A large chunk of today truly sucked. Actually a large chunk of the last 24 hours has sucked. Something I really hate dealing with required dealing with. Someone I’ve been associated with for quite a long time provided final confirmation that we have two different, too different understandings of the term “reasonable”. One individual, in the full knowledge that I had already obliged him in a challenging schedule, demands a whole bunch more immediate attention than he knows I have the resource to provide whilst still meeting commitments that I had deferred for a time for satisfactory completion of the original brief. I’ve got a funny feeling they are the opening sentences of many a service-provider’s experience with customers. Normally I can get over and through these things without losing my rag, but, you may recall a particularly gnarly patch I went through in January – well, that was triggered by the same dude in just the same way, and that after a good few years of dubious form. Then he said the magic words that change a working relationship forever, “Isn’t that what I pay you for?” I’m afraid there comes a point where a client cannot be permitted to keep shifting the goal and expecting me to accommodate by offering services or response times that I have never agreed to, promised or promoted – the economy is so unpredictable that it barely seems to matter what I do or don’t do with the business, so it’s nice to occasionally precipitate a change that will improve the comfort of the ride.
After enough attempts of varying success to adapt to the unreasonable, I’ve finally learned that I can toss most of my cares to the wind (trust in Jesus) and not always enable unreasonable behaviour/expectations. There’s a heap of people with grossly exaggerated senses of entitlement – including myself if I forget to stop myself for too long. Herein lies a significant key to understanding the present global economic state – power in a democracy lies in the hands of those who can create the best illusion that everything’s okay and to continue consuming and spending according to the customary pattern of the time. It’s going to be interesting to see how well “austerity” goes down in Greece. It’s going to be interesting to see how the mass of us respond when we see an economy we can directly identify with our own go down the gurgler. It’s going to be real interesting to see how well we can behave when a large lump of us all get the same vision of the global situation as it really is. If my vision is within cooee of correct, people like me and a whole bunch of others are going to have a really stink time fairly soon. If I’m right, it’s not our fault, and there’s absolutely nothing whatsoever that we can do to make the slightest difference. A great many of the do-good, feel-good enterprises are naive or deliberately cashing in on an opportunity to profit from large-scale fear and guilt.
I hope there’s not too many people who really think the anti-smoke campaign is really about helping anyone. NZ just raised the excise tax on tobacco by 10% and promised a further 10% hike each January for the next two years. Apparently any smoker needs to be forced to quit by making the activity unaffordable. Has it been wholly overlooked that the largest groups of smokers are low-income and the mentally diagnosable. Smoking may or may not be a risk in the absence of multiple predisposing factors, but it is a therapy par excellence for certain modes of mental duress or affliction. There is not a pharmaceutical that can beat nicotine and the act of smoking for an immediate “safe” response to an intolerable pressure. There is sufficient predisposition evidenced in my past for me to know that the highest risk to my mortality is a particular class of thought. I’m willing to increase my risk of cardiopulmonary disease, various cancers, and moderate social disapproval to use a legally available substance to improve my experience of life. Private growing of tobacco has not yet been outlawed, and I was all set to rig up a hydroponic tobacco patch, but the NZ Police, on a tip from the US Secret Service, just seriously busted a whole chain of hydroponic retailers for being the backbone of New Zealand’s home-grown culture. They’re up to 260 odd arrests now, including customers, with class A drugs and firearms surfacing. I guess I won’t be getting the hydroponic gear off them any time soon. There’s a whole bunch of agendas being served, but I can assure you none are more than a facade of concern for the general public. I can no longer look at the hype and marketing of smoke-free without being aware of how many more people profit from marginalising smoking than do from just having a contented smoking population. The spearhead of the anti-smoking movement is maintained by indulging, nurturing and righteously expressing the anger stage of grief in those whose loved ones have died of diseases that have been declared “smoking related”. “Smoking Related” is really important to society, because if people just died, it would mean that we’re failing in our attempts to cheat death. I can’t recall which jurisdiction it was, but there’s a large one who no longer records “Natural Causes” – there has to be a soothing and liability evading explanation for every death. All health warnings are based on statistical science. The validity of statistical science has recently been called into question (I think there’s a post about this by Jay_Nola on the Transparent forum). A fifty percent increase in the likelihood of a particular disorder as the result of a particular influence is never corrected for the possibility that there are non-obvious reasons why some people die of what they die of. I am unsatisfied by the causal relationships proposed, suspicious of the data, and certain that whatever the actual truth about smoking, what we’re being given isn’t it. I’m reasonably certain that the NZ Government is going to milk smokers for every cent it can while it tries to work out how to put its money where its mouth is and outlaw smoking. Of course, smoking won’t be outlawed until a comparable revenue stream has been established. Look-out big eaters – junk food is being targeted right now. Gee it’s hard to get excited about second-hand smoke when I’m gagging through diesel fumes as I walk past the bus stop to the PO box. I just can’t quite work up a good sense of guilt over any aspect of my smoking as I think of a large chunk of the northern hemisphere’s air space shut down by an uncontrollable, unpredictable, unblameable particulate cloud rich in wonderful asthma inducing sulphur compounds, and as “controlled burnoffs” of hundreds of barrels of oil is considered a good solution to a major dumping of oil. Sidebar: has anyone noticed how much oil gets lost or destroyed at source under suspicious circumstances.
I love my new Rolands and the way better than decent quality of the FastTrack USB audio. I’ve been writing posts anywhere I could find an excuse for the last few hours, listening to some of my favourite tracks. I’ve finally touched on one characteristic of my path that explains why I find it hard to get my head around the way some others think. I was among the last generation that had inexpensive opportunity to go out with a bunch of friends and do things that can now only be done with qualifications and authorisations, or that are now elite and/or illegal. Alongside a broadside assault on the experiential side of life, I was also an early adopter of the first vaguely consumer orientated computer technologies, following a fairly continuous progression a couple of pricepoints back from the leading edge, with commercial use of virtually every category of commercial, development and OS software at reasonable steps in its evolution. I was in that small temporal strata of people who got to learn how to use computers and software before there was anyone to teach people how to use computers and software. Quite a few of the jobs I’ve had over the years have arisen from my interest in emerging technologies. One particularly amusing case – I’d learned PageMaker 3 and decided to be a desktop publisher (1989)… I quit my job teaching electronics at Wellington Polytechnic (now Massey University) and shortly after was tutoring PageMaker 3 (subsequently 5 and 6.5) and Corel Draw night classes. The first generation certificate holders have certificates signed by people who pre-date certificates in the subject, who are, by default, authority. It amuses me to see how credible lineage and authority as implied by a certificate corresponds to degrees of initiation in other “institutions”. It amuses me to see the preponderance of feel-good (make-money) certificates, issued by credible and incredible institutions, being churned out by the mainstream and alternative education industries. However you perceive the illusion, the education industry is confusingly similar to a badly run stud farm. The objective is to create workers for the dominant-forecast future and to justify a helluva lot of people not having jobs whilst turning some fraudulent/illegal-grade corporate losses and individual profits. It’s what a nation’s young people get when compulsory military service is out of favor, completely impossible to sell. Commercialized Education is equally pointless and expensive. A lot of people are not doing the things they were promised they could when they paid dearly in debt for their not-quite explicable qualifications in not quite clearly-defined fields. In so many cases the job requirement for a qualification is nothing more than a way to prequalify candidates from an overstocked “graduate” pool. You’ve gotta love Microsoft for creating a self-perpetuating Education and Gratuitous Upgrade racket. Windows 7 efficiency tip – turn off everything that’s meant to help you, then gradually turn them back on if you find them useful – most are distractions, time-wasters and resource scavengers. Surely what a person is doing with a computer is more significant than whether a window has a transparent border?
I love how my favourite sessions have me shuffling the pieces into amusing patterns.
Bugger. Verbal diarrhea. So hard to stop once started. Must. Can…