On Monday, as it turned out, I did go to Liverpool and give blood. According to the count, I'm on the grand total of *3*, but that doesn't include blood I gave as a student (two or three units) or in New Zealand before the ban (around ten, I think). At the rate of three donations a year, I might just make a green donor card (75) but a more realistic lifetime target is probably gold (50). The whole award scheme is red (1), blue (5), bronze (10), silver (25), gold (50), green (75), purple (100). See http://www.blood.co.uk/pages/b9_blood.html for the whole thing, though of course the award scheme isn't the whole thing. Nevertheless, I'm known to be a sucker for card and loyalty schemes. Gold Hilton HHonors member. Previous Air New Zealand silver member and United Airlines Premier member.
But I digress...
The rest of the week as been pretty quiet. There's no recollection at all of Tuesday, I'm afraid. I know I was awake and I'm sure we did something. Maybe that was the day I went to Birkenhead to buy a modem cable: Dixons in Liverpool had been out of stcok of modem cables on Monday. That is ridiculous. Yes, that was definitely Tuesday. I think that was the first time we went to get a phone for David, but it wasn't a successful visit. On Wednesday we went to Birkenhead to buy a phone for David, a copy of the Daily Mail with the free Cracker DVD and a belt for David. Now, this visit was successful, except for the phone: David has already advertised his O2 number to everyone, and the only phone of the type he wanted was Vodafone. No problem, they said - unlock it and you'll be fine with O2. Not true: the phone is stuffed with Vodafone-specific software. We took it back yesterday for a refund and ordered what we wanted from the O2 shop. I never thought it could be so difficult to buy a phone.
This brings me to a new subject: creation of useless economic work. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of phones being "locked" into one phone network, and that they can be "unlocked" for use on any network by software and payment of a fee. What's the reason for not selling them already unlocked? What value comes from it? Or is just a way to create meaningless value?
Finally, a complaint about LJ users. Previously, paid LJ accounts could be accessed directly at addresses like http://ringbark.livejournal.com but unpaid accounts could not. Now, as a result of fixing a browser bug (details uncertain), this type of address is available to all users. At the same time, LJ management have increased the number of phone-posts available to paid users from 15 per month to 20 per month. Complaints from paid users now abound. Apparently, this is the ONLY feature for which many are paying, and they aren't happy. Why not? They are still getting something they paid for. What difference does it make that other people are now getting the same thing for free? Others are complaining that the offer of five extra phone-posts doesn't help them as they are not in the U.S. - that's not true. Maybe you don't want to make an international call, but the option is still there. You can call very cheaply if you use a VOIP product like Skype, probably cheaper than many in the U.S. using ordinary phones. Still others complain that the address as the only feature they paid for, yet have numerous user pictures. The idea of people complaing about generosity goes back a long way. It seems to work on the principle that life must be fair. Here's some news: life isn't fair. Here is the story as it was told in Biblical times.
Matthew 20:1-16 (New International Version)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went.
He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
'Because no one has hired us,' they answered.
He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'
The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.