A bag of Chips and quick fumble

Dating in 2022, along with many other things is broken. We have the ability to communicate today like never before with whoever we like. We can be “out” about sexual preference and desires we can even date many people at once in our quest for happiness. So why are depression rates the highest they have been for years and the rate of single people rising across the board.

Apps of course. These bits of code have implanted themselves in all aspects of life. Some of which they are great at, want to monitor your health? App. Want to check your bank balance? App. Should an App however, be the platform to find love or even someone to bump uglies with. 5 Reasons why Dating Apps suck.

  1. Swiping too much or not enough
    • Men swipe to approve a perspective partner 83% of the time. Often without reading a profile. Local, Pulse, correct gender. On to the next. Cast the net wide, because if you don’t you wont be in with any chance at all because… Women swipe to approve only 4% This means if you are rubbish at photos or you have mispeelt a word, on to the next. Because all women on all dating apps have a full inbox of men, clambering for attention. ANY attention. So there is no incentive for more swiping.
  2. Everyone wants an exact match instantly.
    • My parents were married 41 happy years. My Dad a gentle giant, shy, understated not at all social. My Mum, kind, caring, far more outgoing than my Dad. Would they have matched on a dating site/App? Nope. They are different with different world views and interests, over time they discovered shared interests and found new things together. Everyone on a dating app wants someone who can instantly fit into their life, without adjustment, without even an exchange of views. “Wow I think that too” becomes boring very quickly.
  3. Apps aren’t designed for success
    • What do you do when you find a partner? Do you keep up your subs for dating apps? (Some do) Majority don’t. So as a dating app business you lose, you lose on subscription money and advertising revenue. So why would any algorithm steer you to that?
  4. Most people on dating apps have no idea how to talk to strangers on line.
    • Important this one, as its one that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Years ago, mid to late 90’s. Land of dial up internet pre Facebook. Populated by geeks and nerds before that became trendy. What was the social media landscape? Well if my experience was anything, you went to chat rooms and you conversed with strangers, marvelling at how wonderful it was you could talk to Americans, real ones, not the ones on the TV. You quickly realised these were people, just like you. With hopes, dreams, aspirations. (In some cases big tits too!) but they were human, capable of saying (typing) the wrong thing, or misunderstanding. They were after all, strangers so you sometimes explained things and a “netiquette” was created and observed (Or you were kicked from rooms).
    • Now reddit aside. People talk to people they know, or who have met. They primarily have no idea about how the technology they are using to communicate works. The only time they encounter a stranger in the socials is a dating site. So many profiles say “I don’t like texting, lets meet” 90’s advice “Don’t meet anyone, unless you have really got to know them over text first then arrange a phone call where possible” End result, try to converse, try to answer questions honestly, ghosted. No chance to explain, no chance to elaborate or provide context, on to the next. No thought that this is actually a person behind the app. More than a bio and a picture of rock-climbing you did once for 4 and a half minutes, just for the picture.
  5. People now think this is the correct way
    • Dating apps have now been the norm for so long, we have a generation who are absolutely perplexed that this was ever done a different way. This was the inspiration for this post. “How did you ever know anyone’s likes and preferences” we didn’t. You saw someone, liked them and then built something learning about them through interaction. A bio is only what people want you to see.
    • The media also doesn’t help. Women are told that all men will attack them, Men are told that all Women hate men and you can’t approach upon pain of prison.

Obviously I’m single.. and on all the apps.

No Fat Chicks

I saw a TikTok the other day, its a fun way to pass the time, bite me!

Anyway, it was a wonderfully constructed poem about the double standards between men and women when it comes to looking for a partner. Women are allowed to say a long list of requirements such as height, body type, hair colour, sexual size and stamina. Whereas if men utter a preference we are sent to the doghouse, branded as “body shaming.”

The TikTok ended by saying that women must end their hypocritical standpoint. This is what stopped me making it a “loved video”

Women don’t need to stop. Men need to be allowed to start, and maybe learn to express those preferences in a better way, largely so you don’t come across like a douchenozzle. No-one can help what they find attractive in a partner. Be it physical or mental attributes or how well they need someone to rock their world between the sheets.

If a woman will only date a bearded, slender, blog writing short arse (contact me) then they should be allowed to express that wish. No amount of social conditioning and condemnation is going to change that. Whatever floats your boat, is yours. Equally if a man wants to look for a partner with curves you could spend weekends exploring he should be allowed to too. No skinny shaming, just an appreciation of the fuller figure.

These are preferences not shaming or triggering. Where the problem comes is how some people express their preference particularly online.

“No thanks you fat cow” is not the correct way to let someone down gently.

“I just don’t fancy you.” Whilst it doesn’t dress it up is functional. Then of course that leads to “Why!” which then may lead to the “fat cow” but… if someone says no, let it go.

Of course we don’t find partners based on physical attraction alone. But it is important. If someone is rude about your appearance why would you want to be with them anyway?

Expressing a preference for a body type or ethic group or whatever is not an “ism” Vilification of these choices lead to toxic and unhappy relationships we are all trying to avoid.

Form an orderly queue ladies.

Fiction: A Loving Bond

The timer on the device read 5 minutes.

So this is where you get to play hero and “stop the timer at 007 like James Bond”.

Masochistic arsehole she thought. Mind you Sean Connery was a bit of a dish right? And the stories were action packed. But the morals. Stay on message Jodie.

God if she was writing it, it would be different. I mean she needn’t actually read the books or know all the characters, but oh sister would she right some wrongs. She had seen all the films as a young girl. Sat with her Dad. Dad loved the explosions, he would get all bashful at the seduction scenes. Imagine watching that with your Daughter, promoting such negativity. C’mon Dad! But he did love those explosions.

He never really sat still. He was always up doing things, but Bond. He would stop, get her butterscotch popcorn and watch, together. She snuggled close to him, listening to his belly gurgle away what was left of Sunday lunch. Young eyes wide at the action, the car chases. She knew more about the Aston Martin DB5 than any boy in her class. And why shouldn’t she, she thought. Girls drive cars too.

4 minutes.

It was a different time. Acceptable back then, not now. Oppressive. Dad shouldn’t have shared it with her, been responsible. I mean, she thought, I could have picked up anything from the films. The objectifying of women, just trophies for Bond to win. Thank God Dad knew how to treat women properly, he was kind, courteous and reassuring. Thought the world of Mum. But those damn films.

3 minutes.

Mind you, she thought as she edged closer, now the path was clear. Without Bond and the support of her Dad, she wouldn’t be here now. The only woman in bomb disposal in the entirety of the south of England. Bloody good at it she was too and if those awful guys didn’t believe her there was a video of her controlled explosions on YouTube somewhere. Dad loved those explosions.

2 minutes.

She was close now. Any mistake and that was goodbye, this was no walk in the park. Sure would be nice to have a few more women here, but Jodie had not met any other woman who wanted to blow stuff up for a living. A few of her friends laughed when she said she was going to do bomb disposal. “Don’t be silly” Tracey Jones had said. “You’ll blow yourself up. I’m going to be a hairdresser”

Dad was supportive. Convinced Mum Jodie would be okay. She trusted him and his judgement.

060 seconds.

She she rigged up the protective plate over the device. Her LCD display linked to the timer. Getting an interview was hard, 5 rounds. 3 written exams. Come to think of it, her gender wasn’t mentioned.

030 seconds.

The interview board had been very impressed with her enthusiasm for the work and her technical test results, higher than anyone in the last 10 years.

015 seconds.

Running clear now the cover set. Heart pounding. She began the count on the radio.

“So do you ever stop the timer at 007 Jo?” her Dad had asked her.
“No Dad. I’m not James Bond” she replied smiling.
“No, you always save the heroics for real life” He said. And pottered off into the garden.

All clear. Everyone saved.

Inspired by an excellent idea from Resident Weeble and by Chris Chibnall and his awful Doctor Who scripts, with pseudo-feminist messages and false jeopardy timers.

Tesco, the Zeitgeist of 2020

Yes I’m back again with more observations . Who grinds my gears today? Well UK food retailer Tesco, with their “No naughty list” campaign. It seems to be airing on TV whenever I sit down or on the on demand services. If you are a long time reader (thanks!) you will know my distaste for Christmas in general but this year especially. The excess, the queues, the disregard for other people in the season of “goodwill” has me spitting feathers, luckily my mask is on so no-one has noticed.

Tesco are basically saying, “Its ok you were an arse for the entire year, you got too many toilet rolls so that others had to go short, you didn’t teach your kids anything to further their education. You were selfish lazy and a waste of carbon. It’s the funniest thing ever, you were totally self involved when the world around you was calling out for understanding, decency and basic human kindness. But its ok, have a overpriced mince pie you fat cunt” There is also a guilt trip in there about not sponsoring someone else to do things for charity.

I hate this advert, and when this is all over I will avoid giving Tesco any business. But…. the guys from the agency who wrote that ad, deserve an award.

It sums up the mood of a certain section of the country. These people have been like this for years, just now instead of small acts of being awful in different ways, 2020 has forced them altogether under the same banner. Selfish, self centred, aspirational, often in support of the in vogue, on message cause without doing anything to help directly or indeed following the morals or ethics the cause was set up to champion. For example, being racist against Asian communities whilst being evangelical about BLM. The people who take the last piece of pie every day because “fuck you” no guilt, no thought.

Oh and don’t think this is a political piece. Or anything about race or nationality. People with these selfish views have various political ideals and come from all backgrounds. To group them together is to let one section get away with their crimes, because they wave the same flag as you do.

I have said to friends and family for as long as I can remember, everyone is selfish. They are, me too. If someone offers me more I will take it or wish I did later down the line. However I am talking about a payrise or another biscuit. 2020’s stars of Tesco are revelling in breaking the rules, screwing their follow citizens to the wall and depriving people of essential items, the tone of the advert is so distasteful that I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the ideas pitched was “I didn’t wear a mask or social distance” “Have a Christmas Pudding”

People are still dying, worldwide. They are dying as a direct result of the selfishness of others. We have a choice, call out such behaviour or condone it and make it trivial. Every little helps… every little helps.

Super Easy Barely an Inconvenience

I don’t care about your opinion. I do feel the need to voice mine. My blog my rules! I don’t need or want you to agree with me I don’t seek your approval oh great and mighty internet strangers. This is not about my vanity as a two bit wannabe writer or your ego as you think your opinion will finally remove the scales from my eyes and I’ll see the light and it’ll be you what dun it.

COVID 19 took us all by surprise. Governments, Priests, the average Joe in the street. I thought “It’ll stay mostly in China, poor bastards. Few cases here, but we’ll cope and happy days” I was clearly wrong. Millions dead worldwide, lockdown. Phrases like the new normal being born, extroverts invading a introverts space, not liking it, chewing someone’s leg off to get out, go do, go see.

I on the other hand, have been extremely cautious. I do not want to be ill and risk Hospital. You see I have a disability the effects my balance. So shitting in a bedpan is something I long to avoid. In addition to that, my parents are old now and I wouldn’t want to risk them getting ill. All sensible reasoning so far right?

Anyway few months along, and people are now required to wear a face mask in shops. At the moment infection rates are low, and everyone is trying to restore normality. Meeting friends, going to the pub. Good stuff.

Over the past few weeks I have seen objection videos to the masks pop up. Saying that masks inhibit oxygen or they are a way to control us, take away our individuality and freedom to communicate. I have a question to the people making those. Why would someone want to do that? Yes to control, but why? It’s a big conspiracy as normal but who can gain from it ( whatever it is)

I have another question for people sharing. Why? I mean you obviously agree with the points made. Maybe you have issues with communication, the deaf community must have an issue with lip reading right now. But I know a deaf girl (she doesn’t have to listen to me talk, its a blessing she says) she communicates via text or just writing on her tablet round Tesco’s. Because her boyfriend doesn’t sign and she can’t lip read because of his mask. (Which incidentally says “My girlfriend doesn’t listen to me” on it in big red letters. Funny fuckers) And that begins my point…

As a disabled person, my whole existence is filled with inconvenience. I have to sit exactly right as I write this or my back will spasm, I would love extremely acrobatic and energetic sex, however my physical movements are limited, I love long walks in the rain (50 ft and I have to rest unless I have fallen down), real ale in pint glasses I can’t carry. Do I complain.. hell yeah. Do I stop trying to do what I want to do, do I let the inconvenience be the focus. No. Round every inconvenience is a way through a way out.

Your inconvenience at the moment is wearing a mask. It doesn’t impact your life in any meaningful way and here’s hoping this will be a distant memory in 6 months. Your way out will be sorted for you and this will just be “remember when we all wore those masks..” story. There are ways and means to do the things you love without endangering yourself or those you care about. If you can’t wear a mask, stay out of the shops.

I don’t care if you agree, I don’t care if “there is this scientific paper…” (check your sources) wear your tinfoil hat if you are that important that they are coming to get you. Wear a mask and be socially distanced. Be an example to your children, ensure they are safe. Argue about it later, because it is saving lives today that is all that matters.

Short Story: The Concept of Food

“Look it’s quite simple.”
“So you keep saying lady.”
“Money is something we exchange for goods and services. So things like food.”
“I fully understand the concept of food.”
“That’s something I guess. But I need to go out to earn money to get that food.”
“Have you tried asking nicely for it? I mean money is just bits of paper. Why is it worth food?”
“The people who give me the food, in exchange can then use the money for other things?”
“What other things?”
“Well they might pay a mortgage or rent”
“So we can stay in a certain place and be safe we pay rent or buy it bit by bit”
“With money?”
Thinking.. silence.
“So you leave the house to earn money, to spend money on the house and everything here.”
“Can I earn money?”
“No, not really”
“You don’t have a bank account for a start..”
“A bank account?”
“Oh god I’ve gone down a wormhole here!”
“Worms, oh no!”
“Don’t worry about worms! Another thing that costs money”
“You pay the worms, but not me”
“No I pay to keep the worms away”
“But you still pay the damn worms!!”
“No I pay for medicine to keep the worms away”
“What is this I have not seen it”
“The lump in your cheese…”
“I spit out the lump and hide it. Joke is on you”
“Why you little….”
“You gonna throw the ball now or what?”
Claire picked up the ball.. “You ready?” He asked.
“Born ready Claire.. c’mon. But first one question..”
“All the things you exchange money paper for..”
“Have you just tried peeing on them? Works really well. I do it with all my things. Squeaky Frog, Trees, that ball you are holding…”

Pekoe, ready to play fetch.“Pekoe, ready to play fetch.” by notamaiar is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Humanising a Time Lord

There has been lots written about this, so I thought why not dust off the ol blog and chime in. Firstly a few things to point out. This is not a anti BBC rant, I quite like the BBC and you only have to look at broadcasters around the world to realise that the BBC is unique and we need to value that. I am almost part of the “Wholess” generation. The original show ended when I was 9 so I can barely recall. I have however watched classic who since, and every episode of the reboot. I am not really a sci-fi guy. Quantum Leap, Red Dwarf and The Orville aside, so live long and use the force as Captain Skywalker Picard said.. or something. I love Stephen Moffat, pretty much everything the guy has written has been good stuff from Press Gang through to Coupling and latterly Dracula.

So Doctor Who. It’s just a TV show right, and people are dying, why am I pissed off. Well, the Doctor was event television for me. The thing to look forward to on Xmas day or whenever it aired, the thing you spoke to friends about. A speech you remembered, a monster who you can recall, a touching and yes tear jerking moment, an escape from everyday life to spend 45 minutes with a being who cared about your planet and its inhabitants probably more than you did. A being who reminded us that despite all our faults, human beings are kind, generous, caring, determined and pretty damned amazing.

We didn’t know where this being came from, we didn’t much care. To me it was a genderless, raceless being. Nothing was ever mentioned about sex or sexual preference. Nothing was ever mentioned about race, those are human issues. The doctor is not human, and having seen species from across time and space, those issues were trivial and boring. Because lets face it, racism and sexism are boring. Any ism. Judge people on their actions, this is what the Doctor did and actively encouraged us all to do the same.

The Doctor was intellectually the smartest being in any room, the companions however strong enough to keep the time lord in check when they got carried away. The doctor knew he could and should continue to learn from the guests in the TARDIS. Arrogant, at times, but always held accountable and always valued life, despite being surrounded by death and peril.

Not so now.

The Doctor now says “I don’t know” more than ever. They are uncaring about their “fam” short for family by the way. The Doctor will remind us how terrible we all are and how pointless it all is, be overtly sexist “I’ve had an upgrade!” Show utter cowardice, judge people on their appearance alone. The Doctor has become far more human than ever, less wise, more insular less full of wonder of the universe, more concerned with what is between someone’s legs than the general situation. Why?

Jodie Whittaker, fine actress, when given something within her range. Openly admits not knowing anything about the show, despite openly declaring it has been told from “one viewpoint” how do you know Jodie? It was an interesting idea to make the doctor female. This could have been explored in a great way, an otherworldly way. Instead this was pushed aside to highlight the “Human” issues.

Chris Chibnall. A humourless writer, we all have points to make, we all wish to right wrongs. But you are writing to entertain. Do that and you can make all the points you want, social commentary abound. Quantum Leap was a show with a huge moral backdrop, covered all the isms, whilst keeping it entertaining. Do you not have the talent? Chibs, you changed everything and yes whilst shows need to evolve and you needed to address the regeneration issue, did you have to do it whilst ruining 50+ years of wonder, 50+ years of exploration and fun.

I no longer care about the Doctor and her fam. But then being white, male and already accepting of people unless they are you know, an arse. The show isn’t aimed at me.

Good luck on your crusade against a problem that Doctor Who used to ride majestically above, Chibs, Jodie. Looking at the viewing figures you are probably gonna need it.

Doctor Who Experience“Doctor Who Experience” by FrancoisLeger is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Fiction: Autumn Leaves

The light above my head flickered. It had been like this for one thousand four hundred and seventy eight days, according to my tally. It was not the kind of flicker that was rhythmic and satisfying. On one particular boring afternoon I had tried to find a tune on my phone that it synced with. It flickered along gleefully out of time with Beyonce’s entire back catalogue and my Mum’s favourite Johnnie Mathis.

By the end of the day, no longer would this erratic illuminator be an issue.

Not for much longer would the office banter and clicky clack of other peoples pointless emails being constructed be an irritant. No more would Doreens flatulence (the silent kind) and Daniels annoying laugh be a reason for me to want to turn my car into oncoming traffic on the commute home. For the past four years, me and my relentlessly healthy body (only two sick days) have attended the office Wellbellow and Batholomew. Tomorrow there would be no commute.

The morning was quiet. I’d got in before most of the cretinous wastes of carbon had arrived. The coffee machine decided to spit out a good half a spoon of whitener into my black coffee. Laughing at my request. I heard it.

I cancelled 3 meetings, sent 6 calls to voicemail (deleted the messages) then generally counted the minutes until lunchtime respite. Lunch that would today come in the form of a luke warm steak bake (Greggs).

“Did you buy snacks?” Jessica asked. Before I’d even taken my coat off, the steak(ish) chunks still flavouring my palette . Of course not. Despite everything I do not have the money to waste on you, I cannot find a flavourless poison and in a few short hours I’ll be free. Any murderous plans I had faded when I handed in my notice. Don’t push it Jessica, I might make exceptions, I might…
“No Jess” I replied.
“Oh ok, Steven did…”
I continued walking, bully for Steven. He wasn’t leaving, he was Steven Wellbellow. He was the bosses son. He could afford snacks, he could afford bespoke patisserie creations. He brought in, Lidl’s own brand cupcakes. Retailing at 70 pence for 25. But big him up Jess, see where that gets you. Been there, did that at the Christmas Party. Nothing was well bellow with Steven. Steven Isitinyet, would have been more appropriate.

That interaction with Jessica was an hour back now. My soon to be old colleagues mostly had more sense to leave me alone as I went through my inbox. Deleting reams of messages that detailed, picnics, down times and other corporate initiatives to promote “staff engagement”. I attended a few, boss said I should. These events are always attended by the exact types that shouldn’t be anywhere near them. People who, since they left University in 1977 have had no fun unless it was part of a wacky organisation with special badges and meetings. I’ve seen more engaging party political broadcasts.

It was then when I saw it. Behind me, reflected in my screen, a large semi circle was forming. People left their seats, like a hoard of zombies, drawn by the prospect of false platitudes and lies. People buy lottery tickets to get out of situations like this. You think that winners can just stop work the next day. Alas that wasn’t true for me. Cheques need time to clear, bills still need to be paid.

Ten million pounds and I still had to have the “we are sorry you are leaving”

“Autumn.” My bosses voice….

Not much longer. I thought as I turned, fake smile intact. To face them.

Autumn Leaves - Saskatoon

The “That’s really stupid hurdle”

There lives a grumpy old man. His wife dies, he gets angry at the property developments near his house. He physically assaults a construction worker, goes to court. Sentence is conditional, he has to move to an old folks home.

Overnight, he blows up thousands of balloons and attaches them to his house. When the staff of the home come to collect him, he releases the balloons and they cause his house to fly to Paradise Falls, where he meets a rare bird and a wonderful talking Dog.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2009 MMB 31 G-UPOI

This is of course a brief outline of the beginning of Pixar’s glorious film “Up!” (Not seen it? Watch it right now) It is written superbly. Watching it the other day made me think of my own writing, or lack of it. I now feel I could never write anything like Up, or anything vaguely close. I can write about an old man, I could write about him being arrested. But a flying house? That’s where my “That’s really stupid” would hit. Yet the writers of Up had this idea and went with it as countless others with even more outlandish ideas have. Hell even I have in the past.

But not now. Even this very piece as I write it, I’m doubting the tone and phrasing, wondering who exactly will read it. Why am I writing it? Is it for validation from the masses of the internet. No, at least I don’t think so, I mean if it got to be really popular would I shun the hits and take it down. No, everyone likes attention but that’s not my main focus. So am I writing this to get to the bottom of why my ideas for the fantastical lost the battle with my rational brain.

It could of course be that my ideas are not as good as I once thought they were, and my brain is merely better quality control than it was before. But reading through my old published pieces here, some I still think are quite good (high praise indeed!) so that isn’t it. Opinion pieces I feel are more difficult to write now, I can’t write about politics, my views on religion haven’t changed, so I can now write about “bits of string” and with everything else going on in the world anything about string seems rather stupid.

I guess if I am gonna have my own flying house moment, a vibrant flight of fantasy, I’m gonna have to be braver when it comes to crashing into the ground. Read more, read anything, write more, write anything. Even if its crap, starting with a meta piece about writing.

There lives a grumpy old man….

Fiction: Wish You Were Here