Monday, January 30, 2006

The Most Amazing Girlfriend

I may have mentioned this before, but I have the coolest girlfriend in the universe.

The Most Amazing Show with Corne and Twakkie has recently made it to local television, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first few episodes. So much so that the coolest girlfriend in the universe suggested we try and get into the studio audience.

So I dropped a quick email to the guy on the web-site and with some shuffling around managed to find a convenient time to go watch the show being recorded.

Another intervention from the coolest girlfriend in the universe resulted in us going to a different show, the second last one in the series where the guest stars are the guys from Crazy Monkey!

It was frikken awesome. We didn’t get a chance to talk to any of them afterwards, but both Corne and Twakkie hit on me from the stage between takes… I feel honoured.

All thanks to the coolest girlfriend in the universe, with whom I celebrate our three month anniversary today.

I love you, babi. Thank you.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I swear... I'm this close...

…this close to just walking out of here.

I am sick and tired of the unreasonable demands made by my job, and the disinterested attitude I have to put up with from my manager.

In the past 2 months or so:
- I’ve had to work many late nights and weekends (including New Years’ weekend), which was never part of my original job description.
- I’ve had my leave request denied.
- I’ve been forced to go from one site to another every day, on opposite sides of Joburg… at great expense.
- I had to fight to get a standard-issue security access card to get onto those sites.
- I’ve been short-paid on my Christmas bonus and expense claims.
- I’ve been shoehorned into doing work that is nothing even remotely related to my job description… to the point where I had to buy myself a hard-hat (IT support people don’t usually wear those).
- I’ve made a request for training that would make my job 1000 times easier, allow me to generate revenue for my department and would also provide me scope for career advancement… and had that request denied because it’s not “in line with division strategy”. Whatever the hell that means.
- I’ve been rapped over the knuckles several times for other people’s mistakes… which points to the fact that my manager actually has no idea what it is that I do for a living.
- I’ve had to put up with my manager’s “leadership style” which started out as being manipulative, but has now degenerated into being just plain patronizing.

These retards don’t pay me enough to treat me like a teenager. If I wanted to be underpaid and treated with contempt and disrespect, I would work for my sister.

As much as I enjoy the security of working in a large corporation, it’s clear that as long as people like my manager are put in positions where they are able to dictate how I live my life, I will never be able to succeed. It’s time for hard-ball.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Time for another rant

The past couple of weeks have seen yet another indignant activist group taking offense at the safety measures employed by the South African National Blood Service.

This time it’s the gays… they object to the fact that having had male-to-male sex excludes the applicant from being able to donate blood.

Okay, I see their point. On the surface it does appear to be a discriminatory policy. But a simple investigation into the facts reveals the reasons for it.

I have recently done some research into HIV. Although I stand to be corrected, if I recall homosexual men are still among the highest risk groups for HIV infection. These statistics aren’t arrived at lightly… the World Health Organisation takes AIDS very seriously and is quite meticulous in their research of it… erring on the side of caution.

And that’s what the SANBS is doing here… erring on the side of caution. Of course they know that there are a great many sexually active gay men who are not HIV positive. But they also know that a sexually active gay man is far more likely to be HIV positive than, say, a 40-year-old virgin. They just can’t take the risk.

The same applies to people who have shared heroin needles or employed the services of a prostitute…. Just because they did those things is not a guarantee that they are now HIV positive, it just means that it’s more likely that they could be. So those things exclude you as well.

But they couldn’t stop at just being publicly indignant about it… oh no. They had to initiate protest action. So the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (note the antagonistic tone of the name) arranged that hundreds of their members would go and donate blood, en masse lying on their questionnaires. Not only is this morally reprehensible on its own, but when you take into consideration that many of the members were unsure of their HIV status, and one man had full-blown AIDS the monumental stupidity of their actions becomes apparent.

They are so determined to make their point that they are willing to put the lives of blood recipients at risk. That is despicable.

It just so happens that the SANBS weren’t born yesterday and have procedures in place designed to protect recipients from potentially contaminated blood, but I’m pretty sure these “donors” weren’t aware of that.

I donate blood regularly… six times a year. I do it because it costs me nothing more than a few minutes of my time every two months, and my contribution can mean the difference between life and death for some unfortunate accident victim or something. I don’t really keep count, but I’ve donated more than twenty times, and I like to think that at least one of those times may well have saved someone’s life.

What these retards are doing is making a mockery of people who do donate regularly.

It sucks being discriminated against because of your demographic. As a single white male in my twenties who drives a high-performance vehicle, I am statistically a high insurance risk, and as a result my insurance premiums are ridiculously high. I hate it, and it costs me a fortune, but I can’t argue with statistics. I have no choice but to pay up, and hope that as I get older and my risk profile changes, my premiums will become more reasonable.

I have to accept it, why can’t these morons just accept that because of their demographic they can’t donate blood? It sucks… but get over it!

Friday, January 13, 2006

'God told me to kill her'

'God told me to kill her'

Religion + mental illness + axe = dead baby

I have no words.

What’s with these people?

Despite my scepticism, I really have no objection to religion on principle.

Religion isn’t for me, I think it’s outdated and silly, but I am part of a small minority who no longer need that sort of thing in our lives. Most humans still need to believe in some supernatural force, and need to meet weekly with like-minded people to do silly things in the name of said supernatural force.

That’s fine… if religion can motivate people to perform charitable and productive acts then I think it has served its purpose.

I have a problem when people are harmed in the name of religion.

Admittedly I don’t know a lot about Islam. Of course I know about the fundamentalist Muslim terrorist factions, but I also know that their brand of Islam isn’t in line with what is practiced by the vast majority of Muslims. They are to Islam what people like Pat Robertson and Fred Phelps are to Christianity… only with bombs.

I also know that Islam is an inherently peaceful and quite beautiful religion, and because of that I usually have no cause to criticise it.

The Hajj is an exception.

Apart from the apparent silliness of the ritualistic nature of the Hajj pilgrimage, it is, in theory, harmless. Except that it isn’t.

Almost every year I hear about another stampede in Mecca resulting in so many hundred deaths. This year it was 345. Now I know it’s not a direct result of the nature of the rituals, just a by-product of the sheer number of people doing it all at once.

My concern is this: I’m assuming there is some sort of organization that is responsible for administrating the events at the Hajj. Surely, after so many times, they would have cottoned onto the fact that their festival is a catastrophe waiting to happen and would have implemented some sort of basic crowd-control by now?

Come ON people, this isn’t rocket science! All they need is some marshals, some roped-out queues and the occasional sign saying “Please don’t trample other people to death. Have a nice day.”

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Book-A-Minute Classics

Book-A-Minute Classics

Frikken awesome. Catch up on your essential reading!

Monday, January 09, 2006

FXians on Al-Qaeda's side?

Pastor Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church
God Hates America -- A Warning to the USA!!!

At first I thought this was a sick joke, but the more I read the more I'm convinced that these freaks are for real.

I'm no fan of Dubya or his mission to keep the world ensafenated from those arabiac camel-jockies... but I think that rejoicing in the tragedy of 9-11 and even the Shuttle Columbia takes a sick, sick mind.

Why does it not suprise me that they come from Kansas, the Intelligent Design state?

CIA guys: I've used enough Red Flag words in this post to know that you guys are reading it... I'm sure you're aware of these nut-jobs. If you want my two-cents worth, I'd suggest it's intervention time, Waco style.

WBC guys: you're some pretty whacked out mofos, and you're making baby Jebus very sad.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Homeopathy: It didn't work 200 years ago either!

An extract from the James Randi's weekly commentary:

Years ago, the homeopaths began performing tests on horses, hoping to show that since animals cannot know what the expected results of experiments might be, those tests would be considered effectively double-blind. Wrong. They failed to initiate the most fundamental precaution, one absolutely essential for such a procedure. True, the horses could be held blameless, but the operators – those who distributed, administered, and handled the substances used, and kept the records – were not “blinded” and could of course skew the results, since they were the ones who asked farmers if any animal was better or unchanged, and it largely depended on how the questions were asked. And they did.

Since the results they reported after these extensive tests were positive – no surprise to the “real” scientists out there who knew of the poor protocol – that flawed procedure has been carried out many times since. This is yet another example of a proper scientific procedure almost being applied to quackery. I must admit that I have not heard of similar procedures being carried out on plants, but perhaps plans are being made now to enlist this very easily influenced variety of life to “prove” the homeopaths' wild claims.

I hope the Slovenian government will think again before falling into this trap of accepting pseudoscience; this is an opportunity for them to show their resistance to a form of medical treatment which, though immensely popular, is nonetheless useless and belongs back in medieval days. Remember, not too long ago the process of blood-letting was standard procedure in medical practice. It was discovered that this was not only ineffective, but was exceedingly damaging. A long history of use is not a sufficient qualification for acceptance.

Typical of the uninformed criticism offered against real medicine is this excerpt from a letter-to-the-editor in the December 27 Daily Mail from one Derek Metson, of Brightlingsea, Essex, in the UK. Referring to a similar set of tests on cattle, Mr. Metson wrote triumphantly, the same comment-from-ignorance:

What do cattle know about placebos? It is clear scientists funded by drug companies do not wish to “tear up physics and chemistry textbooks” – that would put them out of a job.

Which is more “conventional” – something that has been tried and tested for more than 200 years, or something that has been around and changing for about a quarter of that time?

What Mr. Metson fails to grasp, is that homeopathy – in its 200-year history – has also made changes, but every one of them – such as the most recent one of sending homeopathic “vibrations” over the Internet! – have all been further retreats into medieval pre-science, while real medicine has developed such things as vaccines, antibiotics, heart operations and transplants, new diagnostic and minimally-invasive technologies, and many hundreds of other valid innovations that have saved literally tens of millions of lives, all over the world. Homeopathy is still an attempt to fight reality with mythology. That “changing” aspect of real medicine is what makes it great – it develops and grows, improving steadily, while quackery flails about trying to look like science and goes nowhere. Mr. Metson also identifies “scientists” as the enemies; I wonder if he’ll call upon a witch or a homeopath rather than a real physician the next time he falls ill.

In that same Daily Mail newspaper column was a letter from a Brian Godfrey of London. He repeated the standard claim that “Anyone who tries to submit complementary medicine to standard scientific tests will always obtain flawed results.” In other words, this is some sort of magical art, an exception to the rest of the real world, an aspect of the universe that Mr. Godfrey invents to excuse the fact that even one of the highest authorities in the world of complementary medicine, Professor Edzard Ernst, was incompetent because he used real methods of observation in testing popular homeopathic medicines. Mr. Godfrey does not state his own qualifications for making this claim, unfortunately. However, he reaches into his bag of brilliant ideas, and suggests that Dr. Ernst should have “a talk to Prince Charles, who certainly has more understanding of the subject.” We all know that members of the royal family are elected to that exalted position following rigorous examinations of their qualifications, and that they must pass IQ and common-sense test procedures, as well, so Mr. Godfrey obviously has appealed to a potent authority to support homeopathy. Or am I wrong about how smart the House of Windsor actually is?

Some people are doggedly determined to be and remain ignorant of reality.