So, Belgium still doesn't have a government, twelve months after elections there. Which is a world record. And a good model for the EU, I guess.
Driving - slowly of course - behind a hearse today I couldn't help but notice that It was a Mercedes equipped with a turbo booster. Is there any conceivable reason why a hearse would need this? Do they race the things?
Talking of questions . . . I asked a friend of mine who's the senior partner in a major accountancy firm in Vigo how I could get a handle on the Pontevedra municipal and provincial accounts. The essence of his reply? You can't. So I'll never know how the public works are being financed, I guess.
I predicted a few weeks ago that the new (and pretty good) Asian restaurant in the mall at the bottom of the hill would not survive. I certainly hope it does but the big sign today announcing a 10% price cut is not, in my book, a good omen. As I said back then, I'd better patronise the place as often as I can before they give up the ghost. If this does happen, it'll be a major blow for the Game Café next door, which has slot machines and a DIY roulette table. And which, more to the point, is inevitably popular with the Chinese waiters. And also with me, as it's the first wi-fi café in the complex.
At the alternative Vodofone shop this morning, I was treated to the sight of the Sales woman leafing through file after after paper file in search of details of the account of the young woman in front of me. After ten minutes of this, she asked the latter for details of her identity document and then spent five more minutes on the computer and the phone in another vain search for the details. Finally, she gave the classic Spanish pronouncement that the customer should come back another day, when she hoped she'd have what was needed. Despite all the high tech phoneware on display, I felt I was back in the nineteenth century. But, anyway, I did finally get the chance to ask about the 6 euro cuota in the new XS6 package, due out on 18 June. "It's included in the 9 euros minimum", I was told. " So what is the point of it?", I asked. " I don't know", she honestly responded. My latest theory, then, is that this cuota will rise over time until it's (well) over the 9 euros minimum. A semi-hidden price increase, in other words - in line with the Telefónica catch-'em-and-screw-'em policy of gradually attaching a price to all the free elements you initially got with their land line service.
Finally . . . Here's a cautionary tale from reader Midnight Golfer. Worth reading by anyone with a computer:-
My desktop computer, up until this week, had been a little Mac Mini. It seemed I had just barely finished setting up, with my desk and monitors and everything, in preparation to being able to work from my new home here in Madrid, after having moved from Málaga...
And Pow! Pow! Two lightning strikes within a minute of each other, right near my new home. The first one caused my backup battery system to work as designed, in order to give me enough time to turn everything off and shut everything down, and switch to my laptop. However, it did still sends sparks flying out the wall panel circuit breaker, burnt out the garage door motor, and left a very strange metallic smell in the air everywhere, even outside the building.
As I was waiting for the computer to shut down, and I had already (thankfully) unplugged the monitors, the second bolt hit, and fried the TV receiver, the ADSL modem, the landline phone, the desktop computer itself, the power inverter for charging the laptop battery, and a USB+Firewire hub, and went backwards through the backup battery system, ruining this as well.
I now know to unplug everything first, and isolate the batteries from everything else, including the aerial antennae, the phone line, and not just the line (mains) power.
At least the hard drive is okay, And I've still got a little old Powerbook G4 laptop, but it isn't compatible with a lot of what I need for work, and the battery's almost dead, so... the iPhone it is.
I just wish I'd got my renter's insurance up to date before using the computer in an electric storm.
All be warned: Pay your insurance. Unplug your phone and antennae, and power. And ground your masts, while you're at it. Also, if you have a three year warranty on your hardware, including a three year warranty on your battery back up system, and it's been over three years since you purchased said hardware... You're 'living' on borrowed time anyways.