R.I.P. “Prof”

Sid Watkins, Formula One’s doctor died today at age 84. Personally responsible for saving the lives of drivers Gerhard BergerMartin DonnellyÉrik ComasMika HäkkinenRubens Barrichello and Karl Wendlinger, he revolutionized the emergency medical treatment of crash-related traumas which, until 1978, had been confined to a trackside tent.

His autobiography, Life at the Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One remains a great read!

In 1985 he was presented a trophy during the British Grand Prix driver’s Grand Prix. It was engraved:

To the Prof, our thanks for your invaluable contribution to Formula 1. Nice to know you’re there!

A Hero Retires

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, of “Miracle on the Hudson” fame, retired today.

A guy whose paw I’d definitely like to shake!

Godspeed, Sully!

EasyJet to Help Pope Cut Costs on UK Visit

Following reports today, and a Downing Street petition, that the Pope’s trip to the UK is expected to cost the Vatican and the UK tax payer in excess of £20million, easyJet, Europe’s leading low-fares airline, has offered to help reduce travel costs and fly the Pope from Rome to the UK and back for free.

easyJet can offer his holiness a choice of routes from Rome to airports across the UK and a whole new experience of low-fares travel. His holiness will be able to check in online, take advantage of the airline’s generous hand baggage allowance, sit back and enjoy the excellent customer service from our friendly cabin crew. In addition the airline will also include free speedy boarding, to enable his holiness to be amongst the first to board the aircraft and have a choice of seats.

Usually fares for flights between the UK and Rome start from £ 24.99 one way / £46.65 return, which is substantially cheaper than the Pope’s normal choice of traditional airline, however easyJet is offering to fly the Pope for free on this occasion as we are confident that once he has tried easyJet, his holiness will never look back.

The airline has today contacted the Holy Press Office in Rome to extend the invitation and is currently awaiting a response.

Pretty generous offer if you ask me! And added to that, I heard that they’re also throwing in a free orange flight attendant’s jacket!

EasyJet – Beating the System

As previously mentioned, due to Siberian-like weather conditions three weeks ago, our two flights to London with EasyJet were cancelled and we were offered a refund.

Claim #1, including our lost hotel room booking, was submitted using their online customer services form. A problem ticket number was received within a couple of minutes followed by a mail, 3 days later, confirming their intention to reimburse the full amount.

Claim #2 was originally submitted using the link provided via the cancellation mail. As no ticket number was returned, a week later I re-submitted the claim via the above-mentioned form and was duly treated to the (ticket) number I had sought after. And today I received the reimbursement confirmation mail for the second amount.

The moral of this story? Simple and pretty obvious: when dealing with a helpdesk or customer service organisation, ALWAYS make sure your issue is referenced via a ticket number.

“Oh why didn’t I request a problem ticket?”

This not only means that your problem will be handled accordingly; it also means that it will officially become subject to quality management, and quality is all it’s about, right? :angel:

Dick of the Week

Dick of the Week

That Was 2009

Ok: let’s start 2010 off the way one should (especially since one has been a totally lazy b’stard for the last 10 weeks…)

1) What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Visited Florida and Ireland.

Flew on a B747-400.

Successfully put up our Christmas comet without the tail flaming out. Took part in a Bloggy Friday.

Took part in a Bloggy Friday again. Subsequently did not blog for over two months.

2) Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?
I kept one of two resolutions (lose ten kilos), but..for some weird reason it reset! :-(

And, yes: I have made a dozen more for this year!

3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope, nada and not that I knew of.

4) Did anyone close to you die?
No-one close, thank god.

But Daniel Rüthemann, boss of IBM Switzerland’s death just before Christmas affected me more than I would have wished.

He left behind 4 year old twin sons, a six and a seven year old daughter.

It put a lot of things in perspective; MANY things…

Our next-door neighbour; Walter Kalt, 72, also dropped dead after having hurtled himself down the Zurziberg on a bike. We’ll miss him as well..

5) What countries did you visit?
Italy, USA and Ireland

Edit: and Spain, of course!

6) What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Get the IBM Management Certification.

7) What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
26.06: DBW and myself’s 20th wedding anniversary. Why? Because absolutely nobody would have thought we would make it: but we did.

8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Still no tumors.. ;-)

9) What was your biggest failure?
I honestly cannot think of any, apart from still not starting the IBM lead@IBM program. Oh, and still not having any contact to half my family.

10) Did you suffer illness or injury?

11) What was the best thing you bought?
A plane ticket to Miami.

A Rollei negative scanner which enabled me to start scanning all those kiddie pics we took before the world went digital.

12) Where did most of your money go?
The kiddie’s schools.

13) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sarah managing her exams and qualifying for highschool, followed by her signing an apprentiship contract.

14) What song will always remind you of 2009?
The Noisettes: Never Forget Me

15) Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Never been happier.
b) thinner or fatter?
Round about the same.
c) richer or poorer?
As long as I get my CHF 300/month, who cares? ;-)

16) What do you wish you’d done more of?
Transformed my 1-pack into a six-pack.

17) What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastination. Smoked.

18) How will you spend Christmas?
Done: and, as usual, just us four, at home, with a great meal and lots of prezzies!

19) Did you fall in love in 2009?
Again and again and again (always with the same woman: does that count?)

20) What was your favorite TV program?
E.R. RIP! Grey’s Anatomy has taken over.

21) What was the best book you read?
Yet another Bathroom Reader, I’m afraid.

22) What was your favorite film of this year?
Hollywood has been churning out so much cr@p, it’s pretty difficult to find at least one film which made the difference. Ok: I guess Slumdog is pretty obvious.

23) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 45 and DBW treated me to a feast!

24) What kept you sane?
Vodka? :o)

25) Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Oh cr@p..

26) Who did you miss?
Mum, Dad, Luke, Alex: basically all those wankers who decided they would prefer to “keep a distance”.

27) Who was the best new person you met?
Not actually a “new” person, but I’m really happy to have renewed contact with Francoise Lanter and to have met Doris, both weird and wonderful women!

Thanks to Ms-Mac for the Meme!