Sunday, 4 December 2016

OCD

What is normal? Are any of us truly normal, or is there really no such thing, and we all simply exist on a sliding scale of weirdness?
I like to imagine that for the most part I'm fairly ordinary, but at the same time that could also mean I'm rather dull - which is probably not too far from the truth.
It's the little quirks that make a person interesting, but it can be difficult to identify your own quirks because to you they seem normal.
So I've had a think about this and decided that in my own little way I do a have a bit of OCD about certain things. I suspect most people do, and it would be interesting to hear about the things that others obsess over.
Here are a few examples of my own personal weirdness:

The volume control on any device, whether it's the car stereo, TV or whatever, must be set to a number that can be divided by two or five. 15 is fine, but 17 is a big no-no.
If the volume control has no numbers I can relax.

CDs must be arranged in alphabetical order by artist, and in chronological order within each artist.
While this is also a matter of convenience (making it easy to find the one you want), it's still something that winds me up immensely if I find something that's not in its correct place.
Also, when replacing a CD in its case the label must be the right way up, which is fine most of the time but there is the odd one where you can't tell which way is up. The internal turmoil this generates is disturbing.

When the car is parked, the steering wheel must be in the straight ahead position - unless parked on a hill of course, but we don't have many of those in the fens.

My square bedside lamp must always be square with the bedside table it sits on, along with the coaster and any books.

The kitchen knives must be arranged on the magnetic holder in size order, evenly spaced, points upwards, with the tops of the handles all at the same level. Any deviation from this could destroy the space-time continuum more effectively than a teenager with a modified DeLorean.

Any set of drills in a rack must be complete. Empty spaces are not permitted under pain of death, because sod's law dictates that the one you need is the one that isn't there. Therefore when buying a set of drills it makes sense to buy extras of the ones most likely to be used and lost / broken / worn out.

Now I've written these things down I realise that maybe I'm a bit of a freak. This is not all bad because if I'm even a tiny bit of a freak and everyone else has similarly weird issues, then perhaps that means I'm normal.
Whether that's a good or bad thing, I have no idea.




Friday, 2 December 2016

Talking to God on the big white telephone

The boy went out last night (shocking as it meant giving up valuable Playstation time) saying he was meeting his friend at the pub for a drink and would be home around 11pm as he still had to be up for work in the morning.
The wife and I retired to the welcome comfort of bed just before 11 and thought nothing of it.
After reading a couple of chapters I went to sleep, but woke up a short time later with her fidgeting and sighing beside me - fretting that he still wasn't home.
He's normally pretty good about sticking to the times he says, so a bit of worry was creeping in and I texted him to check he was still alive and to prompt his return.
He finally rolled in at 1:30am and stumbled into his room before rushing back to the bathroom in the first of several extended and rather noisy visits - the price one pays for overindulgence.

With all that going on, any chance of sleep evaporated, so the wife made tea and we lay there reading and pondering what's to become of the boy and his worrying relationship with alcohol.
By the time things quietened down, time had moved on significantly, and as a result I only got about two hours sleep last night and am definitely not feeling my usual morning self - mostly because my brain still thinks it's about 2am.
It's easy now to be disapproving of such antics, but I can't be too hard on him because I remember doing the same things myself at that age.

When I was about 15 or 16 my parents went on holiday by themselves, leaving me with the house to myself for a week.
A mate came round and we spent the evening sampling our way through the drinks cupboard before moving on to mum's selection of homemade wines while watching a Tom & Jerry video which by that point had taken on a whole new dimension of hilarity.
Then it happened. The inadvisable cocktail of questionable homebrew, Bacardi and who knows what else had decided to head for the nearest exit, so I stood up, fell over, and commenced crawling towards the smallest room.
I didn't make it. Halfway up the stairs I could restrain it no more, and the hasty application of a hand over the mouth did nothing but change the stream into a spray.
I did my best to clean up but I must have been fighting a losing battle. My parents never said anything, but a new stair carpet was installed shortly after their return.

At 18 the pub was no longer out of bounds and of course became a frequent destination - especially as it was literally about 200 yards from the house.
One fateful evening I went there with my brother-in-law and his neighbour and indulged in a few pints of snakebite & black.
I vaguely remember getting home and going up to bed, but the next thing I knew was being naked in the bath, throwing up down the plug hole, wondering what all the red stuff was and why it wouldn't run away.

At a friend's birthday party everything was going well - I was enjoying the company of an older woman while discovering the interesting taste and effects of a bottle of Pernod.
It was all fine until I sat down on the sofa and promptly passed out.
I awoke suddenly with the now familiar feeling of impending doom, and rushed to the living room door, aiming for the downstairs privvy.
It was shut. "Strange", observed my Pernod-addled brain. I tried to open it and found it locked, so I turned the key and flung open the door and looked out in confusion at the back garden.
At this point I felt my mate's hand on my shoulder as he asked "What are you looking for?"
"Err... bog..", I said.
Suddenly I was flying, as my mate picked me up and ran with me to the toilet, getting there just in time for a technicolour yawn of epic proportions.
When I finally emerged I was given the choice of going back to the party or bed. There was no way I could show my face after such an exhibition, the older woman probably would have gone off the idea, and in that state there was sod all I'd be able to do about it even if she hadn't, so bed it was.
I was ill for two days and I've never touched Pernod since.

So with three almighty alcohol-fuelled fuck-ups under my belt, I finally learned where to draw the line by the time I was in my early twenties.
I only hope it doesn't take the boy long to figure it out either.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

University of life

As Michaelmas term draws to an end, and I begin to feel a sense of relief that the worst bit of the academic year is behind me, I look around at the stupids and realise that although the faces and names change from year to year, the characters are always the same.
I've been doing this job for over twenty years now and seen all sorts from 'normal' everyday people, through shy retiring types too afraid to speak up or look you in the eye, to arrogant loud-mouthed wankers whose very presence puts me on edge and makes me start looking around the workshop to see which tools would make the most effective weapons.

My direct involvement with most is fleeting, but it's surprising how quickly you can form a first impression that turns out to be right on the money.
I have nothing to do with first or second year students beyond trying to avoid moving around the department between lectures when there's the risk of being caught up in a tide of smelly bodies clutching rucksacks and cycle helmets, all talking at once while staring at their phones.
Those who I have more to do with are in the third year of their bachelors degree, when they carry out a series of lab experiments as part of their coursework.
At this point I start to notice those that stand out - the late and disorganised, the lame excuse inventors, the keen but misguided, those who don't really want to be here but also don't know what else to do with their lives, and of course the obligatory in-your-face fuckwit. Every year has one.

As soon as the year's arrogant tosser has been identified, he's a marked man (not had a female pain-in-the-arse yet), and the whole team keeps a careful eye on him.
We try our best to be professional and treat everyone the same, but as with life in general, you tend to treat others the way they treat you. So when some 21-year-old upstart struts in and starts talking to you like you're something nasty they've found stuck to the sole of their shoe, it should come as no surprise when their attitude comes back to haunt them.

Every year we have a few students doing projects for their Masters degree, by which time most of the unpleasant troublemakers have been carefully weeded out to avoid the risk of getting blood up the wall. The occasional one slips through but thankfully it's a rarity, with most of them being the best that the previous year had to offer. There's still the odd one who doesn't know their arse from their elbow, but we do our best to guide them through the process.
By the time we get to those doing their PhD, we generally find ourselves dealing with pretty good people. Most are hard working, determined individuals who quickly achieve a rapport with the technicians.
Some need a bit of firm house-training in terms of their understanding of what is involved in making things; the physical processes and the time they take. Most things they need are prototypes that need to be designed and built from scratch, and as the average engineering student doesn't even know which end of a hammer to hold, it can all come as a bit of a shock to them.
By the time they've done their three year stint and been 'doctored', the majority leave here with a good job in industry. Over the years I've seen them go on to research jobs with companies including Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin, and Renault and Ferrari F1 teams, and it's a good feeling to know that I've been a part of enabling them to achieve that.
I've also witnessed them develop as people and got to know them reasonably well, so by the time they leave I'm sorry to see them go.

Of course there have been one or two that it was a relief to see the back of, but it's impossible to avoid every over-confident dickhead with all the social skills of a honey badger on crack.
If it was, the world would be a better place.
It would also be a better place if members of the 'Cambridge University Engineering Society' refrained from wearing sweatshirts emblazoned with the phrase 'Trust me, I'm an engineer'.
No you're not, you're just good at maths.

Schlieren image of a Mach 1.5 shockwave
taken during the 3rd year teaching lab.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Bright light, dark room

After last weekend's disastrous trip into Cambridge we vowed never to do it again unless we absolutely have to.
It's just not us. We derive no pleasure whatsoever from battling crowds of people to wander aimlessly around shops that have nothing of interest to offer us.
The wife pointed out that we'd be better off killing time by going off some place where I could take my camera and try to get some good photos.
I enjoy photography immensely but recently it seems to have taken a back seat, so perhaps this wasn't such a bad idea.

Yesterday we needed to go to Ely early, and having awoken to a world under a blanket of fog, I decided to take my camera - fog can produce some quite atmospheric pictures.
As we walked towards the town centre, the sun was just starting to cut through the fog, shooting rays of light around the silhouette of the Cathedral, so while the wife went to get her hair cut, I wandered around taking photos.





When we got home I reviewed what I'd taken, saving the good ones and deleting the rubbish, before uploading a couple of favourites to Instagram.
Having managed to drag himself out of his festering pit of doom with the lure of a cooked breakfast, the boy looked at the pictures I'd taken that morning.
He then shocked me by saying he was considering buying himself a good camera and taking up photography himself. Having been tempted by recent deals, he is after an entry-level Canon DSLR.
This is wonderful news - that he might actually find something more constructive to do with his leisure time than swearing loudly at the Playstation and drinking vodka.
His job is giving him sufficient income to afford such toys, so no problem there, but given the fact that he hasn't yet grasped the basics of shutter speed / aperture / ISO etc, I can see that it will take a fair bit of guidance before he achieves the sort of images he wants.
I'm tempted by an SLR myself, but every time I get close to going for it I get put off by the idea of lugging a bag of bulky gear around with me.
I currently use an Olympus XZ-1 which has served me well for the past few years. It has all the functionality of an SLR apart from the interchangeable lenses, and it fits in a jacket pocket. On the down side, some of that functionality is difficult to access due to a fiddly menu system.
There are a few things I would like to be able to do that only an SLR can achieve, such as a usefully shallow depth of field and use of graduated and polarising filters, so I'm sure I'll make the move to an SLR eventually - it's inevitable.
In the meantime, I'll carry on with what I've got, while doing what I can to encourage my son to pursue his own enthusiasm.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Ooer, missus!

My original intention for this post was to delve into the world of euphemisms, but then I hit a snag.
I couldn't see a way of writing it without it turning into just another list of words and phrases that most of us know already.
We often use euphemisms when we're talking about subjects we might be slightly uncomfortable with, and using alternative words that inject a little humour into the proceedings makes us feel happier and more relaxed.
For example, other than the medical profession and parents trying to do the right thing, few people refer to sexual organs by their correct names because they're such horrible sounding words. For this reason alone we now have more words for vagina than Eskimos have for snow.
So whether it's about 'kicking the bucket', 'driving the porcelain truck', or 'bashing the bishop', we all have our own collection of preferred euphemisms that we use on a regular basis, and for the most part everybody knows what we mean.

An extension of the euphemism which does deserve a bit more discussion is the double entendre.
This is where an ordinary statement can be twisted around in such a way that it acquires a smutty alternative meaning.
For examples of this we need look no further than episodes of 'Bottom' or 'Up Pompeii', or better yet, Viz comic's 'Finbarr Saunders'.



The beauty of these double meanings is that with an appropriately inappropriate mind, even the most innocent statement can be reshaped into something to inspire amusement - usually accompanied by a barely-suppressed snigger or a blatant "ooer!".
Yes, I know it's all very immature and nothing more than schoolboy humour, but provided you don't have your head up your own arse it can be very funny indeed. Much like farts really - some people get all holier-than-thou about them whereas others find them a constant source of hilarity from the cradle to the grave. Including me.
In our house we'll all well practiced in the art of the double entendre, and when the mood strikes it can turn into a sort of competition to deliberately create them and see how long it takes the others to catch on.
The same thing happens at work. Myself and a couple of the other chaps can have each other in fits when we plunge into the murky pool of double meanings.

It's all just a way of injecting a bit of fun into the drudgery of everyday existence, and when you have a strong inclination towards depression like I do, it's important to hang on to the things that amuse you in some way.
I avoid watching the news because it's always about bad shit that's going on in the world, and I'm happier being at home than out in the big wide world where I can be subjected to the levels of aggression and self-interest that pervade society.
Finding entertainment in the little things is what keeps me going, and if they happen to be a bit simplistic then so be it. If I'm out, I like to sit by the window of the coffee shop watching the world go by and passing judgement - "What the hell is she wearing?" or "Jesus, look at the size of that!".
I find fun in farting competitions after a particularly effective dinner, I like to arrange the fruit in the bowl in such a way that a banana and a couple of plums are in pride of place, and I like finding unintentional dirty meanings for things people say.
It's not big, it's not clever, but at least it doesn't hurt anyone.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

I've started so I'll finish

I find cooking one of the most enjoyable things in life, and as long as I'm not being subjected to the restrictions imposed by whatever diet the wife is currently enslaved by, I can spend hours creating something that will be wolfed down in ten minutes flat without feeling like I've wasted my time.
This evening I was allowed the freedom to create my signature lasagne in all its waistline-expanding glory, so I set myself up with the usual things necessary for a session in the kitchen - namely a large glass of red wine (major abstinence fail, but I've resigned myself to it) and the iPod and Bose bluetooth speaker to provide the musical accompaniment.

Having started off with a Madonna compilation to satisfy the eighties urge, I switched to INXS's fantastic 'X' album. Once it started, I was along for the ride. With no loss of enthusiasm and no desire to change to something different until the last track had finished, I lost myself singing along and dancing around the kitchen leaving assorted splodges of ragu and bechamel sauce in my wake.
While everyone has their own particular favourites, that album has to be one of my personal all-time greats.
One of the things I love about it is the fact that it's one of those albums I can listen to from start to finish without getting bored, and that's something that seems to be pretty hard to come by these days.

Back in the days of vinyl records, an artist was restricted to around 45 to 50 minutes within which to fit an album, which meant they had to be fairly picky about the tracks to be included.
As a result, it was generally pretty easy to listen through the whole album without wanting to miss out anything. Okay, there might be one duff track from time to time that spoiled the experience, but on the whole you could put on an album and listen from start to finish with no interruption apart from turning the LP over halfway through.

When CDs came along we were blessed with a far cleaner sound, free from the characteristic hisses and pops associated with vinyl. Purists still argue to this day that vinyl is superior to CD, and they may have a point, although the hardware required to provide that level of reproduction is beyond the pockets of most people.
The CD also gave artists 80 minutes of potential play time, which although useful for compilations, meant that they felt obliged (or the record companies pushed them into doing so) to fill the available space. What this meant was that instead of putting out an album with seven or eight great tracks, they were padding it out with sub-standard stuff just so they had the requisite twelve to fifteen tracks.
What this means is that the most important function that CD players provided us with over and above turntables became the 'forward skip' button.
Now, instead of sitting down with your eyes closed and immersing yourself in an album for three quarters of an hour, you sit with your thumb hovering over the remote, poised to jump past the next crappy infill track.

Listening to that INXS album got me thinking. How many albums can you truly sit through from start to finish and enjoy every single track without skipping a single one?
And how many of those were released since the late eighties when CDs were becoming the dominant format?
Apart from the album mentioned above, such albums in my own collection include the following:

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Marillion - Misplaced Childhood
Enigma - MCMXC AD
Dire Straits - Love Over Gold
Depeche Mode - Violator
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Roxy Music - Avalon
Michael Jackson - Thriller

While some of these were released since the rise of the CD, the rest come from the days when vinyl was king.
I also have many albums that came out before the CD, but have been re-released with 'bonus extra tracks', which without fail roughly translates as 'stuff that was too crappy to make it on to any album, but we can't resist filling that bit of empty space on the disc'.
These include Ultravox's 'Vienna' and 'The Pleasure Principle' by Gary Numan.
It's hardly surprising then, that younger generations have grown up without the pleasure of listening to a whole album to the exclusion of all other distractions.
They're living in a world where music has become nothing more than aural wallpaper; a disposable commodity that's here today and gone tomorrow, or as soon as something newer and just as mundane and uninspiring arrives on Spotify.
That's not to say that good music is no longer being made - it's just harder to find, and harder still to find an entire album you like rather than just picking out a couple of decent tracks and ignoring the rest.



Sunday, 16 October 2016

Northern wankers Vs Southern poofs


Not that many years ago there was a very strong belief that people from the north of England were in some way of a lower class than those from the south.
The assumption among southerners was that anyone north of Birmingham was a poor cloth cap-wearing, whippet-fancying dipshit who calls everyone 'pet' or 'lad' and likes to drink very dark beer with twigs in it.
Those in the north however, believed that all those soft southern poofs with their banking jobs and their poncy wine bars had an overinflated sense of their own importance and wouldn't know a proper day's work if it jumped up and bit them in the arse.
I like to believe we've moved on a bit since then, and I for one find people in the north to be no different from those here in the south apart from being more friendly and less self-centred.

I may not be the world's most travelled man, but I'm sure those attitudes are far less prevalent in society today. Sure there will always be those who want to make themselves feel better by suggesting that someone else is in some way inferior to them, be it due to their geographical location, the colour of their skin or whatever, but for the more enlightened majority it's just about people. You're a person, I'm a person, and all that matters is how we treat others.
From my point of view I couldn't give a flying bollock if you're black, white, christian, muslim, atheist, hindu, conservative, liberal, straight, gay, American, Russian, Chinese, and god help me I don't even care if you're French. If you treat me like a decent human being then I'll do the same.

That's not to say that divisions don't exist - of course they do. But the most obvious area where the battle lines are most often drawn is that of rich vs poor.
My brother went to India a few years ago, and what struck him above all else about the people was the vast gulf between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.
While our own financial inequalities may not be as clear cut, there remains a yawning chasm between the extremes. There are company directors with salaries in the millions, private yachts, multiple dwellings in assorted countries, and a fondness for shiny things that would put a magpie to shame, and at the other end of the spectrum we find those who have to go to a food bank just so they can put some sort of meal on the table, or indeed may not even have a home in which to put a table.

I find myself somewhere within the great expanse of grey which is a sort of sliding scale between these extremes.
I consider myself fortunate to have a small but comfortable home, a decent job, and an income that is roughly around the supposed national average. It's nice to be in a position where if the washing machine packs up I can just wander into Currys and buy a new one, and if we fancy dinner at Prezzo, that's not a problem either.
I don't get my groceries helicoptered in by Harrods, but I'm not having to hang around waiting for the final reductions on end of life food at the supermarket just before it's thrown in the bin either.
But while those at the top of the food chain are eating caviar from a supermodel's navel at 20,000 feet in their Gulfstream executive jet, there's a queue of hapless unfortunates waiting for handouts because they don't even have enough money for the rent, let alone be able to provide a nutritional meal.

It's not as if I have a problem with the rich as a rule. OK, I think it's disgusting and immoral that professional footballers should be paid so much for kicking a bag of air around for 90 minutes, but on the other hand I think surgeons deserve everything they get and more besides.
What I don't like is public displays of wealth. If I was to see a Bugatti Veyron on the road my first thought would be "How many peoples lives could have been improved for what that cost?".
And when I see people on the street who are carrying everything they own, their faces etched with hopelessness and faded dreams, I can't help but feel guilty that I'm unable to change things for them.
Some social divisions like the whole north vs south thing may be possible to consign to the history books, but it seems unlikely that the issue of economic inequality will ever go away.


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Helping hands

There's an expectation these days that when someone is given help they automatically assume that they should repay that assistance, whether by cash, goods, or by doing a favour in return.
Indeed, a lot of people do expect to be compensated for their help, even if it's just a matter of a couple of beers.
I'm not like that. If I can help someone, I'll do it because it's the right thing to do.

There's a movement known as 'Pay it forward' which is about doing things for others with no reward other than the hope that the person who has been helped goes on to do the same thing for others.
This is all well and good, but sometimes the attitude of those who practice this is that if they do these things, they will be repaid in some way in the future; like collecting on some sort of cosmic debt.
I have a problem with this way of thinking. To my mind the whole concept of 'Pay it forward' should be completely selfless. Sure I have no problem picking and choosing who or when I help, but when I do it's never with any expectation that it will come back to me.
While I firmly believe in karma, I certainly don't see it as a sort of savings account where you put good deeds in so you can draw them out later when you're going through a bad patch or just fancy a bit of good luck.
If I did, I'd be out there helping the needy every weekend in the hope that one day I'll have saved enough credit for Melissa Fumero to suddenly appear at my door feeling horny and wearing nothing but a big smile.
Nice idea, but I don't think it works like that.

I like it when I'm in a position to help someone because it makes me feels useful. I like being able to make a positive difference to someone's day. Not because I enjoy basking in some warm glow of self-righteousness, but because I believe that in these dark days of rampant me-ism it's good to spread a little humanity.
There's far too much greed and self-interest around - so many people who frankly couldn't give a toss about anyone else as long as they're alright, and I find that very sad.
So when I decide to help someone, the only thing I hope for in return is that that person goes on to help someone else in whatever way they're able to, thus passing on the good deed.
Under all the world-weary cynicism I wear on the outside, I still cling tightly to the hope that there are enough decent people around to ensure that all those bastards who devote their lives to being shitty to others don't ever win.


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Radio Ga Ga

The other day I was listening to a Scissor Sisters album, and heard the lyrics "There ain't no tits on the radio".
It occurred to me that the Scissor Sisters have obviously never heard Chris Evans on Radio 2, because if they had they'd know that there most certainly are tits on the radio.
Not that Chris is alone.
Turn on the radio at any time (especially the local stations pandering to a younger audience) and there's a good chance you'll be aurally assaulted by some overenthusiastic idiot who thinks the way to keep people listening is to shout a lot and talk bollocks between records that all sound the same.
I used to think BBC Radio 1 was the one station that adolecents with no taste could have to themselves, but the rot is rapidly spreading and I can't help but wonder if the days are numbered for radio as a form of entertainment. Mind you, they've been saying that since TV was invented.

I do still listen to the radio, but only in the car. Radio 4 on the way to work for a bit of news and current affairs, and Radio 2 on the way home because Steve Wright's show seems to have just the right blend of decent music, interesting guests and friendly banter.
But I never listen to it at home, and I suppose it's mostly because I don't bother to look to see if there's anything on worth listening to. It's a shame really because I could be missing out.
I sometimes hear a trailer for a programme that's on later in the week - Craig Charles does some really good shows but I always seem to forget when they're on.
I remember as a kid I'd go to bed at night and listen to whatever comedy show was on Radio 2 - something like 'The Grumbleweeds', or 'Hinge & Bracket' or whatever, but I don't even know if such programmes even exist any more.

I think there may be a number of reasons I lost interest in radio, such as the inexhaustible supply of inane shite that spills from the mouths of so many DJs, the severely limited playlists which mean you quickly begin to hate songs because you've heard them so many damn times, and if it's not a BBC station then you get bombarded with incredibly annoying adverts that seem to have been devised by someone with the IQ of a suspiciously crispy Kleenex.
You can try flipping around the stations but if you do, you'll just end up getting angry at all the crap on offer and just turn it off. Much like television really.
The popularity of streaming services like Spotify is no surprise when you consider the alternatives, but for my part although I'm happy to dance around the kitchen while making dinner with the ipod and bluetooth speaker on the go, or if I have the place to myself I'll slip a favourite CD into the hifi and indulge myself for a while, but most of the time I prefer to enjoy whatever quietness I can find.

A tit on the radio

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Easy as f**k

There are many words that have become overused, often in the wrong context, such as 'like' which is commonly used by the hard of thinking as a sort of filler in place of 'um or 'er' while they try to remember which word they intended to say next.
Another victim of this kind of misuse is the word 'literally' which has been noticeably on the rise over the past couple of years.

One word that has been in common usage for countless years is of course 'fuck'.
Perhaps its popularity is down to its versatility. It can be used to express so many things including frustration (Oh for fuck's sake), confusion (What the fuck?), defeat (Fuck it), hopelessness (I'm fucked), and many many more. Just Google uses of the word fuck and you'll find plenty of sites with lists of examples, but I suspect most readers will have an extensive repetoire of their own.

More recently however, it has come to my attention that there is a whole new use for fuck, and that is as a unit of measurement.
Now, while standard measurement units are related to a specific property like velocity (metres per second or kilometres per hour) or energy (calories, joules), fuck appears to be capable of being used as a measurement of anything at all.
Examples include speed (fast as fuck), temperature (hot as fuck), intelligence (dumb as fuck), and fighting ability (hard as fuck).
This makes fuck pretty much a universal unit, although its actual value is clearly very flexible as it only seems to occur in single units, with one exception. It appears that when used as a unit of caring, its default value is nil, as in 'zero fucks given'.

The opportunities this all provides for confusion are countless, so I suspect that for the purposes of more important things like designing aeroplanes and nuclear reactors, more traditional units of measurement may need to be adhered to.
On a day-to-day basis however, it's good news because it allows us to get out of having to be specific about anything ever again, while giving zero fucks about it.