Monday, October 15, 2018

Foot in Mouth

Today is a bit of reflection on a situation in which many of us find ourselves occasionally, that being, the old speak before you think moment. I'm guilty of it, generally in the pursuit of a laugh, with the majority of those laughs being a self-deprecating cheap shot. It's a hard habit to break, both are in fact hard habits to break. Having recently watched the Hannah Gadsby special, Nanette, I was taken by her description and analysis of the self-deprecating aspect of her humour, specifically the negativity associated with it.

I'm sure I wrote a blog a few years back that included elements of my awareness of the negative feelings associated with self-deprecation, but then I did literally just say in the previous paragraph that it was a hard habit to break. And so is trying to be funny. And not always with well-timed or well-considered comments. Cheap laughs, inappropriate laughs, pathetic laughs.

Sometimes the topic is not one that deserves or is in need of an injection of humour, irrespective of whether it is funny or not. Ricky Gervais, who I find quite entertaining and amusing, doesn't agree with this and suggests context is everything. Rape and murder are probably not things to be joking about because they are traumatic events. Having said that, Mr. Gervais gives an example of "a good rape joke" -

"Doctor, I've been graped."
"Don't you mean raped?"
"No, there was a bunch of them."

At the very least, people groan at that because the joke isn't about mocking or making fun or rape, it is about the wordplay with respect to a bunch of grapes. I first heard that joke told by Kenny Everett back in the day. Back when I was a child in primary school. Back when I didn't know what rape was. Back when I thought everyone was nice, except for a for a few bullies in school.

So no, I'm not going to be making jokes about such things.

However recently I made, and in the past have also made, an ill-considered, based on self-mocking joke about being kicked in the testicles. Unfortunately, the topic under discussion was with respect to the Brett Kavanaugh appointment in the US. The very well-presented, and condescending in my view, presentation was written by a man, attempting to explain to other men...there's a word for that, when men dumb things down to their audience...what is is again? Oh yes, mansplain...There was a detailed series of tweets, mansplaining TO men, how it might feel for us (as men) to be in the same, no, similar situation to that of how women, not just in the USA, but across the world, may be feeling about someone responsible for sexual assault to be given the okay as a reasonable human being and then elevated to be on the Supreme Court of America.

"What the hell were you thinking?"

Well, I probably wasn't. The series of tweets were, in my opinion, talking down to me. Not because I was a man, that was happening irrespective of the tweets, but to stupid people who might not have understood how offensive, how disgusting, how fucking typical it is in 2018 USA for this kind of behaviour and appointment to occur. The fact we are not surprised, well, that isn't surprising. America finds more and different ways to make themselves more abhorrent on a daily basis, almost entirely thanks to their President.

"What did you say?"

I said, I'd been kicked in the crotch before and I wouldn't recommend it.

Yes. I know. Stupid thing to say. No excuses. No pretending it wasn't stupid. It was.
I don't even know why I said it, aside from only having read one page of the two page article and reacting.

Was it offensive to victims of sexual assault, well, only they can tell me that.
Was it unnecessary, yes.
Was it a crap comment, yes.
Was it insensitive to an issue that I actually take seriously, irrespective of what was happening with America and its inability to behave like it cares about people, yes.
Was it deliberate, be silly and get a self-deprecating laugh.
Was that the right thing to do, no.

I never intended to be offensive, but I was. And despite my initial protestations as to my intention, I conceded my remark was unnecessary and offensive.

I don't need counselling.
I don't need to be educated.
I just jumped in with a silly comment when it wasn't needed.

My actual feelings on the Brett Kavanaugh issue are well known to my friends and work colleagues. Many a discussion has been had around the office with respect to why the entire process, his conduct, the resulting decision and how disgusting it was for women to see such a blatant disregard for...well, everything to do with their well-being, all of it, why ALL of it was just fucking shit.

My actual feelings about sexual assault...I don't even need to say it. Anyone who knows me understands I would never condone or celebrate it. I would never do or say anything to deliberately cause offence or harm.

Yet...I made this comment.

So that is the story.

Am I a prick? Am I a bastard? A sexist? Insensitive? Am I an arsehole?

No. I'm fucking not.

I spoke to one person at length who saw my comment. I apologised and we had a nice chat about what we find revolting about the whole Kavanaugh episode and it expanded into other areas. This person isn't my friend. She's not someone I socialise with or am likely to socialise with, but the chat was good. She accepted my apology in her first response to me and we conducted the conversation that followed like two intelligent humans. Our words were considered, on topic, polite and respectful and the offence given and taken from my initial comment on a posted article was not mentioned again. It was clear from our conversation that it was not a reflection of my attitude to sexual assault, nor was it something for which this person was seemingly holding a grudge. Of course, I won't know that and I guess it doesn't matter in the end, because for me, the conversation that followed was actually more important and meaningful that the ten word comment made on the post.

The other person who read the comment, sure, had to deal with my initial "hold on, that's not what I was doing" response when the shock of someone telling me I was being offensive was sinking in. Since then, I've seen several people make posts about calling out "every single problematic thing" you see. And that's fair, I used to be that sort of person too, so I can understand and accept that passions are strong, the desire to call out people saying the wrong thing, to stop the shitty comments in there tracks can be stronger. It's not nice seeing things written that upset you, especially when you see them written by people in power, written by people often, written by people who others might respect or even written by someone you know and you thought was better than that. And sometimes, they are, they just made a stupid comment.

The only gripe I have in this whole experience, is being spoken to like I was just like every other sexist, uncaring cunt on the face of the Earth, and for me to be expected to just cop it like it was true. It wasn't a "not all men" moment, it wasn't a "how dare you" moment, it was hoping that a modicum of perspective might be applied to the situation. Not excused. Not lumped.

I am not in any way attempting to make this an issue about my feelings. I'm hoping to make it an issue about yours.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Cake on the front seat

Many years ago, I was an occasional traveller down the coast for my university work. My Supervisor would give me a lift and I was struck by how careful and calm a driver he was. Never any frustration, never an offhand remark about the terrible habits other drivers had. Behind the wheel he assumed an almost zen-like state, focused, but at peace with his surroundings and the other people on the road.

When I asked him how he managed to remain so relaxed when surrounded by idiots, he said "I treat every other vehicle as a semi-random moving object".

His influence didn't rub off.

I get bothered by people driving badly.

However a few years back, my friend said to me something along the lines of, "you never know if the person driving slowly in front of you has a birthday cake in the passenger seat", and that got me thinking.

Back 10+ years ago, my regular afternoon/evening drive included a journey up a steep hill. It was a winding hill and despite having a long lead in to the hill, the base of which was just begging for a bit of a rev in order the get up the damned thing, the Ford Laser inevitably slowed to about 15-20km/h half way up. Each night, tired after a long drive and a day at work, I'd reach the top of this hill with about half a dozen cars behind me. Fed up, anxious to be home and unsympathetic to the gutlessness of the car I was driving. It was a slow, unsatisfying trip.

Nobody cared. They were annoyed. I was slowing them down.

So why have I ever been anything other than understanding of others in the same situation?
Maybe their car is a bit shit, maybe they have a crying kid in the back, maybe they've had a stressful day...maybe they have a cake on the front seat and they're trying not to ruin it by driving like an idiot.

It's easy to think the worst when you are inconvenienced.

Since this conversation, if I do the wrong thing on the road, cut someone off, miss a turn and try to squeeze in where I shouldn't, drive too slowly because I'm carrying too much weight in my gutless car, or indeed, am transporting a cake, I always smile and acknowledge the other driver. Whether it is to apologise for some awful driving or to thank them for giving me a pass for my actions, I have found that I always get a forgiving wave or understanding smile in return.

I now also do the same for people doing the same thing as me.

I can't know why someone does the wrong thing, I'm sure their intent isn't to be a bad driver, but we all make mistakes.

Just for a moment, consider your mind as the driver of your body. You, the fleshy you, are a vehicle for your mind. Everyone else in the world, has the same sort of vehicle and looks out of it the same way you are looking through your eyes right now. How you see, that's how we all see.

We sometimes make mistakes, go a bit slow, do the wrong thing, say things we didn't mean to, things that upset or frustrate.

Perhaps we are being idiots, deliberately hurtful and upsetting, completely deserving of criticism like the person behind the wheel, perhaps we should know better...or our heads, as the drivers of the vehicles we were born in...perhaps we have our own cake on the front seat.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Challenge unaccepted

At some point in your life you probably say, "It's not me, it's you."

At another point in your life, you might say, "It's not me, it's them."

Not everyone shares the same opinions as yourself, it's part of the rich tapestry of life.

This is life
I consider myself to be open to change. Change in opinions, attitudes, behaviour, that just me, not "them"? It would seem to be. Indeed, it would seem that my statement of "I consider myself to be open to change" is in fact another one of those opinions on which not everyone happens to agree.

There have been some experiences in recent times that I'd rather not have happened, interactions with some that lead to angst, anger, resentment and a feeling that I had disappointed people, not just because I presented a differing opinion, but because it was seen as an offensive opinion and taken as a personal attack on those involved. That's a hard place to come back from, in fact it's impossible. Not because you can't change your mind on the opinion given, but because an immovable belief has been placed in the other person's head as to the type of person you are.

It doesn't matter what you say, what you do, what ends you go to to explain or apologise or clarify or point out that what you meant was not actually what was said.

This happened a few years ago and the person in question took great offence at something said, seemingly ignoring the manner, the context, the "quote" aspect of it. Friendship damaged, Michael labelled, end of discussion, end of friendship. Then a bit of public online abuse followed.

Was it deserved? Yes. The person dishing it out believed that 100%
Personally, however, I don't believe it was warranted at all, but then...

I guess I would...
So anyway, I got past all that business, believing that the other person went a bit far, didn't actually hear what I was saying or why and then decided it was a good point to jump off the friendship. Perhaps it was silly of me to think that it was all about this single issue.

And now I realise it probably wasn't about a single issue at all! Perhaps I am seen by others as one of those people who always makes comments that they kind of put up with, but at some stage they think, "god, how can one person be so (insert adjective here)..."

Annoying? Offensive? Vulgar?

But it isn't actually even that, it's how I respond to issues. I get told I'm doing something unpleasant or rude or offensive, and my response is "hey hold on, I didn't mean that, I meant it this way", and then the issue is no longer about the topic, it's about my inability to accept the criticism or the "being called out on shit".

We are familiar with the Backfire Effect, the habit of people who when shown facts that don't align with their own beliefs, they hold on to them stronger than ever before. A seemingly foolish response to being shown the reality of an issue or situation. It would seem I have my own version of that, not holding on to an out-dated or incorrect opinion, but a reaction that makes it seem like I am not open to such a discussion or am too busy professing my own rightness.

Keep in mind, I PERSONALLY think I'm okay at being called out on shit. If I say something wrong and someone is upset, I will own up to it. But maybe that's only if I can empathise with it? Or perhaps if it is so blatant that I think "Oh god, that did sound awful".

I have said of myself, I'm rude because I talk over everyone. It's a personal habit I have been breaking, not because of it in itself, but because it was misaligned with being sexist. Talking over women is sexist, talking over everyone is rude. I am rude.

I am rude.

I am rude.

No excuses, I am a rude person.

I am working on it and it was prompted by the accusation of sexism. An accusation I strenuously denied and continue to do so. An accusation that helped form an opinion of me, an incorrect one, but one used to support other opinions. Mostly negative. A negative view of me which my actions as described previously, only serve to support.

Rude. Sexist. Racist. Unable to be criticised, unable to see how offensive he is.

Well, shit.

I thought I'd been doing okay. I thought I was a nice person, someone with whom others enjoyed company and shenanigans. And sure, I'm told "it's only a few people who say this", but still...

I also am now in a position where to defend myself serves no purpose, the opinions are out there.

My opinions or responses are no longer required to further a conversation with or without me. They are "known"...assumed.

I remember people saying in the past, "Michael, I'm interested in your opinion on....", but not anymore. Nobody needs to ask my opinion. It's a known quantity. I'm a 43 year old, privileged white male. An over-opinionated, privileged white male who hasn't had to struggle in his life, has had everything handed to him if he needed it, has the luxury of ignorance having never experienced hardship, abuse or unemployment, who never struggled day to day, a non-feminist who doesn't get the fight women have had in order to get seen as something other than a sex object, their fight for equality, their suffering at the hands or rather mouth of someone like me, whose language offends, puts down, holds back, perpetuates the sexist attitudes of other males, one who contributes to the rape culture of our society. If you're not with me, you're part of the problem, and I'm clearly not with them...

Don't even start on my arrogance, in denying all that above, in assuming I understand things I couldn't possibly understand because of my privilege. Ignorance of all around me because of this privilege.

Look at his fluffy chin...wait, sexist!
I have stopped giving my opinion to people about anything that matters in the world, not because I don't have them, but because I have no desire to share them. Sure, I'll poke at Trump, I'll poke at the Australian Government if they do something I find unpleasant, but I'm not giving those opinions to friends or acquaintances. My family knows them, they don't need to hear them.

But the main reason I don't share them is because I have no wish to upset people. Not from my opinion, or my habit of presenting the other side so that people can be challenged in their views, but because it is ruining who I am. It is ruining who I am in the eyes of others.

Your toddler opens a cupboard door and wrecks the crockery - you lock the door.
Your cat knocks over the cup on the bench - you move the cups off the bench.
Your friends get upset or disappointed in your views - you stop giving them.
You find yourself getting defensive over things that don't matter - stop.

When your closest friends refuse to challenge you on things you say, you are the one at fault. "That's just Michael" isn't good enough. Michael is being shit. Michael needs to stop being shit. Michael is stopping being shit.

My being hurt at someone telling me how they deal with me isn't them being poor. It isn't them being mean or nasty. It is me creating a feeling that they can't approach me. That's on me.

To get things on the record, I guess I could list some of my opinions as a kind of reference. Just so the reader is clear when they're making their assumptions.

- I am a leftie, but I accept nobody thinks they are doing the wrong thing in Parliament.
- I am an atheist, but I accept religion works for some people. I think most religions are nuts however and those who blindly follow without questioning are missing something in their life that has drawn them to it. Or, you know, family tradition.
- I find many feminists aggressive. I don't like it. I don't like being treated like the enemy, I don't like being painted as a sexist and I certainly don't like being talked to like an idiot.
- I don't care that there is a female 13th Doctor. I can see the positives of course, but then I could see the positives in a male 13th Doctor. I had a personal preference for a male, but that's passed and it wasn't strong enough for me to care that it wasn't. Assuming anything else in that opinion is wrong.

Other than those, here are some random things I have changed my opinion on in recent times.

- I no longer support the death penalty. As hard as that is at times, I look at the Martin Bryant's of the world or Ted Bundy's and think, they deserve/d to die. But not now. Not anymore. And given where I came from, this was a big decision.
-  I used to dislike people drinking alcohol because it made them do stupid things. This was based on a hangup from 25 years ago. I now don't care.
- I have let go of angers from the past because it only affects one person. Not the person I was angry with. Holding onto negative feelings for no good reason is a negative. I wish to fill my life with positives.

I don't promote this blog anymore, I don't announce my posts and I don't particularly care.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Whoniverse? Myniverse?

I haven't really posted much here in 2017, mainly because I've not really felt any desire to share my innermost thoughts of ponderings...wonderings if you will. My Doctor Who post was fun, an opinion where nobody would have an issue if it was right or wrong.

The steps used to reach a conclusion were not plentiful, but a conclusion that seemed to make sense was established. The more I read or saw, the more weight it gave to my belief of what was going to happen or occur. Yet, I was wrong. Not just a little bit wrong, but wildly and completely wrong.
So? My theory was still better!

But what did I say? "I liked my theory better, they should have done that. What a disappointment the actual conclusion to the issue was..." Other people agreed, "Hey, that would have been better", "I prefer your version".

What happened didn't live up to my expectation or indeed some other people's expectations. But that was entirely on me. It wasn't the writer's fault. I'm not going to say "Well, Moffat sucks cos he didn't do what I suggested and my idea of what's right is better than his."

Just pushing up my glasses...oh, I have none....

Steven Moffat can do what he likes, I can agree or disagree sure, but, he sucks? He did the wrong thing? He's not as good of a story teller as me?

How arrogant would I be if I thought that because something didn't go the way I had imagined it or didn't follow the rules that I create for myself, that it was somehow inferior to my own vision? Because I had built up an idea of something, based on my own beliefs, that when it didn't fit into that narrow world view of things, that it must therefore be wrong or suck.

I've been accused of being judgemental in the past, probably the recent past, in fact, yesterday (I'm joking), but I think when I apply these sorts of analyses to myself, I have every right to be judgemental...of myself.

I liked my theory, it was a good one, entertaining and would have had a bit of a "oh wow" element to it. A lovely nod to Doctor Who of old. However, that's what fan fiction is...your vision, your fanboy jollies written down on a bit of paper, or indeed a computer. I'm sure I could write Doctor Who fan fiction, I've watched enough of it over my 43 years to know the Whoniverse if you will, but that's irrelevant to all this.

Tell us what to do Michael, we're lost without you...oh, and exterminate etc!

I guess my ramblings are all about other people's expectations on others. We each have them, whether it be on elected politicians, sports men and women, those in a position of authority based on their religious beliefs, teachers, the guy down at the shop who saw you had your indicator on to turn into that car park but looked like he was going to drive into it anyway, your friends...your Doctor Who show runner.

There comes a point when you need to realise that you can control a small part of your world, make decisions on what sauce to buy, which football team to support, where to go for the weekend, and cannot control....everything else! You don't always have to be happy about it, but you can control that too. Think of it as grasping a bit of control from a situation that is out of your control.

Being controlling, or at least having a sook when you don't have it, isn't going to leave anyone happy. Doctor Who isn't written by me, it's watched by me. I can express my feelings with respect to an episode any way I wish, but it shouldn't be to say "well, you suck cos you think differently", that's actually immature and pointless.

I like Star Wars, others don't. I may say "What! You don't like Star Wars!?" but, I actually don't care one way or the other. It makes me happy. The End.

Even Freddie Mercury really liked Star Wars! (he lied in the song)

It's good to get along with others, so I'm told 👍but I don't think this includes getting annoyed when they don't live up to the expectations you push onto them, whether it be Mr Moffat or not (who I'm unlikely to meet, let alone get along with), or friends or family. Sure, wipe your feet when you walk into a building or a home, that's common courtesy, but expecting people to do a highland jig when they come to your house, then speak with a Dutch accent on every 3rd word, that's a bit far.

Dammit, now I have Paul McCartney in my ear...duhh duhh duh, duhh duhh duh, duduh...
As with all my posts, I started somewhere and drifted off course faster than Tony Bullimore.

Perhaps I will write my Doctor Who story, just for the sake of proving to myself that I can do it. Not cos it's better, just cos it's different.

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.