What… did I do something wrong…?

August 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm (Personal) (, , , , )

Todays post we break routine a little bit in that I recount an occurrence of the day. Rregular programming will resume shortly.

If you follow my blog regularly you would know that I work for a BMW dealership. Today was one of those days where you can’t help but feel we still suffer from a bit of  “tall poppy” syndrome.

Sit down children while I tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a Space Grey 320 MSport that lived in a small village where there was a small flock of BMWs. Now Bip, as they called him was looking a little thirsty, so after his shepherd boy had his lunch, he decided to take him to the local petrol station for a drink.

Bip had been given a bath that morning so he was sparkly and shiny.

When they arrived at the petrol station for his feeding, there was a big scary Kingswood Ute there taking a drink too, so Bip carefully tiptoed around this monster as not to startle him because there was a free feed dish for him just in front.

The rest of the story is just not for children…

Now, this is a small petrol station, so maneuvring around the place sometimes is 50% limbo, 50% tango. Once I was around the Ute, I had to reverse to get to the pump. As I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see the driver of the Kingswood standing there sarcastically applauding.

How do I know he was being sarcastic? The rest of the story, well… tells the story…

So I fill up the car, finish up, wind on the cap, *click*. The Kingswood guy at this time is walking out from the shop paid, and we walk past each other. At this point I was expecting a confrontation (for exactly what I don’t know, but judging by the attitude…).

Anyway, I get to paying, and while I do I look out at my car. He drives out around my car of course and he looks like he death stares the car I drove… I pay no mind, he can’t possibly assault the car now.

While I’m driving back I notice a smear on the side window. Here I think “Dammit… a bird must have crapped on it while some of the girls at work took it out to lunch.”

Annoyed. But I know I can’t really help it as that’s the nature of the business.

I take a second look at the smear and notice it’s a little translucent. *click*

F@$#ing wanker spat on the car as he drove around.

So I drive straight into our wash bay… hose it all off… and smolder a little…

Help me dear readers, did I do something wrong? I drove around his car, to the free pump. Heaven forbid, gave him a slight obstacle to drive past. (I move as far over as I possibly can because I know that this Shell is a tight squeeze).

Spat on my car… seriously…
He didn’t even have the nerve to make eye contact with me on the way out of the petrol station.

I could cast dispersions on his $20 servo sunnies and beat up old Kingswood Ute… but that would just be sinking to his level…

Please set me straight if I’ve got it all wrong… because how it feels right now, it will take some getting over…

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The False Prophet come in auto form, the Hybrid

May 12, 2010 at 12:10 am (Informative) (, , )

The way Hybrid cars have taken over the greater automotive scene is highly reminiscent of the way Apple has taken over the world of consumer appliances. Buyers are taken in by the slick sheen, apparent user friendliness, and all the enticing promises given out in their advertising.

And much like Apple, the goodness that Hybrid cars purport is highly misleading. For the informed, they are merely another option to an endless supply of choices out there on the showroom floor.

They are not the answer.

My gripes over Apple I leave for another post. What I will get to today is the Hybrid car.

It is often said that the Hybrid car is the saviour from our bleak future, otherwise doomed by global warming. Along with the heated (hohoho) debates over global warming, there are great questions hanging over the head of hybrid cars.

It is a well known fact that car companies, when publishing catalogues and brochures – and other public relation flotsam  – they embellish on the technical statistics.
Acceleration times, Top speeds, cornering abilities, and lap times on the Nurburgring compared to some other German manufacturers, to name a few features are often slightly improved to increase appeal.

In our world of ever increasing environmental awareness, two new statistics are garnering much more attention than ever. Fuel Consumption (litres consumed per 100km travelled), and Carbon Emissions (average grams emitted per kilometre travelled). So with the above in mind, do you really believe the manufacturers paint the complete picture when it comes to these figures?

To be plain, auto makers are not strictly lying when it comes to publishing figures in relation to their newest models. These figures are the results of tests conducted in clinical conditions, so they may well be real, but are not in reality attainable. In practical conditions these figures are a long way away.

Toyota/Honda may suggest that their newest hybrid does Xl/100km and emits no more than XXXg/km of carbon in urban driving, but the same is true of any other car. There are the figures presented, achieved through clinical testing, men/women in lab coats and safety glasses et al. and then there is Frank doing the school run in heavy city traffic. You cannot achieve these figures unless you replicate the exact conditions apparent in testing.

A small point to illustrate, the fuel consumption stickers on the cars that I work with with a 3 litre inline six present about 9l/100km in extra urban (or highway) cycle and 11l/100km in urban (or city) cycle. But when you jump onboard, and start driving (and subsequently sitting in traffic), the car’s own onboard readout displays nearly 14l/100km and no matter how much attention you pay to your accelerator pedal this figure will stay largely the same.

It is often easier to work in extremes, so I present you a case. You fully load a Prius with 4 adult passengers, and a full boot of luggage driving around in an urban environment with traffic, you will find fuel consumption will be nothing short of fishy.

One thing that really works against the hybrid’s favour is also the same thing fully electric cars still haven’t made it to mainstream (for different reasons of course).

The batteries.

You may sing the praises of the hybrid upon the high mountain tops, but you can’t hide it under the carpet. Production of the batteries in the first place is highly energy intensive. Then you have the problem of disposing them after their use by date (so far this has been found to be about half a decade). And for the earlier models – hybrids have been around for the greater part of a decade after all – they may have well gone through half a dozen batteries already.
Aside from how much this will hurt your pocket, saying that this is a small price for benefit fuel economy is nothing but short sighted.
It’s reducing one problem for sure but creating an entirely different one.

Decrying the modern petroleum car in this stop start world is missing the point entirely. It’s like using a Bulldozer to thread a needle and saying that it’s too inarticulate and industrial – but what you need to do sort of falls into the range of movement, so you persist anyway.

There is nothing you can do for the petrol automobile if you place upon it the chore of stop/start commuting. The problem is our mode of usage and in the end, our dependancy.

Cars don’t poison the world. People poison the world.

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The Cult of Superficiality pt.2

March 20, 2010 at 1:05 am (Personal) (, , , , )

If you’ve followed my blog at all you’ll know that the pervading superficiality of this contemporary world has a special place in my uncharacteristically resentful heart.

Tonight, unfailingly, as I meet with my group of of friends, there is a special testosterone laden, bravado spouting side of them that likes to rear it’s egotistical head.
Chauvinism.
Mob mentality is such a horrible thing…

There was a particular situation described by a particular person (and if you are reading this, I can only hope you were either joking or drunk. At the same token I wouldn’t be shocked if you were not).

This person was wanting to meet a specific “hot” friend of another’s. But this person has a partner. Regardless, they filled us all in on the plan to leave their partner’s future birthday celebration (because it’s going to be boring anyway…) to hookup with this “hot” friend of a friend.

Is this really what’s inside?

Why are you with your partner at all then? Convenience?

Oh, the person you want to hook up with is “hot”.
I fail to see the point.

I Love my girlfriend for who she is, not because she is pretty. There will come a day inevitably when physically she will not be so.
The “ugliness” of aging.
And because I Love her for who she is, it will be irrelevant, and I will still Love her.
I can only hope that she can still Love me after the day I slowly but forcibly become less handsome than I already, tragically, am not.
I have little doubt in my heart because I know we realise that physical appearance has so little to do with why we are together.

To the rest of the superficial world out there I plead with you, stop chasing the next best thing. There will always be something prettier or more handsome as much as there are still people in the world.
Is the only thing you want to claim is that you have conquered their fickle bodies?

There will always be a younger prettier thing to go to. And this chase by it’s very nature will not end in fulfilment. It will only end in loneliness, as once your days of vanity are over, they will move on from you too.

I understand the view of what’s pretty & beautiful is different for everyone. But no matter what the object of desire is, if they are chased merely for this reason, it is futile.

Look instead for the things inside that you admire.
That transcend physical facade, and outlast any feature of, or on their body.

Because these are the things that you can hold on to, even past the day that the rest of the world does not find you beautiful, that person will.

The thing is, even if my particular “friend” is reading this, I know they’re scoffing at the sentiment. That is the saddest part of all.

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Minor Segue

March 18, 2010 at 7:54 pm (Entertaining) (, )

The Dilemma of the Glass

The Optimist says the Glass is half full,
The Pessimist says the Glass is half empty.

An Engineer will tell you the Glass is at 50% capacity
The Scientist will tell you that it is actually at 47.378%.

Management will put a gag order on their findings and tell them to move on to the next phase.
Marketting will dream up a “killer” campaign, “Buy two and your life will be full!”

The Salesman who used to sell cars but now sells Glasses will try to sell you the Glass for $5,
$4
Ok $3.50 and he’ll throw in half more water again.

The Customer will say s/he/it will think about it, cross the street to buy at iGlass instead. It can complement his/er iTable with iGlass attachment to add to their iLife suite.
The Obsessive will ask you why there’s no coaster.
Her/is emo son will tell them to stop conforming, tell them the Glass is full of his tears, lock himself up in his room and blog about it.

The Online Warehouse will tell you the Glass is so popular that it’s on backorder and you will be notified via Email when stock is replenished. In the meantime they direct you to related products like Empty Glass, Three Quarter Glass or the new model, Overflowing Cup.

The Accountant will send you an invoice for the Glass and the volume of water in the Glass, the Auditor will tell them this is an incorrect value.

The Designer will invent an innovative new attachment to the Glass to follow current popular trends, and you must add it to your order but you don’t know why, you just want it.

The Japanese will design a Glass that is half the size,
the American will design a Glass that is twice the size.
The European will design a Glass that is twice as safe, reliable and stylish, but horridly expensive.
The Chinese will sell you a 6pack of Glasses for wholesale price. But A Current Affair reports the walls of the Glazz are thinner than paper, give you indigestion.
They’ll also fill it to less than half.

The Alcoholic will ask you why the glass isn’t full with scotch, take a swing at you, and pass out mid swing.

The moral of this story?
There are millions of ways to look at an issue… and even a glass of water can be more meaningful than just being drink/drank.

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A star is remembered best when it dies brightly; and Asian Parents (again)

July 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm (Informative, Personal) (, , , , , )

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, and if you’re a regular follower, I apologise. If you know me well enough you can probably guess why I’ve had less to rant about.

Either way let’s get stuck into this post. There are two topics that I have a fondness for, that is asian movie stars, and parents, and recently, an interesting link between the two has surfaced.

When you are famous, you need to die young, or at least move out of the spotlight quietly to save your dignity. Bruce Lee is a great example of this. Aside from the tragic circumstances surrounding his death, passing away at the height of his fame means he doesn’t succumb to the human condition of feeling that longing for the spotlight. Humility is a sometimes is a good word to use when describing such situations. On the opposite side we have Elvis, stories of him being obese in later years dying on the seat of a toilet, and more recently Michael Jackson, the less said about his tortured later life the better. Do I need to mention Tom Cruise? Cassius Clay is also a frail shadow of his former self. I guess we shouldn’t judge them for it. As humans we are all victim to showing bouts of pride. But in his case especially, “keep your words soft and sweet, for one day you may have to eat them.” I’m not blaming the stars for their fame, but they’re there to illustrate a point. Remember them for the reason they were famous, as no one can hold on to that forever. Growing old I guess sometimes cannot be graceful.

Most of you would know that I am a huge Jackie Chan fan, or at least you did, because I was. I’m not so sure anymore. Recently I read a blog post from http://www.LoveHKFilm.com and as it is in tune with popular asian movie star culture, snippets of Jackie Chans slippery slope into some embarassing twilight years surface from time to time. There was one such incident including his comments on China and Communism, and now what inspired me to write this post. While rehearsing for a new movie he has a part in, he has been coaching Jaden Smith, son of some… famous actor… I think his name is Will? In writing his own blog post about the experience, well, let the words speak for themselves.

“If I couldn’t get my own son to train in martial arts, how could anybody else succeed?”
Oh Great one… how can we ever be worthy of thee…

“He put my son to shame! I provided my son with the best martial artists in the world, and he could not be persuaded to try it.”
Giving someone things doesn’t guarantee they’ll use it, nor does it guarantee they need it…

Seriously after reading that stuff I’m dumbfounded. Here is the seminal, hero, good guy icon of the 80’s and 90’s… Teaching Lecture 1 on How to Hurt your Children…
Actually on second thought it’s textbook Asian parenting. Your child is always wrong, what they want for themselves is always wrong, and what you want for them is always right, for the best. You may remember from my previous posts that as a typical asian child we all live under the weight of expectation. But this is something I cannot bear having grown up innately Aussie. As a result my relationship with them is quite strained. For that I am sad, but there is not much I can do, when people like Jackie Chan, so great that he is cannot be encouraging. How can one expect the average asian parent to be anymore empathetic?

Here’s a confusing one… he turns it around by saying this…
“When a person is not interested in a subject, no matter how hard you push them, they will not pick it up. Even if they do, it will be with disinterest and lack of passion.”
Really?
Do you actually believe that Jackie?
You wouldn’t be ashamed of your son if you did…

Now excuse me while I go re-watch a Drunken Master…

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The Cult of Superficiality

July 7, 2009 at 12:54 am (Personal) (, , )

There are many other things you can chase instead of money, you can go on sitting in a cubicle like a drone being a slave to money, but at the end of the day the most common words I hear are that there is no sense of fulfillment. Fulfillment is one thing that is deeply personal and something like this has much more meaning than mere monetary value. But money makes the world go round you say, this is so you can buy yourself nice things, buy other people nice things, spoil your children rotten and have them inhabit the earth like the selfish and disrespectful Gen Y that currently fills it.

If you know me well you know that I don’t particularly take to materialism. Because these things are empty, they are surface, not substance. But this is just my opinion, some people live long lives of chasing the next big thing and if that’s all it takes then good for you… I wish happiness was really as simple as that. It may seem fairytales and gingerbread but it really doesn’t take that much material to build happiness, a simple change in mindset is all that we need. Do we really need that 1239” TV? Do we really need a 4 storey house with 26 bedrooms for a family that we don’t even plan to have because our careers allow no time for it?
Then what for?
To show people you have?
To rub their noses in their relative squalor?

Money can certainly buy happiness. That is until it gets old, the novelty fades, and the next big thing comes along. Then you can buy more of “that” happiness, and the cycle keeps on going. And what if you need to take it in for a warranty claim? This kind of happiness is transient and fleeting.
Should it really be that fickle?

Is your happiness that conditional? Take the time to examine  yourself and you may stumble upon something  you truly delight in and when you do, you will delight in it no matter what. That happiness will be unending. Look for that. Not only will you find happiness but you may even find a shred of contentment in this bleak and hopeless world.

Here is where it gets a little difficult, you’ve earned your money and it’s your God given right to spend it isn’t it? But think about this, what do we really need to survive in this world? Spare a thought for those less fortunate. True, there are no such things as free handouts in this world, you must earn all that you get. How about some philanthropy? For those born into less fortunate circumstances,
thrust into them,
stuck in them.
Even if they had the heart to earn they have not the means to flourish, they don’t even have the means survive. It has been said that something like this is tantamount to communism. Tall poppy syndrome. That is nonsense. There simply is no need for the excess.
Be happier with less, and it will take less to be happy.

I know at this point some of you will be saying you can be happy with less because it’s easier. Open your eyes, look at the world around you. Do  you really believe that?
Look at those people aspiring for the better car, replacing one that still works, only because it’s not an appropriate status symbol
Look at those working for a bigger house, moving out from one that’s perfectly liveable, just to make the next door neighbour jealous
Look at those throwing away long time relationships for a boy/girl who is richer, prettier, “better”
Look at all those things and tell me that being happy with less is “easy”

More, More, More,
Greed is good,
all for me, none for you

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A View on Perspective…

June 16, 2009 at 10:54 pm (Informative) (, , , )

Through my 20 years on this earth, I have figured out that there are two things this world has a very weak grasp on; Opinion and Expectation. More specifically, confusing opinion with fact, and the assumption that expectation leads to ability. A person who is victim to these two frames of mind will certainly lead a long life of infuriation and disappointment. Remember that all the things I say in this blog, are usually opinion. Especially when it is prefaced by “I think”. You’d think this is obvious wouldn’t you? But you’d be surprised how many times I have to explain myself to other people that think I’m “wrong”. “Wrong”? What… my opinion? You’re kidding right… see… the one thing I am definitely entitled to as a human, is my opinion (same as everyone else). And that is shaped by my character, the things I identify with. To say that they are not right is… complete ignorance.

If perhaps you say that I don’t agree with the norm however, I can almost agree. But think about this… do you identify with things just because they are the norm? If you do, don’t you want a little more depth on your life? No? People can tell you what you want? You won’t ever figure it out for yourself? That’s fine, just don’t force your complacency on me.

Opinion and Expectation are more alike than you think. Growing up in Asian culture means you are very aware of the expectations placed upon you. “I hope one day you will become a dentist, or a lawyer (at best both)” Translation? If you don’t grow up to be one of these two things I will be deeply disappointed in you. Surely you can place expectations upon people and what they do, but whether or not they end up acting upon your expectations is entirely up to them. Not up to you. What about what I want? The funny thing about life experience is that it is not common to all of us. Yes we may live through the same situations, but what we take from them can differ greatly. Through our own personal traits, you take from those individual experiences things that speak to you personally, those sentiments may be shared by some people but I can guarantee you not everyone will see it the same way.

I give you a simple illustration, in recent surveys the Hyundai i30 has been judged as Australias Best Car. Looking at the criteria, sure I would agree with the verdict, but I don’t have to like it. I personally believe that any car weighing under 1100kilos is for the smart, rear wheel drive is only for the good looking, a manual transmission is only for the brave, and who the hell needs a roof anyway? What are you scared of sunlight? Oh no… it’s 25 degrees outside and sunny… better wind up the windows and turn the air-con on…
See, the beauty of what I have just said is that you don’t have to agree with it. And nor do I claim these things to be fact.

I clearly:
a) have written these things to offend
b) am being facetious
c) am a Car Enthusiast, and because of this I look for different things in a car, simplicity. And a little hardship does not bother me. Some people see their cars as white goods and I am well aware of this.That is up to you, but don’t come back to me and tell me your car is better than mine because I can come up with as many reasons as to why it isn’t.

At the same time I may not appreciate tennis as much certain friends, will not spend as much on my bicycle, may not spend as much on my computer, but do spend every waking moment dreaming about what next I can do to my car (not my wardrobe). Do not be so quick to claim your opinion as fact because sure enough as you think it is valid, the sentiment may not be shared. Are you so vain as to think that you are the authority? How can you claim to have the right to judge? You are entitled to your opinion that’s for sure, but it is by no means the final word on the situation.

Because I’ll definitely have something to say on the matter…

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I need to explain something…

June 4, 2009 at 12:48 am (Personal) (, , )

I promised myself not to make this a rant blog, but just let me get this one out of the way and I’ll be happy (at least for the while)

I organise things for my friends alot of times and up until recently it was a soul crushing task. I had a whinge, and you have all seem to have taken it to heart. I appreciate that but somehow I feel some of you are doing it just to shut me up (understandable) but I’d rather fix the problem. So just let me address the problem at hand…

Imagine this was real life and I’m talking to someone:

me “hey, would you like to come to (describe social outing) at (location) on (date and time)”

they look at me and walk straight away

alternatively

they say “Sounds great! Where and when…………………….. and what are we doing?”

The beauty of the internet is that it affords you the anonymity and discourteousness that you may never even consider in real life. I assume for one that everyone checks their email regularly, and it confuses me how people cannot simply reply, In no instance do I ask you to do so immediately, if I needed this, internet is not the medium with which to do so, I am well aware of that. Although I can see how difficult it is to fit in the time to type “yes I’ll be there!” or “no, I’m busy” in that little dialogue box and click “send”. It takes longer for me to type out the action in words than for you to do it. It just isn’t worth your time right?

And lastly, for the people that repeatedly ask me for details that I have already provided. JUST DIG OUT THE OLD MESSAGES PLEASE… THINK OF ME.

If you treat small things with little care how do you ever tackle the big issues?

The biggest of pictures is made up of the smallest details

So there we go! Hopefully that will be one of the few more personal rants, if you are interested enough in what I say, I will try to throw up something new for you to think about every Thursday night

Yours Sincerely,

One Grumpy Guy

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