Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Little Things That BUG Me #13

When people refer to every cough, sniffle, and cold as "the flu."

Just because you're feeling ill doesn't mean you have the flu. "The flu" refers to a specific type of virus called influenza, and it's a severe disease, as in people actually die of it— and if you don't die, you'll still be more or less unable to function for a week or two. At the moment, my mum is currently in hospital with the flu and it'll be awhile before she's feeling well again.

But the habit of claiming to have "the flu" whenever you're feeling poorly is more than just a linguistic nitpick. The flu is largely vaccine-preventable as long as you get a new jab every year to protect against the most recent strain. However, all too many people don't bother to get vaccinated against influenza— and calling every little cough "the flu" may well contribute to that by incorrectly convincing people that the flu is no big deal. After all, if you've had a minor case of the sniffles and think that's "the flu" why bother with a vaccine?

So don't say you have the flu unless you actually have the flu. And in that case, you'd better be wearing a face mask.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Incredibles 2

So apparently, next year they're planning to release Incredibles 2, a sequel to The Incredibles movie that came out 12 years ago. Interesting choice— there's certainly rather a lot of buzz about it to be sure. Now, I can't swear that this movie will gargle gonads but, well, unfortunately I did see the original back in the distant year of 2005, quite probably on Vee Haitch Ess, and despite the massive gulf of time between then and now, I actually do remember the plot.

So in case you didn't see it, or have simply forgotten what it was about, here's a quick summary:

In a colourful and goofy cartoon world, there is a strict division between the inherently superior race whose members are born with innate genetic superpowers that manifest in infancy and can be controlled at will and the inherently inferior race who are confined by the laws of physics. For convenience, I'll call them Supers and Normals. In this cheerful setting, we are told the upbeat tale of the Incredibles, a family of Supers, fighting to defend the supremacy of the Super race against Syndrome, an uppity Normal who has invented the technology to give superpowers to those not born with them and cooked up a dastardly plan to just give this technology to everyone, thus creating equality between all people by elevating the low without diminishing the high. Luckily, the heroic Incredibles stop him at the last minute, and successfully preserve the existing social order where the inferior races know their place (presumably, some combination of running in terror from Supers and being killed by Supers, with the survivors thanking Supers for deigning to spare their worthless lives this time).

So now it's getting a sequel. I guess with the rise of fascism around the globe, some studio felt the time was right for that sort of thing. I wouldn't harp on The Incredibles in particular since nearly every superhero movie does the same thing, but most superhero movies are mindless noise designed to distract people momentarily on the long road to the grave by way of sensory overload while The Incredibles is clearly trying to make a point about the horrors of equality; the movie starts by showing the absurdity of diminishing the high without elevating the low, but then tries to equivocate this into the message that equality itself is bad by drawing parallels between diminishing the Supers and elevating the Normals, making it clear that it considers the two functionally equivalent. It even gives Syndrome a line effectively saying as much— something along the lines of "if everybody has superpowers, then nobody does."

It's quite clear that the original pitch was meant to denounce conformity and the repression of genuine talent, only to go awry as the writers inadvertently swapped "genuine talent" for "innate biological superiority" when they repurposed superhero cliches developed for mindless action movies without examining them too closely. However, while the original intent peeks through, the message they actually delivered is too blatant to ignore.

I don't know anything about the sequel other than the planned year of its release, but given the original I'm willing to say sight unseen that Incredibles 2 will stick its head up its arse, goose step off a cliff, and make tons of money anyway because the world is full of people who will fight for the right of the aristocracy to screw them over as long as they're assured that a black trans woman gets screwed over worse— and tons more people who won't even notice it's happening as long as you make it shiny and funny and say "lesser evil" a lot.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Today, the person sitting next to me on the train took a condom out of his pocket, blew it up like a balloon, and proceeded to draw angry eyes on it with a biro.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Thumby Has Transmuted Into Socks

The other day, I had some urgent matters arise, so I put a number of vital items in my rucksack and went off to address them. One of those items was my USB thumb drive, which is named Thumby.

Upon returning, I unpacked most of the items but inadvertently left Thumby hidden deep within the crevasses of my rucksack. This morning, I had urgent need to copy off some files and, failing to find Thumby in its usual place, I realised it was probably still in my rucksack. However, a search of its deeper pockets revealed not Thumby, but rather, a pair of socks that I have absolutely no recollection of ever putting in there. They're quite clean and clearly a style I typically wear, but I haven't the faintest notion of what they were doing at the bottom of my rucksack. And I still haven't found Thumby. I can only assume that Thumby grew weary of toting vital files and so transmuted into socks.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

On Vertical Videos And Idiot-Proof Phones

If you're on the internet, as most of you are (except Steve; I have to print my posts and send them to him by carrier pigeon), you've no doubt seen (and been bugged by) vertical videosvideos that are about 66% letterbox because they were taken by some nob who couldn't figure out how to hold their phone correctly.

So imagine my surprise when my own father sent me a vertical video he took. And then another. He clearly knew better— he insisted quite vehemently that he definitely took the videos correctly and had no idea why they came out the way they did.

Then for the first time, I finally got a chance to actually look at his mobile to ascertain the problem. The problem? He has a completely idiot-proof phone whose makers attempted to combat VVS by physically building the camera "sideways" so that when people held their phones upright while recording, they end up with proper horizontal videos. Unfortunately, because my father knows better than to record vertically, he made a point of turning his phone— and, of course, ended up with vertical videos because the "idiot-proof" sideways camera records vertical videos when the phone is held correctly.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Little Things That BUG Me #12

With global warming posing an imminent threat to the thin veneer of superficial tolerance that we pretend is a civilisation, I, as a person what takes surveys for money, have been getting a lot of surveys about what I personally have done or would be willing to do to help the environment, as if global warming could be solved through consumer choices.

These surveys very often ask: "In order to help protect the environment, would you consider driving a hybrid car?"

My dude, I don't currently drive at all. If I started driving a hybrid car, I would be using considerably more petrol than I do now. It's bad enough that you're treating a global threat as a potential new fad in advertising; did you seriously need to assume I'm actively worsening the problem and then ask if I'd be willing to partially mitigate a bad thing I don't currently do at all?

You're worse than the people who ask if I'd consider no longer paying money for television service.

PS— Apparently an election may potentially have just happened. I'm not talking about it. LTTBM posts are deliberately petty; this isn't the place for serious things no matter how impactful they may be, and I've already had to mention global warming.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why Do All My 30-Year-Old Electronics Keep Breaking On Me?

Lappy took a spill. Screen broke.

OK, it's not the end of the world. In fact, the lappy is still entirely functional save a smattering of dead pixels that are hideous to look at but don't actually render the screen unusable. And a replacement screen is hardly going to break the bank; these things apparently come pretty cheap. Although it's a Macbook, it's not one of the horrible "unibody" machines that are virtually impossible to repair so swapping the screen will only take about an hour, a few odd screwdrivers, and a heaping helping of profanity because those tiny screws are annoying.

Maybe I'll find another laptop for free in a bin. I've been having surprising luck with that.