Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Oh my God is shopping for shoes frustrating! I hate it so much. I also hate that society expects it to be my number one favourite activity. I would LOVE it if I could just open a magic door in my house and the ideal shoe would appear. With none of the endless wandering around trying on things fiasco. Is there anything more boring than trying on shoes? No. I can say that with the absolute certainty of someone who spent 6 hours the other day watching other people write exams.

My problem is that I have very small and narrow feet. I also have high expectations of a shoe. I don’t want heels, and I don’t want it to rub away all the skin on my feet. That may not sound like much but it’s very hard to fulfil.

I need black shoes for work. Sigh. Also trousers (I seem to be continuously buying black trousers, because I get rid of them gleefully after each job,  forgetting in the moment that eventually I will have a new job and a new need for black trousers). I found some of those in the very first shop I went in.  It just happened to be a British Heart Foundation shop and only cost £4.30. Ah ha! Second-hand clothes are the best!

No shoes though. This leaves me borrowing my mother’s, which sadly are too big.

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I got a phone call earlier today from Amnesty International reminding me that my membership runs out in less than 2 weeks!! Shock horror!

The dude on the phone didn’t tell that immediately though, oh no. First he congratulated me on the success of their no violencing women campaign. Apparently 175 women in the UK get raped everyday. And the UK government has just signed….something….  to start taking the whole matter more seriously. I was pleased but confused that amnesty felt the need to phone me personally about this. After all I HAD written to my MP about it but they neither knew this nor could I see it having made THAT much difference. But then ‘Dave’ cleared it up for me by asking for money.

Oh he really wanted me to set up a direct debit. I refused, mainly because I can’t guarantee my account has money in each month. Also because there was no way I was giving my bank details over the phone to someone who had phoned me. How did I know he was really from Amnesty etc? This is paranoia, but I don’t think unreasonable paranoia.

When did charities get so pushy? I support amnesty, I think they’re great, they don’t need to phone me to remind me. In fact if anything after the phone call I’ve started wondering why they need the money at all. I can’t really see that anything they do really needs money. They don’t give money to anyone. They seem to mainly rely on letter writing. As a member they’ve never given me any free stamps or writing paper or anything.

Charities are just getting too pushy. I feel like I’m being stalked. Not only do I get stopped constantly in the street (I obviously look studenty enough) but they come to the house and phone and NOW the ones I DO support are clammouring at me for even more attention too. It’s too much. It’s like an overly possessive lover who just won’t let you out of their sight! They constantly guilt trip you into doing what they want.

Sorry Amnesty but I do see other charities too. Just because I haven’t sent you any cash recently doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you. I have enough love in my charity bag for more than one but maybe not enough in my wallet. It seems that charities these days value money above all else. Which is a shame as I think money is the least (though easiest) I have to offer.

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Cold in the extremities

The UK is cold. If I press my foot with a finger it takes about five seconds for the white finger mark to fade away. Partly that’s poor circulation but it’s not helped by the sub-zero temperatures in my parents’ house. I’m wearing a jumper AND a dressing gown and I’m still cold.  Supposedly it’s spring. I guess it’s pretty rainy right now. I’m told that’s a sign of spring. I’m dubious though as I’m pretty sure it rains every season.

Hmm I just looked up the Met Office and it informs me that the coming summer is ‘odds on for a barbecue summer’. It bounds on enthusiastically predicting temperatures of over 30 Celsius but then adds that this ‘does not rule out the chances of seeing some heavy downpours at times’.

*waves fist randomly at the clouds*

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Today we got conned out of 20 pounds by a fake monk. I am quite annoyed with myself. Part of me knew I was being conned but still it happened. He was a cunning fake monk oh aye.

But still I have a shiny picture of the Buddha and an orange bracelet out of it. Although I’m not wearing the bracelet in case it marks me out as an easy target.

We went up the peak tram. Twas very high.

Oh oh oh AND we got moved to a room with an actual window. It’s all very exciting!

AND we bought our train tickets into China. Woo wee woo! Off to Guilin we shall go!

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This actually woke me up at 2am originally!!! 2am!

I thought a neighbour was drilling. After waiting 2o minutes I angrily launched myself outside to ‘give them a piece of my mind’ only to find a crew of construction workers sawing up the train tracks!

I can’t believe how much noise they’re making! Yargh!

Anyway I thought I’d film them for no other reason than to share with you all the noise! And then I got a ‘bit’ carried away with a video editing program I didn’t even know I had. Huzah.

If they don’t stop soon and allow me to go to sleep I think I will go mad. I’ve already gone outside in only my pants and a t-shirt, sat on a swing and secretly filmed construction workers – who knows what I’ll do with even more sleep deprivation.

Below is the video. You can share in my agony…..

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Firewalls organised by countries seems all the rage at the moment. The recent controversy is Australia joining China and Denmark in building it’s own firewall. They’re being slightly less honest than China though. At least China has the honesty to say ‘Yes we don’t want our citizens having free access to information, we don’t think they will use it responsibly, we’re protecting them, and society’. Whereas Australia says ‘Oh yes everyone has freedom of information, we have no firewalls here….oh wait….except this small one…you can look at what you want of course… unless it’s something we don’t like…’.

This all started with anti-terrorism measures. Must stop those naughty terrorists recruiting each other on ‘terrorism forums’ or looking up how to make bombs etc. Then obviously they thought about it for a while and decided they must also stop naughty people who enjoy looking at naked children. All perfectly reasonable of course, no-one would argue paeodophiles should have free access to what they want. Except…..wait a moment…. aren’t there already laws against that?

Now I hear that there is a ‘blacklist’ of websites in Australia. Apparently if you link to one of these websites you can be fined up to $11,000.  And the blacklist is secret. And not all of the websites on it are illegal. So you can be FINED for linking to a LEGAL webpage that you have no way of knowing is banned. Hmmm. Highly dubious. WHERE HAS OUR FREEDOM GONE????

This seriously gets my goat up.

Wikileaks has apparently sneakily published the blacklist. Only, I just tried to go to the website, and I can’t. It won’t load. That is VERY suspicious!

You can read more here and also here.  Also try clicking wikileaks here and see if it loads for you.

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I am currently trying to force myself to finish an online diploma I started in ‘Clinical Herbalism’. It’s pretty tough going. I keep getting distracted by nearly anything, a bird outside, making some tea, my socks. Anything and everything distracts me. It’s not that the course is difficult. It’s very easy in fact. It is however quite quite ridiculous.

Now I’m a fairly open and easy going person. I welcome new ideas like I would an interesting stranger bringing me cake. I did, for example, pay money to learn about herbalism and gain a diploma in it. In my innocence I imagined re-training, happily growing  herbs in a garden and possibly making soaps.

However this course is a perfect example of hippy bullshit!

Oh my gosh, I just used the word ‘hippy’ in a negative sense. Well, I was driven to it by the drivel I’ve had to endure on this course. It makes me want to vote conservative just to get someone to sort out course providers like this.

Now you may think I’m over-reacting. Ha.

The course started well with biology and the like, then it dipped a bit when it started talking about auras. However it then surpassed all levels of idiocy with talk of flower power and Atlantis and Humurians. Here are some choice quotes (stated as fact….FACT):

‘the inhabitants of Hemuria were completely self-contained, being in harmony with each other and with the harmonies of nature.  All communication occurred on the level of the mind through telepathy, and only in the latter stages of Hemuria did the ability to form sounds and speech develop’

‘Hemurians had the ability to logically detect the bond between the human form and plant life.’

‘Because the Atlanteans were not properly in tune with nature, many diseases developed for the first time on the planet.’

‘ In early Atlantis according to various writings, a lifespan was approximately 800 years to have decreased to about 200 years about 12000 BC at the time of the collapse of Atlantis.’

Now I’ve nothing against people believing all kinds of crazy but I take offence when I start being taught myths as FACT and am not allowed to disagree or debate the issue.

Of course I complained to them. Apparently it’s not ‘against the law’ to teach myths as a teaching aid. Number one they were never referred to as myths and number two ‘not against the law’? What are they twelve? Many things are not against the law, for example getting an irish wolfhound tattooed on my face, that does not mean they’re a good idea.

I was going to paste the e-mails (with relevant names starred out) here – but they had some small print forbidding copying of their e-mails. I must abide by the law. I was also not going to mention the online college out of niceness but as I’ve used extracts from their lesson legally I think I have to.

So they are E-LEARN UK associated with STONEBRIDGE COLLEGES. This is their website. And the above quotes were taken from lesson 13 of their ‘Clinical Herbalism’ Diploma course.

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‘Ah easy’ I hear you cry ‘It has to be the train every time, for what other travel offers the smooth straight lines and convenience of speed? The plane is fast, but does not drop you conveniently in the centre of the city. The bus is cheap but takes far longer and is bumpier and smellier’. You smile knowingly and nod your head ‘Oh yes it must be the train every time for the discerning traveller!’

Ha, I say, ha! Everywhere else in the world this may be true, but not Australia. I wanted to go to Canberra from Melbourne and return back again. Simple enough you would think. How can it be that such a wealthy country that is practically begging for tourists to visit it, that has signed the kyoto agreement and is supposedly committed to cutting down on carbon emissions, how can such a country NOT have connected train lines between the state capitals. My mind boggles!

Oh you can buy a train ticket from Melbourne to Canberra and vise-versa but what’s not immediately obvious is that you have to get a BUS for a large portion of that journey. For some reason there’s a gap in the train tracks!!

And is it faster? Noooooo. Is it at least a little cheaper? Nooooo.

Here is a price and time comparison from Canberra to Melbourne that I was investigating for my journey home yesterday:

TRAIN: $75 single ticket. 12 hours travel. First 3 hours of which are on a bus!!!

BUS: $48 single ticket. 9 hours travel.

PLANE: $28 (Tiger Airways) single ticket. 2 hours travel.

If I wasn’t such a wuss I would have gotten the plane. Instead I chose the bus, it goes at night so the theory is that you can at least sleep the journey away.

Of course the bus was 1 and 1/2 hours late leaving Canberra. The driver was quite quite mad. He kept talking and texting on his mobile phone (which is illegal in Australia BTB), using only his elbows (sometimes knees) to steer with. I had the misfortune of being right in the very front and therefore able to see exactly how dangerously he was driving. I didn’t sleep at all. I was too busy checking my seatbelt locked properly and digging my nails into my thighs.

Yet despite this it still seemed to make logical sense to get the bus over the train. The overall lesson is that public transport in Australia as a whole is very very poor quality.

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This year is 200 years since Darwin’s birth, and 150 since he published the origin. As such there are many a Darwin exhibition to be found. Today Lacey and I went to the National Museum to see theirs. It was awful. Nearly everything was plastic copies of specimens, with no labelling at that.  What labels there were didn’t exactly give massive amounts of information. Here’s one from a display of Darwin’s ‘study’:

4. Specimen Boxes

Boxes held small objects: perhaps an interesting beetle or pollen masses from an orchid Darwin was studying. Or – when Darwin was investigating whether birds might have helped dispense seeds to islands – one might even have held the seeds he picked from the dried mud on the feet of a duck.

On the feet of a duck????? What is happening to the world? More specifically the world of museums. This exhibition was borrowed (for money) from America. Didn’t say where in America. They’re probably worried about abusive letters. No wonder people doubt Evolution. I would too if this exhibition was all I had to go on.

We were incensed. We hunted down a customer feedback form so that we could tell the museum just what we thought.

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