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I’m Hooked on Blogging

Ohhhh yes, the emptying of all my frustrations into my blog, the ego boost from people reading what I write and actually saying nice things in comments.  I can't get enough – it's like a drug.  A bit of background:

I've been on the net since the early/mid 90s.  Not the earliest of adopters but not a total n00b (oh yeah, check the 1337 speak – cool or what?)  My obsession with spending time online has gone up and down and focused on different things over the years; IRC before the chat rooms went to hell, Usenet before it went to hell, online dating until I met the love of my life (that doesn't sound very angry, does it?  Don't worry – the angry is coming).

The thing is, I hadn't found a new obsession in a while, my enthusiasm for the net was waning.  The social networking sites never grabbed because, well, I hate other people.  Then I thought I'd join Wikipedia.  I like writing, I have some knowledge, it seemed like a good match.

Before I go any further, let me say this: there is a lot of crap spoken and written about Wikipedia, both for and against.  My view is that the Wikipedia balance sheet shows much more on the positive side than the negative.  Hell, Wikipedia is people acting with hardly any limits placed on them, with all the good and bad that implies.

At first I dived into a few topics I was interested in and was having fun.  The problem is, it never really "grabbed" me and after a while I worked out why.  Two conflicting tendencies in me were killing the experience.  One – I'm a control freak (no surprises there).  Two (and this may surprise some) – I don't like getting in passionate fights about something that doesn't really matter in the end.

Impulse one is well served by Wikipedia – you can write anything.  You can write that George Bush is a twelve-toed mutant inbred who spends most of his time in the Oval Office rolling around in his own faeces.  Despite the fact this is obviously true, anybody else can change your entry and then the fighting starts.  Wikipedia is full of impassioned people who spend hours and hours toiling to maintain and improve it content, and more power to them.

At the end of the day I decided, pure and simple, I didn't care enough.  So I stopped getting onvolved in constant article re-writes.  And then finally, last month, I decided to dip my toe into blogging (why am I so late to these parties?)  This is really working for me for three reasons:

One: I enjoy writing.

Two: I am attracting readers who are enjoying my writing and giving me good feedback (which feeds my rapacious ego).

Three: On this blog I AM GOD!  My control freak nature can run riot.

So far I have only had one comment from a person who clearly didn't get what I'm doing.  Everybody else seems to get the joke, which is something of a miracle considering how offensive and profane my writing often gets.  I pity the fool who seeks to criticise me on my own blog – I'll tear them apart.  An you know what?  If you're smarter than me and can out-argue me in comments?  I'm just going to delete what you write! Ha ha fucking ha.

All well and good you say, but where's the angry?  We want our dose of angry.  Spray your bile so we don't have to!  I'm sure you can see I'm building a head of steam here.

One thing I do almost every day (besides blogging) is read Wired News.  I'm a nerd, I work in IT and I find a lot of their reports interesting and occasionally useful for my work.  Which is how I justify websurfing at work.  Today there was a humourous piece on Wikipedia by Lore Sjoberg (I don't know how to put the thingy over the 'o' in this text editor).

I think this guy is funny.  Consistently funny.  And this is one of the best pieces written on Wikipedia that I have seen.  By anybody.  He successfully skewers the extreme arguments about Wikipedia, both the for and against.  On top of that – it's funny!  It's good to read funny things, life seems to suck less when you are smiling.  Of course the predictable happens: Wikizealots rip into him for daring to question the perfection of their sacred tome and/or take the petulant route and say the piece was boring and/or stupid.

WHAT BIT OF "THIS IS A FUCKING JOKE" DO YOU NOT GET?  Jeebus on toast!  Some of the responses were so stupid that I started to suspect they were some subtle, elaborate, post-modern, ironic joke and they were actually parodying knee-jerk response rather than really being upset.

Also, I never understood post-modernism so shut the hell up if you are thinking of telling me that the above is not remotely post-modernist.

Anyway, to summarise: if you can't accept any criticism of what you are doing without lashing out, then there is probably something deeply wrong in what you are doing.  Also, if you can't take a joke: fuck off and die.

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Filed under Internet

The Sad Case of the Abused Language

I've posted before about how angry it makes me when people use the wrong words but today I'm going for a variation on this theme.  I get equally angry when people misuse language, whether through laziness, stupidity or intent to deceive.

Let me explain with an example: How often have you heard someone say something along the lines of "Only a fraction of x end up with a successful y"?  Phrasing things like that is so damn lazy!  I want to shake people who talk about "fractions" with no further explanation.  Or better still, staple their mouth shut so they can't spout such meaningless crap any more.

Or maybe a few quiet words would suffice, like: "Listen, dickhead! Tell me what fraction or at least what sort of fraction.  99/100 is a fraction – unless you tell me otherwise I have no way of knowing whether the fraction you mean is closer to 1/100 or 99/100.  At least provide some sort of qualifier: less than 1/2, a small fraction, a tiny fraction.  I do believe most people use this phrasing out of laziness but there are definitely those who do it maliciously.

This is most often in media or political statements.  They use the empty statement of "only a fraction" to back up their point while glossing over the fact it's no backup at all – it doesn't mean anything!  More often than not, the truth behind this statement from a politician or some talking head pushing an agenda is:  "I'm talking crap, there's no actual evidence to back me up.  This thing I'm making a big scene about is actually not a significant issue.  I'm simply exploiting general ignorance and prejudice to further my own ends."

Another one that really ups my angry factor is the way stores advertise sales.  Their ads proclaim in big letters: SALE 50% OFF!  Then there is the fine print, words like "up to" and "selected items only".  Us poor suckers rush out to the store only to discover that the only item at 50% off is a pair of socks.  That sort of advertising is so close to a direct lie that these bastards should be doing jail time.  What is this "up to" bullshit that they get away with?  I mean 0% falls under "up to" 50%.

In fact, when I take over the world (don't forget, this will happen) all hyperbole will be banned from advertising.  And in all probability, advertising/marketing executives will all be publicly executed.  But no more of these deceptive ads.  Instead of terms that are so broad as to be meaningless they will have to be specific.  How many and/or what percentage of items are at the maximum discount?  What is the most common level of discount?  And if you advertise something good on sale you'd better damn well have it in stock when I get there.

Try the old "bait and switch" on me and I'll put your face through a fucking shredder!

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Filed under Language

Melbourne Comedy Festival

The fine and livable city of Melbourne is hosting its annual Comedy Festival right now and last night my lovely girlfriend and I decided to take in a show. For something a little different I thought I'd give a quick review – I promise to be angry about something later today. I have no idea if anyone in Melbourne actually reads this blog but on the off chance they do, here are some recommendations.

After finding out last week that Ross Noble was already booked out, we decided to take pot luck – just show up in town and see who could convince us to see their show. Tuesday nights are known as Tightarse Tuesday – most shows have cheaper than usual tickets (this was not the only reason for going out on a Tuesday night but, hey, cheap is good).

We were given a few flyers and ended up decided to see one Sammy J – the man himself was handing out the flyers so we thought we'd encourage his hard work. It turned out to be a good show, not just standup comedy (not that there's anything wrong with good standup comedy). Young Sammy J (he's all of 22) sings, plays music and even uses multimedia as he takes you on a tour of Australia in 55 minutes. He even has a website – well worth checking out if you have the chance.

By coincidence, the venue right next door was featuring a show called "I Heart Racism" that is being directed by an old college mate of mine, Adrian, who I hadn't seen in years. We had a quick catch up and this will be the next show I see. It was apparently a big hit in last year's Melbourne Fringe Festival and it's bound to be hilarious. Adrian says it's full of the swears (always good) and he's a man who knows the funny.

I suppose I could say I'm angry because these guys are funnier than me and getting to do this performances but that would be a cop-out. It didn't make me angry – it was a great time. And I have plenty of things that really make me angry.

More later.

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I’m a Little Bit Different

But not necessarily in the way you were thinking. I work in an office environment and I don't drink coffee. This is not unique but from my experience it is a little out of the ordinary. What makes me more different is I substitute hot coffee for cold carbonated caffeine carrying beverages. Lots of it and icy cold (preferably in a tall glass filled with ice – even in the middle of winter). I won't name the particular product here as they don't need the free publicity. If I become incredibly famous I'll sell my drink endorsement to the highest bidder.

And I seriously drink too much of it. Think of how much you would consider too much and I probably drink at least twice that. I know it's unhealthy (at least I drink a sugar-free variety) but it isn't as if coffee is nature's greatest health tonic. Anyway, what makes me angry is the stupid comments this little bit of difference generates. Just the other day I was getting a can from the fridge at around 10am and one of my cow-orkers said:

"Geeze, it's a bit early in the morning for that, isn't it?"

Now, by 10 in the morning, some people are on their 3rd coffee and nobody will notice. But apparently I can't have one can of cola. Actually, it was my 4th for the day, but he didn't know that when he made the dumb comment.

An extension of this is that, by and large, I don't drink alcohol and I never drink beer. As an Australian male who grew up in a country town, this makes me a bit of an aberration. This attitude is best summed up in a quote I saw somewhere (I think it was from Shakespeare):

Q: What's an Australian male's definition of a poofter?

A: Any bloke who likes women more than beer.

Sad but true. Where this attitude has prompted some truly stupid comments is when I have been in pubs that serve beer by the pint – in Australia these are often called "English-style" pubs. Two examples of what has happened when I wanted to join in the fun so ordered a pint of lemon, lime and bitters:

1: "Gee, you must be thirsty." Yes, because beer is not a liquid so there is something truly wrong with me ordering a pint of some sort of liquid.

2: In a venue that touted itself as "a posh pub" – "The manager doesn't want us to serve non-alcoholic drinks in pint glasses because it isn't posh." Yes, because serving beer by the bucketful is ever so posh.

I swear, even though, according to Homer Simpson, everybody listens to me because I'm a white male aged between 18 and 50, sometimes I can't help thinking Damn, whitey is keeping me down!

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Filed under General Angriness, Work

Toilet Rules

A recent post by the very eloquent mixednuts explored the rather thorny issue of whether or not to wash one's hands after going to the toilet. I'm not above railing against toilet issues myself – especially toilet rules at work. In fact, it's only at work that it's an issue – after all what you do at home is your business.

The bizarre collection of unspoken toilet etiquette rules really does make me angry. Mainly because the damn rules are unspoken so nobody is ever sure what the rules are. Well, I'll tell you what they are in practice: when do men wash their hands? When somebody is watching. Come on guys, 'fess up: you only wash your hands if there is somebody to see that you didn't.

Mixednuts did wonder about how things may be different for males so I put a bit of thought into the issue and now I'm ready to provide a male perspective. One of the big questions she asked was:

"is the male schlong that clogged with microbes and viruses?"

Well, sad to say, the answer in some cases is probably "yes" but I can only speak for myself as I don't spend a lot of time inspecting other penises. In my case, I shower, put on my undies and for the rest of the day Mr Happy is protected – my dick is the cleanest part of my body. Assuming I don't have any "adventures" after my shower, the only thing that comes into contact with my dick after dressing is my own hands.

My original insight was that considering the filth my hands come into all day, it would make more sense to wash my hands before rather than after. My dick needs protection from the outside world, not the other way around. Then I noticed a guy at work actually doing this, so this is apparently not such a groundbreaking concept. Mind you, this same guy used a paper towel to open the door when leaving rather than touch it with his bare hand. I think he has issues.

So I have decided to take it to the next level. To show my confidence in my cleanliness, from now on if there is something that I want to be really clean I'm going to rub my dick all over it.

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Filed under Work

Explaining Myself

One of my readers pointed out to me I may have gone a little far with one of the phrases in my last post. She was was also kind enough to say the post was still funny which was nice. The phrase in question was “I hunt and I’m extremely likely to shoot you if you try to stop me owning enough guns to compensate for my impotence caused by a lifetime of sexual abuse from my father”

And of course, she was absolutely right. There’s nothing remotely funny about child abuse. This post isn’t an apology as in “sorry, I won’t do it again”. It’s more an apology along the lines of “sorry for being so horrifically crass but the mental state I get in when I write these posts means it isn’t possible to guarantee I won’t write something worse in the future”.

Full disclosure: that wasn’t even the first thing I thought of writing. Originally it was going to be “…compensate for my tiny penis.” But somehow that didn’t seem angry enough. Ah well. The challenge lies in me finding ways to be angry, abusive and crass without belittling things that I think are important.

Fun and games.

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Filed under General

The Tipping Point

No, nothing about Malcolm Gladwell here (although read his site – his insights are very interesting), I just want to post a little warning about taking word misuse too far. Let me tell you about a little biscuit/scone incident in the good old USA that almost tipped me over the edge.

I was in a cake shop and they were selling what would be called rock cakes in Australia. Basically big, chunky oversize biscuits (cookies) in a mound-like shape. And what did they call them? …scones!

SCONES!

I swear, I almost jumped the counter and strangled them. This is the sort of thing we need to take a stand on. You can’t go around swapping words whenever you feel like it. I can’t say it often enough!

And they treat you like you’re the crazy one when you point it out to them… by bashing their face against a glass cabinet. That is not a fucking scone! If anything, that’s a biscuit! This thing over here, this light, fluffy thing, THIS is a scone! Get it right goddamit!

What the hell is wrong with you people?

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Filed under Language

Seriously, I’m Not Angry About Politics

I mean it… in the past I was angry about politics but that’s all behind me. Although I do have one question for American voters:

What the hell is wrong with you people?

Why do you love draft dodgers so much? Seriously, it seems like that’s the case. Look at the evidence: George Bush Snr – war veteran, combat pilot. Bill Clinton – dope smoking draft dodger. And more recently: John Kerry – decorated war veteran. Bush Jnr – coke snorting, drink-driving, womanising draft dodger!

I actually expect politicians to be politicians to be two-faced, double-dealing liars but even I have my limits. Sometimes I just wanna smack that stupid monkey smirk right off Bush’s face. “Ah’m a wah pezzident!” Yeah, right. All that motherfucker knows about war is how to stay as far away from the gunfire as possible.

As easy as it would be to be angry at all Americans for fucking up the world, that’s too big for me to deal with. Besides, they not all responsible for what their government does. So I’ve decided to be angry about something I can focus on. I’m going after Americans for something they’re all guilty of…

It’s about time someone called these goddam Americans to account for the continual, wilful and malicious desecration of the English language.

More on this later.

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Filed under Politics

Still Angry After All These Years

In case you were wondering why I'm looking forward to some payback for my car, like virtually everybody in the world I've been screwed over by car dealers and mechanics many times. Virtually any contact with these slimeballs is guaranteed to get me angry but let me tell you the story of the encounter that made me the angriest.

A few years ago I needed to replace the brake pads on my car so I book it in to the dealership where I bought it (stupidly) thinking they'd look after me. Of course I had to wait for two weeks but the car's booked in, they know what model it is and that the brake pads need replacing.

Service day comes and I drop the car off at 8am then head off to work. Nothing to report until half an hour before I go to pick the car up after work. The "service manager" calls to say they don't have the brake pads for my car in stock and can't get them today so I can't get my car back until tomorrow. Now, I have to pick up my kids within 30 minutes and there's no way I can make it without a car.

But this is a car yard so I figure they'll loan me a car to cover for their screw-up. Apparently no. They "don't have any cars available". In a car yard. So let me count up the ways they're pissing me off:

  1. They don't keep a basic component like brake pads for cars they sell in stock by default.
  2. When someone books a car in to have its brake pads replaced they don't check to see if they have them in stock.
  3. I dropped the car off at 8am and they clearly didn't even look at it until the end of the day (god forbid they would have looked at it first thing when they might have been able to get the parts in)
  4. They are making no effort whatsoever to compensate for their idiocy

So the knucklehead is just standing their slack-jawed as if someone's hit him in the head with a piece of 2×4 (I consider hitting him myself to see if his look changes) and he won't let me take my car because they've taken off the worn brake pads and it's undriveable. I'm pretty much ready to do the jail time for murdering this prick but I end up picking up my kids in a taxi. Which the car yard refuses to pay for.

And the next day I pick up the car. And don't kill anyone. Despite the fact each and every one of them deserves it. Later I discovered some bastard stole money out of my glovebox.

I really hate car dealers.

The only thing these scum care about is money, so I've formulated my revenge plan. Next time I'm buying a new car I'm going to this car yard for a test drive. Then I'll tell them I'm definitely buying this car. From someone else. And when they do their smarmy sales push I'll tell them exactly why they're never getting another cent out of me. Then I'll buy the car from another dealer and drive in to show them so they know I wasn't bluffing.

This of course, will have no effect whatsoever on their behaviour. They are, after all, car dealers and obviously incapable of decent human behaviour. But at least the sales monkey will suffer a little pain knowing they missed out on a commission. And I like to inflict pain on my enemies.

Remember that.

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Filed under Driving

Angry at my car

I am really angry today.

My goddam car wouldn’t start this morning so I’m 45 minutes late for work. This is a less than 6 month old car so as far as I am concerned absolutely nothing should go wrong with the bloody thing. The anger started when I went to get into the car. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I couldn’t open the doors with the doohickey on the keys – no response at all.

Then I remembered the concept of using the key to physically open the door as opposed to electronically.

Anyway, in the car – no response at all when I turn the key. My first thought is that there is something seriously wrong with the key doohickey and the engine immobiliser is still on therefore the goddam engine remains off. Then I fiddle with a few more things and it’s starting to look like the battery is flat.

Now, I didn’t leave the headlights on (in fact, one of the things I like about this car is that it won’t let me leave the headlights on) so I’m trying to work out what could have caused it. Then I remember this intermittent problem the car has where the brake light stays on after I’m out of the car. If I notice it I can just tap the brakes to make it go off but if I don’t notice it…

So I have an hour of stress working this all out and jump-starting the car and I end up angry as hell before I even get into traffic (as opposed to the normal five minutes after I get into traffic) and I have a whole work day ahead of me yet to make me angrier.

I have to put up with a four hour workshop this afternoon so it will be a miracle if I make it through that without smacking someone’s face into a whiteboard. The one saving grace is I already had the car booked in for a service next week. Getting the car fixed is only incidental to making me feel better.

The real bonus is I get to abuse someone face to face while the outrage is still fresh in my mind.

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Filed under Driving