The Meerkat Muse – 7th February 2024

Welcome back to the Meerkat Muse! Let’s start out with something controversial…

Brewing a Storm in a Teacup

The gist of the Twitter link is the outrageous notion that the Colonies have suggested: microwaving tea!

Now, I am not against reheating tea in the microwave, but I won’t brew a cuppa via the microwave! There’s the proper, British way to make a cuppa (the teabag, then the hot water, a couple of minutes to simmer, then the milk), and then there’s my original way (teabag, then milk, then water), and then there’s this travesty of a microwave!

The Cut Conundrum

As I headed home from work the other day, a man crossed the road around the same place as me, and he was walking ahead of me when he suddenly paused, and told me he’d cut his finger. I have no idea who this man was, or why he furnished me with this information. He wasn’t aggressive, but I tend to get uneasy when random strangers start talking to me in the street, especially given that it was dark. He asked me where I was headed, and I told him I was going to a local shop. This wasn’t strictly true, but I didn’t want to share an underpass with this fella, so I detoured to a shop.

Maybe I was being slightly paranoid, but I am not inclined to take chances with my safety.

Thank you, Jurgen

How a meerkat feels with Jurgen Klopp in charge!

Since 2016, Jurgen Klopp has been the manager of my beloved Liverpool FC. In his tenure at the club, we’ve gone from also-rans to genuine contenders, including winning the Champions League in 2019, the Premier League in 2020, and a League and FA Cup double in 2022. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and there have been heart-breaking moments too, but Klopp restored the belief to the stands, belief that the club can be competitive.

He announced he will step down at the end of this season, and already there’s a lot of speculation as to who might replace him, but for now, I would like Klopp and his players to focus on the remainder of this season. We are still in the hunt for the title, still in the FA Cup, still competing in the Europa League, and we’re into the League Cup Final. I for one believe the players will be determined to reward Klopp’s final season with a successful campaign, and I will keep everything crossed for that outcome!

School Dreams

Every so often, I’ll have a dream that takes me right back to school, and it’s pretty much always senior school. As is often the case with dreams, everything is familiar yet different, but I tend to know where I am, and what I am doing. These dreams sometimes feel a bit nostalgic, and sometimes a bit stressful. The other night, I was dreaming that I was having trouble getting to my lessons on-time, and this was stressing me out. At one point, I was directed to a drama lesson, and this was in a cabin off the main school grounds, which was hard to even get into (I vaguely recall climbing a ladder at one point!). It also seemed more like a cosy little library, rather than a classroom!

What prompts these dreams? I have no idea. The interior of the ‘classroom’ might have been inspired by the castle in The Traitors, which has a lot of beautiful, rustic decorations. As to the rest of it, not a clue.

A Serious Case of Spam

Lately, I feel like I’ve been under assault from various corners of the spam world. There hasn’t been a day gone by where my phone hasn’t rung, and it’s invariably been some kind of housing repair/insurance scam call. I don’t actually answer calls from random numbers (I search them online, that’s how I know what they are), as my view is that if it’s important, they’ll leave a message. I can’t recall the last time anyone left me a message.

Alongside this, there is the scourge of spam emails, and spam comments. Meerkat Musings receives a lot of spam, and so do my emails. Thankfully, the filter do their job, but even so, every now and then delivery spam emails slip through. Basically, you get alerted to a ‘failed delivery’, in the hopes that you’ll use bank details to rebook it. I have been around the block a few times, so I am savvy enough to avoid these cruel scams, but some poor soul will end up being horribly fleeced by them.

It’s less common, but calls to the landline telephone still happen, and they are nearly always some sort of insurance scam. The trouble with landline calls is that we don’t have the sort of phone that can screen them, or alert as to the number, so we end up having to answer it, just in case it is important. Cue talking to someone trying to con me.

The final part of this spam trend comes via Twitter. Since Musk’s takeover, the platform has seen a surge in people tagging others in phishing exploits, and also a surge in what might best be described as ‘sex bots’, hoping to entice others into following dodgy profile links. They’ll tag you in tweets, like posts, or even follow you, in the hope of taking you hard-earned money.

I’d like to think I won’t fall for any of these cons, though the con artists are certainly evolving, so never say never.

Keyboard Concerns

Considering that the laptop in our household is relatively new, the problematic keyboard has started to become a source of frustration. The D key sometimes stops working, and since so many words feature the D, its failure would become a huge issue, if it died completely. The trouble is, a new laptop won’t exactly be cheap, and as is typical, this laptop is just outside the warranty period.

The End of an Era

As of the 1st of February, it was announced (well, the BBC strongly suggested it, Sky Sports announced it) that Lewis Hamilton would be leaving the Mercedes F1 team to sign for Ferrari in 2025. This is quite a risky move to this meerkat, given Hamilton’s very successful time with the Silver Arrows. He has won 82 of his 103 wins whilst driving for Mercedes, and won six of his record-equalling seven world championships with the German team. There is no doubt that Mercedes have struggled in recent years, but they do have a proven track record of success over the past decade, whereas Ferrari have a record for being inconsistent, less reliable than Mercedes, and prone to strategic errors.

Perhaps I am being unduly concerned. Ferrari have a long and regal history in Formula 1, and success in the sport is in their DNA. We’ll have to wait and see.

Looking for Laptops

Owing to the on-going fault with the D key (in case you’re wondering, I am typing this up via a different computer), I have started to look at new laptops, though I am loathe to fork out for one right now. I have also been looking at repair options, though I have a few concerns around that too. My chief worry is that getting the keyboard repaired, whilst doable, might wind up as expensive as a new laptop. The other issue is that a lot of the time, repair procedures involve wiping the hard drive, even if there is no need to do so. There are a lot of photos and documents stored on the laptop that I don’t want to lose.

Fortunately, there does seem to be a few places that can repair a laptop keyboard without charging the earth. Don’t get me wrong, £80 is still a lot of money, but compared to upwards of £400 for a decent laptop? I know what my preferred option is!

I need this resolved, because I need to complete the final editing on Fontana & Istilor, and I can’t do any work on the sequel to The Awakening.

Another impact of all this is that I haven’t been as productive with Meerkat Musings as I would like. On the flipside, Football Manager 21 does not need a keyboard, and I’ve been going through the motions of a new journeyman adventure there. The odds are that will all end in tears (the last two adventures certainly did!), but I am a glutton for punishment.

Given the challenging state of affairs, I apologise in advance if my output (which I know all you ‘kats eagerly anticipate!) drops over the next couple of weeks!

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