Friday, 21 December 2007

Back pain - not cool

Over the last few days I've experienced a fair bit of back pain. A dull ache that spirals up to a sharp pain in the area between my waist line and shoulder blades. Not a lot of fun to cope with. Between the 2 hours of sleep a night and the rush, bustle and general unpleasantness of the holiday season, I'm starting to get a bit cranky. I think it's more the stress of this time of year than an actual injury of any type - although I do have to stoop over or bend when I do a lot of household stuff (which I've actually been doing). Coming back to the stress of Christmas though... I've been downtown a bit and the behaviour of people at this time of year is appalling. Of course, we all hear the wonderful Christmas stories from the media - marking this the one time of year they'll actual cover something good, but we don't get the unpleasant underbelly of Christmas coming to the fore.

For example, as everyone rushes to get stuff for people, their driving habits worsen. I've been cut off about 5 times more often in the last week than all year. And people do the most discourteous things in addition - failing to indicate, tail gating etc. I've taken to keeping away from the major roads in town - the other routes are far more scenic and less stressful.

My significant other works part time in retail and she comes home cranky after every shift. Why? Because people are arseholes and Christmas is their time to shine. Commercialism overrides common sense (what little those dumb fuckers have anyway), manners are ignored and common courtesy is completely disregarded. It's clearly at times like this that I think humanity should be drowned in a bucket. Personally, I blame the commercialisation of Christmas. I've read a couple of bits and pieces today on the net regarding diamonds and the advertising of them as a way of purchasing your way to a woman's heart. Why would you use those common old rocks, sold at a premium? At any rate, it brings out the worst in people.

I remember when we were kids and there wasn't a lot under the tree. There was always some sporting stuff (we played cricket, hockey, tennis, golf, soccer, AFL and loads of others) or a replacement bike every few years as we outgrew/destroyed the ones we had. There were a minimum of computer games and the like, being that it was before the great wussification of children began and very few plastic toys. Nowadays kids seem to get plastic crap that lasts all of 10 minutes, and an arseload of games and things designed to keep them inside. I see kids these days at school that have the physical co-ordination of a drunk monkey. It's appalling!

So who is to blame for all of this? The parent? They are besieged by advertising regarding junk for kids, they are hammered by the kids wanting said junk and they are exhausted because they work long and hard to try to get the money to pay for it all. So is it the advertisers? Nope, they're just doing their job and they do good at it. It weakens, belittles and undermines us all, but hey, that's their job and they work hard at it.

It comes back to a common theme for me - the big corporations are at (and I do realise that free will and the right to choose are not to be dis-regarded here) fault. Those big, faceless, accountable only to their greedy shareholders entities that seem to rule the world. Of course, the shareholders are average people, but they don't give a shit. They want a return on their stocks, and they want it NOW! Damn the impact of the activities of those corporations on the people and the planet - we want our fucking money and we want it to increase every year damn it! It's bloody appalling and I am continuously shocked and appalled by the people who piss and moan about how bad things are, but own stocks in these organisations - and therefore have a say in the governance of that organisation. Do something about it you spineless cretins!

Unfortunately the lure of riches, glamour and stuff is too great and the corporations who have poisoned our minds and are currently destroying our world use these things to blind us to what is happening. The power of the people is undermined in a calculated and heartless manner through the manipulation of those lying pussbag politicians and so we all suffer.

Try not to buy *too* much useless shit this Christmas!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Disgraceful Politicians

Each day I read quite a few articles on the net about various things. This one here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/12/16/telecoms/index.html is referring to the eavesdropping the US government perpetrates on it's citizens and the desire of many of the piss weak pollies to allow the corporations, and by extension themselves, off without even a slap on the wrist. How the fuck does this support the people they are supposed to represent?

In Australia the new Labour government are starting to bring in rules to prohibit various types of lobbying that involve an exchange of funds of any type. Why does the Government not take away the requirement to have any need for outside money in the race for the top spot? I'd love to see this happen in the US, where it appears the more money you have, the more likely you are to reach the Presidency. Now I'm not a fan of Kevin Rudd, the current Australian PM, but I'll give him a chance. I thought John Howard did alright - although I naturally disagreed with things that happened during his tenure as PM.

My point (if there is one) is that politicians seem to excise any type of honour, or integrity once they decide to enter politics. They'll say anything to get in, make any promise, kiss any handy arse. They'll support the big corporations that are designed for one thing - to make money off of everyone else, regardless of the cost to society or the environment. That's a rant for another time I think - corporations and specifically the people running them should be accountable for *everything* that the corporation does. But to get back on topic....

When you promise the world, naturally you're lying. It takes a lot of effort to change things and people seem to not realise this. You don't click your fingers and say - there we go, problem xyz is fixed. Why not at least promise what you can deliver? I'm the President of a local sporting association and I don't make promises. I tell people what is achievable, what I'm working on and work like hell to make it all pay off. But I don't lie, or compromise my integrity. I aim to provide the best I can for all the people I represent. This bullshit in the US about the wiretapping protects the lying fucks of George Bush (pick one) and his cabinet and the spineless cretins that allowed it to be implemented. You can bet *they* aren't being watched. To say I feel disillusioned by the democratic process is a lot like saying the sun is only "warm". Frankly, I think that if Kevin Rudd can pull us out of our regrettable entanglement with the United States we'll be a lot better off. Those fat, useless, fear ridden cretins in the US should be allowed to sink alone and not be able to drag our sorry arses down with them.

And of course, I once again wonder why someone doesn't go on a shooting rampage at Capitol Hill and try to winnow out a few of those useless bastards in the US Senate and Congress. I regret that my language is insufficient to suitably portray my feelings with regards to those.... humans (and even admitting I'm of the same species is a big stretch). At the end of the day, I'd like to see people who've had real jobs, who've had to work hard for what they've got and who have an ounce of integrity in those politicians' seats. They certainly cannot do any worse than the motherfuckers there at the moment.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Update to Rant: eBay and Stupidity

I should have noted this some time ago. I was pretty pissed off when I stuffed up and paid for something I really didn't want on eBay - a CD of stuff for Nokia phones. At any rate, I resolved to make the best of it and see what came out of it all.

Good news! eBay emailed me saying the seller's account had been suspended. I waited the requisite number of days and then emailed them indicating I had not received the goods. Surprisingly swiftly the money was returned and all was good. That'll learn that no good seller.

It was also a good lesson for your's truly - pay attention to what you are bidding on!

Struggling with Creativity

I had attempted to write each day for December, but it's really not working out. When I want to write is generally when I'm trying to work and the great ideas I have are often swamped by the complexities of my tasks here at the office.

Plus, I'm just finding it damn hard to write something interesting! And this led me to an ongoing thought stream I've had and that I pondered in some depth yesterday. You see, yesterday I watched the movie "The World's Fastest Indian" with Anthony Hopkins in it. Basically, the movie is about a Kiwi fellow by the name of Burt Munro who wants his 1920 model Indian motorcycle to be the fastest of its type in the world. He was focussed on his goal, lived, ate and breathed it and eventually it came to fruition. That passion, that burning desire to achieve a single goal - I don't have that.

Nope, no passion for anything in particular. Even the things I really like doing, if I couldn't do them any more I'd miss them but I'd probably move on without lamenting the fact on a daily basis. While I find this lack of passion somewhat disquieting it does have it's benefits. I find a balanced approach to life is much more easy. There is no sporting team that I love, no vehicle I love and no place I love. Likewise for the myriad other things that people are passionate about. I like certain cars, I like certain places and I enjoy various activities. But I'm not so passionate about it that I'll devote my life to them.

Is this mediocrity? A cover for a lack of self-confidence - a feeling that I can't be the best at anything so why try? I don't think so. As long as I'm giving my best effort I'm happy with the outcome. There is always some place to improve, but I'm not so crazed about it that I'll feel awful for ages afterward. I'd like to think I'm a bit Zen about the whole thing. The variables I can control are my own variables - the effort I'm making, the focus I've got etc. I find that the more passionate I am about something, the more pressure is on me to succeed and less enjoyment I ultimately get from it (even when I am successful).

I think that this could be applied to a few things for many people. Sport is the obvious example. I'm tied up with hockey and the like in my home town and nothing disgusts me more than moron spectators screaming at their kid, or someone else's kid or the umpire for what is happening on the field. There is very rarely a positive slant to these comments and it doesn't serve to help anyone out. Isn't the object to enjoy one's self whilst on the field? Don't we want to encourage our kids to do well - but praise the effort they make, in case the results aren't as wonderful as we expect from our progeny? At least this gives you an out -if they make a big effort but don't get to the line in the manner they/we expect, then you still have something great to say to them. And the effort is the only thing they can really control isn't it?! The results are often dependent on others, the environment or just dumb luck.

I guess I do have a passion after all - a passion for people to be reasonable and to look a bit beyond the moronic behaviour that is so often exhibited in this society. I'm not looking to apportion blame, but rather to suggest that things be considered in a slightly different light.

Expect this post to be edited :-)

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Firefly and Serenity

Over the course of the weekend I watched the entire (short) season of Firefly and then the movie Serenity. I cannot for the life of me understand why Firefly was cancelled. The characters were awesome, the environment they were set in was great and there was so much scope for different stories. I love watching it.

Possibly the thing I like most about Firefly is the characters and how there seems to be a nice balance amongst them. No single character takes all the limelight, although Malcolm Reynolds is fairly central to most of it, he is not the focus. Joss Whedon and Tim Minear have done a fantastic job of writing the series and the movie. No wonder it has such a following.

It raised another point that I've been pondering a little bit. The people we admire most have qualities that are reflected in us. I've heard this said before and I see in Firefly how the mix of characters allows so many people to find something in the characters that they can relate to, admire and connect with. Be it the strength of Simon's love for River, Kaylee's love of engines and food, or Jayne's role as the tough, but dumb guy. It may be in the funny nature of Wash or in his wife's tenacity and loyalty. Truly a diverse cast and one that has so many strengths.... and also so many frailties.

It is our faults that make us human. To have heroes that are without fault is totally unrealistic. A character with a real, identifiable hubris is a character that we can relate to and empathise with. Bravo to the writers and directors of Firefly and Serenity for creating characters we can identify with so closely.

A damn shame it was cancelled. I curse the greedy money making mofo's who did it.