Monday, May 15, 2017

Doctor Who Theory - Just puttin' it out there...

Now I could be wrong, in fact, I'm probably wrong, but if I don't put this down, I'll never be able to convince anyone that I was right if in fact I turn out to be right...which I rarely do or am.

Who's behind door number one?

The running tease throughout this season has been the question of who's in the vault? Well my cunning theory works on that question by doing one simply thing.

Losing the question mark!

That's right, I think the Doctor himself is in the vault. But not just any Doctor...this guy!

Wait, I'm dead...
Well, maybe not that guy, but THIS guy!

I'm not dead!
That's right! The Doctor is protecting himself, and here's why this makes sense.

David Bradley was supposedly seen at the studios, let's say that's true cos it helps my theory.

So...reasons for Doctor #1 being in the vault.

- Current Doctor is protecting him, not protecting people FROM him. The clue to that is that he was able to go inside and have dinner with him. If he did that to the Master, he'd get out, or Missy, she'd get out!
- Whoever is inside is grumpy. Doctor #1 was a grumpy sod, didn't like people or children. This is why he played happy music to the revelation that some kids had been eaten.
- The Capaldi Doctor was said to have been teaching there for over 50 years...first Doctor was in London originally in 1963....54 years ago.

Why is he protecting him?

Well, more speculation would be that the Master or Missy is out to get him. I mean really, the Doctor keeps thwarting his/her efforts and what better way to try and get rid of the Doctor than to go back to his original incarnation and kill him off.

The Master can't go back to Gallifrey cos he'd be captured or locked up, so he has to wait until the Doctor leaves. And we've seen him leave, with Susan. He steals the TARDIS and legs it (TARDIS legs it) to Earth.

Fifty something years ago!

So what of the little loophole...where's Susan?

I'm up to something...
The next part of my theory is...

When Capaldi Doctor nabs his original self, he wasn't travelling alone, he had Susan with him. So this means he would have to deal with Susan as well. Capaldi is uncaring at times, but he isn't about to lock Susan away with Doctor 1 for 50 years. But he would still have to protect her, keep her safe and keep and eye on her.


Your theory sucks!
No it doesn't Bill, and here's why.

Why would the Doctor care about Bill? He summoned her!
She came along to his classes, despite being the chip girl. Sure, she's following some other girl to the class, but she's gone along to HIS class.

In the Landlord episode, she kept calling him Grandfather. There is a picture of Susan on the desk. We haven't cared about Susan, HE hasn't cared about Susan for 50 years! So why the photo on the desk now? He also dodged a question about regeneration when talking to her.

What if SHE is a regenerated Susan with her memory locked in one of those watch thingies? Not just for her OWN protection, but for the protection of Doctor 1??

I don't remember owning a watch...

It would also explain why the Capaldi Doctor went to the trouble of getting the photos for Bill of her dead mother. He's tried to look after her, get her adopted out or whatever, but the mother has died and he's giving her some happy memories.

So what do you think? Not a bad theory?

Of course the questions come...but Doctor 1 wasn't in a vault 50 years ago...that's true, but it's Doctor Who...what is true in one episode may not matter. Lots changes, 50th anniversary? War Doctor retrofitted into the timeline?

Timey Wimey!

Addition #1 - Courtesy of Aaron. When the Doctor goes to wipe Bill's mind, she knows what he is trying to do and doesn't let him do it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The secret of success...or should that be, to success?

How do you gauge success?

Not 'you' in general, youse...I mean, you as an individual reading this blog post, and remember, you may actually be the individual reading this blog post.

I think I'm reasonably hard on myself when it comes to deciding on success.

As a kid, I wanted to be a palaeontologist. Of course I didn't call it that, I called it "dinosaur person".
I'm not.

Then, as a teenager, I decided I wanted to work in an area that helped study, research, and be generally a conservationy type person for birds.
I'm not.

Then I decided in late high school that I was fascinated by crime and forensics and wanted to get into forensic medicine in order to help catch bad people.
I didn't.

I applied for a course at uni and missed out, but got my 4th choice.
I completed it, failed some stuff but persisted, got my Masters, did a PhD...mostly, and then got a job in the field...and worked in it for four years.
I don't now.

Much like how the tv series MASH ran three times as long as the actual Korean War, I spent over 9 years learning to be an expert in Remote Sensing and Satellite Imagery, and in my post-University working career, spent probably a grand total of zero days working with satellite images.

My PhD was 3D mapping the seafloor using sub-metre resolution satellite imagery from a brand spankin' new satellite called IKONIS. It was to be a ground-breaking research into seabed mapping that would unmix the water column via the side-looking/tilting capabilities of the IKONOS sensors. The result of which would have been the understanding of what you were looking at in a satellite image of shallow water. It was ace, it was exciting, it was...

Oh IKONIS, you so sexy!
So all in all, I didn't do what I had planned, but I have some sexy letters after my name.
Which I don't use.

But all this is very personal, it looks at success with respect to just my own personal achievements not including anyone else, JUST ME, and harsh or not, I am not overly pleased with my achievements.

Maybe I'm just being hard on myself, or maybe in my muddled up plan for myself, I never actually set any goals and so cannot reach them. That feels more likely.

My best outcomes came when I planned and plotted. Like a good story, doing your planning is crucial, and I don't think I have done that more than a handful of times.

When I have an objective, I succeed. Even if I struggle or fail to reach it, I've tried and get at least some sense of achievement. Of course failure just spurs me on, it was why I went on to do my postgraduate studies in the first place, to prove to myself and others that I was capable of it all.

Shut up Yoda!
So what now?

How to succeed?

It's time to set some goals, short term, medium term and long term.

Yoda can get stuffed, cos I'm going to try to reach them, I'm going to set stupid goals too, ones that have multiple steps and stages, require sacrifices and skills, research and study, regular practice and revisiting.

I will try be the success I once thought I could be.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


A discussion I had with a guy from Red Energy yesterday prompted me to think about what makes me feel old, or if in fact, I do.

He asked for my date of birth and when I said 1974 I suddenly thought...shit, that's not the recent past any more.

The fashions have hardly changed at all!

Those of you who know me know I rarely enjoy acting my age, because part of feeling young and being young is hanging on to that youthful fun streak that you had as a, well yeah, a youth.

The guy on the phone was in his twenties, and after telling me that "nearly 42 isn't bad", I said "yeah, but you know what, when I was your age...", and suddenly the rest of that sentence doesn't matter. Not a bit, not even a little bit.

It's one thing to say that to your 10 year old, but to a 25 year old man on the phone?

Screw that!

"When I was your age..." IS what older people say! It's what parents say, but not just regular parents, parents of people who are also parents themselves (no offence to Mum who probably reads this). It's what you say when you are about to impart some sort of wisdom or 'higher knowledge or experience' onto someone who probably isn't going to listen.

So what about physical signs of ageing?

No idea

Well I've been lucky, cos the main thing that happens to men when they get older, that being, losing your hair, started when I was in my early to mid twenties, so I simply don't associate it with being old, I associate it with dodgy genetics. Besides, I've kind of reached a stalemate with my hair. It isn't falling out any more, partly cos there's not enough left to make an impact and partly cos, well, really, the main bit is already gone! You just don't notice anymore.

Who IS your hairdresser, I must know!?

So I've not felt old because of my hair, even the change in my orange beard to a mottled orange/blonde/white beard. There's still orange in there dammit.

But I looked in the mirror the other week when washing my hands and I thought "heehee, I have smile wrinkles....wait, I'm not fucking smiling!" and that was it. No hair be damned, I have some permanent wrinkles and I wasn't ready for their arrival!

I don't think of myself of my friends as being old, that's right, not mentally I still think of myself as in my 20s. I'm not as quick as I used to be, the weight of the world has dulled my spirits and I am frequently tired, but internally I still feel young.

Red Energy guy (Ricardo) chuckled when I said I was going to party like it was 1999, because he was eight, and he can get stuffed!

And yes, I changed my frickin gas over to them!

Remember my friends, you're all still young looking and lovely.

Just keep your mind young, because once that ages, there's no going back.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Funny is in the eye of the beholder

Comedy and humour are hard to describe, so I won't try.

They are hugely subjective and even within groups that have a following, be it a Stand-Up Comedian or a tv series, the views can change very quickly as to whether something continues to be funny over time or even within a specific episode or routine.

Well that went down badly...
Some comedy has dated, whilst some remains as funny today as when it first appeared, however, even that is subjective. It's all very much up in the air.

As my brother Pat would say, "only 40% of that is true, and even then, that's only 10% the case,"

Oh Pat, you card (Not really Pat)
So back to comedy and funninessness.

For most people, there are some hard and fast rules, those being things like not offending someone, not offending someone's beliefs, not offending someone's know, generally not being offensive. However, these are also relatively new rules and also amazingly subjective.

I will, however, be saying 'however' a lot in all this, because like all rules, there are exceptions.

However, not always.


It's pretty much the case that in the year 2016 (apologies if you're reading this not in 2016, especially if you're reading it earlier), you simply cannot be racist or sexist. It's all about the ists in the current millennium. Comedy tried its guts out in the 90s to be politically correct, but even in calling 'not being racist and sexist' "politically correct", they kind of missed the point.

Let's stroll back to the 60s and 70s for a moment and check on Mr Benny Hill.

Here are a selection of pictures for you to look at and choose which one offends you most.

I used to like Benny Hill. His songs were clever, his comedy was clever, his timing was clever, and I didn't actually think that what I'm looking at in the above images, was offensive to anyone, because I was young and wasn't part of any of the groups being laughed at. 

Benny dropped out of favour in the 1980s when a different kind of TV comedy came along. The Benny Hill Show is now taboo in the UK, probably the US and probably here too, because there are simply too many people offended by the -ist comedy. 

One of the most famous people to poo-poo Mr Hill is another clever comedian, Ben Elton who came out in 1987 to question the sexist nature of Hill's comedy. Elton claimed that Hill's comedy almost incited a 'rape culture' in the UK.

Much better comedy
Elton is responsible for such comedies as Blackadder 2-4, The Young Ones, Filthy Rich & Catflap. Each very clever and favourites of mine, not filled with sexism, but interestingly, quite rife with violence. I guess that's more acceptable.

What about racism?

Racism in comedy largely died in the 1970s.

Can you imagine 'Love thy Neighbour' being shown today? 'Kingswood Country' tried a comeback, but you know, it's was...what's the word...oh yes, shit. 

Go on, say nignog again, I fucking dare you!
Whether a parody or a comedy, being racist just stopped being funny to the general populations of the world when they realised that it was RACIST! It didn't matter if the show was taking the piss and painting Eddie here as a bigot. It didn't matter that Bill could hold his own, the nature of the show was effectively to lampoon a serious issue. It worked then...probably if you were white.

Making fun of people because of their race or gender just isn't funny now, and probably wasn't even funny then!

Be warned - offensive jokes below, used as examples.

When I was in school in the 80s *SIGH*, these were the acceptable jokes in the school yard.

- How do you kill a blonde? Put a scratch and sniff at the bottom of the swimming pool.
- How many black men does it take to pave a footpath? It depends how thin you slice them.
- What's the worst thing about vegetable soup? Getting the wheelchair in the blender.

As a kid, you laughed.
As an adult, you think "holy shit, those are offensive!"

Now what is the point of this blog post?

Good question Special Agent Reyes

The times, they are a changin'. Would make a good song wouldn't it.

Comedy, like life, like everything these days, is a big fucking gelatinous blob of fluidity, changing, adjusting, doing what all blobs do...blob about a bit. No set answer, no set shape, just a ruddy great blob.

So what fits inside the blob? What's "okay"?

Well, making jokes about ethnic groups or women are right out, minority groups too, because really, why would you wish to lampoon those who are already in a position of disadvantage? And not even just disadvantage, but a group that is already under pressure from every day life? That's just not pleasant.

Stop me when I go too far...

Don't joke about race, sex, religion, disability (possibly slots into religion - see, I can't help myself, as I'm told), age, size, health, financial disadvantage, physical appearance, something someone can't do well, stereotypes, lifestyle choices, sexual orientation, seriously, the list could go on.

I understand that the nature of acceptable comedy is changeable...remember the blob from before? What's funny today may not be funny tomorrow, or even later today.

But please, do yourself a favour, for the sake of the world, don't make everything taboo.

Not everything is funny, but not everything is beyond humour.

I absolutely guarantee that something you find acceptable, be it comedy or not, someone else will find unacceptable.

Perhaps we need to stop expecting society to slot into our own little idea of how people should behave and or laugh at, and accept that people are all different. What I think, isn't what everyone else thinks, what I laugh at, isn't what everyone else laughs at...and that's okay.

If everyone was like me, the world wouldn't be a better place, but the same goes for you.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The 1%

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Clementine Ford, columnist, journalist, feminist, several other -ists I'm sure, but you get the idea.

The topic of discussion, or at least the presentation itself, was largely focussed on the appalling messages sent to her by men, supposedly in reaction to articles she has written or views she has expressed about, well, I'm sure pretty much anything.

Clementine's talk was entitled 'Hate Male'.

Oh, Tobey!
Those of you familiar with Clementine's Twitter or Facebook (and instagram, but I rarely use that) would know exactly the kind of hate-filled, vile messages sent to her, and I assure you, hearing her read them out in person actually makes it worse. There are an awful lot of extremely offensive males out there who seemingly think it is quite okay to verbally abuse women, as well as wishing for them to be raped and even killed...and to think it's all okay!

I won't attempt to give examples, you really need to see/hear them for yourself to get a proper grasp on just how terrible they are, and couple this with the manner in which Clementine has managed to regain the control over these people, both in her responses and her non-responses, nothing I say here will come close to representing it sufficiently.

So what about my place in the room?

The screen was bright actually, I may have looked like this
I was certainly in the 1%, it was a female audience, although I saw another guy at the end.
The presentation was no doubt aimed to help empower women, the show Clementine's approach to dealing with the shit thrown her way, however, that doesn't mean it was for women.

I am a follower of Clementine, I know what her messages are and the ways she presents them, and I quite like it. It cuts through the crap and tells it how it is, but to assume it is just a message for women is incorrect.

When our group (five women and me) sat around at dinner after the talk to discuss it, one of them commented on how it was good that I was there, quickly followed by others explaining why their husbands weren't there. Despite it not being a competition, it made me a little uncomfortable that it had briefly become a "oh, my husband would have come, but he's looking after the kids" situation. Nobody thinks less of males for not attending such a presentation. We all have other things on, responsibilities, useful and considered things to focus on instead. These other men are part of the 1% of males who treat women with respect, who actually are good and decent people.

At one stage in the presentation Clementine noted that there were a few men in the crowd and pointed out that, and yes she was making the statistic up but you get the idea, that she was talking to 99% of men and that if you were in the room, you probably weren't actually the problem.

But I was there, and I am part of the problem. Sure, not a huge part, not a terrible and appalling person, not the sort of person you would leave off a guest list (well, not for that reason anyway), but I am part of the problem.

I have many habits that some take personally as a woman, despite them being actually personally about ME. I talk over people, I interrupt, I just talk in general too much, but despite my constant attempts to assure people that it's just cos I'm rude and loud, not sexist and belittling, I don't think that really matters.

I didn't feel intimidated last night being in such a position, I did feel a little conspicuous, but I sat on the end of my row, three from the front and was in an excellent position to watch and learn.

And I did.

I am part of the 1%.

But the 1% is still part of the 100%.

I know the majority of my friends don't believe I am the problem, But much like the zombie hordes from World War Z, in order for someone to get to the top of the sexist or misogynistic tower, they have to be able to climb on the backs of others.

If you don't already follow Clementine, here are some links.
Clementine on Twitter
Clementine on Facebook

Monday, April 11, 2016

Unintentionally offensive

I can be pretty offensive at times and I accept that. (No, that's not the end of this post)

Hey, it's that girl from that show I didn't watch!
I assure you, if it's loud and overt then it's deliberate and intended to shock and appal, usually for comedic value.

However, in recent times I have noticed that I have become unintentionally offensive as well, and that has come as a bit of a surprise to me. Not the least with how often I seem to do it.

I was brought up in a family where racism and sexism were not acceptable and not tolerated, which was convenient, because none of us were sexist or racist.

Education was the key, and not just at school!

We had, and still do have, friends from all nationalities, background and walks of life. My family is made up of men and women, foreigners and locals. People with different life experiences.

But you know what?

I was brought up mostly in the 70s and 80s.

Guess which one is me?
What was good and proper back then; tolerance, understanding and acceptance, has changed.

The transition from the overt sexism/racism of those times, to the subtle or permissive sexism/racism of the 2010s and beyond, has, to a certain extent, snuck up on me.

Recently, I have been watching the excellent series 'American Crime Story - The People vs OJ Simpson'. A dramatisation of the trial from the 90s of the OJ Simpson case where he was charged/accused of murdering Nicole Brown (his ex-wife) and Ronald Goldman (a gentleman in the wrong place at the wrong time).

Excellent Series about a Non-Excellent person
The trial was twisted to become a racial issue rather than a murder case, largely thanks to Det. Mark Fuhrman. He used the 'n' word but denied it. It was then proven he used it a bajillion times, and all hell broke loose in the trial.

So, during my post-viewing video searches, I checked out youtube and found an interview with the Detective and Oprah Winfrey.

Det.Mark Fuhrman - kinda ruined the OJ Trial
The topic got to racism and whether Det. Fuhrman was a racist because he used the 'n' word.

He of course said no, but the added bonus was Oprah asking both Fuhrman and her audience the following;

"If you tell a racist joke, are you a racist?"


"If you laugh at a racist joke, are you a racist?"

To both of those, the audience and Det. Fuhrman said, "No".

Oprah agreed. I agreed as well.

But, that was 1996.

It's now 2016.

In twenty years, things can change.

In fact, in twenty years, things have changed

My answer to Oprah's questions today are very different, but still start with "No...".

"If you tell a racist joke, are you a racist?"


"If you laugh at a racist joke, are you a racist?"

No, but what kind of message are you sending to other people when you laugh a that this kind of shit? That it is okay? What you are doing by not calling this stuff out as 'offensive' or 'inappropriate' or 'not funny', is allow it to persist. You allow the attitudes to remain.

Not everyone is a racist, but if you don't call out inappropriate racist comments when they are made, you are contributing to racism being acceptable to others. You are perpetuating the "softness" some people feel about racism, like "it's okay if I'm not picking on someone directly".

It's simply not.

The same goes for sexism.

It's no longer enough to say "I'm not sexist, because I never pick on women".

Good on you sport, that's a great start, but you know what, not making demeaning comments, rape jokes, 'get in the kitchen' jokes, the sorts of  ridiculing things that people often say about women or girls, to women or girls or men or boys, is actually how the current and next generations get this shit out of their habits.

"Come on man, "I'm only having a joke."

Lol - Not funny
Yeah, not so much anymore.

I'm not racist or sexist or a homophobe or whatever anti-something sentiment there is...


Am I allowing these attitudes to remain thanks, in part, to my blase approach to my language?

It seems as though I am.

So it's time to stop, not just for the good of others, but for the good of me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Old, decrepit and, oh I dunno, smelly?

Recently I had a little run in with my uncoordination and an inflatable air bag at the delightful 'Inflatable World', an establishment designed for people not 41 years old, and who are more nimble, bendy and bouncy than I.

The day started fine, I supervised kids playing on the blow-up equipment, marvelling at their joy and determination. I encouraged my daughter, and others, in their quest to run along an inflatable race way in an attempt to reach as far as possible before being yanked backwards by the elastic tether around their waists.

But, like all good things, temptation got the better of me...I needed to participate.

Remember that show Gladiators? Neither do I, but that was how things kind of played out.

A battle area with two podium-like posts in the middle.
Take your place and attempt to knock off your opponent. Not "knock off", but knock off!

It felt like this...

Your powers are weak old man/woman/sith
Giant inflatable weapons, graceful and targeted. It was a battle for the ages.
In reality, it was a couple of unco 40 something's swinging and missing while children watched.
More like this...

Stop! No, you stop, NO, YOU STOP! etc
Anyway, the adrenaline was rushing, enthusiasm was high, it was on to the Big Ball Challenge, which sounds sexier than it actually is.

For start at one end, lunge gracefully onto the first of four inflatable balls, then skip across them to the finish.

Easy, peasy, and dare I add, Lemon Squeezy?

Exhibit A.

Dainty, nimble, like floating on a cloud
Scaling the side, I watched as children (bless their little hearts) pranced across. The darling cherubs, my daughter, my friend's daughters, stranger's children...we all chuckled heartily. Oh yes, yes we did.

"Ah ha ha ha ha haa, what fun, what a jolly day we're having" was probably said by someone at some stage, I'm probably paraphrasing, but the vibe was similar.

No sooner had my foot landed on the first ball, I was on my arse on the side like a massive idiot.

Completely unco.

Hey kids, aren't I a cool Dad!? Kids? Anyone?

"Ah ha ha ha ha haa, what fun, what a jolly day we're having".

Returning to the scene of the battle from beforehand, I paused to beat up a young friend, then decided it was time to take on a bigger challenge.

Devil's Drop.

Devil's drop is a 3-4 metres jump onto a big airbag. What could go wrong?


It doesn't look TOO bad

For starters, I decided that falling backwards was a smart idea. It was not.
About an eighth of a millisecond into my fall, I suddenly realised I was not the tiniest bit comfortable falling backwards...anywhere! 

Douglas Adams once wrote "The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."

I wasn't actually trying to fly, I don't have the knack and I didn't miss!

In fact, I hit rather well.

As I slammed my back into the airbag I thought "This is dropping faster than I...OWWWWWWW".

A over T as they say in the classics.

Rather than one giant air cushion, onto which I had planned to delicately spread myself and land like a gazelle. Wait, they have horns, so probably more like something unhorned and less leggy, let's just say a feather, or maybe a few feathers cos I'm heavier than that...maybe a sort of squat looking bird.

How about this fella?

A pelican. Graceful, delicate, kinda dumpy.

Rather than plopping gently on the cushion like our friend above, I kind of fell like when you drop your toast on the floor. That pregnant pause. "Oh....ohh. Shit". 

Except, unlike your toast, when I hit my legs flipped up and bent me in half. Although I still made that kind a "Splat" noise.

Why did this happen?

It seems that rather than my target being one BIG airbag, it was in fact six smaller ones covered to look like one big one. So when dingus here landed, one airbag compressed, taking my full weight, and the one next to it didn't need to! Instead when my legs hit, they were flipped away and folded onto me. Surplus to the second airbag's needs.

Good for paper, not good for Michael
A lot of people talk about the pain of childbirth. I won't do that here because I'm not a moron, despite what you've just read which may suggest otherwise, but let me assure you, I could not cope! 

This pain was immediate, sharp and made be cry.
I think the Dr at the ER gave me two weeks off work on "Stupid Leave".

My friends and family were lovely looking out for me. It's hard seeing anyone you care about in pain, more so when they're a big man-sook who doesn't realise he's too old to be jumping off inflatable ledges.

The Dr was nice and assured me it wasn't because I was old, it could happen to anyone.
The inference being I was just an idiot.

The moral of this story is to simply look after yourself.

There's a lot that's going to go wrong with us all eventually, it's a reasonable suggestion to not contribute to that by being a twit.

Having said that, I have vowed to experience more things this year. To do stuff I haven't done before or try new things. You only live once and as long as you're not dead, that's a good starting point :)

So...who wants to go rock climbing?

Seriously though...