Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Catching Up on Ten Years of TV
March 1, 2012

Now that I have a desk I can get under properly and plenty of space on it, I decided to get the TV out of the spare room and put it where I can actually watch it. It’s been about ten years since I last watched TV on anything like a regular basis, and it wasn’t often then.

Most of the programs I’ve found during my flicking fall into four categories:
1. Property finding.
2. Selling antiques and gubbins.
3. Cooking.
4. Being perfect.

Don’t get me wrong – of course there are soaps, dramas, comedies and documentaries around as well. But the big four seem to be the dominating flavour and weren’t so virulent last time I switched on.

I pass by the property ones, unlikely as I am to ever be able to buy or sell it. The antiques and paraphernalia are sometimes intriguing and enjoyable. The cooking gets my interest though it can be tricky when I am trying to lose weight and hear about some extravagant gorgeous sounding dish concocted by someone on Come Dine With Me.

But it’s the perfectionist piffle which really irritates me. I mean the kinds of programs where they ask strangers how attractive someone is and “pod” dooms them for evermore if they don’t make the grade; overweight people suffer the collective bitchiness of the others in the group if they don’t meet today’s shedding target. And in between they’ll blast you with ads for miracle products to make your house more sterile than an operating theatre, your face the most beautiful and town and every aspect of your life saved from the big bad world by the perfect insurance policy.

This is nothing new but TV in general does seem to have a more preachy, competitive feel to it than when I last watched. Most people are probably acclimatised to this but I am beginning to wonder whether I should have left the TV buried in the spare room.


Aren’t NI numbers supposed to be private?
May 22, 2011

What is it in these times when we are all supposed to be protecting our personal data and watching out for “identity theft” with more and more authority figures asking for said data?

When I recently filled in one of my housing association landlord’s zillions of forms I left the part asking for my National Insurance number blank. The other day I got a voicemail from them saying I hadn’t filled in the form properly and they “need” my National Insurance number.

Someone I know also was asked to give their NI number to a *potential* employer (Tesco) and could not proceed with the job application until they filled it in.

At my last care review I was asked for it by Social Services. On asking why they needed it they said “It’s nothing to do with benefits. We just use it as a reference number”. Ummmm…are you incapable of creating your own referencing system?

Call me old fashioned, but I thought NI numbers were personal information and only needed by, and therefore only to be disclosed to, people dealing with tax, national insurance or benefits. The information from the directgove website agrees me:

“It’s very important you keep your number safe and don’t give it to anyone who does not need it. This will help prevent identity fraud…”

And Social Services and landlords are not listed as people needing it. Nor is using it as a reference number listed as a reason to use it.

Hopefully I can refuse to give it to my landlord without causing problems for myself. I figure that with personal data, the fewer people/places that have it the less chance of it being misused.

Just a little question
November 14, 2009

Here’s something to ponder in the gloomy winter. Why is it that quite a few English people seem to think that England is the only country in the world that puts our clocks back in winter?

I’ve heard this lately from quite a few people who think putting the clocks back is a bad idea and say “I don’t know why we do it. We’re the only country that does”. When I was a kid I used to think we were the only country to do it. Where does this idea come from?