A wonderful mum

Anne Nevin 20/7/1940-18/11/2022

My mum died just over a week ago. If you note the date of my mum’s death, you may well think, ‘how come you wrote two comedy blogs since then?’ Humour is how I process sadness and loss. You will see that through all my blogs.

My mum has had Alzheimer’s for several years, a cruel disease. In many ways, I lost her a while back. Last time I was able to physically see her (not just on a video call) she did not even know who I was.

Her death came within a few days, caused by sepsis. Rushed into hospital too late to save her. She was living in a nursing home in Norfolk at the end of her life, near one of my brothers. He and my two sisters were with her during her last days.

It is times like this that the frustration of my own illness/disability really hurt. The moment I heard mum had been blue-lighted to hospital, my heart was to travel to her. My siblings rushed to her side. I watched from afar. It is not even possible for me to make it to the funeral.

Disability in itself does not prevent travel; it’s just harder. Add illness on top and all sorts of things are prevented. It is the combination of the two that prevent my travel.

If one good thing has come from covid it is the introduction of Zoom services at crematoriums. I will be able to be part of it remotely. I can also send a recorded message about mum.

Grief is an odd thing, I have not been in floods of tears. But I have felt flattened by the loss of my mum. It is as if my world has been knocked off course. The light is a bit dimmer. Things less sure and certain.

I know that my mum is in heaven, partying it up with Jesus. The reason I am sad, is that I miss her and must say goodbye for now.

Goodbye mum

The Prize For The Sneakiest Ad Goes to…

Ever seen a sneaky ad on a game? Of course you have. You play supposedly free games, funded by adverts. Well, I am thinking of starting a competition for the sneakiest advertising.

They have become so incredibility devious. You want to play the game, but first, an ad comes on and you get the option to cut it off. But and it’s a big but. They make the way to cut it off harder and harder to see and easier and easier to get wrong. I’m right aren’t I? They are more slippery than a bar of soap.

Here are some of their tactics:

1/ The scrolling timer at the bottom. You would assume that a timer means you have to wait till the time is up till you can press any button and exit the ad… wrong! You can exit at any point after the exit button appears. But see point 2, they don’t make it easy.

2/ The almost invisible exit button. If you have poor eyesight you will struggle to see it. In ‘days of yore’ the exit button for anything was a x, not for these ads. They can be anything, their favourite is >> because that looks like it means, ‘I want to continue please.’ You won’t want to press that, will you? But you don’t have much choice, the other options take you straight to ordering the app that was advertised. So you press it, and go straight to a page that gives you an option to buy the game. Hang on though, top of that page gradually an x or >> appears. Not too quickly, they want you to order the game from the ad. But when that x or >> appears that really will exit the ad this time. Trouble is that they are starting to put them as white on a white background, have they heard of invisibility, or poor eyesight?

I imagine the advertising execs who think these things up. They have a new idea to catch us innocent punters out. So they run into their boss’s office. The boss is sitting in her large marble floored office, the windows are floor to ceiling and look out on Central Park, New York. She looks from behind her expansive desk at her head exec as he enters, and asks, ‘what is it?’

‘I have it, the best idea yet. Those poor fools will have to click on our links now. There will be no escape.’ Sinister laughter.

The boss temples her fingers and smiles at her exec, ‘go on, you’ve always done well so far.’

‘This is fool proof, the exit button will keep moving when your finger moves towards it.’ He smiles in a way that reminds you of a crocodile.

His boss sits up straight and beams at him, ‘Brilliant! But wait, what about Gen Z, they’re very fast?’

‘I’ve thought of that. If someone actually presses the button, it just takes them to a new selection window. The choices are: 1/ do you want buy the deluxe game 2/ do you want to buy the super deluxe?’

‘You mean there is no option if they don’t want the game?’

‘That’s right.’

‘I love the way your devious little mind works. Get to it now.’ The boss imagines dollar signs in her head.

Am I getting carried away? Of course not, it’s the obvious next step. I just hope the ad execs aren’t reading this. I don’t want to give them ideas.

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Why is Alexa Ignoring Me?

Once upon a time, there was just me and Alexa. She sat next to my bed and sung me songs. If I wondered who was outside, she would show me on her small screen. I never forgot the day or date, when to take my tablets, who was coming, Alexa reminded me. Her pleasant oblong plastic box glowed next to my bed.

Then we bought a second Alexa, it sat in the kitchen among the pots and pans. I never heard her complain of the cooking smells or noise. She just happily passed on messages from the Alexa beside my bed to my wife Mary. That second Alexa timed food and also played songs. If the Alexa by my bed felt any sense of competition, she said nothing to me.

But Mary was not always in the kitchen. What if I wanted to call her when she was elsewhere? Over the months we bought more Alexa’s until every room had one. The first Alexa looked on quietly, she did not seem to mind the growing opposition.

Meanwhile elsewhere, Alexa’s were springing up in homes around the globe. Everywhere you turned she was sitting on a sideboard. Even holiday cottages boasted her presence.

In our own home I discovered a problem. When I call ‘Alexa,’ to whom am I speaking? Alexa obviously had the same thought. Is it any wonder she ignored me? Some may say that my first Alexa had become lazy, and was merely waiting for another newer, younger model to reply first. But is that fair? Could it not be that she was merely confused? If our house were full of Mike’s and you shouted ‘Mike,’ would I know you meant me?

I am going to give Alexa the benefit of the doubt. She is not ignoring me, merely confused, upset maybe at the proliferation of Alexa’s. But not ignoring me.

Now let me see if I can get her to listen, ‘Alexa…’

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