2016 – In review

Let’s be honest, who is going to miss this year. By all known metrics this has been something of a disaster of a time period. None of those shows that look at past decades are likely to linger on 2016, it is unlikely anyone will ever go “You know what was a good year? 2016”.

So as the final moments slip away like another beloved celebrity it’s time to have a look back at what I wanted to achieve this year and despair as I find  out that my to-do list was hacked by the Russians.

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A Good Samaritan

In which I believe that kindness is in everyone of use as it’s out nature.

I think to dispel the myth that I’m an anti-social grump who hates the public I should add that I am capable of my own acts of kindness. I’m a bit like Scrooge or The Grinch, with the exception that I can be kind all year round and I don’t need to be scared into being nice.

Santa with boy
You best be good…or else!

I very much believe that kindness is not hard wired into humans because of some religious text or threat of eternal damnation, but is actually an intrinsic part of our nature. Helping others helps us and being kind is actually an evolution benefit. I came to this realisation thanks to a man from the Salvation Army.
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Turning American I really think so

In which I drop my u’s and take up soccer.

George Bernard Shaw once said: ‘England and America are two countries divided by a common language’, and it’s not hard to see why. As soon as you talk to anyone in England about America they will generally snort and say “yeah, they call football soccer” with a heavy emphasis on the ‘o’. This ignores the fact they picked up the name from the right hand side of the Atlantic in the first place. (It comes from the Association part of Association Football).

For us in Britain dealing with Americanisms is very easy as we have a constant stream of programmes and movies that are in Lingua America, so we can readily link sidewalks, fall and the always humourous fanny pack, with their English cousins. It’s not the words that form the major difference however, it’s how those words are used that forms the major part of our language confusions.

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I can see clearer now

In which the worst thing to happen to me becomes the best.

I’m currently sorting through my old paperwork and in amongst the details of my mortgage and tax statements I have invoices for old cars and instructions for TVs that I no longer have. Yet I also rediscovered one of the most important letters I have ever received, my termination of employment from a certain opticians*.

It would seem odd to be happy to find a letter that says you are no longer wanted, and at the time there was some bitterness about it, but like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park life found a way and I now realise it was one of the best things ever to happen to me. This isn’t one of those thoughts I have while crying into a glass of scotch trying to convince myself it was good, but a genuine belief that being discarded by them gave me a helping hand to have  a better life. I owe them a certain amount of thanks for how my life has turned out since then.

They have also given me a benchmark for how bad life can be, and it allows me to see the same in others. No job is worth your mental health and as the opposite of the saying goes, what goes down must come up. Even when I start to feel a low in life coming on I remember that the important thing is to bounce.
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Bigger is not better

In which I tackle society’s attitude towards the petite man.

Short men make better husbands, and make up in wisdom what they lack in stature – BBC News Article

Not that this is news to me, I could have told them with all my 5’2″ frame that being on the left of the height curve means I’m at the top of the bell for being awesome. The only problem with being an amazing short spouse is getting there in the first place.

Height is the most lied about attribute on dating profiles. I can tell you in one word why the individuals who use matchmaking sites tell fibs.

Vanity.

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Just doing my job

In which I thank myself with some flowers.

I have a thankless job and I’m happy with that, I feel awkward when I’m congratulated and just want to reply with “just doing my job, maam”. Ignoring the problem with referring to my manager as “maam” it also causes me problems in getting ahead in business.

The main issue is I belive my job (kind of like a
executive specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration or a transponster) is a service job. It my my role to help others do their roles better. I’m a caddy or a buttress, I should only be noticed if I’m not doing my job properly.

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I’m a criminal

In which I am chased by an irate French policeman.

Despite my angelic looks I am really a bad boy…I’ve had my share of run ins with the law. I’m hardcore criminal scum. I’m bloody gangster mate. 2460hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh1.

Me as Jean Valjean

Like all members of the underworld fraternity I think I should share my stories of villainy. What you are about to read could shatter your faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.

Let’s go back to a quiet Sunday afternoon on the dangerous streets of inner Bedworth. A small amount of litter is blowing outside of Stubbs’ toy shop, highlighting the plight of a town centre that hasn’t been cleaned since Friday. Continue reading “I’m a criminal”

Flight or fight

In which you wouldn’t like to see me angry.

When I fight I fight to win.

What is the point of finding yourself in an altercation that you are happy to lose? My number one aim is the jugular and I won’t be happy until I am standing victorious over my defeated foe. It’s why I’ve never one a game of Civilization with anything other than a conquest victory, I start out all peaceful and want to spread harmony and peace but then Gandhi nukes my capital and I will seek vengeance upon my attacker (and all those who were not involved because they stood by and watched).

It’s this desire to see my victims destroyed that I tend to stay away from conflict, my flight or fight response is not in perfect balance so I try to avoid getting myself in a position where I have to rely on my animal instincts. If I don’t have to make the choice then I don’t have to deal with the consequences. Who knows what happens when I get angry, I don’t like it when I get angry…

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Remembering my past

In which I try to remember my memories.

It seems like ages since I was last in New York, but it hasn’t been. It is just that I have a terrible visual memory.

I seem to live very much in the present, I don’t really consider the future that much and  my past recall is not very vivid. One of my most common refrains at work is “I’ve slept since I did that”, it is like when I go to bed I do a format on my brain which deletes all the thoughts collected that day.

My factual memory is fantastic, I was doing a quiz with Mrs G last night on famous ships and was able to remember the name of most of them. One of which was the Great Eastern that we both saw last year in Bristol, I can remember all the facts about that trip but I don’t remember being there.

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When I grow up

In which I dream of creating dinosaurs and winning The Ashes.

When I was little(r) I played the “when I grow up” game. I knew what I wanted to be, it was going to be fun and exciting and ever so adventurous. I would change the world! I did not sit and think “You know what, I want to be a data analyst”. It just happened that what I have is an aptitude for crunching numbers and making spreadsheets. I was never going to be a NBA basketballer so I choose the world of Excel and datasets.

I was going to be doing any number of different occupations, I had the whole world in front of me and nothing to stop me. So what happened? Continue reading “When I grow up”