Archive for the ‘Irritations’ Category

What do I mean getting. I’ve always been cynical (it runs in the family) and I am getting older (who isn’t?) but I do wonder if it’s getting worse.

Of four books I had out from the library recently, none of them were gripping enough that I had to get to the end. I didn’t finish two of them. One by Ben Elton (and I should’ve known because I haven’t enjoyed any of his books) “Dead Famous” I found totally boring. Another “Goodbye Vitamin”, an American book which I thought would be funny, didn’t capture my interest at all. It read like a collection of totally random diary entries. I gave up on that one. A third “Headlong” was interesting but had verbose in-depth analysis of Bruegel’s paintings that read like a thesis. And the fourth, a collection of short stories by Roddy Doyle, is enjoyable enough but only something to pick up because I had nothing else to read. Disappointing overall.

My cynicism continues with the TV series “Mars” a so-called documentary, recommended to me by a friend. I think it’s dreadful. It has two parts – the present (2016) and the future (2033-37) dramatisation about a base on Mars. Neither is well done for the following reasons:

1) 2016 Random ‘experts’ drone on about human exploration, past achievements, the difficulties, ad nauseum, but don’t actually talk about technical issues. I think it’s more of an advertisement (‘how great are we’) for Elon Musk and his SpaceX venture.

2) 2033-37 Professionals, such as captain and botanist do not behave professionally. On landing, the captain refuses a medical examination. What? The ‘botanist’ spends his time spraying water on his plants, fingering their leaves, whispering to them, and breaking down because some of them die. Not once does he use any technical equipment (computer, microscope, etc) – ie there is no research. He’s just an overemotional gardener.

3) They go from finding a cave to build their settlement, to suddenly being up and running without explaining the technical aspects – how they did it, where the materials came from, etc, etc.

4) An engineer uncouples his safety line in a dust storm and wanders off to find the machinery he’s supposed to fix (how he would without getting very fine dust in it, was not explained). Oh miracles, he finds it and all is well, and presumably finds his way back to the rover despite not being able to see anything. The power comes back on and all can continue as normal. (Never mind that the person responsible for rapid expansion argued that plants needed power when they barely had enough for essentials. Oh please.)

5) The “botanist” opens the door to the unprotected outside world because he’s hallucinating. Why would there be a door to the outside world from the plant lab? Come on!

It’s all utter bullshit. I got more information from five minutes of googling, and you’d learn more from watching the movie “Martian” than this piece of garbage melodramatic “documentary”.

I live alone, so have to rant sometimes.


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Among the biggest mysteries to me, which I truly fail to understand at all, is why I get “likes” and “follows” from obscure “businesses” or individuals on Twitter and Instagram. I don’t get it. Included in this social media bewilderment is LinkedIn. Why do total strangers from the other side of the world in a totally different industry want to connect with me? I just do not understand. Then there are the random comments on blog post entries which bear no reference to the blog entry they’re commenting on. The same comment is posted on numerous totally different blog entries.  Why??? What are they getting out of it, these people? Do they think they’ll get followed back or that someone will click on a link to their “business”? Just bizarre. I’ll never understand people.

I was disappointed in a movie I watched last night “Drive”. I had read good reviews but I came away with the same puzzlement as to why people rated it so highly. For a movie called “Drive”, there is very little driving. It started off promising but after the first ten minutes it went downhill. This statement on the SBS website “When the job goes dangerously awry, the only way he can keep Irene and her son alive is to do what he does best – drive” is total bullshit. The seemingly harmless driver goes around bashing people’s heads in, etc. Fuck-all driving. Then there were the slow-mo scenes with his love interest and lame music, which was all very sickening.  Why a typical “all-American” waitress let a silent stranger into her life when she seemingly loved her husband (in prison) is beyond me. None of the pathetic plot made sense. Why are American movies so clichéd, predictable and ultimately boring? I’ve been spoiled by European and Australian dramas which are realistic, unexpected, gripping, and totally enjoyable.

Another disappointment is Duckduckgo as an alternative search engine. I’ve tried to veer away from Google, and Duckduckgo is my default on Mozilla, but so often I’m dissatisfied with the results and head over to Chrome where Google is the default and try again. A shame.

I’m sure there was something else I was going to comment on or complain about but it’s gone – obviously not important. Such things never are.

I’m looking forward to a week in New Zealand in a couple of weeks’ time, specifically seeing K and H, and driving! (I miss driving but don’t need a car here and wouldn’t want to drive in the city.)


Listening to: Niyaz

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I don’t get them. Even as a child I didn’t warm to most of them. They said hurtful things. I preferred the company of my dogs.

In the past two years I’ve experienced kindness and open friendliness from virtual strangers, which always surprised me.

I just had an email conversation with a friend back in NZ. “Friend” really means ex-colleague, as we didn’t socialise outside of work. I was cheery and answering her questions and it was all good until she made some spiteful comment, the sort to bring you down. It’s supposed to be said jokingly, I guess, but there’s really no need for it. Why can’t such people be encouraging instead of hurtful? I open up about my life and get shot down. Is it sour grapes? I still don’t get it.  I’m so glad I’m far away from that toxic atmosphere. I was humiliated at my farewell by a nasty speech “disguised” as humour. I wasn’t laughing. I was so hurt I cried instead of saying thanks. Someone even gave me a copy of the speech, thinking I enjoyed it. I ripped it up and threw it away in disgust. It was horrible. Why are people so nasty to each other? To so-called friends and colleagues? There’s no need for it. I guess they’re unhappy people with nothing good to say about anyone? I don’t know. I’m well away from it now, and thankful to be so. When I visit, which I will do next year, I’ll have to prepare for snide comments. Or maybe I won’t visit at all, but just invite a select few to drinks at a pub. So disappointing.

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That feeling you get when you’re so tired you just can’t be bothered with anything at all.

Part of it is the start of daylight saving, which always takes me a couple of weeks to get used to. Having to get up an hour earlier is never easy.

Last night I visited Geelong and didn’t get home until after midnight, having to wait half an hour for a train from Southern Cross. At least there were trains, I guess.

For some reason I’ve been browsing Facebook more often and this is a trap and I shouldn’t do it, especially when I’m tired.  Again, I get annoyed and I try to analyse why:

For a start, Facebook insists on showing what my friends have liked. I don’t particularly care what they’ve liked. If they wanted to share it, they could share it, but I don’t want to see some lame shit which just pisses me off. I loathe animals dressed up, for example. Some peope find it funny or cute. I just find it fucking stupid and disrespectful. Animals are not toys to dress up in your stupid bows or ludicrous costumes.

There are some pages I’ve followed out of interest but occasionally they post something that is just very depressing. I guess I’m guilty of sharing something that’s equally depressing but which I thought was important. I should know that others are not in the mood or simply don’t care. I fall into the “not in the mood” category at the moment – probably because I’m tired. Other posts such as ones about yet another massacre of yanks killing yanks – I really do not give a shit about. I’m fine with americans killing themselves. Makes a change from them killing others in countries where they shouldn’t be.

I make an effort to post something and get zero likes. It shouldn’t bother me. I’m not out to please people or get “likes” but it does indicate that people have looked at it or read it. Of course, they may have and not liked it. Perhaps Facebook should just indicate if people have actually seen it, otherwise you feel like you’re in a vacuum, talking to a wall. No feedback. I spent ages compiling a video of photos, for example, and I think two people watched it. Maybe more did, but just didn’t care enough to “like”. I dunno, what the fuck…

I keep seeing the same posts, whether they were posted yesterday or several days ago. I think it’s because someone has posted a comment? I don’t need to see it again, unless I specifically wanted to follow that post and see subsequent comments. I should be able to turn this off. And then sometimes when I refresh I get a whole batch of posts I haven’t seen and can’t find the one I was just looking at.

“Suggested Post”s – really FUCKING annoying. Some can scroll past it, but often you’re sucked into reading it before you realise it is just a fucking advertisement. And you keep seeing the same ones. Yes, you can choose to not see any from that particular fucking advertiser but I get sick of having to do this every single fucking time.

Being labelled “grumpy”. It’s Facebook that pisses me off. I should just close my account. I should reassess what I would actually miss by doing so. I don’t currently have time for genealogy so I’m not reading those posts. One daughter posts nothing at all, while the other does sporadically. Other family members post nothing at all. So what am I getting out of it? It’s nice to know what some friends (very few, in fact, actually post anything) are doing occasionally… They want to know what I’m doing but I rarely see anything from them – catch 22.

Amazing how many posts I’ve written about Facebook and I’ve still not taken the step of closing the account…

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My parents were friends with another couple who had children a little older than my brother and I. I met their daughter twice. She visited when I was a teenager. As adults we exchanged an annual Christmas card and letter.

Then she got hold of my phone number and started calling me regularly – from Australia. And her phone calls were never short. She used them to talk about her life and moan about her family or her health. It was a pain in the arse.

When I moved to Australia, naturally she thought she could phone more often. Thankfully for me the landline kept playing up and phone calls didn’t get through. I think she gave up after that (sigh of relief).

Then she found me on Facebook and messaged me every single time I had been online.

Now that I’m no longer so frequently on Facebook (or don’t make it obvious), she’s changed tack and discovered me on Instagram. She can’t chat to me but she posts about six photos a day which are not even hers. She finds some random sentimental shit of a picture and puts it up there – and then another and another. It’s driving me fucking insane.

I tried blocking her on Facebook for the same reason – sickening spam. But then she kept pestering me, telling me to alter my settings so she could see my posts. It may well be another reason I avoided Facebook.

I could block her on Instagram, but then she’d contact me some other way to tell me to unblock her.

She is a persistent arsehole. Several times she asked for my brother’s phone number so she could hassle him and he doesn’t even know her. I refused to put him through the same annoyances. What a pain in the arse. I have no idea what to do about her. I even tried reporting her to instagram because what she posts she does not have ownership of, but their “reporting” facility is bullshit. They keep making you fill in forms and there’s never a “submit”.

If the silly cow insists on posting more than five posts a day, I’ll block her and tell her why if she fucking hassles me about it. Fucking moron! I’ve had it with her.

Postscript:  I just counted how many posts she’s done in the last 24 hours – 10. Ten pictures of random shit – flowers and puppies and other sentimental garbage – it’s fucking spam is what it is. I have now unfollowed her.

Sorry, I had nowhere else to vent and I had to vent.

PPS: She’s since sent me several messages, noting that I was no longer a follower, wondering why that was, and asking me to follow her. Persistent, as I said. If she continues to send me annoying messages (only she would figure out that you can send messages, which I wasn’t even aware of), I will have to be brutally honest as she is immune to social cues.

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I was sitting in the sunshine, purring cat on lap and was about to finally update this blog on my tablet, but the tablet is flakey and slow. I couldn’t view the screen to write on when it was vertical, but when turned side on I had about half a centimetre left to actually see what I was writing once the keyboard came up. Totally useless.

Now I’m here (on the PC), I, of course, have forgotten what it was I was going to write, so I guess I’ll write what comes to mind here and now.


Life is fine. I still enjoy living in Melbourne despite some loneliness at times. But then I was often lonely back in NZ as well, especially after H left. (The house was way too empty and I couldn’t live there anymore.)  Now, when I see an aeroplane in the sky I don’t yearn to be on it. I love trains so enjoy commuting. There are plenty of birds to listen to and the sun shines way more often. There’s little rain and it never lasts long. I think I’ve used an umbrella about twice and have taken it with me and never had to use it. It does get cold though, but nothing that gets close to freezing. I don’t like anything under 15 deg C so that’s what I call cold and the average here at the moment is 14. They keep saying that Melbourne weather is changeable but compared to the Manawatu, it isn’t at all. There it could be nice and sunny in the morning and then turn to crap. Here it stays pretty much the same all day – if it’s sunny, it will be for most of the day; if it’s grey, it will stay grey most of the day. The weather forecasts are pretty accurate.

Talking of never wanting to go back (in my mind anyway)…  I never completely closed my Facebook account, heading in there very occasionally to see what family members were up to, never staying long, never scrolling through. Then I got sucked into it briefly by a message from FB telling me to upload a picture so friends could recognise me. It’s one of those stupid things that FB says like telling me I should celebrate my friendship with A because we’ve been friends for six years. He’s my brother for fuck’s sake. They keep mucking about with settings but don’t make it intelligent enough to recognise that some “friends” are tagged as relatives. I don’t want to go back to it. I scrolled a bit and saw a mixture of posts from 1 hour ago to 23 hours ago to 3 days ago. WTF? I want to see the latest, dumbarse fucking Facebook. I loathe the bloody thing, but if you’re not on it, you’re not in the loop.  I think it’s rather sad that the only means of communication these days seems to be through Facebook. After I did upload a stupid picture of myself I was inundated with “likes” and comments. The vast majority of them haven’t once emailed me in all the time I’ve been here, even those that I actually did write to (I have been slack on the communication front I must admit). I could be dead for all any of them care. Two of them have visited Melbourne without getting in touch or letting me know. So much for “friends”.

Do I miss NZ? I don’t miss the Manawatu or the place I worked. I do miss my bro and driving through the countryside, visiting him or friends, or the beach, say. I struggle to think of anything else. I’ll visit sometime soon, but have no plans yet.

This arvo I’m off to the rare book fair with M (a fellow Kiwi) which I’m looking forward to. I’m glad she’s come over to live. It’ll be nice to have someone else to hang out with at times. I don’t go to shows because they’re so expensive (so I do miss things like Summer Shakespeare) but there is always the gallery and interesting exhibitions. I enjoyed the David Hockney exhibit but didn’t go to the Van Gogh one, as I’ve been to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam (and he’s not a favourite artist of mine). There’s always something on somewhere – it’s just a matter of getting there.

Well, I’ve run out of shit to say. I still haven’t written about the trip to Myanmar. Perhaps I will. I finished a genealogy challenge so might feel more enthused to update this blog. I haven’t even updated my photography one as I’ve only taken photos on my mobile recently and didn’t’ think any were particularly good. I’m pretty slack on transferring photos from mobile and camera (when I do use it) to the computer. I just did the mobile transfer of five months’ worth of pics. Still haven’t done the camera transfer. I might take my camera this arvo.

Adios, and if there are any readers left, thanks for reading.


Buddha day, Fed square


Korean girls in costume, Fed square

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So it’s been nearly two weeks since my last entry – 2017 is flying by so quickly already. Hot cross buns are in the supermarkets. Back to school advertisements appeared from the 1st January.  Retailers seem to contribute to the sensation that the year is flying.  Ignore them, I say.

Just as I have decided to ignore Facebook.  More often than not, I would get annoyed by Facebook – for several reasons.  Over the years I’ve searched for alternatives but found none.  Google Plus wasn’t a valid one, I thought. Folkdirect seems a good basic alternative but no-one will switch.  Everyone is too glued to Facebook because their friends, family and other connections are there.

Anyway, the reasons:

I found that I was scrolling past a lot of updates because I found them boring, stupid, badly spelled or grammatically incorrect, or were photos of strangers. Why the hell should I see photos of a friend’s friend?  Most of the posts were totally irrelevant.  If I counted just the posts from friends I wanted to see it made up less than 10% of the “feed”, and even then I didn’t see all friends’ posts because Facebook decided I didn’t need to see them;

I loathed the “suggested posts”.  I could make them disappear with an app on my computer, but sadly not on the mobile and they pissed me off more than I can say.  At one point I wanted to throw my phone with force, I found myself so irritated.

Lurkers – the vast majority of my friends never posted anything, never commented, never liked anything – I forgot they were on Facebook.  What was the point of them being on Facebook?  To spy on others’ lives while offering nothing themselves?  It’s all take and no give.  Why should I share what I’m doing when they share nothing at all about themselves?  What I should have done, in retrospect, was just unfriend them.  I get nothing out of it, so why should they?  I’ve heard one say, as an excuse, that they didn’t know what to put up.  Well, how about what you’re doing?  That trip you went on? An opinion about something? Something that you read about in your friends’ feeds every day and never comment on.  I don’t know – I just find it a bit rude – like writing to someone and never hearing back.

The absolute waste of time.  I spent way too much time checking facebook for updates or possible comments or likes on something I posted.  If I got none, I felt disappointed and even rejected.  Not great for the ego when you thought something was worthy of posting.  But perhaps they didn’t see it?  I’ve had friends comment that they didn’t.  Thanks, Facebook.  Also, there were numerous times I went online for something specific but would check Facebook first and forget completely what I was going to do.  Not good.

Facebook can actually contribute to feelings of loneliness and negativity.

My family don’t actually use it much if at all.  Cousins, brother, and daughters rarely comment or post anything on Facebook.  I was getting nothing from them – the people I most want to keep in touch with.  Viber and email are the ways I keep in touch with bro and daughters.  I barely know my cousins anyway.

So there you go.  I’ve ditched it once and for all.  Already, after about one day, I feel more at peace and less irritated.  It’s a shame no-one will switch to folkdirect.  I’ll be there on my own.  There’s always instagram and twitter, but I don’t get the same sense of connection with twitter. Everyone tweets something but few actually have a conversation.

I’m also trying to ditch gmail accounts, which is harder.  I would have to let so many different organisations know.  I hate how Facebook and Google are so insidious.  They’re everywhere.  You can hardly do anything on the internet without having to link to them, and they follow your every movement for advertisers.  Google search has become really bad, coming up with totally irrelevant results.  They’re a joke.

Where there are alternatives, I will use them.

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