Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why standing up to cancer matters

Channel 4 was recently the host of an important charity gala, Stand Up to Cancer. While the evening itself was the usual mix of entertainment interspersed with sob stories and begging, the amount raised was around £6.5 million on the night. Not bad at all, and every penny counts.

But compared to something like Comic/Sport Relief, it was small fry. How much did they raise last time on the day? Over £50 million (£50,447,197 to be precise). Helping to cure a disease that causes so much suffering all around the world in all its ugly guises is not as important, apparently.

No Red Nose Day events with people getting dressed up, no endless stream of programs where celebrities dance for charity, no Pudsey bear to cuddle, no celebrities swimming, running or cycling anywhere. Not that Comic/Sport Relief or Children in Need aren't worthy charities that do a lot of good, because they are and they do. (Arguments have been made about whether or not they're basically subsidising African war lords, but I'm not clued up on that subject to say either way. And they should run Comic Relief every year instead of any other year, because telethons based on sports ... well, ugh, no thank you.)

It's just that trying to find a cure for cancer is fucking important to all of us. 9 out of 10 will either get cancer themselves at some point or know someone that have it, isn't that what they say?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I think I'm developing a polling allergy

Speaking of voter turnout in general, maybe it's so low in the UK (65.1% in 2010) compared with Sweden (84.63% in 2010) not just because of a cultural difference (Swedes often feel it's their duty to vote, and would rather go and submit a blank polling card than not go there at all if they want to protest), but because a vote in a Swedish general election actually feels like it's doing something.

In Sweden, you vote for a party to get into parliament, so every vote really does count. In the UK, it's done on a constituency basis, where only the winner gets a seat in parliament. All the other votes in the constituency are only good for the bin.


Monday, October 08, 2012

I'm meant to touch myself?

Last week, I was given a book about a Japanese health practice called Jin Shin Jyutsu (or Jin Shin Fee, written by Felicitas Waldeck), which is about how there are energy lines running through your body and energy centres and they need to be balanced, or you will feel unwell.

Sort of like acupuncture and reflexology but without needles or pressing. You just hold your hands over the energy points, which completes the circuit, so to speak.

The easiest thing to do is to hold your fingers. Start with e.g. the thumb on one hand, gently gripping it with the other hand. Hold it for 2-3 minutes, then switch to the next finger. Repeat until all ten have had a go. It's meant to balance your body's energy systems and make you feel better.

Too early to know yet, but I'll try it and see what happens. It's easy and can be done while watching telly or trying to sleep. Even if it doesn't work, there's no harm in having tried. I did it earlier in the car, using a clock for timing, and I should point out I wasn't driving at the time, I was a passenger! Last night, I tried it in the bath (counting to 120) and got about halfway through before I realised I kept losing count and dozing off.

It's very relaxing and meditative, at any rate, so if you have issues falling asleep, why not hold a finger and counting to 120 (you may need to increase the "120" if you count quicker than one a second, or if you want a longer time per finger)? It might help you relax and fall asleep and could well also make you feel better in general. There's no harm in trying, and of course, it's free! I'll see how I get on. If it improves my health, I'm all for it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh NOES the WWW says my computer is infected!

Gosh, I have heard of these people, but I've just never been phoned by one before. This is posted here as a public service, because while I'm computer savvy and would never fall for it, other people might not be that lucky.

Phone rings. I pick up. Silence. After a few seconds of saying "helloooo?", this is what happens:

Caller with a heavy [Indian] accent: Hello is this Mrs T(doesn't sound like my surname, but maybe he can't pronounce it properly, which wouldn't be the first time)?
Me: Err ... (did it sound remotely like my surname or not? I decide it didn't) ... no ...? ... It isn't? (expecting a "sorry, wrong number")
Caller: Can I please speak to the person who owns this telephone number?
Me: ...Speaking? (smelling a cold caller, despite our number being unlisted)
Caller: Hello, I'm calling from World Wide Web and we have detected that there's a problem with your computer.
Me: ... Riiiight ... Try the other one? I've worked in tech support.
Caller: Blah blah blah your computer is at risk blah blah.
Me: No, it certainly ISN'T, and I'm not buying anything of what you're saying. Don't bother phoning this number again.
(This is where the caller hung up on me.)

Having random people phone you up to say that there's a problem with your computer is a WELL-KNOWN FRAUD! ANYONE who phones you up out of the blue to say your computer has a problem is trying to SCAM YOU in one way or another, whether it be for your money or personal data.

If your computer has a genuine issue, you will NEVER EVER receive a phone call from a legitimate company about it. Not Microsoft, not Apple, not even your ISP. It doesn't matter if they've actually got your name right, they're FRAUDSTERS. Tell them to sod off, and don't be polite about it.

If you aren't a "computer person", which means you're sadly more likely to fall for this scam, and you're worried about your computer, you get in touch with a friend or family member who does know about computers and ask them about it.


There are ways they can get your phone number - or it might just have been picked at random by a number generator. There are even ways they can have the correct name attached to that phone number.

If they say they're phoning from a recognised, big-brand company like Microsoft or your ISP, take the person's name and number and say you'll phone them back. A legitimate business won't have an issue with that request. Look for a customer service number on the real company's website, e.g. if you got a call from "Virgin Media", go to the Virgin Media website and look for the customer service number. Phone that number, not one the person might have given you (if they do give you a number, you can always google it to see what comes up).

Tell the company you allegedly got a cold call from that [name] called about your computer and you want to make sure it was actually that company phoning you for real. Odds are, it wasn't. This is also good practice if someone claiming to be from your bank's fraud department phones you to say there are suspicious transactions on your account. (Again, your bank's fraud department will understand if you want to make sure they are who they say they are.)

Don't just take a stranger's word for it and hand over your details, because you'll be handing your personal details and/or money over to fraudsters / scammers / criminals.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Thank the gods for little cats

Whenever I hear stories like these about cats and kittens, I'm so grateful and happy that my own little owner is safe and sound.

P.S. There's more Daisy on Facebook.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Best. Job ad. EVER.

This is a genuine job ad posted on Sweden's version of the Jobcentre Plus website in 2011. Translated from Swedish:

Masochistic web designer with delusions of grandeur

Published: 2011-08-10, Ad-ID: 1960097
Stockholm, 1 position
Application deadline: 2011-09-09

We are a small, young, hungry startup with great ambitions, and now we need to hire our first designer. We are looking for someone who has a genuine passion for design ? the kind of person who feels a shiver down their spine at the sight of unkerned character pairs and is skeptical about eating at a restaurant with an ugly menu.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

America, Land of the Free? Maybe for the 1%

This is related to the post I made yesterday, about highly conscientous people feel morally obliged to get involved in discussions when people are WRONG on the Internet.

The other day, on Facebook, an online friend posted pictures of one of those Occupy protests gone wrong. You know, where they've set fire to stuff and are behaving like assholes. Now, the person who posted the pictures didn't make comments that needed putting right, as such, but the people commenting on them, jaysus.

If I say, "This is the society the Democrats want to create", that's the gist of it. Someone else posted a link highlighting organisations and people who support the Occupy Movement, which was as wide and diverse as president Obama, Hillary Clinton, the "9/11 was a set-up" movement, the Iranian Ayatollah, communists, neo-Nazis and North Korea. If you're the slightest bit educated, you know that communists are as far left on the political scale you can get, and the Nazis are as far right as you can get. You'd also be well aware of the diverse political opinions of the leaders of Iran and the U.S.

While I'm not going to go as far as to claim the list is a load of bollocks, because it probably isn't - I don't really doubt those people and organisations have voiced their liking of the movement in one way or another, I will say that it's fundamentally flawed. Someone commented on it saying that a lot of unions aren't listed and the list creator replied saying yeah, well, the list would be updated at some point. Probably won't ever be, would be my guess, because that would make the list neutral and balanced. It's Republican scaremongering, and to make the list balanced would defeat the purpose.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

You're ill-informed and I need to learn to live with that

In Swedish, we have the word "Besserwisser", which ironically isn't in Swedish at all, it's actually in German. It translates into "better-knower", or "know-it-all" as it would be in English. I prefer the Swerman word, because a know-it-all just knows everything (or so they think), and a Besserwisser doesn't necessarily know everything, they just know things better than you do. Subtle difference.

Now, being introverted tends to give a boost to conscientousness. If you're a HSP on top of that, you're so highly conscientous it can easily become a problem. Especially when you're online, as that opens you up to a whole lot of people who are, for all intents and purposes WRONG. And they're WRONG about so many things. And if you're highly conscientous you have to let them know.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Meet Angsty McBroodypants, Highly Sensitive Introverted Dweller-on-Things

One of the traits of being an introvert is a tendency to dwell on things. We mull over things and will angst about things we say or do for quite some time, where an extravert would've shrugged it off - if they even noticed at all - ages ago. If you're not only an introvert but also a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), it's like brooding but turned up to eleven. That's when a fairly positive trait turns into something you'd rather kick yourself about sometimes.

A HSP can probably worry about things for years. When I was about ten or eleven, we saw a musical in Stockholm. Afterwards, when the audience gave the performers standing ovations, I kept seated, as I was holding a bunch of stuff that would otherwise have fallen to the floor and got lost. I tried standing up, but standing up and clapping didn't really work. This still bothers me, twenty bloody years later. What if I offended them for not standing up after such a great performance? I meant to stand up, really! I meant no disrespect! And the thing is, I doubt any one of the performers even noticed me sitting there, in a dark, crowded theatre, and even if they did, they would've forgotten about it as soon as they left the stage. Yet it still bothers me. Not on a daily basis, but from time to time.