h company has only liberated the cafes

[23:33:42] Brosencrantz: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/Free_Door_Gunner.jpg proof that it’s still possible to look like a massive dork even while holding a machine gun and hanging out of a helicopter
[23:33:51] N_1: is that a selfie
[23:34:57] Brosencrantz: I should kill you where you sit for implying I would ever wear fucking hipster glasses
[23:35:09] N_1: and take selfies
[23:35:28] N_1: this is my rifle, there are many like it, but I liked this one before it was popular
[23:35:42] Brosencrantz: <3

albeit little consolation

For kicks and Budapest-money I’ve been ebaying Bill’s huge old collection of Nintendo stuff in exchange for 50% of the proceeds. Some of it has sold for much more than we were expecting, some for rather less. Although most items have gone without a hitch, I’ve had to jump through all sorts of stupid ebay hoops and procedures and negotiations and arbitrary limits and terrible site design, and Bill is very happy not to be doing it himself. I thought a 50% share was quite generous when we started, but after all the dumb bullshit I’ve had to deal with I don’t feel at all guilty about taking it.

The most troublesome item so far has been the N64: the biggest and heaviest of all the consoles after the SNES, by far the most annoying to pack when bundled with some N64 games that wouldn’t sell on their own, and apparently fucking cursed.

The first time I auctioned it, it sold for £60 plus £15 shipping. I wrapped it up and got it ready to go, waiting for the buyer to pay. They didn’t. I sent them an invoice; they still didn’t. I waited a while, opened an ebay case demanding they pay; they never responded. Eventually it all shut down, and I tore the address label off the box and relisted the console.

It sold again – only for £45 this time, but what the hell, I’m happy to just be shot of the thing. The buyer was from the Republic of Ireland; the address he gave me was horribly formatted, had no capitalisation, no postcode (which they don’t seem to use in rural Ireland), and contained the word “default.” This did not inspire me with a great deal of hope, especially when I then tried to Google Maps it and couldn’t narrow down where the hell he lived beyond a small town called Portumna (with a cool fortified manor house).

But I printed his grotesque excuse for an address, took it down to the post office, said “is this good enough to get it there?” and they reckoned so, so I paid the £26 it would cost to take the massive box across the Irish Sea (I was only charging him £25 all in, and had spent about an hour packaging the bloody thing). A week later, he opened a case on ebay saying his item hadn’t come through.

I’ve had stuff like this before, including a game to Portugal which somehow took three weeks, so I told him what I’d told people in the past, which is “calm your tits, it’s only been a week, but if it still hasn’t got there within a month my post office will give me a full refund and I’ll pass that on to you” – which was no problem for a £15 DS game we wanted to be rid of anyway, would sting rather more for a big expensive N64, but what the hell.

On Friday, four weeks after posting, the box was returned to me. The label giving the reason for its return was very helpfully not filled in, so I rang up Parcelforce in high dudgeon and asked them what the fuck, and they confirmed my suspicions saying it was a bad address. The only option on ebay was to give a full refund, and while I was very happy to refund the £45 asking price I’m not going to find myself £26 out of pocket on account of an impatient shitbag who can’t write his own fucking address.

Rang ebay customer support, and after ages of listening to (relatively not-shit) elevator music got a nice, helpful young Indian chap who claimed to be called Vernon. He put me through to a nice helpful young Indian lady who claimed to be called Patricia. I suppose the bizarre The Good Life fake names are meant to, I dunno, put the average customer-support-phoning scumbag at ease, and they were at least memorable to use when I thanked them at the end. Patricia listened to my sob story, asked me to hang on for ten minutes and found that she couldn’t locate the guy’s address on Google Maps either (I find it wonderful and hilarious that they use the same method); she then asked for the ID and Parcelforce’s phone number so she could ring them and confirm I wasn’t full of shit. Some time later she rang up to say the case was resolved in my favour, and not only would I not have to refund the postage, I wouldn’t have to refund the £45 for the N64 either (?!?).

Which is really unexpected, and I can’t help but feel that the numpty in Portumna is going to (rightly) kick up a fuss and it’s going to come back on me and/or Patricia. But there are two morals: be polite to call centre people (always! they’re humans too), and spell your goddamn address properly.

[16:02:22] Hovercraft: so then the only remaining question will be whether to try selling it again or just burn it to appease whichever spirit I/you/nintendo angered
[16:02:44] Brosencrantz: I’m thinking relist with a buy it now of £60
[16:02:53] Hovercraft: yeah
[16:02:54] Brosencrantz: if it doesn’t sell, toss it off the bridge
[16:03:00] Brosencrantz: on fire
[16:03:26] Hovercraft: then wake in the middle of the night to find it at the foot of your bed
[16:03:33] Hovercraft: pristine
[16:03:54] Hovercraft: there’s a stephen king novel in this
[16:04:04] Brosencrantz: but when mum brings me a cup of tea it’s burning and full of river mud

requiescat in partes

del1

Tonight I mourn Delanice the Dell Venue Pro, given to me 26-09-2011 and tragically snatched away by a fall onto a laptop charger 14-04-2013.

del2

We had some good times together, girl.

(This is incredibly annoying, but has the small silver lining that I can now get a phone with a grown-up OS.)

every time you hurt me I want you even more

Through the immoral but unfortunately indispensable power of Who You Know* I scored some work experience at a Bristol firm specialising in family and education law, and thus spent the last fortnight (well, there was that Easter thing in the middle of it) working there. Family law is a field I know nothing about – which was precisely why I wanted to learn more about it – and it’s… definitely interesting.

It was, of course, largely office work – filing, compiling, copying, various other activities surrounding the vast mass of complicated paperwork (even in this digital age, lawyers are some of the fiercest and most uncompromising enemies of trees), calling up courts and clients asking them for orders and reminding them to show up, but the most interesting part was actually getting to go to court. The rapid-fire two-hearings-an-hour style of it was very different from the monolithic, massively detailed Walter Lilly case that was my only real civil court experience,** and even aside from getting to hear solicitor war stories when they gather around the administration desk and kvetch about the chaos of it all,*** it’s a wonderfully interesting and very involving business. I can see how rewarding it could be to do that kind of incredibly personal work, but often very hard too: representing people who are clearly in the wrong, representing people who are clearly in the right – and with a system that can tell, one which is both principled and brutally pragmatic. From what I saw, though, the great creaking inhuman legal machinery actually works fairly well. The priority in all the family contact/custody cases was explicitly getting what was best for the children; and the various gender biases that internet scuttlebutt claims certainly weren’t evident in the cases I witnessed. I have no idea exactly how fucked everything is going to be with the abolition of government legal aid (which appropriately took place on April 1st), but it’s not going to be an improvement.

In other cheerful legal news, I earned a place on a vacation scheme this summer! It’s with one of my favoured Bristol firms, a large and prestigious place whose name carries weight with competitors; whether or not it leads to the elusive training contract (and chances are, I think, fairly good – from what I can gather from assorted feedback I’m variable at interviews but shine in the actual workplace), it’s a fantastic feather in the cap for further applications. Fingers, as always, crossed.

GDL substantive teaching is done. Finished. We’ve got a couple of revision sessions to come, then a month of crunching cases before the exams. The semester has blown past, but I was admittedly expecting it to. And now it’s just a little further.

* The relevant contact being my brother’s girlfriend’s friend’s mum. I once got free computer games from my cousin’s wife’s best friend’s brother, so this isn’t even an unusual number of degrees of separation.
** Though that was actually very dramatic in places! http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/TCC/2012/1773.html – search for “pulborough” in the text for transcripts of exactly what a horrible man the defendant was.
*** Me to the usher organising the various cases and courts: “So, has there ever been a day where it’s all gone according to schedule and you’ve not had to juggle things around?” “Nope.”

no, this is neither “interesting”, “curious” or “odd enough”

To everyone who has ever added anything to the “trivia” section of a wiki, or inserted a largely unrelated fact because they think it’s interesting, here’s a useful trick to greatly improve the quality! Just ask yourself this question:

– Would this comment/factoid look awkward and out of place if written simply and directly, ie not couched in cringing pseudoacademic handwringing and/or limp superlatives insecurely attributing it some relevance and notability?

If yes: Then don’t pollute our screens with your pointless esoterica, you cruft-spewing cockroach.
If no: Good, but don’t pollute our screens with your weasel-word horseshit, you miserable speck of trash.

Also, stop using the word “clip”, you’re almost always wrong.

I’m literally wearing a lashmina

When the stars have aligned and the internet in Tendo isn’t being a complete sack of shit, I get to play Civ V with Fran! We’ve been running a game on Friday evenings for a few weeks now, and I’m much better at it than I expected for my second ever multiplayer game.

My city-naming convention in my first multiplayer game was terrible bro puns (New Brotopia, Brotel Rwanda, Brolossus, Broblerone, Brometheus etc etc etc). But this time I wanted something fresh. So:

BANTERCIV
(click on the image)

(if you don’t get it, watch this and maybe this.)