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  • Mulberries are out

    My mulberry tree is no more. It was so small that last autumn my father mowed the lawn and didn't see it.
    How sad is that.

    I still would like that global warming to come back though. 4 inches of snow for Easter, come on.

  • Orthography

    "Orthography is the science of the dunce" - when I was growing up in France that was one of these sayings. I was very good at orthography (and grammar in general), and I think that generally I can still write decent French if I concentrate enough and can find the words.
    Spelling mistakes really annoy me. Mine even more than other people's, but as I generally do not re-read whatever I write I tend to see that less.
    Bad spelling is endemic though, even with people whose job it is to write (e.g. journalists). How many times do I get infuriated when reading the BBC news website and see somebody who is paid to write prose enter stuff like "compliment" for "complement", "it's" for "its". It's not THAT hard is it, if even a Frenchman can get those things right?
    But no. It's there. Is it laziness or ignorance? Well I guess to the vast majority of people it doesn't matter. Only sticklers like me get wound up about it (well, within the boundaries of my own knoweldge of course...).
    A few years ago I read "Eats, shoots and leaves", and I felt soulmate-y with the woman who wrote it (Lynn Truss?).
    On the other hand it worries me that I should be one of those anoraks or people who get wound up about futilities like that.

    Oh I'm not aging well. The grey hairs are eating at my positive brain cells.

    P.S. Thanks for not pointing out spelling mistakes in this post.

  • Being random

    Remember Big Brother, any series? Participants compete as to who is the most "genuine".
    "Genuine" seems to mean to react and speak without thinking first - a la Jade Goody. Is that commendable? People like that worry me, because I know that first instincts are far from always reasonable, sociable and even less altruistic. I believe that "genuine" means completely instinctive, and let's face it a human being without thought is an animal. That's not to say that thinking human beings are not animals, there are enough genocidal leaders, present and past, to prove it.
    But I think that glorifying non-thought is dangerous. Oh yes some people are "genuinely nice", but that's because they think of other people before acting.

    At the other end of the scale there are people who weigh everything they say, I believe, or at least who are able to pretty much completely tailor their actions to achieve a certain goal. I feel sorry for myself for not being able to do that, as I think it is a key factor in success in business. I know there are people I talk to who have goals to achieve and are able to orientate all their responses towards that. People who see through the present situation, rise above it and put it in a certain context that suits them.

    Example: somebody who is completely career-focused and in many environments act in order to boost his prospects.
    Question is, if I was able to become like that would I be the same person still? Would I just be a calculating scheming bastard (as opposed to simply a bastard)?

    I believe such people have the ability to compartmentalize their personality according to the context. Something I haven't managed to do yet. If I am angry, I am angry with everybody around me, I am not going to smile to anybody. And I fear that closes the loop to me being in the first category mentioned - feral.

    But who knows.

  • Global warming please come back

    Where is global warming? Is it gone or what?
    Ok today is a bit better, but still only high 10s and it's June.
    May was just horrible and COLD.
    That's no good to me. I was kind of counting on global warming to help the little mulberry tree I planted a few weeks ago grow, because the traditional/pre global warming North Yorkshire climate is deemed not warm enough for it - dixit some garden expert.

    So save my mulberry tree. Buy a fat car, drive to the airport maxed out in 3rd gear, fly to Brazil and chop down some trees while you are there.

    My poor little tree.
    Plus I forgot to water it again.

  • Intelligence again

    I am coming to the conclusion that intelligence is mostly irrelevant in life. Or maybe intelligence on its own. Even if you do something pretty clever, if you don't go out and sell it and sell it well, it will only be clever to you.
    Since I am starting to talk bollocks like the epsilon semi-moron that I am. I might as well stop and compose myself and think of something intelligent to say.

  • Various rants

    Today is rant day, I've got a few to share:

    - Microwave ovens - why ON THIS EARTH do they have to beep every nn seconds after having finished heating and until you open the door? Why do they ALL do that? (Or do you know any (recent) that don't?). Who came up with the idea? That bloke should get shot for that and get a Darwin award. And why did everybody else follow? It's not like the food is still cooking once it's finished, it's a microwave. Ok I calm down now.

    - Grockles on commuter trains. If you commute by train you will have noticed them. The train is packed and they occupy empty seats with their bags. They can't be bothered to use the luggage holders or look around them to realize that there is no space left and people can't even get on the train anymore. Of course when you tell them they oblige but how can you be so hermetic and obtuse?

    - Squealing. I can't help it, I can't stand girls squealing with excitement. Girls, if you want sexual discrimination to go down you'll just have to stop because squealing just makes it worse.

    Well this is good because in those 3 things I hate there isn't a single one in which I play part even one bit. I have never been involved in microwaves. On trains I am a commuter not a grockle. And I am a bloke and don't squeal (actually squealing blokes are even worse).
    That's massive: no need to hate myself or self-deprecate, and therefore no feeling sorry for myself right now. An achievement these days.

    Note, I have much more in-store, but I need to limit myself not to get completely worked up.

  • Follow-up on intelligence question

    Well today I have been unusually brave. I clicked on a link from the Wikipedia IQ Test page and did the (non-verbal) test in its entirety.
    It gave me a result of 131, which allegedly puts me "at Mensa level", 2% of population. There were 60 questions, I answered 58 correctly. One of my 2 errors was on the FIRST question - which is unbelievably stupid of me since the questions grow in complexity. I.e. it was the easiest. How silly is that? I could have been a genius today - but I'm just too dumb! Fittingly.

    Still, it is comforting, it was a risk worth taking. Well done me.

    See? Action. Boldness pays.

    Maybe this is a new start. I am going to be emboldened by my new-found cleverness and start achieving things. Well today wasn't as dull as I anticipated in the end: I started a blog and found on the back of some dodgy test on t'internet that I am a dumbed down near-genius.

    Actually this may well all be bollocks because of the so-called Flynn Effect...

    I often find that the outcome of some action is the one I hadn't thought of. For this and other reasons I tend not to think in the longer term and not make advance planning of virtually anything. A Winner (i.e. somebody with the mind of a winner - I know some) would tell me to grab my life and make things happen. And I want to do that, move on from being pretty much a pure fatalist. But I haven't found the will yet. It's like I need to catch up with the present before trying to overtake it.

  • Giving it a try

    This is my first blog.
    A possible motivation is to try out the catharsis of the occasional brain dump / rant.

    My name is Gizzard. Gizzards are ducks' muscular stomachs. And believe me they are very tasty. I always find a stupid pleasure in gauging English people's reactions when I boast of loving the bloody things. Maybe writing this here will help me stop this cretinous habit (the boasting, not the eating).

    So here is my name. One of the first things that came to my mind when trying to find an alias, really. Yes I think a lot about food. I am not what you would call a foodie though. I believe people mistake me being French and talking about food (and wine) with actually being a kind of connoisseur or expert. I just enjoy food, without having any sort of refined tastes. And I am a bad cook.

    This reminds me that a book I really liked is The Debt To Pleasure written by John Lanchester. The narrator is a meticulous writer and cook, and the creeping story is interleaved with receipes. I recommend it and am not going to spoil it for the unlikely reader who would surprisingly choose to give it a go.

    A question that really bugs me

    This has been on my mind for a long time - what is intelligence or rather who is intelligent? When I was younger, in academia intelligence seemed to have an objective meaning, which could basically be measured by a weighted ratio of grades obtained to effort. So I was considering myself quite intelligent, and other people seemed to agree. I had a very quick mind when it came to maths (as in logical reasoning not multiplying big numbers) and Ancient Greek translation - compared to my classmates anyway. (I was rubbish at many other things, for example German vocabulary learning). I was watching closely my results to effort ratio, making sure that my results were above others and my effort minimal - it actually worked quite well for me when I was studying maths (physics and chemistry were also part of the course and I was hopeless at them though).

    And then... Crash.

    In real life this definition doesn't seem to hold. I don't know. Contrary to what I had always assumed intelligence and success (professional, financial and otherwise) do not seem correlated. Intelligent people don't necessarily get rich or have good jobs. Rich/powerful people don't always seem particularly intelligent. Intelligence seems subjective. I am not sure IQ is an objective measure - if you do lots of IQ tests you do them better and better anyway. (I wouldn't dare testing my IQ for fear of having to admit that I am at best average). A while ago I read about EQ (I think) - emotional quotient. Ability to adapt to a given situation. It may be more relevant to potential for success in life, but then it seems to fly in the face of many brilliant academics who excel in their own specialty. These would not be qualified as "intelligent" anymore.

    So what do you think? The question of intelligence is one of my quests. I have been raised in the (naive?) idea that "intelligence" (academic success which I redefined myself with the ratio explained above) was the key to the higher spheres of the world.
    And here I am.

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