The Four Million Dollar Customer Complaint

posted 7 Aug 2013, 06:24 by Tim Butler

I read this wrongly at first and thought the writer had blown $4,000,000 on a single customer complaint. This somehow made me quite happy and I was ready to splurge some words on a well upholstered article about how a single crappy customer can bring down your whole company and why you should really leave people to their own devices. Then I realised I'd got the wrong end of the stick, which is probably why my customer service doesn't tend to make any money for anyone.

10 simple things you can do today that will make you happier, backed by science

posted 6 Aug 2013, 13:28 by Tim Butler

I found this rather good post on the Buffer blog today - I definately notice that a bit of exercise makes me happier and the lack of it makes me quite arsey.

New Free Story on

posted 17 Oct 2012, 01:33 by Tim Butler   [ updated 11 Dec 2012, 00:24 ]

I've put another story up in the Stories section. Here's the official blurb that accompanies it:

Nice Legs is a piece I like a lot - it's fast moving, funny and slightly icky. However, it also serves as a lesson in the perils of topical writing. When I first wrote it the Olympics were in full swing and those nightmarish mascots were everywhere. Now a few months have passed and I can hardly remember what they looked like. By this time next year we'll have forgotten all about them. Except that they were slightly icky.

I Endorse this Message - BBC Drama Of The Week Podcast

posted 2 Oct 2012, 00:32 by Tim Butler   [ updated 11 Dec 2012, 00:25 ]

I now listen to more podcasts than music. I don't know what this says about me but I doubt listening to recordings of science fiction stories is one of the tell tale signs of a cosmopolitan free-wheeler.

But it's not all people in Phoenix bedrooms talking about zombie elves - some of those podcasts are quite professional. Some of them actually are professional, like this one, the BBC Drama Of The Week.

It's not always fantastic, but it's very rarely appalling and that's a good enough hit rate for me. Now I wonder if they'd be interested in my zombie elf trilogy...

Dryer Balls

posted 1 Oct 2012, 12:22 by Tim Butler

Dryer balls

Everyone benefits from dryer balls.

Two Free Stories now available to download

posted 29 Sept 2012, 14:47 by Tim Butler   [ updated 11 Oct 2012, 01:55 ]

I've added the first two free downloads to the Stories area of the site. They are a jaunty 500 word flash called Find The Key and my attempt at something in the Sherlock Holmes universe - Sherlock Holmes-Adler. 

Making Hand Signals While Cycling

posted 29 Sept 2012, 10:09 by Tim Butler   [ updated 29 Sept 2012, 10:12 ]

So I cycle to work. I'm one of those cyclists who always stop at the lights, always stay on the road (never of the pavement), wears a helmet, uses lights even when it's not really dark and wears a vile fluro jacket. In short, I'm a very sensible sort of cyclist. Which is why, against all apparent logic, I often attempt to make hand signals while turning left and right. It just feels like one of those things that a sensible cyclist would do - like checking your brakes before setting off (which I have definitely done once I'm sure).

But here's the rub, here's the amazing paradox which is about to send your brain into a infinite loop of recursive madness. Making bloody hand signals makes me fall off! Well not quite fall off because I always stop signalling and grab the handlebars again in time to keep the thing upright. But I quite often veer about in an unpredictable and not at all sensible fashion. Basically, a signalling cyclist is a wobbly cyclist at best. So what to do? Keep your directional intentions to yourself and go for it as fast as your legs will take you or share them with the world and risk careering into an oncoming bin wagon?

It's a conundrum which, I fear, will never be solved in my life time. Unless I can somehow fit indicators to my the sides of my helmet...     

Cider Tent Rules

posted 2 Sept 2012, 08:20 by Tim Butler   [ updated 29 Sept 2012, 09:48 ]

Do you have Magners? NO

Local News

posted 30 Aug 2012, 00:38 by Tim Butler

So you know, it's local because there's some rubbish in front of the sign and the headline is all like "Hey! Who's dumping this rubbish in front of me man?"

The Paralysis of Choice (or The Hairy Shuttlecock)

posted 16 Aug 2012, 06:02 by Tim Butler

In computer science (was there ever a more scintillating opening gambit than those three deathless words?) students learn about Bayes Theorem. I'm pretty sure I did. Although if I'm honest, all I can remember about it were the pictures.  They showed a box on the left hand side with a bunch of lines coming out of it. These lines extended from left to right (or occasionally from top to bottom) and each line ran into another box, or possibly a circle, from which emerged still more lines which in turn fed into more boxes and more circles.  Pretty soon the lines and boxes would take up the whole of the page until it looks like a giant, hairy shuttlecock. All the boxes and circles are options and the lines leading into and out of them are paths through them. Each diagram represents all* of the possible outcomes stemming from a single decision, and then all of the possible decisions that could lead to and the possible outcomes of those and so on.  

How can you not look at such a picture and not be rooted to the spot with indecision? How can you ever do anything when each action has so very many consequences. Surely amongst all those veins of potentiality there must be one course which is better then all the others. If only you knew what it is was you'd start heading towards it straight away.  If only you knew which pair of jeans would go with all the t-shirts you haven't bought yet, if only you knew which university degree would be the most fun whilst also leading to an equally enjoyable and rewarding career, if only you knew in advance which relationships were really worth investing in and which would terminate in a box with no lines coming out the other side.
If only you knew. 

Because there are so many choices and so many options it's unavoidable that we end up immobile and frozen right on the starting line. Or we get stuck deciding whether to enter the race or wait another year and do some more training. Or we don't know whether racing is really for us after all and maybe we'd be better off just sticking to crochet. 

My advice to you? Do nothing. Yes every journey starts with a single step, but so does every appalling catastrophe. Remain in your home. Pay as you go.   

Only kidding - my real advice to you dear reader, but also to myself, is have a go. Have a bloody go! Try not to think about the hairy shuttlecock and all the options and choices which you could make and instead plough on with the one you did make. Or as my Nan would more or less say, make your bed and lie in it, or it's better to have loved and lost, or there is no try, only do. It was definately one of those. Dear old nan.
*Well I say all of them. If you give it a moment's thought you'll see that this can't be true. You couldn't really have every single possibility, including chased by a tiger, die from a surfeit of lampreys or time reverses itself. You just pull out the ones you are interested in which are reasonably likely. Although I do tend to take it easy on the lampreys these days.

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