Have scientists discovered a new species of land dolphin living in the Sahara?

Clearly not you fecking moron! Do you even think for yourself?

Land Dolphin

INFJ – In neurotic Fear, Joe

So I did one of those ‘personalty’ things and got INFJ.

Basically the world is saying ‘be a medic’ but I’m afraid.

Afraid I’ll fail and won’t even get in – then what.

Afraid that I won’t be able to cope due to my health issues (Physician heal thyself)

– ‘So Mr Blobby, you need to loose weight’

Mr Blobby: have you looked in a mirror recently?

mrblobby

bloobyblobby blobbeeee!!!!

As a generalisation I can’t *stand* student medics – most of them seem to be preppy overachievers, and any accusation of jealously at their success can be quickly dispelled by the fact that they’re generally pretty privileged, always well dressed (though exactly the same) and good looking coupled with a lack of imagination. #bittermuch

The time and cost – ties into it being intensive.

Work afterwards – how far will I need to move?

Stress/coping – will I be unable to cope?

Then again if I don’t try I won’t know. The one advantage of part time flexi-working is that I will be able to work around any part time course or study or other experience that I’ll need to do.

180 while running away!

So life has thrown a bit of a curve ball .. my job is being re-framed to suit my specific talents of which ‘writing’ is apparently a strength. This means reduced hours to 3 days a week incl flexi-time/work at home etc. It might not be a bad thing due to health, stress and maintaining interesting in the job position.

It also gives me 2 days to work on my :

  • 9 Man Blues Band ‘Joe-Joe and the Spiders’
  • International Drug Dealing Cartel
  • Plan for World Domination

Or something more sensible like moonlight as an ad hoc technical writer or similar lone ranger.

Life is suffering…

According to the Buddha anyway. Which kind of sucks frankly. This ties into the WHO’s latest drive to combat suicide.

No not them, the health blokes with the secret plots to take over the world…

 

A response by a person of ‘it stops us being wage slaves’ got re-tweeted. I have to agree (cough because I wrote it cough). {Tweets by @WHO}

I was tired and derpessed* yesterday, not in the complete depths but stressed, anxious, tired and not coping ,rather than thinking ‘there’s no point’ which is an important distinction to make.

I cannot have children.
I suck at my job.
Being depressed makes my wife worry/unhappy.
Unlike the Buddha I don’t believe in reincarnation (dibs on female Brazilian white knee tarantula if I’m wrong!)

I would like to find hobbies fulfilling but they are more social and I’ve learned that most nerds are in it for the game not the socialising. This might change with my re-surge in Infinity who knows. But it’s not something worth ‘living’ for as ultimately it will disappoint.
Religion has left that gap and there’s not a lot filling it at the moment.

I guess this means I’m at the melancholic stage of derpession* where I’m functional but just not happy.

 

I call it derpession because everything goes derpy.

Hyperbole & Peace

A.K.A. the ‘Freedom-Truth-Sheeple-Anti-NWO Rant’

I was chatting with a colleague on the way home from work and we got onto the subject of conspiracy theories. It had evolved from a flippant comment about solving the issue of the death penalty in the US (and to an extent the resurgence in people who want to re-instate it here in the UK) after the botched lethal injection a few years ago in the US.
I suggested it would be quicker, cheaper and easier as well as arguably more humane to line them up and machine-gun them all a lá China or the Nazis. My main flaw/strength in rhetoric taking things to their logical conclusion, however twisted that logic might be.

Injecting people on gurneys is just as violent as machine gunning them. It doesn’t involve hypocritical medical professionals (do no harm?) who are there, nor is it a spectacle to be watched by the aggreived’s family.

That’s not even touching the fact that I am opposed to the death penalty as a criminal punishment. I seem to fall into the odd category of ‘pro-life’ person (in that I am against elective abortion) who is also against the death peanlty. Which is a sad state of affairs to have to make that distinction.

Despite this, I would not call myself a pacifist though. While I would love a world without violence (and were I President of the World I know I would be tempted to use force to hypocritically attempt to ‘enforce’ peace). I think in our world that there is a grim reality of the notion that “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us”. This is why I like the concept of Jack Bauer so much. He is a rough man, does horrendous things but arguably for the right reasons.

I remember at a Quaker meeting some 6 years ago, there was an elderly lady who had a button badge that said ‘Imagine Peace’ and it struck me remarkably. We got chatting and I had to agree that I thought it was actually really profound. After all you have to be able to imagine something before it can happen. Even in our material world, anything lasting and good, has to be designed, thought out and detailed before being fabricated. Somewhere someone has to imagine the end result and then try to achieve that.

It seems that most blogs end with some pseudo-whimsical nostalgic post designed to ease the mental strain that reading them has put you through. This isn’t most blogs.

Sad Clegg

Sad Clegg

Poor Cleggy, being used and abused. At least now he knows what it feels like to have people break promises and stab you in the back.

Let us all reflect on these moments with… ‘sad clegg’

sadclegg

Why I Hate Online Marketing

I’m taking a break from work to write this (sorry boss but it is related!)

Basically I was reading about ‘SEO’, which for the uninitiated means ‘how I get my website to appear high up in google search’ and it turned up a lot of things.

A lot of people spend a lot of man-hours and money into ensuring that their site is ahead of the competition. How you do this is not clear with respect to google’s magic algorithm but they do give hints like: have guest bloggers to increase readership, contribute content, content is king, lots of words and pictures, share! Go viral! Integrate with pinterest/facebook/twitter/myspace/gravitar/whatever.com. Then they change the rules.

The reality is that like any computer controlled algorithm it has weaknesses due to the fact that it follows rules. To quote a man who knows a lot about computers:

“What you must learn is that these rules are no different than rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent, others can be broken.”

The reality is that like any computer controlled algorithm it can be abused like the Matrix. People did – and still do.
Historically people would keyword stuff. This means that your site about selling bicycles would have keywords like ‘bikes, cycles and ‘helmets’

Then came ‘keyword stuffing’ so instead you’d have EVERYTHING to do with bicycles like ‘pedals, cycling, tour de france, pedal, bicycle chain, handlebars, bicycle pump, bicycle rack, bicycle seat, bicycle helmet, cycle chain, cycle pump cycle rack, cycle seat… ‘ The shotgun approach. This worked for a time.

Meta-keywords are still helpful but nowhere near as influential as they used to be because then they got smart. So then they wanted links.

John likes www.bicycle-bike-cycle-world.com so he links to it. Jane also links to it. This is a form of ‘endorsement’ and increases the chance that the website (with keywords in its url too!) would appear high on the search terms. Of course anyone could create a website and link to it. The Link Wheel Turned as people had multiple links to different pages on the same site. This (obviously) happened en masse. ‘Ruining it’ for everyone. So now links are somewhat important but not in the realm that they used to be.

More recently and to an extent currently it was/is ‘authority’. You cannot get or acquire this you must BUILD it. This maxim basically says:
It’s no good Bill Gates blogging anonymously as ‘MS98billyGee’. Sure he might know what he’s doing but no one knows it’s him so he has no authority on the internet until eventually people recognise him. (assuming he’s optimised at being found)

A bit like elections being won by people good at winning elections rather than the better politician, auteurs would blog, link, generate content about creating content (which is King in case you didn’t know!) and ultimately strive to create authority. In my mind I’m a bit biblical on the subject – you don’t get authority except from what you’ve been given from above. (Unfortunately god given authority doesn’t exist on the internet except on www.vatican.va!)

Essentially what looked like happening was a massive cluster-fuck of everyone stroking each others egos. That did happen by the way.
No more is this evident in marketing. In marketing people have a fear of missing out on the next big thing (FOMO/fear of missing out) more than anyone. It is an extension of ‘keeping up with the Jonses’. Capitalism distilled into fear.

Marketing ‘experts/gurus/ninjas’ all say ‘content is king’. That’s fine. Do they have authority to say this? If they have do they need to explicitly say that they are ‘experts/gurus/ninjas’ (or the one I really hate ‘rainmakers’ ?) Wouldn’t people have heard of them?

Ninja assassin

BTW this is a Ninja. Notice the distinct lack of markets.

The reality is that marketing is not a science; it’s about transmitting information to an audience in a way that engages them. How you do that is highly variable. All information is transmitted in some medium, this much is obvious. But if we change the word medium to ‘content’ then we’ve got a great idea that we can bang on about ad infinatum! Yay! Remember to communicate about selling the medium you’re communicating to people in to communicate to them about communication.
Recently there was a conference in Dublin about marketing. I looked at it and thought ‘ZOMG KMN’. I later read in Private Eye (the best piece of journalism in the UK) that although the word ‘content’ was mentioned over 180 times there wasn’t much elaboration on what that might actually comprise of. (I wrote about this at length here)

Long story short marketing is about graft. People like stuff. Send letters about your latest deal. That’s content being delivered to an audience. It might actually require engaging with physical objects though. Hold webinars – that’s content giving information but requires some setup.

Dicking about boosting your SEO ranking and sharing your pals blogs doesn’t actually get you very far.

Changes

I’m in the midst of updating this – trying to separate out the D&D content to 4eDM.org and turn this into a more personal blog.

To top that I’m ill with some sort of achey virus thing thats throwing me. o.O

I won FNM

Last night I won 3/3 rounds (2-1,2-1,2-0) at our gaming club Southampton Sluggaz where our FLGS sponsors/sanctions us. I was using my not cutting edge Black/Green golgari deck (necromantic – nature style thing)

There were a lot of tense games, and some very silly ones (where we both drew out land for 7 turns straight, 2 where my opponent was on 50+ life (killed by Vraska’s Assassins  and then by sheer combat damage!) and other silly shenanigans.

Afterwards I played a bit of modern and went 1-1 vs Mizzet storm and won vs W/G hexproof. considering I’d only come along to paint and maybe repair terrain. My opponent graciously gave me a lift home too.

So that was a nice evening. Considering I’d been tired and not going out much this reflowering was quite lovely.

On that front my endo has said that my body is short on some essential chemicals and hopefully next thursday I’ll start on them. Hopefully I won’t go into ‘roid rage!

Nicotine

I got a tooth extracted recently and was instructed not to drink alcohol or smoke for 24 hours. Not exactly a big problem for me though I did miss my ‘Pipe Sunday’ relaxation on the balcony as a result!

It got me thinking though – Nicotine has been with the human race for quite a while. Perhaps not as long as alcohol I suspect, but still old enough to have been thoroughly engrained in history and even religion in various cultures.

n

In and of itself, nicotine, named for Jean Nicot a French explorer, is a rather toxic alkaloid derived from tobacco.

As an aside – I’m theoretically a bit of a flower-fan. I once considered studying botany but when I realised that most jobs/courses were about farming/agriculture/crop yield improvement/etc. I lost interest.

I include the ‘theoretically’ caveat as I don’t know any Latin names (‘pinkus flowerum’, subspecies ‘nicesmellin’) but I do like the genetics and biochemistry of plants and their derivatives. I used to help my mum a lot with gardening and flower-arranging. (An uncommon skill for a man to have but non-the-less has been useful on more than one occasion!)

Anyway, tobacco is in the nightshade family, which also includes belladonna, potatoes, tomatoes as well as tobacco and each of these are pretty cool in their own place throughout history. (Though my favourite flower is the snapdragon!)

Belladonna gives us atropine which cures nerve gas but was originally used as a cosmetic (and even today is rarely used for eye dilation in children). Apparently the berries are dark round and sweet (looking a bit like mini-tomatoes due to their familial relationship?)

Potatoes – the plant itself is poisonous but the tuberous root (id est ‘the spud’) is the edible part. Although I am Irish I am not a fan of potatoes, usually due to the varieties which we get in Ireland being horrid!

Tomatoes – basically red edible belladonna berries. The leaves are poisonous towards humans as they contain the toxic alkaloids.

Tobacco – looks a little like a potato plant but has tiny tiny roots and contains nicotine, the stimulant of subject here.

I think it’s interesting that nicotine as a drug it has several positive as well as negative effects. Like many other poisonous plant derived alkaloids – cocaine for example is an anaesthetic as well as an illegal stimulant, caffeine is actually deadly in sufficient doses too!

What’s interesting is that recently, society seems to be programmed to see ‘nicotine = cancer’, rather than the actual pros and cons. Indeed cancer is very bad, but so is hypertension from being stressed, or suicide from depression or whatever other myriad of reasons people smoke. Indeed some historians credit the British provisioning of fags to their soldiers as a significant part of winning the war (more alert, more able to focus) compared to the vehemently anti-smoking Nazis. (Poor German soldiers – must have been hard to get a cigarette!)

What I find a little irritating is how alcohol is more damaging than pretty much every other drug short of cyanide as well as being a depressant and yet is more tolerated in the UK. It may be that if you are drinking it only you take it in whereas smoke can travel (I don’t agree with smoking in pubs, workplaces, cars with children etc)

In the US alcohol is less socially acceptable (until you’re 21!) but tobacco use is more historically engrained there and there appears to be less stigma.

Another thing is the attitude of addiction, I don’t need my pipe, I don’t even ‘want’ it most of the time. I can take or leave it, it is a past-time or a hobby. A rather patient device it can just sit and wait until there’s a nice Sunday afternoon or calm evening. In ‘the olden days’ cigars or cigarettes seemed to be more of a celebratory indulgence – like a glass of spirits, not something to have continiously but only on jolly occasions. And I think, like alcoholism we’ve gone far away from that and as a result it is being stigmatised. So much so that I now bear the label of a ‘smoker’ even though I smoke approximately 0.3 cigarettes pert day!