Entries Tagged 'Rants' ↓

Facebook: the Sniper

Be wary as you travel the various plains of Facebook timelines as you will no doubt, if you have not been already, the subject of a sniper.

A sniper will hide in the tall grass and wait for their victim, when they engage with you it is by means of clever comment to your posts or by a subtly worded post of their own. The effect is still the same, however, you have been taken down by their superiority.

The Facebook Sniper is a perfidious breed, often greatly intelligent, insightful and witty they hone their skills not to engage, support and encourage but to destroy. They seek to balance some level of negative self-esteem by seeking superiority over others.

Their attacks are clever, always tilted to sound reasonable, balanced and above all passive, but the this is just a ruse. In truth it is an assault, intended to rile while providing the sniper with sufficient cover to hide. They draw you out to their killing ground where they can claim a justifiable kill. If you engage with a sniper it will look as if you instigated the assault and they will rally others to watch their kill.

They are a player of tiny games, seeking to lift themselves high by standing on the corpses of their kills, do not engage with them, you will lose.*

* An interesting note should be made that by publishing this post I am in fact doing approximately the same as the Facebook: Sniper myself in that I am drawing out a certain type of person into my killing ground. This realisation demoralises me slightly yet does not stop me posting ;)

Facebook: the Sharer

This Facebook type is the constant Sharer. You know the time of day by the sudden rush of shares from their timeline as they push item after item onto their feed.

Often they follow other Sharer’s, they work best when they are in packs, passing the same tired item from feed to feed in a ceaseless bid to prove that they are socially savvy.

This type is not usually a content creator, if they do update their feed or supply something new it is often another bid for attention, to be noticed.

Their deep inner need is to be noticed, to be admired for their ability to spot interesting content and to supply them to a waiting crowd of admirers. They are less prone to ‘Like’ or engage by comment with an original producer of material.

At the core their is a deep inner need to be noticed or admired which they try to encourage by being the joker, the iconoclast, the modernist or the reactionary. In reality they are rarely anything but. Often conservative, dour and traditionalist the Sharer just wants to be admired, noticed and loved.

Phrase that you imagine them saying: “Look at this cool thing I found!”.

Half Life of Knowledge

So having seen a recent episode of QI on Knowledge I learned that facts have a half life. That is to say they decay quite rapidly. It isn’t that they were wrong, it is just that further investigation uncovers more information that obsoletes the original information. So maybe it is that they are wrong, but that we don’t know how they are wrong at the time.

I have this conversation however.

1.Did you see QI?

2. Yeah.

1. So knowledge has a half life, all that stuff I said last week is likely to be wrong next year.

2. Yep. Everything I learned at Uni is now wrong. Or at least seventy per cent of it.

1. Yeah and all you learned at School is totally gone. Like Pratchett says, Lies to Children.

2. Makes me wonder why I bothered learning it.

1. You could always re-learn it.

2. What’s the point? It’s going to be wrong again in a few years time.

This is where I stand stunned. I came to totally the opposite conclusion to this. I saw the evidence of facts having a half life not as a reason to never bother to learn but to never stop learning. How can two people of roughly similar strengths and attitudes draw such a binary opposed conclusion.

Surely this is the point. Surely we only know that facts have a half life because we carried on looking, because we learned something and wanted to know more, not less.

So everything you thought you knew was wrong, you have been spouting false information like a broken faucet spews water, so what? That’s a damned fine reason to keep looking and learning, to re-assess, to re-learn to discover.

Or you could just retreat from a world filled with a constant renewing of wonder as we uncover and discover more and claim ignorance as bliss.

What do you choose?

Candy Land

So I haven’t really engaged much with changing sweets since I wad younger but this trend of spray and liquid sweets seems very mad. Why don’t you just inject diabetes right into the children, flavoured by preference.

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This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.

Little Mis-Interpretation

It was reported in the news yesterday that a survey into profanity used while driving revealed that fifty percent of women claimed they swore in the car a opposed to forty percent of males.

This, news, and I use the term very loosely was surprising as it went against a perceived grain. It also seemingly contradicts language usage outside of driving.

Several heads talked, comment made and conclusions drawn.

I couldn’t find the source of the original study, but I wonder if what the report really indicates is that women are just more honest about how much they swear when driving.

This study, you see, was a poll, not a study by observance with control groups. If you have done any level of research you know one thing. Polls need to be treated with real care, people often answer the way you want them to, not the way that reflects them correctly.

Just words…

<rant>

Random Tweet “…the police broke the arm of a man in a wheelchair who was protesting disability cuts…”*

So this annoyed me, for no real reason it seemed except the language colours it.

What does it matter that he was in a wheelchair?
What does it matter if he was male?

The words colour the sentence, it is wrong that the police injured any person, irrespective of age, gender, or perceived ability.

But if we said “…the police broke the arm of a girl with Down’s Syndrome…” it would massively colour how we react.

Is that in itself an issue?

Surely the main point of this is that it is wrong for the police to use heavy tactics on anyone?

Why should we feel less concerned by “…the police broke the arm of a male wrester who was protesting tha lack of Giant Haystacks memorials…” than we do to the original sentence?

So I guess I would be happier if the language was neutral, “the police broke the arm of a person protesting…” If then I was able to read further and discover gender, age and ability it may make the knee-jerk reactions less prominent and allow me to be more rational about the larger issue.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t protect the vulnerable, just that emotive arguments often lessen the point. The police should not be empowered to use great force on anyone exercising their right to protest anything they see as an injustice, whether it is disability cuts or Giant Haystack memorials.

</rant>

* Note that this isn’t a rant against the commentator, or even a judgement on their writing skills, it is all about me and how I oft times react.

Black, Pleasured, Beached

The Sad Failures of Blackpool Pleasure Beach

I have been going to BPB for a number of years and so have seen it evolve and change over time. I am also a big fan of theme parks and fairs and I think I probably have enough experience of them to contrast and compare.

Let me say that I like BPB. I have fond memories of it from my youth and I know many of the rides from frequent travel on them. But I think it has some crises of identity that need to be solved, and those crises reflect Blackpool as well.

Entrances

To enter the park you must first purchase your ticket or wristband for rides. If you are not going to be going on any rides then you must still pay five pounds to enter. Now I know many places charge an entry fee because it is an experience they are providing, but those other places also have more theming, which we will come to, and minor attractions. BPB does this, because they can, because people who want to be with their family but cannot ride anything are easy to fleece.

A further fleecing is the fast pass, some parks charge, some don’t. I don’t mind that they do but they try to sell it as a value, it isn’t. It is a way in which to make money. End of.

Also, many other parks have a parent pass. Two parents with young children who can’t go on rides are often allowed to use the fast pass so that only one of them need queue for the long wait part. Common in Disney and Universal and totally absent in BPB. They may as well say ‘fuck you, give us the money’.

In Security

Then we have security, and please forgive me while I fall about laughing. You are required to have your bag searched and to pass through a metal detector, a common piece of nonsense we all suffer with in a modern western world. But they did not search the pram I took in, I could have stored weaponry, in fact I could have sneaked in a modest sized rifle under our double pram.

They also confiscated my tripod. My mini tripod for my iPhone. I guess so I couldn’t use it as a weapons mount for the M16 under the pram, or so I couldn’t shoot professional film on my 5D MKII with a 100-400 lens that I took in without a blink. Also, I could have fitted my pro tripod under the pram.

Security guards walking around the site had flakjackets on and handcuffs, I mean wtf! I thought we had entered a barracks not a family themed (again please hear that in a sarcastic voice) area. If you need to stand guard over the fountains during a display you don’t send the security guards who look like Rambo, you send somebody with a pleasant smile who is backed by Rambo hiding out of sight. I don’t want to see that level of aggressive security, I don’t think it makes for a pleasant experience to make me feel that this place is so unsafe they need to wear armour to stop you running through a fountain.

Theme?

Now lets talk about the theming. The one section of the park they have got right is the Nickelodeon World. Aimed at younger children, full of safer rides and great theming. The staff put of children’s displays, have character photographs and song and dance routines. Excellent, well done.

The rest of the park is a mish-mash. Fit what we can in where we can. Place theming to the ride but don’t attempt to merge or style sections. If a ride disappears then leave a huge empty space that looks like the council would move travellers to. Just nasty. No attempt to hide the space with themed boards or displays or potted plants, just the debris of visitors and general dismay.

Tacky to the Last

The traditional fairground activities, tests of strength and skill to win a huge and more than piss poor tacky prize are also unwelcome. Why have such massive and silly gifts. Okay they amuse you for a short while until you realise that any five year old presented with this would have to have a strong diet of Japanese horror and manga to understand the need for such a torture piece. They are a melding of excesses and poorly aimed award. ‘Surely it is worth more if it is bigger’. I wouldn’t want one if they tried to give it to me.

What is wrong with a smaller prize. Size doesn’t make it better.

BPB, like other theme parks, are an enclosed space and they love to squeeze you a little more over the food. The one difference is they do have an all you can eat pizza which represents good value for families, it is a pity they don’t train their staff.

Totally Staffed!

And we segway into staff visibility and training. BPB believes that a small logo on a jacket (black jacket) is a good way to identify their staff. Well it is. If they are four feet or less away and no one is stood in front of them. The general staff visibility is poor. The training is laughable.

It was a warm afternoon and someone fainted nearby. When people looked around a staff member couldn’t be found. The staff member on a ride couldn’t or didn’t know they could leave their ride at that time, and so the person had to lie on the floor while passers by tried to round up staff. Someone was dialling 999 when a staff member arrived, looked worried and then that staff member left to find someone else.

I have no more words for that one.

Higher visibility of clothing for your staff, maybe a bright, fun and friendly colour so they are easy to spot.

Eugh, d’ Toilet

Finally, the toilets. Some of these are old so there is no baby change in the mens, meh, it happens. The modern block is nice. Gracefully tiled, new basins with automatic taps and fast dryers. Lovely floors and a giant metal trough to piss in. Well thanks for that, I want to feel like an animal, I want my, one day to be an 8 year old, to be intimidated by the openness and smell of your troughs.

If you are going to have condom machines, which I personally don’t think you should in a family park, could you not have ones that are for safe sex and birth control as opposed to ones that only serve a ‘tickler, glow in the dark, flavoured,’ or a personal joy, ‘novelty shaped,’ jhonnie?

Once more, What The Fuck…or in the words of my good friend t0m ‘what the ducking fuck’…

This is not the message to give to the nice new toilets next to your under-5s fantasy world you colossal fuck-wits.

I would say excuse my profanity, but they deserve this level of profane. Decide what the fuck type of message you want to give.

To conclude

BPB, you are an anachronism attempting to move forward and you are doing it badly. Stop catering to the potential profits of the Stag and Hen shite/nights. If they want to come and play at a family location then enforce sensible behaviour from them with exclusion on misbehaviour.

Stop indulging this.

Crappy displays of strength, piss troughs, excess charges, open wounds and litter…

You make us pay just to see inside, don’t then show us this, it is trivial and fairly easy to improve. I say this because your most popular area was the one world where you got it right, where you themed it well and offered less tacky gifts. You can change, and you can do it by stopping the advertisement of condom-flavoured seaside bawdy. That is an experience that only the most die-hard of retard would actively promote as a sensible business focus.

-mdk

21st Century Relationship*

So my head is currently wrapped by this notion that some people believe their relationship is more ‘modern’ than mine just because I got married, am monogamous, like my family and spend time with them, also I chose to have children.

They know nothing about my reasons to get married, or any of those other things, they just assume because they can label their sexual/personal relationships as ‘n’-gamy or ‘something’-sexual, or that they choose individual expansion in a complex and fluidly expressed environment and see that as a defining concept in a modern world, that it makes them 21st century and me some kind of troglodyte hitting women with a stick to drag them back to my man cave.

I have news for you all. They were doing the same as you in the classic periods and we have no real evidence to say different, but I doubt that primitive man had marriage and was probably pretty damn ‘n’-gamy or ‘something’-sexual :)

In other words, your notion that my marriage or anything else I choose is an anachronism, or archaic, or a primitive/simpler/traditional value, is in fact a huge pile of doo-doo.

I didn’t marry because of tradition. I married because of an educated discussion and deliberation with my wife. Yes, it sounds clinical (parts of it were, most of it wasn’t – there you go, we both also subscribe to that silly notion of love) but we ‘chose’ to get married. We discussed it and determined based on a number of factors, including Leigh’s love of the actual event and her belief in the good force that marriage represents and my belief that a promise is special and sharing that promise with family and friends shows how special it is to people (i.e. the event itself is special), to get married. Also, we really had a blast on our wedding day, if I had the money I would do it again and invite the same people they were all brilliant.

I think the fact that we both *chose* this, based on how we felt, and the other persons feelings means we have a modern relationship. Because our relationship is not just based on someones ability to define a term, or solely on some societal or cultural definition, it is based on an understanding of the other persons needs, desires and wishes.

We are both fully aware of many of the sociological, psychological and historical factors that determine relationships, interactions and traditions. We neither conform or reject them, we choose which ones are applicable to our status and what we wish to represent to others as our relationship. In some manner they shape that relationship by their existence, but they do not determine it and they do not define it.

Thanks.

(Oh, none of this is meant to indicate that your relationship isn’t modern, personally if you chose to do it, it is brand new and shiny, all of interaction is :) ).

* This was originally posted on Facebook, then i realised that many people I know are not on Social Media places and I have no ‘real’ control over it there, so I placed it on here.

Twittequette

(Twitter Etiquette)

Okay so I saw this tweet (I removed the names and some of the details):

“Please stop retweeting your ——. They’re spoiling my time line.”*

And my reaction is now, “frack you, stop following them”. So why do I have this reaction?

I guess it is because of a few reasons and just let me spill out my thoughts in a lazy edit of semi-stream-of-consciousness.

1. There is a sort of understanding that when you follow someone you may disagree with what they say, so you say so to them.

2. You chose to follow them, if they piss you off, choose to unfollow them.

3. Isn’t it rude to tell people what they can Tweet about? I see tweets from the profound to the moronic, and my decision on what determines their importance is just that, my decision. My level of engagement. My opinion. It isn’t the opinion of the tweeter, it shouldn’t be the opinion of the tweeter. They get to make that themselves, if I don’t like it…unfollow.

4. If it is a retweet, you can still argue back, or say you don’t like the comment, but telling them what they can or can not post is wrong.

5. It could be tedious, it could be highly offensive, but the world is a vast collection of those things and we all have our levels of judging them. I might find peoples evasive use of polite language which masks their inner true beliefs more offensive than hate rhetoric, I might hate anyone talking about Pokemon, it doesn’t matter, I should still allow them to have that opinion and choose whether I follow or listen to it. But I don’t get to decide if they have the rights to their opinions, no matter how much I might disagree or agree with them. Equality of opinion is a burden as well as a blessing, there are costs to liberties.

I am of the opinion that there is a ‘twittequette’, you can use the social medium to block and ignore some things and if they roll out more filters maybe you’ll be able to block more, and you can also scan and hide Tweets, so asking someone to moderate their responses just because you think it spoils something is just wrong.

I have in the past been accused of posting -too many- things. Once was a mistake in judgement and I was politely called on it, the second I warned that I was going to Twitter-Bomb a set of posts so people could choose to ignore me for an hour or so, the third wasn’t so nice. Frankly I was called up for not being interesting basically, and so i have this level of bile that wells up to Tweets like this, and I think that this is rude and you should consider what you are saying…or not, hell it’s your 140 characters :)

(end rant).

* btw, I think in this case the original tweeter was being sarcastic, but it still gave me my knee jerk response.

 

Train Woes

Okay so once again the train is delayed and this means I will miss a connection, I get really dis-chuffed when that occurs. Then I will blame privatisation. But this isn’t a random blame.

Privatisation was supposed to bring us:

Lower Fares. It didn’t.
More trains. It didn’t.
Better service. Debateable, more customer service bollocks that’s for sure.
Increased efficiency – well let’s look at that.

How do we measure efficiency. Ask the operators and they may say number of people to destnation – in shortest time – on time. Ask the travellers and they would add a qualifier, they would put comfort while traveling as part of that.

Let’s face it, 150 mph in a boxcar with us jammed in like sardines would be efficient.

So comfort is a part of efficiency to the customer. Not just speed and on time, but do I get a seat, is there enough baggage space, etc.

Baggage Space, well that’s a joke, most trains have inadequate space and they now have no baggage car so there is luggage everywhere, especially airport trains which should have a baggage car, but that means an extra car, an extra person to manage it, loss of profit from fuel and personnel and time and oh gods that affects efficiency, so that’s a no go.

Seats. Even on regular routes with no issues there is often overcrowding and distressed persons, and this is compounded when there are delays that push extra people onto the trains. The solution is extra cars even if the figures do not justify it, but again this increases costs and yada yada yada.

So comfort is pandered to with a smiling smartly dressed staff member, who has no real power to alter anything, can only point at alternate routes, offer a form to make a complaint or request compensation or say sorry. There is no real method for change.

But this situation -could- be the same even if they weren’t private, I hear you cry…

Preston Station

Preston Station, so depressing not even a brightly coloured filter cheers it up.

Not the point, if they are making a profit at the massive expense of their customers there is an issue, and since we have no alternative that effectively is a monopoly, so I will complain and state that privatisation of the train industry was a joke that has led to nothing but a failure of promises.

There is an issue when we measure efficiency as a means test for quality, it isn’t. Efficiency is a test of just that. It never means quality of service, this thinking is applied to health, education and other large systems with the same failure. We want quality, we achieve that by measuring satisfaction of service, not by quantifiable metrics.

What a difference having power and a seat on a train makes to the mood of the weary traveller…so my argument about quality of service and amenities starts to gain more credence as my rage is ameliorated by the comfort i have found. I do however pity my fellow passengers who got on at Chorley and Bolton and are doomed to stand for the remainder of their journey, I doubt the delays and inconvenience are changing their moods at this present time.

Some of the trains are nicer though, so glad that we helped to pay for them with public funds!