Archive for March, 2006

A return to Vitriolic Spew

What a self-congratulatory cheerful pile of wank that post was. I can see how blogging appears to automatically insert people’s heads into their rectums. I feel like vomiting all over that last entry. Seeing as I disapprove of censorship though, I suppose I’ll leave it there. It is a notable example of what happens to me on my birthday, suddenly I become the centre of the universe and behave accordingly. *rolls eyes*. Not that I am not the centre of the universe at all times, of course. Hah.

Work is currently being heaped upon me like big steaming piles of turd. I don’t mind that so much, though it does put a bit of a damper on sleeping, drinking and juggling, seeing as I don’t have that much time. Disappointingly I don’t get to go to Sweden, but perhaps I’ll be sent some other time. I may be sent to Dublin soon, which would be sort of handy.

Little to report really, this weekend I am going to a party in a crypt, I have taken up contact juggling, and my birthday last weekend was a fantastic series of events, the highlight of which was attendance by several notable personages all the way from Ireland.

Alive++

Yes, I make a big deal out of my birthday. I enjoy it immensely. It tends to spread over at least a weekend, or a couple of days. It’s not because I particularly crave the attention, though maybe that’s a part of it. It’s because I’m celebrating the fact that I’m still alive, which is a fact I happen to be quite fond of. Not that I was expecting to be dead, but that’s entirely beside the point. Life should be celebrated. I dearly love being alive, and I have no problems showing it.

I don’t understand people who ignore their birthdays,. So what if you’re older? Pretending a year hasn’t gone by won’t make you any younger. It’s not an admission that time is passing you by kids, it’s a joyful victory over a tough world that you continue to exist in. Living for another year should be an achievement, not an embarrassment. I look back over the last year, and I’m amazed by what I’ve done, and how far I’ve come. Maybe that’s obnoxious, maybe not. I couldn’t care less either way.

Since my last birthday, I’ve moved home twice, moved jobs twice, been through the worst emotional ordeal of my life, left my country, my family, and my friends behind, and still survived, still managed. Still been who I want to be, been that person more so than ever in fact.  Independence which once would have impressed me I now assume without thinking. I’ve realised what I want, and what’s important to me, with a clarity that I have never really had before. I am happier than I’ve ever been and I know it even at the times when I’m temporarily miserable.

I completely disagree with the theory that people throw parties to get presents. I don’t want presents. Sure if you want to give me something I’ll be as pleased and surprised as I would be at any other time. But if you ask me what I want I haven’t a notion, and it would never occur to me to expect something. The gift is the fact that I’m still here, and I’m still me, and that my life is still changing, still fun, and still an experience worth having. Maybe if a year passes in which I haven’t done anything I valued or enjoyed then I won’t like marking the passage of time, but I don’t plan on ever allowing that to happen.

Thanks to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday today, in whatever form it took, irc, card, text, phone call, some were even in person. Yes, I see human beings every day. Thanks to all of you, and I’m glad you’re still alive too :) Most of you anyway.

The pulling power of phallic vegetables

On saturday night , I went to a club called Frog, near Tottenham Court Road. The following conversation occurred between the french girl and some guy while we were all in the queue for the cloakroom…

Guy: Hey, would you like a lollipop? (Holds out chupa chup)

A: What flavour is that?

Guy: Eh, I don’t know

A: Well I cannot take a lollipop from a strange man if I don’t even know what flavour it is. My mother told me not to

Guy: Oh, ok. Would you like a cucumber then? (Reaches into jacket, pulls out cucumber)

A: What the fuck?

At this point I almost fell over laughing. It transpired that the guy was swedish, and the cucumber’s name was Dennis. These facts are thought to be unrelated. I love conversations that appear to distort reality through sheer bizarreness.

Zen and the art of stupid fucking questions

Years ago, my mother told me that she thought I had a very black and white way of looking at the world. To my adolescent mind this seemed almost an insult, I thought I was liberal, a free-thinker, an introspective testament to open-mindedness. I didn’t realise until a long time later that the capacity to decide what I think didn’t invalidate any of these descriptions. I am a cynic, and I am an idealist. I am the former as a result of the latter. I see how the world should work, and I know it will never be achieved. I see what people could be, and what they aren’t.

Someone asked me last week what my definition of right and wrong was, and laughed when I replied “What you should do, and what you shouldn’t do.” But in its simplest and most basic form, that is the answer. Why complicate it? Most of the time you either know it already, or you call it a grey area. The truth is that there are no grey areas. Just things you haven’t thought about in the right way.

I wrote as a comment somewhere recently that grey areas are perceived because people do not like extremes, and do not like to use them when they form opinions. But extremes are the only test of logic. If an opinion does not hold up in its most extreme context, then that opinion is wrong. And yes, an opinion can be wrong. Deal with it. My opinions are extreme because they are obliged to be, because they would be worthless if they were not.

Do I ignore other points of view? No, that would be foolish, they are valuable in determining the correct answer to questions I cannot answer myself, or have answered incorrectly. If I thought that I knew everything then opinions would unnecessary, because I would know.

It has been suggested to me that there are no stupid questions. I would be inclined to agree with this statement, except for the existence of what I can only call smartass questions. Questions which in this age of existentialist wank we are meant to be confused by, they are meant to convey some deep and profound meaning which we are just a few steps away from grasping. Except that they are in fact a pile of utter horse poo. I will now answer a couple of these questions in an attempt to clarify.

Stupid question – If a tree falls in the forest and there is no-one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Obvious Reply – Define sound. If its something you hear, then the structure of the question implies that the answer is no. If it is something that exists independent of measure then clearly the answer is yes. If you’re a budding quantum physicist, fuck off. I have no time for people who reject the concept of reality.

Stupid question – What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Obvious Reply – Since the definition of clapping is the act of bringing both hands together, this question is what I like to call nonsense. One might as well ask what it looks like when you do a handstand with your feet.

These stupid questions are apparently called Koans, and are meant to be Zen riddles. But I could generate a thousand of them simply by constructing sentences which are almost logical, but are in fact complete nonsense. They are not profound, they are not clever. They are a trick to give the impression of profundity and cleverness. If these actually originated in Buddhism, then I need no more proof than that to think it is a crock of shit. Something worth listening to would not want to attract the kind of spiritual up-your-own-arse-ness of people who ask these questions in company. I’ve got a better question.

If you don’t believe anything really exists, then why do you behave as if it does? Why conform to laws that you don’t believe in? Why do anything? Comments here you fucking hippies, I’d be genuinely interested to know.

Citibank UK : Commendably paranoid or hopelessly irritating?

So it turns out that in fact I am subject to questioning by the fucking spanish inquisition in order to obtain my own bloody money. Charmed, I’m sure. Here is an approximation of my banking experience, note that I spent 10 minutes queuing before I even managed to have the memorable discourse detailed below. My total sojourn in the bank was about 45 mins, making me slightly late back to work.

Me: Hi, I need to withdraw money using my identification, my wallet was stolen with all my cards in it
Clerk: Ok, what ID do you have?

…I hand her my passport and a recent bank statement…

Clerk: Ok, I’ll just go photocopy these

…She disappears for 10 mins, finally returns…

Clerk: Em, this passport expires in july
Me: Ye-es, but its valid now, and its a valid form of ID anyway surely
Clerk: When do you get your new one?
Me: when I go apply for it
Clerk: Why haven’t you?
Me: I travel a lot, I have to give it up for over 2 weeks to get a new one, I haven’t had the chance
Clerk: so you’ve been travelling on this passport?
Me (getting slightly annoyed): Yes, its a valid passport
Clerk (looking cunning): So why doesn’t it have any stamps on it?
Me (getting really quite miffed): Because we live in the EU! I travelled to Ireland and France!
Clerk: I was just asking. Hold on for a minute.

…Disappears for 5, returns…

Clerk: this might take a while to authorise, do you want to sit down?
Me: Fine.

…Finally returns about 15 mins later…

Clerk: Sorry about that
Me: thats fine, can I withdraw the cash now? £90 please

… she counts out 70, attempts to hand it to me, realises she has fucked it up (possibly from the look on my face), and amends it to 90, then finally hands me my fucking money.

I am distinctly unimpressed.

New adventures in poverty…

This week holds for me a wonderful new experience. That of having absolutely no fucking money. Have I lost my job? Have I converted to Scientology? Have I managed to squander everything I earned in advance of payday? None of the above. What did happen however, is that my wallet was stolen on the Metro in Paris on sunday. This loss in itself is not such a horrific occurrence. The monetary value of what the wallet contained was well under £10, so I am consoled by the fact that whatever lowlife piece of scum pulled it out of my bag in the crush has gotten almost nothing out of that act. However the inconvenience value is sky high.

Fortunately, my rent comes out by direct debit, so I have no worries on that score. And one of my housemates owed me £25, so I have successfully retrieved that. Since my entire bag remained intact and with me aside from the aforementioned wallet, I also had my keys, my ticket back to London, and my phones. And of course, I had the French girl, who bought me dinner, a bottle of water for the journey home, and translated my irritated rant to a gendarme, who kindly provided me with the necessary papers to prove I had made a statement in case any suspicious charges should manage to appear on my credit card. I doubt this, since all 6 (yes, I have 6) cards were cancelled within about 20 minutes of the incident occurring, but its good to have proof regardless.

So this week shall be a week of living on pasta at home and spending about £2 on lunch a day. I am going to consider it a challenge to survive on as little cash as possible. I have been getting a bit too affluent lately, I realised this morning that I no longer really ask myself whether I can afford to buy things or not. I just assume that I can unless they are over a couple of hundred quid. While this is possibly a natural side effect of getting paid what I consider to be quite a lot, I’m not certain I approve of it. I like it, but that’s of no consequence really. It was nice to be able to just go buy a mattress last week and not have to save money, but these things should be better planned.

I originally wrote this update days ago and never posted it. Tune in tomorrow for an explanation of why all bank clerks should all be ritually dismembered and eaten by dogs. Small annoying dogs.