Ok, so customer care first. Yes, NTL, that's what you do between making immense amounts of profit off of essentially nothing. The remote control for our cable box broke recently (it thinks one of the buttons is permanently held down) so of course we ring NTL to arrange a replacement. They tell us that despite this being the only replacement part for anything that we have ever ordered (having been with them for a substantial number of years for tv, phone and net access) we need to pay £50 for a new control because it is considered an accessory and thus optional. This is despite the box itself only barely giving you enough buttons to be able to change channel by one at a time and pretty much nothing beyond that. Our friendly operator then goes on to add that if you order one off their site rather than via phone it'll only be £10. Going from £50 to £10 for (much like most other things they do) no apparent reason. Ok, so eventually we give in and order one and it arrives quite quickly, I can't fault them on their efficiency getting it here. When it arrives (complete with batteries) I go to put them in, leading to this conversation:
"These feel kinda slimy, like they've been dipped in vegetable oil or something."
"Or indeed like they've been leaking their internals all over my hands!"
*runs to sinks and starts washing*
Probably not their fault there, but very annoying anyway. So now we eventually once again have a working control and all is well :-) I hope...
On to the second part of the title of this post, conspiracies. I've started reading the Illuminatus Trilogy and it is possibly one of the most confusing books I've ever read (I have a single book containing the whole trilogy). Utterly confusing, skipping between points of view and different sub-plots in different periods of time without so much as a new paragraph, sometimes changing halfway through conversations or suchlike. Basically, I love it :-D It pretty much forces your mind to grasp the subtle interconnections between everything that's going on in all these different places and times, and I assume it'll eventually drive you insane, but that's an acceptable risk. I advise you to read it if you can borrow a copy off someone or your library and then buy it if you can follow it, it would be quite a risk to buy it straight off yourself as you might not get on with it at all. Personally, I'm very glad I made the gamble.