And charging you for it. Any car they judge "safe to drive" will most likely die in an instant at 70 on the M4 outside Swansea. Any sage words of wisdom like "oh, no, it's not the alternator" will result in an AA patrolman peering cautiously at a wisp of smoke coming from an alternator dripping with melted plastic.

They deserve their own circle in Hell. And will never be paid by me, for anything, ever again.
(Sat 29th May 2010, 20:09, More)

» Famous people I hate

People who say of an irritating fuckwit of a festering boil on the pockmarked face of "da meejuh": -

"oh, it's just an act. It's a persona. They're lovely people really..."

So this lovely, caring, kind person just decided one day to act like a twat. In every publicly visible role. And kept doing it. For several years.


(the Wests, lovely couple - really sweet, the butchering of young women is just an act you know...)

If what you do all day is pretend to be a cunt, then you're a cunt.
(Mon 8th Feb 2010, 9:49, More)

» The Apocalypse

When driving through Bristol at 4am...
... on the way to an early flight, it is REQUIRED that you listen to the Godspeed You! Black Emperor album "F#A#∞"

Never have I been more happy to see Bristol Airport.
(Fri 15th Jun 2012, 9:43, More)

» Old stuff I still know

Musical uselessness
I can play the tune from the ASDA advert (der der der der-der *ching-ching*) on 34 musical instruments. At a conservative estimate.

Bass guitar
Double bass
Pump Organ
Hammond Organ
Tubular Bells
French Horn
Cor Anglais
Swanee Whistle
Hand bells

Why? I have absolutely no idea. But I miss being in the halls of residence near the music room *AND* knowing the door code.
(Wed 6th Jul 2011, 13:12, More)
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