Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Old school

Here is a pre-blog rant that I did from march 2003. I don't think I liked the pub.

Don't spend your Oxford Scholars here

It's after work on a Friday night. You've had a tough week and you are relaxing with a few friends enjoying an cleansing ale. Someone suggest, since the World Cup of Cricket is on, to head off to a pub to watch a game. Splendid idea! So off we go.

We head down to the Oxford Scholar, a large pub opposite RMIT, which is equipped with two huge screens located in different rooms. A huge billboard out the front declared
It's about 10 past so we rush in expecting to see the cricket. What we get on all screens and TV's scattered throughout the pub is that strange sport where you smell your fellow team mates arse and repeatedly try to hump the ground. That's right, rugby. Now I know that bar staff don't have to be geniuses, but even an American can tell the difference. We approached the bar staff to ask if one of the giant screens could be switched to the cricket. The perplexed look of the bar staff seemed to suggest that we had just asked them to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity. I swear I could hear rusty cogs turning in their brains because I'm sure their brains haven't been used since the 17th century. After the smoke emanating from their ears had died down, they responded with, "Ahhh.. no. That table over there is watching the rugby". Anything wrong with this picture? Think about it. Advertising out the front, two screens in different rooms and enough space in the pub so that sound would take hours to get from one side to the other. This was calmly explained to them. The answer, "Ahhh.. no." The bar staff then had this brilliant idea, they would turn it to the cricket after the rugby finished. A rugby match goes for 80 minutes, 45 minutes of the match had expired. Do the math. I told them that this would be over half an hour away. The response. "No it won't". Either this guy has discovered time travel or he decided to leave his brain at home because it needed the rest. At this point, jumping the bar and performing various wrestling maneuvers seemed appropriate.

We would have left but we had to wait for someone who was meeting us there. In the meantime the manager turned up and switched the TV to the cricket. I don't believe in miracles, but this almost convinced me. Maybe, just maybe order had been restored. How foolish of me to think that.

As we sat down at a table to finally watch the cricket, half an hour late, two of our party were asked to move their chairs because they constituted a fire hazard. Looking around this vast establishment, one could not fail to notice the lack of patronage. If a fire happened to break out, the eight of us plus the dozen or so other clients would have had no problems of escaping. Do you know how far they had to move. About 20 cm!!!! 20 %$#@ing centimetres. There was already plenty of space for even Fat Bastard to pass through. That extra 20 cm would not have made a cracker of a difference. There were also three other exits which very wider and already open, closer and more convinient to escape via. Do you think people rushing from a fire would bypass the open doors saying "No... we must exit via the closed door!" What next?

When the staff came round to pick up our glasses, we asked them not to since we were buying jugs and needed them. The bar staff must have had the memory of a goldfish because by the time they had got to the end of the table, they started picking up glasses. How do these people get jobs???

Here's another good one. As we are sitting at the table, 'My brain can't cope with breathing and pumping blood at the same time' comes by and moves the table about 40 cm. The reason for this?? "A pub crawl of about 80 are coming through". As already mentioned, there is two and a dog in the hotel, with plenty of room behind us to comfortably house all twelve tribes of Israel and descendants. Not to mention that the entrances they would most likely use are nowhere near us. Why they had to move a table (ours was the only one moved) which would have had no effect on capacity is a mystery that could should only feature in that really bad 70's show "In search Of..." hosted by Dr Spock. We waited expectingly for this huge group of pub crawlers. We waited. And we waited. 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes and still nothing. One hour later they turned up and not one of them came within cooee of our table. They all stayed in they vast space behind us. Looks like moving the table had the desired effect.

If you want service by bar staff who redefine the medical definition of bloody useless, then this is the pub for you. Else, going home and banging your head against a wall would cause you less pain.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

This weekend at Rod Laver Arena there will be a gathering of Jehovah Witnesses. Now they believe that when Armaggedon comes, only 144000 will go to heaven. Now when is Armaggedon? It is pretty important for them to find out so they can be ready. Here then is the date for Armeggedon as predicted by Charles Taze Russell, thier founder: 1914.
Whoops, he must of been surprised when that year came and went.

He then went on to predicted 1915. When he lived through that year they revised it to 1918. Sadly Charles died in 1916 and was unable to witness whether that prediction came true. OK, so they made a few wrong predictions. But surely they must get it right sometime. Let's see, further predictions were 1920, 1925, 1932, 1941, 1975 and although not endorsed by the church, some followers thought 1994.

What happens when so many of these predictions are wrong? What does a church do when they make claims that fail the test? The answer is, of cause, to deny ever making the claim and throw the blame on someone else. The church tells their followers that there never was such a prediction. The followers quickly fall into line and any memory of the failed predictions are easily forgotten. The church no longer makes predictions but still tells their followers that they should be prepared for the end of the world, because that day may suddenly arrive.

I think I'll take my chances.

(The information was taken from this article.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

No intelligence behind ID

Yesterday I read "Let's have a proper scientific debate" from The Age about the controversy regarding Intelligent Design (ID). Now for something to be scientific, its got to follow the scientific method. That is, to be a scientific theory it must be based on evidence, it should make predictions and it should be falsifiable. Falsifiable means that there must be some experiment which could prove the theory wrong. For example, I state that the earth is flat. The experiment would be to walk east forever. If the earth was flat, I should come to an edge or I would continue forever and never reach my starting point. Similarly, the same goes for the theory that the earth is a sphere. It can be tested in the same way. The result of the experiment tells us whether to accept or reject the particular theory.

Now ID does not make predictions and is not falsifiable. Hence it isn't scientific. Hence you can't have a proper scientific debate. It doesn't even get to start. The first question the author should be asking himself is "Is it scientific?" or more to the point "Do I know what science is?".

To me it is a "god of the gaps". If we don't know something then the answer must be that some supernatural being did it. Throughout human history supernatural beings have been used to fill gaps in our knowledge. But these beings vanish once we actually find the mechanisms behind nature. Image if the date was 1905 and not 2005. If all people thought that it was a supernatural being who was responsible for the things we didn't know, we would have no TV, computers, penicillin, knowledge of DNA, etc, etc. All ID does is to stop further questioning. Sound familiar?

In it the author suggest that Anthony Flew, a world famous atheist, has accepted ID. Read this article which was written by someone who followed this up and interviewed Flew. Read the January 2005 update at the bottom and make up your own mind. For mine, this 82 year old has just given up because it is too hard to investigate the evidence. Great science, hey.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

We don't know the problem. Take these pills and see what happens.

Pain. It' s not a bad thing. Without it you are a leper. It's telling you something. Maybe if I had listened to my pain earlier I wouldn't have spent three hours lying in a hospital bed wearing the gown which shows your bottom to the world.

Physical pain. I enjoy it. The feeling of hurting so much that you want to stop but you just keep pushing yourself through. But afterwards, the sense of achievement and the endorphins rushing through your body give you a fantastic high. The only problem is that by feeling the pain you may actually do harm to your body, in particular when your body has experienced many injuries. It's the risk you take (I'm suffering from that now).

Emotional pain. This I do not enjoy. And there is the difference. I'm willing to take risks with my physical body and push it to the limits but I am reluctant to do so with my emotional body. It's strange how you can use one set of principles in one part of your life yet not apply those same ideas to other parts. It's very hypocritical. Slowly that's changing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A long time between drinks

It's been a while since my last post and it's been 4 weeks since I've had an alcoholic drink. For those of you who know me, you can pick yourselves off the ground now.
It has been a strange four weeks. The first time I went to a pub after making the decision to be healthy for a while, I craved for beer. It didn't help that it was Rock 'n' Wrestle. Rock, wrestling and beer go so well together. But I managed to endure the night and enjoy the wrestling. After that occasion there has only been one other time when I've desired beer. This is so unlike me. If I went out and beer tasted good (when doesn't it?) I would drink heaps and sometimes not even worry about dinner. Now, I don't particularly want to have a drink, even at the footy (This is the second time some of you may have to pick yourselves off the ground.)
It is interesting how different people react to you at a pub when you are not drinking.I was at the wrestling with Elaine and I ordered a beer and a lemonade. The bartender put the beer in front of me and the lemonade in front of Elaine, the assumption being that if one of you isn't drinking it must be the female. On friday, some of us were at a pub celebrating the last week of our teaching round. One of the guys wanted to have a huge night and was buying beer for everyone. He was really trying hard to get me a drink. I got called soft a lot. It didn't faze me.
Can I have fun without having a drink? At the moment I don't really know the answer to this question. The company and the entertainment has been good, but I haven't really been excited nor let myself go. This is no reflection on the people who I've been out with because I really do like being around them. Even at the footy, where I can get fairly worked up, I've been relatively calm. Is this what I'm really like? When I drink do I turn into someone who isn't really me? I don't know. The experiment shall continue.