Shitty teenage drivers are failing their driving tests. Labour MP: “Better lower the standards”

So, I just read this article on the New Zealand Herald’s website. Apparently, a bunch of teenagers ( and one really stupid Labour MP) are having a whinge about failing their drivers licence tests, and then having to pay to resit them. Now the cost of the tests is something I can agree with (it is pretty damn expensive), especially for families in lower income brackets. That is not what I am here to argue. No, my issue with this story is the fact that they are complaining about the tests being “hard”.

For us normal people, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Of course driving tests are hard, they’re supposed to be. The one and only purpose of a licence of any kind is to demonstrate that you are 100% comfortable and competent at doing the thing the licence is for, be it for using a firearm or propelling a 2-tonne piece of metal down a paved piece of earth and not mowing down children while texting your mates. Let me just say there is a very good reason commercial flights doesn’t start with the air hostess addressing the cabin with “Thanks for flying Air New Zealand, now, who wants to fly this fucker today?” No, that job belongs to the people who spent a fortune and several years earning their licences to be there.

Now let me introduce you to Labour MP Anna Lorck. She is not a normal person. To give you an idea of just what insane level of stupid we are dealing with here, here’s a quote from the article:

Ms Lorck said perhaps one way to address the situation was to allow restricted drivers who have had 12 or 18 months on the road who have not got a single demerit point in that time to go on to their full licence without another test.

“Why are we making people go back and sit a test when they have already been on the road driving?” she asked.

Why are we making people go back and sit a test when they have already been driving on the road? Why indeed?

How about “because if they can’t pass a test that is already far easier than it should be, then they are terrible fucking drivers, and giving them a bloody license is a really stupid fucking idea?”

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I am actually having a hard time trying to express just how butt-fuckingly retarded her idea is. If  our solution to people failing things is to just straight up lower the standards to make them pass, then how long until we have idiots flying our airplanes, or becoming doctors?

“We know you’ve failed university, but seeing as how you’ve already been in medical school for 6 years, we’re just going to give you your doctorate anyway. Have fun performing potentially life threatening operations on people!”

Tests, and failing them, are crucial for a successful and safe community. You don’t get a “participation medal” in the real world. Especially when people’s lives are at stake. It’s time we embrace failure for what it is. Failure is not a sign of something being too hard, it is a sign of not being good enough.

So, Ms Lorck. How about we approach this in a less batshit crazy way, and propose that to help teenagers pass their tests, we actually teach them how to drive properly instead?

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Shitty teenage drivers are failing their driving tests. Labour MP: “Better lower the standards”

Facebook messenger is stupid – and notifications in general

I have stubbornly refused to install the Facebook messenger app ever since Facebook thought the best way for their users to communicate, is by removing the perfectly functional capabilities from the main app, and force us all to install a completely separate one. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg just can’t enjoy masturbating with billions of dollars anymore, knowing the entire human race only have 3 apps owned by them installed on their smartphones instead of 4.

I have no issue with the app itself though, some people love spending every second of their lives chatting with people they don’t care about enough to talk to face to face. For these people having an app with some added functionality so they can send each other stickers instead of actually communicating with each other is great. The issue I have, is that they removed the ability to check and reply to messages through the normal Facebook app, yet for some absolutely infuriating reason left this annoying little fucker behind:

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Numbers in little red circles are the modern world’s polio… well, until those anti-vaxxer fuckwits bring the real thing back, of course.

Fan-fucking-tastic. Now my phone will forever have that stupid notification icon displayed, and if I dare tap on it, Facebook tells me to download Messenger. To hell with that, I’ll use my web browser. Take that Zuckerberg. But of course, since the Facebook app is such a horrible bloody thing, even if you read the message elsewhere, it takes a million years for the damn thing to go away. I have a solution though:

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I hate notifications. By far the most annoying part of the modern world (and smartphones in particular) is that you are always connected to the rest of the world, even when you don’t want to be. Having your smartphone beep, vibrate and blink every time literally anything fucking happens, no matter how unimportant, is like having one of those creatures people insist on pushing out of their vaginas then taking on long plane rides or to the supermarket to annoy every human being within earshot. They are nothing but attention seeking leeches.

Some apps are even worse, like the Air New Zealand app, which I actually love because you can use it to board the plane without having to go to a check in counter. I get to board a plane with minimal contact with other humans, and that is perfect. But, the problems start when you land at your destination. Upon disengaging flight mode, the app throws a notification at you, telling you about all the activities and sights you can ignore, because they are probably all really shit. Unless you landed in Queenstown, which is actually nice.

While that is lovely if you are a tourist and the purpose of your visit is to actually go sightseeing, but every time I fly to Auckland for work, I really don’t care. So, I clear the notifications. But wait, what’s this? The notification is back again? Ok, clear it a second time. Again? What the flying fuck? And the you go through this another dozen times or so.

My mother always ask me why I even have a mobile phone if I ignore almost all phone calls, text messages or notifications. The answer is simple: To me, my smartphone is for browsing the internet when I’m not near my computer. I genuinely would love a smartphone designed with a web browser app, and nothing else.

Facebook messenger is stupid – and notifications in general

Getting ID’d at 30 when buying alcohol pisses me off.

Can you tell the difference between the two photographs below?

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If you guessed “The left photo is of kids, while the right photo is of an adult that is probably above the legal drinking age” then congratulations on being much, much smarter than whatever mouth breathing asshole came up with the “if you look under 25, we’ll ask you for ID” nonsense.

I’m 30 years of age, so naturally whenever a supermarket employee is greeted by a box of beer and this face:

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The first thing they do is make sure I am not an overly developed yet nervous and sweaty 12 year old trying to buy booze illegally from a fucking supermarket, the Nazi Germany of ID checking. Seriously, if you were underage, the absolute worst place you could possibly go for your illegal alcohol purchases is the supermarket.

Now look, I understand we can’t have pube-less drunkards throwing up on every street corner, but at the very least we should try and have a more common sense approach to this problem. If you can’t tell the difference between a teenager and a grown man, then you shouldn’t sell alcohol.

Getting ID’d at 30 when buying alcohol pisses me off.

Sky TV can fuck off.

Ever since Netflix brought their streaming service to New Zealand I was sold. I can watch TV shows and movies without ads, at only $12.99 a month? Brilliant! I can honestly say none of the TV’s in our house have been connected to an aerial or satellite dish in a very long time, and I don’t miss conventional TV even a little.

For a long time in New Zealand you had two choices if you’d like to watch TV: You either went for the free option, TVNZ, where you will be bombarded with annoying ads and countless hours of reruns. In the rare case we did get a new show to watch, it was always a good few months behind what people have access to in the rest of the world. But, it was free, and complaining about something you get for free is almost like complaining about your developing bald spot to a cancer patient.

The other option was to get Sky TV. The worst fucking thing to happen to TV ever. For starters, they are stupidly overpriced, ridiculously behind the curve of emerging technology, and when anyone dares bring out a competing service, they throw their toys out of the cot. The last part of that sentence was made crystal clear when Sky TV threw a massive legal tantrum when NZ ISP’s came up with “global Mode” allowing consumers to access overseas streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix. Sky TV is obviously not a happy toddler when anyone threatens their monopoly on TV content in New Zealand.

But of course, Sky TV now has their own streaming service. Funny how they only bring out something everyone has been wanting for years when another company comes to fill that gap in the market. Quickflix and now the New Zealand version of Netflix has been stealing a lot of customers, so Sky TV introduced Neon.

Neon is a st(r)eaming pile of dogshit (see what I did there?). For starters, Netflix and Quickflix steam HD content for $12.99 a month, and both services have decent, ever expanding libraries of shows and movies to watch. Neon is $20 a month, doesn’t stream HD content (in 20-fucking-15 no less) and a homeless person has more teeth that Neon has shows to watch. If they weren’t the only legal way of watching Game of Thrones in New Zealand, I’d be surprised they have customers at all.

The other reason people still hand over their hard earned money to Sky TV is sport. Now, I don’t watch Rugby, so this doesn’t really apply to me personally, but the only way to watch the world cup I am told is happening right now, is to be subscribed to Sky Sports. I’m sure you can find an online streaming source, but I didn’t care to look, because I can still make the point I am going for, which is: New Zealand’s very own TV network are not allowed to broadcast what is arguably the biggest sporting event for New Zealanders, because Sky fucking TV has the monopoly on all Rugby World Cup broadcasts. How sad is that?

Thank god for Netflix and VPN’s…

Sky TV can fuck off.

Impatient drivers versus rail crossings should be a Darwin Award category

I have zero sympathy for people who lose their lives or limbs in accidents at rail crossings because sitting still for 5 minutes is just so god-damn unbearable to them that taking on a speeding train in their squishy car seems like a great idea. Just this morning I saw a van completely ignore the flashing lights, speed up, swerve to avoid the lowering barriers, and turn into a traffic-filled highway with no care in the world.

If that van driver got into what would have been a very one sided fight with the approaching train, I’d have no sympathy for him. I will however have sympathy for the train driver who will have to try live a normal life having killed or seriously injured someone, the passengers who would have had to stand around in the cold while paramedics cut the driver out of his van instead of getting to work on time.

I would also have sympathy for the family and friends of the van driver, who will grieve over a completely senseless and preventable loss. Never will I have sympathy for the idiot thinking he can cheat death to get somewhere a few minutes earlier. In fact I suggest in the event he did get hit and die, he be given a Darwin Award.

Of course, it would be rude of me to not accept the fact that sometimes a driver of a car or truck can break down or get stuck on the tracks through no fault of their own, but the focus of this article is not on those who get into this terrible situation due to bad luck, but on people who recklessly and purposefully put themselves in harm’s way.

I also have a hard time thinking this could be a case of “maybe he didn’t notice”. How anyone can miss the bright-red flashing lights, loud bells, the barriers blocking the road and the enormous train itself with the bright lights on the front just seems impossible. I can’t think there is a snow man’s chance in hell that someone drives into a crossing lit up like the 4th of July without knowing it, and if they do, how the hell did they get a license if their spatial awareness is non existent? If you can’t notice any of the above warnings and get hit by a train, then I wonder how many children that person has run over without knowing it.

I have a really hard time working out why this occurs at all, let alone 13 times in 2014 here in New Zealand. I’ll tell you what these statistics make me: Scared. Scared that I am sharing the road with the kind of people who get hit by trains.

Seriously, if people are bad enough drivers to blow through a crossing that looks and sounds like the world’s worst Christmas parade, I cringe at the thought of how bad their driving must be around schools or in busy city centers? In a way, I am starting to understand why red light runners exist. If they’re willing to take on a fucking train, an old lady in a hatchback and a green light really doesn’t stand a chance.

Impatient drivers versus rail crossings should be a Darwin Award category

Websites that require you to register an account for no reason is annoying.

I use Google alot (yes I spelt that wrong on purpose so I could link to one of my favourite articles of all time). The internet has a wealth of knowledge right at your fingertips. Nowhere else can you diagnose the symptoms for the disease you definitely have and is absolutely going to kill you, watch a video of someone falling off a skateboard all while researching homosexuality in the animal kingdom* in another tab. Everything you used to have to visit a library for, is now just a click away. You don’t even have to get up.

There is one major problem however. It seems that every website in existence is just a Html version of a teenage girl on Facebook. All they really want is as many “friends” as possible. I speak of websites that refuse to let you do anything until you’ve given them your name, alias, email address, date of birth, blood type and estimated ransom value of your eldest child.

Recently, I came across a real estate term I have never heard before, so I decided to Google its meaning. I immediately found a website teasing me with the answer in the blue tagline, nestled between other search results. As soon as I clicked it, I was greeted with a lovely “you need to be logged in to see this” message. Really? I need to create an account I will use a grand total of one single time, just to get the answer I seek? Forget it.

That made me think though, if a website is trying to be so super secretive with their content that you need to tell them your mother’s maiden name to gain access, then why the hell do they let Google crawl the user controlled content in the first place? If you’re not going to give me what I want the second I click on your URL in the search results, then can you kindly get the fuck out of my search results? Thanks.

I don’t get it. You don’t see exclusive members of the local 6 year old’s secret tree house posting blurbs of everything they discuss on the tree trunk below, so why do websites do it? I think I have an answer: They tease you with what they want, but refuse to give it to you without a trade. A trade for your email address.

It is a good thing then, that browsers come equipped with one of the most clicked on buttons in existence: The back button. And what do we say to websites asking for your email address?

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* (Homosexuality in animals is totally a thing, so all you homophobic idiots can shove your “It’s not natural” argument up your ass. But don’t enjoy it, because that makes you a hypocrite if you’re male, because you can’t be homophobic and enjoy shoving things up your smelly cave at the same time).

Websites that require you to register an account for no reason is annoying.

10 Kiwi driver behaviours that really piss me off

I think most New Zealanders can agree that we have some of the worst drivers in the world, which is why I am so surprised that Kiwi dash cam videos aren’t nearly as abundant or popular as their Aussie or Russian counterparts. We give 15 year old kids licenses, the Police put all their eggs in the “speeding” basket instead of real dangers like red light running and we have practically zero effective driver training.

A good quote I read recently was “We are taught to pass a test, not to drive a car”. And that is spot on. Here is the 10 things Kiwi drivers do that piss me off:

People who slow down when they see a Police car… even when they’re not speeding

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Nothing ruins traffic flow more than a police car joining in on the journey. As soon as the Holden with the blue and reds pull onto the motorway (highway for all you international readers) everyone slows down to a crawl.

The worst part is even if nobody was speeding, they will all slam on the brakes so hard you’d be excused for thinking they are trying to squash a fly on the inside of the windscreen with G-forces alone.

This also happens when driving past a police officer on the side of the road who have only just pulled another driver over. Everyone freaks out, hits the breaks, and I am left wondering why. Does anyone actually think the officer is going to spot someone driving past and think “fuck it, I’ll let this guy go and get that lunatic doing the speed limit instead!”

Drivers who hog the fast lane, and refuse to move over and let you pass

Since I have written about this before in a previous article, I will keep this entry brief. People who hog the passing lane (right hand lane here in NZ) yet refuse to let faster cars pass is my #1 rage inducing gripe on my daily commute. I especially love the ones that get angry at ME when I am forced to pass them in the slow lane.

Slow drivers who speed up when they get to passing lanes

Traveling between towns and cities throughout New Zealand, you will spend the majority of your time on single lane country roads. Some are straighter than others, but regardless of the conditions of the road, you are 100% guaranteed to run into one of these lovely people.

They will drag along 20km/h under the speed limit with a massive train of cars behind them completely oblivious to the pain and suffering they are causing. But what’s this? A passing lane in 2km? Excellent!

Passing lane arrives eventually… But wait! Something’s wrong… Why is this person suddenly doing 10km over the speed limit? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Yep, now everyone is left with a choice: Seriously break the speed limit to get past them, or accept your fate of becoming a tortoise for the next couple of hours.

This is the #1 reason I drive in the middle of the night. Less cars on the road means less of these people, and more overtaking opportunities.

Selfish drivers who use a left or right turn only lane to push in front of traffic

I used to see this every day when I lived in Auckland. One road between home and the office annoyed me in particular. It had two lanes, one being a left turn only, and the other for turning right. Every afternoon without fail, the left hand lane would fill up with vehicles, as everyone leaves work for the day.

You can see where this is going… of course, every asshole who thinks they are more important that everyone else, sits in the right hand lane till the very end, then push their way into the left hand lane. And that brings me to…

Idiots who let the selfish pricks above in

… these idiots. They all drive down the same road every day, they see the same right hand lane wankers push in day after day, yet for some reason they sit in the left hand lane while leaving more than enough space in front of their vehicle to fit Pinocchio’s car in if he’s been a politician all his wooden life (Note: I’m implying his car is really, really long).

The right hand lane assholes know these drivers will let them in, and that is exactly why they take advantage of this inconsiderate maneuver in the first place. I genuinely think the most annoying drivers in this situation are the ones that enable the queue jumpers in the first place. If everyone refused to let them in, and forced them all the turn right instead, the problem will go away.

People who don’t indicate, or indicate too much

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Time for the cliche of road rage: Indicators. So you finally made it through the brunt of traffic, flipped a few queue jumpers the bird, and after a sigh of relief you find yourself driving behind one other car down a relatively quiet street.

Suddenly, he stops without warning. As soon as you think to yourself “Oh sure, why not. I love stopping in the middle of the road for no god damn reason”, he turns into a driveway or a side street. Brilliant. Someone should let Mercedes know they missed a key feature present in even the cheapest vehicle on the road, namely a device that will let other drivers know when you’re turning.

The other side of the coin is equally annoying though: People who just indicate 3 years before their turn off, or my personal favourite, people who don’t know how to indicate at roundabouts. In New Zealand, when going straight at a roundabout, you do not indicate as you enter, only when you leave. The amount of time I have spent sitting at a roundabout waiting on cars indicating right only for them to go straight, is time I could have wasted on the couch watching Netflix instead.

People who are rocket ships on straight roads, but arthritic old ladies in the corners

You tend to run into these people pretty often. You’ll be on a country road, traveling at a relatively rapid pace then suddenly out of nowhere a late model SUV flies past you at speeds so incredible, the scientists at CERN are conCERNed (hah!) that light being the fastest thing in the universe may have been wrong all this time.

Eventually Mr. SUV will encounter the most fearsome adversary of all time: A corner. He freaks out at the thought of having to turn the steering wheel, and reacts by turning into a 90 year old woman.

Suddenly, you are right up this SUV’s arse, as he goes around the corners so slow, the snails riding shotgun under his car starts to think “Fuck this, we’ll walk. This is going to take all day.”

Drivers who queue across an intersection

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Busses and trucks seem to be the worst offenders here, but cars are no exception. I can understand that sitting in traffic sucks, and having to sit through a green lights because there is no room on the other side is frustrating. But there is one thing worse, people that decide “to hell with everyone else, I’m going anyway!” Great, now nobody can go through the intersection, because Selfish-Twat McGee here has an over inflated sense of self worth.

When I was in the US, I saw signs at intersections telling drivers that there is a $250 fine if the queue across the intersection. Man, what I’d give to have the New Zealand police put down the radar guns and go camp out at intersections fining these muppets instead.

People who have no idea where they are going

You can easily spot these people by their signature move: Sudden left or right turn from across 3 lanes of traffic. Even in the days where we had nothing better than a physical map instead of GPS and smart phones, this was inexcusable.

If you don’t know where you’re going, then pull over and work that shit out. And if you do find yourself in the wrong lane, endangering every other road user should be so far down the “to do” list, it should even be below “give a starving tiger a surprise blowjob.”

Cyclists who treat road rules like a buffet, picking and choose which ones they feel like following

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Ah cyclists. Nothing can cause a more heated debate among road users than someone that uses their own two legs to get to work instead of an internal combustion engine. Which side of the debate am I on you may ask? Neither.

There are definitely assholes on both sides, and I am happy to report that I try my very best to always be aware of, and give as much space to a cyclist as possible. Except the selfish ones.

There is a coastal road in Auckland, where the council did something wonderful. They build a nice, smooth and wide cycle lane, completely separate from the road, keeping them well out of the way of cars and trucks.

Now, one guess as to where they all cycle? If you guessed “the middle of the fucking road” then congratulations, you win. This is not the only road where this happens, but it is the best example since a while ago there was a massive news story about a cyclist that got run over by a truck on that very road. And no, the truck was not driving on the cycle lane.

I can go on about other issues like cyclists riding 3 abreast on a 100kh/m country road, ignoring traffic lights and other road rules, but we will be here all day, and this is starting to get a bit long already.

I guess all I am saying is, whether you drive a car or ride a bicycle, stop being so god damn selfish and think about everyone else who has to share the road with you.

10 Kiwi driver behaviours that really piss me off