Hey hey, how we all doing? Thought I'd write something, like back in the days I'd write about all the things that caught my interest. These days there's loads of things spinning my mind, but one thing, lame to say is the new Pingit app from Barclays.
Now here's the thing, incase you didn't already know - mobile payments is going to be huge over the next few years. It's going to be shoved down our faces and we're not going to have much choice but to embrace it. Seems like the banks have realised that people don't like doing online banking anymore, sure it's better than going to the branch, but logging on and all that farce is seen as a chore. They know people are now logging on from their phones, while commuting, watching the telly, or a quick transfer while sitting on the bog.
It was only a matter of time before one of the major players got into the market and made it official, that player is Barclays. They're saying it's as revolutionary as the first credit card, I wouldn't go that far but it certainly is going to be a game changer. If you download the Pingit app and register, you'll able to receive payments if you're a non-Barclays customer and send money too if you have an account with them (though they say the new version will allow send and receive for everyone).
The really exciting thing about Pingit is that it links your mobile number to your bank details, acting as a layer for security and letting you "ping" friends/family/colleagues with little IOU's. Although it let's you transfer up to £300, I think the target market they have in mind is smaller everyday payments, like paying the window cleaner or splitting a bill. I can see this really taking off, soon we'll be tapping our phones at terminals and pinging anyone with a mobile number.
It's available on all three major operating systems, Android, Iphone, and Blackberry (no Windows phone). I've downloaded it and its nice simple and effective, makes you wonder why nobody else thought of it until now, oh that reminds me, O2 say they're going to be launching a "mobile wallet" soon which will work on all bank accounts, exciting times.
All this talk of mobile money just makes me think if the use of hard cash is coming to an end.
I said to myself I wasn't going to update this blog until I had moved out. And yes, it's finally happened. I'm so excited. You could even get lyrical about it and say it in the way of the Pointer Sisters ...
Now you must be thinking, "what a silly boy!", but really this was, or shall I say is, a big deal to me. I've wanted this for so long you'll probably find it hard to grasp as to why this is. Infact, I wanted to do this when I first started uni (no, not the second time lol) but couldn't for reasons I'd rather not mention. But it's happened now, and it's one of those things I can tick off my list which I'm happy about.
Going back to why I didn't post, I was simply sick and tired of the same old, same old. I mean I had everything really, nice house (family home), nice car, good enough job, money in my pocket, and more or less freedom to do as I please. For some odd reason it was too cushy, too nice, too "goody two shoes", which for me meant it was never enough? I think more than anything the boredom was getting to me. Getting me fat more like.
See thing is, Dewsbury is not the most eventful of places, and I was getting sick of the whole Leeds/Bradford/Huddersfield/Wakefield/Yorkshire scene (as beautiful as it is). I mean what do we have in Dews? Actually, don't answer that.
There's a whole bunch of topics I want to talk about, some of them are rather dull topics but I feel I should let it all out. For now you can simply see it as the second stage of life, and as the StreetFighter game I used to play as a kid so aggressively put it...
I think a bit of history is in order. A while back, I had this bright idea of going on a self-proclaimed "self improvement program" because I was becoming incredibly lazy as a result of my apathetic attitude to life (which I have gathered by now is me in default mode). Instead of just thinking about it I decided to convert some of my thoughts into actions, so I highlighted a few things (more on this another time) and thought yes, I really will try and do something constructive and galvanize myself.
One of the things on my invisible list was a change of job, not necessarily a change of field, just a change of scenery, new faces, new surroundings, new route to work, that kind of thing. Finding a job when the country is in a recession was going to be a toughie, especially when we're constantly being reminded of huge job losses in the media but I was keen to give it a try. Some of you will know I work in a finance related call centre, a job I applied for when I needed part time work while at university, and a few years later I found myself still there. So I thought, if jobs are scarce and instead of applying for a job related to my university course where all employers require experience (which, being a student, I have none of) I may aswell apply for another finance related call centre with better pay and prospects etc.
Luckily I landed myself a job at the best finance call centre in the UK, from a customer service and employee perspective anyway (I'm not going to say which one, but you can have a guess if you like). So far so good, the free drinks and snacks (plus other things) helped a great deal. Just one slight problem, I misjudged my notice period at my present employer and on my application form wrote down a notice period of two weeks. BIG mistake.
On my present contract it said something like "if you are employed for less than a year your notice period is two weeks, if you're employed for more than a year but less than two years it's four weeks, and if it's more than two and less than four then its six weeks". At the time I gave my notice I had been working there for 4 years and 8 months and my notice period was eight weeks, i.e. 2 months! Aaargh, and I was due to be starting my new employment in a months time!
So I came to an agreement with my manager (who is incredibly chilled out with me) that he'd reduce my notice period slightly and shuffle my hours so that I could start the training at the new place and give enough notice as required by the present company. All good I thought, that is until today when the new workplace decided to pay our training group, and that's when the trouble started. Who'd have thought getting paid could cause so much of a ruckus?
What had happened was, or so I think, was that my tax bracket and/or national insurance had flagged up as working in two different companies. And if you didn't already know, this is a big no no when it comes to finance companies - it's called "a potential conflict of interest" (no pun intended).
Just after getting paid, I find myself talking to two members of the recruitment team rigging me with what seems to be a-hundred-and-one-questions telling me "this is very important so please ensure your answers are accurate and honest". So I told 'em, and watched them scribble down the answers as if it was a police interview or a court appearance (not that I've ever been to one of those). At the end of the "telling off session" she tells me that my present employer shouldn't have allowed this (my present employer didn't give a sh#t) and that she will speak to them about it. Also, "to come into work tomorrow as usual and we will let you know on a decision after speaking to our superiors".
So that's where I'm at right now. And to be perfectly honest I was only miffed about the situation for the first half an hour after she told me, after that I didn't give a sh#t. Yes I do realise my "self improvement program" could result in me being out a job, out of the old and of the new. But then I realised, I don't have any expenses - no bills to pay, no rent, no-one to rely on me financially, and nobody to give a hoot (other than my parents who would only be annoyed as I'd resort to being a couch potatoe).
Then I had another bright idea. If I do happen to get fired, I could go to America to see my sister and nephew who I have been missing deeply and thinking about at odd hours of the night. The only difference would be I'd be a couch potatoe there instead of here.
And then I could eat my sisters baby and live happily ever after (it's always about living happily ever after). Aye, now there's a plan.
So who's been a bad boy? Oh aye, that would be me!
Don't know where to start really, I just felt like blogging so here I am. Yes I know, I come and go as I please but would I be me if I didn't?
There's loads I could say, maybe I will, maybe I won't - only time will tell. I'd like to think I've matured since my previous posts, or maybe it's simply a frame of mind. It's been exactly two months since my last post and in that time period I didn't check my blog not even once. Do I feel guilty about neglecting comments and such? Or as some people have said "what about your blog friends?" to that I say I've never blogged for others, only myself. And the one part most people don't really understand is that online friends aren't real. Nice, but intangible, takes away most of the friend element if you ask me.
Anyway, this was simply an opener. I know nobody reads this anymore, but it's not for you, it's for me. If truth be told, blogging helps to get my mind into gear and prioritize everything that's going on around me (try it sometime). On that note, I have to say it's time for me to wake up and take the world head on. So here I go ...
A while back I got a call from a college friend telling me he was waiting outside my house and that he had some important news. From the moment I sat in his car and even before we exchanged salaam, I knew from the huge grin on his face what this was about. He was getting married. It's funny how it's always the one you least expect to fall first.
Now, this friend of mine, I won't refer to him by name but his nickname is "Cheesy" - yes I know what you're thinking "What a 'Cheesy' nickname" yet it suits him perfectly. No doubt, whoever knows him will tell you what a incredibly funny character he is. Going back to one of the first times I bumped into him in college, we were sitting around a table simply joking and lounging about, when all of a sudden the topic changed to the S topic (don't ask how).
And he's like, all innocently ...
"What's S all about?"
We all gave him a blank stare.
"C'mon man, stop playing"
"I don't know what you guys are talking to about, share the joke" he says straightforwardly.
Once again, we looked at each other in disbelief thinking this poor guy's 17 and he doesn't know - maybe his parents have kept him more cocooned than the average asian kid, and there was a sense of feeling sorry for him. It doesn't help that he has one of those faces which gives the impression that this guy could ever tell a lie let alone know one.
So while we all contemplated our approach in utter silence, his long-time friend from school walked in and saw us all sitting quietly. Sensing that something was amiss ...
"What's the matter boys?"
As someone filled him in, his immediate response was ...
"Oh ayvee marnaii, Cheesy stop messin' wi' em!"
We all looked at Cheesy with half rage and total disbelief only for him to respond with a barrel of his corny-trademark laughter. Yup, from then on we all knew we'd get along.
(kinda went off-topic here a little, more tomorrow - if I can be bothered!)
I look up and she's on my blogroll, and yes this thought has occurred to me too. My blogroll mostly consists of the opposite gender, I have tried rationalising this out in my head but the truth is I don't know why this is.
Although there are 13 people on the list right now the actual database has 51 entries, and only those that update within a fortnight appear as links. Yes, most of them are women (only 13 guys).
Looking at other guys websites, a similar theme runs throughout - they too have more girls on their navbar. But then again, girls have more girls on their lists too.
I think the simple realisation is that there are more female bloggers, that would make most sense to me.
I was doing the school round today and on the way back, the neighbours kid (who I also have the pleasure of transporting) says to my sister
"hey, lets shout at some boys!"
I smiled slyly at that, and thought nothing of it. Was I in for a surprise or what. Driving past and on seeing some boys their age they start shouting (with the windows down)
"Hey look at all you gay boys! GAY BOYS, GAY BOYS!"
I was in utter shock. These are two girls aged 9 and 10 are they are saying things like this, not just saying but they actually know the meanings of such words. I did give them a little telling off but nothing too severe, I mean what can you really say?
This brings me to another topic which riles me up really bad. Kids, they know it all these days and from such a young age too, like my little sister she knew it all from the age of 8 (and yes I'm talking about the S word). They even know the meanings of words such as gay and lesbian and know that its abnormal.
Is it me or are they missing out on childhood? I can't even remember anything about being 10 or 11 never-mind such sensitive topics and the only time I knew about the S word was at puberty and sex education. I was oblivious to everything around me till then. God bless sex-ed.
When my elder sister had her baby in February (there's so many things I've not blogged about, this is one of them) I was picking up my darling nephew and somehow came about the topic as to when she discovered the working of the birds and the bees. I was glad to hear it was around the same age as me (13 or 14) any sooner I think is too early and any later, well I won't say anything.
My aunt who was there at the time, and who is originally from Pakistan, told me she found out at the age of 18! And that, when she was working as a nurse, oh the irony. I found that impossible to believe but she reassured me that was the case, I remember her saying that in Pakistan some girls don't know anything at all until they are a lot older.
Anyway I've gone slightly off-topic, all I wanted to say is that kids nowadays know too much too soon and I don't think it's healthy.
I received an unsolicited email (spam) a while back from a certain "Fareda Mohamed" with the subject "Muslim Marriage Event". Unlike other spam emails which I simply delete, I opened this one - mainly because there was noway someone would do a send to all with this kind of mail. Meaning someone would have had to manually filter the list (whichever one it happened to be) and look for muslim/asian sounding names, and then send to only those.
Upon further inspection, I'm surprised to see the email was sent to "toseefgooglemail.com" which is a variation of the one I use i.e. gmail.com although both end up at the same place. But that's not what I'm trying to get at, more confusing to me was the content of the message. An extract:
Would you like to attend the next Muslim marriage event in Manchester, with the chance to meet up to 40 potential marriage partners face-to-face in a single afternoon?
Woah. The first thing that came to mind was "man, that is seriously ferked up!" and y'know why? Because I was thinking, show a guy 40 chicks/women in a single afternoon, and those too who could be "potentials" - boy, is he going to be messed up in the head (for quite some time!). Show a guy one chick and he'll be 'uhming' and 'aahing' until he has a nervous breakdown, but these people want to show 40?! Unbelievable.
I can just imagine it now, some woman saying "Oh I really liked that guy, but he didn't seem too sure". You're damn right he didn't, that's because he's got visions of 39 other woman constantly flashing through his mind!
It goes on to say:
All our introductions take place within a quality, safe and halal environment, with the presence of an Islamic Scholar, ensuring that everyone feels comfortable, relaxed and gets the most out of the experience.
Yeah man, belieeeve, that is really what it says. Halal? Seems outrageous to me. Maybe living in Dews has made me all Taliban-minded but the Tony Blair getting a second opinion (on the legitimacy of the war) situation comes to mind. If the first person disagrees, get a second, or third (and so forth) until one sticks!
All this begs the question, has anyone ever been to one of these? I bet you leave more confuddled (ok I made that word up) than when you first went in. Now I'm curious to know what the success rate is to events like these, I bet you it's not much. Not that I'm thinking of attending.