Birthday Depression

Posted by | Posted in climate change, environment, film, Life, movie, plot | Posted on 31-07-2014

I might possibly be crazy as no-one else I know seems to get this way about their approaching Birthday so I thought I’d jot down how I feel as I approach 35.

Yep, 35 years old. An age that’s neither too old nor too young, for me it’s something of a nothing year. Just like all of the others.

Let us take my 30th as an example. I wasn’t worried about my 30th Birthday except in one specific way: It was my 30th therefore people would expect something of it.

A party, drunken nights out, some big event. The trouble was that like most of my birthdays I really couldn’t have given a shit.

The day was saved by Danni who organised a great day, with drinking, showed the original (and as far as I’m concerned: only) Transformers: The Movie at a small local cinema, with more drinking and celebrating as the evening went on. Just as well she did too because otherwise I’d have been sat at home with a beer/wine reading a book.

In the here and now as my 35th approaches my parents are asking me to update my Amazon wish list. I use it as a sort of bookmark for “things I will never buy and don’t really need/want but they looked shiny when I was browsing that one time…“. Friends ask/demand that I do or do not do parties and drinks and things either when they are or are not around, and many people seem to want to know what I plan-to-do.

On any given day I have no plans, ever. This isn’t some stubborn male thing, although it is more prevalent amongst my male peers I’ve noticed, perhaps it’s because we’re completely out of control of our lives.

Whenever I do make plans I inevitably discover that they conflict with someone else’s plans which were laid down during the time of William the Conquerer and are apparently recorded in the Bayern Tapestry so why didn’t I check that or at least respond to the FaceBook invite (I’m not on FaceBook)? Inevitably these plans take, at least historical, precedence and once this has happened for the 500th time (I’m a slow learner) you get the feeling that no-one gives a shit what your plans were anyway even if they don’t conflict with someone else’s, so why make them if it’s an exercise in futility?

Thus I find that like so many male peers I totally suck at planning things. So, no, I don’t have anything planned for my 35th.

Now the depression part.

Well I’m getting older, I’ve noticed it of course. I’ve been going to the gym and seeing a personal trainer for almost 2 years now. We’ve changed my diet, my drinking and I’m much more active. This has resulted in me achieving a little better health than absolute stasis. I am slightly fitter than I was, slightly less fat, slightly stronger and much, much, poorer. Oh fine I am also quite a lot happier that I’ve achieved that much rather than the stubborn and rapid decline that I was previously going through ;)

Still the fact remains that I’m greyer and things creak and ache more than they used too. These aren’t things I feel like celebrating or enjoying. The good bits sure, but most of those don’t revolve around this bizarre present giving ritual we’ve built up around “Birthday’s” as a special thing. It feels more “Hallmark(tm)” than Birthright. I long ago grew out of presents, most of the stuff I want I buy myself but more importantly the things that I want are either outside of the price range people can afford, or simply intangible.

I don’t want more stuff or possessions instead I want time-off, happy friends, world peace, good news, all sorts of hippy thoughts and mumbo jumbo like that. Now the thought of costing my friends money to buy me a round, or get me a gift disturbs me. It’s the opposite of what I want for them, from them, or our friendship. Sure when I was younger I loved getting toys, books, t-shirts and I still do get part of that feeling when they’re given as honest gifts but something has soured about the experience because I as an adult know it has cost them something in time, effort and money which are 3 things that I finally realise are more than just words.

All of this culminates in some mess of dreaded expectations, plans that’s don’t exist and a feeling of responsibility that I really should have done something with my life by now all because of a single date that comes by every damned year. It’s all atop the things that are already bothering me.

To end all this then please don’t get me wrong: If you enjoy your Birthday and celebrate it then I will be right there, buying you drink and handing you the gift that I spend time, effort and money getting for you and wishing you a sincere and heartfelt Happy Birthday – whatever you do just don’t entrust me with planning anything (see above) for it.

We are all different though, so as we would celebrate your Birthday as you would wish, could we just sort of … relax when it comes to mine? I’ll be out for a beer at some point – I would have been anyway. I’d prefer to buy my own drinks, and to only have between 2 and 4 in the entire night. No cards, no gifts, no crazy shit (crazy shit is alarmingly normal for me), I’d prefer to read a book, watch a film and chill out without organising, or being organised against my will.

That’s a Happy Birthday.


Energy bill delays setting carbon target until 2016

Posted by | Posted in climate change, environment, government, Life | Posted on 23-11-2012

So a government, this one not that it really matters, has failed to achieve the hopes of meeting the minimum targets hoped for on the environment/carbon/climate-change (

These weren’t lofty goals either, these were the minimum goals that we’ve legally agreed too.

Those legal agreements weren’t the best course possible either, they were the minimum required to provide a 50/50 chance of avoiding “catastrophic” climate change and keep temperature rises below 2C by 2100 (it’s 2012 btw keep that in mind) and then only if we were following the best-case predictions.

Then recent reports have indicated that the rate of change and it’s effects might have been underestimated by up to 5 times, i.e. things we expected not to happen until 2100 appear to be on course to happen by 2020-to-2035 ( &

So this is the situation… we’ve just failed to set policy which would let us meet a weaker-than-required agreement, which was targetting the bottom-end of a best-case scenario which we already new was wrong, which has recently been shown to be out by at least 2 but possibly up to 5 times.

Remember that was the target to have a 50/50 _chance_ of stopping “catastrophic” climate change. Not, merely “a bit bad” but “catastrophic“. Severe damage to the environment and changes which make it difficult for us to do useful things like grow food, prevent flooding and storm damage to our biggest cities, survive summer heat waves, yet not freeze to death in the winter. Not exactly little things are they.

This isn’t a post about the environment by the way.

No, I’m just confused by the way that governments, companies, even individuals decide what to do about the things they face.

The above case is drastic but a perfect example: We’re failing to prevent, or even slow, the race to “catastrophic” climate change. We’re failing because of a series of things which all aim to do the bare minimum for the most cheerful and optimistic predicted outcomes that meet our hopes rather than face our realities. Then to compound the error we seem to accept that falling short of the commitments we’ve agreed is ok.

All this seems to mean that we’re setting ourselves up for inevitable failure. I bet we do it in a range of things, I can think of several on my own personal scale where I do the same, where I fail to commit and then eventually abandon stuff because it’s not working… of course it’s not working, I’ve identified something that will take 100% of my effort to do, then I  allow myself 20% of that in time or money, then when “real-life” gets in the way I accept that I can only meet 15% really. Then I fail.

In my life that might mean the bathroom needs some work that I’ll eventually have to get someone to pay for. Or that the oven really stinks sometimes because of something bubbling over.

When the governments of the world give 15% to prevent something like climate change.

Then it seems that we’re all fucked.

So why do we go into these things half heartedly? Why do we pick the most optimistic outcome? We all know the maxim or preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Yet repeatedly we prepare for the best, hope for the best and then have to rush and panic to deal with the worst that we’ve allowed to happen by doing so.

We could turn the fact that we’re building whole new energy industries into a major bonus, new energy industries, new infrastructure, new jobs!
We could be investing in things like Desertec ( (I mean in technology like it not the company necessarily) and then reaping the benefits in owning the suppliers of energy to ALL of Europe and Africa. Just like Russia does with it’s gas supplies to Europe, an industry worth many billions of pounds to it’s government.

If something like Desertec ever does happen we’ll just be another customer, we’ll pay, but we won’t earn.

We could be going into these things 100%, whilst accepting that the worst case might not happen, but it’s so bad that we should be preparing for it. We can all hope that it works out just fine, but that’s not what we should be prepared for.

Damn, it did turn into an environment rant.