Ms Autistic?

(Ex)Husband has decided that I must be autistic. One of his reasons is that there is a high incidence of autism in my family, a fact that I cannot deny, although just because others in the family have an ASD it doesn’t mean that I have. His other reasons are less sensible, however.

It is apparently a sign of autism to want to live in a clean and tidy house. Oddly, most people that know us would say that our home is certainly NOT the cleanest/tidiest in the world; it is hard to keep the place spic and span when you have (real) autistics about the place who go into meltdown if you dare to tidy up any of their ‘displays’ of junk. (Ex)Husband also keeps rabbits and allows them to hop around the house, spraying their droppings behind them. Attacking these with the vacuum cleaner is a sign of being autistic, he says, as is asking him repeatedly to clean out their hutch in the hope that they might then spend some time in it.

Another of my ‘autistic ways’, according to (Ex)Husband, is the set way I arrange books on the shelf. No, they are not sorted alphabetically or even by subject, they are set up in size order, largest at each end. I do this because it makes maximum use of the space available – by having all the smaller books in the middle of the row, you can squeeze a few paperbacks in as well. To me, this is common sense, to him, autism.

It is also autistic to arrange foodstuffs according to type, such as grouping cans of baked beans, soups, etc together in the cupboard. My reasoning: on opening the door, you are instantly aware of how much of any particular item you have in stock. His reasoning: autistic!

If I am the one putting the shopping away, I will arrange the stuff I put in the fridge in the same way, while he piles it anywhere he can. When he has done the putting away, food is frequently overlooked and found mouldering away when the next shopping list is prepared. In my view, this proves that my method is the one that works. In his view, it proves only that I must be autistic as “they like arranging things in a certain order, don’t they?”

Try as I might, it is impossible to get him to understand that I am not arranging things just for the sake of arranging them; it is because I feel this is the most efficient way to accomplish the task in hand. Bearing in mind his refusal to see reason, it strikes me that if one of us IS autistic, it is most likely him!

Lover Calling

Lover has broken his radio silence and called me. He says he is still having issues with distortion but cannot explain exactly what he means by that. He also tells me that he thinks he developed claustrophobia. He was outside at the time. Yes, his thinking is definitely distorted!


You Tube v Pirate Bay

Following on from the iPad struggle, a friend points out another case of the unofficial beating the legit hands down..

For no cost entertainment, I use the free (but legal) streaming movies service available at You Tube. There are several pages of movies available, some of them are even blockbusters – well, they were once! Others are just plain bizarre, such as ‘Autopsy – a love story’, which is described as a ‘  psychological study in post-mortem romance’. Nice!!

Actually, some of the movies are really good but there’s just one trouble with them – audio-visually speaking, the quality is dire, especially as there may well be interruptions due to something going wrong with the streaming . This means that watching them can be a frustrating process, particularly as Sod’s Law dictates that these f**k ups will happen at the most gripping points.

My friend thinks that I am completely mad to continue subjecting myself to this poor quality viewing experience. Not for him, the stops and starts and pixellations.  He would never suffer this way himself; he watches all the very best, newest films with top quality picture and sound, he tells me. He does not pay for these pleasures though, he merely pops along to Pirate Bay and makes use of a torrent app to gather up anything he wants. It’s all on there, he says, and all completely FOC.

Now, being a law abiding person, this is not the sort of activity I would want to get involved in but it does seem ridiculous that, once again, the quality of an unauthorised product is superior to the legit version. In this case, if he is not telling porkies, vastly superior!Furthermore,  it certainly seems to prove that the tiresome warnings on bought DVDs, telling us that pirated versions are nowhere near as good as the original, are very far from being true.

Strange Message

Lover was expected to arrive last night but instead sent a text to let me know he could not make it. I was not entirely surprised that he had done so as he has plenty of form in this area. What did surprise/confuse me was the excuse, namely that he is “distortingly unwell’. Not a phrase I have come across before and seemingly making no sense whatsoever. Perhaps he will be able to explain it to me when I see him next, provided he is not too distorted.

Resurrecting an iPad: Apple 0, Jailbreakers 1

When I was asked recently if I could attempt to work my magic on a bricked iPad, I was not exactly thrilled. I know very little about iPads: Son has one but other than doing the initial set up some months ago, I haven’t seen it since. However, as (Ex)Husband pointed out, I do own an iPhone and an iMac, so it couldn’t be too difficult, could it?

It could.

Although the iPad was happy to start (and sometimes even showed the Apple logo) it then switched to a white screen. The only other thing it did was show the red battery warning icon after a fairly short amount of time, necessitating stopping the process and leaving it to charge for at least 20 minutes, as recommended by Apple.

I filled these minutes by searching the Apple site for ideas. I then carried out their ideas but guess what? None of them worked and the iPad remained bricked.

(Ex)Husband suggested borrowing Son’s iPad, doing a back up and then putting the back up on the sick iPad: a swift search revealed this would not work as Son’s iPad is much newer and is now running a version of IOS that Apple refuse to allow first gen iPads to upgrade to.

It soon became apparent that there was not going to be any help from Apple. Apparently, the only help they might offer would be to people whose machine is still in warranty, in which case, they suggest you return it to the Apple Store and get it exchanged. Not very helpful when the device is on its second owner and way out of warranty.

Finally, I realised that as the iPad was as good as dead already, it was time for sh*t or bust manoeuvres, in other words, Jailbreak time! Within five minutes, I had found both suitable software and instructions to deal with it. Within a further five (including a couple spent fighting with the iPad to force it into DFU mode) the iPad finally began to boot…..the Apple logo appeared…….a white screen did NOT appear……a Home Screen appeared! Oh happy days!

So what is the point of this tale? The point is that APPLE should be supplying software to get their users out of trouble, they shouldn’t have to rely on searching for Jailbreaks. How can it be that I can spend literally hours fiddling around following Apple’s instructions to fix one of their devices and yet have the tablet up and running in minutes when using unauthorised software?

How can they stop supporting a device that they released only a couple of years ago, leaving the owner without the option to sort out serious software meltdowns by upgrading the OS?

Furthermore, why the hell is there no proper Off switch on either the iPad or the iPhone? No way of taking the battery out? Does it really make sense to have swipe the screen to turn the thing off? Of course it doesn’t. I am aware of the pressing the sleep button and home button at the same time trick but it is so, so fiddly and if you miss the right moment to stop pressing, the damn thing starts to boot again, especially if, like me, you have twitchy fingers!

While I am at it, I may as well rant about a further Apple design fault – the lack of delivery receipts for SMS messages on the iPhone. This is a really important feature, practically every other phone has it, so why not the iPhone? Surely not because they want you to encourage your friends to buy an iPhone, just so you can get read receipts by using iMessage?!


Truth and Bigotry

The arrival of snow in the air and a temperature of minus something had convinced (Ex) Husband that it was not going to be an ideal night to hang about in a car park with his fellow pervs. This meant that he was at home to witness of the arrival of Lover, well refreshed and loquacious, at just before midnight.

Whatever Lover originally had on his mind will now be lost in the mists of time, as on seeing (Ex)Husband, he immediately began to berate him for plotting against him with his (Lover’s) wife.

“I know you’ve been talking to her!” he cried, “I am out of the loop in my own house! She’s got you doing everything round there!”

(Ex)Husband appeared surprised by the onslaught: when asked previously, Lover had claimed he had no objection to him doing a few odd jobs for his wife, provided that (Ex)Husband kept his mouth shut about Lover’s own visits to see me.

After a couple of minutes attempting rational discussion with Lover, (Ex)Husband gave it up as a bad job, announcing that he would go to bed and leave us to it. A generous gesture? Not quite – he knows the ‘fun’ that entertaining Lover when he has over imbibed can be…

Immediately (Ex)Husband had disappeared, Lover began a conversation about the bigotry of truth. There is no such thing as truth, he declared, all truth is only a matter of opinion and, as such, must be bigoted.

I found this a rather strange viewpoint and wondered if I had been labouring under a misapprehension about the meaning of bigotry. However, on checking with the dictionary, it seemed that it meant exactly what I thought it did: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself. This being the case, I could not see how the word could be applied to ‘truth’, which means: that which is in accordance with fact or reality.

As an example, I suggested to Lover that if he and I were to be sitting in my garden and happened to notice my dog sniffing about at the far end before dashing across the lawn to join us, we would both have seen this happen and there could be no doubt that this was in fact an example of truth: a dog had been sniffing about and then run towards us. How could such a truth be bigoted?

Lover replied that it may well be truth but such a truth would still be bigoted. He would not give any reasons as to why: it just was, he said.

It was beginning to look like it would be a long night but Lover had now become aware of a half-finished bottle of wine lurking on the table. It had been there all along but he had been too caught up in his pontificating for it to feature on his radar. Once spotted, a sudden change of attitude ensued, followed shortly afterwards by the appearance of a completely empty wine bottle.

Thus fortified, Lover was now in his element, singing away happily. It was then a fairly easy matter to sing him to the door and help him gently into the night…

It is hard to recall a time now when Lover actually was what the name implies, rather than someone who turns up, creates havoc and has to be persuaded to go away again. Perhaps one day that person will re-emerge. I shall not, however, be holding my breath.



Down Among the Mad Men

I am beginning to wonder if perhaps there is something about me that causes insanity in others. (Ex) Husband has been totally potty for donkey’s years and now Lover tells me that he, too, feels he is going mad. In response to my query as to whether he feels it might be an idea to do something about this, he tells me that no, he is quite enjoying it really.

(Ex)Husband backs up his madness with his bizarre proclivities, which I mentioned here some time ago. Lover expresses himself in his paintings which are….different….to say the least. They are abstract but have recognisable features thrown in here and there, including faces and, oddly, things that look suspiciously like phallic symbols (this is denied). The paintings are completed by random words and phrases which occasionally make sense although apparently, anything that does is actually a mistake as it is all meant to be completely mystifying. Well, he’s managed that alright!

The Curse of the Toolbar

In the course of my work, I am often presented with computers that are creaking so much it is a wonder they haven’t given up altogether. Their worried owners are sure that they have not got a virus (and quite often they are right!) but whatever could be causing this slow down?

Nine times out of ten, the answer can quickly be found by checking out the state of the internet browser. It is a rare day indeed when I find one that is not awash with toolbars, so much so that there is often very little window left! There are search toolbars, AV toolbars, smiley toolbars, you name it, there’s a toolbar for it. And all of them, to a bar, merrily processing data in the background, even if the user is not actually interacting with the toolbar at the time.

Most of the time, there is nothing sinister going on (although malware can and frequently does arrive in the form of a toolbar or other ‘helper’ application) but these add ons play havoc with the computer’s resources and leave it with the performance capabilities of a swimmer in a tank of thick porridge.

Knowing how people love to cling to their possessions, even if virtual, I always ask customers if they are actually using the problematic programs. Most of them respond that they have never used them, they just somehow got installed when they were installing or updating something else and yes, they would love me to get rid of them, which I am happy to do.

Why oh why do software companies persist in pushing these rubbish applications on us? It is not just the dreadful effect that  they have on performance , it is also the fact that they don’t even do what they are supposed to do! The search results from one of the toolbars I tried  recently bore no relation to the query and reminded me of long ago mid 1990s searches, when the search engine was in its infancy. As for the so called antivirus toolbars, it seemed that pretty much everywhere was on the banned list.

All this is bad enough but it is not even as if the user has freely chosen to install this stuff – a moment’s inattention failing to uncheck a box or choosing an express rather than a custom upgrade/install and the crapware sneaks in on the sly.

So pay attention next time you install – think before you click!


UK Budget 2012

It’s that time of year again: tomorrow we shall discover what exciting new taxes the government have thought up to bleed us dry this year.

Why do we have to go through this year after year? Not forgetting that now there is an autumn statement too – another excuse to grab some more loot from the unlucky taxpayer!

Taxation could and should be perfectly simple. Forget VAT, forget NI, forget different tax bands. All the government needs to do is tax EVERYONE (no get out clause for the low paid) on their earned income, say at 10%. Lower earners can contribute (good for self respect) and higher earners feel less ‘taxed until the pips squeak’ (so will be keen to earn more) thus filling  the exchequer’s coffers more quickly.

No doubt there will be those that say taxing in this way would be terribly complicated and cost extra but look at the current system! All those pen pushers, dealing with different rates for this and different rates for that. How difficult can it be to bin everything and start again with one rate for all?

Perhaps when they’ve done that, they might consider doing something sensible with local taxation as well.

More of the Same

Several months have passed since I last updated this blog and my life has continued to be much the same, the only difference being that Ex-Husband has a new and rather disturbing hobby. To be precise, it is more of an obsession as he feels the need to indulge virtually every night. He has discovered that there are several nearby car parks that, at night, are filled with men and woman looking for sexual fun of games. Most of them are happy to do this in public, putting on a ‘show’ for the others. This is known as ‘dogging’, Ex-Husband tells me.

Apparently, some of the doggers also go to parties held at adult clubs but Ex-Husband is not keen on trying this as single men have to pay a hefty fee to get in.  He thinks it is ridiculous to pay for something he can get free and looks down on the men who ‘open their wallets for it’.

Ex-Husband claims there is a lady at one of the locations he frequents who arrives, removes all her clothes and then lies on the ground, awaiting attention. This sounds completely over the top to me but he is adamant he is telling the truth.

Quite why he feels the need to tell me all about his ‘fun’ is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he is trying to be cruel and make me jealous. If so, he is too late. Anything I ever felt for him has shrivelled and died and will not be coming back. It is true that I feel disgusted by his activities but I would feel that way whoever was involved. It also saddens me that these people cheapen what should be a beautiful form of physical communication between loving partners and not only that, with their ‘look at me’ antics, any  normal romantic couples fancying a cuddle down the local lovers’ lane are either going to be disappointed or find themselves providing the entertainment for a bunch of perverts!


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