Friday, June 26, 2015

Is this what living apartment?

Hircine high-rise
The Goat was recently reading all about pensioners who want to live in the Holiday Inn rather than a retirement home. One of Nanny Goat's elderly friends voiced the same opinion, noting that a hotel doesn’t constantly smell of boiled cabbage, the service is better, and residents don’t get treated like senile old fools.

Check out Snopes regarding permanent cruising. It seems that this might be a viable option provided that you don't mind living in a 10 sq.m space.

But it seems to work for some. What about the Goat? Not to retire, rather to try to justify the Goat’s current existence.

Home, or at least its closest approximation, is the Crumbling Villa in Dubai. It’s about 220sq.m of 20-year-old concrete and blockwork, and apart from a couple of new aircons a year or two ago to replace some of the antediluvian units, it receives almost zero maintenance from the landlord, who fails to pick up his phone, ignores fax messages, and has no functional email. But it is an actual house.

Last time the Goat was in Doha, working for crazy people, he rented a newly built two-bed apartment. The plan was to live there for a year, and then move into a proper residence when Beloved Wife joined him. In the traditional way, the Goat had to pay a deposit plus a full year’s rent up front, he paid a deposit with the telecoms company for his internet, and had to lash out for additional kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom equipment to make the place civilised enough actually to live in. The place was allegedly fully furnished, but of course with the cheapest and nastiest furniture that Najma Souq could provide.

After a year, the Goat left Doha. There was the traditional struggle to recover deposits from the landlord and the telecoms company, perhaps in the hope that the Goat would close his bank account and leave, and be unable to cash the cheques.

Now the Goat lives in Cloud City, on the top floor of a hotel. It’s a one-bed suite, and has usual hotel facilities such as cable TV, internet, 24-hour maintenance service, and someone comes in to dust and to change the towels and bed linen twice a week. Another bonus is that the rent is due monthly, and the security deposit is tiny and not a full month’s rent. But the place is also tiny; not as small as Beloved Wife’s apartment when she lived in Japan, but hardly anywhere (apart from t’shoebox in t’middle o’t’road) actually is.

Anyway, seeking to find some justification in living away in such a tiny concrete box, and to see if the pensioners living in the Holiday Inn had a point, the Goat got his spreadsheet out and did some sums.

First he looked at the raw costs of rent, internet, cable, municipality taxes, furniture and kitchen tools (amortised over an arbitrary five-year period) for each of the three residences listed above. Then he compared each by floor area. Finally, he thought up features such as 24-hour service; on-site gym and pool; walking distance to restaurants, work, and supermarket; the existence of a ‘yarden’ for a private outdoor space; that sort of thing. He evaluated these to provide relative perceived values and a weighted score for each. Adding these weighted scores for the features of each residence, and comparing them with the cost of each reveals:-
  • The best value is Cloud City. Those pensioners are correct.
  • The best value including floor area is the Crumbling Villa.
  • The worst value of all is the two-bed place: expensive, small, and no features beyond basic shelter.
It’s well, then, that the Goat is essentially camping; living out of a suitcase in Cloud City until he can leave. The place would be completely untenable if he had all his tools and electronics (and motorbike, cat, dive kit, books, DVDs...) in Doha. And it’s far too small for two, except for the occasional weekend when Beloved Wife is extremely welcome to visit.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Time for the signs

Meanwhile, in Dunkrugerstan, the Ministry of Paperclips decreed that all of the billboards to be erected alongside the new main street would be made of finest English hardwoods, lovingly helicoptered from the Forest of Dean, cosseted in bubble wrap, bolted together with bronze bolts, and protected from the elements by multiple coats of "Does-What-It-Says-On-The-Tin" Cuprinol. The Minister was very specific. He wanted a classic look, and none of this post-modern neo-brutal rubbish.

The Directorate of Rubber Stamps disagreed, citing the Grand Frommaj's decree that Dunkrugerstan should be modern yet traditional, and the Director had decided that the "modern" part was of greater relevance. The Director demanded chromed steel lattices, polished to a mirror finish, and with 18/8 stainless steel bolts.

Both the Minister and Director were consulted by one of the Grand Frommaj's Trusted Advisors, who pointed out that the Taste Police Superintendent had separately required that all the billboards along the entire street should be of the same type. Yet the Minister of Paperclips and the Director of Rubber Stamps refused to meet with each other, or with the Trusted Advisor, or even with the Superintendent.

So the Trusted Advisor had his people design some of the billboards in chromed steel and obtained approval from the Directorate of Rubber Stamps. He designed the remainder in timber, and had these approved by the Ministry of Paperclips. Everybody was happy.

By the time the billboards were actually ordered, imported, and erected, the Trusted Advisor had long since departed from Dunkrugerstan. Which was just as well, for when the Superintendent of the Taste Police was justifiably appalled at the resulting unholy mishmash of styles, both the Minister and the Director each blamed the Trusted Advisor for failing to convince the other.


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.