Subrosa casually mentioned on Twitter that if I was an AA member (the car one, not the booze one) I could get them out to fix it.
Well I am an AA member. How could I have forgotten? Those were the guys who dragged my immobilised car home when the transmission cable snapped at the start of lockdown.
Anyway, I have the home-start part of the package so I called them today. He arrived in a little over an hour and while it wasn’t an easy fix, he was able to tell me what’s wrong. Unfortunately the piston seal is broken so the piston is full of crap. I have to get a new caliper. He was able to free it for now but it’ll soon lock again.
Well, it is possible to do it myself but I’d only do that in a dire emergency. I’d much rather have an expert look at it. Anyway, I looked up the price of calipers and was pleased to see they are available as third party parts. Not that I’d refuse a genuine Toyota part but the dealerships don’t seem to want any business at the moment. I haven’t even been contacted about getting it serviced. So it’s not going to take weeks to have a part imported from United Arab Emirates like last time (and even with import duty it was still cheaper than the local dealership’s price).
The strange thing is, prices for the part range from £50 to £250, yet they all look the same. Surely the low priced ones must be safe, or the manufacturers would have had the balls sued off them by now. Is there any real benefit in paying five times the low price? I see no clear difference in the parts as shown onscreen.
Also, does anyone know, should I get both front calipers replaced at once? They’re both the same age so if one’s gone the other probably won’t be far behind.
There is one other small issue. If the local garage is indeed (as I suspect) closed, the nearest one is five miles away. Along a road with no bus service, no pavements and no lights. Taxi? Hahahaha. The nearest taxi rank is at least fifteen miles away so would probably cost more than the repair. So I can’t leave the car with the garage overnight. Also, thanks to Wee Nippy, nobody will be allowed to give me a lift home and back to the garage from Friday. Car sharing is on her latest Do Not Do This list.
Another option is to get the parts and get the mobile mechanic to do it. He did a good and fast job on the transmission cable and at a reasonable price.
Well, I guess tomorrow I’m phoning garages. If there are any still open.
One ray of sunshine. My daughter has offered to take CStM and I to see New Grandson tomorrow. It’s now going to be garden only, since going into family members’ houses is once again a Do Not Do This. It’s going to get interesting to see how much compliance they get in the snow.
So, fixing is on the cards. I suspect the rash of car problems is due to its lack of use over lockdown. It just sits there rusting quietly in the corner. Boris won’t care, he’s already planning to ban petrol and deisel cars by 2030 (although there will still be fossil fuelled transport for the Big Nobs and for Greenpeace’s pirate ships).
Maybe I should stock up on spare parts and get a few more jerry cans. Also, consider getting a steam engine suitable for fitting into a car…
Well, I have not been to visit New Grandson yet. It’s not because of lockdown, well maybe partly. My car, the cantankerous bastard, has now decided to lock the front brake caliper on. I suppose it’s the car’s revenge for being neglected all year but it doesn’t believe that’s not my fault. It might be a bit upset by the cobwebs and my refusal to remove the green garden spider eggs from under the driver’s side door handle too. But… I like baby spiders. They feast on baby ticks. The ticks have been very active this year so any tick predator is to be encouraged.
I can drive it, it gets warm after a visit to Local Shop (two miles away) but going to the nearest Co-Op (five miles away) makes it heat up so you can smell hot rubber and can’t touch it. New Grandson is 15 miles away and while it would be cool for him to see his grandad arrive, for the first time, in a car whose wheel arch flames are not just painted on, I think it might turn out to be somewhat expensive and possibly a tad more dangerous than even I am comfortable with.
Local Garage has been closed since this silly virus game started. They were trying to sell it before, so I suspect they’ve just taken the furlough money and let it slide. Can’t blame them really.
I’m not confident about messing with brakes. I’ve always held to the feeling that if I mess with the engine and screw up, the car doesn’t go. If I mess with the brakes and screw up, it doesn’t stop. The latter seems by far the biggest risk.
So I have to find a garage that’s open. There might be one near the Co-Op that’s still running and I’ll phone them tomorrow. Otherwise it’s tamperin’ time and that doesn’t always work out as I intended. Might have to carry an emergency anchor and be ready to throw it out of the window.
Visiting has to be soon because another lockdown is coming. It won’t work, just as the last one didn’t work, and the masks don’t work, but they’ll do it anyway because starting lockdowns meant they never had a way out. Sweden was right, but no other government seems to see it.
Well, in the meantime I have started the editing on stories for Underdog Anthology 12. It’s still ten days to closing for submissions but there are always one or two last minute ones. Best keep up to date, especially since there are other books in the queue and the Christmas anthology will be starting soon.
Tomorrow I might be driving slowly to an expert or playing lunatic grease-monkey outside my house. One or the other will happen.
I’m determined to say hello before the next ridiculous lockdown.
I’ve been a bit distracted today. I had thought that my son and his wife were seeing the doctors today to set a date for the Caesarian birth of my second grandchild. It had to be Caesarian because of reasons.
Well, he phoned at shortly after 8 am, at which point I was barely awake enough to be coherent, to tell me it was under way. It wasn’t a ‘set the date’ meeting, this was the Great Unzipping.
So, I now have a grandson, and my granddaughter has a baby brother. She hasn’t met him yet and neither have I because the current farce does not allow hospital visits. We’ll both have to wait until he comes home.
I’ve seen photos of course. He’s definitely one of us. He looks like he disapproves of the whole planet already.
The docs thought he had an intestinal blockage so he promptly had two massive shits and cleared it. They then thought he had breathing difficulties so he coughed up a load of mucus and cleared that too. He is going to be a master of ‘I can fix this myself’ and ‘Don’t worry, it all grows back’. He might end up with a medical record even shorter than mine.
There’s only one dark cloud today. My father had three great-granddaughters and doted on them all but he wanted a great-grandson. He died before seeing his fondest wish come true.
Well, it came true, and I hope that wherever he is now, he can see it’s happened.
Of course, if he’s been reincarnated as his own great grandson then my son and his wife are in for a very interesting time 😉
Five years ago, my son’s stag do took place in Frankfurt. We had a fine and drunken time there. A couple of his friends smoked, and some of the bars in Frankfurt still allowed smoking indoors.
Well, put that together with Frankfurt’s tobacco prices – roughly half of UK prices – and it was a particularly excellent weekend all round. Scotland had banned smoking in pubs nine years before that. For me it was like the old days – a beer and a smoke at the same time. Indoors!
I noticed, however, that my son’s friends didn’t seem too comfortable with this indoor smoking. Their actions were almost furtive, as if they were breaking some law or other and expected to be told off at any moment.
That’s when I realised they would have been around 16 when the smoking ban happened. They had never experienced a pub without the smoking ban, never had their beer along with a cigarette, indoors, in comfort. What felt entirely natural to me felt strange and uncomfortable to them.
Everyone born after them will feel the same way. Smoking indoors will just feel ‘wrong’. They won’t rebel against the ban. It’s all they have ever known. It’s their ‘normal’ now. Smoking inside a pub is never going to feel normal to them.
Well, assuming there are any pubs left after this lockdown. It’s not looking promising.
Now consider what is being done to children from a very young age. They are terrified of climate change. They are being told that masks and isolation are essential. They are actually being taught that contact with another human will kill them! At the same time, they are being taught to consider changing their gender and/or engage in a same sex relationship whether they are gay or not. Quite how that’s going to mesh with the ‘human touch is deadly’ lessons isn’t really clear. Then again, confusion is all part of how this game works.
Still, these kids are going to grow up terrified of everything, even hugs. They are going to consider any human to human contact as an assault. They are going to think masks and curfews and isolation are normal. That gender reassignment is normal, even desirable, and the eventual deletion of gender altogether will come as a great relief to them.
Within a decade there will be no need for a virus to enforce compliance. Comfortable compliant conformity will be normal. They will grow up knowing nothing different.
Oh the masks are not permanent. However, they will not be taken away by relief, but by a new terror. That’s yet to come. I won’t spoil the surprise.
See, the authorities have already realised that masks mess up those expensive facial recognition cameras. So the masks will have to go. All at once, not in some piecemeal slow release program. They’ll use the terror of the mask wearers to enforce mask removal. Same people, same idiots, same method.
Someone, I know, is going to point out that teenagers always rebel. Always. Every generation. It never fails. It’s true and it won’t fail in the future as it’s not failing now. Look at today’s teenagers. See how they rebel.
They are taking up school strikes for climate change. They are burning stuff for Antifa and BLM. They are dressing like steampunk nightmares and demanding the destruction of the businesses that made it possible to dress that way. They rail against capitalism on their iPhones. They buy ‘smash capitalism’ T-shirts from… well… capitalists. Basically, teen rebellion is driven by the same thing it’s always been driven by.
Idiots are easy to control. They don’t think they are being controlled.The big difference in the modern world is that teenage idiocy now continues into their twenties, thirties and beyond. They don’t grow out of it. They’ve been conditioned not to. They’ll accept money for protesting against capitalism. Money supplied by very rich people. They won’t question it. They have not been taught to question, only to accept what they are told.
So they will not fight against the masks nor against the constant threat of a degree change in temperature, they will accept that they are white and therefore guilty of some mysterious undefined crime, they will never understand what carbon dioxide really does and they will welcome population reduction because they will never imagine it would ever apply to them.
The masks are here for some time yet but they will be removed by a new terror eventually. While everyone is masked, we can all enjoy living in the world of Bagboy. In that video, notice something about all the adult animals’ mouths? Also pay attention to the ‘judge’ figure’s face towards the end. The video is from 2013.
It’s like they were trying to warn us. Cover your breath.
(This post has taken a few days. I keep falling asleep before finishing it so it’s turned out a bit random)
It seems I have been noticed by Twitter.
Well, they don’t want some troublemaker with a lifetime career in studying infectious diseases talking about masks and reality, now do they? Wouldn’t that spoil the plan? All that matters is the plan, after all.
Since I won’t be modifying my tone, I suspect my time on Twitter might be limited. Doesn’t matter. Twitter is fun but it’s a game, like Farcebok and all the others. None of them are real life, they just think they are. Yes, having an instant conversation with someone on the other side of the planet is great, it’s pretty amazing really, but if Twitter won’t let you play, many others will.
I tried Gab. All I saw was a load of ‘Da Joos did it all’ and gave up on it. Maybe it’ll grow up, it’s trying to, so maybe I’ll go and look again one day. I tried Parler. Bit of a clunky interface at the moment but it’s new. I expect that will improve over time, as Gab’s interface has. It has its loonies, of course, just like every other platform, but at least it’s not full of Goebbels wannabes blaming everything on Da Joos.
It’s even rife on Twitter. There was an explosion at a port in Beirut. There was speculation that it was a fuel-air bomb but there’s no sign of any planes in the videos. There are videos of the blast from all angles – no sign of anything entering the fire that was already burning. Naturally, fingers were pointed at Israel at once.
The official story was that it started as a fire that spread to a consignment of fireworks which then exploded. It looks like a double blast. I suspected the first blast (fireworks) might have broken open some fuel storage tanks which immediately became a de facto fuel-air bomb. Fuel storage tanks are very likely to be around any modern port and there would probably be quite a lot of fuel in them. Still, we’ll have to wait for the actual investigation.
I don’t think Israel was in any way involved for the simple reason that the government of Lebanon are not blaming them. They are not blaming anyone, in fact they have stated that the storage facility at the port has been warned about unsafe practices before.
Could a firework explosion have done so much damage? There was a town in Denmark that had a firework factory. The factory caught fire, exploded and all but obliterated the town. A building full of fireworks is a pretty high grade bomb. There were also silos of grain and fertiliser at the Beirut port and, as I said, there would have been fuel tanks. A fireworks explosion could have set them all off.
Sometimes, disasters are just terrible accidents.
UPDATE: Turns out there was about 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored there, due to some legal wrangle with the owner. Apparently it wasn’t stored very well. The initial fire might well have been fireworks but the Big Bang was the fertiliser detonating.
Still, we have our own problems to worry about. Our lunatic government is still filling the country with illegal immigrants and installing them at our expense in the best hotels, hotels most of us could never afford to stay in, which the immigrants then complain about. They’ve come from camping in the dirt at Calais to a fancy hotel and they complain. I’d send them all the way back to where they started from but that’s probably best done after Brexit. If they realise they just go back to square one after getting all the way here, next time they’ll stop in France. We need to be the snake, not the ladder.
Bozza’s Mob has proposed locking down the over 50s, even though that age group is at little risk from the current virus. Then they withdrew that lunatic idea to replace it with something even crazier.
Yes, rather than just lock up a contaminated building for a week or so until any coronaviruses in there fall apart, they want to demolish those buildings at once. Thereby spreading any and all contaminants in the fabric of the building on the dust that results. It is lunacy.
This will be withdrawn too. Why? They have something in mind. Something every sane person would get enraged about. In order to get it accepted, they first put out absolutely lunatic ideas and withdraw them, so when they finally reveal the plan it looks less insane than what they have proposed before. I haven’t worked out what it is, but I think we’ll know it when we see it. Demonic Cummings has been quiet for a long time but he hasn’t gone away.
Yesterday CStM and I went to McDonald’s and then Lidl. Our first outing together, and the furthest we have travelled, since mid March. We used the drive through at McDonald’s for the first time ever so no mask required (I absolutely will not wear one when driving and have been advising delivery drivers not to wear them at the wheel). Lidl needed a mask, I just took along the zip mouth one because CStM will not be seen with me in either the Bane or plague doctor masks, and my army surplus gas masks, well, she’d disown me if I wore those in public.
The car needed a good run anyway. It’s sat idle apart from a less-than-weekly drive to Local Shop, a four mile round trip. The battery was suffering and needed a good charge.
Lidl was quiet. Everyone wore a mask. Social distancing seems to have gone out the window though. People reaching over each other to get things from the shelves. They don’t seem quite so scared any more. I think they’re just getting pissed off with it all.
There are still a few showing fear, but that might have been the mask 😉
I think I need some blue overalls and a Michael Myers mask with light up eyes. eBay has them. What the hell, if I have to wear a daft mask I am going to take the piss.
It’s often said, in defence of masks, that health professionals ‘wear them all day every day’. Actually they don’t. The N95 mask so highly touted works for about two and a half hours and like any fine filter, it’s eventually clogged with dust and then you can’t breathe through it. It is such a close fit that you’ll get sores on your face from keeping it on too long. They cannot be re-used. It’s not so much that they are contaminated, it’s more that they are now clogged with dust.
Surgeons have to do something counter-intuitive when wearing a mask in surgery. If they feel a sneeze or a cough coming on they must not turn away. They have to cough/sneeze directly at the patient. Why? Because the mask doesn’t stop it. Oh it stops it going directly forward, but ti doesn’t catch the cough. The mask directs most of it up, down and sideways. If you cough in a mask it’s those to the side of you who get blasted with whatever you just coughed out. The general public doesn’t know this so they will turn to the side to cough and blast whoever is in range with all sorts of nasties – if they have any.
Masks, without proper training in their use and in what they can and cannot do, are actually worse than nothing in untrained hands. People will naturally turn away if they feel a cough or sneeze coming and if they are wearing a surgical mask that is entirely the wrong thing to do. How many non-medic shoppers know about that? How much information has been given about that? The answer to both questions is ‘none’.
The general public in these masks are just going to make things worse. They have not been trained in their use. They will pay through the nose for N95 masks they don’t know how to fit or for boxes of surgical masks they don’t know how to use. All of them go in the general bin, some idiots are putting contaminated masks in the recycle bins. They cannot be re-used and they cannot be recycled. They are going to end up in landfill if we’re lucky or in the sea if we’re not. Millions of them.
If you have to wear a mask, get a couple of silly ones. They don’t do anything useful anyway, you might as well have fun. Get cloth ones you can wash and re-use and really, you do have to wash them. They are collecting bacteria and fungal spores when you wear them. Forget about viruses, they float right through the weave – the most accurate meme showed someone putting up a chain link fence to stop mosquitos. That’s a good analogy.
This post is going on Twitter. They might ban me for it. They don’t like truth in any form on there. It doesn’t fit The Plan. The Plan is, of course, Panoptica, which I have to get back to. Items in the first two chapters are already happening. I know, I planned to write a chapter a month this year but life (and death) had other ideas. I’m slowly getting out of this fugue and back to it all.
Yes, masks are pointless but I really can’t be bothered arguing about it in a shop. I need to get a few things, I’ll put on a daft and scary mask, get those things and get out. No browsing, no impulse buys, it’s actually saving me a fortune. As is shopping online and getting it delivered. Turns out the delivery charge is less than the cost of petrol to get there. I suppose you don’t all live 15 miles from the nearest supermarket though. We might keep getting deliveries if this nonsense ever ends. Social distancing, pfft. We are masters of the art.
Alongside all this is the death of feminism. Women cannot be feminists nor even women any more, because of the Men in Tights. The Men in Tights are the New Women, moobs are the new bra fillers and you can actually buy a fake camel toe to hide your man bits. The genderless society is coming faster than I anticipated. Oh there’s no point telling them. They won’t listen, they won’t be scared, and when they are offered release from the current insanity of 57 varieties of gender and people self-identifying as telegraph poles they’ll fight to be first. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
Another layer is the coming race war. The ‘oppressed’ black people will start it, if they haven’t already, and then they will find that the white races have invented guns, tanks, planes and bombs while Africa is still at the height of spear technology.
All these invaders are being lured into a trap. Look closely at those who advocate for massive global population reduction. How many of them are less white than a sheet of A4 paper? Most of them are so white you can see them from space. You really think it’s Whitey they have in their sights?
Look, there are definitely some Jewish, and many non-Jewish, people at the heart of the New World Order but most Jews don’t even know it’s going on. Most are just living like everyone else, trying to keep up with the bills and maybe get enough spare for a treat now and then. Same with white people. They don’t really care about immigration until it’s rammed into their faces day after day. As it has been since the Tiny Blur and it’s getting even worse now.
You can call me all the names under the sun. It does not change this.
What do you think would happen now if the government decided to deport every single illegal immigrant or imported criminal right now? How much resistance among white people do you really think there would be? Think how hard this has been pushed, how many rape gangs have now been identified, how much violence… How would the whites respond to a government directive of ‘get them all out’? Heck, a lot of British born and even legal-immigrant black people would be on board with this too. This BLM fiasco has definitely not made their lives easier.
It’s all been set up. I don’t hate people whose skin has colour. I wish mine had some colour but as a ginger in Scotland, that’s a faint hope indeed. Yet they bring in all these illegal immigrants, put them in hotels nobody here can afford and they know, oh they know, how much fury they are stirring. The illegals don’t. They complain about living in a 4 star hotel for free and they have no clue how much seething is outside, waiting for them.
Meanwhile Aberdeen is now back in lockdown because 54 cases of coronavirus have popped up. It’s not clear whether these are actually sick people or just positive tests, but it’s a handy distraction for the Scottish government from the utter balls-up they’ve made of exam results.
Now we have one newspaper (yes, one, the Toronto Star) reporting that COVID-19 makes your hair fall out. First report of that since this whole thing started. It can’t be any other reason, there is now no disease apart from COVID-19. (I would put up a link but you can’t read it unless you subscribe, so here’s their Twitter post).
Remember when everything was caused by smoking? Well, now nothing is caused by smoking. The Universal Virus does it all. I’m somewhere between relief and disappointment on that one.
The darkness is coming. Destruction of history, a new and fake history, wars based on nonsense but will kill millions, race wars soon to be followed with corporate wars, people made into worker drones…
Five hundred million. That’s how many people the maniacs in charge of all this want on the planet. That’s not just a hypothetical thought experiment, that is what they genuinely want to bring to reality. That means six and a half billion people have to die. Soon. Because they want to see this in their lifetimes, not at some far future date.
The Billy Gates Gruff has stated that his lunatic vaccine has to be distributed first to those most at risk… which happens to be BAME people. Of course they are getting hit harder, they have ignored every bit of advice on dealing with it. As, let’s be honest, everyone knew they would. Now, our Billy has form here. A polio vaccine he distributed in India crippled thousands of kids. He’d be arrested if he ever set foot there. In Africa, one of his vaccines caused widespread infertility. I repeat, it’s not the whites he’s after. Killing whitey won’t really make anything like enough of a dent in world population. Globally there aren’t that many white people.
No, no, whites are being subjugated, not killed. We’re all racist and we all have ‘white privilege’ and we have to cower and apologise for our very existence. Even though we didn’t invent slavery and actually fought wars to end it. Of course, we haven’t ended it, it still happens… it’s just not done by whitey.
And yet, only whitey has to apologise. ‘make reparations’ (give the freeloaders money) and abase themselves for an evil they tried to end.
So many provocations. So many needles into that white flesh. It can only have one outcome, and it is not going to be good. Those doing it know this and they are not black people. They are funding and controlling the leaders of those groups and they know exactly what they are doing. So when the time comes for the massive population reduction they’ll have pretty much every whitey on-message. So many will have experienced abuse at the hands of the black useful idiots that they will welcome the new Final Solution.
They will embrace their billionaire overlords, here to save them from the problem those billionaires created.
I know there are those calling me racist by now and I know those doing so are almost exclusively white. Black people know what Planned Parenthood was originally designed to do, and still does. They know the role played by the father of the Billy Gates Gruff in that organisation. They know the name Margaret Sanger and her lifelong ambition. Aside from those parading in London like incontinent penguins, and those paid and indoctrinated to stir up more provocation, black people know who their real enemy is.
Just as very few Jews are involved in this New World Order crap, so are very few white people. It’s the ultimate white supremacy really. Forget all those rednecks with Confederate flags and yeeha pickups, they’re not doing this. What you’re dealing with here are billionaires who think they know how to run the entire planet – and every last one of them is an old white man. It’s not the guy in dungarees and a mouth full of every dentist’s nightmare you need to worry about. It’s the guy in the fitted suit who has someone in a smart uniform driving him and opening the door for him.
We are all, all of us, simply economic units to those people. We have been divided and divided and divided, black and white, Christian and Muslim and all the rest, smoker and nonsmoker, Shia and Sunni, Catholic and Protestant, gay and straight, divided into ever smaller groups so we will fight amongst ourselves and never see the real enemy. It has worked so very well and will continue to work because there really is no way to make people see what is happening.
Their programming is impenetrable. They will shout ‘racist-Nazi-bigot’ and they will not, cannot, hear anything you say. There is no way back for them, they are lost to humanity forever. Their hate defines them, it is all they have. Any engagement with them is pointless. If you are not one of their collective then you must be deleted. Leave them to it. Don’t bang your head on that wall.
They depise capitalism because they have been told to do so by those paid by the bigest capitalists on the planet. You really think BLM or Antifa will ever go after Soros or Gates or any other billionaire? Ha. Those are their paymasters. They want communism for you, not them. Just like Stalin taught them.
Humanity is at the fork in the road. You can go down the sunlit road watched over by your billionaire overlords and rejoice in comfortable compliant conformity, with chips embedded to track your every move, or you can take the misty, dark road that leads to a future that has not been decided for you in advance and in which you decide what to do next..
So does Bozza, the man who stole Gove’s chin and many more until he looks like he’s talking over a stack of crumpets. Twitter is now full of pictures of cut-up Conservative membership cards and cancelled subscriptions. This kind of nannying authoritarianism is not the action of a Conservative government. I really think he’s just lost the next election and if he screws up Brexit on top of this, I won’t be surprised to see a lamp post somewhere bending under his weight. Along with the rest of them. It won’t be BLM or Antifa doing it, it’ll be their own ex-voters.
So, I am obliged to wear a mask now. I have ordered a suitable face covering and have looked at many other eBay options – Leatherface, Michael Myers, Alien facehugger, the Joker’s clown mask… well I’m going to need spares. I do have the plague doctor mask, several gas masks and of course, my own heavy hat. I just need a few variations so it doesn’t get boring.
Not that I’ve been in many shops since March. Local Shop occasionally, Local Petrol station once, that’s it. I have withdrawn no cash since March either. Still, they want to be silly about it, let’s ramp the silly to the max. If you have to wear a mask get a funny one.
Yes, I know, I can hear the nasal whine of ‘Oh but those masks don’t protect against the virus’. Neither do any of the others. Not one. No matter how much you pay for them. If you are wearing a mask a virus can’t get through, you can’t breathe through it. Every damn mask out there is, to a virus, like a mouse going in through an open barn door. They are all, every one, completely and absolutely pointless.
So. If we are to play silly games, why not play them in a silly way?
It’s not a game though, and it is far too serious to be silly.
There is no end date for the compulsory masking with fines for non-compliance. There is no disposal mechanism for these supposedly biohazard-laden used masks. People just throw them on the ground. They are not autoclaved or incinerated, they just go into landfill or get dumped in the sea. Nobody seems to mind.
Does that sound like management of a highly infectious disease to you? To someone like me whose entire career was in microbiology, it does not. At all.
The lockdown started in March. It is now July and compulsory masking is still over a week away. It looks futile and it would be – if the masks were about any kind of protection.
Okay, I know, from here on there will be some snickering about tinfoil hats and that’s fine. Those already assimilated have no way back, forget them, they have lost the ability to think beyond their masters’ commands. Let them bask in their collective, it’s all they will ever have.
So. Who remembers the Moonies? It was a cult some decades back and it conscripted in the usual cult manner that is still in use by cults today. Of so very many kinds.
First thing they did was to isolate you from families and friends. Yeah, they put you in lockdown. For months.
Next, they told you your old life was all wrong and you had to leave it all behind and accept a New Normal.
Many cults did this masked. Including the initiate. New face, new life, the old ways are gone, the cult is family now. The way you lived before is gone forever.
At this stage of contagion, masks are entirely futile for stopping any virus. It cannot be their purpose.
It isn’t. You are being initiated into the New Normal. You are joining a cult you don’t even know exists. And it gets better.
You are already demonising friends and family who don’t join the New Normal cult. You are already screaming at them and panicking that they are Disease Spreaders.
It’s an old game, a familiar game for those who remember history. The non-compliant will be hated, tortured, burned at the stake all over again. I see your face! Heretic! Witch! Disease spreader!
There is no end date for this new mask law. There is no end date for any of the new laws. They will remain as anti-heretic laws, forever.
Yesterday I bought petrol. I filled the car, it had used half a tank, and loaded a 25 litre jerrycan for the mowers. Yes, they will need that much, cutting it all means filling the mower tank at least eight times and that’s before I get the ride on mower going. The garden looks like harvest time.
This would not normally be worth mentioning but the last time I bought petrol was in early March. I could not go very far in this lockdown, and the car was out of action for over six weeks because of a broken transmission cable. It’s a dealer-only part and the dealers were all closed, so I got one on eBay from a dealer in United Arab Emirates. It arrived before the dealers reopened and, even with import duties and postage, worked out about £100 cheaper.
Anyway, during that time I could not go anywhere so could not get petrol for the mowers. This meant the grass grew unhindered in the North Scottish spring and summer with 20+ hours of daily light and incessant rain. A lot of it is now waist high. The parts I managed to cut (scythe, then rake, then mowed with the last of the petrol I had) are already growing back although the mower on high setting will bring them under control. The big lawn, however, is likely to take a couple of days of scythe work to get it into mower-ready shape. It has to be dry weather or the cut grass (now officially hay) will be hard to lift.
In some countries in Europe I would now be facing heavy penalties for failing to keep the grass trimmed even though I had no way to do it. Conformity is already a big thing and has been for a long time.
When I went to the local petrol station, the owner was wearing a mask. Around his neck. Technically he was ‘wearing a mask’, so was following the letter of the rules. Likewise, Local Shop has all the plastic barriers at the tills but nobody wears masks and they don’t have the ‘one way’ shit in the few aisles they have. Out here, nobody is giving a crap. Social distancing? We’ve been doing that all along.
Compliance is optional way out here in the countryside, but the cities are not like that. The cities are full of terrified drones who will enforce compliance and conformity, soon by pointing and screaming like Bodysnatchers. Actually it seems that is already happening. It’s even cleverer than the smoking ban, in which it’s the owner of the premises who gets fined, not the smoker. So the owners are unpaid enforcers of the law because if they don’t they will be punished.
The masks started out as ‘for your safety’ but that doesn’t work, so they turned it around. Now it’s ‘my mask protects you so it’s your duty to wear one to protect me’. This is bollocks of course, since the masks do nothing to stop any virus. Yet you now have an army of Witchfinders who will gladly snitch on, harass and hound anyone who does not comply. You don’t need to pay them, you don’t even need to threaten them with fines. This new Stasi are delighted to have gained this petty power over others, and the fear instilled in them reinforces their righteousness. If you don’t wear a mask you are selfish, a spreader of disease, and must be shunned.
Did you ever see a film called ‘The Mask’? Very funny film, very enjoyable. Put on the old wooden mask and you are transformed into the character the mask represents. It’s not entirely based on fiction – the old witchdoctors and other old religions believed that when you wore a mask, you became the mask’s character. So the witchdoctor believed he had magical powers when he wore a mask depicting a magical being. Wear any mask long enough and it becomes part of your character. You become the mask.
The character of Bane in Batman also wore a mask. As he said, ‘No one paid any attention to me until I put on the mask’. I might not have the quote exactly right but that was the gist of it. The modern mask does not protect you from anything at all. It changes you, it makes you part of the collective, it turns you against those who do not conform. Eventually, the mask is you and then you cannot take it off.
Couple of points though. I think the perspex barriers are a good idea. Never mind the current virus, there are all kinds of respiratory infections that could pass between a customer and a shop worker. Local shop has few employees. As far as I can tell, Local Petrol Station has two. They don’t see anywhere near as many customers as a town-centre Tesco, of course, but it would only take one infected customer to bring down the entire staff. Then the shop or garage is closed while they recover. They are not big businesses but if they closed, well, everyone around here faces a 30-mile round trip if they run out of milk or cheese or fuel. So protecting them is good for everyone.
The perspex barriers also mean it’s much harder, if not impossible, for a shop raider to reach over to the till. Not a big deal out here, of course, they are likely to get a shotgun or at least a hay fork poking them in the arse if they try. Those barriers are going to be a lot more useful in towns and cities and I think they should stay.
Then there’s the mask thing. So far it’s up to the shops. I carry a mask in my pocket but do not wear it, especially when driving. The restriction on breathing is uncomfortable, I can wear it in a shop for a short time but really dislike it. So, if a shop I need to enter insists on masks, I’ll wear it even though I know it is useless.
Now, you can argue that it is your right to not wear a mask. Fine, you’re correct. It is also any private business’s right to refuse entry to anyone for any reason. You’re not the only one with rights. Private businesses have had dress codes forever. I remember a nightclub in my student days where anyone wearing trainers was turned away. I routinely wore highly polished steel toecapped work boots so I was always allowed in. Until I was banned in absentia. Yeah, that’s another story for another day.
So I will wear a mask if the business I need to enter requires it. They have the right to demand it, I have the right to go somewhere else if I don’t like it.
You might have heard ‘the customer is always right’. It is bollocks. Most customers are idiots. Especially the ones who quote this. They think it is a law. It is not. It is the business model of Marks and Spencer and nobody else. Not a law, not even a suggestion. The business model of one company.
The customer is a customer only if they want to buy from you and only if they agree to your terms. You, as the business owner, are free to make those terms as free or as onerous as you choose. If you have a ‘no hoodies’ rule you can chuck out Warren Buffett if he turns up in one.
If you have a ‘must wear a mask’ rule you are entitled to turn away anyone not wearing one. Even though masks are demonstrably silly and in most cases, harmful. If that is your rule on your business premises you have the right to demand it.
I have the right to refuse to wear a mask, but you have the right to refuse me entry to your business without one. Too many people think rights work for them but not for others. I would call them idiots but really they are not. They have just been taught that way.
So far there are many types of mask out there, none of them effective at anything more than restricting your breathing. This will change. There will be ‘studies’ showing that one mask is better than another and then those with the wrong mask will be villified. Eventually the One True Mask will emerge and then we will have total compliance and absolute conformity.
‘Comfortable compliant conformity’ is one of the slogans in ‘Panoptica’. Watching current events have really helped with that story. I found it hard to get into the mindset of the character I was writing. He wasn’t a Winston Smith or a Montag. He was a fully compliant drone and happy in that life. He went to work, he went home, next day he did it again. No socialising, no family, no holidays, nothing. There are so very many people like that and watching their fury at the slightest deviation from how they think people should act has been most informative.
I didn’t think it would come true so fast. I thought, at times, I was going too far into the unbelievable. The brain chip, with wires deep into the brain, seemed a step too far but then it seems it wasn’t after all. Likewise the machine-gun-carrying flying drones. Those are now real too. The slogan from a story a couple of years back, ‘Be better’, is now spouted by the Righteous all the time.
Comfortable compliant conformity is coming. We’re going to have to get very good at pretending to fit in, or we’re going to have to get out of the cities and hide.
My father’s death in February broke my run at completing that book but it’s time to snap out of the doldrums and get back to it. I have to write the next page of the horrors to come.
Fear not, I am not going to make you do long division in your head. They stopped teaching kids how to do that a long time ago. This is a different kind of division.
When my son started school, very early 1990s, they still learned ‘times tables’. One five is five, two fives are ten, and so on. The difference I noted was that they only went up to the ten times table, whereas I had to learn eleven and twelve. Well, I was there pre-decimalisation so we had to learn Imperial units. Twelve was a big thing back then. Twelve inches in a foot, twelve pennies in a shilling.
So I taught him the easy way to multiply by eleven. I didn’t push him for twelve, he won’t need it and twelve is a bastard of a table. Eleven though, is so easy to do if you know the trick.
But I digress. This isn’t about numbers and yet in a way it is. It’s about the divisions being applied to the world now. Divisions you never knew existed. All imaginary, all in your head.
We have just seen the spectacle of Black Pound Day. Spend your money with businesses owned by black people to boost their custom. Nobody, at all, seems to have noticed that this is in support of a movement that wants to abolish capitalism. They want all private businesses destroyed.
Some black business owners noticed. Some decried the silliness of anticapitalists demanding support for private businesses, and some simply responded with ‘we do not want charity, we want to succeed because our business is a good one producing stuff people want’. They see the attempt at division and patronising pet treatment and they do not want it. Good for them.
In the end, since Scotland is still in Alcatraz mode and getting worse (Wee Nippy now wants to enforce quarantine on visitors from England, so if you were hoping to help out Scottish tourism you will spend two weeks locked in a hotel room and then go home), I didn’t spend anything in any business that day. They are almost all closed. Local black-owned businesses are thin on the ground, most people of recent African descent don’t like it this far north. Heck, most British people don’t like it this far north. It’s not at all unusual to put the heating on on Midsummer’s Day. If it hits 20 C it’s a heatwave. If you’re used to tropical temperatures this is like an inverse Hell for you. In winter it’s the ninth circle.
Black Lives Matter has begun to fragment. There was a march in support of Black Trans Lives Matter and I have to say, it was well attended. Mostly by white people, at least 90%, but well attended nonetheless.
The Mayors of London and New York both issued statements in support of Gay Pride, and both had the same message. They lauded the black trans men who started the gay pride movement.
Yes. Read that again. That is what they said. I have seen pictures of Peter Tatchell, the biggest name in Stonewall and he looks pretty pasty to me. I have never seen him express any desire to change sex either. He is happy as he is.
Now, being not-gay and not-trans and on the Pantone scale, probably the total opposite of ‘black’, you would be forgiven for expecting me to give no shits at all. None of this should matter to me.
Yet, I am a smoker and have experienced the ‘unpersoning’ first hand. I am also a white straight old male and am villified for that too. The old rhyme ‘First they came for the…’ well, I am the one they came for first. So I can see it when it comes for others.
Straight white males are called ‘transphobic’ if they won’t date ‘girls’ with dicks. That’s been around a long time. I’m not single so I have an easy ‘out’ there. Even if I was single, if the thing dangling between your legs looks a lot like what dangles between mine, we really don’t have a good starting point for a relationship here.
Does that make me a ‘transphobe’? In this modern daft world, yes it does. I can be friends with gay men and trans women but I have no interest in sleeping with either. Not that they’d want to if they saw me anyway, but we are talking about principle here.
The BBC published an article claiming gay men are transphobic if they refuse to sleep with ‘trans men’ (women who decide they are men). They have deleted it now so I can’t link it. You have to be a fast watcher these days.
Coupled with the mayoral rewriting of gay history as black trans history, it seems gay white men can now join the smokers, drinkers and straight white men on the wrong side of the ‘deleted’ line. Welcome, brothers. I wonder who they’ll send over the line next?
Divide and conquer, that’s the old saying. And it has worked, many times.
It does not work when the attackers divide themselves and unite the defenders.
Well, my car is fixed. It’s been an ornament for a month because of a broken transmission cable. The local dealerships have taken over three weeks (it took me a week to find where they were hiding) to source a cable and it’s still not here. I got one from the United Arab Emirates in less than a week, through eBay. I’m going to buy the dealer cable too. It’s an impossible part to find in the UK and it’s absolutely essential. If I still have it when I finally change the car I can put it up for sale and I bet I’ll make a profit.
It’ll take a while to get used to the repair. The gear shift is much easier to move now. I suppose fifteen years of gradually accumulated crap in the cable sleeve would account for that, and is probably also what caused it to break.
The dealership called me about the cable, and about making arrangements for me to safely pick it up. They are 50 miles away and it’s a transmission cable. Surely they would realise that needing that part means the car is immobilised? No bus service out here either. Nearest bus stop is just over two miles and the buses go in the wrong direction. The nearest railway station is 15 miles. No car, no going anywhere. Unless you want to walk along a narrow country road used by maniacs as a race track.
The racers have been even worse during lockdown since they think the road is empty. They are idiots. On this road it is not unusual to round a corner and find a couple of deer standing in the middle of the road. Hitting one of those at speed will not end well for either the deer or the driver.
We once saw a family of pine martens crossing the road. Deer are pretty frequently seen here – there was once one munching a bush in the garden. Add in the old fencing around the sheep and cow fields, resulting in frequent escapes, and you really do need to be pretty cautious on this road.
Anyway. I am once again mobile. Not that there’s much point with pretty much everything still closed anyway. At least I can go to Local Shop for essentials and if I really really have to, visit Tesco. Although we have managed to book weekly delivery slots with Asda so far and we’re getting used to not bothering with going to shops at all. We can’t both go anyway, and CStM doesn’t drive so it would be me shopping unsupervised and you know what’s going to happen if Aldi have a power tool event and Tesco have cut price malt whisky…
Really, there have been few effects of lockdown here. The big ones are not being able to shop together, not being able to get the part for the car and not visiting son, daughter or granddaughter. Aside from those, nothing really changed. We are naturally miserable antisocial fuckers.
The worst part of the car saga was that I have three petrol mowers, one of which is a ride-on, and almost no petrol for them. I had an ornamental car with a full tank of petrol and no safe way to get any out. And no way to go anywhere to fill my petrol cans. So the grass has run wild for a month and is now at scythe height. No way the mower will cope with it. I’m going to be partying like it’s 1699 again, with a three foot razor blade on a stick.
It also pissed me off that petrol became cheap during the time when I couldn’t get any and is creeping back up now I’m mobile again. I have come to expect that sort of thing.
So, things can get back to normalish now. With the month-long wait for the car repair and all the other stuff that has gone wrong this year it’s been hard to concentrate on anything. I have a Leg Iron Books mug to send out from a competition weeks ago and this year’s plan to clear out a lot of stuff through eBay can finally begin. I can concentrate on editing Wandra Nomad’s book, work on Gastradamus’s and continue Panoptica. Better hurry up, it’s coming true.
There is a lot of talk of a New Normal which will be anything but. I have seen people posting Outrage! because a business requires them to wear masks while shopping there. Well. I fully support the right of a Christian baker to refuse to make a gay wedding cake, and this is no different. If a business decides to impose any rule, including the wearing of a mask on their premises, you have two choices. 1. Wear a mask. I have some delightful ones, and recently acquired a plague doctor mask. Or, 2. Don’t go there. It’s not complicated.
Businesses can decide the rules that apply on their premises, within the law. They cannot state that stabbing people is acceptable but they can make reasonable rules. I admit to a chuckle when I see any business of any kind state they have a ‘no smoking policy’. No you don’t. You are not allowed to decide that, it has been decided for you.
There have been many bemoaning the closure of hairdressers. I don’t care, I had a damn good shearing at the beginning of March so I would look less Morlock at my dad’s funeral. I’ll be thinking about another one when people start calling me Gandalf again or when it starts to feel heavy. There are far bigger things to worry about than appearances, but these days it seems appearances are very important to far too many people. Even if they are not allowed to go out and be seen.
Well, best get to the end of this pointless ramble. There is going to be a ‘new normal’ and well, you’re not going to like it. Even those of you who have actively supported it. You’re going to emerge blinking into the light after this lockdown ends and you’ll think it’s over but around October there’ll be another one. Every flu season, every year, forever, until lockdown becomes your normal way of life. Sorry kids, but your future is shit. Don’t worry about me and the other oldies, we won’t be around to experience it and we won’t be there to tell you how to stop it – not that you’re listening now anyway.
The New Normal is best shown in the video in the previous post. It shows something very close to what 10538 saw on his screens.
You could stop it, young people, but you won’t. You don’t want to.
When I was just a tiny bundle of pestilence, hardly anyone had a landline phone. Nobody had central heating except for schools and other public buildings. They ran it from a coke-fired boiler, usually, with massive cast-iron radiators. There are still a few of those around but there are few, if any, still in use.
Heating at home was a coal fire in the living room, cooking had just passed the ‘fire’ stage so we had a ‘proper’ cooker although the kitchen was heated in winter by firing up the old cast iron range. I don’t recall my mother ever using that for cooking. I remember being repeatedly warned to stay away from it.
I remember our first television. It had a tiny monochrome screen and it was in the kitchen. I’m not sure if that was because the ‘rabbit ears’ aerial only worked there or whether my parents didn’t want it in the living room. Anyway, we had it in time to watch the beginning of Dr. Who in 1963. It took about 50 more years, when I got those first episodes on DVD, before I realised that most of the Daleks were just painted on the walls.
My parents had a tape recorder. It was the size of a small suitcase and used big reels of tape. Nobody had a video camera, although I do remember ‘Super 8’ cameras that rolled a strip of film wheich then had to be developed and you needed a projector and screen to see it.
Still cameras used rolls of film that you had to wind forward to the next frame, then take it to the chemist to get it developed and printed. I still have cameras like that and fortunately I have darkroom equipment because finding a photographic shop that even recognises a roll of film is difficult now.
There was no way to record a TV program. If you missed it, you missed it. There weren’t too many of them anyway, and you had BBC1, BBC2 and ITV. That was it.
I remember the invention of cassette tapes. Then came those Walkman tiny portable cassette players. They were expensive, now they are museum pieces. Likewise the laserdisc, VHS and Betamax battle for recorded films. It was 1980 before I first saw a VHS player/recorder. I didn’t own one until 1985. Video cameras became available about that time, if you had a lot of money and a good strong arm to hold the thing. They became smaller over time until they disappeared altogether, to be replaced by hard-disk tiny videocameras.
I remember watching ‘Tomorrow’s World’, that old show about flying cars and monorail trains and all sorts of wonderful future machineries. The CD was the only thing they showed that actually came true, I think. The CD is long gone, replaced by the DVD which is soon to be replaced by Netflix and other streaming services.
Vinyl records fell to the CD and now we have music streaming services too. No more shelves of tapes or disks, you just tap in your selection and it plays.
All these things are now on your phone. You don’t need a bulky music system, just a Bluetooth speaker system linked to your phone. You can read books and watch films on your phone. You can have a camera at your front door so you can see who’s there – on your phone – even if you’re not home. You can control your heating remotely to warm up your house before you get home. You can even speak to other people with it if you can work out how. That’s a long way from the ‘press button A’ phone in the phone box I remember at the end of the street.
Is there a point to all this? Well, consider. In sixty years I have seen inventions come and go, I’ve seen the telephone move from a box at the end of the street to a device that does everything and which almost everyone has in their pocket. My starting point was fire as the only source of heat, now everyone is terrified of a wisp of smoke. I started when playing a song meant lining up a needle with a groove in a plastic disc, now it’s just a matter of tapping a few buttons and you can get the video too.
This, today, is the starting point for modern children. They will look at a floppy disc from the 1990s and think someone has 3D-printed the ‘save’ icon. When I started life, computers cost millions and filled whole rooms and had a tiny fraction of the computing power of a cheap modern phone. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX-81 in 1981 and you had to type in programs in BASIC then save them to cassette tape. It had a massive 16 kilobytes of memory. No internal or external drives, just the cassette.
Even that seemed amazing at the time. This tiny box held considerable computing power. Imagine how impressed I was with Amstrad’s later PCs, and those 2 Mb hard drives. Ten years after the ZX-81 I bought a 286 with 512 Mb internal memory and a 30 Mb hard drive. So much computing power, so much storage space! You couldn’t even get a modern operating system into it now. The advances in those ten years – and since – have been incredibly fast.
Anyone remember daisywheel printers? Basically, an electric typewriter linked to a computer. If you want a different font you have to change the typing wheel. Then dot matrix, then fantastically expensive laser printers, now you can get a colour printer with scanner and wifi so you don’t even need a wire… for about £30. Sometimes it’s even cheaper to buy another printer than to replace the ink cartridges.
Think about the world you started in and then consider what modern children are starting with. To them it’s normal to have a supercomputer in their pocket. They will grow up with the normality of contactless payments with their cards. That’s a step too far for me, I don’t like it, but to those young now it will be normal.
They will look at vinyl records and record players in museums and marvel at the primitive sound systems of the ancient past. They will scoff at the way ancient peoples had their film and music collections on separate discs instead of having it all available to anyone, any time. They will not understand how we could have filled our houses with books when all they need do is tap in a title and read it on screen. We will become the Ancient Ones in a couple of decades, possibly while we are still alive.
They will not understand how all those things can be restricted, censored and changed at any moment, while the fixed versions could not be.
They will delight in getting those chips implanted. I would absolutely refuse any kind of chip implant for any reason. If I worked somewhere that required I be chipped to, say, open a security door, I’d want to know what happens if I move to another job. Do they dig it back out? I can easily hand back security cards, I cannot easily hand back an implanted chip.
To the modern child though, it will be normal. As they grow, they will have everything implanted. It will not seem at all sinister or strange to them. Why risk losing your contactless card? Have it implanted. That, I think, is where it will start but not where it will end.
So, how far fetched is the world of Panoptica? How far fetched is the medichip that transmits your medical information, including mood, to a central monitor? Can it ever happen?
If I have that right, clicking on the video should play it here.
The children see nothing wrong with wearing those headbands except that they are uncomfortable. Implanted chips will solve that problem.
There are so many other things that today’s children are being brought up to see as normal. Adults rebel against these things but to a child, it’s just part of their world. They will accept it. They won’t know any other world. Just as I could not know the world of my grandmother, born before the invention of the automobile, never mind the Wright Brothers. She saw the world move from horses to cars to planes to landing on the moon. I suppose every generation will see an equivalent massive shift in humanity’s abilities – and moralities.
I wonder what the children will see? And I wonder whether it will be good or bad.
No competition this time, I still can’t get to a post office to send the prize from the last one. So here’s the answer.