Tag Archives: Crapness

Somethings burning…

…And I think it’s my candle at both ends. Failing that or I’ve got psychic jet lag, or should that be that I’m out of phase with my astral plane? At present I’m up at all hours of the night, from 3:30ish onward, which is 11:30am UK time. No idea why, but I seem to have developed a prescient early warning system that tells me when there’s something challenging going on across the pond.

The early hours went like this; wake up feeling totally wired and with all my brain cells buzzing. Go into office, which is out of earshot of our bedroom. Switch on ‘pooter. Check email. Sure enough there’s an ‘urgent’, highest priority panic now item squatting in my inbox like a squashed frog. Bugger. What have they got their panties in a bunch over this bloody time? Reply to email. That takes half an hour. Fidget. Play a game of Spider Solitaire. Forty five more minutes and Bong! Another response to my carefully worded missive. Reply with clarification. Well, there’s forty five minutes of my life I’m not getting back. Oh Jesus H Christ on a frigging Bike! Can’t people read? Am I teaching a sodding TESOL class? Notify lawyers. They respond in real time. At least they’re awake and on the ball. Remind others that if they had taken my advice two whole years ago we wouldn’t be having these issues. Still, can’t be helped. Make tea. Watch a little YouTube. Another hour and a half rolls by with the email chain growing ever longer until finally it’s 9am Pacific, 5pm across the pond and everyone stops wasting my bloody time and decides to shut up shop for the day. Hopefully that will close the door on this particular conversation. Oh well, it saves having to drag the whole sorry business over into tomorrow. I’ve gotten an answer, not quite the one I wanted, but close enough, and despite the insomnia, sometimes that’s all you need.

Sod it. Is it only 9am? Set up percolator, make and consume a pint of hot black coffee. Feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and I’ve got two critical meetings this afternoon. They say tax shouldn’t be taxing, but getting your finances just right so as not to overpay can be a headache. Protect the capital, manage the expenditure. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Find several day old news item on economic suicide note as announced by the Trudeau boy. Carbon taxes. Wealth redistribution. Yeah, redistributed out of my pocket into some politicians boondoggle. Good luck with that because it’s not going to happen. I have recruited a decent team of advisers over this side of the world. British expats all and they’re pretty lean, mean and keen.

References off to potential new landlord. Decision meeting on Wednesday. Bloody hell is it only 10am? Try to sleep for an hour. No good, I’m too wired. Shower, shave, dress smartly, check notes. I lose an hour somewhere along the line and Mrs S is telling me it’s time to get moving. Come 2pm local time we’ve signed on the dotted and all our local money has been secured before the next tranche arrives and we get to discuss how to maximise our investment yields. In conversation I remark to my finance guy; “I’ve learned two major lessons over the past two years. Trust nobody, and make sure your insurance is good.”
“I’ll have to remember that one.” He replies. Mrs S smiles. She remembers Paris. As do I. Must do it again some time when all the shouting has died down. This time without the untimely injuries.

Now it’s 6pm and I know I’ll pay for missing half a nights sleep this time tomorrow. I’ve got a scan in the afternoon, and my ‘bloods’ will be all over the place. Which may not be such a bad thing if it makes me look more unwell than I actually feel. Might bump me up the long, long waiting list.

This is weird. Why don’t I feel tired?

The downside of virtue signalling

Well that was interesting. Just got this in an email from AirBnB. Now I have an account with them which is rarely used after a couple of rather negative experiences. My main criticism of their service is that their provider vetting needs to be a lot better.

Hi,

Earlier this year, we launched a comprehensive effort to fight bias and discrimination in the Airbnb community. As a result of this effort, we’re asking everyone to agree to a Community Commitment beginning November 1, 2016. Agreeing to this commitment will affect your use of Airbnb, so we wanted to give you a heads up about it.

What is the Community Commitment?

You commit to treat everyone—regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age—with respect, and without judgement or bias.

How do I accept the commitment?

On or after November 1, we’ll show you the commitment when you log in to or open the Airbnb website, mobile or tablet app and we’ll automatically ask you to accept.

What if I decline the commitment?

If you decline the commitment, you won’t be able to host or book using Airbnb, and you have the option to cancel your account. Once your account is cancelled, future booked trips will be cancelled. You will still be able to browse Airbnb but you won’t be able to book any reservations or host any guests.

What if I have feedback about the commitment?

We welcome your feedback about the Community Commitment and all of our nondiscrimination efforts. Feel free to read more about the commitment. You can also reach out to us at allbelong@airbnb.com.

In effect what AirBnB are saying is “If you don’t publicly give way to our PC bullshit, you can’t use our service.”

This company may feel the need to virtue signal in this manner, but frankly I don’t. Wherever I’ve travelled on this earth I’ve always assumed that I was a guest and behaved myself accordingly. No one has ever needed to tell me otherwise because I’ve always reasoned that there are too many arses in this world, and have made the simple choice not to be one. Despite my often irascible scribings I’m a relatively decent chap in person and tend to treat as I find. Regardless of race, creed or colour.

Congratulations AirBnB. You just lost a customer. Permanently. Think of it as the downside of virtue signalling. We were planning to spend a lot of money through you in 2017 and 18. Not any longer. I have just decided that I do not wish to be part of your virtue signalling ‘community’. Fuck. The hell. Off.

P.S. VRBO are much, much better.

P.P.S. The person behind this is probably arch race baiter and apologist for big money to the Obama administration, Eric Holder, who AirBnB hired recently.

Stuff I think about…

“What’s going on in that head of yours, Bill?” Asked my lady wife while we were out shopping this morning. Well, she was shopping, I was just waiting.
“What happens when a warp field collapses.” I replied honestly. Truly. I was bored and wanted to give the old brain cells a quick wander around the block, just for fun. “Just random stuff like that.” Actually I was thinking along the lines of conservation of energy, the possibility of dropping a starship headlong into a relatively particle dense environment like an asteroid belt, comets tail or Lagrange point. Never mind the possibility of quantum foam erosion. In essence, what might happen when a travelling mass transitions from one state within a protected bubble of space time into an uncontrolled near vacuum with no field capable of deflecting incoming masses.
Her reply? “I don’t think I’ll ask you in future.”

A cure for boredomIt’s just my way of switching off. When stress is overwhelming, some people go for a run, bury themselves in their work while others read a book, burst into tears, drink a lot or gorge themselves silly. Sometimes all of the aforementioned. Which don’t work for me. Work is slack, I can’t focus on writing or reading a book and going out for exercise just makes me worry even more about things I can’t control. Telling other people is also off the table, because watching their eyes glaze over always makes me feel worse. That and there are things which should not be shared because in my experience they give others ammunition against and leverage over you. So, I put my mind on a leash and go for a stroll down the path less travelled. Some do pixie dust and unicorns. I like the chilly honesty of deep space.

The reason behind this is having to deal with familial events that I cannot help with but am desperately concerned about, like financial issues of a close relative in the UK which directly affect me, and a near fatal illness of a relative in the fabled land of Oz. I could leap on a plane and arrive all full of vim and vigour, but would my presence achieve anything? No. The UK matters are being handled by my lawyers, who know what they are doing, and the business in Oz by some surgeons with pretty impressive CV’s. Who also know what they are doing. All I can do is worry and get in their way, and that doesn’t do me or anyone else any good, so I have to lead my thoughts down a more picturesque route to take my mind off the bad stuff.

Which is why I think about weird shit that no-one else wants to bother with. Just for fun.

I wish….

A plague of flies has briefly infested the homestead, and I’ve been picking dozens of bluebottle corpses out of everywhere this morning. The fly spray and paper have done their work and I’m picking up the fallout. As usual.

I’m also a little melancholy having taken in the news of the Brexit vote. Not that I think it’s not a result for those who want a proper say in how their country is run, because it is. I’m sad because a man I used to correspond with is not here to see it. Not sure what happened, only that he died in April last year.

We shared a lot of ideological ground, he and I, believing that people own themselves, and that relentless officialdom, no matter how well intentioned, often does more good than harm. He was a firm believer in common law and common decency, even if he liked to butt heads with authority rather than subvert.

It seems that a lot of people all over the world have had enough with the status quo. Iceland, in a result overshadowed by the Brexit vote and footie results, has installed an Independent in the President’s chair after kicking out the mainstream incumbent over a corruption scandal. In the USA, Donald Trump is overturning the political apple cart. Backed by those disenfranchised by a politics disconnected from the day to day. By ordinary people frustrated with helplessness against massive bureaucracy, having their privacy invaded at will and feeling that they can’t win against the forces of perverse conformity who are now speaking out and voting. They’re angry at so called ‘anti-fascists’ who are bigger fascists than the people they’re mad at, physically attacking people in the street with seeming impunity. Sick of being insulted online and off by these purveyors of poisonous doctrines simply for voicing a concern, however mildly. Well here’s the pushback. A true blue-collar revolution has the underdogs out of their kennels, teeth bared and snarling against the soft fascism sanctioned by self concerned political elites supported by a dishonest mainstream media.

As an aside; Mrs S is currently doing an online course about the EU with Barcelona University, and she’s looking at me with new respect. “You were right about it all along, Bill.” She said over breakfast this morning. “I’ve just been reading up on the misleading language in publicly available EU documents, and it’s really opened my eyes.” Frankly I’ve been sceptical about the EU for some time, but everything she’s fielded to me has confirmed that the EU is being run for the sake of vested interests and political cronies and bugger the rest of us. You know what’s crazy? All the evidence has always been out there in plain sight. All you need to do is read the treaties and documents carefully. Or have a high priced lawyer do it. But not many can afford the legal expertise necessary. Ergo the EU Commissars and friends been getting away with it. For years.

Sargon of Akkad has an intelligent view of things on his latest ‘Week in Stupid’ video.

Now the whole EU house of cards is looking like the hollow shell I’ve often suspected that it is. And I’m not the only one. The penny is dropping rapidly all over the world. Eyes are being opened and they don’t like what they see. It’s not just the UK, the whole globalist structure is in the spotlight. Not from journalists who need to trade favours for access, but from the common and uncommon man (Or woman) who has nothing to lose but his chains.

We live in interesting times. Somehow I think Ranty as his uncommon self would have approved. I just wish he’d lived to see it.

On a happier note; I’ve finally decided what my next motorcycle is going to be. One of these. I don’t care if I’ll need a Visa to cross European borders or not. That’s just a detail, and Mrs S and I are good at details.

A touch of melancholia

Today I am feeling rather sad. Nothing desperate, just several glitters short of a sparkle. Pensively distracted. A wistful melancholy settling on my soul like low cloud, blocking the wider view. Last night, in the early morning hours where sleep would not come, I swore I could hear my late Mother’s voice singing the old Ella Fitzgerald number ‘Melancholy Baby’ like she did when I was small.

Ma Sticker was a secret Jazz lover, and played piano in a band when she was young. In her unguarded moments, when cares were miles away, I’d often hear her singing softly to herself. Lilting tunes from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Now whenever my way is unclear, I can hear her voice in my head as though she were in the same room. Funny that. She’s been dead almost two years now and still she can reach out and lay hand on my heart.

Always thought Ma would make it to three figures, but in the end she simply threw up her hands and gave up the ghost four months short of her ninety ninth birthday. She’d be a hundred this year, if she’d lived.

Mrs S says I’m suffering from ‘road trip burnout’ and perhaps she’s right. I’m back behind my desk and in need of stimulation. I’m up to date with all my work and perhaps a little ennui has bubbled up between the cracks (again). Perhaps because I’ve recently gone from eighty miles an hour down to twenty and twenty is sooo boring. Maybe I need one of these and some big empty roads to play on. Or some other unfettered adventure perhaps?

At least this July I’m to be spared the tedium of Mrs S’s symposium and it’s appalling vegan cuisine. I get to slob around Vancouver for a couple of days checking out the fleshpots. Maybe I’ll get out of the city and just head West for a couple of nights, stopping and starting as the muse takes me.

Chromium malware

Chromium malwareThose accursed eHippies at Google have done it again (may they be consigned to eternal hell fire). Today they have wasted my time (On Victoria Day!) whilst I got rid of a browser I never consciously installed that did not show up in my Windows 7 machines Control Panel. Furthermore, it had no Uninstall option and kept on trying to set itself up in my default programs settings, as well as plugging into my machines microphone. I had to spend two and a half working hours digging through the registry on my machine to get rid of this insidious tentacular pest known as Chromium.

Let me explain; two days ago I found a Google browser called ‘Chromium‘ appearing every time I rebooted my machine. “Funny.” I thought. “I didn’t install that.” I looked for it in my startup folder. Not there. I hunted through my programs list to uninstall and couldn’t find it, yet this piece of zombie malware kept popping up every time I booted my machine. Even stealing program settings from other browsers, which I hadn’t asked it to do. Even if I’d installed the crappy thing in the first place. Diving once more into the tech forums for a couple of hours, I came across a whole host of others so afflicted over the last twelve months. Each with their own cure. Each equally annoyed. So it wasn’t just me then?

In the end I had to edit my machines registry key by key, which I don’t like having to do, deleting a total of over twenty six (I lost count after that) specific keys before I got rid of the wretched thing. It’s bad enough that you have to defend against hackers, crackers and every kind of demented 13 year old who thinks it’s funny to fuck other people around by spreading viruses and malware into their machines without so-called ‘reputable’ companies putting in their own sneakware that changes your machines settings without permission, as well as activating functions you deactivated for very good reason.

After trawling through my laptops various log files I eventually found out where this egregious pile-of-shit code had come from, piggybacking in on a shareware application that I downloaded and then uninstalled after finding it wasn’t up to snuff. Got the shareware via a reputable source as well, which kind of blindsided me.

But I’m damned sure I never asked for it.

Satellite navigation

I own a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 inch screen tablet and a very useful piece of kit it is. I use it for handling email when away from base, Instagramming and Skyping with family. Even occasionally taking pictures. It also has a moderately decent ‘maps’ navigation feature and built in GPS chip. While we were in Paris last year it served us well. The little blue dot representing our position on any map was our best friend. It directed us back to our little apartment on many occasions when we had become turned around. This year, several Google upgrades on, this specific application has become not so user friendly.

Let me describe what happens; we fire up the application while we’re in wi-fi access, set our journey options and follow the little blue dot. Ten minutes later the little blue dot turns grey and stubbornly stays on one point of the map we passed twenty minutes before. Now we didn’t use to have to do this in Paris as in the factory default application before Google got their grubby little digital paws on it, all the maps were internal and updated whenever we were connected to the Internet. When not online, it worked as well as any Satnag I’ve ever used, and was a cut above in that it did not send us the wrong way down any one way streets. During our recent journey however, we lost contact on a number (Twenty? Fifty? I lost count) of critical junctures, leading to unnecessarily harsh words being spoken between driver and navigator.

Today I went and checked out a few tech forums, and rapidly found the answer. In the factory default, the original application works off ‘GPS only’. In the Google ‘upgrade’, it switched my device location (Without asking me for permission to do so) settings to ‘Internet and GPS’. In which mode the little blue dot stops for a breather without asking permission. The fix is simple; in the ‘Settings’ menu on your Tab. Select ‘Location’ menu and change location selector to ‘GPS only’. Check after each Google upgrade to ensure that the latest ‘upgrade’ has not switched it back. Bloody Google. They used to be so useful until they went all Microsoft on us.

As an aside: Google may be experimenting with self driving cars, but until they sort out the satellite navigation side, I certainly won’t consider riding in one.

Back in time

Well sort of. We’re now only an hour and six days from home base. One hour in time zones and six more days of driving around the good old US of A. National Parks and general meandering around. Yesterday in Colorado Springs however brought a nasty reminder of how things can catch you out, but also an object lesson in using available resources to sort it out.

In short, an old health problem raised its head. My back locked up. A legacy of years of weight training and generally abusing my body with physical exertion. Two muscles, specifically the Quadratus Lumborum that help stabilise the lower back took it into their fibres to spasm and seize up. Now if you know anything about this condition you will understand two things; firstly it is paralysingly, spine gratingly painful. Secondly you cannot bend or straighten, and walking is sheer torture. It’s a show stopper. Even the slightest misalignment of the back when lying or sitting is agony. A bed or chair that is too hard or soft renders you immobile, teeth clenched, and there is no painkiller short of Morphine that will make a dent in the pain. How do I describe it? Like someone has jammed a rusty crowbar in your lumbar vertebrae. Then twisted it. Attempting to move or bend is impossible. Yes, it’s that bad. I’ve suffered from periodic episodes since I was in my late twenties.

There is a trick, however, that works when painkillers or traction will not. All you need is a nice firm ball like one used to play Softball and something to roll it between you and the unlocking pressure points. This will start the ‘unlocking’ process and with a half days rest, will return you to almost full working order. Ideally you’ll need 36 hours of proper rest to let the muscles fully unwind or run the risk of recurrence.

Fortunately I am happy to report that there is an additional short cut. A Shiatsu massage chair like this one. One of those things you find in some malls and service areas. The ones that cost a couple of quid, Dollar or Twoonie to operate when they haven’t been switched off because the mall rats or someone’s messy little four year olds have been hogging them. I spent the best five dollars of my life and fifteen minutes in one yesterday. It hit all the pressure points and reduced my pain from excruciating to mild discomfort. Today I found the pain completely gone and full mobility returned. For five measly bucks. Something my UK doctor would only prescribe painkillers for. Painkillers that took forty eight hours to even begin returning me to normal, yet dulled my other senses and reduced my effectiveness. Yet a toy ball and five bucks in a massage chair did the trick, no chemicals required within twelve hours. Bloody marvellous.

Colorado Springs? Nice place. Very tidy downtown. Recently upgraded with a lot of money being spent on tidying the place up. Quite a few beggars around until the Police patrols hit the streets around 10am, then the crusties evaporate like morning dew. That was yesterday. Today we’ve been up above the snow line, letting our little Subaru strut its stuff in the fog and ice when other vehicles on their summer tyres were slip sliding away. Tonight we’re stopping over in Grand Junction, feeling relieved and quite pain free. Looking forward to the rest of our trip and also planning the next.

Black Friday…….

What’s the old Steely Dan number that’s been running through my head all morning? Oh yes, ‘Black Friday’. How does it begin? There’s that lovely, distinctly Steely Dan style keyboard riff to open and four or five bars in launching into the song; “When Black Friday comes / I’ll stand down by the door / And catch the grey men when they / Dive from the fourteenth floor”

This is the day for traditionally queueing up outside the big box stores to indulge in a bit of rampant overspending, maxing out those credit cards in the pre Xmas sales, and perhaps trampling the odd fellow shopper or innocent member of staff. Yet today my thoughts are perturbed by the news that Anna, Gildas, and Petunia at the Raccoon Arms are apparently hanging up their keyboards. Thus I will forego my desperation for that must-have discount on a multipurpose slow cooker / egg poacher / toasting machine to think out loud about their tireless dig for the evidence of truth.

End of the raccoon arms Being a natural sceptic, I’ve seen too much of what is presented in the lamestream media as ‘fact’ found wanting when it comes to real evidence. Instead of real journalism, what we seem to get is regurgitated press releases from people with a bigger agenda than the Committee for Really Screwing up Big Projects Again. Retrospective ‘Justice’ demanded by the mentally unstable with faulty memories for what was not an ‘offence’ over thirty years ago. The pursuance of petty grievances more realistically suited for a programme like the offensively lowbrow Jeremy Kyle show on British daytime TV “He touched my arm in 1979 and I’ve been peculiar ever since.” Anna, Gildas, Pet and friends had the experience and training needed to cut to the chase and expose the glaring lack of evidence. They brought their rationality to bear on the seeming juggernaut of lies daily presented as ‘facts’ in the media when faced with the angry, pointing denouncements of the unthinking mob.

Unfortunately we humans are not rational beings. If we were there would be fewer wars, less violence, fewer threats and perhaps we could turn our species’ boundless energetic curiosity to take us out beyond the stars, just to see what’s out there. To follow in the footsteps of our gods rather than kneel under the rule of priests. Instead we find ourselves perennially grubbing in a mud wallow of our own making, unable or unwilling to look upwards and outwards. Preferring the lowest common denominator of our own natures to that great expansionist impulse that could take our species onwards and upwards. Repeating the same old errors in the same old ways without seeming to learn very much. Sheltering under the umbrella of unreason, because comforting untruths are always preferred to feeling the refreshing rain of reality wash our spirits clean. Letting ourselves be ruled by habit rather than reason. Using the primitive Thalamus rather than our more highly evolved frontal lobes.

What’s worse is that we let people with an agenda build labels, those petty little mental fortresses built of words, or try to wall others in by projecting their worse natures onto them. Not only that, we apply these labels to ourselves; conservative, liberal, anarchist, communist etcetera. Not seeming to realise that applying a label is to paint a bloody big target on your position so the heavy artillery of propaganda and untruth, from all sides, can find you more easily. Anna and friends bravely planted a flag in their patch of sand and stood up for what they felt was real, questioning every piece of evidence, word by word, point by point. Questioning the main narratives. Defiantly refusing to be cowed by those who thought shouting the loudest and making sniping personal attacks made them right. For that alone the Anna Raccoon bar staff and some of the crowd in the Snug (a.k.a the Comments threads) all deserve medals. I hope that this time around they leave the site up as an archive rather than delete it all. At least while the domain name and hosting payments remain up to date.

Now I know very few people will ever bother to read and try to digest what I’ve written here. Most of those that do will think that Bill is going off on one yet again, and perhaps I am. It’s just my opinion about a far more worthy blog, and in the court of human words that doesn’t amount to much, except to me. But perhaps that is all that really counts.

Update: Looks like it’s not so much an end but a new beginning.  Whilst the Landlady (The eponymous Anna) has retired and Gildas also, Petunia is keeping the ball rolling in his own inimitable style in a new place called ‘The Tap room’.  Blogroll amended.

Watching the pills go down

Another day, another damn pill. I’m not one who suffers illness with a glad heart, but I also get a bit impatient with the cure. However, the pill bottle content is shrinking day by day, and although I’m not counting, I do give a jaundiced glance at the level in the container every so often and note that it’s decreasing. Slowly but surely. Each day of treatment means I get more of a nights sleep, fewer bouts of feverishness, less discomfort.

Like many men of my generation and blue collar upbringing, we were told to shut up and put up with it. Whatever the ‘It’ happened to be. Bleeding? When you’ve stopped, don’t forget to clean up after yourself. Does it hurt? It’s only pain. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, it’s only ‘Man Flu’. Even when you’re so sick and feverish you can hardly see straight. Or the pain is so great you can hardly put your feet to the floor. There have been those days, I can tell you. Although looking on the positive side, I’ve never had the misfortune to have a digit or worse ripped off by machinery then had to crawl or walk half a mile carrying the separated body part. There was one case from the pre internet 1980’s where a farm worker did just that. Fortunately, my illness is nothing of that extremity. Just something I ignored too long because I was busy with other people’s issues. So it goes.

If all of the above just makes me sound like a grouchy old cuss, well I have news for you, you old cynic. I’d just like to state that I love everyone. Without exception. That’s right. Old miseryguts here. I love people. People I love to be around, others I love to avoid, and a few I’d really love to see dropped into a tank of hungry Piranhas. So there.

Now that’s made me feel a whole lot better. Excellent.