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Friday, March 28, 2014

Jack the Lad

Hello dear readers,

Well, I think we've all been mourning this week with the demise of Wedgewood Benn. While the degree to which he pursuits certain ideas could sometimes lack the pragmatic touch needed at the moment in time (nationalisation of the banks, for instance), he was true to himself, not to mention always out of step with modern times in that he actually believed in something.

At least we on the left still have Ed Milliband. We do still have Ed Milliband, right? I mean, the economy isn't exactly ticking along, the Shard apparently has an inbuilt magnet that draws economic migrants from Eastern Europe and George Osborne still has all the charm of a constipated deer tick, so surely it's easy pickings for the Leader of the Opposition.

Paging Mr Milliband...

My other insight for the week involves flossing. Why of all the oral hygeine-related tasks is it so hard to adhere to? I mean, it doesn't take a great deal of time, and the benefits are clear. Is it the blood? Does it feel too much like we're throttling a piglet every time we grip and pull tartar and assorted foodstuffs?

Oh, and finally, rather most excitedly, on the lady front, I had a bit of a snog with someone from work. We had drinks and a Chinese and I managed to cram my face into hers briefly as we parted. You may indeed call me Jack the Lad. Mind you, I can't kiss and tell (though to some degree, I realise I have done just that...) but we shall see how things transpire.

Another good question: why do I perspire when aroused? Is this normal? Do others? Surely this can't be a positive genetic trait, unless it's designed to provide a pheromonial signal that I am an acceptable mate. If any science types out there are reading, please do leave a comment.

Stay well,

Nate

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Do we really care about the Ukraine?

Hello dear readers,

Now, as many know, I generally stay away from geopolitics in my blog, concerning myself with the more day-to-day foibles of life, but given the amount of discussion this Russian 'invasion'* of the Ukraine has generated, I feel compelled to weigh in with my unbiased perspective.

*I don't believe a slow meander with frequent stops for tea breaks is an invasion

Frankly, I'm surprised that so many people are outraged by the Russian move into the Crimea, seeing as a few mere weeks ago most people barely registered the Ukraine, and those who did generally viewed it as a corrupt, anti-Semitic, homophobic, sexist backwater prone to violence. In the 20th century, the Ukrainians were best known for: a) starving their Kulaks with the assistance of Stalin, and b) manning the Nazi extermination camps. Quite an impressive CV.

And yet now, suddenly, the nation has become the Lost Children to Putin's Captain Hook, with US Secretary of State John Kerry attempting to look Peter Pan-ish by lecturing Moscow about 21st century diplomacy and the fact that a country can't simply stage an illegal invasion on false pretenses. (Saddam who?).

As for the 'invasion with scones and jam', one should note that Crimea was part of Russia for 150 years prior to the implosion of the USSR. Yes, Khrushchev 'gave' it to the Ukraine in 1954, but seeing as the Ukraine was part of the USSR, that there was an extremely large naval base at Sevastopol and most of the citizens were ethnic Russians, this was not exactly moving the Heavens. It's kind of like giving the Channel Islands to East Anglia.

The cynic in me can't help but feel the outrage in government and the media in the West is closely tied to the fact that there is a lot of money to be made from the Ukraine and 'we' want it instead of those underhanded, evil Russians.

As for this side of the pond, no doubt as soon as he's through advising Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks on ethics and Labour socialism, Tony the red Blair will get his mug on as many television screens as possible, while making certain to mention his foundation and autobiography.

I feel sorry for anyone caught up in real politiks, and I'm certain there are many very nice, kind, non-anti-Semitic Ukrainians and Crimeanites, but I'm not sure the general public of Western democratic countries should be feeling righteous or up-in-arms about the situation. It really only serves moneyed interests (as per usual).

stay well,

Nate

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Genius at work

Hello dear readers,

Well, it has been a busy time, what with my new work role and my desire to sleep 14 hours per night until the endless grey misery of winter subsides. Admittedly, transitioning from working a night shift in general solitude to engaging with the 'regular' work world during the day has been more stressful than anticipated. It is not simply the increased need to chit-chat (on the way to the WC, while getting biscuits, while waiting for the kettle, while walking, breathing etc) but the ceaselessly pressurised requirement to be (or look) busy while sitting at one's computer.

When on my own in the caravan doing order processing (my previous role, as many will know), I would work when work needed to be done, which on average was most of the time, if not slightly more. But when there was a lull - say for example when the computer system collapsed due to an excess number of sausages being ordered, or the printer jammed so incredibly that even God himself couldn't recover the sheer number of paper fragments in the recesses of its internal workings - then I was at my leisure.

I could put my feet up, have a look around cyberspace at cats jamming their lithe bodies into small spaces, or even on occasion close my eyes and express internal regret at extending my daily walk instead of having a proper afternoon kip.

But no, dear readers, in an office, one cannot interface with reality in this way. One must always appear to be advancing the company's prospects, either hard at the work at hand or researching better ways of packaging or something something efficiency.

If I were to be honest, my old, less respected role required my full concentration and saw little time for slacking. My new role seems to have been formulated for a small child, as I really only have about three hours of work to do daily. And yet, it is regarded as the more 'serious' role within the company.

So how does one 'kill time'* in an office environment?

*For those who remember Thoreau's admonishments about this rhetorical expression, I too am wincing.

On the plus side, my excessive time staring into a meaningless spreadsheet has led to an excellent new idea: IKEA-style shoes. Basically, one can order them from an internet site to be put together at home. The advantage would be that should a member of the fairer sex break a heel, she could simply reorder the heel and use the hex key to replace it quickly and easily.

It could also offer a range of options for style, decoration, etc., so that the wearer would not be beholden to the mass produced entity. Any commercial investors interested in partnering up out there?

Stay well,
Nate