October 13, 2010

Things That Annoy Me: Part 98 613 257 - Electric Hand Dryers

Has there ever been such a shit invention as the electric hand dryer? I can just imagine slimy salesmen up and down the country, back when they were invented, promoting their hygienic benefits and lack of laundry bills. And of course this is true. Who wants to rub their hands on a much-used towel in a public place? Not me.

So they're hygienic. True. They save paper. This is also true. They save on laundry bills if you happen to use traditional towels in a public place. This, it has to be said, is true.

However, they seem to fall down when it comes to one basic fucking thing, i.e. that they don't ever, ever not fucking never, dry your hands. And if failing at what is their essential function wasn't bad enough, they take longer to do it.

There is no simple answer. Paper towels are costly and wasteful. Traditional towels are unhygienic and need laundering, and electric 'hand-dryers' are a waste of fucking time and electricity.

We may feel like live in an age when we have invented every electrical convenience, but there is a huge gap in the market for someone who can invent an efficient system for drying hands that isn't wasteful, unhygienic AND that actually works.

Come on budding inventors - over to you!

October 04, 2010

Disgraceful Behaviour

My friend Andy came over to visit on Saturday for a week or so. On the first night we went to local western style bar called Miller Time – a popular haunt around these parts. There were a group of around 15 westerners there, mostly teachers I’m guessing, as their hair was, generally, too long to be army types.

They were being really loud, even for westerners, and a few of the guys were standing with their trousers around their ankles (underwear, thankfully, intact) and others were taking their t-shirts off and waving them around etc.

This went on for an hour or so until the seemingly very nice Korean manager lady asked them to leave. Of course they wouldn’t go, and it took her ages to get them out.

Furthermore, two of the group decided to pick a fight with FIVE big, and I mean big, American soldiers sitting at the other side of the bar. In the end I decided to help the manager out and talked these two morons into leaving, for their own safety as much as anything else. These soldiers would, I have no doubt, eaten them for breakfast.

THEN, one of the drunken idiots from the first group who’d been thrown out, came back in and started screaming in the Korean manager’s face, calling her ‘racist’ amongst other things. I was furious at him and he got a severe verbal shouting-at from me, and to be honest, I felt like making it a lot more. He ignored me, carried on calling her names then stormed out. Andy and I agreed that if we saw this guy outside he was ‘getting it’. We didn’t see him. If any of you are reading this, my email is at the side there – I will happily meet any of you any time you like to discuss this further.

I don’t know which country they were all from – I’m guessing a mixture – but it’s the first time I have been truly embarrassed to be associated with westerners whilst being out here. Utter, utter idiots, and a total disgrace.

October 02, 2010

The Literal Use of Literally

I want to talk about the word ‘literally’. Too many smug wordy types get a hard-on every time someone uses the word wrongly, i.e. for emphasis, e.g. “She literally exploded with rage.” What they meant, of course, was ‘she figuratively exploded with rage’, but who’s going to say that?

The point is, and I think I may be new in saying this, is that the word ‘literally’ isn’t itself used literally, in the true meaning of the word. It’s used, as I said, to emphasise. You might say ‘she completely exploded with rage’, or she ‘absolutely exploded…’ These are equally erroneous, but don’t instigate mirth. It’s about time the meaning changed, in the same way that other words’ meanings have changed, or become diluted. I’m tired of smug assholes sniggering into their sleeves because someone said ‘literally’ instead of another emphatic word.

You may argue that it’s wrong, and actually, it is. But so is saying ‘I’m terribly sorry’, ‘that’s great’, or, using the above example, ‘she completely exploded’. All of these are just as wrong, and personally I feel it’s about time that the word literally took a duality of meaning, just as ‘terribly’ or ‘awfully’ have. The ‘awfully’ in ‘I’m awfully sorry’ has no connection to the true meaning of awful, and neither does ‘terribly’. So why the hang up on ‘literally’?

Some people just like pointing out other people’s obvious mistakes to make themselves look clever, in my opinion.

Oh, but don’t get me started on ‘could of’ instead of “could have” or “could’ve”.