Watching

cctv_2I just had an air guitar moment. It was to In Motion Pt 2 by The Gathering. Thing is I was really enjoying myself and then I thought “OMG! Someone might see” so I stopped. Thing is I didn’t think “OMG! Someone might see” because I’m sat somewhere public with millions of people passing by. Nor did I think “OMG! Someone might see” because I’m sat in a place someone might catch me in the act. No! I thought “OMG! Someone might see me” because after 30 odd years I still think there might be a hidden camera somewhere.

Historically, for me, this began before CCTV became as wide spread as it is in the UK. Longer term readers might recall my telling of what my eldest brother said to me on my first day in school that being “You had best be on your best behaviour because I have hidden cameras about”.

That really set me up for life.

Followed by bumping into Mrs Thingie (friend of my nans) on the Isle of Man at the age of 10 and often having my mum confront me about things and events that there was no way that she could have witnessed (only later to find out one of her spies had seen me and told her everything).

This all proved to be the grounds of my really good behaviour. I’ve never stabbed anyone, never robbed anything (apart from that little ring of rubber that you attach face masks to snorkels with from a Hypermarché in France) , even when picking my nose I make sure nobody can see me. So not being an exhibitionist as such I conform and do as little to embarrass, offend or upset as I can incase somebody is watching or sees.

big-brother-is-watching-youTotally unfounded I know. I know that people have got better things to do with their time than scrutinise my every move and laugh at (note…I said at not with) me doing air guitar or whatever. I know that really nobody could careless and I won’t end up plastered all over the Sunday tabloids as being “That wanker that did the air guitar” or whatever it is I’m doing. But in the UK today, what seemed like an unlikely event in the 1970’s, CCTV and hidden cameras are everywhere. I’m not being paranoid or weird or owt…THEY ARE!! Just cos you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Ok they might not be there. But there is always the chance that they might be, so I adapt my behaviour accordingly. Likewise, being the person that monitors the internet and computer usage of the students here makes me more paranoid. WHO IS WATCHING ME? Probably  you or the CIA. Not that I care….

So I thought am I alone in thinking this….

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Watching you do what you do

This actually happened. I know because I was there *

Scene – The boardroom of a sinister government department hidden somewhere in plain sight.

Sinister government operative – So we’re now on the next phase of our “constantly track the public’s whereabouts by sinister means” scheme.
Shady government operative – Indeed! We have successfully lulled the public into openly accepting our covert tracking devices
Shifty government operative – Mobile phones with GPS tracking….totally inspired!
Sinister government operative – Muhahahahha yes inspired! More inspired than the covert use of surveillance cameras with face recognition software linked to the Facebook database
Shifty government operative – Yes! But this technology is restrictive, the reception when they are indoors is limited and we cannot find a way for some of the proletariat to willingly accept monitoring devices into their homes.
Sinister Government operative – Ah that is where you are wrong number2. Our top scientists have developed an amazing infra red scanning device which will constantly monitor the interior of most living rooms. We can use this to monitor what people do in their own homes without them knowing.
Shady government operative – We can? Oh good! Pray tell us what this new device is so that we can continue to conduct our sinister global domination plot!
Sinister Government operative – It is quite simple. A device that recognises faces, tracks movement and such like which can be connected to the internet. It shall be marketed as a gaming device and sold to the public to cover the production costs. It shall be called….”KINECT”….and we shall be known as RULERS OF THE WORLD! muhahahahahahaa
All present – Muhahahahahahahah

* ADVISORY NOTE:- This may be outrageous lies

Terrorism: What to ban

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The scene: A secret governmental office in some seemingly innocuous building in London. Four top executive types sit around a conference table.

Man 1: Right, the department that provide us with our funds are wanting to cut our funding back unless we can prove how valuable and useful we are to the country.

Man 2: Again?

Man 1: Yes again. So what we need to do is highlight the dangers of something…like what we did before.

Man 3: Yes like with the bottled water thing. That proved effective though unpopular with voters and as approval ratings of our existence is wavering on the low side we need to appear to be proactive but not too disruptive to society.

Woman: I get it. Ok, how about getting MI7 to create another terrorist attack?

Man 1: Too costly. We’re still paying the compensation on that one.

Man 2: Could we not create some new figure of focus like Abu Hamsa?

Man 3: That requires international agreement and at the moment we’re not that popular.

Man 1: Indeed, so what we need to do is think of something like with the bottled water thing that makes us look proactive but causes the minimal amount of disruption.

The four look around the room for inspiration…

Woman: Oooh! Ooh! How about pens? A would be terrorist could pack a pen with explosive and then detonate it aboard a plane or ferry.

Man 3: Good one…but still too disruptive. Worth remembering that one though. The airlines would probably be in agreement with that and be able to sell biros during the flight for exorbitant prices….but no…not this time…let me think…

 

The four look around more…

Man 1: How about spectacle cases?

Man 3: Yeah…fewer people carry those…but I don’t think the public would buy it.

 

More looking round and scratching of heads.

There is a knock on the door. The door opens.

Youthful IT dude: Entering room Alright…sorry…I’m from IT. I’ve been asked to change the toner cartridge on the printer in here. Would it be OK for me to do that? I’ll only be a couple of minutes.

All four: With look of universal approval and acceptance. Toner cartridges!

 

And that….is EXACTLY what happened.

I know this…because I was the IT dude *

 

 

 

 

*May be lies

International Fib Day

““The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”” – Adolf Hitler

It’s been years since I did an International Fib Day. Ok I did a poll last year and the day has moved around more than a cigarette lighter in a washing machine but I think it is time for one today.

In reaction to something on the telly the other night, zoefruitcake asked if I thought the moon landings were real. My shortened reply was “yet to be convinced”. You see the way I see it is that ever since like wayyy before the second world war, whoever has been in administration in Washington over the years has enjoyed telling big fibs. And, as my mother always told me, if you tell lies eventually nobody will believe you.

The longer version might have gone something like this. Sorry if this upsets anyone.

“There’s gold in them hills” – nope…if there was its all gone now, but now you’re on the Western Sea board, you might as well stay and populate the area yeah?

“The Japs did it first so we hit back” – If you poke a stick at a nest of hornets, don’t be surprised if you get stung.

“They’re probably commies” – Just because you like to share bags of sweets with people doesn’t necessarily make you a “commie”, besides, what’s wrong with sharing the wealth as long as
everyone does the same amount of work? Isn’t that what social security is?

“We decoded the enemy’s codes because we pinched something off a submarine” – No you didn’t, it was the Brits. All you did was make a film about it. With actors.

“Aliens aliens aliens” – A documentary I saw this week suggested that there was more evidence to prove that the suggestion of alien abduction, UFOs and cattle mutilations was actually a smoke screen used by black operations run by the military so they could get away with doing all manner of odd shit and get it put down as the ramblings of some weird hick. It was quite a compelling argument. Especially when the documentary was followed by Fourth Kind

“Them damned Eyerakkies have WMDs and have been giving them to the Tally Bahn in Afghanistan” – Have they really? Is WMD a code word for oil? Or natural mineral resources?

“The spill is the worst ever” – Tell that to the Nigerians yeah?

“Elvis is dead” – yeah? Then who’s that working in my local chippy?

“Jackson is dead” – Yeah? The who’s that lurking round the local kiddies school?

“This specially ionised water is healthier than ordinary water” – ding ding…hear that? That’s the sound of my other leg.

Anyway, you get the idea. So it comes as no surprise that unless I can see the proof for myself, I’m not going to believe a word that comes out of the mouths of certain Western governments. You know like go to the moon myself and see the foot prints and “Neil wuz ‘ere” written on a rock. After all I’ve seen Capricorn One. I remain…unconvinced. Has man been to the moon? Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t. Think about it, how implausible is sticking 3 men onto the back of a stick of explosives, shooting them into the sky to travel through an airless vaccuum, land on a ball of cheese and send back some grainy holiday snaps before bringing them all the way back again. What ever next?

But as we are all human, it comes as no surprise that we all, at some point, tell fibs. Even if we are governments or just the little people. Its fun to fib. It’s fun to spin yarns. And the point of International Fibs Day is to tell me the most outrageous fib you can possibly fib all guilt and conscience trouble free.

You may do so in comments.

Pride

I was watching Carys Matthews (formerly of Catatonia) on BBC Breakfast this morning and she was talking about how proud she was to be Welsh and have such amazing artisans of literature as Dylan Thomas. This got me thinking about how, as an English chap, I don’t appear to have any one to be proud of. Sure there’s Shakespeare and there’s Thomas Hardy and the like but nothing really in the last 50 years or so. Some might argue and say that Betjamin could qualify for this but really, in my eyes at least, there have been no national figure heads to rally behind since Churchill.

Now, I know some people would say “What about her-wot-died-in’t-tunnel?” but I don’t count the Royals, bunch of cash sucking leeches that they are. Furthermore, there are those who would suggest the likes of Thatcher or Wilson, and they would be wrong too. To me it seems we have sacrificed our culture of pride for the culture of celebrity. The worshipping and pedestal placing of vacuous nobodies whom we raise to great heights only to then plunge into the depths of scandal and dismay.

So where am I going with this? Well I thought it might be interesting to see who you hold a lot of pride for. What achievements for civilization your countrymen have made that you see as valuable to both the arts and science. Who do you revere as the epitome of your country’s people, the figurehead that makes you proud to be who you are and where you are from.

Lost Time

Somewhere, in Hollywood, there are some creatures that feed on lost time. I’m certain of it. Maybe they’re aliens from another world where time is a scarce commodity. Or maybe they’re from closer to home, over worked executives wanting to somehow recapture their own lost time via some temporal thievery. Whatever they are in order to harvest this lost time these creatures produce films that sap peoples time. This “lost time” is then harvested, processed and devoured by these creatures. Maybe so they can spend longer on the golf course or at home with the wife and kids. Who knows?

Gimme back

Poop

I’ve done polls on this very subject.

This morning I was making my daily ablutions and that creeping feeling, which normally occurs an hour after adjourning from bed, held me by the hand and sat me on the porcelain chair. Eager to get on with the day’s tasks I hurriedly made the necessary bodily function and reached for the toilet roll. To my absolute horror there was none. Just the little cardboard inner tube with a 1 ply sheet wafting mockingly at me.

I glanced round. No fresh virgin toilet roll could be seen. Plenty of paint pots, brushes, sponges, shampoos and exfoliants, but no bog roll. That feeling of dread started to grip me as I began to realise that there was a severe toilet paper drought in the new bathroom. Luckily I was on the toilet and I had already done what I needed to do. I just needed to wipe (Yes I know I said this was nice lunch time reading but bear with me). Trying not to make a bigger mess than necessary I rose, trousers around my ankles and hobbled carefully to the bathroom cabinet.
The bathroom cabinet is facing the wrong way at the moment. This is because the bathroom is in a state of decorating flux and there are other anomalies like a dining chair and a heap of newspapers and dust sheets to navigate before one gets to the cabinet. The difficulty is heightened by the fact that the cabinet, as I alluded to earlier, is facing the wrong way. Normally access to the cabinet would take a brief yank of the door and egress could be made. Alas no. With the cabinet in it’s current position one has to lean over the dining chair and pots of paint, risk ruining a perfectly good black shirt with white paint and gamble that the splats of paint on the floor are actually dried. I opened the cabinet to find no toilet rolls.

Now, through the miracle of memory and Livejournal let me take you back but three quarters of an hour earlier.

***wibble wibble wibble***
8:10am

Mrs Gnomepants – I’m just going to the toilet then I’m off to work.
stegzy – OK dear.

8:15am

Mrs Gnomepants – Bye!
stegzy – Bye!

***wibble wibble wibble***

Ok, do you see what happened there? Shall I run it past you again? Did you miss it??

***wibble wibble wibble***

8:10am

Mrs Gnomepants – I’m just going to the toilet (for a shit) then I’m off to work.
stegzy – OK dear.

8:15am

Mrs Gnomepants – Bye!
stegzy – Bye!

***wibble wibble wibble***

Ok now do you see? **nods sagely**

So I was trapped. In the bathroom. Trousers round my ankles. Marmitized. The nearest loo roll I knew of was down stairs, past some very open and public windows and in the pantry. I’m sure the police will be calling shortly with charges of indecent exposure.
So in retaliation I intend to leave the toilet roll, the empty one, exactly where it is. I have hidden the new toilet roll. This is what will happen tonight upon arrival home from work.

Mrs Gnomepants – Hello dear, I’m just nipping for a poo
stegzy – Very good. Exit stage left, goes for a long walk.

See how she likes it.

Conspiracy

I have a theory.

As some may know I love a good conspiracy theory. Sometimes I’m spot on other times I’m waaaaaaay off the mark. But recently I’ve thought of nothing else so I guess I’ll share it here.

Let me begin by outlining two “issues” in Britainland ™ today.

Firstly, there is a housing shortage. Allegedly there are too few houses in Britain for all the new comers (immigrants and those reaching adulthood) to live in. As a result house prices in some areas are through the roof. Twenty years ago a house in my mum and dad’s road would have set you back a princely £60k now you’d be lucky if you could get change from £250k. The solution? Well instead of arranging a mass cull to reduce the population, the government cries “Let’s build more houses!”. Because more houses means jobs in the construction industry, money for those supplying materials to such industries and miles and miles of paper work for the plethora of solicitors & accountants and stacks of wedge for your chaps in the mortgage and loan industries. Money = Jobs and Jobs = wealth. Capitalism at its best.

One problem though is Britainland ™ is very small. Compared to vast super countries like the USA where to go from coast to coast in a day is kind of optimistic, in Britainland ™ you could do it in a couple of hours, weather and traffic permitting. Fear not though! Britainland ™ has a wealth of old unused ex-industrial land or Brownfield. With me so far? Good. So there we are building houses in places where once was industry and in someplaces where there was destitution, poverty and unemployment because the industries have all fucked off to China or India where labour is cheaper leaving behind handy plots of land. Unfortunately, this land is rapidly running out and people are starting to realise that cheap housing usually means it’s in Chav central or built on an old toxic waste dump.

Secondly, we have had several really bad “agricultural” disasters. First there was the price of fuel. “If the price of fuel goes up how can we power our 4x4s tractors and combine harvesters?” cried the farmers. So they blockaded the oil terminals and managed to bring our attention to the shockingly high fuel prices. Then, within a year Britainland was closed. Closed to visitors. Why? After several years of Mad Cows disease, foot and Mouth disease had reappeared. , farmers cried “Oh woe is me! All those animals I’ve bred for you to eat have had to be culled because they are infected. How am I going to afford to feed my children?”.

Some livestock farmers saw the light and switched to growing crops. “Ha! I’m not going to let some livestock lurgy spoil my childrens Christmas” they said in a similar manner to those that said “She’s Unsinkable” about the Titanic. 2007 was the wettest year on record. Flash floods and torrential rains brought many crop growing farmers to their knees as entire fields were laid waste with fields polluted or washed away by the waters. Catastrophy! Then, just as you though it was safe to go back into livestock farming BAM! Foot and mouth (albeit a governmental laboratory version of it) strikes again, this time with BLUETOUNGE from Europe! Will the torment never end?

So, congratulations if you’ve spotted where I’m going with this, farmers are on the bones of their arses. Supermarkets paying shit money to buy their scran, Disease and floods. Today is not a good day to go into farming and with many farming families calling it a day, sons of farmers giving their father’s career choice a miss for better paid city jobs and the man on the Clapham Omnibus too content with his 4 bedroom house and shiney car in suburbia to swap it all for a life of early mornings and hard physical graft, farming, once the choice of the workproud, is waning.

But fear not! Help is at hand! Britainland ™ needs your land! Mr Farmer, sell us your land, we’ll give you a princely sum and all you have to do is sit in your farm house and enjoy your new Land Rover. Problem solved. Planning restrictions? Fuck them, they went out of the window in July (sorry were you not paying attention?). Greenfield sites you say? No! They are agricultural industry land perfect for building houses on.

Not enough land available to buy? Oh dear looks like we’ll have to make a few more farmers destitute then. Let’s have another “leak” of infected water from our laboratories, or how about a spot of flooding? Turn on the Weather control machine (yes there is one, it was developed by the American Government along with the Seismic weapon) Sorry we can’t afford flood defences. That’ll teach you for bringing the country to a stand still in 1999. Ha! Ha! Bit too devastating for the people that make money out of tourism of the countryside? OK let’s have a bit more Bluetongue, that way we can blame the midgies and gnats.

So remember this. Remember that Britainland was once known as a green and pleasant land. As well as a nation of shop keepers we were a proud agricultural nation. The birthplace of the agricultural revolution, crop rotation, seed drills, Turnip Townsend, Jethro Tull (not the progrock band though I think Ian Anderson is British) Now? We live in a time of rapid change and no doubt I’ll be telling my grandchildren how I do remember when all this were fields; how there was a colour other than brick orange and that the green grass of the lawn is nowhere near as vivid as a field of turnips, the yellow of daffodils dulled by the bright colour of Oilseed Rape, the beige of emulsion paint artificial compared to brown of ripeining barley and wheat. The smell of Widnes The smell of rotting garden compost less fresh than silage spread on fields. The low monotone of new music fainted by the dull distant purr of a combine harvester.

Next time you see a field, take a good look, because next time it could have houses on it.

Just like this one in front of my house. Well…the one behind that garage thing.

Gordon Burns

I never learn really. I think I’m a good judge of character then “bam!” someone does something out of their assumed character which surprises me. Sometimes it’s nothing major and often it doesn’t really bother me but nestles in the back of my mind like a bad memory that rots its way into other memories.

I like to share my cultural experience. You may have noticed this if you have known me for sometime. Often I can be quite forceful and insistent with it; for example engineering situations where I can play examples of what ever bit of Scandinavian Rock I’ve discovered or deliberately twisting the conversation round to a particular film which I feel is relevant. I know my music tastes are not the same as everybody elses and I’m more than aware that not everybody likes my type of movie. Indeed other times I’m not as forceful and I’ll detect some mutual appreciation and, if I know and trust the person well, I will part with a relevant book, film or album which I feel would illustrate the conversation or enlighten the beneficiary.

I suppose in a pompus way I’m saying I’m not adverse to lending people my stuff.

However