Thursday, 19 April 2007

Timing Is Everything

That's why I go on living my life getting the timing of most things I say and do wrong as often as possible. Just the other day, right here in this blog, I announced that I was a loner. Could I have timed it any better? Just a few hours later a young man with serious problems in his life decides to drive those problems home to the world through the barrel of a gun, or two. We are led to believe that that young man was a loner.

Great! Just when I thought that the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, Thomas Hamilton and nutjobs just like them had been long enough buried 6 feet under the ground and it was safe to come out without fingers pointing and voices screaming 'Loner - Danger, Danger! Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!'

I mean for crying out loud surely the issue that he was a loner had very little to do with it when compared to the fact that he had problems in his life that no-one had been able to help him with. Or maybe the fact that it was so easy for him to get hold of not just one gun but two. The fact that the gun shop owner asked him via a question on a form whether he had mental health issues and was able to accept that the answer 'no' was adequate without any independent verification. That's a bit like internet sites that ask for the verification of age, any determined 17 year old can say yes to the 'Are you 18?' question.

Now personally I think that anyone who wishes to own a gun, handle a gun or have anything whatsoever to do with a gun should be instantly declared to be unfit to be within a 1000 mile radius of a gun. But that belief of mine might be a generalisation and unfair. The gun lobby of America would definitely think so.

But then when people start to forget the names and faces of the victims that same gun lobby will probably blame violence on TV, the internet, computer games and in songs, the fact the killer was enraged and of unstable mind and a loner and all manner of things, anything but the fact that the ease of gun ownership led to unnecessary deaths. It's true that guns on their own do not kill people, people kill people. But before the invention of guns, people were not designed to shoot people.

I read this week that the FBI estimates that there are 200 million guns in circulation in America. After reading that it amazed me that there haven't been more shootings in American campuses that there have been. Even then I can't help thinking that if guns were harder to come by deaths of students would be rarer still. Perhaps if the only weapon that the young man had been able to get a hold of was a kitchen knife he and his victims would still be alive today. I can't help thinking that if anyone saw him wandering along campus with a sharp blade whilst in an enraged state that people would have either ran away from him or perhaps banded together in order to tackle him to the ground and make him drop his potentially lethal weapon. Yes, even with a knife he could conceivably kill all his intended victims but the likelihood is that killing with a knife would have taken longer than with bullets. Three unarmed men stepping forward to play the hero against someone holding a gun in their hand may as well paint target signs on their chest first. Whereas three unarmed men stepping forward to tackle someone with a knife in their hand may well be crazy but there is a slightly better chance, whilst risking their own life, that they may be able to prevent the deaths of others.

Surely America has outgrown the frontier stage of its development and the right to bear arms for protection is no longer required. Guns may well have prevented attacks from 'savages armed with bow and arrow' but when the enemy was able to get guns just as easily as the man trying to protect his family I think the preventative value of having those guns may have became null and void.

After this tragedy what I'd like to see is those who own a gun giving up those old fashioned viewpoints and taking those guns somewhere that they could be melted down and owners of gun shops shutting up and finding new employment. Timing is everything, it would be a fitting tribute to the fallen. Sadly I don't see it happening.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Scams, Frauds & Hoaxes

Congratulations! You have been chosen to be the recipient of a short (ok long) written post by an amateur Scottish writer. Yes, as a result of your application being successful, you are eligible to read free of charge the random mindless mutterings of a Scottish blog writer whose writing skills may be limited but whose computer skills bring him into contact on a daily basis with both in-coming and out-going e-mails. This blogger has noticed that no matter how often updated his computer security system is, he is still regularly bombarded with variations of the Nigerian scam. The in-coming e-mail of the Nigerian scam always starts with the word Congratulations! Here, with no obligation on your part to carry on reading but you will because you just can’t help yourself, is a précis of a Nigerian scam e-mail letter that this blogger received some time last week.

Unlike earlier versions of the Nigerian scam approach which usually came from Nigeria, this one was datelined the Department of Lotteries and State Loans, Madrid. But like them it started with the word Congratulations! before it went on to say "our international marketing department works in conjunction with world residential white papers, humanitarian organizations, and the help of embassies and chambers of commerce in countries in Europe, the Pacific and Australia."

English was never one of the strongest subjects at school of this Scottish blogger but geography was, so the suggestion that there could be other countries within Australia would have aroused this Scottish blogger's suspicion if it had not already been aroused by the phrase "our international marketing department", which is standard in the Nigerian scam pitch, as if the institution in the headline also had a national marketing department. Of course way back at the beginning of the email his suspicion had already been aroused by the word Congratulations!

Anyway the Scottish blogger was then informed that simply by existing he had won a prize in the third category. The implication that there must be a second and first category in which even richer prizes might be awarded was once again a standard corroborating device in a Nigerian scam sucker play. The third-category prize was announced as being 615, 810 Euros. Now as a Scot whose government never signed up to be a member of the European single currency he had no idea how much 615,810 Euros was but that tagged-on ten was a subtle touch, as was the information that there were sixteen other winners to be congratulated, all of whom had won the same amount, thereby sharing a total of seventeen times 615,810 Euros, a very large sum for any institution to be giving away.

But before he calculated how many Fuji S5 DSLR’s he could buy with his new wealth he read further … "We ask" the email asked, "that you keep this award away from public notice until your claim had been processed and your fund remitted to you, as this is part of our security measures." To get the fund remitted, it was merely necessary to contact Senor Carlos Alfonso by a certain date, otherwise the funds would be sent back to Ministry of Economics, presumably to swell the pot for the next disbursement staged under its ministerial auspices, which didn't sound very economic at first blush, but there could be no quarrelling with the name and rank of the official in charge, billed as Dr Antonio Gomez, Vice President.

The doctorate wasn't a bad touch and the Vice Presidency was masterly. Calling him President would have been too much, whereas calling him Vice President apparently stops people thinking to themselves ‘Yeah, right!’ and instead suggests that a Ministry of Economics might actually be in engaged in philanthropic activity as part of some incidental arm of government policy, the kind of thing a Vice President would handle down there in Madrid, or in a small basement flat somewhere beneath Brixton with an old sofa in the garden for the Ministers of Economics to relax in with a beer on a spring day.

Like most people who have spent at least 3 days of their life in a school, whether Scottish or otherwise, I'm pretty good at rearranging the facts on paper to make them more interesting. It's a habit that can spread into real life if you aren't careful and I’m sure I could have made an accomplished fraudster except for one thing. I don't like fraudsters. I never did like the idea of fooling people, maybe because I don't like being fooled. I don't even like practical jokes. To be a good sport about being done down, you need a lot more natural dignity than I possess. If it's different for you, Congratulations!

To be honest I probably would have trashed that email and forgotten all about it had I not logged on to the gumtree website (a sort of craigslist for Europeans, Australians and Kiwis), and saw a similar scam being played there. It wasn’t quite the Nigerian scam, it did have its differences, but it did target the same sort of person. In most instances I think that most of us have enough common sense to see through these scams but in times of desperation when money is short and stress is high its easy to be taken in by fraudsters and that’s the type of person that the scam on gumtree was designed for. Under the employment section is a ‘job offer’ by an American artist who sells their art work to international clients and is in need of someone who will take payments from those clients home country so that the orders may be processed more quickly. The lucky new employee will process the payments of the clients into their own bank account and keep 5 – 10% (depending on the size of the work) for themselves before sending the rest to their new employer. This lucky new employee can expect to receive around £800 a week for the equivalent of a part time hourly commitment. Sounds great, except for the fact that no address or telephone number of the ‘employer’ is given in the advert and that the email that you have to send to is hidden and the information that they ask for in this initial contact email includes - name, address, bank account number etc, etc.

I don’t know what it is, but something tells me this offer of near full time money for some / in exchange for a part time commitment job offer isn’t really a job offer from a highly desirable artist at all but a not so subtle scam designed to get identity details from the desperate and the gullible. Scams, that go after not just your money but your details are particularly cruel because once they've got those, they've got you, and they can get going with the business of helping you to rob yourself.

Some people are unsympathetic to the victims of scams, they think that they themselves are above that sort of thing and maybe they are right, they think that few of these frauds would work without greed. Perhaps so, but none of them would work without the propensity of the fraudster to lie. Admittedly the liar sometimes doesn't have to do much lying. In America before World War II one sharp character made a lot of money in a hurry by placing a classified ad that gave nothing but his post office box number and the instruction in capital letters HURRY LAST CHANCE TO SEND IN YOUR DOLLAR. Had I been born at the time I might have sent in my dollar as a tribute to his simplicity with a note attached 'Congratulations! You're rich! Your mother must be proud of your accomplishment!'

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Warning This Post Might Become X Rated So Look Away Now If You Think You Might Not Want To Read

So you are still reading? Pervert!

OK here goes. If I was describing myself to someone who didn't know me I would probably have to (if I was being completely honest) say that I was a bit of a loner. In today's world being a loner is almost seen as something bad, something inhumane. And yet I am a loner. It's not that I don't like other people, I love people, people fascinate me, but I also like my own company.

I'm not the the type that gets lonely just because I am on my own, I don't need someone just for the sake of not being on my own. I have a friend who doesn't understand why I have been able to live on my own so long, but then I don't understand why she needs to be with someone new shortly after a relationship has just come to an end. That said sometimes I look at couples, the few that seem to have it right, with envy. Those perfect couples that are happy, not because of what they own but because they are full of life and just are great together. It's couples like that give me a rather romanticised version of coupledom. I'm not willing to give up single living just for the sake of being with someone, just anyone. She has to be special.

I guess I want that special someone where I feel we can talk to one another about anything and everything knowing that no subject is off limits (well perhaps soaps and reality TV - neither are really my thing) including stupid things like why people feel the need to show off, with the aid of a low cut pair of jeans, the colour of their underwear that is currently working its way inside their backside to sharing with one another our own stupid messed up crazy solutions for the ills of an even crazier messed up world. I want that someone that is intelligent, who looks at the world around her and who has her own opinion about it but not in a annoying way. Not someone who is going to shove her intelligence down my throat every time she opens her mouth but someone who will make me challenge myself to be better than I am, both mentally and physically, just by being in her company on a daily basis.

Someone who shows off her skin more often than what is in her head holds no appeal for me. Maybe I spent too many days in libraries when I was a boy but I don't understand the tendency of some girls to act stupid (especially when they probably aren't as stupid as they act). Is not that I'm particularly clever, because I'm not, its just I just like to know how others think and there will be no-one that I will be more interested in knowing how they think than the person I am in love with. Forget the familiarity-breeds-contempt sort of relationship, I don't see myself settling for that. I don't ever want to be one half of the couple that sits across from one another but doesn't say a word. Strange really when I'm not much of a talker, I'm generally quiet but when I'm comfortable with someone I like to be able to talk about any stupid thing that comes into my head and I guess I want that same freedom with that 'special' one.

And then there are the silly romanticised notions that take my fancy, things like being content just to watch her sleep. There can be a stupid satisfaction gained from spending minutes watching the chest of the person you are in love with rise and fall under the sheets. It would be nice to find that someone whom I would want to learn to tango or samba with. Dancing, that's an odd one. That sneaked up on me when I wasn't paying attention. Dancing for me was like singing, I have no singing ability nor do I have any dancing ability. As a consequence of not having a voice fit for singing I wasn't interested in singing. Likewise as I had no rhythm in my feet I had no interest in dancing, well until recently when a change came upon me and I started to think it would be nice to have someone I wanted to dance for and with. Not just any dance, dance that expressed myself, dances of passion. But then no-one is that perfect that they have the patience to spend the time with me finding my rhythm, that could take years.

I do a lot of hiking and travelling around Scotland when I have the time and it would be nice to share some of that time looking down on the world from the top of a mountain or failing that just enjoying the long days of Scottish summers walking in the park or the botanic gardens with someone by my side. She doesn't have to enjoy sports as much as I do, although it might be nice, she can be equally into her own thing enjoying time by herself but it would be nice if she missed me when she wasn't with me and I her but not in a sickingly suffocating way. And of course there is the sex, it would be great if it was awesome (thats not a word I use very often).

Finally the x-rated stuff that you read this far down your screen for. Its been so long since I last had sex that it almost feels like a mere blip in history - over and done with and never to be repeated. At times, when the urge is strong, that is the worst thing about being single, especially if like me you aren't into one night stands and prefer sex when you are in a relationship, when it means something. Now I'm Scottish and as a result kind of presbyterian in my ways when it comes to sex so talking and writing about it doesn't come easy to me. Nonetheless the urges & fantasies are still there within, rolling around in my head, some of them can remain there but other thoughts want to be acted out and lately they've been waiting a long time. Sex should never be the be all and end all in a relationship but it can still be important. It would be nice if we had complimentary interests and kinks in the bedroom or elsewhere for that matter.

There will be times when I might want to watch as she slowly pulls up a pair of stockings, over her thigh. A pair that I had that night picked out for her. There will be times I will want my hand to slowly trail up her ankle, her calf, past her knee whilst staring into her eyes as my fingers continue their journey to the inside of her thigh.

I may want to lean over the top of her as she lies on our bed and whisper in her ear "I want to use and abuse you,” without feeling dirty or feel that I can't share such things.

I will want to watch her lips part as she stares back up at me, big eyed. I may want her surprised and flustered as I whisper filth in her ear so normally unbecoming of me. I may want her to shudder with my touch as I suck on her ear, bite and suck on her neck. I will want her to know how much I want a piece of her flesh. I will want her to give it to me willingly. I will want to seduce her to a state that she will realise that for that moment she was put on this earth for me. To please me, to let me use her in such a way that god would have to look away. I will want to get to her to that moment of surrender where she did not care what I did to her as long as it was me that was doing it. My hands on her, giving her any kind of attention. Even now I want that moment.

I want her squirming. I want her to get wet as my hands roam her skin. I want to feel her warmth, her damp readiness as my hand reaches her cunt, my cunt. A toy that I won’t get enough off.

My hand taking a journey down the inside of her underwear and to her cunt. I will want her to watch every moment. The moment when I trace her lips with my fingertips. I want to hear her moan with need. Anticipating and wanting my next move.

I will want to feel her body begging for me to go inside, I will want to feel her internal heat as my fingers slip in. Watch as her back arches against the mattress as she surrenders to my touch. I may want to watch as she cannot help but let her cunt react to the filth I will still be whispering in her ear. I'll want to watch as she twitches with anticipation.

And when my tongue hits her clit I’ll watch her writhe and gasp and listen to her breathy moan. Sounds of need that at times like these I'll crave. I may push in the dildo while I press my lips against her skin she may lose it and buck against my tongue, squeezing her thighs against my head so that I push my tongue deeper against her. Moments where she may grab the back of my head, knowing she shouldn't have, knowing she may get punished for it later (not in a bad way of course), but the animal in her will want my head buried in her cunt. I'll want that moment when she's panting, on the edge of coming on my tongue. Heaving, squirming...when I’ll suddenly, without warning, turn her over.

Her face will be pressed against the bed, her ass will be up in the air, feeling warm fluid hit her asshole and running down to her cunt. I may push my cock inside her while looping a scarf around her neck. Pulling it, and gripping what I can of her stockings whilst riding her cunt like I’m taming an animal. The constant tightening around her neck making her more and more wet. Small moans escaping her throat as I fuck her, using her cunt for her pleasure, my pleasure, both our pleasures. Taking her minute after minute. Working her in and out to a rhythm I command. Her feeling me twitch and cum deep inside her cunt. Standing there with my hands on her ass as I catch my breath, recovering, staying inside her for a moment. Her trying to try to milk the last of me with her cunt.

Slowly I may pull out and replace my cock with her dildo whilst handing her her vibrator. Controlling the vibration as I press it against her clit. Continuing to fuck her cum soaked cunt as she grinds against the vibrator until minutes later she finds herself moaning and screaming before lying back on the bed spent and gasping for air.

Later we may lie back and recover together, with her in my arms…

Who is to say how the sex or sexual thoughts may go with someone I will meet sometime in the future, it may or may not go something like this but hopefully the common mutual interest will be there and there won't be any of the 'sorry not tonight I've just washed my hair, and I'll be doing the same tomorrow' excuses.

I'm not sure I'll ever find someone with all these attributes, and others that I failed to mention, maybe these aren't really what I'll fall for or need to get my attention at all, but I know one thing until I find that someone who is special in my eyes I'm not ready to settle down. Not for second best.

Why I wrote this post I have no idea, it certainly didn't go in the direction that I expected when I started it.