Isn’t it time for revolution already?

I’m starting to understand why people believe in certain conspiracies. Like the New World Order or the Illuninati or the Rothschild Banking conspiracies. I understand especially this year, when I’m getting further and further into debt, struggling a little more to pay the bills, and ignoring the fact that I’m probably never going to get out. With my salary paid into my account, my balance approaches zero for the only time every month, although only for a few minutes, and then returns to tens of thousands in negative again. I see other people living dream lives in dream houses that I will never be able to afford, and everything I do makes zero difference to my life but contributes towards millions more into their fat bank balances. Yeah, it’s easy to believe that someone is pulling the strings, that I and others like me are puppets being controlled by the Big Bad Lizard puppeteers, or something to that effect. Easy to believe that exposing them will somehow make a difference. I can see why people want it to be true.

But it isn’t so. The truth is simpler. This is capitalism. This is where it leads… Corporations thrive and make tons of money. We are born to work for those corporations, making money for them while we barely get by. And then we die. Game over. It doesn’t matter how hard we try or how many hours we put in, or how good we are at our jobs. At the end of the day, working harder means making other people richer, faster. It means we are more valuable because we make more money for them.

And who are they? That’s the bit the conspiracists are missing. Not the lizard people; not the Illumninati; not the Rothschilds. There’s no ringmaster running this circus. They are simply the ones who are born rich, who land positions of power. Do you really think someone rises to the top of a corporation, where they sit with unimaginably high salaries for doing very little, by working hard? They’re not in control of us; in the real world they’re just watching their own interests. They don’t even care that we exist, except for when we make mistakes that affect their income. They look only at the money coming in as they continue to get richer while we get poorer.

In years to come, things will get even worse. Climate change will lead to a miserable life for millions. Millions will suffer and die. Meanwhile, the rich, who are insulated and isolated from the harsh reality of everyday life by the protection their money affords, can deny it. This is why people like Donald Trump, idiots born into wealth that led to power, can deny human-caused climate change. It never affects them directly. “Let them eat cake”, he might as well say…

What’s happening is the Middle Class is falling away. We get poorer as the rich get richer. It’s not going to stop, and no matter how hard we work, our lives will continue to get worse. There’s nothing new I’ve written here… A few years ago, only anarchists were saying this. But now it’s coming from people like me, ordinary people. The only way to fix this is revolution. The rich are a burden. They need to go. (And there is irony here. It’s happened before. The ancestors of the rich didn’t work for their wealth either, mostly. They took it.) If we had more people who saw the reality for what it is, and less believing in silly conspiracy theories which put fictitious evil overlords in control, as well as less people indulging in magical thinking and having faith in imaginary deities watching over them, maybe the revolution(s) could come sooner. But as it is, it probably won’t happen in my lifetime. That disappoints me.

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The last three posts are password-protected now.

The last three posts were personal, maybe too personal, and contain some stuff about my ex, Megan, that’s unflattering, to say the least.

Those posts are now password-protected.

@Megan, the password is your gmail password, which by the way, I should probably not know. But you don’t need to change it… I have never and will never log into your gmail.

Don’t comment about bitcoin here…

FYI, the latest pattern in blog comment spam here is to post generic bullshit generated comments with a name that contains the word “bitcoin”.

Just in case Akismet doesn’t pick them up, I turned on a setting that moves all comments that contain the word “bitcoin” in the comment or commenter’s name straight to the Trash folder.

Nobody should be commenting about bitcoin here anyway, but if you do, your comments will disappear immediately.


Edit: Note that the comments are not what they appear. Most are generic comments, generated and in no way relevant to the blog or the comment author, with comment author something like “monero vs bitcoin”, pointing to gavinmarshaldental dot com, which McAfee SiteAdviser tells me is an unsafe site. So they’re ads that are really links to malware, via generic complementary comments.

It still boggles my mind that people might fall for such crap. They are always badly worded and sometimes gibberish that isn’t relevant to the article or the comment they reply to… They rely on a reader realizing that even though the comment itself is rubbish, the comment author, such as “how to mine bitcoin”, is a link that can be clicked. And they rely on the reader being stupid enough to click that link.

Anyway, heads up idiots… A link to Gavin Marshall Dental Practice that promises secure bitcoin mining via a comment that refers to people, places and things not referenced in the article it responds to, or is a generic complimentary comment that can be posted to any blog, is not what it seems.

Here’s an example from one of the thousands of gavin marshall dental practice scam comments…

I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?
[Comment author link not shown]

There have been plenty of others, and that was the only one in my trash folder since I cleared it and started updating this post… just to show you it really is exactly as I’ve described: irrelevant generated comments that link to a malware site.

I once touched a girl inappropriately.

I read that the best way men can use the #metoo hash tag is to tell the stories of abuse; expose it and own it, so here goes mine…

I was twelve years old, in standard five (now called grade seven) in Miss Godsiff’s class at John Graham Primary School, in Plumstead, Cape Town. I was a shy boy who just wanted to be left alone, shy especially of girls. Two girls who sat behind me in class, [Redacted] and her friend, always used to tease me by breaking off bits of pencil eraser and throwing it at the back of my head. I hated that, hated being teased. (I’m not mentioning the name of [Redacted]’s friend, because she has the same first name as the other girl, who I touched.)

To reiterate, I was dreadfully shy. I hated going to school, and would stress about it, have bad dreams about being teased by girls. Guys, I could handle, because if a guy teased me, I’d simply hit him. I had not yet found how to use words effectively, so when girls teased me, all I could do was beg for them to stop.

We sat in those small wooden two-seater desks, and on this particular day, another girl decided to tease me. She sat in the seat to my left and proceeded to make fun of me. I don’t even remember what she said, and it couldn’t have been for more than two or three minutes.

So in a moment of anger, I reached over with my left hand. With my hand under the seat, I reached up, my fingertips brushing her dress between her legs. She leapt from her seat! Literally she shot up into the air, and called me a pervert, then went to sit somewhere else and left me alone. She never teased me again, and at that point in time, I was happy because I’d made her uncomfortable just as she had done to me.

But I’ve thought of the incident over and over again, in the years since 1984. How messed up is it, that I thought being uncomfortable from being teased, and being uncomfortable from having a hand shoved towards your vagina, are equivalent? Those two things are not the same, nowhere near the same. For what it’s worth if you read this, I am sorry. I am so sorry, and have been sorry since 1984. I didn’t even quite touch you directly, and my intentions were not as dire as many may be, but the end result was the same.

I was good at athletics back then, and after that, whether I was winning the 100 meter sprint, or completing the school cross country, I’d see her there, cheering me on and calling my name. So stupid… it didn’t occur to me, not even then, that she’d teased me because she liked me.

Ironically, though I’ve lost contact with most of my old school friends and acquaintances, both [Redacted] and the woman whose name I won’t mention, are in my friends list on Facebook. I hope they read this. I don’t expect the apology to be accepted, but I am sorry, and I learned that day that I should never do such a thing again.


Edit: I knew writing anyone’s name was a mistake… I have removed the girl’s name that I shared, since she contacted me and would prefer it not be there, especially since this post has already been shared several times. Apologies for the sloppy editing.

In case there was any misunderstanding, her name (just the first name) was included to make this more personal, and place the incident in context. (As opposed to “One day when I was 12 years old, I was pissed off so I stuck my hand up a girl’s dress”, which really doesn’t cut it for a blog post.) I wasn’t blaming her teasing me for my actions. It was meant to highlight how a troubled child might construe anything as an excuse. It was more about me being anxious and shy than her being annoying. Funny how she didn’t even remember any of it… that habit of her and her friend throwing bits of rubber at the back of my head pissed me off for months. Also, her friend who also sat behind me, didn’t really share the same first name as the girl who was the victim of my temper. It just started with the same letter. (I do sometimes embellish irrelevant details if it helps the story.) There, now there are no embellishments here.

(Why do I remember so many things, so many years later?)

The point of this is to share my wrongdoing, however slight it may seem to some, in the spirit of the #metoo hash tag… to confess to doing my part to the detriment of women, in the hope that other men may be inspired to share their wrongdoings as well. Admittedly it wasn’t much of a wrongdoing, as I was a child. But it’s still something. It’s still touching a girl without her consent, and could have resulted in trauma to her.

Was this post a bad idea? Please feel free to let me know in the comments. This blog is getting a fair amount of traffic now… around two to three hundred views a day, which is a fair amount for me anyway. Old posts receive a large portion of that traffic too, which means I cannot gauge from the page views whether a post is good or not. A couple of years ago I could, but not any more. Without feedback, I don’t really know…

Peace and quiet… But this time I don’t like it?

I’m sitting here alone, reflecting on how funny things work sometimes. My life is so busy… Every day is a routine: Work (sometimes after gym), then get home tired, help Josh with his homework – and lately he’s a difficult child, straining my lacking energy and patience… Then go to bed, generally quite early, and repeat it all tomorrow. I’ve been complaining that I don’t get time for myself, longing for peace and quiet. Now I get some and I’m, like… What the fuck to do?

We had an unpleasant surprise earlier in the week. On Wednesday before work, I dropped my mother off for her routine checkup and the hospital. Then at around 11:30, she called me to tell me that they had picked up a problem. Her blood haemoglobin was at a level of 5, when it should be around 13. She needed a blood transfusion, but didn’t get one. Instead she was sent home with medication, and had to return on Friday.

So I returned her there at 6:30AM on Friday, and she was admitted. She seems to be doing fine now, after being given 350ml of blood, twice. But I was worried. I’m not sure when she will be released.

Also, my son is sleeping over at his aunt and having lunch there tomorrow. So I got that peace and quiet I wanted. Be careful what you wish for? It isn’t what I imagined. It got me thinking, wondering what I would do, how I would cope, if my mother died. And I don’t know.

I don’t have the energy to cook, when I get home from work, and I certainly can’t afford to eat out every day. I often take her for granted, call her a burden – and she is to some extent – she shouldn’t be here. But she also helps out quite a bit. Having to do little things like the washing this weekend, reminds me how much I have been leaving to her. If she were to die, besides having to deal with grief, it would be difficult for me to do all that I need to do. I’m not at all sure how I’d manage. As it is, I did the washing too late today, and both sets of my gym gear are wet. I’ll have to hang it up first thing in the morning, before anyone else takes up all the shared washing lines. And how would I manage that in the week? All washing must be taken off the lines by 6PM, and I’m not always home from work by then.

Anyway, I’m sure she will be fine, but this was a grim reminder that I’m not completely in control. I hate not being in control. It reminds me of the old days when I was ruled by and at the mercy of my addiction. It seems, so far this year, that nothing works out quite as I plan or hope. I feel like I’m being carried by some tide (not an intelligence like a god or higher power, but more like the random chaos of the universe) and I don’t like it at all.

Some thoughts on sexual abuse and harassment, and my own experience of sexual harassment from years ago

Yesterday I wrote a Facebook status about abuse that went like this:

We all know about sexual abuse. Women get abused, and that’s the more common case. But if we dig a little deeper, men get abused too, in places such as the military and prison. They get abused by other men.

So it occurred to me that a question worth asking is: Do women get abused in women’s prisons?
And the answer: Yes. They do. They get abused by MALE prison guards. (Google it to confirm. I’m not providing a link because that’s not the sole purpose of this status.)

It’s almost like men are the problem.

It resulted in some interesting comments. The first was from a male friend who pointed out that women can be sexually abusive too, but who agreed that it is normally perpetuated by men. One of my feminist friends called it “toxic masculinity”, and another friend agreed with her in terms of men who are raised to supress their emotions, apart from anger…

Two of the most interesting comments (I’ve not named the commenters, but I can if you prefer) were this:

Abuse is hardly ever about sex, and almost always about power and anger. Many men are taught from very young, that the only acceptable emotion to express is anger. They are seen as “unmanly” if they express sadness, fear, or anything that could leave them emotionally vulnerable. As a result, they move through life emotionally stunted, with few coping skills, so they react to situations of embarrassment or discomfort the only way they know how.

And this:

Young boys are often taught and/or forced to suppress their feelings and emotions. Many are raised in homes with alcoholism and domestic abuse. This results in grown men with an inability to deal with anger, rage, feelings of vulnerability, trust etc, using physical violence to express these feelings.
And so many children are sexually abused- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys before the age of 18. Over 95% of these abuse cases are perpetrated by men, and most victims know their abuser. Most paedophiles have in excess of 20 victims.
The widespread abuse covered up in the Catholic Church involved epic numbers of priests, and even the British Parliament was involved in a huge coverup of abuse by politicians and celebrities.
Abuse is most definitely about POWER , sex being the weapon of choice.
As a survivor of over 10 years of continuous sexual abuse by a relative, I have healed most wounds, and I am very seriously contemplating meeting up with him after being estranged for 23 years to ask him WHY ?
[Redacted. This is too personal, even without revealing her name.]

Edit: The comment above was made by Angela Drescher. She is a survivor of abuse who has told her story on radio and TV (here in South Africa). I’ve included her name with permission, and you are welcome to search for her to find out more. There isn’t a page to link to yet, but I’ll update this post when or if one exists.

The thing is, my status could have ended with a very different line. I never assume anything, but I was expecting my search for abuse in women’s prisons to yield results about woman on woman abuse, by prisoners. Then I would’ve ended it with, “Maybe humans are the problem.”

But that’s not what I found. Instead, I found that abuse of female prisoners comes from those in a position of authority, of power over them. And such abuse is almost always perpetuated by men. Why that is, I don’t know… But I think my feminist and SJW friends (I really prefer the term activist, by the way) answered that better than I can. I can’t comment about the way other men are raised. I was raised in a loving home, and am very much in touch with my emotions.

Anyway, it’s interesting, and I don’t know what can be done about it. I do feel that we need to empathise with victims. There is way too much victim blaming going on, especially by the religious. At the very least, if we can understand sexual abuse and harassment better, we can make it better for victims to cope with the effects.

I have my own reason for my empathy, which brings me to my anecdote from over twenty years ago…

I was a student, and I travelled to Cape Technikon (now called Cape University of Technology) by train. For reasons I don’t recall, I was late that day – maybe I was writing an exam. And on Plumstead station, I was approached by a woman I estimated as over twenty years older than me. She was a preacher-woman. I was shy, but approachable. When preachers approached me, I was always friendly to them. I’d take an interest in whatever they had to say, have a long chat, and then read their literature on the train. There was one such Jehovah’s Witness that I often chatted to, and her magazines were an amusing way of killing time on the train ride.

But a couple of minutes into the conversation with this preacher, I knew this was different. I didn’t know how different. She just kept talking, hardly giving me a chance to speak except when asking questions, and she didn’t give me literature and let me be on my way. Instead, she got onto the train with me, sat beside me, and carried right on with her preaching. Her particular variation of the disease of Christianity was all about the love of Jesus, and End Times.

As she spoke, she put one hand on my leg. I was shocked and surprised, and somehow couldn’t tell her to take it away. I thought maybe it was my imagination – that this was just her way of putting someone at ease while talking to them. But then she moved her hand up my leg, slowly such that nobody else seemed to notice. She never quite reached the end game (thank her deity for small mercies?) but it became clear that this was a sexual thing, and it freaked me out. This carried on for the whole train ride, and it was an enormous relief to get away.

I felt stupid about it. It’s not like anything really happened, right? It was just a bit of non-consensual touching that thankfully didn’t progress into anything further. But still. It left me confused, and rather than feel angry, I doubted and questioned myself… How did I let this happen? Did I lead her on? Maybe I shouldn’t have made eye contact? Maybe I shouldn’t have smiled at her? Why didn’t I tell her to stop?

Somehow, I made it my fault. Instead of feeling angry and blaming the creepy woman who harassed me, I felt guilty, as if I somehow invited her to harass me. Now imagine those feelings, and multiply them by a thousand for people who are raped. And imagine how they must feel when dealing with police, court systems, and religious leaders, who blame them, the victims. If we could all imagine that, put ourselves in their position, maybe things could be better.

Valid until 28-10-20

I think it’s time for a light-hearted blog post. It won’t dampen my serious mood but not everything is negative… It’s also not particularly interesting, but I think it’s amusing and cool for me…

I work in an office tower located in a shopping mall – Bedford Centre:

8023002

Anyway, I work for a small company, and up until recently only three of us drove there, and thus needed parking spaces. So we had three parking cards – they’re prepaid cards to a designated parking lot, situated underground on the opposite side to the KFC visible in that photo.

I generally get to work the earliest, and a couple of months ago, some renovation was going on where we have to park. So on arrival, at around 6:45AM, I was handed a different parking card, and told I had to park on the other side temporarily… You can’t see it, but the entrance is out of shot on that photo, in front of KFC, into a parking level below it. It worked out that I was the only one in the office who had to park away from the normal designated parking… My boss was out of the country and the other developer was on leave.

It was only supposed to be for a few days, but I’m still parking there. The normal parking cards are prepaid, and the boss pays for them, but not mine. But when I swipe it, it does display the “valid until” date, which I finally checked, and the date is the 28th of October 2020.

So apparently they happily gave me a card that was supposed to be temporary, but valid for five years. As far as I know, nobody is paying for this card. And it’s not a bad shopping mall as well, where I can park for free for some time to come. And as for work days, its a shorter walk to the office from where I’m parking.

How cool is that? I wonder how many of these types of screw-ups happen…

A rant about spam that comes too soon

I’m really getting sick of this writing offline and posting the next day thing, but hopefully it won’t be for much longer… My new phone will arrive soon (I hope) and then I’ll be able to share my internet connection with the PC at home. Otherwise, my 20GB data, for which I paid about R1000, will expire at the end of the month. (Also, I only have up to episode 3 of Supergirl and episode 7 of American Horror Story, Hotel, and I’d like to download more rather than wasting that data.)

So since I’m writing this offline and forgot to save the URL’s, no links here. (Not that I care to link to anything about spam anyway.) I still don’t understand how there can be a market for spam blog comments. Does anybody follow the spam advert links in blog comments?

Currently I have seven spam comments on this blog:

  • One of them is a generated generic complimentary comment, where the username is a link to something about hacking Facebook.
  • The other six are spam comment adverts for dapoxetine, which is apparently a drug designed to prevent premature male ejaculation. (All five of these are on my post written when my Facebook login was screwed.)

It seems that blogs and blog posts about Facebook are especially targeted…

The other thing that interests me is that somebody apparently thinks that posting to random blogs, about a drug to combat premature ejaculation, will have some success. I find it highly ironic that this got to my blog, of all places. Back when I was on meth, and having a lot of sex, that’s not a problem I had. On meth, I could keep going for many hours and suppress my ejaculation for far too long. Not something I recommend, because after supressing it for too long, when you actually want to come, it hurts like hell. Anyway, this is not an issue any more… I have been merrily asexual for four years now.

But seriously, how difficult is it to stop yourself from coming too soon? I mean, slow down, for fuck’s sake… Take it out… I’m no sexpert, but as far as I can recall, a change of pace and/or position might be something she appreciates anyway.

I do question the intelligence of spammers… All the spam comments I’ve mentioned today were picked up by Akismet and ended up in my spam folder – none are actually visible on the blog; though if I Google for the text, no doubt I will find hundreds of other blogs with similar comments that did get through. But so what? What kind of person, when reading a blog and the comments, actually follows those links? And of those who follow the links, how many actually purchase whatever rubbish is being sold? Surely it can’t be many.

Why do things always seem to go wrong in threes?

I’m writing this offline at home, something I hate doing. So I have to save the text to my USB stick, then take it to work and publish in the morning… (I hate bringing the text on a stick, that is. I normally do write in the evenings, then delay-publish for the next day. Plugging in the stick, copying the text from Live Writer onto it, then pasting it the next day and publishing… just feels so… nineties. Or something. It’s a pain.)

  1. My cellphone has finally packed in completely. It’s stuck in airplane mode, and goes into a weird loop if I try to enable the phone or data. It can’t detect the network at all. I’m using my old phone for now (which I borrowed from Megan) but that one isn’t sharing the connection properly. Windows tells me there is no internet…
  2. I woke up at 4AM with a migraine from somewhere past hell. And couldn’t get back to sleep.
  3. My blood pressure is high again (150/100) so I am now on different medication. Maybe the migraine was caused by it? I’m not sure.

So I stayed home and went to the doctor, then slept for the whole afternoon. I wish I could take another sick day and sleep some more, because I am tired all the time, but I can’t do that. Hopefully the new hypertension medication will sort me out quickly…

Reading about superhero comics brings me strange mixed feelings of nostalgia and sadness

You know you’re getting old when you read the comments about superheroes and villains on fan pages and YouTube, and discover that you don’t know what characters they are on about, because some of those characters were created after you stopped reading comics.

Case in point for me is Harley Quinn. I continually run into references to her online, especially now that there is an upcoming Suicide Squad movie. People keep referring to her as a “classic” villain, but she was only invented in 1992. And I stopped reading comics around 1985. At least now I know why I’d never heard of this so-called classic. (I don’t have much confidence in the Suicide Squad movie. Jared Leto is one of those actors who make me go “Huh”… Aging pretty boy that he is, I think of him like a male version of Kristen Stewart… good to look at but capable of only one or two facial expressions, and nothing spectacular in the way of acting chops. The movie is likely to be all hype, promising much but delivering little.)

What prompted this post was this article I read online. It’s about the latest Superman issue, which contains many flashbacks and references to previous incarnations of the man of steel. What grabbed my attention was a reference to the Superman of the 1970’s, with Julius Schwartz as editor, and the fact that he did away with many of the silly plots of the decades before and introduced a more “human”, powered-down Superman.

While I had hundreds of Superman comics and annuals, including old ones from my father and from a “swap-shop” where I used to swap bad comics for good ones, most of my comics were from the time when Julius Schwartz was editor. So it seems that my understanding of the character of Superman came from that period, which was relatively short and unpopular with many fans. By the time I stopped reading comics, Superman had become ridiculously over-powered once again, to the point of being totally unrelatable as a character. (Spellchecker, why do you insist that “unrelatable” is not a word? I can not relate to that.) When I stopped reading those comics, he was involved in battles with Lex Luthor and Braniac, who wore gigantic armoured suits, and were equally over-powered so the whole thing was silly. Also I was twelve years old and had moved on to reading Stephen King.

Just after that, the character was rebooted, but I know nothing of any of the “newer” comics. So, as somebody who did read comics for many years, I feel kind of sad when the online comments about classic heroes and villains, as well as about famous series known to “all”, come from a generation after mine, who seem to know nothing about the comics and characters that I regard as classic. Am I that fucking old?

So bear that in mind – when I criticize other superhero movies in future (and I will), my context, my point of reference for those characters, is pre-1985.

On a lighter note, as a child I was always amused by the note at the top of the first page of Superman comics, which reminded me in a way of the Nicene Creed we used to recite every Sunday in Mass. (It started with “Rocketed to Earth from the exploding planet, Krypton” and read very much like the Creed.) It reminded me of the Christ-metaphor built into the story of Superman – the saviour.

In 2010, right after I came out of rehab, I modified my “About me” section on Facebook (which I don’t think anyone has ever read) to be a little joke about this. It’s not very good, but it was supposed to be a combination of the Nicene Creed and the Superman comic starting blurb. Here it is, since I figure nobody has ever read it:

Almost rocketed to Earth from the exploding planet Krypton,
he was not born of the virgin Mary, nor any other virgin, and made man.
After a more or less average life for thirty-odd years,
he suffered, lied and was buried in a methamphetamine addiction and descended into Hell,
but on the third month in rehab he ascended into a normal place in society once again,
which was heaven by comparison.
And there he hopes to remain.

I wrote that as a little joke because at the time, being frustrated with the nonsense of NA meetings, I used to tell everybody that I was my own higher power. (These days I don’t agree with the concept of a “higher power” being necessary at all.) I figure I could do a much better job rewriting that now… but rather not.

And there I did not remain… I did descend back into hell for a while, but next week I will be normal for 2 years and three months. This time I’m definitely sticking around up here…