2018

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Postie Postie Post me Post

New Year, new post. Not that I get much post these days. The very few sparse items that Postie posts through the letter box end up being either a bill or an appointment reminder. It seems that social media, computers and the social cancer that is Facebook have reduced the need for communication with distant peers to a series of likes and half-arsed comments. Gone are the days of writing a letter, sticking it in a postbox and waiting eagerly for a reply.

If you remember, I started last year with a Facebook abstinence with only a brief jaunt back there to promote holiday news. The return ended later in the year after someone found the name Gnomepants objectionable and complained. Thus ending a 15 year presence, and nicely timed too.
Since being Facebook free I have been able to choose and consume my own choice of content using a mix of Reddit (r/stegzy) and reading around subjects on Feedly, Wikipedia and of course LJ. Indeed, I have now also realised that Facebook is the new smoking.
Think of a time when lots of people smoked. A non-smoker might sigh, wag their fingers and tut, exclaiming: “You’re killing yourself, damaging your health, your lungs and heart. Stop it!”.
But the people that smoked would often just laugh, shrug and smoke a packet of Benson & Hedges at you out of spite saying: “Yeah, but it’s not killing me noticeably yet and I like it”.
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I’ll have 20 Facebook likes please mister
I draw the same parallel with Facebook. Like nicotine it is addictive in many respects, the serotonin reward from liking things, receiving feedback and narcissistic forming approval, I can see the damage it does to the self if not to society as a whole (like passive smoking!). Yet I can see and hear the people laughing, pointing their fingers and saying: “Huh, yeah sure it’s doing damage but I can’t see it in my nice little enjoyable echo chamber”
Meh. Nothing I can say or do will convince over 4 million people.
During my free time, while my mind repairs itself from 15 years of Facebook abuse, I’ve been thinking about the good old days of communication, in particular, the lack of mail (electronic or other) that I receive these days from “real people” as opposed to spam and junk mail. Then something my parents once said to me rang true: “The only way you receive letters is if you send letters”.
As a result, I have decided that 2018 will be my year of writing letters. I will send, via letter, details that I would have posted on Facebook to people who, in the past, I might have communicated with solely via Facebook. This, of course, limits me to those people whose addresses I still know (or can work out), but I think it will be an interesting experiment. I bet they won’t reply.
Other New Year projects include
Getting fitter, getting rid of some shite that I don’t need and trying to get my finances under an even tighter reign, but more of that over the coming weeks/months. Of course, I have just had 10 days off work, so I might just be a little ambitious in that regard!
Other things being enjoyed at the moment include:-
Netflix
  • Manhunt: Unabomber
  • Star Trek: Discovery (I see you Clem Fandango!)
  • Travellers
  • Wormwo0d
  • Mars
Steam
  • Stellaris (a Civ clone set in space!)
  • Cities: Skylines (a SimCity clone)
  • Mini Metro
  • Prison Architect
Computery tasks and Internettery
  • Reading lots of Reddit (using the fantastic Apollo app!)
  • People’s fascination with Tulpas
  • Creating backup drives using old SATA HDDs I’ve got lying around
  • Continuing to go through the vast amount of digital photographs I’ve taken and tagging them
  • Toying with the idea of maybe continuing the Music Project
  • Listening to lots of “Suggested” music via Apple Music on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/profile/stegzy)
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Letter to the BBC

Dear BBC,

I notice that you are increasing the regularity of the appearance of people who seem to be experts on everything and have opinions on everything which, for some reason, you think reflects society at large.

I would like to offer my services as a gobshite. I too have strong opinions on everything from David Cameron’s underwear to the cost of prawns in the Middle East during the Byzantium Empire. I am an expert on everything and nothing. I have several years experience of spouting utter crap to backup people’s clandestine agendas and I am happy to cast aspersions and morals to the wind without forethought for the wider consequences.

Hope this will cover everything. 

Lots of Love

Gnomepants

Postie postie where’s my post?

Someone has stolen all the postmen in Leamington Spa.

We haven’t had ANY post since Thursday last week. Except parcels (thanks fj_warren it arrived today we will open them tomorrow ;-)). This means I had 7 cards (two of them were hand delivered so don’t count) for my Birthday and a measly pittance of cards for Christmas. I suspect the reason why is that there is a secret plot by a terrorist cell to prevent the delivery of mail to hard working Christmas season Birthday celebrating men and women in the West Midlands. Worse, I saw one of the postmen today being kidnapped by a man in a white van this morning as they cruised around Santa Claus Road admiring the snow covered pavements outside the Gnomecake Apartments.

I’m surprised the police haven’t gotten involved, but then I’ve not seen any policemen recently either. I fear they too have been stolen.

I think it’s about time we got some private companies in to ensure that postmen don’t get stolen by errant terrorists. And some nice private security guards to make sure they get about their business unhindered by criminal snow.

Of course, it is good to see that the vast amounts of council tax paid to Warwickshire Council goes to useful things like parties for dignatories, trips to twin towns and more income for councillors rather than be frittered away on useless efforts of clearing the snow off pavements in back streets.

A place to rest your head

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This week I had the misfortune to stay in the Newcastle Central Travelodge.

Now, if I’d picked up some loose woman and had decided to head back to a room for a couple of quick shags, then it wouldn’t have bothered me that much. The raging urges of lust would no doubt have helped me turn a blind eye to the numerous faults in the ramshackle and poorly designed late 80’s building.

I might not have noticed the carpet, the smell or the staff.

So when Travelodge wrote to me to say “Tell us how we did!”

I told them how it was:-

Newcastle Central needs completely redecorating. Strong smells of curry and must in rooms and corridors. Carpet that has seen better days, mattress that had obviously been used as some sort of trampoline for energetic shaggers. Staff that had they smiled they might have looked like they were actually enjoying their work and a pillows that had the bulk of a rolled up handkerchief. I know it’s supposed to be BUDGET, but I’d have had a cleaner and probably more comfortable stay in the car park. Oh yeah, the car park….that’s a different story entirely. Nope…don’t get me started on that….noooooo…..Premier Inn for me in future I’m afraid.

And you were doing SOOOO well too.

What’s happened to you Travelodge? You used to be so much better.

Did you get taken over by Ryanair?

Much love

Gnomepants.

Oh and I’ve blogged this too…to tell the world….just so you know….google is your friend.

A levels? Arse levels

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A Levels were hard in 1992 When I left compulsory education back in 1992 A levels were hard. I’m sure they are still hard but back in the day, they were hard. If more than 20 people at your school got A grade A level results fingers would have been pointed and investigations into cheating conducted.

At that time we were told about the various career options open to us. Either you stayed on after GCSE and did A levels with a view to getting a job afterwards or moving on to university. Or you left school, did an apprenticeship if you could find one or joined the armed forces. Because I was bright I was told that my future lay beyond university and that I should focus on what I wanted to do.

Difficulty was, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. To some extent I still don’t know what I want to do. So it frequently amuses me how it is universally accepted that 16-19 year olds should some how decide what career they want to pursue and make life changing decisions.

Rather be a customs officer than a lumberjack I left school with basic job search skills. I had several ideas what I wanted to do, mostly become a customs officer, but the careers department at school wasn’t all that clued up on careers that didn’t involve a pack of Happy Family cards. All well and good if you considered the police, the ambulance service, being a butcher or baker or an estate agent. However, woe betide any pupil set on a non-typical career such as Customs Officer.

It should be remembered that the Internet in those days was basic if not non-existent. There was no vast careers database available to people at home. You would have to attend at careers service offices who would shrug and tell you that there was no work and that you might as well give up and just sign on until something comes along you fancy.

My career in law began and ended here Over the years that followed, so did my career choice. Customs seemed like a nigh impossible career to break into, few vacancy adverts were placed in the local press and by 1995 my appetite for a career in Law had started to develop.
With a few months of experience in a law office I was convinced, mostly by the assurances of the adults around me, that getting an entry level job in a legal firm would be a breeze. Home printers were few and far between in those days. So all applications would have to be hand written and all vacancies sourced through either the job centre or through the local press.

Bored of life on the dole and constant rejection letters (yes, in those days companies replied to you even if it was just with a “no thanks”) I attempted to make the move into a career in law by enrolling on the only suitable course I could find in the area. That being an ILEX course based at Southport college, more than 20 miles away from my home.

Southport College It ran one day a week. Every Thursday I would travel the distance on the train and return on the last night train to leave Southport. This I did until a month from the end of the course the Job Centre told me that they would not fund the following year and besides that they had an interview for me to attend, failure to attend said interview would result in cessation of benefits.

I attended, got the job and stayed in the post for about three and a half years.
Unfortunately, it was not what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted a career in Law. “Fear not” I was told “It’ll give you relevant experience”. Desperate to escape the daily humdrum of no hope of promotion and dead end job, I bailed at the first opportunity. Following the advice that it was best to remain in employment than to leave and look again.
That was a stupid thing to do.

ICT Hell The next 10 years involved working in ICT. I never wanted to be a computer technician. Fuck, I’ve never met anyone who works in ICT that set out to work in ICT. In those days, jobs in IT were easy to get into because few people had the qualifications or experience. Thing was, every day I spent in ICT meant that I was limiting my future prospects to that of ICT related careers. Recruitment agencies would only offer call centre work. Applications for career changes would go without response. Those that did said “No relevant experience” or “Insufficient qualifications”.

Aware that the job market was flooding with graduates with far less work experience than myself I plunged into a Journalism degree on the advice of a career consultant. I now find myself struggling to compete in a shrunken jobs market despite the assurances of my tutors that my worldly experience should make me more employable than my contemporaries. I am back working in ICT. For less than before.

I guess having a career plan  helps. Problem is I am reluctant to fix on one specific career choice. The avenues that lie before me mostly involve further study. Applications to entry level graduate careers receive “No relevant experience” and “inappropriate qualifications”, responses I believe are veiled “You’re too old” replies. And that’s only those firms polite enough to reply.

Could I be blacklisted? It’s hard not to think that I’m on some employment blacklist. Even recruitment agencies do not respond. Those that do give the usual “Nothing on our books as yet”. Firing off CV after CV into cyberspace results in nothing. All the time the clock is ticking. Unable to gain relevant experience because I have insufficient experience. I’m 36. I have experience. I can manage a team of administrators and teams of media students. I can type, use HTML, instruct, use computers, communicate via telephone, email and inter-personally. But no. Nobody wants me.

It’s plain to my sight that even when you take into account the lack of jobs out there, there must be something about my CV or work experience, that puts potential employers/HR departments off. Even my companion, who was recently made redundant, gets more recruitment agencies calling than I do.
I bet it’s cos I’m ginger.

Or old.

Regardless, I am conscious of the approaching wave of 2011 graduates. The flood of students with “good” A levels (better grades than me!) up to and including 2015. The lack of industry and opportunity in the UK and the fact that each day I spend in ICT I am making myself more unemployable to my chosen career change.

Rain rain go away

Dear Arid Places in Africa,

We appear to have your rain. Please can you come and collect it before we get washed away.

Much Love

Gnomepants

I have a hole in my sock.

In true form, once I’ve given up all hope and moved my attention onto a new thing, the old thing seems to pick up and wiggle it’s bum at me.

Soft fruit should be compulsory.

My big toe is cold because of the hole in my sock.

Dear uncomfortable seats

Stop hurting my back

Much Love

Gnomepants.

Why do fairy tales promote cruelty to old people?

New job search related bobbins on stegzyblogspot

Scandal in the Lane with no Name

It’s kicking off in the Lane with no name (Lwnn). For those who don’t remember the Lane with no name is the lane that runs along the back of Gnomepants manor and connects the other 4 houses to the outside world without having to use the front steps which nobody uses which are steep. In times past it was also used as access for brewery vehicles to the Village Club but they don’t use it any more as they have better vehicles these days.

Scandal

Junque

Dear Persons of A Merry car,

Thank you very much for offering to take the two items of trash we delivered to your door this morning. I’m sure the self-titled King and Queen of Beckham will be very happy in their new home. There is no need to return the favour nor is there any need for you to return them to us when you get bored of them like you did with Peter Wingarde.

Ta

Gnomepants.

PS While we’re at it would you like Madonna back too?

Secret Police

As you know, contrary to popular belief Britain is, in fact, a Fascist Police State. Also, as I have mentioned before, round these parts there is a mysterious organisation who’s vans seem to be everywhere. WDH, or Wakefield District Housing, seem to be the local equivalent of the Gestapo or maybe the FBI or something more sinister like Majestic 12, Brierley Town Council or the David Essex Fan Club1. They really are everywhere you go. Their little white vans and trucks sneak up on you on the road, they come out of side streets you could swear were not there before. Sometimes, you can even spot them parked outside peoples houses. I am of the belief that some of the “Housing” in these parts are actually a new grade of secret prison. Something along the lines of Guantanamo bay only worse. You know when you hear about “extraordinary rendition” or those “CIA kidnappings that don’t happen but do”or when people get abducted by aliens? Well what happens is they are kept in prisons cunningly disguised as social housing in West Yorkshire. Saddam Hussein wasn’t really executed, that was a stunt double. It is a little known fact that old Saddam is alive and well and living in Lupset. Equally as true is Osama Bin Laden being kept under “house arrest” in Eastmoor. So next time you hear of someone going missing they’re probably being kept somewhere like Kirkthorpe, Kinsley or even Hemsworth. Whereupon they are forced to wear distinctive Burberry check prison garments, eat kebab meat for breakfast and reproduce at an alarming rate in an effort to manufacture soldiers for the forthcoming Andromedan invasion2

Anyway. When I got home last night there was a parcel awaiting for me containing a note and a pen.




This is very sinister. I suspect that they are already onto me and are aware that I know of their dark and Machiavellian schemes. I can only assume that the recent disappearances of various Wakefield notables, scribes and Livejournalists are somehow linked and that I too, as a paladin for the right to write, am on the WDH Watchlist. Whatever next? Ransom notes? Barnacles? Strange green lights in the sky?


1 – it is a well known fact that the film Silver Dream Racer was in fact a mind control device used to brainwash the 1970’s era passive denim dungaree wearing youths into becoming the violent safety pin pierced yobbos of the early 80’s
2 – The Andromedan invasion fleet are due to arrive sometime after 2053 whereupon devestation will be laid out upon all Earth dwelling things. Only beauty technicians, tour guides and photographers will be able to save us from this which is why college courses in such subjects are over subscribed.