Tag Archives: Crapness

Do I care

A multimillionaire businessman in the computing field has died and all of a sudden there’s lots of girlie faux-grief all over every other web page. Oh for goodness sake you lot, get a fucking grip. He sold computers. He made lots of money out of you, and now he’s dead the rest of us who do not share your false emotions are getting a bit ticked off with all the weeping and fucking wailing over your computing messiah.

So not all his products were as wonderful as some might claim, and having to purchase a brand new iTouch or iPod when just the battery had died after less than 18 months (and out of warranty) was a pain. Sure the computers he sold were great for DTP and graphics, if they weren’t they didn’t deserve space on the shelves. Otherwise, they were overpriced and some would say over hyped.

Sometimes I get the feeling that a good proportion of computer viruses out in the wild were written by his fan club, just because they couldn’t stand other people not using their Gods hard and software. How immature can you get?

He’s not the messiah – he’s dead. Now get over it and do your mourning decently – in private.

Another step away

Gave up my driving licence today. My UK (motorcycle) licence that is. My pristine, never got a speeding or other ticket UK (motorcycle) driving licence. Not that I didn’t come close quite a few times, even got flashed once by a speed camera, but nothing ever came of it.

It’s an odd feeling, having finally transferred all my licences and permits over here. The sensation is like cutting an umbilical, a further step away from the land I was born in.

Still busy with running around after everyone else’s errands. The saga of our family friend who is on the shorter road out of this life continues. He’s in hospital, but when you’re that far gone, as the Doctors keep pointing out, there is little to be done. So they keep him hydrated and fed as best they can. We double as a taxi service for his wife, and try not to say anything that might upset her too much. I suppose it’s bad enough watching your life partner slowly slipping away, going home to a house that will never seem full again, and there’s a fair amount of denial on a number of fronts. For my part, I’ve purchased a black tie and hope it won’t get used all that often.

The waiting is hard on everyone, and the strain is telling. Rows break out over stupid things. Psychosomatic aches and pains come and go like ghosts. All I can do is pick everyone up when they fall, and not worry too much about having my own psychic skin cut about by all the emotional backlash. Early morning fishing trips help. Nothing much, just a wander down to the beach to cast my cares upon the water, and the odd whiskey in the evening to take the edge off things. I cook a lot. That helps too.

Have lost the urge to blog much. I mean, I simply can’t get angry about stuff happening almost a third of the planet away. In a land where most of the problems are caused by people trying to impose dunderheaded inflexible top down ‘political’ solutions to every problem under the sun. It’s not my fault they can’t do joined up thinking. Getting mad at them from this distance solves nothing, and candidly; I couldn’t give a shit. Not even a wet fart about a country flushing ancient rights and freedoms down the toilet of History. The Eurozone currency thing too, is running out from under the whole edifice like sand, and as each country is forced to default on the imaginary money they owe each other, it’ll all end in tears.

I feel sorry for those stuck there, but I can’t help. It’s rather like watching someone die. There’s that much of a sense of sad inevitability about the whole process. To governments drunk on spending, the party is definitely over, and the hangover is going to be a bitch.

Like with our coming bereavement, all I will be able to do is walk away, shaking my head in sorrow, and give what comfort I can to those who are left.

Post updated for clarity. Re type of licence transferred. A clean UK motorcycle licence?. Am I a wuss who never opened the throttle? A moped rider? (derisive guffaw) Well, you might think so, but I couldn’t possibly comment. My Triumph 900 spent most of its working life on English A-Roads. Not posing around the main drags where all the speed traps were, asking for trouble.

A short interlude

Not really the time or inclination to blog recently. The awful reality is that an old family friend is, not to put too fine a point on it, dying. Cause; Mesothelioma (Cause, Asbestosis) probably contracted as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy. So we’ve been spending quite a bit of our free time visiting, doing the shopping, running other errands for his wife (Who doesn’t drive) and reading to him, as he’s too weak to hold a book.

Nothing too strenuous, just a bit of Kipling, Frost, Robert Service. The more ribald the better. Although I have to tone the funny stuff down sometimes as the poor chap’s only got half a lung left, possibly less according to his Doctor. I don’t want him to die laughing because of something I said or did. Not that laughing is such a bad way to go, but I don’t think I could forgive myself if I was the cause. Besides, he and his wife helped us a lot when first we arrived in Canada, so we feel that we have a bit of a moral debt to discharge, and too little time remaining to do it in.

Considering the life the man has had; WW2 saw two of the ships he was on torpedoed and sunk; Distinguished Service Order; lost in the Arctic for ten days while surveying for Decca radar, travelled trans Canada any number of times with a Radar training unit. Yes, he is a ‘real’ person, and when he dies I will publish a link to his obituary if it’s available online. Although for our old family friend I think that’s pretty much certain, and if not I’ll bloody write it myself. Such people should not slip from memory so readily. They are too rare.

Watching someone die slowly is not exactly my favourite pursuit, so to lighten my glumness (and Mrs S’s), I’ve been scouring the Interweb for ‘cheer-us-up’ recipe’s. Stap me if I didn’t hit paydirt. Perfect chip batter in a simple, quick and easy recipe. See the youtube clip below. Just tried it out on Snapper and Pacific Cod fillets, and believe me, the result is light, tasty portions so easy even I can get it right every time. Much better than store bought, and rivalling most chip shop batter I’ve tasted. Try it for yourself.

Don’t forget, the water should be properly chilled and the mix thoroughly whisked for lightness. With only a handful of decent Chip shops on the Island, sometimes the DIY method is the only way.

Pub Justice

After an exchange of views over rough justice over at Witterings from Witney, I’m reminded of a system of ‘justice’ that used to exist in various out of the way places.  Back in my late teens and early twenties I used to frequent a lot of rural pubs and learned quickly that laissez faire was not permissible, but that you could get away with a hell of a lot providing you observed the landlords writ. Which usually went;

  1. Pay for your drinks and settle your bar tab
  2. Respect the premises and other drinkers
  3. Take your fights outside and off the premises

Failure to observe rule 1 often meant having your tie cut off, and more seriously no more beer until you had settled, knowing full well that you had blotted your copybook, and the privilege of a bar tab would no longer available to you.  Rule 2 was a little more fluid, and varied wildly from pub to pub.  Where landlord A) Would permit near naked drinking games and all manner of robust hilarity, landlord B) Might eject you from the premises for simply laughing too loud.  Rule 3 was sacrosanct.  All disagreements that threatened to tip over into a pummelling or even bloodshed would be met with a firm “Outside.  Now.”  Failure to comply was not on the agenda because landlords always had some form of ‘equaliser’ behind the bar.  From a heavy stick or cricket bat to a baseball bat, or even a shotgun reputed to be loaded with blanks wadded with sand.  No one was ever stupid enough, at least in my recollection, to test out that particular landlords patience.   The subsequent ban from the premises was also a serious incentive to mind your P’s and Q’s, never mind the F’s and C’s.

This was also in a time when there was such a thing as a village Policeman, who was responsible for enforcing things like gun licences, and turning out with a couple of other coppers to hit any trouble spots mob handed, and leave serious drinkers to their own devices.  Like the ‘lock in’.  also known as “Roll on four o’clock, let’s get out of here”.  That was another thing.  If you were part of the ‘in’ crowd, you gradually migrated into the serious drinkers bar, and waited for all the strangers to be sent home before the doors were locked, curtains drawn, and the party could begin in earnest.   Misbehaviour or disrespect could lose you this privilege, so you had an incentive to respect the ‘rules of the house’.  this was a time of course when landlords had the right refuse service to whomsoever they pleased, and suffer little or no sanction from outside.  This might be ‘No Bikers’, ‘No Travellers’ or even ‘Anyone I don’t like the look of’.  Argument meant a ban.  A ban meant no beers.  It was a sellers market with plenty of punters, so the system of enforcement after a fashion, worked.

The big change in pub culture was apparent in the late 1980’s.  Breweries had developed a policy of asset stripping publicans with punitive rates for ‘barrellage’.  Which essentially meant that the more beer a landlord sold, the more he tended to be charged for it by the brewery company.  His margins shrank, so prices went up, which drove drinkers away to the few Free Houses and private clubs.  Flowers / Whitbread used to be a major villain in this regard.  I don’t know whether this practice still continues.

As the 1980’s wore on, country life became more attractive to the suburban crowd, who bought up local houses, pricing locals out of the market and changing the village demographic.  These new suburbanites brought their own rules, demanding more food, no smoking areas, and whined about everything.  By the late 90’s, the rural worker, once the backbone of any country pubs clientelle was an endangered species.  The New Labour war on the countryside, resulting in the foot and mouth debacle, was more or less the death knell for the pubs I knew and once drank in.  Quite a number of my farming friends got out of the business, others went bankrupt, and fewer survived.   Again this meant fewer rural drinkers, and the rise of the appalling ‘Gastro-pub’.  Now there is the smoking ban.  Even fewer people visit public houses now, and that’s without even mentioning the frequent drink driving ‘crackdowns’.  My last visit to England six weeks ago included a ghastly experience in one of the remaining watering holes I used to frequent.  Only one guest beer, and the rest of the place almost deserted on a Saturday night.

There may be places where pubs are still frequented by locals, with laughter and good conversation the order of the day, but their time is almost up I fear.  The forces of darkness have driven such people from each others company, and the country of my birth is all the poorer for it.

Or as a drinking companion of mine (an old school country lawyer, and latin speaker) might have said; Sileo in pacis meus imbibo frater. Pro virtus decretum ut vestri carmen quod risus.

Reading and rioting

Watching the news come in about the continuing riots in London, I’m minded to recall an old workmate. Someone I considered a good mate and tried to support (when he’d let me), but always ended up being his own worst enemy.

He ticked all the boxes. Mixed race (Anglo / African) with a chip on his shoulder that almost made you duck every time he turned around quickly. A lover of ‘Gangsta culture’. Yet behind all that he was a good chap. A mate, a buddy. Someone I was happy to share off duty time with. My family liked him, my dog liked him (But then again my dog likes everyone, he’d even give Hitler a manic waggy tail welcome). We all thought Dave (Not his real name) was a ‘good kid’. Just frustrated and rather unhappy.

His major issue from what I could see, was a problem with authority figures. “The Police beat up us black people.” He was often heard to say.
I did try telling him once; “Dave, the Police beat up everyone if they’re causing trouble. It’s part of their job.” But my words fell on deaf ears. He just couldn’t see past his own sense of personal injustice. Every single ‘oppression’ centred around his skin colour and predilection for getting off his face with beer and ganja. Which was his way of coping with ‘fitting in’, or rather not. He was kind of a part time ‘gangsta’, but too gentle natured to be one of the real nasty bastards.

Yet he wasn’t a total waster. A better man with dogs I’ve never seen. He often talked of his ambition to become a breeder. For all his wide boy street talk he was both literate and numerate, when he wanted to make the effort. Yet because of his own attitude and reluctance to put the joint and beerglass down, he’ll probably never realise his dreams. This means that every so often his frustration boils over into angry outbursts. Like a child, he will strike out without discrimination.

In this way I see ‘Dave’ as typical of the rioters down in London. Doomed to personal failure by their own self gratification and lack of self worth they hit out at anyone seen to be ‘keeping them down’. Cops, Business people, anyone ‘better off’ with ‘more stuff’. So they see no problem with smashing everyone elses stuff up. Yet if their awareness and aim was better they’d be throwing rocks at themselves.

London’s Burning

Or at least places around Tottenham are. I recall the reports of rioting in the same area where Keith Blakelock was killed back in the 1980’s.

Looks like not much has changed with regard to the Broadwater Farm Estate and surrounding area, then. Tweets and other pictures here.

Police Officers have been fired at, shot back and killed someone who had a handgun. Tell me, aren’t handguns illegal in the UK? To the point where the English Olympic shooting squad has to leave the country to practice? What gun crime?

What seems ridiculous is that all the guys mates protest, then some decide to torch some of the area, yet who fired the first shot? The Police? Then how come they found a bullet lodged in a Coppers radio? Did the pixies put it there?

So far, so – oops

Looking west across the the Pacific to Angry Exiles fabled homeland in Oz. In the wake of Standard & Poors downgrade of the USA’s credit rating (Horses mouth here), we hear the Australian State Treasurer say that Australia’s AAA credit rating will remain ‘safe’. Well yes, of course it will. Until they implement that half witted carbon tax that is. Although the Aussies are fighting back with a ‘Convoy of no Confidence‘ In fact 11 Convoys of no confidence. So far.

Guys, based on previous experience with countries that have lost the fabled triple A status, the financial dawn chorus informs me that it takes between 8-18 years of hard graft to get it back. That’s if the US starts tomorrow. Not that it will with the current incumbent in the White House, who was so busy with his birthday party he hadn’t noticed. Rome while fiddling burns springs to mind. (Flat pack Axiom from IKEA, may require some re-assembly)

Travel observation

Manchester airport; Terminal three.

Had to pass through on my way from one (Naturally closed, this being the UK) car hire office to another at a different terminal. I thought I’d sidestepped through a time warp into Qatar. Go look for yourself if you don’t believe me. I truly felt like a stranger in a strange land. In the country of my birth no less.

The following morning, the cab driver who took us to the airport seemed somehow relieved we were going to a different terminal.

Currently very relieved to be home despite the jet lag.

Cream

What is it with you Brits and cream? Hes it suddenly become illegal or what? Every single Coffee shop I’ve been into since entering the UK has given me a funny look when I’ve asked for cream with my coffee. Last year there was no issue, so why now? Even Starbucks and Costa, who have previously not so much as raised an eyebrow at my caffeine laced preference, and served up my order with a smile. “Sorry, it’s company policy.” Has been the repeated sour faced mantra every time I’ve asked why they no longer serve cream with their hideously overpriced beverages. I mean two quid for a cup of tea, hot water with a bag of leaves dipped in and surly service to boot. Clucking bell.

It looks like the Health Nazi’s have infiltrated the UK’s coffee shops and banned cream on the spurious grounds that it is bad for you. You know, like alcohol and second hand smoke. Yet people will happily push corn syrup or extra starch laced fast food false flagged as a ‘healthy option’.

Oh well, if the ban spreads I shall just have to order my coffee black and take my own cream in with me. Until the supermarkets stop selling it of course. In addition I shall also avoid Starbucks and Costa because as far as I’m concerned, they exist to serve their customers requirements. They built their whole brands on this premise. If they want me to spend my money in their establishments, they’re going to have to up their game a little.

Until I get home to civilisation, I shall be keeping up my caffeine levels with multiple espresso’s liberally laced with brown sugar. Sod the Fascisti