Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't ever borrow a book from me.

I don’t take time out to read much. I do however take time to sit on the toilet. This therefore is an opportunity, in the comfort of my own throne, to do 2 jobs at once. Input and output in perfect unison.

I’ve read many books in this fashion. 1984. A Brave New World. The Art of War. The Driver. The complete works of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and a fair collection of Top Gear, Autosalon, and Fast Car UK magazines.

It’s not a new thing either. I recall as a child taking a mail order catalogue into the family sanctuary on many occasion to browse the toy section and decide what I wanted for Christmas that year. This continued into my teenage years where I discovered other sections of the catalogue but I wont go into that. Ever.

But there are a couple of problems with this habit in modern life. The first is that we are force fed “facts” about how, when in the confines of the sacred alter, we are in fact surrounded by poo. We are not just emptying ourselves of the stuff, but apparently, according to “science” (whatever that is) we are filling the very air we breath with the stuff. And it’s sticking to everything in the room. Our hands. Our sink. Our clothes. And yes, the books and magazines we read.

But so what? Unless I choose to donate my magazine collection to a doctors surgery (and many people do so think about that next time you pick one up) no one will be affected by my chosen reading location. But this leads me to my second problem. Work!

You see “sometimes” my body clock rebels and certain things have to be expelled during the working day. This in some respects is a good thing. “Downloading” or "Screen dumping" during the day is what we now term “company time”. Simply put, if you’re sitting down on the job, you’re being paid for it. That is kind of cool in an anti-authoritarian kind of way. However what is not cool is that it robs me of my reading time.

“Don’t worry” I hear you cry. “Technology has the answer”.

And it does. Almost every phone these days has the ability to connect to the web, or even display the contents of an “eBook” or PDF file. So the solution to “company time” is simple. Have the books I want to read ready to go on my tiny little flat screen iPhone look-a-like hand held device.


Except that you’re forgetting something. When I’m done and back at my desk, that phone will ring. Covered in poo particles it will ring and vibrate until I lift it up and put it to my face. Breathing in and opening my mouth wide to talk I'll hold that device next to my gob for maybe 10 minutes. Maybe more. All the time forgetting that it is just a few million microbes away from being as healthy as used toilet paper.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Loosing the will to buy things.

I’ve never been one to follow trends and fads for the sake of it. I’ve never worn fashionable clothes, restricting myself instead, to whatever was cheap, of the correct size, and probably black.

Even though I’m in IT, and hence apparently “into” the latest gadgets, I’m really not. My PC is an ancient 2 whole years old and worth bugger all. My TV, while being a 50” Plasma, is not “full HD” and was the cheapest one I could find without stealing. I don’t buy movies on Bluray, and my mobile phone is used for making calls, and very little else.

By today’s western standards then, I am odd. A misfit. A cheap and possibly smelly creature that should be avoided at all costs. Or so the marketing giants would have us believe.
You see, while I appreciate the finer things in life, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that I don’t need any of them. Further more, it is also clear that there is this ever present drive to replace all the fairly new, and perfectly working things in my house, with slightly newer versions that do the exact same job.

Sure my plasma works fine, but really, how can I sleep at night knowing it’s not FULL HD? How can I live with myself knowing my kids have been robbed of “motion flow technology”? And what will I tell the wife when she wants to watch one of the 3 films released so far in 3D, that she can’t?

People apparently lined up to buy the new iPhone4. A device that is widely known to not work very well if a phone. But the fact that it doesn’t work is irrelevant because it “looks” nice. It has a touchy feely screen, and it does...stuff. People are not buying the phone. They truly believe they are buying happiness. They are buying something that will make them feel good when they open the box and press the screen. Furthermore they believe they are buying “acceptance” from their piers. They are buying into the community of “users”. Funny, I thought drugs were illegal?

But this isn’t about phones or TV’s or small things like that. This is about our general discontent with ANYTHING we already own.

I spent $50K on a sports car. It’s very nice. My friends all tell me how nice it is. People at work tell me how nice it is. And I know how nice it is when I get in it in the morning. I know how nice it is when I drive to work, and then, I know that it’s not quite as nice as the new model that just pulled up next to me at the lights. And instantly I loath my car. It’s old. Crap. Outdated. But the truth is, there is ALWAYS a better car. I could sell everything I own and spend half a mil on a Ferrari, and then a Bugatti may pull up next to me at the lights, and I’d be forced to cry.

And here is where I think I have the answer to one of the worlds current ills. Divorce.

Once upon a time Marriage was for life. But we don’t understand “for life” anymore. Advertising, pier pressure, and very underhanded viral and social marketing are all telling us that what we have is out dated and should be replaced by something a little more shiny.

Is it no wonder that we are happy with our spouse when we wake up in the morning. And happy with them as we go to work, and then suddenly, not quite so happy with them when a nicer newer model smiles at us at the lights?

Just perhaps it’s time to turn off the TV, throw away the product and store catalogues, stop clicking on web adverts, and simply look at what we have NOW, and be bloody grateful for it. From the phone in your hand, to the car you drive, to the house you live in, to the spouse that is there for you when you’re sick, maybe, just maybe we should apply “till death do us part” and be happy with what we’ve got.

People used to be able to interpret the phrase “the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side of the fence”. These days, we’d just buy the house next door and move. We simply don’t get it anymore.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

$100 on the spot fines for using an un-approved word?

That is what is going to happen in Queensland Australia

Of course that's not how it's being put forward to us. "On the spot fines for swearing" sounds acceptable to most hypocrites out there. But if you don't swallow the main stream propaganda, it comes down to being fined for using a word that is not approved of.

I looked out of my window after reading this news and I'm a little confused. No horse and carts? No Knights of the realm lobbing heads off? And even though I work near a lake, I could not hear the sound of anyone drowning ugly women to see if they are in fact a witch. So it would seem we have not traveled back in time to the dark ages, and freedom of speech and expression, in theory, still exists.

But does it? It's at times like this that my other worry comes to head.
"Did we really win the war?"

No one seems to ask this question, because it's a stupid one, but as far as I can make out, we've been taken over by something akin to a Nazi regime by stealth. Maybe our "victory" in 1945 was all a hoax, and the agreement was that the allies would bow to totalitarian regimes over the coming 100 years?

Of course that's a stupid idea because I'm writing these words now with no fear of death. The democratic governments don't dictate what can and can't be said online. And yet the Australian Government is still trying to push through it's "Internet filter". Something it criticised China for during the Olympics.

It would seem that freedom of speech "online" simply makes the job of the Nazi secret police that much easier than it was in the lead up to 1939. Everyone is on NitTwit, FaceAche, and Stalkerbook these days. Everyone is openly voicing their every thought in black and white. Forums, sms's, emails even. So now more than ever, the "casual conversation" can be monitored and if an unauthorised word or thought is used, action can be taken.

I've just realised something. We have traveled back in time. And the year is 1984.