Saturday, 21 March 2009

Amateur Philosophy

She stalked off, unhappy that I didn't believe she went to Oxford University. Another spectacularly crashed pick up attempt. Though I'm sure you'd love to hear all about that story, it's not really why I'm here. She believed that I chose to disbelieve she studied at Oxford and as she put it, "...and that's not Oxford Brookes, honey".

Is belief within the domain of choice? I find an extreme thought experiment can be helpful when confronted with a problem like this. Here's one I made earlier:

Try to believe the sky is red. Not imagine it. Actually believe it by force of will. To the point where the next time you look you're shocked that it isn't.

An accumulation of information. My experiences, what I know and what I think I know. That's what decides what I will believe on a given matter. As I continue to interact with the world that act has the power to alter or reinforce my beliefs. From my lofty armchair,a seat on the night bus in this instance (top deck, mind you), I came to the conclusion that her reaction was irrational. Dunno what I was expecting anyway. I mean, it's not like she studied at Oxford or anything.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Girls have it easy... (the remix)

Austin's recent "Girls have it so easy...when it comes to dating!" has inspired me. So here's my less belligerent and slightly less dating oriented offering.

Men can still expect to:

1) pick up the tab for the first (at least) date. Men and women earn equal pay, this bidness needs to be shut down. Please ladies, don't hide behind the criminal technicality that is "Well you asked me out. If you're taking me out you should pay", instead see no. 2.

2) make the primary approach e.g Do any asking out, phone number acquisition etc, etc. Let's be real she isn't thinking "Ohhh, he's hot but I'm going to restrain myself because I don't wanna spoil the chase for him". I mean, is she?

3) get brownie points for opening doors. A double-bump when you consider those doors that could be push or pull and you have a 50% chance of being embarrassed. Only toddlers have trouble opening doors. How did we get here?

4) get brownie points for pulling out chairs. To be fair, I think this is dead. I'd like to know if anyone has done this or had it done for them.

5) give up their jacket if she's cold. This is England. Why didn't she come out properly attired? Don't try to come with 'Men have a better tolerance for low temperatures' - due to the heroics I've seen from certain girls when it comes to raving garms, the jury is sooooo out.

6) be under extreme pressure to do something special on Valentines Day. Isn't something wrong if the vast majority of mans approach this like it's a chore?

I can almost hear the grumbling about the loss of the gentleman. I'm just wondering if he's the same fellow that expected women to stay at home...


According to national stats I'm average height. For a woman. A mere technicality when you factor high heels into the equation.

You see, there was a time before heels (BFE - before heels era) when being a man of average height (for a woman) wasn't so bad. All the average height girls AND all the below average height girls were in range. But this is 2008, deep post-BFE and evolution simply hasn't had time to allow for high heels.

Not so long ago I was in an elevator with four heel-rocking women. For the 30 seconds or so that it took us to reach our floor I was the only male in the observable universe (brap). This was rendered irrelevant by the fact that I was also the shortest human in the observable universe (anti-brap).

The above anecdote doesn't tell us much though, four girls isn't a large sample and could be put down to ill luck. Last month I attended a birthday dinner (5-star ;]) where around 15 women (heel rockers one and all) made an appearance. I'd estimate more than 10 were taller than me. Grim odds. Factor in my fussiness when it comes to looks and personality and it becomes apparent that 'grim odds' doesn't cover it.

(Don't bother commenting if you plan on mentioning heels for men)

Annoyance of it all (the remix)

1) Bottlenecks.

i) The top or bottom of an escalator.
ii) A shop door

These are bottlenecks. There's a greater than normal degree of human traffic through these zones, mostly because there is no other way to proceed than traverse them. So why are there idiots that decide to stop in these places?

2) Phone protocol.

I can see you love a good example (me too!). So let's have one.

Me: Hello?

Phone rings, so I answer. So far so good, everything is going fine.

Brainless fool: Hello?

My 'hello' has a question mark on the end. I have used the correct vocal inflection. At this point the caller should be making some manner of request. A good example is "Can I speak to so and so?" Being the magnanimous hero of this story I proceed with a positive attitude.

Me: Hello?

Perhaps the caller didn't hear me.

Brainless fool: Hello?

Alarm bells.

Me: Hello?

Brainless fool: Hello?

One assumes this person has called for a reason. Why are they making no moves to achieve their goal? Truly I have no answer, the only certainty is that this person is an idiot and I am annoyed. Being the hero of the story I rescue the situation and my internal well being.

Me: What can I do for you?

What a guy.

3) Cash machines

See if you can spot the odd one out:

i) Rocket science.
ii) Brain surgery.
iii) Quantum mechanics.
iv) Cash Machine operation.

Yes. You guessed it. Cash machine operation isn't a particularly taxing endeavor. Well that's what I thought. There are some people who must disagree with me. I've seen them. I've queued behind them. How is it taking you this long to use a cash machine?

4) The have-tos

Onward with the workbook theme.

Annoyance: Are you having children.

Me: Not sure. Might steer clear of that.

Annoyance: Oh, but you have to.

No. No I don't have to. In fact technically I don't have to do anything, let's not be pedantic though. There are some truly mighty have-to's. These gods of have-to's don't require classification let's see some.

i) You have to sleep
ii) You have to eat

These are obvious. Everyone knows you have to partake in the above activities, there's no need to explain. The rest of the have-to's tend to rely on support of an 'if'. Let's have another tumble with the gods (they're such fun) to illustrate.

i) You have to eat IF you want to live
ii) You have to sleep IF you want to live

So where's the IF in having to have children? What's going to befall me if I don't? Oh, I see. You were trying to impose your idea of how life should be lived on me.

Bring the noise

I was happy with my 7 million on Super Stardust. It's a fairly rubbish score actually, but with no one to compete with, who cares? There's the world leaderboard, with the top ten posting truly massive scores. Scores that make you think "This fellow obviously doesn't work, he just plays Stardust". Probably not true, but more than enough to put the competitor in me at ease. What matters is the friends leaderboard. This ranking only includes the people on your friends list. With my friends list at a stress free zero, 7 million will do nicely. Naturally, the plot thickens...

Sometimes people come over, have a quick bash at Stardust, get nowhere near 7 million and then we play something else. There's always one though... "Hey man, what's you're high score". This one actually gets close to 7 million. Fair enough. I just nudge it up to 13 million. Ain't no thang.

Until he owns it and now my friends list is the worst it can be. A total of one. This means you can either be first or last. In a heathier environment of five or more you can be proud of second (silver) or third (bronze) and if you're second-to-last people just don't notice you.

I woke up this morning in last place. My 13 million to his 21 million. Considering the weight we're punching at, 21 million was mildly daunting. Nonethless my attitude was 'Hell-to-the-No'.

1. Jump in the shower.
2. Fire up the Stardust.
3. Relax the shoulders.
4. Breathe deeply and smoothly.
5. Press Start.

35 million. Let him put that in his pipe and smoke it.

Health = Wealth

So I'm chewing a mouthful of apple, the proverbial doc repellant (probably tripe. the proverb, not the apple. keep up) and someone comes along and says "Nice apple?". They weren't expecting the reply they got, though their reaction indicates they should have been better prepared. What was their reaction you say? "That boy will never give you a straight answer". Life's a wonderfully complex business and a straight answer like "Yes, thanks" leaves the recipient to fill in the gaps. Most are ill equipped for this gap-filling business, so I step to the plate...

Quite a digression there, but you gotta set the scene if given an oppurtunity to do so in an entertaining manner. Anyway, the apple. I'm not eating it for pleasure (and that goes for all fruit). Some people do. They actually have moments in their life when they're dying to have this fruit or that one. I eat them because they're supposed to be good for me (whether they actually are is a digression too far). In my ideal universe, chocs, sweets, burger king and all the other stuff I'm dying for at times would be good for you.

So those who love fruit and other good-for-you stuff, your god has smiled upon you.