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The Revenge of Winston Smith

Observations on the absurdity of everyday life interspersed with rambling rants against religion · big brother government policies · conservatism · right-wingers and obsessive capitalists · xenophobes, racists, sexists and bigots in general · tabloid journalism · the Daily Mail · self-professed moral guardians..... and much much more!

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Bad blogger, strange phobia

Posted by Tim on Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Permalink

Another month has gone by without me writing anything . . . I'll admit it: I'm a bad blogger. And there's been plenty of interesting stuff happening lately that I could have written about too. I do sometimes wonder what the point is though - I mean, just about everyone has their own blog these days, so it's not as if I'm likely to be writing anything new. And anyone who's been here before should have a pretty good idea of my views on things anyway.

So instead of writing about current events I'm going to ask a question concerning a bizarre phobia I have. It's not something that affects my quality of life or anything, I just happened to be thinking about it whilst sat here at my computer with nothing else to do.

It's to do with water, but I have no problem with water itself. I like swimming, being in boats and stuff - what bothers me is the way that things are magnified or distorted through water.

I wont look too closely at a round fish bowl, particularly if it's in front of something. Even bottles of clear liquids bother me.
I'll happily jump into a swimming pool full of people, but not if it's empty and I can see the bottom of the pool "rippling". I'll also steer well clear of the plug (I've read about "drainphobia" but that's only part of it).
What affects me the most though is the water tank in the loft or a toilet cistern with the lid off. The rippley, magnified stuff inside ... well, it's not just a case of not liking it, I find myself backing away, pulse racing, sweating and all that.

I can't think of a rational explanation for any of this. Anyone got any ideas, or know how common this is or if it has a name?

(no comments)



Posted by Tim on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Permalink

I wonder - do people who work for insurance companies, banks, benefits agencies and similar organisations have to go on a course to teach them how to be patronising, or do naturally patronising people choose such jobs for the enjoyment of pissing people off?

It wouldn't be so bad if people from the same company actually communicated with each other. But no, you phone up to speak to someone about a problem, wait for ages to get through (whilst listening to the first few bars of Eine kleine Nachtmusik on constant repeat, interrupted every few seconds by a recorded voice apologising for the delay and insisting that your call is important to them) and when you do speak to someone they have to transfer you to another department where - after more Mozart - you have to explain the problem again, only to find out that the person dealing with the matter is on holiday.

The person you are speaking to will then ask if they can help. The answer to this should always be "No!". Saying yes will mean having to explain the problem from the beginning, which will be like traveling back in time several weeks to when the problem first occurred. This could cause a rift in the space-time continuum, which would destroy the entire universe (granted, that's a worst-case scenario - the destruction might, in fact, be very localized - limited merely to our own galaxy).

And to piss me off further, upon checking on Amazon, I find that the release date for Twilight Princess has been put back to NOVEMBER!

(no comments)


Strange nostalgia

Posted by Tim on Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Permalink

After watching a programme on the T.V. last night about the year 1980 I was hit with a wave of nostalgia - not for the year, which I was too young at the time to remember much about - but for one of the foods mentioned.

In the mid 1990s I played in a rock band called Vagabond Kiss. We played 80s style rock, which is probably why we only had local success (that and the fact that we had the potential to be quite good but weren't). Anyway, one of the favourite pastimes of the band was to gather together in a specific place - usually my flat - and drink a large number of alcoholic beverages until the early hours of the morning. At about two in the morning one would feel the need to consume something a little more solid. Usually this would be cheese-on-toast, but if we were lucky there would be a packet of Vesta Chicken Curry somewhere in the kitchen cupboard.

For those who don't know, here is a brief explanation of what to do if you find yourself in the possession of a box of the afore-mentioned culinary delight.

Open the box. Inside you will find two paper packets. One contains a portion of rice which you cook in the usual way. Pour the contents of the other packet - bright yellow powder with different coloured lumps in - into a pan. Add the required amount of water (plus a little extra chili powder) and bring to the boil. The lumps reveal themselves to be dried peas and carrots along with some chunks of something that is supposed to be chicken but has a truly bizarre knitted texture. When the rice is ready, drain and rinse, put on a plate and pour the curry on top. Don't be put off by the fact that the viscosity and colour of this concoction is that of diarrhoea (although this will go un-noticed if you have consumed a suitable number of alcoholic beverages).

Despite the fact that it should have been thoroughly disgusting, these Vesta meals were actually really nice. And I mean always nice, unlike, say, a Pot Noodle, which is always repulsive (but occasionally you fancy one anyway).

I haven't had one of these things for years - I can't find them anywhere. I occasionally see Vesta Beef Risotto (edible but dull) and Chow Mein (bears no resemblance to the Chinese dish of the same name) but no chicken curries. This is actually makes me rather sad. I felt the same when all the McDonald's down here stopped serving root beer.


Happy birthday to me

Posted by Tim on Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Permalink

I've been writing this - my first blog - for exactly a year, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to look back at my earlier posts.

I've written 46 posts (most crap, some actually quite interesting / amusing) and received 151 comments. At the time of writing I've had 7752 visits - not a huge amount, but still several a day. I've written less (and had fewer visits) since I moved my rants against religion elsewhere (here) but I am going to keep this blog going - after all there are plenty of other things that piss me off:

Big brother government policies.
Conservatism and obsessive traditionalists.
Right-wingers, obsessive capitalists and people who love money more than anything else.
Xenophobes (and obsessively patriotic people).
Racists, sexists and bigots in general.
Tabloid journalism.
Daily Mail readers.
Self-professed moral guardians.
Dense people (perhaps this is my only real prejudice?)

I'm going to try to be (a little) more personal and less abstract in my writings. So, a bit about me (according to some quizzes at Quizfarm.com) -

What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
Am I being picky, or would having the total adding up to 100% have made more sense?
(8% fascism ?!?)
BTW, It's been a long time since I put a table in a website. Seems odd.

What is Your World View?
Cultural Creative50%
You scored as Existentialist. Existentialism emphasizes human capability. There is no greater power interfering with life and thus it is up to us to make things happen. Sometimes considered a negative and depressing world view, your optimism towards human accomplishment is immense. Mankind is condemned to be free and must accept the responsibility.

What philosophy do you follow?
Justice (Fairness)40%
Strong Egoism35%
Divine Command0%
You scored as Hedonism. Your life is guided by the principles of Hedonism: You believe that pleasure is a great, or the greatest, good; and you try to enjoy life’s pleasures as much as you can.
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!"

Some other results without the details -

My mental illness is obsessive compulsive disorder (I knew that anyway).

My sexual style is "Kinky. You are very open to new experiences and opportunities."
(I knew that too).


A kind of late Bah Humbug

Posted by Tim on Friday, December 31, 2004 | Permalink

Love Christmas. Hate new year.

Why? Well, it's all so ... fake. Enforced fun. People trying to have a good time not necessarily because they're in the mood for a good time, but because it's new year's eve and they're "supposed" to have a good time. I've only once gone out on new year's eve and actually enjoyed myself, so these days I don't bother.

Also, Christmas is over, the next couple of months are bleak and cold, and I wont have kept last years resolutions (if I had have made any).

Right, going to get pissed in front of the T.V. now - best wishes for the new year to all!


Eat, drink and be merry

Posted by Tim on Friday, December 24, 2004 | Permalink

The true meaning of Christmas. Eat, drink and be merry. And give/get loads of pressies. The Baby Jesus? Pah, what did he ever do for me? Father Christmas on the other hand always got me presents as a kid. What a nice bloke.

Seriously though, I do wonder if telling kids about Santa is a good idea. Ok, it's not like telling them that they have to obey contradictory and often absurd rules taken from a book of ancient legends otherwise when they die they'll magically come back to life again and be tortured for eternity, but it's still a lie. I'd be interested in anyone else's views on this (this makes interesting reading if you're bored).

This will probably be my last post this year, so merry Christmas and a happy new year to anyone who's popped by. Don't forget to stock up on Alka-Seltzer!


Annoying, conclusion-jumping, judgemental little turds

Posted by Tim on Friday, November 12, 2004 | Permalink

Jehovah's Witnesses came to my house today while I was at work. I was rather disappointed - I've always enjoyed "discussing" things with these people, and watching their ever increasing difficulty in remaining polite and friendly as I point out that their beliefs are, in fact, complete bullshit.

My wife answered the door - still in her dressing gown - to find the smartly dressed couple smiling and waving a copy of the Watchtower at her (no kids today - they usually drag their poor children around with them, which I feel is a form of child abuse - although that's a topic for another rant). The first thing the woman said to my wife was "Oooh, you're having a baby!" - and then both of them made a very obvious point of looking down to see if she was wearing a wedding ring. Seeing that she wasn't (she had to take it off as her fingers have swollen up) their tone changed dramatically. The man actually shook his head and started walking back up the drive! How nice of them to drop by a strangers house to jump to conclusions and be judgemental. And it's not as if unmarried couples having children is uncommon anyway (we weren't married when we had our first).

Oh, and I don't want to worry anyone, but the world is going to come to an end again soon. Unfortunately they didn't give an exact date this time - presumably to avoid any embarrassment when such a date passes and the world stubbornly continues to exist.


Nudge nudge, wink wink

Posted by Tim on Friday, October 22, 2004 | Permalink

Why is it that whenever you tell a group of people that you/your partner are expecting a baby, at least one person will give you a stupid grin and say something incredibly witty like, "So how did you manage that then?"

Perhaps I should be blunt and tell the next person who asks me (my wife is expecting child #2 in a few weeks) exactly how I (we) managed it (although I would have thought that it would have been obvious). I suppose they are thinking "I know you've had sex!" - but isn't having sex is one of those things that pretty much everyone does anyway?

So, just in case any such person is reading, I would like to publicly confirm that I have, indeed, a number of times actually, had sex.

Haven't you?


Homeschooling and being a misfit

Posted by Tim on Monday, September 06, 2004 | Permalink

My wife has recently started a homeschooling blog (here if you're interested).
Although most people don't realise that educating your kids at home is actually legal, it's becoming more and more common, with over 100 people a month choosing to do this (see this Guardian report).

Despite having done this for nearly three years, the opinions of family and friends remain negative, varying from ignorant concern to downright hostility. The fact that our daughter is happily learning in freedom (without having to sit behind a desk wearing a uniform and having to ask permission to go and perform basic bodily functions) doesn't seem to matter. My mother-in-law even went as far as phoning the social services! Quite what she was hoping to achieve I'm not sure - perhaps she thought that someone would come along and drag our daughter off to school "where she belongs". As this didn't happen (we were visited by a man from the educational authority who was suprisingly supportive) she phoned the social services again - anonymously - this time saying that our daughter had been seen covered in bruises. Needless to say, we no longer have anything to do with the EVIL FUCKED UP BITCH. Luckily the person who visited us from the social services realised that it was a hoax call.

My point is that all the arguments people use against homeschooling turn out to be a disguised version of "it's not normal", as if that in itself is a reason for not doing something.

Even my mother - the most "genuine" person I know - has called me a "misfit". What she has difficulty in understanding is that I am not a jigsaw piece. I mean, why the hell would I want to do things for no other reason than it's what other people do?