Monthly archives: November 2002

Click the image for the full picture

Click on image for full picture

Well, I’ve had one victory. The Housing Benefit people finally decided (after I whimpered ‘But, I’ll get evicted!’ and other guilt inducing phrases) to just phone the Jobcentre and get confirmation that I had been unemployed. That simple, after weeks of drafting letters and waiting for answers and going round in circles!

The cheque reaches my bank next weekend. Which is when I discover how incompetent my bank is……..

Click the image for the full picture

Click on image for full picture

Apparently, I moved out of this house in July. My electric company told me so. They got a phone call from some woman saying she’d moved in, so they closed my account. It had just taken me six months for them to realise I had moved in and let me set up a standing order, so I either ignored the letter or didn’t get one because everything was automated. I found this out because today I received a bill for ‘The Occupier’ for the intervening period and called their enquiry line.

Meanwhile, BT have been charging me for Surftime, despite the fact that I’ve had broadband through them since September. You’d think one department would talk to the other. I spent twenty minutes on the phone being passed form one person to another and then to a dead line.

Are all corporations/ bureaucracies totally incompetent, or do I just bring out the worst in them?

Just finished- Dear Mr. President by Gabe Hudson It’s easy to see why Dubya called this book “unpatriotic and ridiculous”, with surreal stories of Gulf War Syndrome manifesting as a vestigial ear and hallucinations, military technology and doctrine taken to illogical extremes and Norman Schwarzkopf’s ‘raisin heart’. Not easy or coherent reading, more of a bunch of twisted allegories on the damage done by war.

Just started- Children of Chaos by Douglas Rushkoff. Snowboarding, video games and comics as a way to understand a fragmenting future. Hmmmm.

Click the image for the full picture

Click on image for full picture

I was told last night that I was one of the few people in the world who deserved to breed. It wasn’t an offer, sadly, but I guess I could consider it a recommendation- “Ian Pattinson: deserves to breed.”

Interested parties please send their portfolios by e-mail, but please bear in mind that it’s been a while and I will need a LOT of practice.

Other oddness-

Brian has had his shiny new car for a month and a half. It’s very nice, a red Toyota Corolla, nice finish, spacious interior. He’s been using it for his commute. His average speed is fourteen miles per hour! Average speed on my bike is twelve!

Emily claims to share her office with a Hobbit, a cgi character and a walking sponge. They just might be putting something in the tea.

Daz keeps leaving fivers outside the front door. I think he’s feeding the scallies.

The US government plans to track all of its citizens through transaction records. Which- if you ignore the civil liberties, technical and legal worries- seems like a great idea. Until you apply a couple of minutes thought to it, which seems to be a minute and a half more than the US government has. People wanting to commit crimes will take to paying cash, doing barter deals- buy something innocuous and use it in trade for the car or gun they really want- or bluffing the criteria by buying return tickets for their one way flight.

Another factor is that everyone makes ‘strange’ purchases from time to time. The tourist who goes to the shooting range (as I plan to when I’m in the USA), the student flying across country to hitch back or the person who hires a car just to go for a drive. Are they going to investigate every one of these, or filter them out based on profiling? I can just imagine the criteria- ‘[Age]=18 AND [Purchases_Music]=’Marilyn Manson’ AND [Relatives]![Purchases_Gun]=True’

The supporters say that commercial entities already hold this sort of information. They may, but they are using it for marketing- a data set that large isn’t for tracking down individuals, it’s for following trends. The corporate folks have the power to junk mail you- which is quite evil- but they are held short of investigating people and potentially destroying your (innocent) life.

I had an idea recently of scanning in all my photos and building from them a hyperlinked history of me (I never claimed to be modest). In this picture is person A, you can read what I knew/ thought of her at the time and then go to her next or previous photo appearance. Or you could follow person B from the same picture and get a different story again featuring him. Of course the whole journey would have my narrative voice and be slanted by avoidance of the things I can’t or don’t want to remember.

Microsoft plan to go one step further with the MyLifeBits system and create a vast, unfiltered database of a user’s life, as described in New Scientist.

(found on Slashdot)

Well, Egg were supposed to call me this afternoon, to try and convince me that they have every right to deny me a service I’ve been paying for. Have they? Have they [nearly swore, but I’m trying to cut down].

And I want to contact the Housing Benefit people to see if the Jobcentre have got their fingers from their posteriors and passed on the relevant documentation, but the phone line is [insert expletive here] engaged all the [rude word] time!