Thursday, 28 November 2013

Friends, Friends and More Friends

Contrary to popular opinion, facebook friends are most probably not friends. 

I was talking to a friend of mine (first clue, you actually talk to friends) and he was saying that ‘he cleans-up his friends regularly’.  Now there is something that is inherently wrong about that statement.  Now I have had a few friends over the years and truth be told have never been 'cleaned-up’ by them.  If you have a really nasty ‘friend’ they might clean you out, but generally not clean you up. 
Thankfully he was referring to facebook or it was going to seriously affect the status of our relationship.

Now I suppose I will eventually need to put my name on this blog and open myself up to the world of cyber stalking.  You know all those people from your past that at some level, you wish would simply remain there; folk that are interested in your business but not actually interested in you. 
And so the stalking behaviour of choice in the new millennium is Google.  It used to be binoculars.  Whatever happened to the good old days of sneaking around in people’s bushes?  Now you simply type in a name from the shadows and skeletons of your past and see what they are up to.  The object of the game is simple.  Check and see what they are doing, not how they are doing.    

These days it has become a norm to meet someone and ‘do a background check.’  I am not sure what people talk about on their first dates anymore.  By the time that happens, people have thoroughly studied each other’s facebook profiles and know all of your favourites already, where you went to school, how many siblings you have... etc. 
In my case, aside from the contributions of The Change Addict there is little information about me in cyberspace.  My Master’s Thesis, however, does come up (The Change Addict doesn’t link to my given name, yet).  So not so long ago I had a guy who was interested in me until he read my Master’s Thesis Online on women’s leadership.  So any relationship potential was over before it began.  Eighty pages of intellectual prowess intimidated the poor bloke.  If he was actually brave enough to have coffee with me and get to know me, he would not have known about that for sometime... 

People have different interests and sides.  And the picture created in cyberspace is probably a bit like the tip of an iceberg.  Only about 10% is visible above the water and the rest is hidden below unless of course you're a bright spark and posted nude pictures of yourself; In that case the percentages might be the other way around. 
I do believe cyberspace does at some false level feed the need in human beings for social interaction.  I just think that the pretences and the circumstances are very false.  And while you might have a sense that people actually do care about what breakfast you had this morning, try and phone them in the middle of the night in an emergency and see what happens. 

Cyber relationships are really great if you are socially challenged.  You can say what you want to on one site and find a new site tomorrow to hang out with.  But you’re actually hanging with sites not people.
Somehow, I still prefer the traditional cup-a-something and a good old-fashioned face-to-face chat with my friends.        

So the conclusion of the matter is that you generally do not need to cull your friends.  And so the need to cull on facebook would indicate that many ‘friends’ may not actually be friends.  I have heard of culling elephants or other species of wildlife, but not friends.  Life tends to do the culling of friends naturally for you over time. 
And most importantly friends check and see how you are doing not what you are doing, which leads me to conclude that perhaps facebook and cyberspace may not actually be the ‘caretakers of connectedness’ they claim to be. 


Monday, 25 November 2013

Miss, Mrs, Ms, ...

I tend to buy strongly into the philosophy of 'common sense' rather than holding someone that society has deemed ‘an expert’ in high esteem.  I suppose it is possible that this might be a direct result of my obsession with the ‘why’s’ of life.  Or a conclusion based on multiple experiences over the years which resulted in my wondering just how it was possible that this person is an 'expert' in their field regardless of the position he / she may have held at the time.  Try and sit through a random conversation about having your cervix stitched close and see if you view doctors the same way.    

I think the level at which knowledge is available and added to in modern society, almost negates the idea that someone can maintain expertise without a constant quest and focus in a specific area of learning.  And so I have a high level of scepticism when it comes to ‘expertise’. 

Perhaps it is a reflection of my own quest for knowledge which has led me to question regularly what is generally considered to be accepted knowledge.  I’m pretty okay with concepts like 'gravity;' we used to play 'circus' as kids and believe me when I say we always came down, but struggle a little bit more with ideas like 'identity' for example.  I prefer to define myself.     
But despite my general scepticism of ‘experts’, I am still considering attaining a PhD.  I know..., but I did tell you that I reserve the right to change my mind. 

Actually my consideration has more to do with the title than the actual papers ‘ascertaining my expertise’. 
“But what about your comment about position and it not being held in high esteem”...blah, blah, blah or something like that, you’re thinking... 

No, I am afraid it is a much more trivial reason than attaining a title linked to professionalism.  I am simply seeking a title that is not linked to my marital status. 
You see, growing up, I was a ‘Miss’.  Got married and became a ‘Mrs.’ Now after the divorce I am forced to go by ‘Ms’. 

If I were a man, I would have simply been ‘Mr,’ despite the changing circumstances in my personal life.  So as far as I can tell, the only title as a woman that you actually keep and it belongs to you, is ‘Dr.’  Because now if I marry again, the cycle starts all over... back to ‘Mrs.’ ‘take two’.   I am simply a little tired of the double standard and so I think becoming a ‘Dr,’ just might need to be looked at  more seriously.

Has anyone ever asked besides me, “Why is that”?  Why are there different titles for women that communicate clearly her marital status?  Seriously, just who was that intended to benefit?  Definitely not women.  
Men, out of curiosity, how many of you are guilty of checking out a woman and referring to the title section of the form she has just filled out for her marital status?  Yeah, I thought so.              

If nothing else, the title ‘Dr.’ can survive marriage, divorce and the death of a spouse.  Society gives that to men for free, am I the only one who finds this double standard a little hard to swallow?  Incidentally, if I ever suffer from Alzheimer’s disease someday, I wonder to which title I will regress. 
But at least it’s good to know that at least there is something that men will remember.      


Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Quite Something of Nothing

Sometimes you are faced with a blank screen and you have a post that is due, but really you have nothing: 

Nothing to write.
Nothing to say.

And so nothing to post. 

And so today there will be a blog simply about nothing.  And so you might be tempted to quit reading because the change addict has nothing to say, but the problem with nothing is that there are many times that nothing causes more stress or excitement than anything else.
And so if you add ‘nothing’ to the following scenarios, you will soon understand just what I mean. 

You return to the parking lot and in the spot you are sure that your car was parked, you find...
You receive a bank statement soon after being paid and the statement indicates that what is left is... 

You are in the midst of intellectual debate and soon become convinced that in between your worthy opponent’s ears is...
You arrive home and when you left you were sure there was furniture, but what you see when you unlock your front door is...

You walk into a lift and there is a beautiful man / woman and they are wearing...

And so very soon, many stories actually about nothing become the stories that are told again and again, in the pub, through the tears, over drinks, at parties, etc.  And so just how much nothing is actually in nothing? 

This is essentially why the socially enabled seldom believe someone who says ‘nothing’ when asked, ‘Is something wrong?’
And so when we say ‘nothing’: the problem with nothing is that it is usually quite something.
That being said, I will try and avoid discussing nothing again very soon...  So don’t worry, it’s nothing...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Styling Boxers

Fashion trends are a dime a dozen and tend to change year on year.  And after a certain number of years, about 12-18 years or so I figure, they tend to repeat themselves and come back into style when the next generation think that they have discovered something new.   'Bell bottoms' to 'boot legs' for example.  Degrees of extreme may vary, as will the name, but the concept; been there, done that.      
So contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not true what they say about old people.  They don’t tend to go out of style.  They are simply ahead of the rest of us.  They see the latest fashion trends and they know better.  It’s simply a conscious decision not to go back there again after they have probably done it at least twice already and learned from the process.  

And ‘Lumo’ should not even be done twice for that matter.   
Some fashion trends however, have effects that are much longer lasting than just the season and it’s not so easy to just let them go. 
How about the boxers, then the pants, and the walk that comes with it that has been adapted to actually keep the pants sort of above the thighs.  I believe the walk used to be called bow-legged and was caused by a medical condition.  Now they call it ‘wicked’ or ‘cool’. 

I asked my niece the other day if we should stop and tell this boy, walking along the street, that pants were designed to actually cover his backside.  No seriously, someone needs to tell him because clearly he has no idea”.  I tried to convince her.  I think she wanted to crawl into the boot (trunk) and make like she has no idea who this woman is.  So to save her unnecessary stress, we passed by. 

I wonder sometimes how I would handle this trend if I needed to at my house.  And I think the approach would be simple.  For starters, the key to having pants worn above the buttock is buying strategic boxers: They need to be silk and they need to be embarrassing.
Black with little pink hearts, little red cars, ‘I love my Mom’, you know, hip and happening stuff that would thoroughly ruin the boy’s reputation should they ever be spotted in public. 

As far as I can tell, this would truly be an act of love, because this is one fashion trend that will have consequences long after it is no longer in style. 
The walk will have become a habit, and so there will be many bow-legged young men in their tuxes on their wedding days and walking into the board room with pants securely fastened, but the trade-mark walk of ‘wicked’ still apparent as they skin their knees on the row of chairs on their way to the head of the table.   
The reality is that as one looks at these young man and watches them walk, any parent would recall that they had seen them walking this way once before between 12 to 18 years ago. 

The recollection might be foggy, but it usually had something to do with state of affairs in their diaper at the time. 
You see, I rest my case, fashion trends do indeed repeat themselves. 

In this case, I am simply hoping, we won’t venture back here again and the man my daughter marries someday has a mother who loved him dearly.    

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Muddied Waters between Legal and Illegal

My hat goes off to the person saying that they have never been involved in so much as thinking about crime.  That’s impressive.  Commendable even and somewhat unbelievable to a mind (mine) who, if I didn’t know Jesus, has a pretty good idea of what sort of trouble I’d be into.
I just think that some things should just not really be considered crimes.  A good con is a battle of wits, not a full on crime.  Perhaps it should be decriminalised and be categorizes as a dual of intellect.  Like chess or gambling.  There is a winner and a loser.  And that’s legal.  How different is it really?   

I mean if you’re a 52 year old man and this 23 year old woman, from some foreign country wants to come and visit you and she takes off with your money after you voluntarily send it to her, whose fault is it really?  Be honest. 
I just wonder about the thinking.  Wow, this girl is impressed with my personality in cyberspace?  Come on.  That’s not a crime, it’s a donation.

It’s very similar to the dating process.  That’s also pretty much a game of con too.  We dress up and go out.  Pretend we wake up in the morning with make-up, smiling and laughing a lot ... and smelling like flowers.
Guys, you’re not that different...        

Come on, move past the shock, and focus.  How many of you ended up married to someone who had a side of them you knew almost nothing about?  I know I sure did.  Partially conned into marriage?  Flat out conned into marriage – perhaps?
The process of dating as far as I am concerned is essentially flawed.  There is more pretence than anything else and the problem is: its hard work keeping up that standard of pretence for the next fifty years.    

And what about business networking: How different is that?  It's about showing the side of you that is aligned with what people are looking for.  We have even given it a name: personal branding.
I work in communications and I can promise you, there’s much more to something than what is on the label and what is not communicated is much more telling than what is actually said.

So essentially we have established that it is legal to misrepresent oneself in dating and business, but illegal elsewhere?  Am I the only one who thinks the line is becoming just a little bit blurry?  
So if I ever give crime a go, you’ll know where to find me... in an evening gown and (a miracle working) bustier, perhaps a touch of botox, with a glass of champagne in my hand...  

Ooohhhh Darling, it’s soooo lovely to see you...’
But hey, no cause for concern; still too young for that... 


Monday, 11 November 2013

Life’s Irony

Sometimes the irony of life catches even me off guard.  I had a seriously thick moment not so long ago (‘thick’ in this context defined as ‘not so clever’, ‘a little less than bright’ or ‘a few bricks short of a load’).  I live in a much more violent society than I grew up in and I do not want a gun in my house because I think accidents can happen really easily and fast and there is no turning back time after that. So in an effort to be proactive, I decided to go and learn self-defence.
‘Good idea’ you’re thinking.  And so thus far, I have learned ground work and basic self-defence and have now graduated a level on to ‘weapons’ and spent a day recently learning how to “hold and cock” a gun properly. 

The ‘change addict’ with a gun.  God help us all.

Seriously; how does a decision made in an effort to avoid using a gun land up with me learning exactly what it is that I was avoiding to start with?

Truth be told, I am not sure what I was thinking; should have taken knitting class.  Stabbing someone with a knitting needle seems a little less permanent and more prone to intentional accidental damage with higher prospects of survival on the part of the other party.          

But I, somehow; did not see this one coming, which incidentally doesn’t happen to me very often.  Perhaps I should have, but still didn’t.   It has my mind seriously reeling. 

You see, in self-defence you learn how to disarm an armed (wo)man; which results in you becoming armed; the state of being you took self-defence to begin with, in order to avoid.   

And the problem is this, when you have disarmed someone else of their gun; what do you do with it now...?  

Good question.   

If you throw it into the bushes, they might retrieve it and the chances of you getting it back are slim...  They will shoot from a distance next time. 

Disarming it requires know-how and causes distraction...  You may not have the time. 

So left with little choice, you cock it and aim and better at least look like you know what you are doing. 

The question is:  Can I live with the consequences?  And that is the question I seem to be battling with. 

So the moral of the story is simple.  Don’t leave home without your knitting needles.          


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Toilet Habits of the Criminally Minded (random survey)

Random Survey Nov '13

There is a prominent court case that is set to go to trial in the first quarter of next year in South Africa.  Now I understand that everyone has a right to a trial and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and therefore, I am going to stay away from any discussion regarding speculation about the ‘guilt’ or the ‘innocence of Olympic blade runner, Oscar Pistorius.

According to media reports, “ The 26-year-old Paralympian, from South Africa, is accused of shooting Ms Steenkamp to death at their home on Valentine's night, but claims he opened fire on the 29-year-old after mistaking her for an intruder.” 
Court testimony also tells us that his girlfriend was shot through the bathroom door. 
Now this blog is not about the trial itself as that will take its course in due time.  But these bits of information are important, because these statements might possibly highlight a new trend in crime that we are unaware of, and that social research has probably previously never even considered exploring. 
And so as a starting point in an effort to better understand this potentially new emerging social phenomenon, I paused in my quest, and googled ‘Famous Crimes in History where the perpetrators  stopped to go pee’.  

I didn't find any.  Can you believe it, there is something that Google has missed
But just because we can’t find it, doesn’t mean it never happened.  It just means that perhaps, its occurrence is highly unusual and definitely not the norm... which confirms the need for a high number of responses in this month’s random survey to the following questions:

1During the course of a break-in, have the burglar(s) ever paused to use your loo? 
2. If you answered yes to the previous question, please tell us where the toilet was located? 

3. If you were to plan / commit a crime, would you allocate a break for the use of facilities?
Hey, conclude what you like.  I’m just saying... 
So in the pursuit of knowledge, please complete this month's random survey

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Perils of a Change Addiction

One of the key attributes of a change addict is their constant attention to what can potentially be as opposed to what is.  And thus the brain is busy...  Busy with things that are not actually in existence yet...  
Unfortunately, while that is exciting, there are some definite draw backs.  Since the brain is always busy with the potential of something, it pays much less attention to the things that are and as a result, things like ‘passwords,’ ‘pins’ and ‘login details’... always seem to get misfiled, misplaced or forgotten. 

So clearly: while my brain is very busy analysing information, it’s not so concerned with remembering it. 
And so information is stored in others ways: like by the pattern it makes or the touchtone of the keypad, etc.  But when the keys are switched (ATM and computer keyboards have the numbers the opposite way) or the tones changed, you’re in trouble. 

And so I have just spent the last hour trying to guess my own password.  But sadly when I set the password a few months ago, my brain could have been busy with anything and I truly have no idea what the password is. 
And so now I am waiting for a phone call from an external company that will reset my own password and allow me access to my own file, which I created for my own usage on my own computer.   

Seriously..., this is what I am talking about when I say I wish this brain came with its own manual ‘pause’ switch.  It regularly pays more attention to things like what would motivate someone to mix the remnants of dead sheep into cow feed, an animal that is by choice 100% herbivore, colour theory, whether our dog might have chains of cat chromosomes mixed in with his puppy genes or whether your moral sensor is also applicable to the choices you make in your dreams, etc. 
Thus, being fully occupied on a regular basis with, perhaps less useful but, essentially fascinating information, it would seem that my brain often engages in these mental aerobics at the expense of potentially more useful information like passwords, meeting times, dates, etc.  Which sadly, actually ends up annoying me when it forces me to do the exact thing that I hate the most; waste my time!   

Unfortunately, we live in an era when everything is pass-worded, has a login or needs a pin number for access and the time spent trying to remember those details probably ends up wasting more time than it benefits me, by promising to protect my privacy.  And sadly, it does not look like things will get better soon. 
I would just like to humbly request that we move on to DNA comparison or fingerprint access on things like computer files very soon, for the sake of those like me, who have a memory like a sieve. 

And incidentally, 29 is much too young for Alzheimer’s.     
Good news... another hour later, I have remembered, and so life continues until the next time I am forced to scratch my head and waste my time. 

So the only thing I can do it would seem, is to relate my password back to the one that that never changes:  My age.