Monday, February 08, 2016

Penned

Assuming for a moment that anyone still reads this blog, or is even remotely interested, this hiatus will end when the Goat is in a better frame of mind.

As the situation currently stands, the Goat will end up either in a cage or in a box.

]}:-{>

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Flagging a problem

“You are required,” decreed the Grand Frommaj to one of his Trusted Advisors, “To talk to all the other Trusted Advisors and then to submit your proposals to the Directorate of Rubber Stamps for approval.”

Not wishing to disobey a Frommaji decree, the Trusted Advisor did so. He and other Advisors met, formed a consensus, and then the Trusted Advisor went to the Directorate to obtain his Rubber Stamp of approval. 

Which was summarily rejected. 

The Directorate of Rubber Stamps, who was the final approving authority, advised that the flagpoles had to be blue in colour, and all the banners needed to be a uniform shade of red. The Trusted Advisor took these new requirements away, made changes to his drawings, and then resubmitted. After several more meetings during which the shades of red and blue were tweaked and adjusted, the Directorate of Rubber Stamps at last provided a final and irrevocable approval.

And they all lived happily ever after? Not as such.

A second Trusted Advisor, and a third, each received his own feedback and final approval. Except that they’d both been required to provide green flagpoles and yellow banners, or black flagpoles and orange banners. Each Trusted Advisor had explained that what he was told to do differed from the other Advisors’ proposals, but the Directorate assured each that this one was the correct one.

All three Trusted Advisors met and discussed the issue as had been instructed by the Grand Frommaj. It was obvious that a single solution could not be developed. The Ministry of Paper Clips stepped in and helpfully pointed out that it was entirely the Trusted Advisors’ fault that these three different designs had all been approved when a single design was required by the approving authority, the Directorate of Rubber Stamps.


And so, because the Directorate of Rubber Stamps could not lose face, he refused to change any of his previous approvals. All three sets of flagpoles and banners were supplied and erected, and blame for the subsequent ridicule in the international press was laid firmly at the feet of the Trusted Advisors.

]}:-{>

Saturday, January 02, 2016

D*ckhead Day

In a fight between a Patrol and a Sunny
 there can be only one victor.
One is perhaps given to wonder if there’s been a rash of New Year’s resolutions to drive extra badly this year.

First, we note that Qatar Police have introduced some new ‘no messing around’ rules, including a QAR1000 fine for undertaking and penalty points for speeding. You collect 15 of these and get a bicycle. Therefore undertaking is definitely a huge no-no.

I encountered the first d*ckhead at about 0615. On a two-lane dual carriageway with a 120km/h speed limit and no other traffic around, he was bumbling along in the left-hand lane at 80km/h. As coming up behind him and flashing headlights counts as aggressive and offensive driving I couldn’t do that, and I couldn’t whiz past on the inside. After about ten minutes, the driver of the pick-up finished his Facebook post, glanced in his mirror and at last moved over to let me past. Then he moved back into the left lane.

Now, normal procedure when waiting to turn left on a local road, I thought, is to wait in the middle of the road with the left signal flashing, wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic, and then make the turn. Apparently not. At about 0635 I had to stand on my brakes when a rickety Yaris suddenly turned left at full speed right in front of me. Just as well I was doing only the 40km/h speed limit and there was nobody behind me. Indicators? What are those?

Now 0930, and I was on my way up Al Shamal Road to a meeting. This expressway is four lanes in each direction and has a 120km/h speed limit. In the usual way the right-hand lane was empty because only inferior drivers lacking in the trouser department drive there. The second lane was full of water tankers and labourers’ buses. Lane 3 had a variety of cars and pickups generally trundling along at 110 to 120km/h, and there was me in my Nissan Sunny. Small Nissans receive zero respect from those magnificent men in their ginormous SUVs, and generally speaking I use the left-hand lane to overtake, getting the hell out of it as soon as is safely possible.

Enter the Chevrolet Avalanche, a humungous pickup with a 5.3 litre V8 engine and a nut holding the wheel. I was in the middle of an overtake and right up at the speed limit (which is rigidly enforced by cameras every few hundred metres) when I saw him, but he came up so fast I could neither accelerate nor slow down before being tailgated at about six inches. Flash Flash Flash. Hitting the gas under these circumstances is futile in a Sunny. The Avalanche swung into Lane 3, spotted the car I was overtaking, and hit his anchors. Then he was back, undertaking me before I had chance to move out of his way, cutting in front of me so that I have no idea how the vehicles didn’t hit. Then, as anticipated, I was treated to a brake test.

The next tailgater (d*ckhead number four in three hours if anyone’s keeping score) was about five kilometres further up the same road. This one was piloting a shiny new Nissan Patrol. He didn’t even bother slowing down, choosing instead to overtake me on the left-hand breakdown lane. Alas, the hard shoulder is narrow, a Nissan Patrol is wide, and I couldn’t move over because of the stream of slower cars to my right when the driver ran out of talent.

After stopping he leapt from his car and demanded first in Arabic and then is good English why I’d rammed him and not moved over. When I said “Overtaking. Hard shoulder forbidden” he got all bent outta shape in the manner of varous pieces of Nissan hardware.

Enter my passengers. Both eyewitnesses, and both Arabic native speakers. The Patrol pilot very quickly decided that it was his fault, and in due course we ended up at the police station. There were discussions in Arabic, and I was given my copy of the police report, also entirely in Arabic. I got one of my colleagues to tell me exactly what it said. I’m not daft.

At this juncture I learned that the Patrol was covered only by third-party insurance. Not only was the owner going to be hours and hours late for his meeting, but he was due to incur a massive amount of expense. Driving on the hard shoulder is a serious offence.

And so to the car rental office to replace my Sunny.

“This police report says it’s your fault,” I was told. “Says here.”

“It most certainly does not. You imagine I can’t read Arabic? It actually says here…” and I proceeded to parrot what my colleague had told me.

“No, no, Mr Mohammed. You are to blame. It says so on the form.”

“It does indeed say that Mr Mohammed is to blame. But do I look like Mr Mohammed, with a Nissan Patrol? Or is it more likely that I’m the other party; one Mr G. Goat, driving a rental Sunny hired to him by your own good selves?”

Clearly an attempt to extort my insurance deductible, their pathetic attempt at subterfuge was exposed. “Now apologise!”


I decided to return to Cloud City and hide from society for the rest of the day. I have just been disturbed by Room Service. Someone ordered a Turkish coffee and gave my room number instead of theirs.

]}:-{>

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shakespearean Christmas

I found this on the internet, here.

Not to be outdone, here are a couple of my own efforts...


O come, king of Naples,
Shipwrecked on this island 
Along with your brother, son, and others besides 
Because of a Tempest conjured by me, Prospero. 
Ariel will stop slaughter; 
Your son will wed my daughter; 
And Caliban will get plastered with Stephano.

---------0---------

Away with the fairies, 
The mischievous Puck
Bewitches two couples
In the woods where they... 're stuck.
And meanwhile, a rehearsal
Ends in chaos and dread
When Bottom develops
An asinine head.

----------0---------

"Emperor is Saturninus."
So says Titus Andronicus.
Queen Tamora loves a Moor. A 
Tale of revenge goes thus:
O...
Human sacrifice and rape;
Murder; hands to mutilate.
Romans willing; Goths for killing.
Baked in pies Tamora ate.

]}:-{>

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What it says on the tin

I set every, and I mean every, setting on my computer to print the document in Portrait because it’s a document and not a picture. The printer chooses to cut every page in half and churn out the entire document with every page chopped in half. Landscape. I did not ask for landscape. I tried again. I tried every conceivable setting. 

Landscape, landscape, landscape.

Eventually I emailed the document to a colleague who printed it to the same printer on the same network with the same settings, and it came out just perfect.

But this is a minor issue. What is more, yea, much more irritating is a “Low-risk, low but steady growth” investment. It performed faultlessly for two years and I could, with a year’s notice, take my money without penalty. That was what I was sold. That is what is in the contract.

After two years, it all went wrong. The company froze the fund to prevent any withdrawals and progressively devalued it. Now that it is available for withdrawal, I’m told that I can’t take anything out without incurring massive early redemption penalties. The money must, apparently, sit and earn no interest for three more years.

Hang on, you said…

“I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter anything further.”

So much for offshore investments. I’d have been better off sticking the money under the mattress. As I stand today, it has cost me a year working the Job From Hell just to break even. I am angrier than a tiger with a red-hot poker up its arse.

I’m not asking for the moon on a stick. I don’t want unrealistic returns. I specifically chose low risk to avoid all that crap. All I want is what was advertised. But, it seems, Financial Typhoid Mary here can’t get anything right when it comes to savings.

So my advice? Regarding offshore investments with any of the multitudinous firms offering these services? Don’t…

Just don’t.

]}:-{>

Sunday, November 15, 2015

You had one job

Another weekend aviation experience. The economy FlyDubai was just fine and relatively inexpensive. I booked another flight for Thanksgiving weekend at an astonishing QAR382 return including 20kg checked baggage allowance.

But that’s in a fortnight’s time. Here is what happened when I attempted to board last Saturday’s flight.

We all piled on to the airport bus and were driven lumberingly out towards the row of parked FlyDubai aircraft. The bus driver swung to the left and stopped at the steps, and the self-loading cargo waited for the door to open. The bus went forwards, and backwards, and forwards again. It would appear that the bus driver had taken a wrong turn and arrived at the wrong aircraft. That is in itself a big bag of oops. Then the driver tried to drive his ponderous bus around the front of this aircraft.

Here was the problem. There was a sign pole and a safety fence in the way to the left, and a pushback to the right, attached to the nosewheel of the aforementioned aircraft. Instead of realizing that an airport bus wouldn’t fit through this tiny gap, the driver jammed the bus between these two obstacles and stopped. He may have realised his error, but didn’t immediately reverse. Meanwhile, other ground crew rolled the boarding ladder away from the aircraft and blocked the bus from reversing.

Was this a prank being played on Nobby Newbloke?

We waited. Time passed. Thorin sat down and started singing about gold. At last somebody noticed the problem and moved the steps. The bus reversed, unblocked the road, and ten minutes’ worth of airport vehicles were released like Formula 1 cars when the safety car returns to the pits.

And once this queue had dispersed, the bus driver had another run up. This time the pushback actually moved out of the way, pushing the aircraft. Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes!

But it still wasn’t over. The bus eventually pulled up alongside the correct aircraft. Were we allowed out? Oh no! The bus had to reverse so that the passengers could be directed to either the front or the back of the aircraft. This is all fine and sensible, and yet apparently not in “Airport Bus Driver: Rules. For the Reading and Understanding and Compliance Of.”

It gets better: there was a second bus following this one’s every move.
]}:-{>
 

The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.