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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

"The casualty is on the beach; getting her off won't be easy" 

You have to love it when TV narration goes bad.

I'm back.

I'm also much, much better than when I last posted and I'd like to thank you all for your emails, comments and IM conversations. I'd like to especially thank Ford W. Maverick for keeping me sane that Sunday morning.

He doesn't know how big a contribution he made to my sanity, but he did and I want you all to know that he is, in Sopranos parlance, a stand up guy.

Things are okay in my world at the moment, and they're going to be better still from this evening onwards when Channel Five bring us UK viewers season three of The Shield. God bless you Shawn Ryan, God bless you.

I shall post again soon, most likely when my parents next leave the house.

Thank you for everything

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Pain 

Hey Folks,

I did something I've never done before in my entire adult life, and like the Drink Sunscreen song, or whatever it was from a few years back, it scared me.

I phoned my parents and asked them to help me. To most people this is probably the most logical and normal thing in the world to do, and it is a rather simple equation:

Parents produce child
Child, although fully grown, encounters life crisis
Child goes to parents for guidance
Parents render any and all possible assistance
Repeat as necessary

In my family however, things have never quite worked out according to the above description of familial functionality, so much so that when my Mum answered the telephone, the first thing I said to her was "I need your help, I'm trusting you to help me. If you can't do that then tell me now." This evidences a terribly low opinion of my parents, but it is not an entirely unreasonable one for me to hold. Contacting your parents, however, would not normally be seen as threat environment or a situation liable to place one at risk but I'm treading on shaky ground.

Things have actually gotten so bad that I've turned to my parents for help. I'm more scared of what's happening to me right now than I am of them arriving and taking me home. It's so bad that I know that I have to go home, that right now home is safer than any other place I could go to.

Ever had an auditory hallucination? Ever had an auditory hallucination that's just the opening three bars of Thank You by Dido on a constant loop? Do your best to avoid this situation at all costs. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can work wonders, but Alexander the Great himself would have difficulty beating that tom-tom and those three acoustic guitar chords. Everytime my mind loses absolute concentration it slips back into my head. My ears actually hurt from it and my body is so tense from its effects that I feel if anyone touched me, I'd snap. I can't actually wait for my parents to get here - even an almighty row would at least provide a distraction from this hell. Truth be known, I've had a lot worse, I've seen people, heard them talk to me, touched them, but that was some time ago and I so very much hoped that I was past all this.

I truly thought I was, I've been free of this for almost six months now, and the truly hellish thing is that there was nothing I could have done differently to prevent it, like lightning it strikes where and when it wants to.

We have internet access at home, we're not that poor, but I'm not sure if I should be posting from there are I doubt that this journal would do much to harmonise relations if it were to be discovered. I'll devise some manner of communication, however, if only to prove to myself that I'm not in a locked hospital ward. Understandably I'm struggling for something positive to leave on, and I hope that you'll forgive me, but all that comes to mind is wu wei.

Wu wei, Allan, wu wei...

They've just phoned: they're on their way.

"And I still find it so hard/To say what I need to say/But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me/Just how I should feel today" 

Hey Folks,

As you can see there have been some significant changes round these parts. Despite Mr Scary's assertion that I choose black and yellow, I decided to do my bit for the anti bigotry in Scottish football movement and make green and blue my main colours. Actually, I;m not being quite honest here: I am one of the the 5-10 oercent of British males that has colour vision problems, and the dark green/dark blue contrast is the optimal colour for viewing for me and if I can see it then you buggers can't complain.

I'm sure you shall anyway.

You'd think, also, that having known I'm colourblind for some years now that I would take this into account before messing with the blog's colour values. You'd think it and you'd be dead wrong, but it's ended well: from a manic Sunday to a blue (and green) Sunday

In a concession to Mr Duck: "I'll get me coat."

Public User Announcement 

Hey Folks,

Right, I'm at that awkward stage where my brain is argiung with itself about whether we're going to have a manic moment or not. The mania is fun, I'm a good guy; you'd like me, but the coming down period is not nice at all. Can anyone say crash and burn? So this blog - i.e me - is making a stand and saying No To Mania, but I need a project or three to focus on. So I'm going to mess around with the colour settings of the blog, and things may appear a little strange for a bit. It may help you, dear reader, to imagine it as a graphical representation of the inside of my skull.

So far, though, I've not seen any "oozing green slime" colur listed in the HTML codes, so it may not be an accurate representation of my. Please remember that I'm new at all this and trying my best.

Come to think of it, who has ever heard of a manic Sunday anyway?

No rest til Hammersmith 

Hey Folks,

Things have been motoring along quite nicely in the land on me, that was until yesterday evening when I went through a rather unpleasant brooding phase. I wish I had pots of money - and then, in all fairness, I probably wouldn't be so miserable - or was a skilled inventor so I could brood according to the conventions of Hollywood and literature - in my secret underground lab, f'r instance. But I don't have a secret underground lab to brood in, and I sometimes doubt that even one that had a pool in it with sharks that had fricking lasers on their heads would make me happy.

But I digress.

The upshot of my madness last night was that I managed to freak myself out so badly that I've not had a wink of sleep, hence me blogging at ten to seven in the morning. On the Sabbath no less. I'm pretty sure that if the computers and the internet had been around several thousand years ago there would have been a prohibition in Leviticus about blogging on the Sabbath. Of course, centuries later, people would argue the relative merits of the effects of ASDL on this prohibition - "is it really relevant," they'd probably say, "now that we have transfer speeds in excess of 1 megabyte per second?" I reckon they would make an exception, as long as you weren't using AOL.

The majority of the preceeding paragraph was, of course, irrelevant for the following reasons: 1) computers, the internet and everything had not been invented when the Levites were doing their stuff, although they could do some pretty mean calculations with an abacus and 2) given that Leviticus is a book of the holy Torah, the good book of the Jews, Judaism having no relation whatsoever to Christianity (as Doctor Reverend will happily explain to you at length), this means that of course the Sabbath, had I chosen to observe it correctly, should have been observed from sunset on Friday. Therefore, as a pagan Christian, my problems are far greater than posting on a Sunday.

Just ask Doctor Reverend.

Do you know that in Stirling, it's full daylight by 4.50am? You do now.

Anyway, whilst not spending my evening sleeping, nor awake and doing interesting and wonderful things in bed with someone who loves me, I have, all too predictably I fear, being doing the rounds of the blogs. Skippy has a link to an incredibly funny blog post concerning the sex scandal du jour in the US, involving a young intern who had sex with men for money, performing sexual acts that definitely contravene Leviticus and then being foolish - or media savvy - enough to blog about it all "in the clear", with original names and everything. This, in and of itself, is incredibly funny, but a fellow blogger has decided that enough is enough when it comes to sex bloggers getting book deals while other writers get no recognition whatsoever and has adopted a somewhat, er, novel approach to getting similar benefits from blogging. You could say this method involves fighting fire with fire:

So here was my plan: For the past four weeks, I've attempted to live the Washingtonienne lifestyle.

To snag my book deal, I'd have to match Washingtonienne in terms of getting semi-anonymous sex from near-strangers. I'd have to have sex with at least six (6) people in a relatively short span of time.

Furthermore, the sex would have to be deviant, at least most of the time, tending towards spanking and anal sex. Generally stuff involving my ass, in other words, or preferably someone else's ass.

And lastly-- this is the tricky part-- I'd have to get paid for it.
Washingtonienne doesn't specify how much money, all told, she received in "gifts" from various married men, but she does say that one guy gave her $400 for anal sex.
So I'll take this one specified amount -- four bills -- as my target.

Could I do it? Read the Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Journal and find out.


It's truly hilarious, but I caution that it is rather rude - but hey, sex is a rudely funny pursuit- and the full Diary can be found here.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

"Knife goes in, guts go out, that's what Osaka Fish Concern is all about" 

Hey Folks,

I totally forgot that yesterday was Onion day until about half an hour ago. Being such a miserable so and so, each new edition of said newspaper is literally the highlight of my week.

This guy could have been any one of my flatmates from over the years. Being a paranoid I've often suspected that the powers that be in goverment, advertising and the media have often used my student dwellings as the basis for their policies and campaigns, and we can now add the Onion to that list. I'm flattered, but also a tad freaked out that stuff I've done on a daily basis for years - "...whose favorite mode of communication was the quoting of Simpsons lines" Check - all too often appears in popular culture. Then there was that Fiat advert set in the petrol station with the dialogue being Don't You Want Me by the Human League, and the plots for several UK sitcoms as well.

I suppose I'll have to get used to this new mantle of being a trend setter, but I doubt that I'll ever grow entirely comfortable with it.

Other highlights from this week's edition include the genius Prisoner reference in the STATshot - I felt rather pleased with myself for getting it - and the fantastic leading article: Kerry Names 1969 Version of Himself as Running Mate. And the Ronald Regan references are sublime, too. Basically, as Reverend Lovejoy would say "it's all good."

Now where did I put those sleeping tablets?

X marks the spot 

Hey Folks,

I believe that I had the dubious honour of being one of the very first to cast my Euro vote today for I placed my vote on my way to work. So keen was I to fulfil my civic duty to halt fascists - okay, the BNP have never really been a major threat in Stirling but that's no excuse to stop now - and ensure that the European Union looks after my interests that I was practically banging down the doors of the community centre to get in. Although I was not exactly running late, time was still at a premium and speed was of the essence which did not interact well with the octogenarian polling officer's arthritis. She did however observe that it was "good to see young people taking an interest in the democratic process." I agreed, and she offered me a cup of tea which I availed myself of on the way home from seeing C.

Down South they're desperately tring to encourage voters by offering high-end electronic products as prizes, but it occurs to me that they'd be better off by serving up hot drinks and food - give me a bacon roll and I shall give you my vote, so to speak, and what wouldn't I vote for if someone gave me a pie - because on the available evidence most people don't give a stuff about telling fascists to fuck off Euro politics which is daft, plain and simple. Although when I returned for my cuppa it was still fairly early, there were a grand total of three voters to use that polling centre. Octogenarian polling officer was desperately hoping for an improved turnout throughout the day.

I'm not so optimistic, sadly.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"Well I stand up next to a mountain and chop it down with the edge of my hand" 

Hey Folks,

It's been a week of anniversaries: we had Tiananmen Square, the 60th commemoration of the D-Day landings, 62nd anniversary of the Battle of Midway and yesterday was the anniversary of the Bluff Cove tragedy during the Falklands war in 1982. Does it strike anyone else as odd that so many photogenic events of violent nature took place in the first week or so of June? Or is it just me wondering about this? On reflection, it's probably just me... Anyway, the seventh of June is a red letter day for me too, for it was on 7/6/1997, a fine, fair Monday, that I surrendered to hate and fear and gave into the Dark side of the Force. Well I would have had I been a Skywalker or other Jedi, so I guess that I just have to take responsibility for my own actions.

Let me explain:

As already stated Monday the 7th of June was a lovely clear day, New Labour had been in power a little over a month and for myself and my contemporaries who had only ever known a Conservative government life did seem to be truly changing. But I digress. Other people have talked at length about how New Labour let us all down and what I really want to talk about tonight is that on that day, June 7th 1997, I almost, very, very nearly, killed a fellow pupil in the playground of my high school. And I meant to do it. Allow me to set the scene: my time at high school, although reasonably successful academically, was a nightmare experience of Faustian proportions due to the actions of most of the school. Now this may sound like a rather sweeping indictment of the student body but it's basically true; I reside in that awkward limbo of having having a disability that is pronounced enough to draw notice from even casual observers, but no where near severe enough to put me in an "off limits" category. The Achilles tendon in my left leg is shorter than that of my right and attempts to correct this have left me with a rather pronounced limp which is exactly the sort of thing that thoughtless and casually cruel children notice. I admit that it's not a severe problem and I am genuinely thankful that the cerebal palsy that resulted from me forgetting to breathe in the womb has done no worse than that, but it was enough to get me mercilessly bullied from the minute I started high school to the minute I left. To begin with my tormentors were all older than myself, although the insults soon spread to my own year group. Bizarrely, I became a target for children who were younger than myself. Picture the scene: painfully shy 15 year old being verbally abused by 11 and 12 year olds. Not nice, and not much of a self esteem builder. What had happened was that the bullying I received was so widespread that the younger children who didn't even know who I was picked up on it and started to imitate it. I found that to be the worst, and looking back I was very depressed from about fourteen onwards; I just didn't know what the signs were then - I thought I was still normal on the inside. When I had been younger, I'd begged staff for help to deal with the bullying but nothing was ever done. All throughout I never once told my family what was going on as I knew that however bad things were at school, interference from Planet Parent would increase it exponentially and lead to all sorts of fun and games in the household.

They - as in the whole school - had a favourite nickname for me, one that turned out to be quite apt in fact. Like the best - and worst - nicknames it was also pretty clever as it worked on several levels, and credit where credit's due, whoever came up with it must have been particularly inspired that day. To allow you to visualise my walking style, think back to the scene near the end of Terminator, after Arnie's been hit by the fuel tanker and all that's left is the endoskeleton. When he chases after Reese and Sarah Connor, that's exactly how I move. That's the first part of the greatness of the nickname. The second is that back then I was lucky if I weighed 8.5 stone (119lbs/54.5Kg) soaking wet. Whilst wearing a rucksack loaded with bricks and steel bars. I was, and still am to an extent, the archetypical wimp and for me to be christened Terminator was particularly inspired - after all, they could say what the heck they liked; I wasn't a threat to them or anyone.

One area of my life that gave me solace and a little bit of self respect was physical fitness - I've talked about that before, and at 16 I was possibly as fit as I've ever been then or since. I could run and cycle for miles and miles and do ridiculous amounts of push ups, thrusts, sit ups and lift weights for hours. I suppose that I was trying to find acceptance, but I never really achieved it while at high school. About the only person that I truly connected with at that age, that I felt comfortable with, was my Dad's brother in law - my uncle. He is, I suppose, one of those people that you only ever read about between the covers of the latest airport thriller: he spent over twenty years in the military and from the little that he's alluded to - and from what I've been able to piece together from other sources - he was involved in a lot of work in the shadows of most of the conflicts, private and public, that the UK was involved in during that time. At this point I was actively hiding my true feelings from everyone, and setting a trend for future years. Given how good was at concealing the ongoing disintegration of my personality, I can't ever blame my uncle for what happened next. I had been open enough to discuss the bullying that I was receiving on a constant basis with him and, mistaking my general reticence and aloofness from things as simply a lack of self-confidence, he applied twenty years of lectures, seminars and horribly practical experiences and decided that my situation would improve if I knew how to "take care of myself." From then on in - this would have been summer of 1996 - he passed along what he termed "self defence techniques", but would be more accurately described as "unarmed combat for beginners." Sadly, given future events - I'm sure you can all see where this story is going - I was an all too able student and unbenknownst to him, I was augmenting the routines he was teaching me with yet more moves - stuff that really doesn't have a place on the playground.

By June of 1997 I was a highly volatile mix of rage, self-loathing, fear and brewing violence. The abyss was quite literally looking me right in the eyes and I was on the verge of a breakdown. I think that internally I had fractured into two distinct sections: one part week, submissive and suffering, the other... well it was supremely fit, skilled, agile and frankly looking to get even with the world. Looking back over the years this is simply shocking to me, but I suppose that there are many teenagers who could emphasise with what I was feeling. During the lunch hour of 7th of June 1997, I snapped and I lashed out; the raging, angry, violent part of me that had been looking for release for years reigned supreme for a few brief and bloody minutes. The name calling started as it always did: from a distance, safe, cowardly. In all my years at that school, I'd never lashed out at anyone and yet they always stood off at a short distance. On my way to eat lunch before choir practice - quite a catch, ladies, can sing in key and also protect your honour - and rounding the corner of the building, the self-appointed Head Bully called out at me, as he had hundreds if not thousands of times before.

The only difference this time was that he was in range. I snapped. In two strides I was right up in his face; he had nowhere to go as he was too close to the side of the building to manoevure. He was a year younger than me, but genetics had ensured that height and weight were on his side: where I had bone with a thin layer of sinew and skin, he had pounds of meat and muscle - ordinarily I was terrified of him, but not that day. He opened his mouth to continue with the verbal beating, but he never got to begin his sentence as I punched him so hard in the sternum that he was lifted off his feet and fell back against the building. For a split second the look of shock on his face was almost enough for me - I had regained a small part of something that he and others had been stealing in dribs and drabs for years. It could have finished there, but he hit me back and that was when I really started to pile the blows in. I think that what was going through my mind at that point was something along the lines of "you mock me for years, make my life hell and I strike back once and you still need to have the last word" but run together and in block bold caps. He tried to hit me again and I blocked it, got inside his guard and chopped him neatly across the neck. I think at that point, I truly was trying to kill him and had a weapon been to hand I don't think that I could have acted in any way but that - he was at my mercy and although it was only for a few seconds I hurt him enough to land him in hospital with cracked ribs, a bruised larynx, a concussion, a broken nose and an eye that he couldn't see out of for days. I would most likely have done yet more damage to him had my friends not hauled me off him - as it was it took all three of them to pin me down and I hurt one of them fairly badly in the process. He finished matters by thumping me so hard on the jaw that my head bounced off the ground - I was lucky not to be taking a trip to the hospital that day.

If I sound gleeful in recounting this story, proud to have dispensed justice, that is not my intention for this is the first time that I've ever tried to write down a description of my actions on that day. Ever since that red mist lifted, I've been appalled at what I did to another human being and I've been dreadfully scared of that beast inside of me. Looking back over my actions then and since, especially with what I know now from my therapy sessions, I wonder if one of the reasons that I concealed so much and suppressed so much emotion internally was fear that I would be capable of doing that or similar to my loved ones if the stresses piled up. I know, however, that such a course is entirely the wrong one - self-repression is how I ended up in those circumstances in the first instance. In all honesty I know that I have never felt that sheer bloodthirsty rage since then and I doubt that I ever will again. I wish that, despite everything that that boy had done to me, I had continued to turn the other cheek. I also wish that I could have taken better advantage of the help that was offered to me after the fact and perhaps if I had, the events of the past year, and the part of me that exists and created them, might never have taken place or been allowed to take root in my brain. It's taken a very long time, but I think that I'm finally in possession of enough self-knowledge that I can rebuild my character - it's just a very shitty thing that 16 year olds are so crap at meaningful introspection. I feel sick when I think about how I enjoyed the apparent fear of everyone who ever hurt me in the days that followed. I was Mental Gellar personified, and I think that at that time I was downright evil for then I knew no remorse or sanction.

It's only now that I've crossed my own little Rubicon that I can see just how flawed a character I truly am. In rebuilding my life, I've had to demolish all these old personality structures and rip out all the poor wiring in my psyche. To borrow from Six Feet Under's House analogy, I'm currently rummaging around in the foundations of my personality and character and, to be brutally honest, it's not a nice place. Starting again and building from the ground up at this age is a hard process, but hopefully one day I shall be able to enter into more positive relationships with people, treat them properly and be respectful of them and their needs.

I owe it to all the people that I've harmed over the years but I think that I owe it to me,
too.

Thanks for reading.

World War 2.5 

Hey Folks,

I'm back.

Yup, it's true.

My site's stats have provided yet more evidence of that curious internet phenomenon that the less I write, the more hits I generate - this says a lot about you, readers, and for now we'll say that it says good things. But enough about your Pavlovian responses, and reloading the page won't make new posts appear as if by magic, and on to the meat of the matter: me, precisely what I've done this past week.

Short answer: bugger all. I've suffered from a deficit of energy and motivation this past week and despite not having done anything more strenuous than watch the wall to wall coverage of the D-Day commemorations on Sunday, I am currently rather exhausted so I'm going to ease myself back into blogging by talking about a site that I first encountered quite some time ago. You might or might not be familiar with the excellent flash animation Gulf War 2, which back in 2002 provided an all too realistic scenario for how events could unfold in any forthcoming war in Iraq. Although much of what the scenario proposed has not been borne out by real life events, it's still accurate enough, and it begs the question that if an immigrant animator could model such occurences then why couldn't the US government. Oh wait; silly me - they could. Fools.

I told them that would happen

what astounds me, however, is the screeds and screeds of hatemail that the animation has generated for the creator. In short, he is being attacked for nothing more than his honesty, and he talks about the sheer fear and hatred that bubbles along under the surface that we Europeans cannot understand - and this is coming from a man with friends who joined the IRA... Due to my already announced lethargy, I'm providing you with a link to the received hatemail as the creator's responses are truly hilarious. I do, however, have real stuff - of my own - to blog about and I will do so later on after I have swilled my way through my remaining supplies of caffeinated beverages in the vain hope that they shall lift me out of my current funk. Next stop: performance-enhancing drugs...

Hatemail link: "may you be the first to die when we are attacked by Islamics"

Thursday, June 03, 2004

News just in from the War on Terror 

Hey Folks,

CIA chief George Tennet resigns. Perhaps he did need to go, but it's sad that there are others far more culpable in the whole sordid business that feel no need to step down or even apologise for their actions.

You know who I'm talking about.

"We're Marley and Marley WOOOOOH!" 

Hey Folks,

I saw a trailer for this programme a few days before it aired on Channel Four. I happened, at that point, to be watching the telly in the company of a girl who we shall describe as a "new Christian." Our reactions to the trailer were somewhat...different:

Me: Looks good, I'll be watching that.
Her: It's a sin to try and contact the dead. God doesn't want us to do that, and you shouldn't watch the programme.

She obviously was not familiar with Brown's self-appointed role as a debunker and revealer of secrets and therefore she genuinely believed that the programme would attempt to contact the spirits of the dead. This assumes two things: 1) that there are indeed disembodied spirits and 2) that you can contact them. Now although my background is comparative religion and history and I'm not a theologian, I'm pretty certain that Christianity's notion of a Soul is somewhat different from the idea of ghostly spirits and apparitions that can knock twice for yes. The Judeo-Christian proscription extends to activley participating in necromancy and divination of future events, and I wonder just what sort of Christian education this girl had received to put her in mortal fear of a television broadcast. Even after I attempted to explain at length that the whole programme was most likely a hoax to expose people that claim to have such abilities and take advantage of vulnerable or suggestable people, she was not much reassured. It's a sad day when the word of an upstanding - in that I have full use of my legs - member of the Church of Scotland counts less than that of Baptist nuts. You see, I know exactly the kind of Christian education that this girl has been receiving and I've ranted at length on those of that ilk several times in these pages. Although this girl is sensible enough to ignore some of their more obvious tools of reeducation, her need to fit in with the rest of the group ensures that most of their tactics will take hold in the end. This is not a critique of the Baptist denomination, rather a rant at a particular group of said Baptists. It strikes me as extremely cynical that her church simultaneously expresses the hand of friendship to all whilst ostracising anyone with questions or quibbles.

Damn, that makes me angry.

And I hope all those buggers that complained before Channel Four broadcast the programme will now do the decent thing and write letters of apology.

AS I write this, I'm earwigging on one half of a mobile phone conversation and I've come to the conclusion that there is no sweeter sound that of a lassie from Belfast giving her boyfriend a verbal pasting for his sloth in job hunting. Fact.

I'm going to be spending a few days with my parents, so I shall update as and when I can deleting all blog-related materials from the History and Cookies folders

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

'Cause I'm a lucky(?) man... 

Hey Folks,

Grabbing the bull by the horns, I decided to follow Supermum's advice and go visit The Luck Factor. It's quite interesting, and my luck profile can be found here. I think a resounding Average is okay given that I'm such a miserable bugger mostly.

I feel better already.

I'm also planning on getting out there a bit more in case Dr. Reverend decides to come and find me and kick my arse. I think it's worthy of note, however, that the Jewish Dr. Reverend despises psychaitry as "Jew trickery." I don't think my head doctor is Jewish, but I know that she's damned good looking so I think on that basis alone I shall continue with my weekly visits.

Oh well.