Tag Archives: idiocy

A hole to China

It was a rather hot summer’s morning at about 10am. I’d been up since 6am because I work for myself and my boss is a total prick.

My friend came to see me, said he had the day off. Now, you know that friend you have that, when they say they have the day off, you know you’re about to spend all day down the pub? Well, this is my friend like that. Before I could even argue he threw me my coat, and as this was a summer’s day, this confirmed my suspicions that we would be in the pub all day and most of the night.

It was one of those days where work didn’t matter. Nothing mattered, really.

Continue reading A hole to China

Magical redheads

I watched Harry Potter yesterday. I’ve had quite a lot of time on my hands over the past few weeks, for one reason or another, and it’s something I’ve known was going to happen eventually; things that are so easily achieved are rarely put off forever, I find, and I thought that ‘well over half my life’ was long enough to leave this particular activity before completion.

I got called ‘Hermione’ quite a bit at school as well, so it seemed best to find out the precise implications of that before I forgot the entirety of what being at school was like. Admittedly this name-calling was mostly contemporaneous with the early films, back when she was mainly just a smart-arsed pre-teen with massive hair (I see what they meant, the more film-savvy kids), and tailed off drastically when it emerged that she’s quite fit and physically heroic as well as the book-learned kind. I’m not going to pretend that didn’t smart a bit.

Oh, also, when I say “I watched Harry Potter recently”, I should also add the caveat that what I actually did was watch the last two, or one, depending on how you look at it. I’m fairly sure I’ve seen the first one, having been alive for a decade’s worth of Christmases since its TV debut, so that didn’t seem worth it, and having skipped that I thought I may as well cut to the ‘good stuff’, as it were.

It wasn’t an unenjoyable experience, I’ll admit that now. They’re not demanding films, even when lacking knowledge of the bulk of their backstory, and having grown up utterly irritated by the leads they didn’t grate excessively on my nerves. What really pissed me off, more than the shitty CGI acting or the word ‘Muggle’ or the sheer scale of the stupid moral showboating on display, was that bit at the end when Harry chucks that really powerful wand in the moat thing.

It’s presented as a moment of great importance. Harry’s the ultimate Goody Two-Shoes, a pacifistic non-ruffler of…bloody unicorn feathers, or whatever, and he’s just so fucking great that when presented with ‘the most powerful wand in the world’, he thinks, ‘Nah’. He’s not up for that. That’d be bad probably. So he snaps it in half, this wand that’ll only answer to him anyway, and he lobs it off a big bridge.

‘Most powerful wand in the world’. That’s a relative thing, that. That suggests a scale of power with this stick at its zenith. Harry’s just destroyed the biggest evil in the world and he’s got sole control over the thing that’s most powerful out of what’s left, and instead of looking after it with some sodding willpower he thinks, again for clarity, ‘Nah.’

Whilst I think understand that particular sentiment more than most (thinking ‘Nah’ and fucking something off because it seems like a bad plan, that is), this strikes me as somewhat problematic. Take the aforementioned Power Wand Index. Surely there’s a second most powerful wand in the world that’s just been promoted? How great a margin can there truly be between the two? And what’s going to defeat that? Harry? Not anymore, no. He’s thrown away the thing he’d need to sort that out. His stupid friends didn’t even stop him, they just stood there looking precious and a bit grubby, and then it cuts to them all rubber-faced with lots of ginger children.

I know you wear unfortunate glasses, you scabby git, but for God’s sake have a bit of foresight. That snake-nosed bloke might be gone, but are you so naive as to think that he’s the only one? Weren’t there other baddies you didn’t murder? One of them’s got the most powerful wand in the world now, and he’s going to fuck you up with it. This is how this sort of thing works, and no number of magical redheads will be able to save you this time.

Harry Potter and the Gigantic Fuck-Up. I knew there was a reason I’d avoided this shit.

Recalculating

Technology is all around us. You can’t miss it, because most people are absolutely obsessed with it. Everything has to have something technical included – heck, we can’t even buy a watch without it having internet access, and it seems that everywhere we go people are becoming more and more attached to their gizmos and gadgets.

This is great, in theory. Because, moaner though I may be, I am all for the moving forward of the human race. Everything has to develop, and if that means making everyone’s toaster Instagram-enabled then so be it.

But what about when your technology lets you down? What do you do then?

Because the truth is that we’re all becoming a little bit thick. We don’t know how to do anything on our own. Only the other day, I was driving round the countryside, a place that I had never been to before, with my trusty Sat Nav blasting directional advice in my face every five seconds. And then, suddenly, the fucking thing packed in. There I was, surrounded by fields – unfamiliar ones at that – and the only thing my usually-helpful Sav Nav lady had to say was “recalculating, recalculating, recalculating”. But she never finished the job.

Don’t get me wrong – I am no irresponsible driver. Of course I carry a map. But what I realised on that day was that carrying it was one thing, and fucking reading it was another. I didn’t know which direction I was heading, I didn’t know what road I was on (Sat Nav was supposed to be taking care of that) and to be perfectly honest I don’t think I could read a map if I was paid to.

After a few minutes of utter panic, I managed to download a list of directions on my phone that I had to pull over and refer to embarrassingly frequently for the rest of the journey. So the iPhone saved the day. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d had no battery – a situation I find myself in a lot thanks to my general state of disorganisation.

I am somewhat comforted by the fact that it’s not just me who doesn’t know what to do in cases of technological malfunction. Or at least I would be comforted if the situations I found myself in weren’t been so fucking irritating.

I am a keen fan of online banking. Honestly, it’s brilliant. You just log in, tell the bank where you want your money to go, and it’s there at the click of a button. But, sometimes, something goes wrong and you need to get in touch with the call centre staff. Oh now then, don’t we all fucking love call centre staff. The people who are clearly thrilled to be alive, to be sitting at their desk, taking our calls.

The one I got through to on this occasion was a particular pleasure – coughing down the phone without apology, asking all kinds of irritating security questions that I was certain I hadn’t set up, before going on to say, “Oh I’m sorry, we can’t do that for you at the moment, because our system is down”. What? I cannot pay a simple bill because their system is down? Well that’s fucking shit, because you have my money in that system, and you’re not letting me get to it.

Isn’t it worrying that something as important as banking can “go down” without warning, and without any hint of when the service might be up and running again? Even scarier was the lack of knowledge about what to do in such an event. I asked if I could leave details, or could I get a call back later when things were working, and the girl on the other end just stuttered something about the system being down. Yes, I got that bit. So here we are, in 2015, unable to access our own money because “the bank is down”!

As a society, we’re fucking shit at doing things on our own. Our parents and grandparents had nothing like we do, yet they’d be perfectly capable of getting from A to B and sorting their own finances out without any help from technology at all. So thanks, technology. You’ve turned us into a load of incapable dunces. Do me a favour – if you want us to rely on you, which we do, at least fucking work.

The Case of the Missing IQs

Sherlock Holmes. The great detective in the funny hat. Since first appearing in 1887, fans all over the world have been devouring the stories. There have been spin-offs, movies, TV series, merchandise and more.

But what a lot of people forget is that this is a fictional fucking character. Almost every day I get off at Baker Street tube station and see a long line of twats queued up outside 221B Baker Street, now known as ‘the Sherlock Holmes Museum’. It’s mostly tourists, but I’ve seen large groups of people out there as early as 8.30am, ready to shell out 15 quid to see the famous detective’s house and purchase some awful souvenirs.

It baffles me, it really does, that while these people are in line (mostly staring at their smartphones) they can’t put two seconds of thought into what they are about to experience. It took me about 2 minutes on Wikipedia to find out that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose this address for his books because in 1887 it didn’t exist. At the time of publication, Baker Street extended to 221 – this actual building wasn’t created until 1932 and was then occupied by the Abbey National Building Society.

Despite my ravings I am a fan of the series and have read all the books. But by reading all the books, I know that Sherlock’s greatest asset is his mind. Unless people walk in and see a giant brain, this whole place is useless. Sir Arthur’s daughter also publicly said that she was against the idea of the museum because it suggested that her father’s character was a real person.

The facts so far:

1. Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character.
2. 221B didn’t exist until 1932.
3. Sir Arthur’s daughter is against the museum.
4. Sherlock Holmes’s most valuable tool is his brain (and sometimes Watson).

So with all of this in mind, the only sane conclusion is that these fools haven’t even read the books, which makes it even worse that they are going to waste their time and money. Shortly after my disappointment in this lot was initiated, I walked by the Museum of London where they were having an exhibition that “delves into the mind of the genius sleuth”. There were people queued for this too, probably straight from Baker Street. It would be a different situation if they had props and sets from the movies and TV shows, but this gave you “a chance to look beyond the familiar deerstalker, pipe and cape and discover the complex character beneath”.

We are in dire times, folks, if people are celebrating a character known for his intellect when they can’t even think for themselves. If Sherlock Holmes was written in this day and age, he’d have to solve his greatest mystery yet – The Case of the Missing IQs. The game is afoot!