Archive for the ‘Rants’ category

Ha, ha, ha, ha – stayin’ asleep, stayin’ asleep…

June 7, 2012

WHY are my !@#$%*& legs jumpy????


Staying asleep – how can I have forgotten how to do this? I know I used to be VERY good at it, but the knack seems to have slipped through my fingers some time in the last two years or so. Generally the sequence goes something like; go to bed, chat with my lovely wife for a while, quite often dissolve into helpless laughter together and gently fall asleep with a smile in our hearts.

Then…….BANG! Usually approximately an hour later I am awake, and more to the point, bloody uncomfortable! Usually it’s the legs…somehow weirdly restless, not exactly painful…more like that sensation just after pins ‘n needles and the life starts returning to the limb…I wish there was a word for it because I’d be shouting it each time. The effect upon me is principally to engage my anger glands, and then rapidly I get really pissed off with my legs – two parts of me I have always treated well and been rather pleased with on the whole. But not when they feel like this. I mean come ON!

Now, being pissed off with a part of my body is not a new concept – I am STILL not talking to my pancreas for metaphorically packing up and leaving in 1995 – but I always thought my legs were my friends. They have allowed me to run really quite fast as a kid (I used to regularly ‘ace’ that old schoolyard favourite “British Bulldog”), they have helped me carry things – sometimes very heavy things – push cars, motorbikes, play all kinds of sport with varying degrees of success and lots of enjoyment – but I have to say that I am somewhat disappointed in their current habit of waking me up.

I have of course heard of ‘restless leg’, but I would like to add ‘bloody annoying legs’ to the list of things which happen to the middle aged. I am beginning to wonder (and this is indeed a thought born of desperation) if the old limbs are, in their own way, requesting a return to levels of exercise they were once used to…oh crap. It looks like I’ll have to get down to the gym…

Everyday niggle

June 2, 2011

Maintaining the disparate nature of this blog, I am moving from the highly emotional subject of my father’s health to a relatively insignificant issue.

Local driving (well the south west corner of BC, Canada at least) is something of a regular annoyance, particularly because in a former career I was a police officer and during that time underwent months of specialist driver training to a very high standard. It’s one of very few things I do about which I can claim to have genuine expert status. So to observe on a daily basis driving habits which can be categorized as lazy and antisocial drives me to regular bouts of behind-the-wheel profanity.

Now I know that nobody is perfect, but SO MANY people here seem completely unable to demonstrate some basic driving skills, it is amazing, and is the main reason why I decided to not continue owning a motorcycle. Some of the apparently more difficult features of safe driving that locals find impossible to observe include:

  • maintaining lane position,
  • using the appropriate lane; the left lane is for overtaking – not for cruising along in because you intend to turn left in two kilometres!
  • maintaining a constant speed (have we become too dependent on cruise control?)
  • negotiating even the gentlest of curves without braking,
  • signalling their intention at any point before actually manouvering
  • being aware of anything more than ten feet ahead of the radiator grille
  • being aware of anything to either side or behind
  • executing left turns without driving onto the wrong side of the road to cut the corner

Added to this ad hoc list of some of the more annoying habits around here is the proclivity for people to hit the gas pedal on a straight section of road, becoming race drivers for a little while, only to turn to quivering lumps of spineless jelly when faced with a curve or bend in the road and hit the brake pedal hard. Having a heavy right foot with either pedal (at this point those of us with manual transmissions please feel free to smirk smugly) doesn’t make a person a good or skilled driver.

I’m tired of having close calls with people who do the most ridiculous and unnecessary things – the cutting of the corner when turning left being the most common one. A year ago a guy did this to me but fortunately I was far enough away and travelling slowly enough to come to a stop before he drove approximately twenty metres totally on my side of the road before hitting me squarely head-on. I’ll be teaching my kids to drive according to strict rules handed down to me by the best driving instructors anywhere – wouldn’t it be nice if the government had the same principles?

Five month Camping vacation

May 24, 2011

So the prophet Mr. Camping has amended his forecast for the coming apocalypse. The phrase ‘No Shit’ springs unbidden to my mind. As do peals of laughter over the seemingly unconscious irony within his statement that ‘a loving and merciful god’ would (upon reflection over the monumental cock up) obviously not subject the human race to five months of suffering before the actual FINAL final, no-I-really-mean-it-this-time, date of October 21st. Mr. C proved that he is the total package when he refused to comment upon all the people who had listened to his prediction, believed it, and made themselves paupers either through donations to his organisations or other acts of penance/generosity as the end times arrived. He explained by saying that he was not offering financial advice, just spiritual guidance. I suspect that if he was not an 89 years old minister, someone would make it their business to punch him in the throat…all in all a ridiculous and sad episode.

Trolling or Trawling?

May 22, 2011

Everywhere I go online I seem to come across the same phenomenon. It pervades almost without exception each and every stream of reader comments or forum. I opened this blog asking a question about it, and I’ve only recently become aware of the name for it (it’s so pervasive it has its own name) – Trolling. Until I was educated recently, I always considered trolling to be a term which describes a fishing technique, whereby a person in a boat tows a line and lure behind them, in the hopes of attracting a hungry fish. On the internet it refers (as you no doubt are aware) to deeply anticsocial, often borderline illiterate, insulting and generally deeply negative comments.

I am given to understand that in the internet version we are dealing with ‘Trolls’ as in the fabled goblin-esque creatures of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and more lately Harry Potter. Trolls are horrible things, universally despised (except, one assumes, by their Troll mothers)  and this is why the internet term developed, or so I believe.

Or maybe not? maybe ‘trolling’ is being used in the fishing sense? Maybe, after all, the trolls are trying to hook a fish of some kind? Perhaps people who surf the internet making negative, disparaging, insulting, bullying and ultimately harmful comments are in fact lonely people looking for other people like themselves, and doing so using the same inadequate methods that have failed to avail them of meaningful connections in the real world (where being an obnoxious ***** usually has real consequences). It’s just speculation but I hope I’m right and the world isn’t populated by quite so many people who are just deeply unpleasant in nature and therefore enjoy ruining someone else’s day.

Perhaps being brave and harsh and unpleasant in a consequence – free medium is the best communication such people can hope for, in which case I have to say that they are mistaken. There is an infinite number of positive possibilities out there (here),  a mind – boggling number of chances to be posotive, opportunities that have never existed before this age of hyper communication.

Overall though, I find the amount of antisocial and insulting  comments depressing and rather sad and those who practice it are missing the point of life as I see it. I hope (for their sake as much as ours) that the ‘trolls’ eventually tire of being obnoxious, become bored and just stop. If so they have a chance to find a different way to be, and we have a better chance of not reading their bullying crap. Despite their habits being at odds with my values, I wish them (whomever they may be) happy lives. And a broken internet connection – for a while.

Is this heaven?

May 21, 2011

Well, either I’ve been ignored by the big man in the sky or this is heaven – one of the two. In the minds of a small minority of people around the world, these are the only two possibilities.

I don’t have a problem with anyone having a particular belief (unless of course their religious fervour tells them that I must be harmed or done away with, in which case I may raise an eyebrow or two) or indeed sharing it with the world – after all it’s the same principle that allows me to write what I think and broadcast it to my lonely reader (you ARE there aren’t you?).

However to authoritively tell the world in general that god’s end game is about to begin is in my view irresponsible. Who knows how many very vulnerable people – whether through mental health problems or lifestyle – have been negatively affected by the current ‘rapture’ scare? I wonder how many of such people have been really quite worried (if not terrified) of the dire warnings issuing forth from an aged man in the good ol’ US of A? My guess is that as a percentage of the world’s population the number is quite small, but in bare numerical terms, probably exceeds six figures. And that’s a lot of scared and possibly unbalanced people. Who knows what has happened because of this prophecy? How many inappropriate acts have taken place through anxiety or panic?

There really is no accurate way to quantify the effects of this kind of proclamation by a man who apparently made the same prediction 17 years ago (I wonder how that one worked out?), but common sense would suggest that some unwitting – and as I say, vulnerable – people will have had their lives adversely affected by this. Still, it’s a religious belief being shouted from the rooftops so to speak, and so doubtless beyond any public comment by anyone with real influence.  The politicians don’t dare to make a public statement suggesting people feel reassured and calm down, more’s the pity.

How does this man’s belief differ from the other beliefs of christians? I would suggest it differs only slightly in content and not at all in nature. His beliefs are bolstered by a common faith in an invisible god – a merciful god – whom is all powerful, whom among other things saves people from disasters yet kills others arbitrarily and who has allegedly removed almost all life from the earth before and is prepared to wipe the slate clean again. This aged person who has grabbed the media’s attention simply believes on top of all this that he knows when the apocalypse is about to happen ( starting today) but other than that he is pretty much in line with almost every evangelical preacher on cable TV these days, every one of whom warns of the coming and imminent ‘end times’, often just before they ask for monetary donations to their cause.

So why, in the eyes of the watching masses, is he a fool – and the other purveyors of religious doctrine not, I wonder?

For the sake of all that’s…

May 7, 2011

I’d just like to say “aaaargh”. There, that’s better!

My problem? It’s the general misuse of the apostrophe that I seem to see everywhere. Oh yes, this is real grumpy stuff!

Now I don’t expect anyone to have perfect grammar (excepting teachers perhaps), but I am getting tired of seeing the humble apostrophe applied to every ‘s’ that is found to indicate a plural! Examples I see almost daily;

Donut’s, Pizza’s, Car’s, reason’s…the list goes on. There seems to be a whole section of the population that thinks an apostrophe goes in front of every ****** ‘s’! I’m not sure where or when this started creeping in, but it screams of a poor education every time I see it…(seem’s, think’s, scream’s)

To save me typing, here is the link to explain the actual rules…

http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/apostro.asp

Firstly…

April 26, 2011

To start with, has anyone else (and I know I’ll be talking in something resembling an echo chamber for some time until this gets noticed) experienced how utterly vitriolic the web seems to be?  I was on facebook (yes I admit it), looking at a page apparently devoted to sensible discussion of atheism and theism, and what did I find? Racism, sexism, in fact many ‘isms’…I tell you I was totally ‘ism-ed’ out! The posts were mostly reasonable but a significantly large minority were aggressive, abusive, and downright bullying. I made the naive mistake of raising the issue and the snarling bullies pulled themselves into a pack and pounced. Very quickly it became clear that we were within a “be like me or f*** off!” group. Very sad as as well as being very annoying. What irks me most is that one or two of these bullies had their profiles available and all I can say is that the ones I saw seemed to belong to socially inadequate individuals in subordinate occupations and whom therefore appeared to be living out a different life online. Interesting how brave such keyboard warriors seem to be.