May Contain Spoilers

I love quizzes. Some of them are my favourite TV programmes, particularly Pointless, Mastermind and University Challenge. But lately there seems to be a small contingent of people trying to spoil my enjoyment of such programmes and it is frankly getting on my wick!

You see, I time shift my TV viewing. I don’t really like being told when I should watch a programme. I nearly always record EVERYTHING I watch. The only thing I ever watch ‘live’ is the news. Everything else is generally viewed on delay.

University Challenge is one of these programmes. Now, I don’t think of myself as in any way academic or brainy, but I like to test myself and sometimes due to recall (it can hardly be called ‘knowledge’ having a penchant for remembering things), I get a few answers right and feel a little more worthy of being a human on planet earth.

Now, I don’t mind the odd spoiler on a TV programme that’s drama or documentary based, these things can be easily avoided…but when people are tweeting answers to questions on University Challenge at the time it airs, I just have to wonder why? Why? Is your life that meaningless you feel the need to try to make yourself superior in a tweet stream? You surely CANNOT tweet an answer before the student(s) give(s) it?

I find it the hight of abuse of twitter etiquette to do such a thing.

This started with one lady I recently begun following. She seemed nice and thought I’d start following her. The first Monday night this happened (the Uni Challenge answer tweets), I let it slide. The second, I unfollowed her. Call that cruel – and perhaps maybe I should have said something (I did tweet a generalised note of ire about spoilers that night), but I’m sure she’d have felt she was doing nothing wrong. Perhaps she isn’t. Perhaps I’m just too damn uptight.

But tonight is the straw that broke the camel’s back! A friend on twitter whom I have followed for some time now has started doing the same thing! Now I am finding myself caught between a rock and a hard place. I make general tweets about spoilers and my dislike of them and how I time shift my television viewing but it seems to fall upon deaf ears (or is read by blind eyes!). And now I think, do I unfollow this lady? For good, just on Monday nights? What if I forget to follow her again come Tuesday morning? Am I being too anal?

I do love social networks and I love the sharing nature of them, but there HAS to be some etiquette! I try my damnedest not to reveal spoilers. A make general remarks “it’s good” – “you’ll like it” etc. If I am going to be specific I WARN people. I try to make my book reviews on Goodreads thorough but elusive to try to avoid giving spoilers and if I have to refer to something specific I use the *spoiler* tags. but when others don’t follow the basic etiquette, that’s when I fall out of love with socials >.<

Question Time? Apathy Time, Twitter Time.

I want to be interested in politics but if that means me sitting at home on my harris each Thursday night watching Question Time, tweeting about it, pretending to all that I care – instead of ACTUALLY doing something (but hey, you know, it’s Apathetic Britain, right?), then I’m out! I’m not even going to pretend to care.

My voice means nothing and to delude myself that it DOES (and to not be pro-active enough to actually delude myself even MORE that it does) is ridiculous.

If one million protesters couldn’t change the mind of Blair on the decision for war in Iraq, what chance do we have against Thatcheron?

Delude yourselves if you want to.

I have been Duncan Bannatyne, goodnight!

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Society’s Outcasts?

Just watching the news and they were showing Labour leader Ed Miliband visiting the Birmingham suburb of Dudley today. He went to a local ASDA supermarket and spoke to staff.

One lady said “The ones 4 or 5 houses down, they don’t work. They’ve never worked. They just have children and more children but they’re the ones that all wear designer clothes and manage to go on the holidays and everything else. Whereas we [ASDA staff] have to work really hard.”

Nobody on benefits BUYS designer clothes! If her ‘work shy’ neighbours are wearing designer clothes it’s one of three things. 1) They’re cheap ‘knock offs’ and NOT designer clothes 2) They’ve perhaps shoplifted the clothes 3) They are involved in some other sort of criminal activity.

Anyone who is allegedly claiming benefits, work shy, yet ‘well off’ is most likely involved in criminal activity because I for one have personal experience of living on benefits and you CANNOT afford these things.

Don’t tar us all with the same brush and certainly do NOT delude yourself that our life is in ANY WAY palatial!

Crime Against (Supposed) Crime.

Please explain to me WHY so many people seem to be so anti-BBC?

Is it because people believe it to be a monster? Do people deem it too big for its boots? Do people believe there’s a lack of quality programming? Is it the whole Ross/Brand “Sachsgate” scandal? Are BBC bosses and controllers overpaid? Are BBC entertainers overpaid?

The debate arose again last night as I was listening to radio station LBC and Clive Bull. He started to talk about the TV licence. More to the point, trying to see if he was able to talk to one of the reported 200,000+ people that evade paying their TV licence. This figure has increased in the last financial year and he wanted to eke out whether it was purely financial reasons as to why people were no longer willing to pay their TV licence or whether something more underlying was accounting for TV licence dodging.

Clive wanted to know whether there was anyone out there happy to pay their TV licence. If it had not been so late at night and I was not so shy to make the call, I would have called in to say “me”! I WANT to pay my TV licence, because I can see what I’m getting for my money.

One man called in to say that he didn’t pay his TV licence as he no longer watched any live TV. He used his television to watch DVD’s via his DVD player. So cautious was he to evade getting grievance from the TV licensing body, that he severed his coaxial cable from the aerial on his roof. Clive pointed out that this move would be unlikely to be enough as the man’s TV would still have a tuner within it and therefore the ability to receive live television. That what the man would need to have is a computer monitor with no TV tuner within the screen.

So the man says “Right. This is where I am confused. So even though I don’t actually watch live television, because I have a TV with a tuner, I can still be deemed to be breaking the law?” Yes, says Clive. “Oh”, says the man “but that’s unfair and unclear”. In my mind I was thinking “Well, to avoid confusion or potential prosecution, I suggest you buy an LCD monitor with no tuner”, which Clive sort of went on to say himself. The man finished his conversation with Clive by saying “I’m quite anti-BBC really, but I do like their news web site. So if I’m on there and I see a link that says “watch now”, I’m breaking the law if I watch the clip?” Yes, says Clive.

The fact that the man begrudgingly confessed to using some BBC content wasn’t enough for him to think “Well, you know, maybe I should pay my TV licence?” Melon!

Do these people not think of the content that is provided to them for what amounts to 38p a day? That’s the price of a Kit-Kat! So, for the price of a Kit-Kat a day, you get advertisement free TV across eight BBC TV channels, a multitude of radio stations, including the BBC World Service. You have access to the wonderful BBC iPlayer (a chance to catch missed programmes via an online service that allows you to watch and download TV programmes and listen to radio shows for one week after original broadcast). You have online content via bbc.co.uk, including a news web site that is second to none. You also get a wealth of stunning programmes from documentaries, to drama. A lot of my favourite programmes are produced by the BBC including Doctor Who and Torchwood.

How on earth can you argue with getting that amount of content for 38p a day?!

There are so many who argue why they should pay a TV licence when they are on something like Sky. Get some perspective! Sky charges MORE for its basic service at £16.50 a month (and who, quite frankly gets Sky for its basic package? No one!), which is NOT advertisement free for that cost of subscription either, than the TV licence does. And with Sky’s basic package you are getting LESS content. Why anyone would pay to have Sky is beyond me!

Please! For those people who are hell bent on BBC bashing, please stop and think about what we have here in this country. A multimedia service that is revered around the world for providing quality and excellence and costs us all (well, those who pay it) a Kit-Kat a day.

Clive asked last night “So if people aren’t paying their TV licence, what are the consequences? I can see the consequences of people not paying car insurance, premiums go up. Does this mean TV licence dodgers will make the TV licence go up? What *ARE* the consequences?”

Well, surely the consequences would be programming and services will suffer. That perhaps something like Doctor Who would not have been put back on the screen, and certainly not with the love and financial backing it has received to make it more popular than ever.

The BBC news site would just be like some other ramshackle news site where you have to tread through mud to see content that is most relevant to you.

Things like the BBC Action Line would get cut. It’s there for people who may need to seek guidance or advice from seeing story lines in dramas or topics in documentaries that affect people greatly. Discussions on rape or medical conditions, cancer, mental health issues, etc, the BBC Action Line is a point of call for people to turn to if they want to discuss with someone how a certain subject in programming has affected them.

Funding for things like that would just cease to be.

I just urge people to please think about what they get for their 38p a day before they slag it (the BBC and TV licensing) off.

Who’d Have Thought Watching Cricket Could Be So Hard.

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I really wanted to watch the cricket this summer. I’m not into it much these days, but when the Ashes is on (England v Australia test series) I like to be able to watch.

Last time it was on, four years ago, I got to watch all but one test in Australia, as I was over there while most of the the series was on. The Aussies don’t have to pay anything to watch it, as it’s on Free-To-Air TV (aired on SBS).

I can’t remember what happened with the last test, but my memory is that I was able to watch the days play on TV, not have to resort to waiting for highlights in the evening. So this time I was REALLY peed off when I realised the only way I was going to be able to watch it live was to have Sky.

I couldn’t afford to commit to a 12 month contract to have Sky in the home. The minimum outlay of £35 a month was enough of a put off, but most likely it would cost around £55 a month. Just INSANE! The only other option was to use the Sky Player online. At £34 a month it was a better option. No 12 month contract, so you could use it just for one month, as it would be charged on a month by month basis. From July 1st, Sky had a special where you could have Sky Player half price in July and August. At £17 a month, that sounded a good deal.

Sky Player requires you to run a Microsoft-based Adobe Flash alternative, Silverlight. Things like YouTube and BBC’s iPlayer are flash-based – they work on Linux run machines – Silverlight doesn’t. Silverlight only runs on Windows and Mac based machines.

So, I bit the bullet and singed up. As we had a Mac, threre was a good chance it would work well. And it did. On the Mac it was good. The picture quality was nice and fluid, and there was rarely any interferance or disruption.

I got to watch the first test with a minimum of problems. Come the second test, Friday morning, day two of the second test, we suffered a lightning strike which struck some of our equipment, including the Mac. No cricket watching then.

Before this test started (the third test), we ordered a replacement machine. It’s a killer spec. which has given us a 2.66gh Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of DDR2 RAM. But because Sky Player uses Silverlight and there is no version of the that works for Linux (I’ve installed Moonlight – but it DOESN’T work!), we are ruduced to using a version of Windows XP (it would hardly matter if it were Vista OR Windows 7). Sky Player doesn’t work properly on its “native” platform (IE: a Windows machine with Silverlight installed). Sky Player just buffers ALL the time. By comparison, on the Mac it might have buffered maybe three or four times all day. On a Windozes [sic] machine, it can buffer as much as three times in 5 minutes!!

I might have a little leeway and it might not buffer for 10 minutes – but that’s the most it’ll play continusly without trouble. Most of the time I rectifying buffers that happen every 5 mins or so, rendering it almost unwatchable.

Today, in frustration, I’ve given up. I’m just listening to the radio now.

As we came up to August 1st, I said to Em it might be best if we just cancel the Sky Player subscription as I didn’t hold out much hope to be able to watch anything if we were moving away from a Mac. I wish I had now. We might not have been able to as I think the deal with the £17 a month special was to have it for a minimum of two months, but I would have liked to have tried to cancel the account and not waste another £17.

Can I just say, Rupert Murdoch is a count! (take off the “o”)

So thank you Sky, thank you Silverlight, thank you Microsoft, but most of all, thank you lightning strike for making my summer of watching cricket a living nightmare!

ARGH!

Timber!

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wooden heart, originally uploaded by gobayode photography.

Yesterday one of the nearby neighbours had three large conifers chopped down. It’s JULY. That’s still in the nesting season.

Now I know for certain that Mr & Mrs Blackbird had their nest in one of these conifers. Yes, their two chicks had fledged quite some time ago, but it proves to me that other bird species would have been nesting in those trees.

All afternoon I watched endless pigeons fly around wondering where their “houses” had gone. It’s so terrible to see animals in distress.

This morning there was a juvenile blackbird in our garden, sitting on the lawn looking sorry for himself. What if Mr & Mrs B had bred again? There was time enough in the year for them to do that. Lots of bird species have more than one brood if there is ample time in the season to do so.

It is illegal to fell trees that have active nests. You are meant to inspect before going ahead with any fells. I really get the impression this did NOT happen yesterday.

I haven’t seen Mr B at all in the last 24 hours. I’m sure poor Mr & Mrs B will move on now and we’ll no longer have resident blackbirds 😦

I want to cry!

I’m not against the peoples right to fell the trees in their garden. But what I *DO* object to is them doing it at this time of year. They should have waited until September, when the nesting season was fully over with.

It made me feel SO sad yesterday. I couldn’t help but feel for the birds.

The misanthrope in me was at its highest yesterday.

It’s Not Hat-making. It’s Not The Airport. It’s Not The Motor Plant…

So what *IS* the largest line of trade in Luton, I hear you ask? Well, given the number of leaflets coming in through my mail slot yesterday, Luton’s biggest line of business is fast food (and/or leaflet delivery).

Four individual leaflets came in yesterday! So what would you like? Indian, Indian, kebabs or pizza? They were all posted by separate distributors too!

So Luton has shifted status from “Crap Town” and home of MP expenses claimer Margaret Moran to Fast Food capital of Eastern England!

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Viva Luton!!

Inject Your Cheeks With Sugar…

for that “pregnant glow”. MORE cosmetic madness from Friday’s Daily Telegraph in Sydney. The new rage is to get hyaluronic acid (which is SUGAR – the new fangled “wonder” being brandied about in nearly EVERY face cream advert I’ve seen in the last 18 months is just flippin SUGAR?) injected into your cheeks so you can have a healthy “expectant mother” glow to your face.

 

What is this world coming to, SERIOUSLY!?

 

 

 

False Prophets.

Or profits. However you want to use it.
Advertising campaigners are…

Two points I want to make. Firstly, the advert for the Venus Embrace advert. The one below is the American version of the advert, but it says the same thing as the UK advert almost verbatim. Let me just point out before I continue, it is a FIVE BLADE razor. FIVE BLADES! And what is the selling point being declared about this FIVE BLADE razor? “Get VIRTUALLY every hair”. There’s FIVE FREAKIN’ BLADES! How can you only claim to get VIRTUALLY every hair? What is the point of having FIVE blades if even five of them can’t get every hair? That’s pathetic!!

The other is the now criminal overuse of lash inserts in mascara adverts. How am I to make a proper judgement on the “best” mascara (assuming that obviously the criteria for the perfect lash is to have the longest) if ALL the mascara adverts show models with lash inserts? You might as well have done with it and buy the flippin’ lash inserts!! Not only now do mascaras offer length, they (allegedly) offer volume – so now you too can look like you have the lashes of a camel. I mean, WTF? For starters, I can’t really fathom the obsession for having longer, fully lashes. They are just eyelashes FFS!

Do the cosmetic companies just prey on all the bubble-headed ladies (and/or men, if they are not using their own targeted MAN-scara) that don’t read the “model wears lash inserts” small print on the screen? I can’t believe the cosmetic companies can get away with the whole “lash inserts” thing, just by needing to declare the model is wearing them. To advertise the product, they should have to show the models with no enhancements…ha ha ha!! Like that’ll EVER happen…

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This still is from a Rimmel London advert with Sophie Ellis-Bexter. It not only declares that lash inserts were used but also says “enhanced in post production”, so not even the lash inserts were enough of a con job on their own. Shame on you Rimmel!

Just in case you can’t read it clearly, the small print reads “Filmed with lash inserts and enhanced in post production.”

You’re Not On Facebook?! Am *I* A Loser, Or Are *You*?

The BBC asked people on the “Have Your Say” forums to explain why they were not signed to Facebook (those who are STILL not signed up that is – as those who are signed up are free to leave comments too). Here are some of the misguided and ill-informed reasons why some people have not joined…

I’ve never joined Facebook because…

… I can’t imagine why anyone wants to tell everyone they know about all their personal information, what they’re thinking, where they’re going, what they’re doing. Worse than anything is the Single/relationship facility, which in the event of a relationship break-up immediately forces you into a position where you have to talk about something you probably really don’t want to talk about – either that or you leave everyone misinformed that you’re still in the relationship, and even worse your ex has probably used his/her Facebook to let the world know you aren’t. What a mug’s game.

Maybe because A) No one *HAS* to reveal all their personal information and those that do do it aren’t really hurting anyone – apart from potentially themselves (by revealing too much info). B) No one has to reveal their relationship status and turn it into a soap opera. Again, those that do aren’t hurting anyone, and if the break-up is thrashed out online, well, those concerned are a bit vacuous anyway. But please don’t put ALL Facebook users in the same boat.

…if I want people to know stuff about me, I’ll tell them myself. Facebook is the daily equivalent of a round-robin letter. If a friend of mine has news they want me to know, I’d prefer they made the effort to tell me directly rather than expect me to read their page to find out their news. I’m not going to check my friends’ pages just to read: “Eaten a pot noodle”, “Taken the dog for a walk”. If it’s important enough for me to know, it should be important enough to tell me directly. As for long-lost friends, I’ve not changed my email address nor mobile since I first got them years ago. If they want to get in touch, they can use those, otherwise we’re probably been out of touch so long it would be like chatting to a stranger.

I can understand what this person is saying, re: the round-robin stuff. I get put off by it myself. But if you have a piece of generalised information you want to share with everyone, why would you waste time generating individual emails, texts, etc? My niece informed me (and the rest of my/her family and friends) of her pregnancy via Facebook and I see nothing wrong with that at all. It was a shared experience of us all expressing our joy at her news. It was lovely. For those family members she is closest to (her parents and siblings) she told face to face.

What if a person lost your email address? Okay, so it’s the same one you’ve had for 5 years, but how many email addresses do you know off-by-heart? Many are long-winded and most people just hit “reply” when sending back emails. If you lost information in your email client, say your address book, would you know a person’s email address? Some addresses that people have had for years, I still get muddled, like Bec’s address. So, if someone, tragically, loses this person’s email address, as far as their concerned, it’s bad fuppin’ luck they’ll never have contact again? What a tosser!!

FaceBook is yet another indication of just how self-obsessed and self-absorbed we have all become. It’s nothing more than the online equivalent of jumping up and down shouting “ME, ME, ME, look at ME”.

Well, you don’t have to take any notice of it. You made a comment on a forum, that’s a little bit “me, me, ME” and “aren’t MY opinions VERY important” to me, but no one’s slagging you off! Well, I am 🙂

…it is for losers.
I have a life with real friends….

Well, bully for you. Aren’t you the height of status?! You could have the most vacuous friends on Earth, just because you converse with them face to face doesn’t make you any better than me for not having a Facebook account. What an absolute wanker!

I’ve never joined Facebook because…
I’ve never used a computer.

Erm, how did they leave this comment then, on an online forum?! lol Made me giggle this one. Obviously the person was being ironic.

“Danger! Danger Will Robinson!” The reason I don’t have a ‘presence’ on the web via either a website or a social site is the fact that I wouldn’t control who could and could not access the information. Too much information is often a bad thing.

You are an absolute ignorant f*ck if you think just because you are not on Facebook or any other social network that you are safe to browse the Internet. You have a “presence” on the web by just being ON IT, you dick!!! The fact that you are BROWSING and have an INTERNET CONNECTION is ENOUGH for someone to hack into your system and gather all the information they can about you. How deluded is this idiot?!

I didn’t think I’d be defending Facebook. It has its flaws, granted. You can be secure using it (well, as secure as anyone can be using the Internet and browsing). As another person said, to Facebook’s defence, it’s just another communication tool that is handy for people, especially those with far-flung friends all around the world. No one is forcing you to use it, and you are not a bot or social sycophant for doing so. You’re just using another source available to you for keeping in contact with people.

There. I’ve had my rant. Thank you HYS!!