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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Chapter 5 - A story about foreign call centres and a chap called Lukas

Hello! And welcome to the chapter 5 of 10 resolutions. As I know what my resolutions are – and you don’t….I thought I’d just give you an update and say that most of them are going well. Some of them aren’t…but they are also the ones which I knew that I’d struggle more with – and because of that (spoiler alert) they are also the ones which have a “by the end of 2013” clause attached to them. More will be revealed about them as the weeks pass by though I’m sure.

So – I thought I’d begin this chapter by answering a few of your questions (as always – you can ask away on the Facebook page or by emailing

Q. Why is yawning contagious? (Asked by Mo in the office)
I’d like to think that it is because when you yawn you are taking someone else’s oxygen so they need to inhale more…. But at these articles show (1 & 2) that is not the case at all….

Q. Why do paper cuts hurt so much when they are just really small cuts? (Asked by Jo in the office)

A very good question – and the answer involves something called nociceptors

Q. What annoys you? (Asked by Alex via email)
Ahhhh. This is a great question. You might well think that nothing winds me up – that I don’t get annoyed and that nothing makes me grumpy. Cass however will happily tell you that this viewpoint of me is unfortunately incorrect. Loads of obvious things annoy and frustrate me – things like difficulties surrounding world peace, Americans with their lack of gun control (not just Americans on their own), out of touch politicians and adverts (and this is by no means an extensive list).
Smaller issues wind me up as well – take our local post office for instance who recently employed a foreign lady with a smaller grasp of English than a slow developing toddler. You might well think that me saying this is rude and I admit that it might well sound that way. But I have no issue in foreigners working in our country – In truth I think it is superb that culturally we are at that place. However I do have a problem when I go to a Post Office and ask for a book of first class stamps and in return I’m looked at blankly accompanied with a shrug of the shoulders and some kind of hand gesture that in another setting could easily have been considered to be borderline offensive. Surely these companies need to create some form of lingo test before offering employment….. (Post office rant over) 

The Cast List
Adam Legge
Adam CAN border on being the most sensible person under 30 that I know. And that is not a bad thing….because having someone around that you can talk sensible stuff with is very helpful. Adam works as a youth worker and is a truly superb leader. He is also an amazing confidante. Adam also has a crazy streak – which I completely adore and he is also a film buff and a national water polo champion (I discovered after meeting him that it is not just royalty that play Water Polo – who’d have known!) He’s also recently engaged to the very lovely (and very hyperactive) Hannah Cooke.

Hannah Cooke (Soon to be Legge)
Hannah (Cookiemonster) Cooke – You know those people that without fail can make you laugh.  Hannah is one of them. Hannah is someone that will laugh and laugh with you until she will suddenly say something so profound and accurate that it really hits home. I know that if I pick up the phone that she will be there for me and annoyingly at times – you can’t help but find yourself opening up to her.

Kate Livermore

I’ve known Kate for a number of years now after being her leader in Club 1 and I’m so happy that she is currently studying in Gloucester (even if I’m not sure that she could say the same thing at the moment) because she is amazing. Honest to the point of brutality (always good to have someone like that around) – Kate can be more half empty than half full at times but this makes for some very funny conversations. Oh – and do not get distracted by Kate’s eyes. I’m pretty sure that the phrase “puppy dog eyes” was created after someone met her. Kate is from a place called Urchfont which (despite sounding like a town name from one of the Tolkien novels) is apparently a real place......

So…… what have I been up to?

Tuesday 5th February 2013
Finished (yes – actually finished) writing the final track for my album and recorded the rough vocal for it…..

Wednesday 6th February 2013
Wednesday saw me escaping work early to go and watch Zero Dark Thirty. Having not eaten breakfast (or lunch) I decided to stop at the Burger King across from the cinema for a horse burger (to see what all of the fuss was about). After seeing that they had a “king of the day” for £1.99 I went inside to place my order – only for the clerk to charge me £3.98. I was fuming and started talking about the poster and how it was false advertising……you can probably imagine the picture and my reaction. At this point a queue is forming behind me and the person directly behind me has started giggling.
-At this point I should point out that the problem with working shifts is that it is easily possible to lose track of what day it is-
For 5 minutes I stood there arguing with the clerk before the person behind me (now laughing hysterically) taps me on the shoulder and asks me what day it I thought it was. “MONDAY!” I angrily snap back before in a very much slow motion moment realising that in actual fact it was Wednesday and I’d been wrong all along. I wanted the ground to swallow me up I was so embarrassed. “So – would you like a Whopper sir”? the clerk asked. Grinning sheepishly I said yes and then uttered the first of many apologies to the clerk. By this point the person in the queue behind me has told the person in the queue behind them what the hold up has been in them getting served. They both start laughing. I take my burger and leave - and then remember that I’ve never really liked Whoppers in the first place……….

Zero Dark Thirty is good - Perhaps even very good. But it had been built up so much by the people and reviewers that had watched it before me that I was actually quite underwhelmed. Jessica Chastain won a Golden Globe for her role in the film (something which is potentially a pointer towards the Oscar winner) – if she wins an Oscar for Zero Dark Thirty over Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook (WATCH IT) or the Bafta winning performance of Emmanuelle Riva in Amour then something has seriously gone wrong. Chastain spends the entirety of Zero Dark Thirty with facial expressions not dissimilar to someone pouring water on her head. A cardboard cut out of Katie Price could have conveyed more emotion in the role. I just don’t see the appeal in Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty – or quite what she has done to become the front runner for such a coveted award. If someone does know – can they please tell me? On the positive side though – I was expecting the film to be American propaganda – when in truth it actually showcased American incompetence……

Thursday 7th February 2013
On Thursday evening I met up with Kate Livermore (codename: Bird) for a catch up over tea….and then beer. I really enjoy spending time with Kate because i find that its really easy to talk to her and to catch up. There is no “Oh life is amazing. There are hundreds of fluffy bunnies everywhere…..”No. The issues and worries come out – and we talk about them. It’s great. Once the sensible stuff is out of the way though….some random questions normally follow… I thought I’d share them with you and let you answer:

Q. If you had TWO superpowers what would they be and why?

Q. Think ahead – what does 50 look like in your life?

Friday 8th February 2013
Friday saw me ask the world of Facebook a question in preparation for a talk I’m doing at Kainos in Bristol on the 17th.

If you are ever feeling low – or down about your life – I strongly suggest doing something like this. Some of the responses completely blew me away – and in amongst the genuinely amusing comments were some comments so amazing that I started welling up. For those of you that did this for me....expect a reply by Facebook in the next few days.....and thank you so much.

Saturday 9th February 2013
Something Cass has always wanted from me is a really romantic poem or song or something like that (a request that for various reasons up until this point I have ignored). But after Dan and Christine’s wedding (see chapter 4) – Cass started “subtly” hinting that she would very much like something like a poem written about her. So we came up with a deal. With Valentines Day fast approaching (more on that in Chapter 6) we would have a budget of £10 and our present would have to be home made. I would write her a poem – and she would slave away in the kitchen creating me something. Anyway – on Saturday I wrote this poem for Cass......I’ll show it to you next week......

Sunday 10th February (rant approaching)

At 7am I was forced to call our IT  support (/hindrance) help desk which is conveniently located (obviously to be able to offer a quick response) the other side of the world. What should have been a quick 2 minute call rapidly became a 10 minute call loaded with frustration as each word brought another battle with the language barrier.  Only between 7-10% of communication is actually done verbally anyway – so after taking that into account you realise that communicating with a foreign call centre is only about 5% effective compared to speaking with someone in person. 
Continuing the thought about foreign call centres – I started to think about the bank bailouts and how my bank (at the time) was bailed out by the Government. It occurred to me that (especially at the time of the bailouts) there was a massive unemployment rate in the UK Why then had my bank then opened a foreign call centre straight after their bail out? Was my bank the only bank that did it? Surely the government would have said “well actually – as you are going to open a new call centre and as we are going to bail you out and as the country already has a high unemployment rate and we need to find jobs for people – if we bail you out – you must open the call centre in the UK”. Surely someone would have said something? I don’t even know if their main call centre is still abroad – but what I do know is that (in an amazingly self defeating move by the bank) their collections and complaints departments still are abroad. I can’t even imagine the thought process behind that move…..

“Hey boss – I’ve got a really good idea. You know those pesky people that complain about us and those people that are still moaning about this PPI rubbish. Well lets direct them to a foreign call centre where they can get even more frustrated!”

On Sunday evening I headed to the Kingfisher Church in Gloucester (just around the corner from my house) for their evening service. I work quite a lot of Sunday mornings – so if I’m not doing Seek in Cheltenham I’m going to try and get along to a few evening services here. What followed was a superb message on the story of the prodigal son. I left feeling massively encouraged yet very challenged.......
When I got home – we settled down on the sofa to watch the only reality talent show that I actually like (and that we can watch together) – Got to Dance. What followed was amazing....

After that – Andy Howson came round for a few drinks after he’d finished work. We watched the entirety of the 8 out of 10 cats Channel 4 mash up series before he departed......

Monday 11th February 2013

I love that they have faith in me (personally I think it is to keep me away from the wine). But seriously...I’m very very honoured

The day finished with....well - perhaps a picture can summarise it better....

Shameless plug section:
Check out my friend Matt's new album (you can pay what you want for it) and this new clothing company

Out and About.....
Just something very simple this week. I wonder if the retirement of the current Pope could start a revolution in the way that the Catholic Church selects a new one....

I'll leave you with this really inspiring video.....

Remember to ask any questions you may have about life, the universe and everything else by emailing – and you can also now subscribe to 10 resolutions by email – simply fill in the big white box above the chapter. Right - I'm off to stop the dog from assassinating the ice cream van driver (just why there is an ice cream driver when it is -1 outside i do not understand).....Until next week.....

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