Tortoise and the logician   2 comments

One disseminates his proof, the other ambulates his roof.

Blimey. Monday was a day, he said tautologically.

I woke up, as mentioned in another post (Saturday’s, maybe?), with a head stuffed full of cotton-wool that was painfully squashing my brain. Normally I get headaches because I’ve missed out on sleep for a couple of days, but I’d had a decent kip so it was unusual. Maybe it was the hot weather.

So I was a bit grumbly and grumpy in the morning. And then there was a knock on the door. Looking out of my bedroom window, I saw a Royal Mail van – what is this? I’m not expecting anything. I answer the door.

It was a parcel from my friend in Germany. Occasionally Lidl (in Germany) has British Weeks, where they are treated to the gastronomic delights of our green, mist-shrouded isles of tin mining and blue-painted natives. And so she posted me a pack of apple pies (not American apple pies; British apple pies. The yanks are copycats, and to show it the box has a picture of Tower Bridge and everything!) and – even better – caramel slices.

As you are aware, I am intimately (no, not that intimately) familiar with Lidl’s caramel slices. However! The ones purchased herabouts are, it has to be said, a bit sickly and greasy. Unless I’m much mistaken they’re also covered in Chocolate Flavoured Coating*. This doesn’t stop me scoffing them with alarming enthusiasm**, but they’re always a bit disappointing.

The German British caramel slices (also endorsed by Tower Bridge) are not sickly, nor are they greasy. For a biscuit primarily comprising sugar and fat that’s not bad going. They are also covered in actual, proper milk chocolate. All told, the German ones sold as authentic British treats are quite superior to the British ones sold in Britain, by the same company, merely as treats. This could be construed as an insult; that cosmopolitan Germans wouldn’t deign to eat the same rubbish that the fat, unsophisticated Britons cram in their gullets. It is probably true.

As an added bonus, I’m pretty sure the British ones are 300kCal each, wheras the German ones are only 295. I could eat 61 German British caramel slices for every 60 British British caramel slices.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that they may, in fact, be exactly the same caramel slices produced in exactly the same factory in exactly the same way; that I’m just going mad and assuming the German ones are better, and therefore they appear to be so because that’s what I believe. I forget the term, it’ll be in one of Wikipedia’s lists of fallacies, or cognitive or memory biases. Or maybe Lidl just need to post all their caramel slices from Germany to Britain before selling them.

Anyway, I was glad to have received such a tasty and unexpected parcel, and it cheered me up no end. Huzzah!

And then I had another knock on the door. This time there were no recognisable vehicles outside, so as I went downstairs to answer it I was trying to come up with some witty belittlement in case it turned out to be somebody ignoring my sign.

Arguably, it wasn’t. It was my sister. She had arrived, unannounced as usual***, to show off her new car. For two hours. In the middle of my working day. It is a three-year-old Ford Fusion, which the internet says isn’t very good, but she seems happy with it and it looks shiny enough to me. It’s purple. It doesn’t have Bluetooth. It does have an automatic gearbox, just to be confusing. Perhaps, one day, I will learn to drive an automatic (before I have one thrust upon me, as my sister has), but I don’t see why I’d wish to entrust a mechanical (or worse, computerised) device with such responsibility.

After she’d shown off and blagged a cuppa, she decreed that I would come and help shift hay-bales in the evening. She didn’t ask if I’d like to. She didn’t ask if I had any plans for the evening. She didn’t ask if my head was aching and crammed with cotton wool, or if I was sunburned and maybe didn’t want to go out in the sunshine. She just said that she would come back later to pick me up. Without any warning what-so-ever.
As it happened, I did have plans. I’d got work to do in the evening (not least because somebody came and interrupted me during the day). I’d got a dinner that will take several hours to prepare. I wanted an early night, for the same reasons that I really didn’t feel like lugging bales across a field in the heat and sun.
And also, if you don’t have the basic politeness to ask if somebody would mind helping you, and you don’t give them two or three days’ notice to let them reorganise their plans so they can do so, why in the seven hells would they? It would just encourage future intrusions and rudeness.

In the end, there was a fairly typical blessing-by-rudeness; she simply didn’t show up. She didn’t let me know, so if I’d been sitting here waiting for her I would have been wasting my evening; happily I had no intention of going, so it really just meant I didn’t have to tell her to get stuffed. I did my work, and made my tasty courgette/cabbage/tomato/onion/pasta/cheese bake thing, and got an early night.

The day’s other amusement was that part of the internet which cares exploding over the Diablo III fiasco. I don’t really care about cash trading; it is as it has always been. Blizzard are legalising drugs, as Robert Purchese observed, but is that necessarily bad?
However, requiring the user to always be online in what is, for the overwhelming majority of its players, a single-player game, is stupid for both practical and idealogical reasons. And actively banning mods is similar; the notion that a game is, and must remain, a perfect creation exactly as envisioned by its makers, and that hoi-polloi must never pollute that which they have purchased, is saddening. If you don’t understand why, see this.
Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about though, isn’t it? Publisher/developer control over their creation, and how people are allowed to use it after it’s “bought”, and the whole games as product vs. service thing. Not something I wish to encourage, and so I’m glad I didn’t opt for the cheapo pre-order posted on SavyGamer recently, precisely because I expected something like this (although not nearly to such an extent). I’ll give the “beta” (read: demo) a go, if possible, but I’m not paying for that rubbish, Blizzard. Incidentally, didn’t the gameplay video look rather drab? I suppose that’s what happens when you heed homophobic idiots that complain about – and I apologise for even quoting the phrase – “WoW gayness”. Ugh.

Anyway, as we’re well over quota at 1,300 words already, but let me squeeze in a quote from Blizzard’s Online Technologies VP, Robert Bridenbecker:
“I don’t think that individuals want to isolate themselves and be solitary cave people.”
Robert Bridenbecker, you are wrong.

But I got apple pies and caramel slices in the post! It was a good day, huzzah!

* Possibly from the same laboratory as Natural Strawberry Flavour. Um, strawberry?

** Especially alarming, one presumes, if you happen to be a caramel slice.

*** I really don’t like unannounced visitors; the notion that anybody could come and disturb me at any time is quite unpleasant. How can I possibly be prepared for their arrival if I have no idea that somebody might turn up, never mind who, or when? Unless you are always available for guests, but that would involve never eating, sleeping, going out, or going to the loo. Not sustainable behaviour in the long-term. It also precludes my working; how on earth can I get on with anything when people are here? It’s especially annoying when it’s someone – like my sister – who knows fine well that I work from home, and what my working hours are. But she, like many people, don’t distinguish between “working from home” and “not working”, nor respect that I actually have things to be getting on with. You wouldn’t turn up at somebody’s office unannounced and interrupt them for two hours, would you?


2 responses to “Tortoise and the logician

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  1. People do turn up at your office unannounced and delay/prevent work for hours at a time. Managers, they’re called I think.

  2. Mmm, I hadn’t considered them. I’ve avoided ecosystems where they were the dominant predator.

    I say avoided; they wouldn’t let me in.

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