Thursday, 21 April 2011

I hate . . . Goldfish

According to Wikipedia, goldfish are "Goldfish are popular pond fish, since they are small, inexpensive, colorful, and very hardy".

No they are not. It a myth.

I have to hand them the popular bit. I can see why - with PR like that, a lot of parents will see them as a great pet. Billed as cheap and easy to care for, even the busiest family can cope with having one.

Unfortunately it's not actually true. Take cheap for a start. The fish are cheap, but you can't just plonk them in a glass bowl of tap water. No, you need:

  • a proper fish tank
  • a pump to circulate the water
  • stuff for treating the water
  • rocks or something to hide in - except you can't just use a rock from the garden, you have to use an artificial resin rock
  • plants - either real ones that get eaten, or fake ones that look, well, fake
  • chemicals for treating the tap water

Ok, not cheap then - how about easy?

They fail on that part too. They certainly seem to need more care than I remember, changing the water weekly, cleaning filters, measuring additives. At least they only need fed once a day.

Dead goldfish make poor petsHowever, the biggest drawback of all is the 'hardy' part. Despite carefully following all the instructions about letting the tank settle in for a few days before adding fish, carefully measuring additives to remove chlorine, and letting the water from the pet show slowly mix with the tank water, you still come in the next day to find them floating upside down in the tank, and have to explain where they went.

On the upside, at least they are all pretty much identical, and have no personality to speak off, so sneaking in Salt II and Pepper II when they return from their 'holiday' should not be too hard

At least until the next morning. Which reminds me - must pick up a net.

Friday, 15 April 2011

I hate . . . Anti-piracy warnings on DVDs

I like watching DVDs. I like the sound and picture clarity, the ability to jump to bookmarks, the add-on interactive bits and extras. I've not upgraded yet, but I'm sure Blu-ray would be good as well, just with better resolution.

However, I am beginning to increasingly loathe the anti-piracy warnings. You know the ones by FACT or the FBI.

Don't misunderstand me - I actually support enforcement of copyright, because without it there would be no new films, games, books or programs. People would and could just copy things, not paying the creators, who would have to go off and do something that actually paid money. What really, really bugs me is these.

FACT anti piracy warning video

They put this or similar ominous warnings at the front of my DVDs. You can't skip it. You can't fast forward. You HAVE TO WATCH IT EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU PUT THE DVD IN.

There are a couple of huge flaws in this. Firstly, I bought this DVD. I would like to watch it, and delaying that pleasure is just going to annoy me. That annoyance is going to be transferred to the source - FACT in this instance.

Secondly, if I did want to make an illegal copy of the DVD or Blu-ray disk, I would edit the source so the copyright warnings were removed. Only legitimate, paid for versions have the irritating ads, but not the very copies they are trying to prevent.

So, a little bit of unrequested advice. Make it possible to fast forward or skip the copyright ads and splash screens. It has just as much effect (about none) and is not going to create loads of negative feelings towards you and the whole issue of copyright in general.

Monday, 11 April 2011

I hate . . . The Supermarket Time Warp

I've noticed an odd effect recently when going into the local supermarket to get just a few things. It's primarily found when going to a large supermarket to buy a few items. I'm sure further studies will show if the effects are proportional to the size of the supermarket or the number of items.

Supermarkets distort space and time!

A graph may make this clearer:

As you can clearly see, despite careful timing 72% of the time spent inside a supermarket cannot be accounted for.

I think this is a worrying effect, and we must legislate to reduce these effects:

  • Prevent development of any supermarkets larger than current ones, as they may be able to create an effect significant enough to destroy the fabric of the universe
  • Fit large clocks to the exterior of the buildings to allow visitors to check the real time
  • Check to see if there is also an effect on local gravity fields, which may explain how customers of that size are still able to move

Sunday, 3 April 2011

I hate . . . Gardening

Gardening. Pretty much since we moved away from subsistence farming, people have been gardening for fun. There's been a bit of a resurgence in growing food, but the vast majority of what we grow is nor particularly edible.

So why do we do it? I'm struggling to come up with any answers. It seems rather an exercise in futility

Having just spent the afternoon hacking into trees and bushes, I think that I don't like the garden, and it does not like me. The plants are doing their best to injure with a wide selection of pointy bits, thorns and spikes. The nice looking plants always die (especially if you have actually paid for them), while the ones you don't want are un-killable.

The best part, though, is that it's never-ending. Despite all the chopping, snipping, digging, trimming and mowing, in a month time it'll need doing all over again.

So here's the biggest demand for genetic engineering: I want grass that gowns to 3 cm and stops. Shrubs that never outgrow their space. Hedges that form neat, square edges. Trees that don't try to take over the whole area, and slugs that only eat weeds. Is that too much to ask?

Failing that, there's always plan B

Pave the Planet! (from

Friday, 1 April 2011

I hate . . . Blocking Junctions

Like so many others, I have to drive to work. Despite all the rhetoric, public transport is not really an option, taking 4 times longer and costing as least as much as the petrol.My drive is mostly through built up areas, and passes involves several places where I have to turn through the traffic. It's generally pretty busy, with cars queueing at most junctions, whether or not they have traffic lights.

So why do drivers insist on blocking junctions while waiting? It's not as if they can go anywhere. At most one more car may nip out that junction, delaying then for around 4 or 5 seconds. They decide, instead, to block the junction, preventing any cars turning down it, who then block the road behind them, who block junction further down the road, leading to the queue that caused the the initial blockage.

I think a picture is in order:

Thanks to

No-one can get it right all the time, but to all the drivers that make a habit of doing this - think about the consequences next time!