Beware of Dell!

It’s has been said that if you get a good Dell computer, it will be very good.  But what of the bad ones? Dell put me through hell to get my computer sorted, so much that even my usually well mannered grandad verbally castrated them on the phone.

It started August 3rd. Finally, I was getting a new laptop, a Dell Inspiron (I don’t know much about laptops, so my nan and aunt picked it out). It was as much of a birthday present as a university present, so I would have my own personal computer to get all my university work done on. The moment I turned it on, it started beeping. I didn’t know if this was normal or not, so I ignored it… after all, I was only setting it up. After it was set up I left it at my Aunts and didn’t use it again until late September, when I started University… but then it happened again.

Everytime I turned it on, it emitted seven beeps in succession. Sometimes it would beep once then shut itself down immediately, sometimes it would beep continuously without actually starting up and I would have to turn it off. On average I had to turn it on and off 20 times before it would get to the log in screen. On several occasions it took more than 3 hours to turn on.

And that wasn’t the end of it.

When it was turned on it would often continue beeping very quietly. It shut itself down randomly in the middle of sessions, putting up a blue screen which told me something was wrong and if it kept happening to contact the makers. The built in webcam didn’t work, with the computer telling me there was no webcam connected, the keyboard malfunctioned often forcing me to hit each key several times before it realised that I wanted a letter/space/number. As for windows updates… it didn’t like them. The laptop became worse everytime windows updates ran, so I did my best not to let them run in fear that I would be without a laptop at a crucial moment.

And this is the tip of the iceburg. I can’t list everything that was wrong – I was too busy being frustrated that somehow I’d managed to buy a new broken laptop to remember everything.

To top it off, my Nan put the reciept in a safe place. A really safe place. And we all know how that one ends, right?

So, November 19th, when I’m finally back home from Uni (which is 250+ miles away) my Grandad phoned tescos. Who put us through to their electrical helpline. Who suggested we call Dell. Now, I don’t balme Tescos, it’s natural for them to suggest this and, as you will learn, they were very helpful later on.

But here is how helpful dear Dell were:

After 40 minutes, and repeating the details of the laptop to 4 different people who I strained to understand (I have nothing against the Indian accent, only that as an English person who has to listen very carefully to understand technical jargon, and has trouble talking to people on the phone, having to speak to several people with thick Indian accents with an apparent connection problem between my phone and Dells which made voices quiet, and having to repeat what I’m saying several times because the difficulty in understanding goes both ways… do I even need to finish this sentence?), anyway, after 40 minutes I was finally put through to an Indian lady who was quite nice and seemed to be able to help me.

The lady gave me instructions, which I followed, and finally told me that a major problem/flaw with a vital component, likely the Motherboard, had developed. Developed. Bearing in mind that this problem was there from the second I bought the laptop, I was unimpressed – but polite. I wasn’t about to be rude to the woman who seemed to be the only person who could help me.

Then she said it.

Unfortunately (despite being a multi million pound company) Dell did not have the resources necessary to fix my problem at that current time.

She then proceeded to say somethings I didn’t understand, speaking quickly and confusing me.

All I wanted was a little code I was supposed to recieve so that I could replace the laptop.

I did the only thing I could do. As politely as I could, I said I didn’t understand and had to pass her to someone who would (I did have some waiting music lined up, but because she had seemed helpful, I decided not to play it…) and passed the phone back to my Grandad.

59 minutes after dialling Dell’s number in search of one, measly little code, my Grandad finally loses it. He informs them, in a polite way, that they are messing up my education, quoting exactly how long it took for them to reach this point, only to say they couldn’t help, and asking that they just provide a code so that the laptop could be switched.

They couldn’t do that. However, they could send someone round in a weeks time to take the laptop so that they could look at it and return it a month+ later. But they didn’t have the resources to deal with it.

They knew there was a problem. They narrowed down the cause of the problem. But they weren’t interested in helping me fix said problem. Their couldn’t-care-less attitude was undeniably evident.

Needless to say, we gave up on Dell. I was angry and ratty, and I wasn’t the only one.

The next day Dell phoned again. grandad picked up and, by the sound of it, they were offering help. Well, it was too late. The night before we had already gone to Tescos, armed with various bank statements and proof of purchase (still no reciept, but my Grandad keeps records of all finances), and met a very helpful assisstant at the electronics desk. Seriously, this guy was lovely, and we left happy with my new laptop. A laptop which was NOT a Dell!

So, it ended well (we hope ;]).

But I hope no one will make the same mistake I did – just because Dell is a big brand, doesn’t mean it can be trusted. My new Acer is so much better.

Hitting the Headlines: Defiling Literature

Today’s headline on our hitlist: Classical Literature to get Erotic Makeovers.

Personally, I think this is an outrage. I have nothing against Erotic Literature: each to their own. What I do have a problem with is a publisher deciding she (or he) has the right to effectively steal the works of dead authors and rewrite them to include sexual scenes when obviously the book is not supposed to contain such scenes. And those authors are no longer around to defend themselves or their precious work.

The example that got me most riled was a passage from the ‘re-writing’ of Jane Eyre;

‘My master captured my wrists and secured them behind my back, imprisoning me and preventing my movements’
‘How I yearned for his mastery’

Anyone who has read Jane Eyre will see what I mean: Jane fights fiercely against the patriachal society, wanting to be Rochester’s equal and refusing to even marry him, despite their passionate love for each other, until he considers her as such. But now she is ‘yearn[ing] for his mastery’!? It is ridiculous! They could at least read the book before attempting to defile it!

Meanwhile the tragic star-crossed love story explored in Wuthering Heights is spiced up by bondage sessions between the star-crossed lovers. You know, they can’t be together because of status and family, but they have time for a quickie out of wedlock in the backroom. Also, Sherlock Holmes is rolling in the sheets with Dr Watson! Now I love a good homosexual romance, but I don’t think a “Meanwhile whilst Holmes’ brain worked on the case, I worked on him” counts as a ‘good romance’, do you?

If you ask me all this ‘Eve Sinclair’ wants to do is put her name alongside that of the famous authors of history in order to gain fame and money from their works. It doesn’t matter if she ruins the book’s original message, destroys the author’s integrity or turns the characters into kinky porn stars, as long as she gets recognised. Meanwhile honest hard working writers try to make their way into the dragons den that is the writing industry by writing their own original work. Oh sorry, is that a little too old fashioned now?

Well… that’ll be the end of my rant before I get too carried away…

Signing off furiously,
roselaurel.

p.s This is that start of what may be a series of ‘Headline Assassinations’ that will not contain a poem. Hope you enjoy, please don’t hesitate to leave your opinion at the bottom of the page where it says ‘comments’ – I would love to hear it!

Doctor, Doctor, Why are you watching me bleed to death?

What ever happened to ‘Medical Professionalism’?

It disappeared without a trace. I mean, I’m sure it was there once upon a time, long ago when people went into the medical profession in order to be of service and help people. Now? Not so much.

The other day a distant memory came into my thoughts, as it does so randomly now and then. It was a standard vaccination, everyone I knew had to go get it, nurses went into schools, colleges, universities all over the country. Now, everyone knows what kind of questions are asked before you can have certain vaccines. Are you on any medication? Do you smoke? Is there any possibility you could be pregnant? (The latter obviously only applies to women unless you are reading this from another planet) We know they must ask these questions, we eventually grow somewhat comfortable with answering them. I have no problem admitting I answered no to all of these questions. I was perfectly comfortable sitting there answering. What I was not comfortable with, however, was the nurse’s next comment.

“Are you sure? Looks like you could have two in there.”

Yes. She actually said that. I don’t know many teenage girls who don’t care at least a little about how they look, but as a young teenage girl at the time who hated herself because of a little extra weight (looking back, there is no way I was big enough to look pregnant with twins), I was devastated.

Looking back, I wish I had slapped her. I wish I’d kicked and screamed and insulted her, because it wasn’t until I left the room that I realised: I didn’t know who to complain to. My mother didn’t know either. Where do you send complaints to a health service that is supposed to care for you? Well, when I refused to appear for a follow up injection there were questions, and I told the other nurses of the insult. They said they would deal with it, but I don’t know if they ever did.

I have many other, more heart breaking examples. An old college friend who lost faith in her dream job of being a nurse after some volunteer work in a charity hospital left her sickened by the level of carelessness her collegues displayed. A great grandmother I never met, for whom suffering Altzheimers apparently wasn’t enough as her carers forgot to feed her and stole her jewelery. A teacher whose uncle suffered kidney failure and so had to have dialysis… and contracted Hepatitis C from the machine. Which he passed on to his wife before he was told he had contracted it. And a distant family member, a young, bubbly, warm woman who left two young children behind when a hospital’s carelessness left her to die alone in a hospital room.

So: do we have a health care system? Or the illusion of one?

Obama wants to put into place an ‘NHS’ system in the USA. Well, I think it will be great. Just like football, cricket, and a number of industries, anything that originated in Britain always works better in other countries. So he has nothing to worry about.

Doctor, Doctor

“Doc I got a sliver
Embedded in my bone!”
“Then lay down on the table, son
Whilst I put my apron on.
Have a drop ‘o whiskey
And I’ll sort you out a crutch
For after I cut the bullet out
And make sure the wound is trussed.”

“Doc, I have a problem
It’s painful to the bone!”
“I’ll refer you to a specialist
For now you must go home.
Take a paracetamol
Have a little rest
Your appointment’s in a month or two
You’ll be lucky if it’s less.”

Haven’t we come far
From herbs and dance recitals
To the so called specialists
Who heal with but a title?

Oh how times have changed
As centuries move on
Drugs may be advancing
But faith in man is gone.

Do you have any stories you’d like to share? Anything mentioned you’d like to hear more about? Or any other issues you’d like me to rant about? Hey, I’m open to listening to anything you have to say. Just comment.

Dreaming the Life to Living the Dream

One of the most amazing things that define us as being human is our ability to dream. All great pieces of artwork, all of those incredible structures and creations you see around us began as a dream.

Do you have a dream?

The downside of any dream is the fear of regret. An all too human fear that we will not achieve our dreams or goals, and that in 5, 10, 20 years’time we will have lived past our dream and regret not having fulfilled it. For example, I love swimming. Once when I was a child my swimming teacher told me if I continued lessons I could be an Olympic swimmer. Whether he meant it or not, I’ll never know. My parents didn’t have the time or money to get me to the local swimming pool, and school swim lessons didn’t continue past junior school. I’ve never been particularly interested in the Olympics, but I can’t help but think ‘What If…?’
What if I’d kept going swimming?
What if dieting actually worked for me?
What if I had kept up piano lessons from my aunt?
What if I hadn’t given up trying to teach myself Japanese because of other responsibilities?

I could go on. And, no doubt, there will be many ‘What Ifs’ to come. The problem is that there are so many opportunities open to us as children, at a time when most of us don’t know what we want to do or what will benefit us. How many dreams can you think of that you’ve let go because, at the time, it seemed too far off to be reached? Could you reach it now?

My current dream, once that has been repeatedly shattered and rebuilt, is the dream of being a published author.

I have always been passionate about writing, but it wasn’t until around 4/5 years ago that my dream of being published became feasible.

It was at a performing arts workshop. I’d already been writing songs, poems, stories and script fragments for years, and thought that a rap or music workshop’ would be something different. I look so different from all the others in there… imagine what you think a stereotype male rapper would look like. That was the 6 others in the room. Now imagine me, the only girl, a little overweight and on the short side, sitting quietly on her own. Yeah. But after 5 minutes I had a page and a half of a rap which needed no editing, as opposed to their 4-5 lines that they had needed help with. After the week was over we had to fill in a form to audition to perform at a theatre. Not knowing what to write, I asked the workshop leader, who took the form from me and just wrote the word ‘POETRY’ across the page under my contact details. And they kept contacting me. I wrote poems, songs and scripts for them for the next couple of years…

Since then I’ve received several offers to be published from various companies…

But then the painful bit comes.

Even though it was they who made the first move by contacting me asking to publish my work, they just stopped contacting me.
The man who promised to help me publish my own work.
The company that asked to put me in a book with other poets.
Even the performing arts company that had built my confidence up from nothing.

I contacted the company, and they still haven’t replied regarding my place in their book. It’s been a year, yet they send me a letter now and then asking for an individual poem for this or that. I just don’t trust them enough to want anything to do with them anymore.

I’ve considered self-publishing, but money at the moment is an issue.

But I’m not the type of person who surrenders easily.

I have over 100 poems and counting. I’m writing a book, with ideas for several others floating around on various bits of paper and hardware. I have a small series of short crime drama stories on a website. I may not be any closer to achieving my life’s dream at the moment, but giving up is not an option. If we want something in life, and it’s worth having, then it’s worth fighting for.

So here’s the message for today:

Keep the hope alive.

Hope is what keeps us believing, and belief is what keeps us fighting. Don’t lose hope because others have let you down because, as much as it hurts, you will always have people who will let you down. The real tragedy is when you let yourself down. If you can’t rely on yourself, who can you rely on?

Keep the hope alive.

And one day you will make it.

Until then I wish you all the best in every dream you chose to chase, with every faith that you will catch it.

Dream’s Prayer

Blossom, little flame
And grow with all your might
Delight the five senses
With your magic
Wash over me
Little flame
So that I be numb
With the joy you may give

Please don’t strike me down
But allow my heart
To shield and cultivate
Your great light
So that you may spread
To the hearts of others
And be evergreen
Little flame, bloom for me.

 

Consequences of Kindness

Of course we all know a little kindness goes a long way. It is one of the first things we are taught as a child: to treat others as we would like to be treated. I’m sure if everyone lived by this code there would be no problem, but the sad truth is that once we leave primary school the ‘code of conduct’ we are taught to live by as young children changes drastically. Things such as romance edge in to the picture, popularity contents run rife and this is something that is always sure to be prominent in everyone’s future. So where do we go from here?

Well, I believe it is fair to assume kindness doesn’t get you everywhere. There are people in life who appreciate kindness, but there are many who will take advantage. There isn’t really a way to weed this people out for certain without getting to know them, so we will all fall to some unappreciative idiot at one point or another. I am a firm believer that it is not evil that destroys most angels, but goodness. Their goodness is wonderful, and whenever we think of someone we consider to be an angel we think they are spectacular, beautiful people that deserve the best in life, but they are rarely people who have what we would consider to be ‘the best in life’. They are the people that, whether happy with what they’ve got or not, make do and soldier on, caring for those around them whether they have known that person for 5 minutes or 50 years. But goodness can come at a price. If these ‘Angels’ are not shown appreciation, most of the time they will act like it doesn’t bother them. Maybe they think it doesn’t. But subconsciously it gnaws away at them. Angels find it very difficult not to care, so even if you abuse their kindness they will rarely be able to convince themselves to be less kind towards you.

Have I just described someone you know? Or maybe I have described you? Well, here are some things to consider:

If I have described someone you know; be it partner, parent, friend or family, tell them you appreciate them. Don’t wait till their birthday to tell them you love them! Just because you think they know they are special to you doesn’t mean you can’t say it. From as little as a simple ‘Thank You’ to a pat on the back or buying them dinner, every gesture will mean more than you could imagine to them. Your mother cooks and cleans for you every day? Help out by cutting the vegetables once in a while or making sure you leave the kitchen clean after using it. Your best friend helps you revise for a test? Buy them their favorite chocolates or take them out somewhere, just you two. I’m not telling you to spend extortionate amounts of money on every thank you you ever give… sometimes the words are enough.

If I have described you? You are a beautiful person. Hell, maybe you don’t even realise it’s you we’re talking about. But you are amazing, and everyone wishes you the best in life… but sometimes you can be too kind for your own good. There are horrible people in this world who will use your kind nature for their personal gain adn not care who gets hurt. Be careful. Think about what you are agreeing to before you do it – it is ok to say no. Really, it is. You have a life too, and you shouldn’t be expected to do everything for someone just because they can not be bothered. If you feel that someone you are helping is using you or being ungrateful, tell someone. Try talking to them, or talk to a friend. Don’t suffer in silence, my friend, because if anyone deserves happiness, it is you.

Well, that’s all from me for now. Feel free to comment, and here is something for you to consider:

Headstone of an Angel

Eyes that once sparkled, radiant stars
Watched you with love and care
Now are as dull as broken mirrors.
Hair of rich golden silk
Fades to grey-green
And hangs in knotted clumps.

Never distracted by evil
It was goodness that touched the Angel.

Does that pale skin still glow
Or has this grimy layer
Extinguished virtue’s light?
Clothes no longer ivory
But woven of filth
And hang as rags.

Never came close to evil
It was goodness that strangled the Angel.

Once magestic velvet wings
Lie contorted, twisted
Stumps.
Brown leaves fall and crumble
Molting and dissolving
Were they once feathers?

Never tempted by evil
It was goodness that felled the Angel.

Kindnesses given; taken forgranted
Gifts treated like grains of dirt
Yet never a complaint was heard.
Silent suffering for a silent helper
Gratitude was never given
Though the Angel never took.

Never a thought of evil
It was goodness that killed the Angel.

 

Thank you for reading xx

Homosexuality: It’s Natural!

Today I was asked a strange question. If a child were to brought up in a homosexual community, would it be homosexual? Surely the absurdity of this question is clear: if this was the case then everyone would be ‘straight’, because of being brought up in a ‘straight’ community. The asker then went on to compare such a thing to raising a child in a community of pedophiles!! In his defence he is a man of an older generation, but still. Is this what the world has come to? In ancient times there was no problem with homosexuals. In nature, there is no problem. Many creatures in the animal kingdom display homosexual behaviours. In between breeding seasons male whales will often engage in same sex sexual stimulation, and species such as primates and swans are well known for homosexual couples mating for life.

It is ridiculous to persecute people based on who they fall in love with. In the media at the moment there is an argument that homosexuals should not be able to marry in churches. Why not? Just because they are homosexual they can’t be Christian? There are many Christians who are accepting of same sex relationships. Hell, there are many people in every religion who pick and chose what parts they believe in: that is what religion is. So… why are people still so intolerant towards same sex couples?

I’m aware this post may be all over the place, but it’s a delicate subject. This blog will be followed up on a later date, depending on whether or not you decide to contact me with your thoughts and opinions. Is there widespread intolerance, or is it just the few intolerant people getting their voice across? Do you have any anecdotes or thoughts you would like to share? Comment on the bottom of the page, and I will address your thoughts in the follow up blog. For now, I would like to leave you with this last piece;

Homophobia
 
You sneer, turn away
In the light of day
Say our ‘preference’
Is a disease
We’re ‘wrong in the brain,
Clearly quite insane’
I assure you this
Is not the case.

I am the girl abused to change
But you can not change the heart
I am the boy disowned for love
By those I thought would accept
Stop this madness
We can’t change who we are.

They laugh and they jeer
Refusing to hear
It’s more natural
Than they’d like to believe
Can’t you understand
This is who I am
And if you think you
Can change me – you’re wrong.

I am the girl her friends left behind
Ashamed to be associated
I am the boy beaten to death
For the crime of finding true love
Stop this madness
We won’t change who we are.

You’re words cut like knives
Making worthless our lives
Who are you to say
Our love is wrong?
No matter how much pain
We will stay the same
We can accept you why
Won’t you accept us?

I am the girl you left to bleed
Your insults engraved in my mind
I am the boy avoided like the plague
‘Cause you think I want to change you
Stop this madness
This is who we are.

There will be no change.