Maladjusted?

Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

Why I do not watch much TV

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I don’t actually watch a lot of TV.  There’s very little on the box that I actually want to watch, and anything that I wouldn’t mind watching I can find on BBC iplayer or Channel 4 on Demand.

However, my sister watches and enjoys a huge amount of banal TV trash – much of which I’m subjected to while eating my tea of an evening.  The worst examples of the eye ball offenders are:

  • Pineapple Dance Studios (gyrating craziness fronted by gay-guy-about-town and screaming, annoying twat Louis Spence.  Like the Trocodero Centre – wrong on so many levels )
  • Dating in the Dark (it’s a dating show – so I hate it already.  And the ‘hook’ is that its…er…in the dark)
  • America’s Next Top Model (public hate-fest where a model called Tara Somebodyorother seems to really believe that a) she is God and b) that anything she says actually matters)

All a load of guff, but the one show that has really got my goat of late, is the horror of a TV programme called ‘Fat Families’.

Fat Families is a show hosted by ex-lardy Steve Somebodyorother (not related to Tara), who is contacted by families of salad-dodgers to help them shift a few pounds of podgy fat.  (see picture).

Steve gives them a healthy eating plan, replaces their extra large sofas with treadmills so there’s no excuse not to exercise and monitors how they get on.  There are usually a few tears and tantrums as the fatsos realise that salad leaves don’t taste like chocolate, but all in all they end up losing a bit of weight by the time it gets to the ‘final weigh in’.  Cue smiles and back slapping all round (no pun intended).

So far, so boring.

However, it’s the follow up show that really makes my teeth itch.

After a few months, Steve then invites the slightly less wobbly families back to see how they’ve got on – if they’ve managed to take on board his healthy eating plans for the long term, and if they’ve managed to lose any further weight.

The family are put up overnight in a hotel, but what isn’t communicated is that cheeky little imp Steve has set ‘traps’ around the hotel (bowls of sweets at reception, a free buffet full of fattening foods in the dining area), and has installed secret cameras to spy on them to see if they slip up at any point (i.e. help themselves to a choccie, or choose the unhealthier option at the buffet).

Now, perhaps I’m a little over sensitive, but isn’t this just a modern type of bear baiting?

It just seems needlessly cruel to me to set up such fiendish traps.  After all, this is a bunch of people who obviously have an unhealthy relationship with food.  You wouldn’t tempt recovering heroin addicts with bowls full of skag lying around the place, or entice a recovering alcoholic with a free bar would you?

Also, I know what I am like when I stay at hotel – I tend load up.  It’s free food.  I’m going to eat more than I should.  Come on…live a little!

Anyway, after setting these traps and monitoring the actions of the family of podges, Steve then jumps out on them in the restaurant just as they are about to tuck into their second helping of double-chocolate-extra-cream-big-boy-cheese-cake, shaming them into (very often) tears, and patronising them blatantly in public.

Cue more tears, scenes of the fat families doing a bit more exercise, another final weigh in that shows that they’ve shifted a bit more weight, and bit of self congratulatory back slapping for Steve.

All in all, I’m left with a feeling a despair for the human race, bafflement at what passes as ‘entertainment’ to some people, and with an overpowering urge to put Steve in a sack full of other things I don’t like (like poo and sild) and punt it into the sea.

This is why I do not watch  much TV

A fair and progressive budget?

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I was saddened, but not surprised to read yesterday’s Observer article; ‘George Osborne’s budget cuts will hit Britain’s poorest families six times harder than the richest’ which states that

The impact of George Osborne‘s emergency budget on the poor has been revealed in a study that finds the country’s least well-off families face cuts equivalent to 21.7% of their household income. That means they will be hit six times harder than the very richest by the coalition’s deficit-cutting measures.

I understand that this country is heavily in debt, and that the government needs to make cuts in order to repay the deficit, however, I fail to see the so called ‘fairness’ of this austerity budget.  After all, wasn’t the recession itself exacerbated by the wealthy banks?

The poorest in our communities struggle as it is.  The announced cuts to benefits (yes, a three year ‘freeze’ in Child Benefit does count as a ‘cut’ in real terms), cuts to public services (on which those poorest in the community rely on heavily), rising joblessness and VAT rises will only serve to increase the rich / poor divide.  And while the rise in income tax allowance is a welcome, I can’t help but feel this is a very small carrot compared to a very big and brutal stick.

Meanwhile 23 of the 29 new cabinet members are millionaires

Fair and progressive?  I fail to see this myself.

As someone says in the comments section of the above Guardian article “This budget will cause misery for many least able to bear the burden”.

Written by Lores

June 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm

No more Sex. No more City.

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Am I alone in feeling immense Sex and the City related rage at the moment?  Each time I see the trailer or an advert for the new film ‘Sex in the City 2’, I either feel like hurling things or vomiting blood.

It’s not just because I think the whole Sex in the City brand portrays women as vacuous idiots obsessed with clothes, men, and money.  It’s not even just because I think that programmes and films such as this help lift the expectations of modern young women to unattainably high levels, where success and beauty are measured only by material wealth and how attractive you are to the opposite sex.

It is both of these things, and also that it just looks shit.  So shit in fact that I am having difficulty believing that the Sarah Jessica Parker (transvestite or no?) and the rest of the harridans aren’t actually animated pieces of shit with eyes and teeth.

I haven’t actually been able to watch the whole trailer all the way through without grinding my teeth and tearing my hair, but the premise for this film seems to be that SJP and gang are all in Egypt / some other desert area, where they wear stupid hats and are passed around like currency by the rich adoring men folk.

Now, I know a lot of people seem to think that Sex in the City is ‘empowering’ for modern women…well, if this is ‘empowerment’ then Emily Pankhurst will be spinning in her grave.

And from what I gather from the trailer, they aren’t even in the city!  Although, to be fair there is sex.  And perhaps watching four Moet-fuelled female hump-engines prance around in revolting dresses and shagging all and sundry could be pretty arousing.  Well, at least to the sort of people who enjoy intercourse with middle aged horses of course.

Anyway, I seem to be the only one who would rather knit their own intestines into a sweater than be subjected to this banal rubbish.  Everything else seems to be ‘Sex in the City mad!’…TV / radio adverts are cashing in on the hype, magazines are waxing lyrical about it, and shops are using the Sex and the City brand to flog anything from cereal to lipstick.

Grrr.

It is driving me mad, and suffice to say (and if you haven’t picked up the sarcastic and rageful undertones to this blog post) this film is not going on my ‘ones to watch’ list.

</rant>

Written by Lores

June 2, 2010 at 9:55 am

Taking a little responsibility…

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How is it that I often find that people very rarely take responsibility for their own actions – especially when their actions are in some way unacceptable or unappealing?

I know so many people that excuse the way that they act just because ‘that’s just the way they are’. From people who get angry and lash out, to people who drink excessively, to people who flirt outrageously with everyone. When confronted about their behaviour the standard patois is always the same: ‘I was just built this way – I can’t help it – it’s not my fault – I can’t change – don’t try and change me’ etc etc.

Bleugh!

Of course they can help it!  Even though people very often blame their ‘conditioning’ for acting in a particular way – surely everyone does actually have control of how they respond to events or situations?!

For example, there is a person I know who naturally has a short temper, and so as a result ‘cannot help’ getting into fracas, fights, altercations, fisticuffs, and melees.  Righto, so he ‘can’t help it’…but lets say for argument’s sake that this person was hit in the face by a 6 month old baby.  The chances are that he would react a lot differently to being hit in the face by a 6 month old baby than if he was hit in the face by a 20-year-old man. This person, who allegedly cannot help how he acts because he naturally has a short temper – in a split second – would have made a mental calculation of the context and acted accordingly.

Of course, my philosophy can’t be applied to every situation (I’m talking about people with learning difficulties / mental health problems) but my point stands.

We all have control over our own actions and we can take responsibility for the way we act and the things that we do.  Genetic disposition and social conditioning can have an influence, sure, but the final say-so of how you live your life lies with yourself.

Now strap a pair on and live with it.

Written by Lores

May 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

Shame on H&M

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I read a shocking article in the New York Times yesterday, about how H&M have admitted to slashing clothes to stop people scavanging discarded clothing from it’s stores.

The article goes on to say that “[Ms. Magnus]…volunteered to help H & M connect with a charity or agency in New York that could put the unsold items to better use than simply tossing them in the trash. So far, she said, she has gotten no response”

I find it appalling that in this day and age of over production, and unequal wealth distribution, some large organisations such as H&M have such disregard for ‘social responsibility.   It isn’t impractical to donate unwanted / unsold items to charity – other organisations manage it after all, organisations such as Pret a Manger who donate unsold sandwiches to homeless shelters in the UK.

The fact that this has come to light has meant that H&M has certainly lost a customer in me.

Written by Lores

January 12, 2010 at 10:26 am

Mushrooms with that?

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First it was the bathroom floor sinking with underfloor damp.  Then it was the leak from upstairs that put out the electricity in the bathroom and the hallway.  Then we were burgled, (and to date the landlord still hasn’t fixed the back window), and the latest calamity to befall our little flat…

MOULD

Chronic, nasty mould that has appeared in the last week, is progressing rapidly and is creeping up all of our outside walls.  Some of our books are ruined, as is the back of our cupboard and bookshelf where they are touching the wall.  It’s everywhere.  (We only realised it was as bad as it is when we looked behind our heavy furniture)

My landlord apparently “cannot help” so we won’t be “helping” him with the benefit of our rent.  Our tenancy agreement is up next month, so we are going to find somewhere else to live (outside of London I think) before our lungs turn into bacterial sponges.

First stop we do before we go though – our local authority environmental health department.

Written by Lores

December 8, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Rants

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Coach Trip…

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Last weekend I spent a long, rain-soaked, weekend in the South West of England with my aunt and a coach load of elderly folk.  I was literally the youngest person on this trip by a good 30 years, (my aunt being the second youngest at 57), and the whole experience is something that I won’t be repeating in a hurry.  Here’s what happened: 

Coach Travel
For starters, coach travel in general is not very nice.  On a coach you have about the same amount of room as cattle being exported across the continent, and possibly the same toilet facilities – I think my muscles atrophied on the journey due to the cramped conditions.  You are also completely at the mercy of the coach driver the whole time, and the coach driver in this instance was an alarming chap who looked as if he had worked as a Butlins red coat for most of his life before getting kicked out for being too old and tired.  You know the type – permenant fake smile plastered all over face, jovial yet slightly patronising manner, and the trapped look in the eyes of a man who knows that he has probably wasted his life.  His idea of ‘entertainment’ was to put on the film version of Mamma Mia! (to the delight of all the old dears who clapped along).  I hate Abba.  I especially hate being made to listen to the songs of Abba against my will. (Note: if you have never seen this film – just don’t.  It’s rubbish.)

Hotel…
So after a 6 hour coach journey, punctuated with frequent toilet breaks, and rubbish movies, we arrived at the hotel in Torquay which could have actually been the set of Fawlty Towers.  While the staff were pleasant enough, there were drafty corridors, creaking floor boards, peeling wall paper, and the lingering smell of damp everywhere you went.  But the real highlight for me were the truly horrendous Christmas decorations strewn about the place.  Dusty tree, dull baubles, and a ‘haunted’ father Christmas Each (see right) which looked like it might walk around the building at night. Hideous.   

Snoring…
However, it wasn’t the damp, the chill in the air or the fear of being torn apart by possessed Christmas decorations the meant I didn’t get much rest that weekend.  It was actually the noise produced by my sleeping roommate.  Now, I love my Aunt, I really do – but I spent a considerable amount of time on both nights that we shared a room thinking up different ways to kill her, or at least mute her.  She snores like a freight train.  On the second night I was so desperate for sleep that I resorted to fashioning ear plugs out of wet toilet tissue to block out the din.  I kid you not. 

Eden Project…
However, the Eden Project was absolutely stunning, and left me with a burning desire to visit a Brazilian rain forest for real (I’ll just add that one to the list of other places that I want to visit before I die…).  I would recommend a visit to everyone, and you can see some of the pictures from the trip here.

The pitfalls of travelling with old people (when you are not old yourself)…

  • Toilet breaks – too many frequent stops en route meant a much longer travel time than by car
  • Calamities – seem to frequently befall the elderly.  On this trip there was a tumble-down some stairs, a put out back, and two of the party were lost for 20 minutes trying to relocate the coach
  • Boarding / Alighting time:  So much extra time needed to be factored into the schedule just to accommodate the slowness of all 40 people to get on and off the coach. 

The joys of travelling with old people (when you aren’t old yourself)…

  • They are a friendly bunch
  • They can complain more than me…and I love to complain (as you can tell from this blog post), and I am in good company with other complainers.  (The weather was the most talked about thing on the coach)
  • Elderly people get drunk easily and therefore cause lots of amusement in hotel bars
  • You don’t run out of travel sweets

The perfect end to a perfect weekend… 
On the way back to London we stopped off in Bath for a few hours, which was nice (apart from the deluge of rain which had pretty much followed us around for the whole drip).  When we got back onto the coach the driver informed us that on the way back to London we would be stopping for a break at a service station located just 10 miles from my flat.  ‘What a bonus’ I thought, and called V to pick me up from there (saving me the journey back from the coach’s final destination which was around 30 miles away).  The coach stopped, I alighted (case in hand) and waved the coach off into the night.  After waiting 30 minutes or so for V to arrive I realised that something was wrong with the situation.  A few enquiries later, it transpired that I was actually at the Reading M4 service station – 60 miles from where I live in London – not the local service station to me.  The coach driver had either lied or changed his mind and didn’t think to tell me.  Perhaps it was to get me back from not laughing at his jokes or not singing along to Mamma Mia!  Either way – a very disgruntled V had a very long trip to come and pick me up and take me home again.  A perfect end to a perfect weekend.

So what I have taken away from this experience:

  1. To pack ear plugs when sharing a hotel room with someone.
  2. Never, ever, believe what a coach driver says ever again
  3. Pay attention to my surroundings / location at all times 
  4. To never recommend the film Mamma Mia! to anyone I like (and to recommend it a lot to people I don’t like)
  5. And finally, to wait until I am old and crumbly before ever going on another coach trip.  And even then, I won’t go on one.

Written by Lores

December 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm