Sunday, March 08, 2009

What is it with joke car stickers?

I was driving along the other day and I saw this car with a blue, diamond-shaped card hanging in the back window saying “Cheeky Monkey on board”. Now, I’m sorry, but just what on earth is that all about. Who, I mean who???, would put a sign up in the back of their car saying “Cheeky Monkey on board” and … why? For the love of mike, why?

I mean someone actually spent good money on buying that and then went to the effort of putting it into their car. Why?

No, I’m not going to go into the old cliché about signs that say “Caution! Baby on board!” Obviously they are pointless – but I presume that the parents involved seem to think that other people might pay the blindest bit of notice to them. But, if this is the case, then surely the sensible thing would be for the parents involved to take the sign out when the baby isn’t in the car – boy that cried “Wolf!” and all that sort of thing – but they never, ever do. Those poxy, stupid signs just hang there for years.

Don’t they realise that even if these signs could work in theory, they invalidate them in practice by their own idleness. If emergency service vehicles had the blues-and-twos going the whole time, people would pay far less attention to them. It’s the same principle.

The only thing I can imagine is that it’s some sort of self-aggrandisement thing. “Oh, look, we’re responsible parents. We care enough about our child to hang some crappy piece of tat in the back of our car. Bow down, oh ye unworthy mortals!”

(Oddly enough and as an aside, someone did tell me the other day that “Caution! Show Dogs in transit” signs do serve a useful purpose because people with show dogs on board will drive more slowly and more carefully than “normal” drivers and therefore when you see a “Caution! Show Dogs in transit” you know to expect that that car might act a bit unusually.

Ok, well that’s fair enough, but the flaw in the plan is that the only people – apart, now, from you, dear readers – who know this are other show dog owners. The rest of the world remain blissfully ignorant. Surely it would be far more sensible and effective to have a sign that says “Caution! I am liable to drive erratically and irritate the fuck out of other road users!” Then we would all know where we stood.)

But, where the heck did “Cheeky Monkey on board” come from? It’s not a warning. It’s not a joke. It’s just some sort of advertisement that the owner of the vehicle is really, really, really sad. I mean, what do they think other road users are going to do? Put on that face and tone of voice one does when looking at a bunch of baby baa-lambs bouncing about in a meadow and say “Awwww! How sweet. Oh, look, she calls her child a ‘cheeky monkey’! What an endearing way of referring to the little darling’s spirit of adventure and individuality. Ah, she must be a super mum. Bless!

Give me strength!

And this brings me on to the whole subject of joke stickers in cars. Listen, if you have a so-called joke sticker in or on your car, then unless you invented it yourself, it simply labels you as a sad-act. Ok. This is a rule.

Joke stickers on your car say one of two things about you, and neither of them are good.

Option A is that you have the sticker on your car because you personally still find it hilariously funny. Every morning you come out of your house, see the “love thy neighbour – but don’t get caught” sign and burst once again into fits of uncontrollable giggles over the unrestrained hilarity of it all. Ok, this is not good. Jokes are funny once, or maybe a couple of times, but once you’ve heard them, they stop being funny – unless you are seriously devoid of intelligence, humour or both – in which case don’t advertise it by putting a damned stupid joke sticker on your bumper.

Option B is that, deep-down, you know that your are seriously devoid of your own wit and humour and you are trying to cover it up by putting a joke sticker on your car in the desperately vain hope that people will somehow assume that you invented the joke and that therefore you must be a really funny and interesting person whom they would really like to get to know.

Look, it’s a mass-produced bumper sticker, ok? Unless you have a vinyl printing press in your house, we know you didn’t make it up, ok. Give it up. It’s someone else’s joke, not yours. You aren’t funny. Live with it.

The exception to this rule are the people who do make up their own bumper stickers (it does happen) or who adapt bumper stickers or use them in new ways that put a different – and original – slant on the humour.

A case in point was a bumper sticker that was popular way back when that you used to see on old bangers that said “My other car is a Porsche”. Simply hilarious. However, I did give a wry smile when I saw someone driving around with that sticker on a Porsche. That person had taken the old “joke” and inverted it –giving it a bit of originality.

However then a year or so later, I saw someone driving around in a Porsche with a professionally made sticker that say “My other car is also a Porsche”. Totally failing to understand that by adding the “also” they had completely killed any originality that might have been in the idea and turned it into a straight “The owner of this vehicle is a self-satisfied, smug, humourless wanker” notice.

Joke bumper sticker are crap. Don’t do it.

Here endeth the rant.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

It's perfectly natural...

I do get slightly narked at young women who get all righteously outraged at older men for finding them attractive.

You know the sort of thing:

20 year old girl: “Eww! Yuk! This old guy started hitting on me in a bar. Jeez! He must have been, like, you know, over forty or something! He’s old enough to be my dad! What a pervert! People like him should be locked up! Freak!”

Look, it’s perfectly natural for you not to fancy old people.

BUT, it’s also perfectly natural for old people not to fancy old people either.

You don’t have some switch in your head that clicks on automatically when you are thirty five and suddenly changes the way your libido has worked for the previous two decades.

You do not suddenly go: “Wrinkles? Phwoar! Saggy boobs? Wow! Cellulite? Give me more of that stodgy, dimpled goodness, baby!

It just doesn’t happen. (Ok, there may be a small proportion of people who get off on “old” as a concept, but they are very much in the minority.)

This is why page three girls, and indeed most porn stars, are not in their thirties, forties and fifties – even though most of the people who look at them are. So, why aren’t they? Because young, toned and pert that is what (nearly) everyone fancies – no matter how old they are.

Yes, as you get older, you start to appreciate that older people can also be attractive and stimulating in ways that you cannot appreciate when you are younger. You also start to realise that many young people are incredibly shallow, vacuous, inexperienced, naive and downright boring to talk to.

You also start to realise that if older is all you are going to be able to get, then you might need to lower your standards a bit.

But you don’t stop fancying younger people.

Ooo—er. Look at her. 34-26-34? Perfect complexion? Toned body? How disgusting! Who could possibly want to shag that? Why doesn’t she let herself go, eat a bunch of cream cakes and grow some facial hair? Then she’d look like a real woman…

I don’t think so.

So, whilst it may indeed be a bit odd if young girls want to sleep with some old codger, there is nothing unusual about old codgers wanting to sleep with young girls. Fifty year old multi-millionaires do not hire fifty year old bunny-girls and this is not because there is some law of the world that means that only perverts can get rich.

So, there is nothing perverted, freaky or gross whatsoever about old guys fancying young chicks. That is perfectly normal. Everyone does it. There is only something a bit sad about the ones that still think that young chicks would actually want to be pulled by them.

And, I can guarantee you this, girlies. You may think that beer bellies, hairy ears and baldness are not attractive now – and you will still feel the same way in 20 years’ time. And you’ll look back and say “M.A.D. knew what he was talking about”.

Count on it…

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Does this make me racist?

Now, I have always been pretty sure that I am not racist. I have genuinely to my knowledge never once found myself looking down on anyone because of race, creed or colour.

I think this goes back to my school days. I went to an expensive fee-paying school that had a high proportion of students from other countries, other creeds and other cultures.

However, this school also had an entrance examination, a school uniform and a strict set of rules. The upshot of this was that everyone looked the same, acted the same, and, because we had a pretty good standard of basic education already, we all talked the same. Of course there were minor differences in religious practices and accent, but, pretty much, the school system homogenised us all.

As I say, there was a huge cultural and ethnic mix at that school, but in my five years there, I was never once aware of a single act of racist behaviour. I never heard of anyone being disparaged purely on the grounds of race, creed or colour. Mind you, there was no inverse-racism either; the foreigners were in for just as much stick as the locals when they deserved it.

Now, I have found that the same thing has followed me into adult life. Of course, I notice what skin colouration people have, or if they are exhibiting some overt sign of their religion, but I have never found myself taking that into any form of consideration, apart from “general interest”.

However, I have now found myself making value judgements about people based purely on innate characteristics that they cannot help and that can in no way affect who they are as people.

Does this make me racist?

I am talking, here, about call-centre operators. When I am struggling with some technical problem with the latest bit of hardware or software, eventually I get around to calling the dreaded help-line.

Swerving aside for a nanosecond, what is it with people and manuals? Whenever I buy a new computer, phone, car, gizmo, I have a read through the manual to find out what it can do and how it works (likewise, when I buy a new computer game, I read through the whole manual first, so that can get at least some sort of grip on the best way to use it.)

Oddly enough, I have noticed a distinct element of sexism sneaking into this subject. It may be something that is peculiar to this side of the pond, but I have noticed a definite and significant anti-masculine bias here. It always seems to be women complaining and generalising that men refuse to read instruction manuals. It is, according to the XX crowd, something that “men” do. Personally, I would say that my experience leads to the exact opposite conclusion, but who am I to notice?

But, anyway, back to the subject in hand: racism and call centres. The hypothesis is that I have bought said computer programme (note the spelling of the word programme there, Yankee people…) and, even though I have read the manual, I cannot get it to work.

(Oh, yes, and note how the word colour is also spelled.)

So, as said, I have this hypothetical problem for which I need technical support and therefore, gritting my teeth, I dial the number.

The meat behind the original question is this. When the call is answered at the call centre, and I hear a voice that is clearly belonging to someone from another country, my heart sinks. Why, I scream silently, cannot I have someone from a British call-centre who will be able to understand my question and whose answer I will, in turn, be able to comprehend.

I realise that it is probably wrong, but when I get someone on the other end of the line, for whom English is clearly not their first language, whose accent makes it difficult for me to understand and who is patently reading pre-determined answers from a screen; I find myself just wanting to scream. “Will you go away and let me talk to someone with whom I can actually have a rational conversation.”

Does this make me racist?

The other day, I had to take a fiend into hospital. We were seen by a doctor who appeared to be of Indian or Pakistani origin. His accent was incredibly thick, and we had to get him to repeat himself several times.

Again, I found myself, thinking “Please, go away and send me a doctor with whom I can talk”.

The important thing here, however, is the communication. I got ticked off of by the fact that I could not get answers to the questions that I was asking, It wasn’t actually that I couldn’t get them, it was that couldn’t understand them when I did.

Does that make me racist?

Oddly enough, however, it never even occurred to me to question anything else about the doctor in question. Whatever, he told me, I accepted as fact – once I had managed to get it translated. I never assumed that because he was from an ethnic minority then he must be incompetent, or that his degree was not as good as an English equivalent, or whatever.

Personally, I think that the latter means that I am not racist – and this is backed up by the fact that if my call-centred was answered by someone with an impenetrably geordie or scouser accent, I would feel much the same about them.

But what do I know...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hello, blog, I'd forgotten all about you...

Still still-alive almost a year later. Coincidentally enough, just got back from another trip to Scotland, too.

Went up to stay with my folks, with the same two friends as last time. Another good time had by all. Again, ate too much and drank too much. Didn't smoke any ciggies this time, though. Haven't had one since Christmas. As I said in the last post, having the old type-2 means that things have had to change.

Do I miss smoking? Yes, every now and then; especially when I'm stressed. I also quite fancy one occasionally when I have had a few drinkies and am with a group of friends who are smoking. It's easy enough to resist though, as was quitting itself. No patches, no hypnosis, no acupuncture (God, no acupuncture! Never!). You just decide not to do it any more and don't. Simple as that.

It seems amazing to me that it has been nearly a year since I made an entry here. I read one or two blogs every day, yet, somehow, I never seemed to be able to get into the habit of writing one. Odd that. Maybe it seems, subconsciously, to be a chore, so I put it to the back of my mind - and the bottom of the priorities list.

However, I suppose also that it's probably because it's not in my nature to vent in public. When I am having one of my rare "down" times, I withdraw into my shell and sulk about it. I don't burden other people with my problems; in fact, I couldn't burden other people with my problems. It's not the way we brits do things, don'tchaknow? Stiff upper lip and all that.

I know lots of bloggers talk about blogging being a cathartic experience, but to me it isn't. It can be quite fun, sometimes, but a release of stress in and of itself? Sadly, no.

Ooo! I've just spotted a button at the top that says "Add image". Let's see if it works:

...lots of clicking later... Ok, so I finally worked out that the button opened a new window, rather than doing something in this window...

...more clicking ... but having uploaded my piccy, I can't find it. The other window says "once you have clicked "done", you can change your post and publish to your blog". Fine... except... What bloody "done"? There is no button called "done". Not in this window, not in that window, not even on my microwave. I looked. God, I hate IT technicians. They are the most evil, vindictive, malicious bastards ever to pollute God's green earth. Aaaagh!

Where is it? This is driving me crazy! Give me my damned picture, you sadists!

clicketty, clicketty, clicketty, clicketty, clicketty, clicketty etc...,

Oh, sod it, I give up. It was a nice picture of the family farm in Scotland, too

Friday, October 05, 2007


Still alive - still outrageously busy as I always am in September and October.

Weight now 14st, 11lbs.

I have lost a whole stone.

Yay! Go me!!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What happened to my immortality? Give it back, you bastards...!

Been away in Scotland for a week, hence the lack of anything said.

Had another blood test before I went, got the results yesterday. Fasting blood sugar was lower than last time, but some other result (you can see how excited I am by this whole thing) was still borderline. Also, my cholesterol was a bit high – not massive, but high all the same. Hardly surprising, I suppose for someone who lives on red meat…

So now I’m on pills. And I’m on pills for the rest of my life… WTF, how the fuck did that happen? I am supposed to be immortal. Other people are supposed to be ill and I am supposed to be indestructible and live for ever.

I never go to the Doctors. I have never had a day off sick in my life. I have missed a day in the office owing to food-poisoning and the resultant desire to be close to certain facilities, but I still worked from home.

I am disgustingly healthy. I don’t do being ill.

Yeah, right. Not no more, sunshine. Live with it.

Actually, no, don’t “live with it”. That is a sort of quitter-ish attitude. I’ve got to live with the (pretty obvious, anyway, when I come to think of it) fact that I am not immortal, but I don’t have to live with the idea that diabetes is something that I can do nothing about.

I can and will change my lifestyle yet further to ensure that it makes the minimum amount of difference to the life that I want to lead.

Some of the “I must change my lifestyle” is altruism, but some of it is also fear. I have a known a number of people in older age who have lost toes, legs and their lives because they didn’t look after their diabetes properly. That really doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather lose out on a few treats now than my toes in 10 years time. That would really suck.

Learning to ride a horse with only one leg in my fifties would be by no means impossible, but all-in-all, I’d rather pass on the necessity altogether.

Scotland was good. I ate too much, drank too much and smoked a shit-load of cigarettes. All of these things are soon going to be denied to me. Alas and alack. Well, not denied, necessarily, but seriously restricted, so at the moment I am making whoopee before the dietician and the Diabetes Nurse get their hands on me (curse you, September 3rd!!).

This weekend is the last battle re-enactment of the season, to I will probably have my last gaspers there. I already started moderating my drinking seriously at the last one two weeks ago, because I was finding that it played havoc with my energy levels.

It’s quite odd to discover that you can have a good time without getting pissed. Not that I ever get completely hammered – well, not very often at all – but getting pleasantly pissed has been a part of a jovial social occasion for the last 25 years.

Still won’t be able to dance though. The only way that I could ever get round to dancing was by getting pretty wrecked, so it looks like dancing will now be off the menu for ever. That’s going to take come coming to terms with….

Ok, I’ve come to terms with it now. No more dancing, ever. That’s cool. Every cloud has a silver lining.

So, bugger all exercise, bugger all self control and bugger all something else (I just felt that the structure of the sentence required a third “bugger all”) until September 3rd. Then reality and responsibility kicks in.

(Well, ok, you know as well as I do that I’m going to fall by the wayside on occasion as much as the next man, but I shall try to be responsible and sensible, and, in all likelihood, something else ending in –ible, too.)

Monday, August 06, 2007

What joy...

Had a call from the Doctor's surgery. I have "mild diabetes", whatever the heck that means. Woot!

I have ana appointment tomorrow at 10.20, so I will learn more then.

15st 7lbs this lunchtime. However, I have eaten a big boiwl of porrige and several cups of coffee first, whereas normally I weigh myself "empty" first thing in the morning.

More tomorrow.