Monday, 26 July 2010

On the idiocy of Internet Users

People are fucking idiots.

Hurr durr!
We know this to be true and the proof of it is most prevalent online.

Although there are myriad examples, I am going to concentrate on the ones that most annoy me.

The first real incarnations were those emails we all used to get that said something like:

"Little Maisey was horribly maimed in a freak Goat Milking accident and now can't provide Goat Milk for her family. Microsoft are tracking this email and, every time you forward it, Microsoft will donate $0.99 to a fund to help buy Maisey special goat milking prosthetic arms."

This will normally be accompanied by a picture of Maisey, sans arms, and some other bullshit and will also often contain a list of people who have forwarded it before [read: idiots].

Now, anyone who knows the first thing about computers will know that there is no actual way for Microsoft to track such an email and it is what we in the know call Utter Shit. (Let me know if my tech-y language becomes too much for you.)

This has evolved over the years to utilise whatever is the current social tool of choice.

As bona fide hard copy chain mail is now basically non-existent and even e-chain mail has dwindled to only the 'Pass this on to all the people you love/care about/blah' type, a new trend has appeared.

Yes I am talking about the 'LIKE THIS AND GET A FREE iPAD!!' groups and pages on Facebook.

How many times have you seen something along the lines of this:
Like this to prove you're retarded!!

Every time a new, hot gadget comes out (especially if it has an Apple Logo on it) these groups appear like buboes on a plague victim.

It is not the group itself, but the amount of people actually stupid enough to believe it that baffles my mind. There are hundreds of these groups around and all of them have subscribers numbering from a few to tens of thousands.

These groups normally link you out to pages that contain thinly veiled pyramid schemes.
'Accept one of our partner offers, refer 10 friends (who all have to accept and refer ten friends) and you get your iPad/Laptop/iPod.'

This, obviously, makes it prohibitively difficult to get your free iPad. Most people don't have the time, volition or friends to get the 10 referrals. Plus, a lot of people don't want to sign up for the offers because they know that along with the very far fetched chance of actually receiving the aforementioned gadget comes an infinite amount of spam mail.

The other one that really gets me also evolved from e-mails and now infects the world of social media. It goes something like this:

Caps Lock, Check; Fear mongering, Check; Lack of computer knowledge, check.

Sorry, but viruses just do not work that way.
After replying in the picture above I looked up 'Koobface' and found out it was a real virus and a fairly nasty one. Of course to actually get the virus you needed to follow a link and download a file from some dodgy website. It disguises this download as an Adobe update.
First of all, I imagine going to such a website would make your virus scan scream rape and beg you not to open the page.
Secondly, if you are stupid enough to actually do this, you probably deserve the virus. It's like giving your credit card details to somebody over the phone when the call was unsolicited, or sending Prince Umbooboo that 50k he's asking for so he can get millions out of the country to share with you.

It's Darwinism for the computer age. If you can't spot the proverbial Sabre Tooth Tiger you deserve to be eaten for the betterment of the species.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Why you are entitled to exactly dick

We have a huge problem in the UK. Lazy fucking bastards.
They're everywhere. Our economy is straining under the weight of their idle bodies.

Let me explain... In the UK, our government is quite happy to pay able-bodied people to sit at home and do nothing. We call it The Dole. People finish school, after putting in no effort at all, and then sign on and get money for nothing, every week.

It has become a trend in this country for people to make a conscious decision to not bother working and to sign on instead, and it needs to stop.
When I turned 16, I went and got a job at Sports Soccer. It was fucking horrible. I was selling over-priced trainers that I hated to Chavs I couldn't stand, but I did it!
I have barely been out of employment since, about 5 months in the last 8 years, and I didn't sign on in that time. The 5 months I was out of work, about 2 months after I got sacked from a job for spurious reasons and the other 3 after the Music shop I worked in went into liquidation, were spent looking for another job. I couldn't sit at home, sponging off the state, for the sake of my own pride! Every job I have had I got by going after it.

The problem we have is that children are raised by terrible parents who instill into them a sense of entitlement that is all out of proportion and a belief that it's just fine to sign on instead of working.
The kids don't bother making an effort at school, often not going at all (which is ridiculous considering the very high level of free education we get in the UK) and then at the end, when they fail their exams and get no qualifications they expect to be handed the job they want and when that doesn't happen they just sit back and sponge, just like their parents, and the cycle continues.

The media bangs on that there's no jobs, but that is utter shit. There are plenty of jobs but these idle bastards, with their over-inflated sense of entitlement, think they're too good for them.
Look, if you couldn't be arsed getting any qualifications when you had the chance then you shouldn't be surprised when the only job you can get is flipping burgers or picking up rubbish on the street.

The brother of one of my oldest friends was expelled from school and thus failed his GCSEs. Why he was expelled is immaterial and was pretty ridiculous. He could have just sat back and signed on but instead he went and did a plumbing/electrician apprenticeship and started pulling in really good money which then allowed him to fund his real dreams and he's now doing well for himself, because he put the effort in.

What kills me is the people who sign on and think they're too good for menial jobs are the same people who bitch and moan about immigrant workers. The fact is that the immigrants are willing to do those shitty jobs because they understand that you need to take what you can get. At the end of the day, if all the immigrants left the UK, the economy would collapse because it is those migrant workers that are the foundations.
Personally, I would much rather have hard-working foreigners than idle natives. I know which is more useful.

This is not to say I am against benefits. A lot of people genuinely need that social security net. People who get laid off, through no fault of their own, and still have rent and bills to pay while they look for another job; people who can't work, through disability or similar; single mothers with no support who haven't the time to work because they're raising a child; low-income families who need a little help to make ends meet - these are all reasonable uses of public money. It should still be used sparingly and as a last resort, in most cases.

People who are perfectly able to work and sign on instead should be issued with jobs, rather than the government just paying them by default. If they want money, they should fucking well work for it! I do! Put them in menial jobs like street sweeping, refuse collection, portering in Hospitals, low-level kitchen work, cleaning work, etc., that don't require qualifications but are important and necessary jobs. They'll be earning money and maybe forcing them to do a shitty job will give them the impetus to look for a better one, knowing they can't just sit at home and sign on.
By giving them that Get Out Of Work Free card, there's no motivation for them to go and get a job.

Or how about this - Instead of giving them money which they will spend on shit, issue them with the bare minimum of necessary vittles and sundries. Bread, Milk, Cheese, Butter, Pasta, toilet paper, soap, etc. Rather than them going and picking up a cheque they can spend on White Lightning and drugs, they get issued groceries worth the same amount.
On top of that, give them a yearly clothing budget and a sewing kit.
If they want nicer things they will have to get jobs to pay for them.

I know I may seem harsh but I pay a lot of tax (nearly 10% of my earnings, if my maths is correct), a huge chunk of which is handed to idle lay-abouts.
How is that fair? I would much rather that money was spent on schools, roads, public services, instead of being handed to people too lazy to earn their own money!

 Look at the size of our National Deficit! In 2009 it was around £160 BILLION with the national debt currently standing at over £900 BILLION! That's around £14,761 for each of us.

We simply cannot afford, as a country, to support people who are putting nothing into the coffers. Get off your arse, get a job, pay your way. It's that simple. If you are able to work and can't be arsed, please get the fuck out of the country because I doubt I'm alone in saying we're sick of paying your way.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Sky just totally ruined my day.

I just found out that those utter cunts over at Sky "have no plans to show the new series of Futurama [in the UK] at the moment. The decision is yet to be made.

What. The. Fucking. Fuck!

That is so utterly un-cool that I can't even get my vitriol together to rail at it.

Seriously, I hope whatever money grubbing, corporate prick made that decision fucking dies.

Futurama is the best animated show for adults since The Simpsons and the only reason it got cancelled before was because of the usual Fox fuckery.

Have Sky 1 not got space in their line up for an amazing and creative show?
No, because their line up is chock full of utter shit. Granted, there is some good stuff on there but in the 8pm Thursday night slot, where I imagine Futurama would go, they're airing Real A&E and Real Filth Fighters. More reality fucking television. I counted over a dozen different reality TV shows on this one channel ON ONE FUCKING DAY!
Not only are these shows the usual vacuous reality shit, they're being aired between The Simpsons and Lie To Me. That is the ideal spot for Futurama! That slot was made for Futurama. Futurama belongs in that slot.

As it happens I have just cancelled my Sky television and moved back to Virgin. I'm glad I did because, if I hadn't already, I would be now.

It may seem silly for an 'adult' to be so angry about a cartoon not being aired but I don't care. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for new Futurama. The mini-series we got over here in the UK (which I believe were released as feature lengths in the US) were good and kept me going for a time but that is not enough.

So, answer me this Sky... Why are you not airing it in the UK?
Are you worried that airing such a creative and amazing show will alert people to the fact that 99.9% of the rest of your line up is shit?
Can you not fit it into your line-up between re-runs of old shows and inane reality TV?
Does it scare you because you are too fucking stupid to understand it?

Fuck you, Sky. I'm glad I cancelled my service and won't be giving you any money.
You'd only waste it on more shitty Reality TV, anyway.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Zero to Panic: My brain is a dick.

I am a panicker. There is a very real chance that I am either insane or the subject of a life-long hate campaign by my brain and this means my brain likes to fuck with me as much as possible.
Over the 20+ year relationship I've had with my mutinous grey matter it has learnt that the best way to really screw up my day is to suggest to my rather hyperactive imagination that something bad has happened/is happening/is about to happen.

Example: Girlfriend was supposed to finish work half an hour ago. She said she may be late out tonight but has yet to text me.

Normal Person: "I'm sure she's just busy at work and will be out soon."


Thanks for this mental image, Lovecraft.
As if Japan hasn't supplied enough tentacle related horror!
As retarded as that seems, try telling that to my imagination. You need to imagine that my imagination is a slightly retarded child with ADHD who's just eaten 5 party bags of Haribo and now has an epic sugar rush. Now show that child a bouncy castle and what will ensue is an unstoppable whirlwind of child followed by a torrent of vomit. This is my imagination. If you don't like that analogy then maybe a Jack Russell on meth let loose in a cattery is more your cup of tea.

My imagination is out of control is what I'm saying.

This manifests itself in all sorts of fun paranoia and delusion, ranging from a deeply held belief that the dark conceals untold evils to the certainty that this will be the time that the dog trips up my fiancée and she falls face first into the deep fat fryer.
It'd be easier if my brain just stopped at telling me these things but it instead likes to furnish me with horrifically graphic mental images.
Blame it on a life spent reading far too much Stephen King and Clive Barker, if you like, but I've always been like this.

 Far scarier in my mind than in the books/films.

I also have a fairly crippling irrational fear of ghosts. It's not that the idea of ghosts scares me, as such. I have a conviction that if I ever saw a ghost I would instantly drop dead from a massive coronary. This means I'm terrified of seeing one, because I will die. It does not matter that this is stupid, that's why they call it an irrational fear.
Capitalising on this, one of my brains absolute favourite tricks is waiting till I'm in bed, eyes closed and attempting to sleep. It then suggests to me that, should I open my eyes, there will be an horrific spectre looking right into my face. This is obviously stupid but that is irrelevant. It then wakes up my imagination and has it draw me up a detailed picture of this hideous spectre. I now have two choices... Open my eyes and look into the (non-existent) maw of this (fictitious) spectre or keep my eyes closed and allow my brain to continue its shenanigans. The former is obviously the better choice as it will prove there is no such spectre but my brain keeps saying, "Yeah, but what if there is?"

Well played, Brain. Well played.

I always end up opening my eyes and there is never anything there but that doesn't make it any better the next time!

I am also a serious pessimist. My insubordinate brain will always jump for the worse case scenario. As in the example at the beginning, tiny things will send my brain into a paroxysm of over-reaction.
There is absolutely no way for me to stop it so I have become quite adept at hiding my lunacy. Although my brain is rushing to tell me all the possible ways my Fiancée could be horrible maimed or injured whilst cooking a meal I can usually stop it from showing on my face. Usually. She is rather intuitive and does know me very well, so she will often ask, "Are you freaking out?" at which point I have to explain to her why without it coming out as, "jibberithinkyouregoingtofallinthefryerandknockthatpanofwateronthedogjibber!!"

To be honest, I'm often amazed I can even function as a productive member of society. By rights, I should be curled up in the fetal position in a corner somewhere, alternating between crying and raving.

Monday, 5 July 2010

On religion and my lack thereof

Author's Note: I will start by saying this is not going to be a wholesale attack on Religion.
Although those who know me will know that I have a habit of getting over-zealous in religious debates, I do not intend to do that here.

In saying that, I will also state that I think religion is archaic and wielded as a weapon by many of its proponents.

I knew from a very young age that religion was not for me. My parents never wanted to force any religion on me and my sister and we were never christened or made to go to Church.
My Gran, however, would have liked me to be religious and took me to Church pretty much whenever she got a chance.
When I was 5 or 6 years old, maybe a touch younger, I distinctly remember being in Church one Palm Sunday and being struck by the absurdity of it all.

Animooted and well worth watching!

Up till the age of 5/6 I went to a school that said The Lord's Prayer in Assembly and sometimes in class and I never liked to say it. I would sit there, eyes open, and wait quietly till it was finished, a practice which I still continue on those rare occasions I find myself in a Church, such as funerals.
Due to this I can say that I probably decided Religion was not for me at around 4 years of age.
That may seem ridiculous, that one so young could make such a decision, but it's the truth.

This is not to say I am against religion, per se, but I am against the way people use it.

A religious friend of mine is a very good case-in-point on the positive effects of Religion.
He volunteers his time at his Church and local youth groups, helps put on plays, writes a religious themed blog and does many good deeds.
He has taken the tenets of Christianity, such as 'Do unto others...' and 'Love Thy Neighbour', and run with them in the way I believe they were meant.
He doesn't do these things for money or notoriety. He does them simply to be a good person.
That is, to me, what Religion is about.

Unfortunately, most people are not like him. Most people use religion as either a catch-all excuse for their actions and the actions of others or as a club to beat those who do not subscribe to their brand of Sky-Man. If somebody disagrees with them, they are a heathen. If somebody is different to them, they are a sinner. If somebody should have the audacity to be of a different sexual orientation, they are a filthy beast.

This is caused by indoctrination and ignorance. These things are perpetrated and perpetuated by the Institutions. It is not individuals (for the most part) who lionise these reprehensible ideals.
Take The Catholic Church, for instance.
I find the Catholic Church, as an institution, absolutely deplorable. They are one of the richest corporations on the face of the Earth, yet they let the churches in smaller towns go to rack and ruin, worshippers be damned, even though they earn billions and billions every year, around the world.

They propagate hatred and encourage their followers to hold disdain for people of other denominations, lifestyles and sexual orientations.
Even those who attempt to do good in the name of the Catholic Church often do more harm because of the way Religion can limit your world view. The best example is not going to be a popular one but fuck it, I'm gonna say it anyway.

 Mother Teresa.
Although she did help many and her intentions were good, she encouraged the spread of AIDS by not allowing people to use condoms as it was against her beliefs.
Thousands of deaths are on her hands because of an arbitrary law taken from a text written many centuries before the invention of the modern condom.

That leads me on neatly to my next point. Abortion.
Abortion is a touchy subject to many people but I never shy away from touchy subjects.

Many Church leaders actively encourage people to picket Family Planning Clinics, even to the point of committing vandalism or violence against the staff.
Although they may not believe in or like the practice of abortion, the way they show it is utterly against the beliefs at the core of their religion!

What it comes down to is tact and consideration.
If you're a religious person of any description, good for you. That doesn't mean I want to hear about it. I'm also utterly disinterested in your opinion of me.
You may think I'm a sinner and a heathen but I honestly could not give less of a shit if I spent the entire rest of my day concentrating on nothing else but not giving a shit about your opinion.
I understand that you love your Sky-Man and want to spread that love and joy to others. That's fine, but let people come to you if they're interested rather than bombarding people with door to door visits, flyers, whatever.
If you must judge others, turn that judgement on yourself from time to time.

Just because you believe in your brand of Sky-Man does not mean everybody does. This does not make you better than them or vice versa.

The moral of this post is Live and Let Live.
We all have our own beliefs that help to shape who we are and we all think we're correct.
The fact of the matter is, we just don't know for sure. If you claim you do you are either a liar or self-deluded.

As a believer in Science and tangible evidence I could say I am right, but that is not the scientific way.

Question everything, always. If you blindly accept and never question you are not a true believer in anything. A true believer always questions what they believe, because only by questioning our beliefs can we re-affirm them.

And always remember, if the religion of others seems absurd to you, your religion probably seems just as absurd to them.

I leave you now with this video from the wonderful Mr. Tim Minchin.
Watch it all if you have time or skip to 4:12 for the song.

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