Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to the real world

So, now the holiday is over and i'm back to the real world of things to do, people to see and work that has an ever approaching deadline.

But i don't care about any of that shit - i'm just gonna have a quick rant about things.

First, and the MOST annoying thing in the world:
- If you quote a price on a product and/or service, INCLUDE TAX IN THAT PRICE!!!
When you are not used to it, it is very annoying to pick up a product that is quoted as, say $7.50, yet you are charged $8.30 for it.
Just include the tax in the quoted price, it's not hard, it's not difficult and you won't piss off confused little britishers trying to buy things.

Second, why are we, as western societies, so unimpressed by planes and air travel?
- Think: We are only the third generation of humans, ever, that can so convincingly give the middle finger to gravity and soar, thousands of feet in the air. Think of the miracle of air travel, how we can watch films, get given food and alcohol and sit in a fairly comfortable chair as we are propelled through the air by huge turbines.
How small the world is, now we can do that?
Air travel is easily one of the greatest things humans have ever done, we should respect it more and not take it for granted.

- It would be nice it i could take one, just one, walk through the departure duty-free section (the place with all the shops and food places, before you board the plane, you know the one) of Heathrow airport without being attacked by people peddling cologne, perfume or some other overpriced eye-watering stink in a fancy bottle.
Here's the honest truth: All colognes and perfumes divide neatly into 2 separate smells - Rent boy or hooker. (Of course, there's a third section - it contains the perfume or cologne you sometimes wear :) )

Well, thus ends the quick rant.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm off, catch you all in the funny pages....

As of early tomorrow (tues 19th) morning, i shall be on holiday for a few weeks.

Email contact is still an option, but there may be a delay in my reply.

Everyone, play safe - but have fun. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jesus titty fucking Christ - Now i have your attention....

Some things that i've always known, have just dawned on me: -

By the hammer of Thor, i'm 21!

By the hammer AND beard of Thor, i'll be 22 in October!

By the bow of Apollo, i'm studying at university!

By Odin's Raven, it's already 2008! I remember the 90's......

By the sandals of Jesus, it's already halfway through August!

By Merlin's wand, i'm going to Toronto next week!

By King Arthurs' sword, my older brother's moving to Korea in less than a week!

By the crook of Anubis, the Star Wars films aren't actually that good!

That was fun, i wonder if i'll be struck blind by the obvious again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

EU << Democracy

I recently attended a small talk given by the conservative MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for the south east of England, Daniel Hannan.

He did not paint a very rosy picture of the EU's current method of operation, not a rosy picture at all.

I'll start with the Lisbon Treaty (i'm not going to get into whether it's the same as the European constitution - though it bears many striking resemblances):

- BEFORE the national governments had even starting debating the treaty in the respective national parliaments, the EU was already acting as if the treaty was in force, an example of this is the numerous EU embassies that have opened all over the world, enforcing an EU foreign policy, an EU foreign policy that has no legal basis.

- The Irish voted 'no' (the lucky bastards got a vote) - from what i gather, one of the main reasons they voted 'no' was because none of the 'yes' politicians bothered to actually explain what the treaty was going to do, why would that be? So, by the rules of the EU, the Lisbon treaty is finished, it needs all 27 members to accept it or it can not come into force, yet the EU and the national governments are steam rolling it through and ratifying it, none of them has said what will happen to Ireland, who DEMOCRATICALLY rejected this treaty

Notice something very critical here, there has been no criticism of the Lisbon treaty yet, just the way the EU is ignoring due process to force it onto the people of Europe.

The actual treaty is an enigma to someone like me who has not read it, so can only count on testimony from the politicians who claim to ahve read it – that's unreliable information at best.

However, here's a list of 10 things in the treaty,

1.“The European Council shall appoint the High Representative of the Union for foreign affairs” – That is already happening, creating political ambassadors for the EU

2.“Member States shall support the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy actively and unreservedly, in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity” - I'm sorry, what the fuck? Unreserved support, I think not – Who decides the policy? Where's the provision for debate here?

3.“The Common Security Policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence” - Yes, so a European Army

4.“The European Parliament and Council may establish minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions” - So, fuck the national parliaments, let the EU control all law making powers.

5.“Europol (Pan European police force, to be created by the Lisbon treaty) shall combat forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy” - Ok, so a European Police force

6.“The Union shall develop a common policy on asylum, visas and short-stay residence permits” - Right, so nations have no power to decide on their own border policies

7.“The European Council shall elect its President, by a qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once” - The European Council, a council full of appointed commissioners (normally failed politicians), will appoint a President of Europe, NOT the people of Europe.

8.“The Union may take initiatives to ensure co-ordination of Member States' social policies” - And what initiatives would they be? Who sets the Unions Social policy?

9.“The Union shall take measures to ensure co-ordination of the employment policies of Member States” - Indeed, so forcing national elected governments to kowtow to the EU

10.“The Union shall have legal personality” - And so can act like a sovereign state.

If that doesn't point to a United States of Europe, I don't know what does. Note how this will not be a federal enterprise as many people claim, the national governments will mean nothing – This is more modelled on the old USSR - all decisions being taken undemocratically by appointed bureaucrats in 'central government'.

Now, how would any of that benefit the citizens of Europe? Where was the mention of them? Where was the mention of democracy?

The answers are No, absent and worse than invisible.

Now on the EU in general:

- According to the German government, 84% of the laws passed in the last few (i think it was 20, but can't be sure) years have been to comply with the latest EU fad, sounds a lot, no?

- For the last 13 years the auditors have refused to close the books on the EU, the numbers simply do not add up, how the hell is that acceptable to anyone?

- The European parliament doesn't actually make a lot of the rules that we attribute to 'Brussels', it's the 27 appointed (so unelected) commissions that do.

Severe financial irregularities, a monopoly on all decision making and those decisions made by appointed commissioners (so no hint of democracy there), are these the actions of an honest organisation?

The examples above are but a drop in the ocean of the real issues the EU has. By saying that, i'm assuming that the EU wants to be a democratic and representative body, something i'm not sure of. In fact why is there never an open discussion of the EU's long term direction? Why do they not trust the people with this information?

I'm not anti-Europe – I'm anti the current EU. I want co-operation within Europe (free market agreements and the like), but that doesn't mean that everyone in Europe should lose their ability to democratically elect people to change the laws that affect them.

It's about time that the national governments stood up to this and defended European democracy. The people of Europe deserve better.

To conclude;

Democracy: Hard won (MILLIONS have died for it), but lost so easily - in this case, to the sound of laughter and applause in an opulent conference centre in Belgium.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Apathy 1 Existential Dilemma 0

Regarding my last post.
I know it was slightly (understatement) self pitying and involved (far) too many emotions - but in the process of typing it out i at least gave some order and structure to some of my thoughts.

The part of me that's ashamed for typing it wants me to remove the evidence - luckily i'm not that much of a pussy, so i'm not removing it and i stick by what i wrote - it's how i felt at the time. (*sigh* i promise i'll stop talking about feelings and emotions - i'm gonna lay into the EU soon, just you wait)

Another thank you is due to those who read and gave kind/wise words - much appreciated, valiant knights and ninjas of the internet realm.

Anyway, all is now good in the hood - time for apathy to go and kick the shit out of destiny and write his own version of his future story.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Incoherent ramblings: Part 1

So here i am, it's a rained out saturday afternoon and i'm at my laptop thinking of all the things i HAVE to do - not things i want to do, but things that need doing - and yet i really just can't be bothered by any of it.

My online identity has taken the form of apathy personified and now i'm wondering what came first: -

An absolute apathy with respect to my own life and welfare that led me to choose 'apathy personified' as a nom de plume, or

The jokingly chosen pseudonym that then became a self fulfilling prophecy

Now for the answer:
Who cares? It's not relevant at the moment, what's relevant is the tasks that need doing but just remain as part of an ever increasing list on a scrap piece of A4.

I always find it funny when people accuse me of being selfish - as i think that is one of my primary malfunctions as a person - i don't spend anytime thinking about me. I'm far more interested in what's happening to other people, in science, in business, in politics and of course in sport.

If i were interested in myself, i'm sure i'd be doing things that i think are important to me, like sorting myself out - but i'm just not interested in me, i want to learn and think about anything else except the unrecognisable figure who glares at me from inside the mirror (he's handsome though ;)) - Some of you clever people will point out that i'm being a hypocrit by writing this post, 'big deal' is my response, i'm allowed to do spend a few minutes typing a few of my thoughts - some of you will also point out that my interest in other things is in fact a selfish venture, as it only benefits me - 'rubbish' i say, interest in the activity of your species is not in itself a selfish act, it's what you do with the information afterwards that counts.

But what's my point here?
Maybe some degree of self reflection is good, knowing your own mind and what you actually want is important - Too many people rush around doing things without thinking, considering and balancing things out, they just act because that's all they know. Others don't, they just let time drift away until all passion for life has withered away and they have no heart or desire to stop themselves becoming what they once swore to themselves, on many lonely and painful nights, they'd never become.

At this point the no nonsense man in me shouts out,
'You fucking tart, go find a pair and get on with it - life's a bitch buttercup, so deal with it - what's up with all this feeling sorry for yourself and emotion?' - Self contradiction and playing personal devils advocate being continual, sometimes annoying habits of mine.

I'm actually amazed that i've managed to write so much personal stuff about me, normally i have to be quite drunk to be this honest with myself - maybe the huge quantity of coffee already drunk today has lowered by defenses slightly - anyway, back to self pity.

Is it an issue when we realise that something has gone wrong and is still going wrong, yet we do nothing? When in the few moments of personal reflection it dawns on us that we aren't the person we want to be, the person we feel we should be.

This is starting to sound like a self indulging whine - pathetic really.

I'll leave you with a comment that i know is true but can't seem to take seriously (funny how people who dish out advice never listen to themselves) - If you don't like the direction your life is going, it's up to you to change it, no one else - but be very wary for you may realise you aren't as special to humanity as you hoped you were, after all, only a few are the best, the rest of us have to remain in the indistinguishable masses of averagedom.

The conclusion to this is simple - find things that inspire you, surround yourself with people who you love and who love you and whose mere presense lifts you up no matter what mood, be honest with yourself when you think of personal objectives but most importantly live for today - no amount of procrastination can ever be recovered - this is your only life so make your existance a story worthy of telling to future generations, not just a footnote in any national census.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The continual blurring of demarcations

I was somewhat surprised when my last credit card bill (i owe £0.00 - oh yeah, proper management of personal finances rocks) arrived, as the bank had kindly added an advert inside the envelope.

What was it advertising, you ask?

Alcohol, that's right - the people who look after my money so i don't have to keep it hidden under my mattress (or in the freezer) - are trying to sell me alcohol.

(It's actually a pretty good deal, 12 bottles of wine (doesn't look like it's the crap stuff either) and a free corkscrew for just £47 - i'm very tempted, but i digress)

I'm used to the bank trying to get me to take out a mortgage or loan or some other unnecessary financial arrangement (well not anymore, but that's another story) - but i get worried when they try and offload alcohol onto me. There are many things in my life I like to keep distinct and away from each other, such as my family and everyone else i know. The grand protectors of my money and alcohol are two such objects, they should remain separate, out of principle.

This may sound like pointless whining (ha, a joke to those who are paying attention), and it is partly - but i still stand by my principle that somethings should remain separate.

That brings me onto another real annoyance of mine - the continual attempts of the religites to undermine the demarcation of state and religion.

When we have elected politicians declaring that instead of listening to the evidence, or their constituents, they will 'go with their conscience' (*cough* what a man in a dress has told them to do *cough*) and vote against a bill that includes positive scientific amendments to current rules on stem cell research and changes to the abortion laws, we have a serious problem. If the politician has a genuine objection to something, an objection based on rational thought and consideration then that's perfectly acceptable - but it beggars believe when a politicians mind on many matters was made up the day they were born, due to their parents religion.

Politicians are elected to represent the people of their constituency and their country - they are not elected to enforce a bronze age dogma as decreed by a foreign leader (i'm looking at you catholics). The politicians who put their own childhood indocrination above the welfare of this country know who they are and should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves .

This now leads me onto the recent attempts to place religion at the heart of education, and in every classroom. To pick one topic from many: -
We need to get some facts straight - creationism, intelligent design, creation science or what ever the hell you want to call it in no way qualifies as anything like science. There are no predictions, no scientific methodology and most importantly - it contradicts the evidence.
Creationism can be taught in comparitive RE lessons along with all the other creation myths - but not in a science classroom.

My bank trying to sell me wine is a broken boundary that i find amusing and likely to set me back about £50 - the recent attempts to break the boundary between the running of government and religion is no laughing matter.

Ice breaker

As this is my first post - you're nervous, i'm nervous - i thought i'd break the ice by telling the funniest joke ever told in the English language:

Why does Noddy wear a hat?

Because he's a cunt

........well i think it's funny, even if you don't.