Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Archive for the category “Cynicism”

For Your Safety

You know, I for one am getting really tired of the government phrases “It’s for your safety” and “it’s for your security”, which are getting bandied around more and more.

This week it’s been used about blocking flights to and from Sharm El-Sheikh because of an alleged – but unproven – bomb in the hold of the plane that crashed in the Sinai desert last week. It’s also been used in discussions about monitoring everyone’s internet traffic and holding those records for at least a year, and in revelations about MI5 monitoring every domestic phone-call in the UK for the last ten years.

Governments like people to be scared – and more and more, we seem to be happy to let the government take these measures ‘because it makes us safer’. It doesn’t, it just gives up more information to the government – and all in the name of ‘safety’.

Basically, it’s shit.

[I know, I need to think more about this and write more. But it’s a phrase that bugs me every time it’s used]

HMRC Failings

This week, MPs declared that HMRC is still failing taxpayers in umpteen ways – which is no surprise to anyone who has to deal with them on an even vaguely regular basis.

Now that I’m doing the self-employed thing, I’ve spent more time than I should on the phone to the idiots.

From the article

In 2011-12, HMRC answered 74% of calls from the public, but by the start of 2015, it only answered 50% of them, the MPs said.

Honestly, I’m amazed it’s as high as 50%…

Stasis – Weight and Health

It seems to be the season for stasis – and for thinking about it, which is kind of odd. But there we go.

Anyway, one of my goals for this year was to lose more weight – I lost two stone in 2014, and wanted to do a similar thing this year.

Well, that hasn’t happened.

(At this point I know I have to remind myself that there’s still three-and-a-bit months to go of the year, blah blah – but still, two stone in three months is less-than-likely)

It’s annoying in some ways, but in others it’s been an interesting process.

I have definitely, and visibly, lost inches. My strength and muscle have improved significantly, particularly since getting to do regular gym visits.  But the weight has stayed the same.

In general, I’m OK with that. I know I’ve improved, and have reduced body fat by about 20% (although there’s a way to go still) over the last eighteen months. I know I can beast through a 10Km walk in 100mins (an average speed of 6Kph) and I’m content with that. I know I can also do more on weight machines at the gym than the majority of the other users I see.

There’s still a good way to go – I’ve got my own targets, both short- and long-term, and I hope to get there. But I know I’ve made progress, I can see it and I can feel it.

I do wish that those bloody scales would show it though. I step on most mornings, so I know it’s not some weird coincidence that only sees me measure when I’m that weight. It varies by a pound or two either way – but that’s it.

I suppose I should be happy that my body is in some kind of balance/stasis, that it’s managing to replace fat with denser (note, not heavier, just denser – that’s a bugbear that I’ll write about some other time) muscle in a balanced way. And in most ways I’m content with it, with knowing there are changes that just don’t show on the scales.

But I’d still like to actually weigh less…

The Beginning of The End – 2015

ScroogeIt’s the start of September, and that means that we’re in the run-up to the Festering Season.

The signs are all there – X-Factor started last weekend, and Strictly Come Dancing starts this coming weekend.  I don’t watch either of them, but they’re both timed to finish up just before the Festering Season, and as such they qualify as the harbingers of doom.

I’m sure there are other pre-cursors to it (perfume ads on TV, for one) but these two are the main ones I notice now. It’s a sad state of affairs.

All Lit Up

In the office building I share with a bundle of other companies, I find I have my irritations. I know, shocking.

One that regularly annoys me is the way people shove on all the lights – even in public spaces where they’re not necessary – and completely fail to then turn them off again.

At the start of the day, people come in and just automatically turn on every sodding light – regardless of the conditions outside, the time of year, or of anyone else in any other offices.  In short, the entire place is lit up like fucking fairyland – even in the height of summer, when you don’t need the lights on at all.

The same applies in the toilets – again, an area that at this time of year really doesn’t need any illumination other than daylight. But no, on go the lights, and then no other fucker turns them off again.

Of course, I don’t mind people turning on the lights when they need them. What bugs me is that they then don’t bother to turn them off when they leave the rooms/facilities.

But the thing is, everyone pays a piece of the electricity bill. You’d think that would encourage some responsibility, some desire to only use what’s necessary. But of course that’d require some vague sense of altruism, of being interested in something other than self, of just giving a shit about things.  And that’s what’s missing.



Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about laziness – and noticing a lot of it, as well. As such, there’s likely to be a few more posts about it, while it’s in my head.

One thing I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is around parking on weekends. Milton Keynes, for those who don’t know, has no shortage of parking spaces. It’s basically a fucking huge car-park with added shops and housing.

And yet every weekend I see drivers queueing to get into the multi-story car-park that’s the absolute closest to one end of the shopping centre. Queueing past loads of spaces that are empty (and cheaper than that multi-storey one) and fucking up junctions, all to get to the closest (or at least perceived to be closest) parking place.

I don’t get it – but then, I’m the idiot who walks from one end of central Milton Keynes to the other, because I’m too lazy to be bothered with driving it and faffing with parking. So who am I to judge?

(Not that I’m judging, I just find it weird to queue for spaces in an expensive multi-storey when there’s tons of closer street-level parking)

Ker-Fut 4 – Organising The Return

Things like hire-cars and the like are the only time I can currently think of where it would be more useful to be in a relationship, to have a partner who could help out.

The logistics of collecting the hire-car were easy enough – taxi to hire place, drive home.

However, the whole thing for getting Saab back, returning hire-car, and having Saab accessible for other things that need doing (while also reducing the cost of taxis etc) has turned into something a little more mind-melting, to the point I actually had to write it down to figure the best way of doing things in a timely fashion.

All things going well, I’ll sort it all out tomorrow (Thursday) and then it’ll be dealt with.

Mind you, if that’s the only time I really think it would be more useful to be with someone – that’s not a good sign for my relationship prospects, is it?

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