June, 2006

Jun 06

Ring of Steall

Mike coming up An Gearanach

Ran the excellent Ring of Steall with Tweedley yesterday. It starts from Glen Nevis, goes through Steall Meadow and up onto the ridge behind the waterfall, taking in a bunch of tops before dropping back down into the Glen. It’s been on my hit list since last year so it was extra-great to get it done. We both felt OK fitness wise, but the start the ridge was a bit too rocky for decent running (although Mike seemed to manage to float over the rocks on the descents pretty well).

The only real let down was that Mike’s knee started playing up on Sgurr a Mhaim, so he dropped back down to the glen early (or not as it turns out). I necked an energy spunk and went up Stob Ban and down that ridge instead, mistakenly taking in an extra munro. If I’d bothered to look at the map, I would have realised there was only one more on that side of the ridge and headed over that way while I was up there (shrug).

It was a quality run though and I’m pretty psyched for more.

Here’s a Flickr set for some photos. Mike has a few words and few more photos too.

Jun 06

The hell of mobile phones

I upgraded my phone yesterday. Although I was due for an upgrade a month ago, it’s taken this long to muster the courage and enthusiam to go into the phone shop. To be honest, if my old phone battery could survive being on for a couple of days I wouldn’t have bothered, but it was becoming frustrating.

It was all going too well – I had decided what phone I wanted and I was totally happy with my current contract. No problem. Then I was told the phone I was after was only free if I was a new customer. Seems like Orange (or any of the others, I’m assured) don’t value their existing customers as much as new ones (although I ended up sticking with Orange, so maybe they’re onto something). The pain began.

The sales drone explained how keeping my old tariff was tantamount to genocide and proceeded to rattle off deal after deal – minutes, texts, magic numbers, traffic TV (WTF?), free photography (WTF?), this for 2 months, that for 6 months, something else for 12 months. Urgh – it was all too much to take so I bailed out to absorb all of this nastyness and sort out what to do.

I went back an hour later with a clear head and told the guy exactly what I was after – I wanted to sign up for the maximum 24 months. “Excellent, sir! Which part of the offer made you choose that?” he asked, surprised. “None of it.” was my honest reply. “I hate this experience. It’s horrible. I’ve spent far too long trying to work out the best way to give you my money and I realised that if I can delay it for another year I’ll be doing well.”.

He was a little stunned and apologetic, but it wasn’t his fault – he just works there. The entire industry stinks and I hate every second I spend dealing with any of it. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I remain convinced that there is a market for a phone company that is staightforward, honest and doesn’t make me feel like I’m getting marketed something for the sole benefit of making the salesperson some commission. That said, I wouldn’t take on the task.

Wicked – I won’t be dealing with this crap again until mid-2008.