Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The penny drops

I regularly look at the statistics for this blog in the vain hope that maybe - just maybe - it might become a little more widely read.
Although there are clearly a handful of people who are happy to take a regular swim in the cesspool of my mind, I expect the majority of hits are down to people arriving by accident because they were searching Google for something else and immediately hit the 'back' button when they realise they've stumbled upon a page with more text than their limited attention span can cope with.
That's OK though, because I often do the same thing myself.

What has struck me as odd for some time now is that one particular post from March 2014 has had twice as many hits as the second highest viewed.
The post 'Blessed are the geek' has seen a steady flow of traffic since I wrote it, and for a while I assumed that was down to it being a bit of a trip down memory lane that others shared.
Today, however, the realisation dawned on me that the reason for its popularity is down to the bit where I refer to a character from the film 'Despicable Me 2'.
You see, Lucy Wilde is not just a slightly nutty, skinny, computer-animated redhead, but also a pornstar also known as 'Busty Buffy' whose looks are something of an acquired taste, but are balanced out by what is probably the most unfeasibly large natural rack you can imagine.
I have no problem admitting to enjoying my share of online grot, and it's surprising that I didn't make this connection ages ago. I've watched this womans antics a few times and I have to say that although it's can be quite interesting to watch gargantuan funbags thrashing around in sympathy with the input from one or two (perhaps even three if I remember correctly) incomprehensibly well-hung blokes, she doesn't really 'do it' for me.
That's why there's so much 'gentlemen's material' on the web - everyone likes something different.
Ask an enthusiast to show you some porn and you'll be met with the same expression of confusion you see on a barista if you ask for a cup of coffee in Starbucks.

Sometimes I deliberately use a song title or a quote for the title of a blog post out of curiosity as to whether it might generate additional hits, and with the hope that some of the unintended visits will result in people staying for a while to read a few other posts.
Not sure why this is, because I started doing this just for my own entertainment without caring if it ever got read. But once you find that there are a few people that enjoy reading what you've written, it does provide additional incentive.
What this proves so far is that because of the way search engines work, the most popular post of mine is in that position because more people search for porn than search for song lyrics.
Further proof will be given if this one proves as popular.

Definitely not the same thing.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Round three - fight!

Well here I am once again in the cripple zone.
Yesterday was the third surgery on my left knee and with any luck it'll be the last - or at least until I need a replacement.
Having been deposited at Addenbrookes Hospital entrance, I made my way up to the ward to check in. As with previous experiences, I found myself waiting alongside the standard assortment of elderly folk who were there for new hips or knees, and equipped with enough meds between them to open a pharmacy.
Once shown to my bed, I got chatting with an old fella opposite called Ken who had come in at the same time. He was in for his second knee replacement and it was nice to talk about his experience. It made me feel better about what I'll no doubt be facing in a few years time, because he was so positive about the whole thing.

Fortunately for me I was first on the list, so as soon as the consultant had had a word, numerous questions had been answered, and I'd been appropriately tagged and drawn on with a marker pen, I was whisked off to theatre.
They had me hop onto the operating table and went about the business of plugging in various bits and pieces. It took two goes for the anaesthetist to get the cannula in my hand because it was so cold in the theatre my veins decided to go into hiding.
Once installed it was in with antibiotics followed by something that made me feel pleasantly woozy. Then she put in the knock-out juice and Elvis left the building.

Came to in recovery very slowly - I do seem to have a bit of trouble coming round from a general anaesthetic.
Once they'd established I was heading in the right direction I was taken back to the ward where I spent a good couple of hours slipping in and out of consciousness while the worst effects of the anaesthetic wore off. By the time I'd had a cup of tea and a sandwich I was beginning to feel slightly more human, and let the wife know I was still alive.
The consultant came by later to let me know how things had gone.
He'd trimmed the cartilege a bit and removed the remaining metalwork, which included a metal plate that had actually broken. Maybe that was the biggest culprit for all the pain I've been in if that was grating against soft tissue.
He said he did have to grind away a small amount of bone in order to remove a particularly awkward screw, and because of that I have to use crutches for a couple of weeks with only partial weight bearing on the left leg.
Luckily I didn't have to be kept in, so I was back home in time to watch Masterchef before dragging my weary and still slightly drugged carcass to bed.

So it's off to the GP's on Monday to get the nurse to redo the dressings, and again in 10 to 14 days to have the stitches out.
Therefore at least two weeks off work loom ahead of me, which normally I wouldn't moan about but when you have limited mobility it gets a wee bit dull. You can only sit through so many movies before you begin to doubt your sanity.
As soon as I'm able to drive (basically when I can operate the clutch without pain) I'll be able to return to some sort of normality, but work will have no choice but to let me park on-site if they want me there, because I won't be able to do the 3/4 mile walk each way from where I usually park for quite a while.

In the meantime I'll just have to entertain myself with the exercises the physio gave me. And I must remember to send the boy out to the shed to fetch my fingerless cycling gloves - it's unbelievable that after all these years they still can't make crutches with handles that don't get slippery when your hands are sweaty.

Drugged-up hospital selfie.
Not a good look.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Swings like a pendulum do

They say there are two things you should refrain from talking about in polite company - religion and politics.
This works quite well for me, because for me religion is something that happens to other people, and politics is a complete mystery to me.
I'm 44, but even now my understanding of the workings of the UK government could be written on the back of a postage stamp (and be worth considerably less).
However, I broke the rule by doing a post about religion quite some time ago, so I might as well complete the set - especially with a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU on the horizon.

The one thing that has become clear over the years is that there is a definite pattern to which party gets into power.
In general people fear political change (better the devil you know and all that), but eventually the government will piss off the people enough that they will vote for the other party with the idea that "Surely they can't make a bigger mess of things, and they say they'll put right the mistakes of the last lot so let's give them a shot".
So we have a new government. Time goes on, promises are broken, the country gets increasingly fed up, and eventually there's another general election where people say "We'll have a change" but then bottle out at the last moment when their pencil is hovering over the ballot paper, putting a cross by the existing incumbent.
Eventually enough time passes that memory of the previous cock-ups of the other party fades into obscurity, and at the next general election the opposition party get back into power.
Unfortunately it never feels like anything really changes when a different party is elected. This is probably why the turn out of voters is so poor. Hardly surprising when it mostly comes down to a question of "Which bunch of self-serving, morally bankrupt lying bastards should I vote for this time?".

For me the upcoming EU referendum is far more interesting and important. I still have no idea which way to go because all the information we get is opinions, scaremongering and supposition.
The only way to make an informed decision is with facts, and those seem to be in very short supply.
Maybe the facts are too scary, like how much money it costs the UK to be part of the EU.
I'm no economist, and my grasp of politics is practically non-existent, but even I can see that this figure is unacceptable when the government pleads poverty when it comes to spending on things that matter to the British public like health, education, emergency services etc.
And quite frankly, when a government sees no problem spending nine million pounds of taxpayers money on pro-EU propaganda leaflets, I smell a rat.
They tell us that everything will get all fucked up if we vote to leave, but they don't tell us exactly why this is the case, and this makes me very suspicious.

Just the other day there was a case where a UFC fighter died after being knocked out during a fight.
Having watched the brutality of UFC I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often, but it does give me an idea for how to resolve the whole 'Brexit' question.
Nigel Farage has apparently called out David Cameron for a live televised debate on the matter. This might be interesting, but we all know that these things always descend into a shouting match which yields nothing of any use.
So instead, let's put them in the UFC cage and vote for the one who doesn't have to carry his teeth home in a bag.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Why don't you....?

When I was a kid, we made our own entertainment. Countless hours were spent just riding our bikes, exploring all the little nooks and crannies of the village (sometimes in places we shouldn't have been), and building dens in the woods.
A favourite occupation was to raid the skips on the industrial estate for large cardboard boxes which we'd flatten to use as a sledge to slide down the grass banks of the reservoir, which was dry in the summer save a small stream running through the middle.
Simple times.
By the time I was a teenager we were into playing video games on our Sinclair Spectrums or similar, but this was still something that would only occupy an hour or two a day - perhaps less if Knight Rider or Airwolf was on telly that evening.
Another programme that was on TV when I was a kid was 'Why don't you', which was dedicated to showing you what else you could do instead of watching telly. A strange idea to have a TV show that told you to "turn off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead", but once it was over that was pretty much what happened.

I'm considerably less adventurous now, and once work is done, dinner cooked, eaten and washed up, there's usually about three hours to kill before I'm heading off to bed.
During this time I'll either watch something on Netflix, search the web for something entertaining or inappropriate, or irritate the wife by shooting bad guys on the Playstation.
I'm not as bad as my son who from the moment he wakes up to the time he finally succumbs to mental exhaustion, spends every possible moment hooked into something with a screen.
Whether it's swearing profusely at the Playstation, laughing his arse off at some neurologically deficient fuckwits on YouTube who spend their entire time making ridiculous whooping noises, watching something with zombies in, messaging friends on social media, or any combination of the above, there's precious little time when he's available for any sort of meaningful communication.

So you can imagine how lost he was yesterday when we were left without electricity for the day.
The power company needed to connect the supply that will feed the new housing develoment being built behind us, and in order to carry out the work, the power had to be switched off to the local area.
What does a dyed-in-the-wool technology addict do when there's no internet access, no TV and no gaming available? He goes stir-crazy within thirty minutes, that's what.
When he asked what there was to do that didn't need electricity, I pointed to the bookshelf and suggested he try reading something more inspiring than Facebook posts, which prompted the standard outburst about how he hates reading books and will never read for entertainment etc, etc....
It quickly became clear that his solution to the lack of electricity was to lay on his bed moaning about being bored. Funnily enough, it didn't seem to improve the situation.

We couldn't go out because we had to wait for the person who was coming round to buy his motorbike at 1pm, so once I'd dragged out the gas camping stove to heat some water to make coffee, I gave up trying to assure the boy that there was more to life than the cluster of electrical equipment in his bedroom and took myself into the shed to rearrange things, taking advantage of the extra space freed up by selling numerous items on Gumtree.
Once the bike had been collected by its rather nervous new owner (accompanied by his even more nervous mother who was clearly shitting herself at the prospect of her boy riding a motorbike), we were free to get in the car and take ourselves off for some lunch.
Once we'd refuelled ourselves and been for a brief visit to my father (every visit with him is brief because he always starts making it obvious you should be on your way as soon as you've finished your cup of tea) it was time to head home in the hope that power had been restored so I could start preparing the evening dinner.
As luck would have it, when we got back we were greeted by a variety of flashing clocks demanding to be reset, indicating that normality had returned.
The boy, determined to make up for lost time, launched himself into a frenzy of screen-based activity, while the wife and I settled down after dinner to watch Masterchef.

It's very easy (and fun) to ridicule the younger generations for being incapable of making their own entertainment or existing without being plugged into something or other, but even those of us who grew up experiencing huge advances in technology at a time before it had become so invasive are not immune to having our lives taken over by such things. The difference is, that when the electricity stops flowing, we can still occupy ourselves without going into a complete meltdown.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Kick 'em when they're down, why don't you?

Although we in Britain are Olympic standard grumblers, we don't really have all that much to be so negative about.
We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our back and food in our stomachs.
Most of us have jobs, cars and with a bit of luck a decent state of health.
We have the benefit of a National Health Service (even if it is in a bit of a state), relatively low crime rates, and we're unlikely to be dragged from our homes in the night by armed gangs never to be seen again.
Some people do fall on hard times of course.
Some aren't fortunate enough to get a good start in life, some fall into bad company and habits, and a tiny minority are just bad to the core.
For the most part though, most are decent people with varying degrees of social or economic success.
But just because someone has ended up at what is likely to be considered the bottom of the pile, doesn't mean they deserve their situation. Perhaps it could be argued that the odd one has got their just desserts (although every level of society has its arseholes) but you certainly can't assume that everyone whose life has hit rock bottom is an unworthy bottom-feeder.

However, it appears that my sentiments are not shared by everyone.
I've just been reading that Worthing council is proposing to fine homeless people fifty pounds for begging, and frankly I'm appalled.
Not many people are homeless by choice, and when life has dealt you so many shitty hands that you've ended up with nowhere to live, no food to eat but what you can scavenge, and reduced to begging loose change from strangers on the street, it's hard to imagine how life could get much worse in a supposedly civilised society.
Then along comes an officious prick in a hi-viz jacket demanding fifty quid they can only dream of having.
As if life wasn't tough enough, they're now branded a criminal with a police record, making it even harder for them to find work or a place to lay their head at night.
Well thanks very much, Worthing council, that's very charitable of you.