Fucking telemarketers piss me off! Automated or not, I find it just as obnoxious.
Now, I get that people are often just doing their job and maybe it was the only job they could get but I have completely run out of fucks to give. Today I have had at least 4 automated calls regarding PPI and pensions, at least one after I had already requested to unsubscribe from the service, and at least 3 people calling me. In 5 minutes I had two calls from the same blame claim company 'regarding my road accident in the last three years'. I had one of these last night and told them I was pretty sure they were looking for Mr Gofuckyourself but it seems they haven't got the message.
So, the first of the two (these people actually have my name so thanks whoever sold them my details) just got my usual response of 'Go fuck yourself' but when my phone rang again only minutes later I was somewhat annoyed. It went something like this:
Teletwat: Hello can I please speak to Mr FwF?
Me (annoyed): Speaking Teletwat: I'm calling regarding your road accident in the last three years that wasn't your fault. Me: What road accident are you referring to? Teletwat: The road accident that wasn't your fault and because the other driver was at fault some money has actually been put aside for you. Me: Which accident, describe it to me, because unless you can tell me which accident you mean, you're talking shit. Teletwat: there's no need to swear, sir. That's where you're wrong, Teletwat. There is plenty of reason to fucking swear! I'm sick of these cunts wasting my valuable time with their shit. All blame claims companies are scum to start with but the fact that they so strongly encourage people to file frivolous law suits sickens me. As it happens, I did have a road accident on the 1st of November 2011 when I locked the back wheel of my motorbike and got run over by a truck. In February of 2012, not long after I'd regained the ability to walk without crutches, I got a letter through telling me I was being sued by the truck driver to compensate him for soft tissue damage and muscle pain. Apparently the poor dear had to take a week off work. Bear in mind, the back six inches of my 200 kg bike clipped the front of his 44+ ton truck, there was no damage to the vehicle and he said at the scene he never even felt it, which he repeated to my boss when he visited my work to see if I was ok on the evening of the accident. I can only assume that someone encouraged him to make that claim. Of course, he really sued my insurance company but it was my name on the suit. Adding insult to injury, his description of the accident on the suit was mostly fictional and painted me as if I was riding dangerously which I certain was not. The police would have done me if I had! I begged my insurance company not to pay but I bet they did to avoid court. Cowards. And that's the problem. People file these frivolous, opportunistic suits and the insurance companies just pay, because it's easier. Then all our premiums go up. It's a fucking disgrace. I think I'll buy a whistle. Lets see how well they can make calls with busted ear drums.
So, you may have noticed that I didn't post very much last year. I don't have any good reasons for why not but I thought I would catch you up on my life. So act as if you give a shit.
In March 2011 I bought a motorbike. I kept meaning to write a post on here about how great it was but I never got around to it. Then, on November 1st 2011, I locked my back wheel in traffic and went under an oncoming truck. Which was unpleasant. The truck went over my left foot and it's only thanks to the bike boots I was wearing that my foot didn't become a squishy mass of pulp. As it was, I only sustained a minor break in my calcaneus (which is the heel bone to anyone not up to date in their ancient languages) which astounded the hospital staff. I spent only four days in hospital. My bike, however, was not so lucky. She was totalled.
R.I.P Suzie II.
Man, I still miss that bike. I get a little teary eyed every time I see an SV now.
So, I rang in 2012 on crutches but well on the road to recovery, swearing I would buy another bike as soon as I was healed. I'm yet to do so. It would be a lie to say I'm not at least a little scared of getting back into the saddle but I think a lot of it is that I'd never be able to really replace that bike. She was my baby.
In January of 2012, my sister gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Ivy, my niece.
A very happy Uncle.
Me and my better half also
I have spent much of the rest of the year working on an album of metal/hard rock and trying to start a career as a voiceover. I also moved house in February 2012 to a nicer neighbourhood.
I'm hoping that in 2013 I will write more on this blog, finish my album and maybe get booked for some voiceover work that's not supplied by the production company I work for...
Oh, I also amassed nearly 5000 karma on reddit. Don't act like you're not impressed. Thinking about it, in explanation for my prolonged absence I could have just written "discovered reddit" and fellow redditors would have totally understood.
It's crazy how the smallest thing could potentially ruin your life, isn't it? Like a tiny mistake that costs you your job or a fall that breaks your hand and ends your career as a professional fluffer.
I recently bought a car. My better half was starting a new job and we needed two cars to facilitate us going to our respective work places. A few weeks after getting the car I was messing around in the back footwell, cleaning things up and I found an eye liner pencil. Naturally, I assumed it belonged to my fiancée and chucked it onto my back seat. We had previously gone somewhere in the car and her makeup bag was on my back seat and fell on the floor. I naturally assumed this eyeliner pencil belonged to her and resolved to ask her about it later but, as I have the short term memory and attention span of an ADHD squirrel, I forgot.
A few weeks after that I was replacing the shitty floor mats with new ones and I found it again. Once again I resolved that I would tell my more beautiful half that I had found her eyeliner and ask if she would like it back. Once again I forgot all about it. Until yesterday.
We were going out for lunch with a quick stop off at a friend's house to drop off a wetvac and some shoes. On seeing that the wetvac would not fit into the boot of the car, my misses looks in the back to see if there would be room there and finds this eyeliner pencil.
"Who's is this?"
It was at this point, judging by the tone of voice and the expression on her face, that I realised it was not her eyeliner pencil. Fuck.
Naturally, being the suave and cool guy I am, I panicked and started blabbering, despite having done nothing wrong. I now felt awful for something I hadn't done and my treacherous mouth and it's deviant cohort, Brain, were dead set on making me look as guilty as sin with a needlessly wordy and elongated explanation of why I had an eyeliner pencil in my car. I was still convinced that this eyeliner did in fact belong to my fiancée. Obviously she did not agree.
So, it was quiet and tense in the car. I was trying to not seem off because I knew that made me look more guilty and at this point I was getting worried that she was going to jump out of the car at the next traffic light and leave me! In my head I was just cursing myself over and over for not mentioning the fucking eyeliner pencil when I first found it and trying to figure out a way to dig myself out of this over sized cesspit of a hole.
We dropped the stuff off and went to lunch and I hoped that maybe things were ok but I knew they weren't. It wasn't until we got home that my better half turned to me and asked, "Do you know how that eyeliner got in your car?" Fuck. Not ok.
Luckily I managed to act like less of a twat this time and explained that I was sure it was hers and why the fuck would I cheat? Even if I had volition, which I do not, when the hell would I do it? I don't lead the most adventurous life, which is exactly how I like it. I am not a party person and, in all honesty, I deeply dislike most of humanity.
Thankfully, my beautiful fiancée is not a screaming lunatic like most of the women I have dated in my life and accepted my explanation of why I had acted like such a guilty dickhead earlier. We got past it and shared an enjoyable afternoon of watching some pretty awful films.
I guess the moral of the story is this: Should you find any mystery cosmetics in your car, ask your spouse about them immediately. Or something. Is that too specific a moral? Maybe the moral is not to act like a gittering moron when innocent. Hey, fuck you. Work out your own moral.
For the record, I still think the eyeliner pencil is hers.
Atheism. Some people act like it's a dirty word. Many people seem to think that being an atheist means you are somehow an amoral baby eater. Some people even go as far as calling atheism a type of faith. Today I am going to outline a few things about atheism, the way I see it. I've written about my thoughts on religion before, but this is more specifically about atheism.
I have been an atheist since long before I knew what the word meant. As I was never indoctrinated as a child, I had the opportunity to form my own opinions about life, the world and everything, without having to defer to an old book that has seen more revisions and versions than Adobe Flash. I also had the freedom to form those opinions without the ever present threat of an eternity of torment and pain. Unfortunately, I don't think enough children are given that opportunity.
So, in an effort to maybe educate and inform, I want to lay out a few points about atheism and debunk some common misconceptions. I am not the first to do this and I certainly won't be the last. This is atheism, the way I see it.
#1 - Atheism is a faith/religion
I wanted to start with this as it is a very common misconception and something I hear a lot. Saying that atheism is a faith and/or religion shows a misunderstanding of what those words mean. Atheism is a religion in the same way off is a TV channel and not collecting stamps is a hobby. You don't need faith to not believe in something. People will expand this point to include science, claiming that we accept evolution and similar on faith. They will also call us narrow minded for not accepting their views and requiring evidence of all claims. This is not only quite ironic but it shows a misunderstanding of how science works. In the words of the great and mighty Tim Minchin:
"Science adjusts its views, based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved."
To put it my own way,imagine that science proved God. Imagine if there was a repeatable, peer reviewable test that could be performed, under reasonable experimental conditions, that proved God. Any scientist or scientific thinker would have no option but to admit we were wrong and accept God. There would be no other option for us, because that's how science works.
However, if science absolutely disproved God, using a repeatable, peer reviewable method, under reasonable experimental conditions, the religious would still refuse to accept it. That is the key difference.
Atheism and science tend to go hand in hand, and there is no faith in science, only results. Sometimes those results are surprising and unexpected, like the recent faster than light photons. (I have been corrected on this point. They were neutrinos) That is where peer review and retesting come in. Faith lacks those things. This leads me quite neatly to my next point:
#2 - Evolution is only a theory
I love this one. Once again, it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of words. In scientific terms, a theory is the highest classification of an idea. It means that the idea has been tested, peer reviewed and found to be worthy. An untested idea is a hypothesis. To any of you who have ever uttered the words "but evolution is only a theory" I would like to point out that gravity is also only a theory, yet I don't appear to be floating away. Evolution is a proven thing that happens. It's not up for debate, nor is it speculation. It is an observable phenomenon that can be tested in a laboratory, using things like fruit flies or bacteria that have very short generations. Evidence for it is also present in DNA and biology. For instance, the appendix (in humans), male nipples (humans, again), leg bone remnants (whales) and the correlation between the DNA of related species.
Another example is Texan rattlesnakes. Over just a few decades, they have evolved smaller, quieter rattles and a disinclination to use them, through natural selection. See, Texans love to kill them some rattlesnakes. Every year they take to the wilderness and kill as many as they can. Natural selection has weeded out any snake with a large, loud rattle, or a tendency to rattle a lot, as they are the easiest to find and kill. This has led to rattlesnakes unique to that area that will not rattle or make themselves obvious until they have no other choice but to fight. This is observable evolution that has happened in the lifetime of people who are still very much alive. Imagine what 200,000 years could. Or 200 million! Evolution is an amazing, beautiful and natural thing. I really can't understand people who don't see the beauty and wonder in it. How is 'God did it' a better option?
#3 - Can't people just believe what they want? Why does it matter?
The answer to the first question is, of course, yes. People can believe whatever they like. To quote Ricky Gervais:
It's your right to believe what you want.
And it's your right to be wrong.
The issue is not personal, individual belief.The issue is that religions tend to force their beliefs into places they do not belong, like politics and science lessons. If you want to see what happens when religion is allowed to influence politics, go to any country that enforces sharia law. People are put to death or mutilated for frankly fucking ridiculous things because an old book says it must be so. I think many Christians would point to this as an example of why Islam is bad and why people should be Christians. If that's you, I ask that you firstly go and read a bible because it's just as bad. Then I would like you to look at the current climate in America and what people like Senator Rick "Frothy Mixture" Santorum would like to write into law if they got the chance, regardless of the fact that basically everything out of his mouth violates the first amendment. If somebody like him actually gained power, it would be a fucking fast and slippery slope back into the dark ages.
I would also like to bring up the fact that the religious are protected, certainly in the western world. Religion is considered above reproach and criticism and whenever something is above criticism it will inevitably slide towards corruption. The Catholic Church is a case in point. However, the same courtesy is certainly not extended to those of us without religion. The religious are allowed, even encouraged, to talk about their religion to anyone who will listen and to 'spread the word of God'. If an atheist does the same, we are immediately labelled as militant, close minded or ignorant. If we disagree with their beliefs, we are accused of somehow attacking them. I think the following comic illustrates the idea quite well.
#4 - Atheists are amoral because they don't accept biblical morality.
Whenever I hear this, all I can think is that the person saying it has never actually read a bible for themselves. It is packed to the brim with violence, xenophobia, incest, rape, murder, you name it, it's probably in there. When you point this out to them (with the relevant chapter numbers) you will inevitably be told that the section in question is 'metaphorical' or 'to be interpreted'. It's funny how this line is metaphorical and to be interpreted but the one next to it (that happens to be in keeping with the individuals personal world view) is literal and cannot be contravened on pain of eternal damnation.
It's this cherry picking that totally undermines the entire concept of biblical morality. If you are able to interpret and decide which bits are good and which are bad, why do you need the book to tell you what is good or bad? You obviously already knew. Of course, there is a good chance that you never consciously chose your world view but had it inserted into your mind by the concerted efforts of your parents and their holy man of choice, but they had to interpret and decide which the good bits were, so the principal is still sound.
My point is, why do you need the book and the big fucking building to keep it in and the man to read it to you, to ensure you only hear the right bits? The answer is that you don't. If the only thing stopping you from murdering people is the thought of going to hell then there is something wrong with you. I have no fear of hell as I do not think it exists. I would still never murder someone, in the same way I wouldn't rob or cheat someone. In fact, as an atheist, murdering someone would be worse! In the religious world, death is not the end but only the beginning. This life here on Earth is merely a waiting room for the wonders of heaven (or horrors of hell) so murdering someone is just ushering them along their path. As an atheist, I know that to murder someone is to end everything they are. I know they won't be coming back or going to some mystical better place. They will be going in a box and then, most likely, either into a hole or a fire.
In a lot of ways, we atheists are more moral as we don't rely on an ancient text for the basis of our morals. Good Christians have been known to bomb family planning clinics because they don't agree with abortion or contraception. Show me an example of an atheist starting a war or fire bombing a building for religious reasons. And no-one better try and pull out the 'Hitler was an atheist' chestnut because it is patently not true. Hitler was a confirmed Christian. Bill Gates, on the other hand, is a staunch atheist and has donated billions of dollars to charity for no other reason than he can and he wants to help people. He isn't doing it for some mystical reward when he dies. Which, for me, makes it a much more powerful and meaningful gesture.
In closing I would just like to say that if you think atheists are bad people, devil worshippers (lol!), close minded or evil in some way, you have been woefully misinformed. Learn to form your own opinions and think for yourself. Learn critical thinking and teach it to your children. Question everything and never accept anything at face value with no corroborating evidence. Oh and stop telling us we're going to hell. That's like a hippy telling me they're going to punch me in my aura.
Normally what happens here is I rant about shit and then, well, nobody reads it. That's fine and I don't intend to deviate too much from my intended plan, but today I'm not going to do that.
Today, I saw this video.
The point of this video is actually to illustrate the way changing the words of a message, whilst retaining the meaning, can make all the difference to the response you get. However, that is not the reason it moved me. What moved me was the fact that the man was blind.
Let me explain. My father-in-law* is a recovering alcoholic who suffers from COPD, a debilitating lung condition that requires him to have home oxygen. About 3 years ago, when he was still drinking, he went into a serious downward spiral of depression and became very ill. The COPD wasn't diagnosed then and he was still smoking and drinking a lot. He'd been a 'functioning alcoholic' for years, basically meaning that he had a job (as a truck driver) and never drank on the job but when he was at home, he drank heavily.
Anyway, he became more and more depressed and reclusive and stopped going to work because he was too ill and depressed. This went on and on and became more and more serious but he refused to let anyone help him. He started to suffer from agoraphobia and his ability to breath properly diminished very quickly until he couldn't go back to work, even if he had been in any state to do so. Eventually he had to be rushed to hospital and he came within hours of dying and it was only through luck, really, that he woke up when he did and started accepting treatment.
Once he came out of hospital, he was unable to work. My better half had been spending a lot of time talking to the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) about what benefits he was eligible for but it was a slow moving process and we had to lend him our savings so he didn't loose his flat.
The reason I'm telling you all this is because if he hadn't had his daughter to help him with the benefits office, he wouldn't have been able to do it himself. At the time, he could barely talk without becoming distressingly out of breath and, even if he could, he wasn't good at dealing with official things like that. He would have ended up homeless. He wouldn't have survived a week.
It really showed me how a lot of people end up on the streets. Take the blind man in the video above. I'm sure he's probably an actor or something, but let's assume he's a real guy, begging on the streets. People like him fall through the cracks of society all the time. If you haven't got someone who can fight your corner for you when you cannot do it for yourself, you will find that the system is biased against you at every turn. My father-in-law has had his benefits cut a couple of times because of screw ups in the benefits office and if we hadn't been there for him, he wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. He can't go to the office and talk to the people face to face. He can barely manage a phone call without getting flustered and out of breath! Any one of those benefits cuts would have put him on the street to die.
Watching the video above really fired my empathy circuits. My brain immediately started wondering how the man ended up on the streets, how we as a society let that happen. It also reminded me that this man could easily have been my father-in-law, a man I love dearly.
We all walk past homeless people on the streets and act like they're not there. I'm not going to try and act like I don't because I do. We also judge people. We think "It's their own fault! It's not my problem!" We walk on by and act like we never saw them in the first place. But that could be your friend or a family member who fell on hard times and somehow missed society's safety net on the way down. It could be you, one day.
I recently had a motorbike accident and broke my foot. Luckily, I have very understanding bosses and a job where I sit at a desk, so it was fine. However, if I had a manual labour job, the 7 weeks I was on crutches and the further month it took for me to walk properly again could have cost me my house. And that's in the UK, where the health care is free. Imagine if I lived in the US! The situation would be the same but I would also owe up to several thousand dollars in medical bills. It can happen that easily. One day, everything's fine and then something unexpected happens and your whole world can quickly fall to pieces.
Now, I don't advocate giving money to random beggars. It doesn't really help them and is advised against by charities like Shelter and The Big Issue. But that doesn't mean you should act like they simply don't exist! Instead of giving them money, buy them a sandwich or a coffee or simply talk to them like they're real people. If they're an official Big Issue seller, buy a copy. What my Mum does is gives them the money and refuses the magazine so they can sell it again.
I used to see the same homeless guy a lot of days in the city centre near where I live. One day, instead of walking past like he wasn't there, I stopped and talked with him. He didn't really elaborate on how he had come to be homeless but he was a nice guy and did say that he just wanted money to go to a place down the road so he could be warm and buy a coffee and some food. He was clearly sober and didn't even smell of booze, so I gave him some money and then I did something that I think he appreciated a lot more. I shook his hand. The look on his face will always stay with me. I could tell I was the first person in who knows how long who treated him like a human being instead of a piece of trash.
I will get back to the regularly scheduled rage when I next write, whenever that will be. Thanks for reading and always remember that even when a person falls on the hardest of times, they are still a person and should be treated as such.
*He's actually my future father-in-law, but for simplicity's sake, I'll just call him my father-in-law.
I was behind you tonight on the M6. It was pitch black and out in the middle of nowhere, with a light rain falling.
Ahead of me was an expanse of road and darkness, dotted with various auto mobiles, including you.
I was driving along at some miles an hour, in the inside lane, where I should be. You were just ahead of me and there was a truck in the distance. I assumed you were probably going to want to pull out to overtake, but as you weren't going all that fast and were still reasonably far away from the truck, I figured I had plenty of time to go past you safely.
Once the guy overtaking me had gone past, I pulled out to overtake you. There was still loads of time; I'd planned well in advance. It was at this moment you decided to pull out to overtake the truck, which would have been fine had you bothered to indicate. Instead, you thought it was appropriate to sort of drift out into the middle lane, meaning I had to swerve into the outside lane to avoid you. Slamming on the brakes was not an option, as sharp, high speed braking on a wet road next to a cliff is a recipe for death.
Luckily, it was fairly quiet on the road and there was nobody in the outside lane. I had checked my mirror before swerving, to be sure. If there had been another car there, I would probably have slammed on and taken my chances. The last thing I would want to do is put another motorist in the position you put me in.
I don't know exactly what kind of car you were driving, as it was dark and I was too busy not crashing into you, but it was silver and probably a Ford Mondeo. After I managed to get past you alive, I flashed my indicators at you, hoping I might remind you that those yellow flashy things on the side of your car are not just fucking decoration. If I hadn't been paying attention, we would probably have both ended up at the bottom of a Scottish valley in a twisted pile of metal.
I hope you noticed. I hope you realised what you did. I hope you had that sick-to-your-stomach, shaky-knee feeling. I hope it makes you think more in the future. However, I fear that's wishful thinking and it's far more likely that you didn't even notice. You will probably go on being an oblivious cunt until you kill somebody. Maybe then you'll learn.
There were several idiots on my long journey home this evening and you were by far the worst. I hope I have the good fortune to never encounter you on the road again.
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