14 October 2005

Granary Bread

"Is 'granary bread' bread for Nanna?"

What it must be like to be seven.

Need to be more serious - getting old

I am very aware that I haven't published anything very serious recently. I do think of serious items for my blog and I have lots of drafts with just titles on them - all serious but not written. So I've decided to write something almost serious!

So here is a thought for you. It is quite possible that we or our children might live a significantly longer than say our grandparents did. In the near future we might well have therapies that not only halt or slow down ageing but could possibly even reverse ageing. This together with the ability to grow body parts that have been damaged might mean that we live to ages of 150, 200 or more.

I personally do not doubt this will happen but only highlight the science as this generates some very interesting questions.

If you were told tomorrow that you might be nowhere near your deathbed and that any ageing or damage could be reversed in the next ten years what would you change in your life?

Would you start a second career?

Go to university?

Would you want to travel and see more and more of the world?
I personally couldn’t do this – my experience is that after about four weeks I’ve had enough of sightseeing, I don’t think I’m much of a spectator.

What would you want to do differently?

Even if we are not presented with these questions in our lifetime, the process of considering them I found quite enlightening. I found myself considering if I was doing with my life all that I wanted or hoped to do. Had I subconsciously planned out my life to fit into the three score and ten years that we purportedly have been allotted? Interestingly, I think I had!

I don’t want to give you the idea that these questions arose out of some middle aged fear of death – it really didn’t. I’m very happy with my life to date and have few regrets – even some of the regrets were kind of fun at the time. No, this chain of thought arose from a number of articles I’ve read recently that seem to indicate that living passed a hundred is a very serious possibility. Of course many issues are raised: over-population; economics; retirement; social effects of a youth that is a significant minority of the population; families; housing etcetera, etcetera. All are important issues but I think that would need a book ...

Well, there you have it, a sort of serious blog post that was not actually one of the titles in my draft folder. Oh well, maybe another day.

06 October 2005

Chip and Pin

Now am I the only soul that thinks 'Chip and Pin' spoken out loud sounds like you're swearing? The words have a certain rhythm to it them that just sound like you're swearing.

So when I receive literature from banks and credit card companies telling me to 'Chip and Pin' it has a bit of a negative response. Needless to say they keep repeating the words 'Chip and Pin' again and again - 'Chip and Pin' this, 'Chip and Pin' that. I even start feeling obliged to hide the literature from my children! Is it just me?

I'm not particularly against the Chip and Pin concept (no offence intended) but I do find myself sometimes glancing over my shoulder to see if the character behind me seems suspicious, and then quickly pretending I was looking for somebody else by glancing over their shoulder.

Unlike when using an ATM to draw out money where people tend to keep a respectful distance, shops often have tightly spaced queues. I think us Brits tend to keep queues tightly spaced to ensure that everybody understands that not only is there a queue but that 'I' am in it and ‘I’ am in this precise position and if you don't understand or respect queues (i.e. you're probably a foreigner) then I am removing any spaces for you to push in and don't you dare try it on, right (glare) ... phew!

With that in mind how long before we hear of Chip and Pin rage. Have you seen the older among us stagger back when presented with the keypad, glasses go up, then down, the head moves forwards, backwards trying to focus on this keypad and a frown takes shape on the brow. There is a tangible increase in pressure as you see them not only trying to work out how to use the keypad but also panic as they desperately try to remember the right pin for the right card. Then just as they are about to press the keys they pause and look around suspiciously forgetting the frown still pinned on their forehead. Then they hit the keys as if touching teeth on a rabid dog - the hand flicks back each time and they keep checking if the keypad is still 'calm'. Can't you just see a frustrated shopper in a hurry losing their rag? Maybe 'Chip and Pin' should become a swear word after all.