Tag Archives: Crapness

Breathe

Just had an unexpected alteration notification for our flights in September which had me going for a moment. Turned out to be nothing more than a change of aircraft, but my own reaction caught me off guard. I almost lost it. An unsuspected panic rolled up my spinal chord and tried to throttle my brain. Which came as a nasty shock. I had no idea I was so tightly wound up.

That was while I was still awaiting my Covid-19 test results and whatever fallout that might bring, so I suppose that was preying on my mind somewhat. Work too has been less than issue-free. Despite working hard to keep my little bit of the economy rolling, dark clouds were looming over my employment prospects, yet again. Still, these little anxieties creep up on you. What’s the one about being up to your arse in alligators while trying to remember that you’re supposed to be draining the swamp? Me too.

Two good bits of goodish news have followed on from Tuesday’s appointment, my cough has loosened up and the sensation of tightness in the old tubes has turned into each clearing of throat bringing up a little clearish sticky phlegm. So the extra vitamin D and Zinc supplements appear to have done their thing. And the Doctor just rang. Not his office, our new locum doctor. I am officially Covid-19 lurgi free. Which is nice. It was a different virus. Oh joy.

One thing that would lower my stress levels to below boiling is for the disappearance of the nightly seven o’clock chorus of rattling pans and wind chimes, honking horns and cowbell ringing. This, we are informed, is supposed to ‘thank’ hospital staff. How the hospital staff will know I have no idea, perhaps they have amazing hearing. Considering people are dying because they aren’t getting treated for heart disease or cancer because all the hospitals are waiting for a crisis that just went sailing on by in late March, I think those ‘thanks’ should be moderated somewhat. I also hear rumours that medical staff are being ‘furloughed’ because there’s not enough for them all to do. Which would tie in with my observations of the bored staff at the testing station on Tuesday.

Jesus H Christ on a velocipede! Is the world really this freaking stupid or are Mrs and I the last sensible people left alive in our neck of the woods? All Canada and the rest of the world needed to do was shut the door on mainland Communist China and the threat would have subsided long since. But no, the powers that be, at least here in Canada, are still busy trying to virtue signal everyone to death.

They’re not even intelligent enough to be considered halfwits.

Excuse me, I’m just off to collapse onto the bed with the relief that we’ve just successfully surfed over another series of mini-crises. I just need a little time out to breathe and count my blessings.

The dreadful algebra…

Easter weekend saw us sorting the affairs of Elderly Friend, who has moved into dependent rather than independent care. There’s tax papers to forward, furniture to dispose of. So many things she no longer needs. The care home have been very helpful while we make sure all the bills are paid, even while they’re in lockdown. Elderly Friend has a new room with a view rather than the poky place she’d been consigned to after her last bad fall. She’s happy, and has mostly forgotten about her old apartment. Give her another month or three and she’ll probably have forgotten all about us the way things are going.

Such are the pains of dealing with dementia. It’s like watching a slowly sinking ship. To extend that simile into a conceit, there’s not much else you can do apart from get the survivors off, log the wrecks location and inform Lloyds of London. Which is what we’ve been doing. Handling the details of Elderly Friend’s downsizing (Err, how much was that brand new and now it can only be thrown away?). Ensuring the equations of comfort divided by finance are kept in balance by applying the right kind of fuzzy logic.

Watching someone close to us go under like this is bloody hard on the soul, but absolutely essential work. We could just walk away of course, but that would mean someone else would take up the reins and maybe drive Elderly Friends wagon prematurely off a cliff without meaning to. So this is our burden to bear. As I’ve often said before, we’re paying off a debt of gratitude. Not to mention having to face our own dwindling prospects by reinventing ourselves, yet again. That too is a work in progress.

It’s at times like these I’m reminded of something that has been called ‘the dreadful algebra‘, which aptly describes the hard choices you sometimes have to make. For example where a loving pet has to be put down or a close relative has their life support switched off. Or to amputate a limb, perhaps your own, crushed in a rock fall or trapped in machinery. Symbolised by the mathematical function; Life >(Greater than) Death.

Sometimes it’s about letting go. Sometimes of a friendship or child because they have to walk their own path. However;

The dreadful algebra is always about hard choices.
The dreadful algebra always demands a sacrifice.
The dreadful algebra doesn’t care about your feelings.
The dreadful algebra means no more comfortable illusions.
The dreadful algebra is a calculation, and in extremis, if you guess the wrong answer for the wrong reason, or worse, not make a decision, it will kill you, and possibly a great many more around you.

Weak politicians hate it, because they’re going to have to make a considered decision and stick to it, no matter what. Decisions that may cost them votes in the short term. Decisions that may cost lives short term, but will save far more in the long.

Being a grown up sucks. So suck it up young Bill. Quit whining and get on with it.

General weirdness

Went to get a takeout this evening. Phoned in my order and turned up at the appointed time. Well, so far so good young Bill. You did something mundane. Good job, give yourself a pat on the back, go to the top of the class and jump off.

Yes, but I found the whole experience, as I remarked to Mrs S over a modest curry, somewhat surreal. Light traffic. Hardly anyone to swear at. Not to mention the oddness of wearing a surgical mask and being the only one in the queue. A simple trip to the curry house had a distinct feeling of ‘The last man on Earth‘ or ‘The Omega man‘ to it. It’s like ninety percent of the population has just gone away without leaving any bodies.

Then there’s the sudden banging of saucepans outside at around seven pm, which is one of those ‘clap for our carers’ things. And I thought, “Why clap for them? At least they’ve got jobs, and no-one is asking them to take a pay cut.” Yet we hear elsewhere in the world that they’re already lifting their lockdowns and using effective treatments tested by other nations. While our own Prime Minister openly flouts the rules the rest of us are meant to live by and tells us the lockdown will continue until a vaccine is approved. Which will take until May next year at the very least.

I know that useless part time drama teacher has to live over the shop (And 24 Sussex is a very nice shop indeed), but at least he could hold the fort and do the duty he’s paid very well for. The rest of Canada having to work away from home has to teleconference to see their families. But Trudeau the hypocrite can’t make that sacrifice, oh no. Then he has the bought and paid for sycophants of the Canadian Press running interference on his behalf. Frankly the whole spectacle is nauseating.

If only Andrew Scheer had the spine to say he’d cancel all the politically correct bullshit, he’d win the next election in a landslide. Can we send our current crop of politicians back to their makers? A lot of Canada wants to make a claim on the warranty.

Mutatis mutandis

Was just browsing the science sources and a recent paper flagged up on my radar. Fun fact; did you know there are three variants of Covid-19? I didn’t, until a short while ago. Variant A is the original ‘Bat’ flu. Variant B, found in Wubei, mainly affects Chinese Asian people. Variant C is now endemic in the West.

Researchers have also documented 10 mutations in the viral journey from Wuhan to Mexico for example. So not only is the Wu-flu contagious, but it’s out in the wild and mutating now. This is not the change that was sought, surely?

Oh whoopee.

So tell me again, why are we still allowing flights out of China to land in the West?

This is a sample

Take a look outside. Go on. What do you see? Fewer vehicles than usual moving. Very few flights (Except for a chosen minority). People avoiding each other. Empty shelves in the supermarket. Hoarding. Restrictions on work and travel. People losing their jobs or being laid off because the companies they work for simply can’t afford to pay them.

And it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.

This is just a small taste of what the ‘Green New Deal’ and similarly intentioned measures would look like if implemented. Those would make the current Covid-19 pandemic restrictions look positively benign.

In the meantime; wash your hands, keep your distance and we’ll (mostly) come out of this alive. The cultures that carry on as before will keep on suffering like right now.

As for these dumb SJW ‘Hug a Chinese’ campaigns and suchlike to combat a non-problem, there is only this to say; the people who throw the ‘racism’ accusation about can do as they will. I on the other hand, have no desire to end up on the ventilator next to them in some sequestered sports facility, wondering if it’s time for this small candle to go out. I am quite happy for them to take my place because I’d rather be thought a ‘racist’ than win a Darwin award.

Personally, I am altering my habits of greeting. Handshakes and hugs are being replaced with a louche kind of half wave, half salute, tip of the hat, a small bow or what I call a friendly nod. Any attempts at physical (Apart from Mrs S) contact are being met with an upraised palm, face outwards at arms length and a polite “There is a pandemic on don’t you know.”.

To any protests of “Well I’m not infected.”
I am responding with; “How do you know I’m not? Please keep your distance.”

Mrs S is chafing. She’s not a happy bunny at all what with the current job uncertainty and I’m having to bite my tongue a lot at present. However, I know from long experience that so long as I hold my nerve and speak softly, we’ll survive.

On a similar note, these sweeping powers that Western Governments are gleefully according themselves had better be bloody temporary or I’ll set the girls on them. They frighten the bejasus out of me, so God alone knows what they’ll do to any flunky who gets in the way.

We still have flights to Ireland booked for September and hopefully the worst of things will be over by then. If our once yearly trip get cancelled, the domestic consequences may be more than I can handle. Did I mention that my best girl has a firecracker temper? Does Amazon do body armour? I may need it.

On the plus side, my Grapefruit plant flower is looking good and I await developments with bated breath. Over here the sun is shining. As to the rest, my teeth are firmly gritted and that’s that. Onwards and bloody upwards.

Update: Just ran a few numbers, see below.

The first four columns are the actual numbers as reported at the Johns Hopkins dashboard. The fifth column is overall percentage of general population infected. The sixth is percentage deaths from whole population and the seventh is the scary number, which is the percentage of deaths from the total of reported infections. Which are mostly already sick people in the 70+ age range.

I’m optimistic. I think Trumps two week deadline to flatten the US curve looks quite achievable. Looks like the US markets agree.

In the doghouse

“I’m always in trouble, it’s only the depth that varies” could almost be my family motto. Mrs S has a dose of cabin fever already, and guess who’s in the firing line. I seem to be able to do no right.

Was it my snoring last night? Well that’s me consigned to the spare bedroom then. No doubt I’ll even get complained at for that.

Something is amiss, and I’m not sure what it is, but it’s got me hunting out my body armour.

Hey, the weather is nice, so maybe I should get the Mutt insured and push off for a two hundred K ride. I’ll probably get castigated for ‘running away’, but what the hell, at over a hundred no-one can hear the phone ring.

Update: Mrs S is just grumpy because she’s got a little cabin fever and has apologised for being snappy at me, so we’re all good. I didn’t lose my job (There may even be a promotion in the pipeline). I’ve even spare cash to invest in rock bottom blue chips, even though my investments are a bit down overall. The infection curve of Covid19 is moving according to prediction, so the markets should start to bounce back in mid / late April.

The kids are fine; I did offer them a little financial support, but the message came back that they don’t need it, which I’m cool with.

Generally speaking I’m still in the doghouse, but things could be much worse. Even the Mutt has a new cover and security locks.

Chores

We were planning to go out today, on the first day of sunshine for what felt like Eons. Unfortunately, Elderly Friend has taken a tumble in her care home and been carted off to hospital with a cracked shoulder. There’s no point us roaring up the Island Highway today as we can do everything by phone. Discharge and transport to arrange. Updating the care home instructions and making it all look seamless. Which has eaten a chunk out of our day.

So. This being ‘Family day’ – a public holiday, instead of going out I am busying myself with chores.

It is quite amazing how many little tasks need to be done around the house when some displacement activity is needed. Garbage and recycling to be sorted. Secure documents to shred. Filter on the cooker hood to clean. Kitchen floor to mop. Dishwasher to flush and the bathrooms were only cleaned yesterday. My Bank needed a minor kick up the bum, as will my old PayPal account because I can’t transfer money between them. And so I spent a chunk of my morning sitting in a call centre queue awaiting someone to answer my cri de coeur, listening to mind numbing adverts for services I don’t need, provided by a bank who won’t do what I ask them to do. Unless I sit in a call centre queue, feeling my brain cells commit suicide in existential despair.

Then we have our taxes to do.

Mrs S is hanging on the end of her cell phone awaiting developments. Our plans for a pleasant day out thoroughly shredded.

Or, as I truculently pointed out to Mrs S earlier today. “It looked like such a nice day for someone to ruin.”

Hospital appointments tomorrow. Oh joy.

Totally f**ked

Canada does not have much of a recognised literary tradition and it’s about to lose even that. The Liberal party, in the person of Heritage minister Steven Guilbeault said on TV, Sunday 2nd February that all websites offering content on the Internet, including small ones, would henceforth need licencing from the government. On the third of February, after criticism on social media, he backtracked. Guilbeault said he had “no intention” of regulating media and believes in a “free and independent press.”

Spot the lie in those statements. Sorry, they are complete lies. Guilbeault is dishonest, rather like the entire Trudeau administration. They want to license all digital content in Canada.

I know where Guilbeault is coming from. The Liberal party has been nettled by criticism from places like Rebel Media and even some other blog based outlets like True North, so Trudeaupe and pals thought that siccing the RCMP on any errant Internet content provider who does not have a ‘license for their opinion’ would be a jolly good wheeze did they? Did they think that one through?

Will all the independent authors in Canada, of which I am one, potentially have to submit our work for Government approval? How many lesser voices will not be able to afford the new license fee that will undoubtedly follow. No doubt it will be just high enough to price out small fry like Rebel, but the inevitable mission creep will cut all the other talent out of the market, should they not be part of the heavily subsidized Canadian Media Party, like the major newspapers and lamestream TV channels.

For those not aware, the major media outlets are poised to rake in over 600 Million dollars of taxpayer moolah between them. On top of what is already paid to the CBC etc.

So much for the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms. Free expression? But only if you can afford it.

Note to self; Time to get moving young Bill. Pack your bags because this shit isn’t going away.

That’s interesting…..

You know how you come across certain snippets of information and your head just nods and you do a big internal “Oh wow. That makes sense.” I had such a moment this morning when I heard about a Swedish drug company donating the sum of a hundred grand to the UK Liberal Democrat party. “Okay Bill.” You might say. “Foreign companies donate to political parties all over the world. Big deal.”

Well sort of, and don’t get me wrong I’m inclined to agree, but when it is a particular drug company which is the major supplier of puberty blockers, you might be forgiven for putting two and two together. The two halves of this little equation being the upsurge of the transgender agenda with its surprisingly smooth intrusion into public education, the Limp Dems being very much on board with the whole identity politics thing and the possible financial benefits to the drug company concerned. Not that I approve of foreign interventions in individual nation states, but money is money, politicians are permanently on sale, and a bribe is a bribe, no matter it’s format. Arms companies used to do it all the time because that’s the way certain cultures did and still do business.

Meanwhile, back on my original topic, I was thinking thus; drugs cost a lot, tens, sometimes hundreds of millions to develop, but the applications of puberty blockers are very limited. Ergo there is a smaller market for said drugs than something mainstream, like painkillers for example. Early onset puberty can prove difficult, not only for an underage child, but also for parents and anyone within their social circle. However, early onset puberty to the degree that puberty blockers are required was once a very rare phenomenon. Nowadays we are told that such things are on the increase. Some claim this phenomenon is due to ‘Gender bending’ chemicals like those found in cheap soaps, certain types of plastic food containers and cheap Teflon. Other, more credible studies cite social and racial influences for early onset puberty. Whoops! forgot the trigger warning there. Oh well, can’t be helped. Don’t shoot the messenger etc.

However, there is another, and more sinister agenda here. All of a sudden there are a lot of surprisingly well funded and connected NGO’s and pressure groups pushing an associated use for such puberty blockers via their activist agendas.

Money is coming from somewhere to fund a very small number of vociferous activists who some, even of their own kind, are loath to be associated with. Could it be that the activists have been taking a sly backhander from the company who supply the drugs used to begin a soi-disant ‘trans’ children’s descent into their own bleak futures? Because the perverted activists who have infiltrated the Anglophone education system are pushing vulnerable children that way? Just to increase sales of an expensive drug to vulnerable young people who only think they need it?

Jesus H Christ on a bike! Surely no-one’s that cold bloodedly callous, are they? Are they?

Will this be the next Thalidomide scandal?

Excuse me. I think I’m feeling very nauseous…..

Recovery mode

Well here we are, back in our chosen BC domicile. Still feeling rather rough around the edges and mildly debilitated. Whatever we have has subsided a little but not gone. It’s just lurking around like a deranged stalker, choosing it’s moment to leap out shouting “AHA! Bet you thought I’d forgotten you, eh?” On the plus side it doesn’t look like either of us are about to die, although our mutual coughs have yet to disappear.

At present there’s a risk we might both get fired as the new accounting system head office set up is (We think) still not fit for purpose. Not that it’s our fault, but the idiot in charge is covering her back, doubling down and setting deadlines which another division have just refused to comply with. That’s right, they’re trying to force us to use a new accounting system which our much larger sister division has just binned. Thus I am working on a Sunday and the following Remembrance day holiday to see if I can iron the bugs out.

So, come Wednesday there was this big video conference where we thought we were going to be hauled over the coals for not being able to make their poorly documented package work. It’s on days like these one feels like Edmund Blackadder on the eve of his proposed epic voyage around the world. That scene where Lord Melchet hands him a blank sheet of paper as a map, asking him if he’d mind filling in the details as he went along. (In episode 3 ‘Potato’) I get annoyed when people do this to me because; firstly I don’t get paid enough and secondly it’s their package which they are paid to manage. Now they’re handing out deadlines and ultimatums? Eff off. I’m no slacker. If a job is at all possible it gets done. If it isn’t, well sorry peeps but you’re not exactly paying megabucks and I’m inclined to do tortoise impersonations to within the shell of my previous job spec. My immediate boss knows this and has written some very pointed emails to the jokers pushing this implementation. Besides, if I can’t do it, I can’t think of anyone else in the organisation who has made it work. Good luck with finding my replacement guys.

Mrs S has seen my reactive scowl and remarked that maybe it’s time we both handed in our papers on this particular company. My response is that maybe it’s time we both moved on.

Well the upshot is that despite feeling like I’ve just had a serious run in with a steamroller we’ve not only beaten their deadlines to a bloody pulp by sheer old fashioned slog, along with a little ingenuity where guidelines were lacking and emerged victorious once more. Having handed in a report on the weaknesses of their systems, as soon as we’ve caught up we’ll be allowing ourselves a bit of a time out.

Despite being disappointed that we weren’t in the UK for BREXIT I see Bojo, the UK’s deceptively jovial Prime Monster has refused to play nice with Big Nige and the BREXIT gang. He may be refusing to be seen to be playing ball with a free trade, free speech faction just in case certain high-rolling donors pull their much-needed shekels from the Tories coffers. Maybe he thinks the election is in the bag. He may be wrong like Treason May was. The remoaners may yet have a sting in their treacherous little tails. The Tories I think, will need any support the light blue faction can offer. Same as they currently need the DUP. Cave, cave Mister Johnson.

However, my judgment is currently very cloudy and I feel like I need a weeks rest to recover fully. As far as any election goes December 12th will be the acid test.

Wandering about

Today we’ve been ambling amiably around the V & A, taking tea surrounded by the sumptuous sculptures of tyrants long gone with the epic line of poetry; “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, look on my works ye mighty and despair. Nothing beside remains…” echoing around what passes for my cognitive processes. Was going to spend the day in the National Science Museum, but it was full of kids, it being half term. So I elected to wait until next week for that small pleasure.

Otherwise feeling a little gloomy because no matter what we do or say, Elderly Friend, safely in her upmarket Canadian care home, is convinced we aren’t ever coming back to Canada, claiming we have abandoned her. As the days pass we get reports that she’s getting get worse and worse, with ever more of her brain shutting down on the gradual journey into the long night.

We write postcards every day, we send messages saying; “See you when we get home”, nothing seems to make a difference, Elderly Friends short term memory will not encode new information, no matter how many times she is reminded, or how many messages are glued to her apartment wall. Sometimes we get a small respite, but no doubt our voicemail will be filled with increasingly angry and frustrated messages when we get home. We’ll just have to roll with it as it happens.

It doesn’t help that the people we asked to keep an eye on her just aren’t ready to cope with what we’ve been handling for months. So it’s middle of the night emails disturbing our otherwise blessed repose and Mrs S is showing the strain after only a week. As if they want us to fly all the way back across the Atlantic right now to ride to the rescue. Not gonna happen folks. We’ve earned this break and anyone who wants to sabotage it will find our email firmly switched off. We have done our bit and can do no more.

Nothing beside remains…. Just a case of doing our own thing whilst matters beyond our control progress. Preparations are in place for the worst case scenario, which seems to be approaching with the speed of an express train. All we can do is wait.

Sometimes I catch myself offering up a dark little prayer for her merciful demise. “Please God, give her an easy death. Soon.” The person we loved has already left us and we must steel ourselves for the outpourings we know will come from her relatives when her body shuts down.

At least there’s plenty of London to wander around.

Tempus, fugitting

Time is ticking down. Old family friend is declining with them, which means we get phone calls every day accusing the care team at her senior living facility with all kind of wrong doing. So we as powers of attorney have to co-ordinate mental health and her carers to make sure of maximum co-operation and minimum alienation. I think we all know she’s on the home stretch. She’s been working herself into a nervous frazzle and with her damaged heart probably doesn’t have long in this world. So our emergency travel bag sits at the ready because it will be us doing the unpleasant post mortem details like formal identification. Note to self, get funeral clothes out of cold storage. Black shoes, white shirt, formal suit, black tie. There are things which must not only be done properly, but also seen to be done after that fashion. This is the way we in our household prepare for these sad occasions. This is how we say goodbye to an old and highly respected friend. Slow, reluctant walk to the cemetery, brisk walk home. Life will go on and those we hold in our hearts can never die. Not a happy thought, but I can see it’s looming inevitability like an oncoming train.

Fuck. I hate doing this.

However, the other thought occurs that we will have discharged the debt we owed to elderly friend and her late husband, which is as it should be. We can take comfort in that.

We managed to get her on the phone, but if anything, the confusion has worsened. All we can do is make sure we’re ready.

Stuff it. It’s labour day tomorrow and the weather forecast looks half way decent, so I’m off for a good long 200k plus ride to clear my head. Full tank of gas, suited and booted. Let Mrs S have the car to please herself. Not much else I can do.

There is an old saying…

… that “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” First coined by an author called Maurice Switzer, not Mark Twain or Franz Kafka. However, according to my loyal team of word jugglers and Thesauri hunting Igors this saying has roots that go back to the Old Testament (Proverbs 15:2 & Solomon 17:28).

Sunday was a very strange day which had Mrs S and I wondering aloud why we actually bother sometimes.

First we went to have lunch with an old family friend to find that enough marbles have rattled out to God knows where to the point that our lunch out didn’t happen. Despite having confirmed our time of arrival over the phone the night before, old family friend had forgotten all about us and buggered off to lunch with someone else without a bye, leave or thank you. So we slipped off and purchased a coffee and cookie type of snack without her. Mrs S was visibly upset as she has known old family friend since she was ten and we have always considered friend as part of our extended family. Yet the person we met today was showing definite signs of cognitive decline, forgetting names, relationships and other things we’ve had in common for years. For my own part I was halfway expecting this, and had steeled myself mentally for the encounter. Many people forget things, but they don’t often repeat themselves four times in a twenty minute conversation. Not unless they’re trying to sell you something.

After that we dropped by at sister in law’s place where the aforementioned proverb was well and truly put through the axiom tester. Brother in law was in full remainer rant mode over BREXIT wanting the overthrow of parliament and the abandonment of democracy. When I politely enquired about what he would put in the place of the UK’s Parliament, he said he didn’t care. If he couldn’t have his way to stay in the slave-state of the European Union, the baby had to be thrown out with the bathwater and fuck the consequences. This is an allegedly educated man with no job and a Bachelor’s degree. Old thickie me, who has two jobs and no degree, begs to differ. I think the benefits of the undemocratic EU superstate have been massively oversold and it’s on the way out. Notwithstanding, we made our excuses and left.

We’re back at home now and Mrs S is soothing her ruffled feathers with a large glass of red and a couple of episodes of CSI, season twelve on Amazon Prime. For my part, having heard his irrational remainer arguments, I need a bloody good shower and need to scrub my skin clean from the inside.

Trying to look on the bright side, a few more seedlings have broken surface in our deck garden and will be providing us with fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables throughout Summer and well into Autumn, before we head on over to jolly old Londinium to see what all the fuss is about.

Oh well, the working week beckons and I need a serious drink.

Sixteen hours later…

Early yesterday afternoon my Windows 10 laptop informed me that there was yet another ‘upgrade’ for my machine and that it was going to nag and nag until I let it do what the Micro-Serfs wanted it to. In the early hours of the morning, some time around five thirty AM it finished ‘upgrading’ and to be quite honest I can’t tell the difference. Apart from some losses of functionality, like losing the zoom function on my webcam, for which I have since installed some proprietary software. Stuff that actually works and is stable. Unlike Windows 10.

Now here’s the thing; I started my working life in IT configuring and sorting out Windows based kit back in the early 90’s and I can safely say with my hand on my heart that I have never had to upgrade computers this often and take so long to do it. Even back in the early days when all upgrades had to be done manually, but never this often. It seems that never a month goes by that the ‘upgrade’ warning comes on and your machine is essentially unusable for four to five hours. This time sixteen hours elapsed between me heaving a heavy sigh, clicking on the ‘Upgrade and restart’ option and going off to read a modestly long book, water the deck garden, dead head the roses, clean my kitchen, watch a couple of YouTube documentaries, get most of a nights sleep and make some sausage rolls for tea this afternoon. Which left me another six hours to play with before the ‘upgrade’ finished its last reboot. I could have cloned ten hard drives in that six hours using Ghost, working sequentially and starting over on a fresh hard drive that needed formatting and wiping first.

It’s the longest I’ve ever spent upgrading a machine. To ‘upgrade’ three apps? Not to mention that my laptop feels like it’s running almost twenty percent slower than before the upgrade. Now I would go down the Linux route if I could find a version that would work with my laptops wi-fi card. Don’t even get me started on Apple, over-priced, data-slurping S.O.B’s. So I’ll be switching off the ‘upgrades’ using the tips and tricks listed in the video below.

The upside is that for my next laptop, I will definitely be looking at one which will function properly with a Linux build and KDE desktop. Windows will not be a purchasing option. Which is a pity. They’ve had a couple of really good platforms; Windows 2000 (SP4) and Windows 7. The rest have been, in varying degrees, total kak. I will be a Windows user no longer.

Snow drama

We’ve just had a dump of snow that has come and gone. Probably at least twice what the UK has had during it’s latest ‘Snowpocalypse’. For example, on Sunday Mrs S and I were driving across to the south west of the Island and big white flakes were coming down like nobody’s business, hitting the ground then disappearing. But then we’re geared up for it over here, all weather tyres and every other car is an AWD or a 4×4. Some AWD’s being more equal than others. The Winter tyre change is just something you do every year. Those with only traction on one axle tend to have a spare set of Winter wheels ready for driving. There’s none of this nonsense with ‘The wrong kind of snow’ either. We get the same kind of cold wet and heavy type of stuff as the UK, and the occasional six inch fall is treated with insouciance. Anything more, well, road clearing is mostly done by local contractors who have their own chainsaws for clearing fallen trees. On rural roads they don’t wait for the Council workers to get out of bed, the problem’s in front of you buddy, you fix it. Likewise, airports and suchlike keep running no matter what. It takes a fall of over a six inches (All right, fifteen point two four centimetres) within twenty four hours to come anywhere close to shutting those down.

Today there’s no snow left except for the odd north facing slope or compacted pile of dirty ice shunted over into a sheltered corner, slowly melting in the rain. Business as usual. No drama. Only a month or so away from Spring. Even then we’ve had serious snow in April, over two feet on one occasion, which was my first encounter with the term ‘snow day’. There’s even been the odd strinkling in June around the 49th parallel. But that’s weather in the northwestern Pacific rim for you. And we’re about the same latitude as Bordeaux, France.

Not that it matters, it’s all Milankovich cycles, Solar irradiance and changes in albedo anyway.

Apart from the cold outside, Windows 10 is screwing with my wireless keyboard and mouse setup. Both started playing up out of the blue two days ago. Tried fixing with the Logitech receiving package, but no improvement. Windows 10 is truly shite. Every update brings new fuckups. I haven’t had this much messing around with an operating system since MS-DOS, which at least had the benefit of being a stable platform. Windows 10 with the latest upgrade is a buggy, unreliable pile of crap. Mostly because I’ve had to go digging through Device Manager to reconfigure the power management settings after this last fucking update. Not just in one, but all devices, from USB hubs to Mice and Keyboards.

From an ex-support technicians perspective, there were only two versions of Windows that were any good. Windows 2000 because with service pack 4 it was almost bulletproof and Windows 7, because it was the last Windows package to do what the bloody hell it was told, and not allow some Microserf to remotely mess around with your well-configured systems. It’s why I used to switch off the latest update until the tech forums reported all clear. XP was barely tolerable, Vista was utter crap and 8.1, well, best avoided if you want my advice. 10 is a complete abortion. The ‘Home’ edition worst of all.

What scrolls my knurd is the constant basic system changes every time a new bell and whistle becomes available. I spend time and energy setting up my laptop to do exactly what I want, when I want it to. I don’t want the fucking thing to keep second guessing me. Firstly it’s annoying, secondly it’s time wasting, and thirdly it’s completely patronising. It’s got to the point that if old Spoonbanger petulantly did drop a nuke on the good old US of A, I’d bloody cheer if ground zero was Microsoft.

Update: on the topic of driving in adverse conditions, I’ve always wondered why, given Northwestern Europes propensity for cold wet weather, that most vehicle retailers don’t simply spend a couple of extra hundred bucks on all weather rubber for their vehicles. The Ice / Mud ‘All Season’ rating would seem to be the most sensible choice, rather than trust to less grippy compounds which are only really effective above 7 Celsius. Not that there’s much advantage because Summer rubber doesn’t add to the grip if you spend half your time (Like the majority of UK drivers) in heavy traffic commutes.

For a personal anecdote, our Geolander G95’s hold the tarmac nicely in all conditions (Tried and tested) from temperatures in the high 30’s Celsius, heavy snow to intense downpours and packed ice. The rear tyres are due to be replaced with a new pair at 130,000KM (80,000 miles) this September. Still with 1mm remaining on the ‘safe’ tread. Wondering which make is best for your shiny tin box? Start here with a 2017 survey.

All of the above is rather academic really, if as JuliaM puts it so succinctly in the comments, “No machine is worth much if the meatsack behind the wheel hasn’t bothered to RTFM!”