Category Archives: modern life

Strong letter to follow

Writing3

What is wrong with people do you think?  Why do so many ‘Trolls’ exist?  If we met them in the street, would we know that they had some personality disorder?  That they had failed to take their medication that day?  That they were close to a full mental breakdown?  Or do they in fact work in our offices, at the next desk to us?  Fine by day, completely bonkers the moment they get in front of that keyboard at night?  Is it stress, do you think?  The sheer pressure of modern life?  That really they’re apparently normal, coping with life, but inside they’re a seething mass of rage, a maelstrom of mad, disjointed thoughts?  Ready to snap?  Go ‘postal’ if just one more small obstacle gets in their way?  What do you think?…because I’m genuinely intrigued.

I received a series of emails recently via another website that I run – and the person sending them (named ‘Christopher’) screamed and yelled at me in the  !!  LARGEST!  POSSIBLE!   TYPE!  !!  (Yes, it was the usual Troll format – embellished with plenty of emboldening and exclamation marks).  They ‘informed’ me of various inaccuracies in the information on a single page of my site.  Seriously, it was as though I was confronted with a screaming toddler in a terrible tantrum, writhing on my living  room floor.  I toyed with whether to respond at all because if this person is a genuine nutter I really don’t need to be dealing with that right now.  Then I thought that I should afford him the benefit of the doubt and I responded as below (only, as it seemed appropriate, I also did so in the largest possible type):

I acknowledge receipt of your emails.  Do you use some special kind of keyboard that only allows you to type a few words at a time?  I only ask because I wondered why it was necessary to send me a whole series of short notes.

I shall assume that you have some kind of disability or physical impairment and that you are not, in fact, being so rude as to yell at me – hence the very large text of my response here.

If you look again at my site you will see that I clearly state on the ‘Home’ page that it is a hobby site of mine.  It also clearly states that it was last updated in August of 2008.  Maybe I should have put all that in larger type and in capital letters, so that people such as yourself would be able to see and therefore understand that, as a hobby site, I don’t always have the time to keep the information contained therein right up to date.

~~~~~~~

Yes I did get a response.  Why d’you ask?  I’ve cut and pasted it, ‘as is’  here:

Well, at least you replied, now spend time getting your HOBBY up to date.

Yes I do  have  a disability, thanks you for mocking it!

Angelcel to Christopher:

Christopher  – me too.  Which is why I find it difficult to keep up with my hobby and why I found your emails unnecessarily abrasive in tone.

He’s gone away, for the time being.  Maybe he’s just taking time to re-group and then attack me again.  What I’m hoping, however, is that our little exchange will make him think twice in future before blustering into someone’s home, spitting venom like some kind of Benzedrine puff adder. 

The internet seems to have encouraged this kind of behaviour.  Most of us still don’t resort to yelling and screaming  at one another in the street at the drop of a hat (thank goodness), so the closest equivalent to this is probably nuisance phone calls, which are also, thankfully, a rarity.  Yet the prevalence of  Trolls on the internet seems to be on the increase.  Why?

You’ll have gathered by now that, yes, he annoyed me, but that I’m also a very old-fashioned type of a girl, still fondly holding on to the idea that if we all treat each other as we would like to be treated then the world can and will be a better place.  My husband, on the other hand, who deals with rude numbskulls way too often in everyday business, takes a slightly different approach.  I have to tell you that when I showed him the series of original emails he was quite adamant that if I felt the need to respond at all then the best wording would be: 

Fuck Off.  Strong letter to follow.

His approach does have the merit of simplicity.  Maybe he has a point.

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The all singing, all dancing Chattering Monkey

DJ MonkeyWe’re going through our own particular little brand of hell here at home right now and just as I need to rest and recoup at night my brain is fighting me with that ruddy chattering monkey that lives in my head. I’ll get, say, 4 to 5 hours sleep and then my brain pops awake !~ping~! and thoughts, or music, start to tumble around as though I’ve been wide awake and at some social gathering for the last several hours.  Just lately it has been a wholly (or unholy  😉 ) musical awakening.  I’ve abruptly sprung to life for the day to the following:

Monday Night

‘My fingertips are holding onto the cracks in our foundations.  I know that I should let go but I can’t’.   (And repeat).  (And repeat).  (And…    )

Tuesday Night

‘If you like it you should have put a ring on it.  If you like it you should have put a ring on it.  Uh oh oh ohohohoh…  (And repeat).  (And repeat).  (And…    )

Wednesday Night

‘I~i~i~iiii, I need your LSI to give me your love, sex, intelligence, comin’ through with the things you do to me’  (Rinse and repeat).

DJ monkey has a reasonable taste in music,  it’s just that I don’t need to hear it, repeated, over and over, AT 4 IN THE MORNING! 

Why do our brains fight us, when what we need is a little co-operation and a whole load of rest?

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An Obituary

Writing2Oh dear.  I received the following notice in an email today – an Obituary that appparently appeared in the London Times:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the worm;
Life isn’t always fair;
and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing

~~oOo~~

Never a truer word…

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Operation Beautiful

Hyer, Martha01Jane at ‘They call me Jane’ today wrote about a wonderful site that I want to share with you here.  It’s called Operation Beautiful and it’s a project that I think every woman should be part of, in fact everyone, and certainly all parents.   The premise is simple: To leave anonymous post-it notes in public places that simply say ‘you are beautiful’ (or very similar) – a personal boost for anyone seeing them, an assurance that they are in fact beautiful despite what they may currently be feeling.  In an extremely brief course of therapy I was told to do something very similar, so according to current thinking this is not a load of hoo-ha, and could actually start to make a difference …and Lord knows, we need to bolster our self -esteem when the messages that constantly surround us in the media seem to do nothing but undermine us.

I have two daughters and maybe because of my own childhood experiences I did everything I could when they were growing up to bolster their feelings of self-worth, to praise them and to tell them how much I love them.  Even so, none of us can help but be influenced by the images of ultra skinny, air brushed models that surround us.

Maybe more insidious are the stories of the perfect women with their perfect lives.  We’ve all come across them (and much though I love Nigella, in many ways, she’s a major culprit in this) – the women who live in some kind of 1950s Utopia where their children are scrubbed clean, well-behaved, fed perfectly nutritious home-prepared dinners, read a story and put to bed (where they stay and not winge at the top of the stairs) at seven o’clock in the evening, before Mummy cooks up something else – something totally spectacular for her and hubby.   Never mind that perfect Mummy has made it her job to make life look  perfectly easy and so is paid a perfectly lovely salary.  And never mind that perfect Mummy may live in a perfectly lovely house, with a husband with perfectly lovely income that can pay for perfectly lovely home help to clear it all up.

No.  Images, TV programmes and magazine articles albound about how easy it all is to look better,  do better, be better.  The fact of the matter is that life is not perfect, we are not perfect and unlike, say 100 years ago, many of us do not have the support of family close by who can take the pressure off us.  We struggle on, doing the best we can, but no doubt constantly feeling that somehow we ‘could do better’.

I also have to say that my experience of other mothers is that we are often our own worst enemies, excellent at psyching each other out.  I once visited a friend’s house and she made it a point to show me her airing cupboard.  (??!)  I soon saw why.  It was filled with perfectly laundered and folded laundry, in perfect little stacks.  I seem to remember that I maybe inappropriately snorted and said that if you were to take a punt on opening my airing cupboard door you’d most certainly be swamped under a stack of tumbling towels and pants.  I subsequently learned that the laundry she was so proud of was farmed out to a professional firm.  Well there you go – It’s easy to be perfect, with help.

Go visit Operation Beautiful ladies.  In fact, I think everyone should visit, because the message is coming through that  boys are increasingly starting to worry about their own body image and I know that despite the good front they put up, grown men also worry that they could do better in our screwed up and over-pressured western society.  I’m sure you guys can come up with your own affirming and appropriate post-it note phrase.

Let’s all fight back against the media.

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Bizarro World

Little girlI feel as though I’ve entered Bizarro World since last Friday.  I ‘retreated to the drawing room’  yesterday (Voix Douce) to post for SIMC because it felt as if the bulk of ‘the house’ had been overrun with rampant beardiness (or at least discussion thereof).  I’m delighted with the attention that my simple question garnered but in truth, the suddenness of it all has also slightly freaked me out.  Our blogs are very much our little space in the ethers and if you’re like me you love welcoming in new visitors, hope that they’ll stay, look forward to getting to know each other, and hopefully become friends and frequent visitors at each other’s ‘houses’.  What happened on Friday was quite overwhelming.  I am, however, reclaiming my space today and if you came here for the party over the weekend and have decided to stay, then welcome, I’m delighted you decided to stick around.  I hope that you’ll introduce yourselves by leaving comments.

So, what else?  Well Friday’s flurry of internet activity also coincided with the dreaded (~duh, duh duuuuhhh~) Medical Matters – which are done and dusted for the time being but this is something that I get myself into a terrible stew about and worry over relentlessly.

Then of course there is the competition thing I’ve been wibbling on about.  Don’t worry, I’m sick of it too.  And therein lies the first of a few lessons.   Firstly, I’m dreadful at self-promotion.  I’m not a natural saleswoman and I don’t feel comfortable at pushing myself into the limelight.  Rather stupidly I suppose, I’d far rather that you magically found me and whatever my product is totally by chance and became instantly enchanted.  I hate that feeling that I’m trying to entice people in, like a peddler in snake-oil.  The whole process has however been a valuable experience.  On the plus side, it’s been interesting for me to see which images have proved popular, and why, but much more than that, I’ve confirmed something about people in my own mind  The vast majority have been kind, helpful and encouraging, and that warms my heart.  A tiny minority however have been slightly odd with me and there is no point in my elucidating any further on that because it focuses too much on what is their problem.  Suffice it to say, I take the attitude that if you don’t much like someone then walk away.  Don’t, for goodness sake, waste valuable energy on false friendship.

(By the way, the results of the comp will be collated today – a fancy way of saying that I’ll write out pieces of paper with all the email and web entries and then pick out the winner)!

Anyway, that’s me.  Elated but also a little tired and punch drunk.  Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

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Help ?

BlondeFor about the last week and a half the internet access from my house has suddenly started to run with all the speed of a geriatric and infirmed snail.  It’s taking a minute or more for each page to load and that takes all the joy out of internet surfing.  It’s a good thing I’ve had plenty of cleaning to be getting on with because on some occasions I’ve undertaken two tasks at once – uploading another of my photos to the web and then going off to do a bit more housework while the computer sits there, apparently contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything.  I’m not a computer geek, as well you know, so my only technomabobble solution was to clear my cache.  I only know about this because Googlemail sometimes bleats on about my need for a clean out and I’m forced to pay attention and follow their instructions.

So.  Yesterday I went about purging myself of all the crapola that secretly gets salted away on my computer as I surf.  I had a quick look through what was there, hoping to just delete the obvious rubbish because, of course, a complete purge means having to sign in all over again at all the many password protected pages that I use.  [I’m not one of those people who uses the name of their pet guinea pig at every single site from bangra beat to on-line banking so remembering every sign in combo is a complete pain in the proverbials].  My cache list made for fascinating reading – for someone like me who is already mentally stunted from hours spent staring at half-loaded pages.  Who knew that I needed a cookie installed for on-line wrestling?  (?!?) Or that cookies were needed for any number of diet sites (there’s an irony in that statement, isn’t there?) … especially as I’m not aware of ever visiting such sites.  In the end it became too hard to sift through everything, trying to identify whether or not it was needed, so here I am, having to sign in everywhere again.  That’s OK I suppose – it’s exercise for my poor befuddled brain.  However, you know what alarms me?  …Well two things actually:

a]  When I’m visiting sites like my Hotmail account, I can hear a stream of that ominous tap, tap, tap, click, click, clicking going on in my machine that means that plenty of crapola is being dumped on my machine, to replace the crapola I just got rid of, and

b]  My internet access is no faster.

Any ideas anyone?  Technical assistance would be greatly appreciated, especially if you are able to couch it in words of strictly one syllable. When it comes to technical matters, any more than that and I involuntarily start to glaze over.

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Bugbear 1 (who knows, there could be a series of these)

Walking caneI’ve just got back from a mission into town to deliver a package to our town museum, one thatI didn’t want to trust to the post.  I tried to do the same yesterday but had to give up.  I have a disabled parking permit so I’d thought that it wouldn’t be a problem – I’d just park outside as I have always done and drop off my package.  I need the permit and I need these parking spaces.  The issue with me is less to do with distances involved (although that is still an issue), more to do with getting in and out of the car.  In the good old U.S. of A., a.k.a. ‘The Land of Plenty’, the regular car parking spaces are the size of a planet.  Over here, a.k.a. ‘Munchkinland’, the car parking spaces are so tight that if you’re unfortunate enough to end up parked next to a behemoth you find it hard to get in and out of your car.  So hard in fact that you have to perform a weird and unusual snaking limbo along the side of the vehicle and ooze, like jelly, into the driver’s Monster truckseat.  (There are, by the way, lots of behemoths here.  All are driven by blondes with their sunglasses on the top of their heads, worn like Alice bands to hold back that perfectly bleached coiffed hair, and they are all so doll-like, and the vehicle so huge, that they can barely see over the steering wheel).  I can’t do that snake limbo any more.  Post stroke I have to effectively get into the car like Lady Diana:  open door wide, park posterior onto car seat, swing both legs into foot well (knees together if you’re a lady).  I need the space of the disabled bays in order to do that.

Well, yesterday, there I was, heading down to the waterfront and I tried to turn into the road that runs in front of the museum, the way I have been able to do since time immemorial.  Except I can’t any more. There is now a line of pretty bollards in the way.   I knew that the area had been re-developed and a lot of it paved over with cobbles.  What I hadn’t realised is that it had all been given that treatment.  Not one to be put off, I drove the mile circuit (because it’s all the town planner’s dream of one-way systems around here) and I tried again, this time entering the cobbled area from the other side and driving to the front of the museum.  I was quite sure that in any reasonable community the disabled spaces would still exist.  Wrong!  Silly me.  The closest spaces are now some distance away and having gone around the one-way system four more times I gave up – they were full and no one was leaving.  By the way, that’s another thing here – there are no fines for parking in disabled spaces so able but lazy people do it all the time. (Selfish bastards ….Oops, did I say that out loud)?

ClimbersI phoned the museum this morning and asked where the closest disabled parking was.  Answer: Most of it is up the [1:3 gradient] hill which runs behind the building, with access to the building being down a steep set of granite steps.  Er…Do you think we’re misunderstanding something here?  Anyway, to cut this long story short, today I got into town early enough to park in the spaces I’d seen yesterday.  I reckon the walk to the museum and back was probably 300 to 400 yards and I was creased by the end of it.  One of the questions on the application form for a disabled permit is: Can you walk 75 yards?  I think you can see where I’m going with this.  The sad fact is that disabled spaces are being moved further and further away from shops and attractions as town planners pave over everything in sight.  I can’t tell you how much this frustrates me and as one of the fighters in life I’m left feeling quite helpless.  I know that any representation I might make to the authorities would fall on deaf ears because I’ve tried before and the attitude is that they simply don’t want to know.  …Doesn’t affect them, so why worry?  It’s no consolation but I know that one day these very same people will know exactly what people like me were so bothered about.  In fact, if they’re as unlucky as me, it may be a whole lot sooner than they think.  By then, of course, it will be too late.

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