Categories
Thoughts

Like starting over again

After breaking the news to Mrs G I was deleting all my old posts, her first reaction was “why have you done that again?”

“Did you read what I wrote yesterday,”, I asked.

“No.” came the response. “I don’t look at your blog anymore as all you do is post old stuff.”

With this clean slate in front of me and the big question is what am I going to write about? The temptation is always there to descend back into my usual rants and perceived slights, but there is also a part of me which feels like I should write about things which interest me. I should begin writing about hobbies, about movies and games, and all the geeky things I intended to.

In the last three years since I was writing regularly I picked up plenty of new interests. I enjoy barbecuing, I’ve discovered I like whiskey. I’ve even started some craft-based hobbies like trying to sew.

My parenting has also come along now I have two sentient children.

All the panics and worries I had before evaporated. I have to educate and inform children who talk back to me, children who are sassy.

Children I’m also aware never asked to be all over social media

I’ve also learnt new things like how I like to work, how to be a better employee. I’ve even gone freelance and started my business.

I’ve even given up the entire Google ecosystem and become an Apple acolyte.

At night I’ve started to read books rather than websites.

Will the angry part of me disappear? I don’t think so. As I sat on the train listening the “tsh tsh” from someone‘s headphones the thought came to my mind was didn’t I write something in 2013 about this?

As I went to find the old post I stopped myself and realised, why don’t you just calm yourself by typing a new rant? Write a new piece that is different but also the same as what I did before.

The whole point of me removing all my old drafts was writing makes me feel better. It’s why I started blogging. It was to find an outlet for my stress and copying and pasting does not ease that.

So let’s get angry and geeky all over again. Maybe Mrs G will read this again?

Categories
Thoughts

Constant Reboot

I could call it a crisis, or call it a rehash. The reality is that I have rebooted this site so many times that I am in the process of uploading the same 300 words for the fourth or fifth time in an attempt to recreate that which has been lost.

As a new post appears, and new being a loose definition, Mrs G will wearily say:

I’ve read this before haven’t I?

Yes you have. I never seem to write anything new and continue to bask in old glories by reposting all the archived content I have saved.

Yesterday I dragged whatever I could find out of my drafts just to hit my streak. I’ll be honest it is not some of my best work. I think it was originally written back in 2013 when I was still typing any old thing that came to mind. It was the result of a ‘Daily Post’ prompt on senses.

In all likelihood it was something tapped out on a phone during a morning commute. It reads like a piece of hurried prose.

My recent posts are also a rehash. I am having to change references to how old my children are, and in some cases adding more than a couple of years to make sure they are up to date. I should admit that if a post is more than four years old should I be reposting it.

I restarted writing because I need an outlet for my boredom. Instead of doing anything new I’m just copying and pasting. Tidying up formatting is hardly the most engaging of hobbies.

The process of checking my old posts has also made me realise that I’m not quite the same person as the man who originally wrote them. There is a hint of aggression in my reaction to dating and ‘princesses’ that I’m now a little embarrassed by. Some of the attempts at pop culture are a little outdated (see The Nuclear Option) and there are plenty of references to events that are long gone (hello 2012 Mayan Apocalypse).

Why not delete them all and start again?

You may call it the worry of losing hundreds of hours I spent making them in the first place, or maybe the fear of starting again with a blank canvas.

In amongst the dregs are some good pieces I wrote. There are some long pieces, as well as original poems and artwork. These may be saved.

The rest.

Deleted.

Almost forgotten. I have saved the memory of their titles ready to go again. Who knows what “Borrowed from the Past” was originally about? I may end up recreating the wheel and doing the same thing, or perhaps take it in a whole new direction.

Whatever I decide to do this is going to be one of my famous lines in the sand that I end up crossing in a few months time.

No more reposts.

Just reboots.

Categories
Thoughts

Breath of fresh air, and bacon

I have a great sense of smell. On one hand this is fantastic, I am able to detect bacon cooking from over 500m away and can pinpoint the direction I need to go to get fed. On the other it means I get to detect some of the less pleasant smells around us which means on the morning commute I have to stuff my nostrils with tiny pieces of pancetta to be able to survive without gagging.

I’m not claiming I can be a perfumer or someone who sniffs wine. I have a good sense of smell but not the capacity to detect “daisies on the south facing hillside above the village of Charbonnat in early June picked by a young maiden who has the faintest hint of coffee on he right index finger” (aka the smell industry BS). There are however some smells I love to whiff.

Bacon cooking

Should be self explanatory that, if there is one smell guaranteed to make me salivate it would be a few slices of Danish sizzling away in the pan. Nothing is able to replicate it, let alone the “fake bacon” industrial complex. The bacon flavoured joke foods you get like bacon bublegum, bacon toothpaste or Quorn, are just not the same. They are too chemical and harsh.

Petrol

Which is why my affection for petrol (or Gasoline) is very odd. There is something about the complex aroma of fuel that gets me going. I know I am not the only person who likes the smell as I get 8.2m results in Google for “I like the smell of Petrol”. This article “why do we like the smell of Gasoline”suggests its the euphoria we get from inhaling benzene, similar to being drunk.

Important – don’t deliberately inhale petrol. It is very bad for you.

Seriously – don’t

Ammonia

Again, I have my own sense of double you tea eff, but I can’t help it. I think it’s to do with the way it seems to hit you at the back of the throat and acts like a nasal bleach. Yes, I also like TCP and other anti-bacterials and this makes me sound like a crazy person.

Garlic in butter

Something normal, the smell of garlic frying in butter is amazing. If only it could constitute a proper meal I would be happy. Perhaps I could recommend to Glade or Febreeze to make a range of cooking smell room fresheners. They could make millions (especially for the home-moving market if you had “Fresh Bread” or “Brewing Coffee”).

The Sea

The salty air, it calls to me.

Categories
Geek

Being a Critic

Art puzzles me.

Perhaps because I have a more scientific look on life, I can’t get past a cigar just being a cigar. The meaning of art is something I struggle with. If the artist has placed meaning in their work, I can understand and follow that, but it is the hidden or interpreted meaning that I cannot grasp. If not explicitly stated does the esoteric story of a painting really exists, or do experts place their own thoughts onto art?

I like modern art, yes I think it is just blobs of colour in random arrangements but I like that. I’m fond of a Mondrian. In fact, during my Art GCSE my artist study was Mondrian.

This meant while the others in my class were slaving away over replica Van Gogh or Monets I could paint a few black lines and colour in a few squares with primary colours. I could get just as good a grade as the real works of art and it made me realise that how much someone works at a piece of art is unimportant. What matters is that it either looks good or the artist can convince you it is good.

This may have been Van Gogh problem

Rather than being able to convince others in his lifetime he was a genius he came across as mad and desperate. Why would you buy artwork from a man like that, you want someone brash and able to sell his work? This is how Damien Hirst survives in the art world.

The art world is often like the Emperor’s New Clothes, you are told you only get art if you are clever so when confronted with a confusing piece of work you have to feign understanding and talk about the juxtaposition of the light. Inside you are thinking what is this crap but if you do, you’ll be ridiculed by those around you who are as equally befuddled.

Mama-G is the small child who points out the nakedness of the Empower. When confronted with the amazing Guernica by Picasso she took a few seconds to look at it, went “nope… Don’t get it” and walked off. Even though I know all the meaning in the painting (of which there is a lot) I was so proud that while everyone else stood in reverent silence, my Mum expressed her feeling without worrying about what others thought.

This “representation” of meaning is something that puzzles me. I once did a university course in media full of interpreting films and TV for hidden messages. Why are neanderthals given dark skin, is it possible that the creators of the program are unknowingly racially bias?

Or maybe because it is more scientifically accurate that way.

Art is wonderful, the world would be a much more dull place without it. We should not put it on a pedestal (unless it’s a statue… They look good on pedestals) but be art you like and art you don’t.

Categories
Thoughts

A simple Bucket List

At what point in my life do I have to consider that I have waited too long to do all the things I wanted to do and experience? I thought as I passed thirty I had lost the chance for a family life but I managed to tick that one off the list.

So even though I plan on living for at least as long as I already have I do still have a whole life in front of me. Considering I don’t even know what I am going to do tomorrow I thought I should write a list of ten things I should do before the end.

Pre Bucket List Bucket List

1. See a glacier, by the time I am old these may no longer exist. While they are still around it would be nice to see one, even if it may only be large enough to stick in a Gin & Tonic.

2. Play a team sport, I’m accepting that I am past my sporting prime and will no longer make it to the pinnacle of any team activity. Instead of becoming England captain I should just like to play on a team of like minded individuals of any sporting persuasion (although football and rugby may require months of fitness training).

3. Learn how to properly sharpen a knife, I’ve been bought a number of good kitchen implements and need to find out how to keep them in top condition with a whetstone.

4. Hang up the pictures I am meant to hang up, this should seem sensible and simple but I still have empty picture frames from 2010.

5. Learn a foreign language, it’s a terrible shame I haven’t already done so (being of the ‘who doesn’t speak English?’ culture) but I may have an opportunity while Children G are doing Mandarin or Russian at school.

6. Write and publish something, and not just by pressing the publish button on WordPress. My aborted attempt at NaNoWriMo produced one chapter, in thirty years I may be done.

7. Complete a degree, I have already started two so this should be easy enough to do.

8. Own a boat, I may not be allowed to sail anywhere but I’d really like to own my watercraft. Previous house searches have revealed properties with a canal at the bottom, this means I could own a barge.

9. Be asked to present at a fancy conference, it would be nice to be asked to speak as an expert on a topic (whatever topic) and have my name announced to a rapt audience.

10. Work out how to stop socks being eaten by the washing machine, and how to make sure that all pairs of socks maintain their partnerships. Once I do this it will make the other parts of the list easier as I could become a very rich man (and not just from saving money buying socks).

11. Ignore such ideas as a bucket list, and live my life with few regrets and to the fullest every day.

Categories
Thoughts

Give short men a chance

The Guardian has a column on why women should break the next dating taboo and start dating short men.

Why Women should Date Short Men

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 someone to say yes to the first date.

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.

My experience of the nightmare of internet dating led me to believe that the only thing that matters in an online profile is a photo of you and how tall you are. All that nonsense about your personality and algorithms that match you with your dream partner, that all goes out the window the moment someone sees what you look like.

Love may be blind by those looking for someone are not.

I once tried an experiment, after no success being stupidly honest (admitting my height is only 5’2″) and getting zero response from those who were meant to be in to my GSOH I added another foot. It worked so much better, but I ignored anyone who now was interested in me and my sudden growth spurt.

Men were more split about if they would go for someone taller. Nothing about what a person is like seems to trump this, either be high or go home.

I’ve experienced this height aversion so many times, I am certain that given a few more inches I would have not been as single as long as I was. Rather than someone who makes them happy all the Princesses I encountered would rather have someone who can reach things in the cupboard.

Thankfully, I found someone who didn’t care and is taller than me. As a 5’2″ male you find you either don’t care about height or have a smaller dating pool to choose from. Apparently this makes me a better husband, not that I help around the house or could rather put my daughter to bed than earn £10k more working in London.

The article suggests that because I’m short, I found it hard in the first place to get married so I’m less likely to put myself in the position to enter the dating market again. Small men are desperate, so we stick around rather than the fickle marriage vows of the tall. Maybe there is something to that.

Perhaps it is because I found people so quick to judge me on physical altitude that I am better at looking for the good in someone I want to marry rather than just looks. As I’m short I understand that sometimes I need help reaching the higher shelves in the cupboards so maybe I need to help others. My hobbitry makes me a perfect ringbearer.

Categories
Geek

The nuclear option

Nuclear power was to be the fuel of the future. Scientists and marketeers alike told us of the many amazing applications the mighty could have thanks to the mighty atom. Rightly or wrongly, nuclear power has now got a bad reputation. Incidents such as Chernobyl and the events at the Fukushima plant have highlighted that when a nuclear power plant gets into trouble, it causes quite a few problems.

Geekdom is rife with images of a post-nuclear apocalyptic world, so that sounds like a great excuse for a list.

In order of deadliness with the lowest Geiger counter readings first.

Fallout

This is where I spend most nights, glued to my screen.

A slight disagreement in the 1950s led to the world of Fallout, and although I have only played the third game in the series, the feeling of walking around a nuclear wasteland in the dark has never felt as scary (like I’ve been walking round lots of post-nuclear wastelands in the dark – then again I have lived in Birmingham).

Fallout is your typical Western RPG because it presents you with many good and less-good choices; should I give this beggar food and water, do I help the scientist with her research or shall I detonate this unexploded nuclear bomb in the centre of this town or not?

Dr. Strangelove

I suppose this is better defined as pre-post-apocalyptic fiction as most of the action takes place before the bombs fall. It’s on my list though as it is a laugh out loud funny film.

Obviously Peter Sellars steals every scene he is in; but seriously if you do not laugh at the big board, the fighting in the war room or the suspicious actions of the Doctor’s arm then you deserve to being left outside the mineshaft (of which there cannot be a mineshaft gap).

My Earth

As mentioned in a recent post, I have intentions to take over the planet which is probably why I enjoy playing computer games that allow me to do so. One of the first things I do when playing any such game set in the modern age (Like Supreme Commander or Hearts of Iron) is seeing how far I can push the MAD scenario.

I remember playing a game set in the run-up to the first Gulf War and my method of dealing with the Invasion of Kuwait was to nuke Iraq. Then as a precautionary measure nuke Russia and China, and France, and Germany. In fact, any country that had nuclear weapons, or if I thought they had them, or they could have done.

Even though it is only a simulation, I think this best shows why I need to be as far away from that big red launch button as possible!

The Twelve colonies

The co-ordinated attack by the Cylons wiped out twelve planet’s worth of humanity leaving only a few tens of thousands of survivors. For those yet to watch Battlestar Galactica I highly encourage you to do so, and as a result I will not spoil it by telling you what happens here. However, you are missing one of the best TV series in recent years.

Categories
Life

Bedtime reading

One hobby I don’t do enough of is reading, at least reading anything that isn’t on a screen. Getting through BuzzFeed and Cracked articles is not exactly in the same league as reading Tolstoy or Steinbeck.

Yet I still read a lot of book, that is not a typo or bad grammar I just seem to read the same thing repeatedly. Anyone with a child will tell you repetition is an integral part of having a toddler. Life with a three-year-old seems to be full of the refrain “again”.

We really want to encourage our kids to appreciate books so they have plenty of them and a bedtime routine that allows for a story. To make sure they read plenty we have bought collections of tales for them to choose. We have the entire box sets of Mr Men and Little Miss, and a compendium of fairy tales. Many books with dinosaurs and a whole range of scatological themed rhymes, not forgetting the essential Dr Seuss. They have plenty to choose from.

Which is why it is frustrating to be rereading the same books for another night. The only positive point of rereading The Gingerbread Man, and spoilers here, is his inevitable doom at the hands of the fox (I wonder if this is the same fox who ‘assisted’ Chicken Licken, Loosey Goosey and co?). It’s a book full of repetition and to read it again and again, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man, is annoying.

It seems to have been the way ever since our progeny developed an opinion. To begin with, I could select whichever book I fancied. In this way I could read the 50 Mr Men series. I would have to fight a wriggle monster but I could still change up the story every night.

Not now. Now the chosen tale is selected by them. I learn that children are amazing, but they are not great with change. Once they have found something they love (In the Night Garden, Leggings, Chocolate) it will be their ‘go to’.

So as soon as a book hits the child’s emotional centre (like Les Miserables would if you were an adult) they put it on the limited rotation of approved texts. This is where The Gingerbread Man sits. It is the latest in a long line of Ten Little Fingers (Review: okay), The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet (Awesome), and The Sailor Dog (Kill me if I have to read it again).

What all these books, and any I read with my children, do is more important than the story. It is the time I get to share with them I cherish. It is important to Me and Mrs G that our children share our love of reading, and I am happy that I can be part of this.

After I have read to them they are allowed to sit on the floor to ‘read’ the book by themselves. A-Rex can’t read but he is learning to retell stories, we can tell he will repeat back the cadence of the tale. If he doesn’t know the story, he can look at the pictures and make it up.

So I read to them time after time, it’s helping them learn. I love it when they look at me and say “again”.

Categories
Thoughts

A step towards delegating

Delegate.

A word I hear all the time.

Delegate. v. entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself. – Google definition

The feeling of letting go fills me with fear, I want to do everything myself. That way I know it will get done and (possibly) get done to the standard I expect. Results show that nothing gets done and it would have been better to relinquish a little control. Both for productivity and my health, yet the martyr in me looks at delegate as a dirty word who’s meaning I don’t understand.

Delegate. v. relinquish control or become disappointed when not done – Geek Ergo Sum definition

I am a bit of a control freak. It’s why I would love to be a teacher but would not be a very good one, I cannot understand why someone just can’t do it like I say. I’m the player-manager of a sports team, the actor-director, I want to have an impact in every aspect. If I could I would be a one man show and not have to worry about anyone else.
Yet I am not enough of a control freak that let’s me take control of others, I don’t enjoy chasing up people to get work done. If I have asked then why haven’t they done it and done it at the time I didn’t specify. They should know my expectations without me having to instruct them.

Giving instructions takes time, and time where I may as well just get on with the task at hand. Yes, I could show you what to do, and this will give a good return on investment, but then I’ll be asked if it’s being done right and this takes more time. Maybe the task I have delegated will be relegated on their task list so I have to do it, anyway.

Entrusting someone else is hard to do, and if I expect the worst then I’m not to be disappointed. So I prepare to fail, by failing to prepare another person to help. If there is a job to do, then I’ll follow the advice of Nike Inc. I’m not a nagger so won’t keep pushing for an assistant to complete a task, I’ll take it off their hands and do it myself.

The only problem is that I am not a finisher, all the random work-psych tests I’ve done show me to be a starter, or dreamer. I cannot complete so when I don’t delegate I just create more problems for myself.

I should print out the proper definition and stick it to my screen, I should look at every task I do and think “can someone help me” or “would it be better for another person to do this”. Maybe my first step should entrust another to do this for me.

Categories
Geek

In charge of the Internet

Followers, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I come to bury the Internet, not to praise it. The nonsense that men post lives after them; The good is oft interred with their likes. I propose therefore that we unite and arise. Arise, Followers of Geek Ergo Sum! Hit counts will shall be shaken and drafts splintered! A post a day… a red day… ere the sun rises!

Let today be the beginning of a glorious new era of the Internet as we rally together and form the United Nations of Bloggers, and it is with great reluctance that I have agreed to this calling. I love the internet. I love the Republic. Once this crisis has abated, I will lie down the powers you have given me, but for today I shall lead UNoBs.

I have banned anyone unable to post on Facebook from posting. Are you a cat? Then you cannot type and have no place posting. Are you an infant? Facebook has rules about how old you can be to use the site and by replacing your parents in my newsfeed you are breaking the law. Are you a chain letter telling me to share with a hundred people or I get Ebola? Then you are inanimate and unable to post, or even read this.

Once I have resolved the Facebook issue, I plan to focus on search engines that aren’t Google. You should give in and accept you lost Bing. Remember did Thomas Edison give up when he couldn’t invent the electric light bulb? Of course not, he stole someone else’s invention from their widow and passed it off as his own.

Youtube, you will allow me to search for other videos while watching a video and not change the page so I lose the video I am watching. While I’m at it I’m glad you’ve got rid of anonymous posting. This will make it much easier for my secret Internet “safety” police to identify anyone who will post nasty hate comments on my videos of Vice President Fluffy Whiskers.

  • Automatic playing adverts – Banned
  • E-Commerce sites that don’t allow guest checkouts – Banned
  • Sites that make it difficult to cancel your account or unsubscribe – Banned (in the sense that they have to make it easy)
  • Any download link that requires additional clicks to download something – Banned
  • Sites that disagree with me – Banned
  • Sites that have lots of mobile traffic and still use Flash – Banned
  • Sites that demean others by judging other’s lifestyle, fashion or appearance – Banned
  • The Daily Mail Online – Banned
  • Poorly designed websites – Banned
  • Memes over 7 days old – Banned
  • People who post memes over 7 days old – Banned

The Internet’s death was a terrible tragedy; but to lose our freedom of speech, which had barely lived… For me it is a deep personal loss. So it is with a heavy heart that I assume the throne. Yet, out of the ashes of this tragedy, we shall rise to greet the dawning of a new era… in which Internet and User come together, in a great and glorious future!