Linguistics

Interesting experiment - try to speak another language for a night, in the company of a native speaker. I just did (one night a week we're speaking only Japanese.) It's interesting to see what phrases you need to ask about first.

All the things I needed to ask were blistering terms of self abuse and swear words. This doesn't exactly worry me, but does make me want to change the way I talk to myself.

Death to all Cyclists

Really, I don't care how environmentally friendly you are. Please see this instructional video for details:

http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2008/monkey-dust-cyclists-p1.php

Why have I declared fatwa on cyclists?

Okay, I was feeling like I needed a walk. I've been trying a new meditation called walking meditation. I decided to kill two birds with one stone, and so I set out to walk to the Majestic Hotel and back. This is the hotel on Seven Sisters Road where my mother stays when she comes to London. I didn't start meditating right away - my plan was that I'd start when I was on the correct side of the road for the hotel. It's a long, straight road and it was quiet. Perfect for mindful, meditative walking.

So, I'm crossing the road - in my right mind, and concentrating on what I'm doing. I get past three sets of lights, when I come to a fourth. The light has turned green, so I look into the traffic stream, and see that the cars have stopped.

Before I look the other way, I put one foot forward. I don't actually step into the road, but I put one foot about three inches into the road. What harm would that do? Someone would have to be riding on the wrong side of the road, insanely close to the curb AND go through a stop light for any hard to come to me, right?

Motherfucking cyclists.

Yes- he was riding through a red light, evading the pesky bunch of good road users by just jumping onto the wrong side of the road. Stop for a fucking red light? Why should he? He's a fucking CYCLIST. No, instead he just cut onto the wrong side of the road, so close to the curb that he ran over my foot, which was about three inches into the road.

Thank God for the Grinder Stag boot. Without it's protection I'd be a hell of a lot more than just pissed off. I just wish I'd had the presence of mind to shove him off his bike and give the prick some road rash to remember me by.

The City

(Okay, wierd prose poem thing. Here goes.)

A beautiful day to feel the city in bloom - sunlight warming the languid, porous bricks of the warehouse opposite the Globe. Glass skin reflecting blue skies and the perfect, tinted shade of the high walled backstreets. Come in from the desert of Portland Limestone and bask in the cool, feel the electricity of a Frapuccino singing in your hand.

The beautiful Thames basking between her banks in a dress of blue and brown silk. The darkest of rivers, and filled with powers, bottles, bodies and a million, million lost things. The folds of her garment bob and ripple, a mirror for the river of life.

Come step across the steel fastness of the Millenium Bridge and back onto dry land. Feel the thrum of powerlines through St. Paul's Cathedral and walk through the haunted quiet of Paternoster Square. That special shade of The City - different to the quiet, backstreet laziness. Sepulchered here away from the sun. No distant sounds here exept the distant cheeping of construction engines and the special song of jackhammer sweetness. Feel the minds and bodies of others making the same journey as yourself.

Then come, follow me to the high, wide, narrow, lost streets within these city walls. Come to Change Alley, Angel Street, Turn Way and Lothbury. Breath the air of lost time and feel the structures of stone and metal. Come and feel them breath. It's a good day to be in the city.

Tube Wierdos

Practising meditation on the tube this morning - just relaxing and letting myself flow with the rhythms of the tube, the sensations of motion and the sounds of the train moving through the tunnels - when a rather powerfully odorous tramp got on. I don't usually use the word 'tramp' or 'hobo' because I think it dehumanises homeless people, but this fella was an arsehole, so fuck him. He's a Tramp.

SO, I was there, just flowing with the rhythm of the train and feeling the pulse of the underground, when this filthy, bug eyed Hobo got on. He sat squarely in front of me, and immediately started loudly shouting and swearing about me, my clothes, my sexuality and music. The thing he found most offensive was my music - just the fact that I had headphones on. In my defence, I'd suggest that my being able to hear every word he said means that my music wasn't at an antisocial level.

It sent my meditation out of the window. He bobbed in and out of my line of sight so that I couldn't avoid him by just turning my head slightly and looking at the empty seat next to him. So I decided to roll with the punches. I decided to meditate on HIM.

This took the form of me turning off my iPod, putting it away, and then staring at him for twenty minutes. I didn't engage with him, I didn't have an expression on my face - I just regarded him openly and mindfully for the rest of the Tube journey. I meditated the layers of dirt on his face, the smell of his incredible body ordour, his bug eyes, his muttering, stumbling, swearing voice and the words themselves. He swore at me, I stared at him. He muttered about people with their 'boomboomboom' music - I stared at him.

For myself, I found the experience quite interesting. He was freaked out to hell. By the end he'd curled in on himself almost foetally, glancing at me every few seconds to see if I was still staring at him. I was. In fact I was still sitting slightly forward, poised as if he was one of the most interesting things I'd ever seen, but with a competely dead face and dead eyes.

Then I got off the train and went to work. Pigfucker. That'll teach him.

Still Alive

Hello there everyone - I'm still alive. Thank you to those who have been asking after me. Nope, I haven't gone off to Japan without telling anyone, or decided that Livejournal is for losers (or been completely secuced by Facebook.)

I have however, been writing a book. And I still am. This is mostly thanks to a computer problem that saw my laptop go back to the shop for three weeks, and the face that it seems to be turning out a lot longer than I expected.

So, just a quick post to say that I'm still here, I'm not gone forever and I'm not avoiding anyone. I do want to make a serious job of this novel though, so I'm majorly limiting my LJ (and other social networking) time.

So there we go. I'll be back to the world at some point, but not for a while.

Hugs to all and sundry though.

Gladness

Yes... it's one of those things. I still have a sore throat today (and I've infected Mrs. Societyscaresme, who doesn't seem really very happy about that) but on the upside, I have the one kind of sore throat that all those throat medicines ACTUALLY WORK AGAINST: a bacterial sore throat! Not only that, but I have the one kind of sore throat that there ACTUALLY IS a pill to solve. All of this makes me feel very, very glad that I live in a relatively well off civilised Western country with good (regardless of how it feels) access to modern medicine. Without such things as antibacterial throat lozenges and the high doses of Penicillin I've been put on my throat would not only not be getting any better, but it would be getting steadily worse. In some deprived countries people die of streptococcal pharyngitis, and other infections. It just doesn't get treated, and develops into things like Scarlet Fever, Gladular Fever, Impetigo and even certain Brian Disorders like PANDAS Syndrome.

So, yes, I'm feeling quite privileged this morning. I've also found The Lyric Theatre Text Adventure Game on the internet, so I'm going to play it! On the other hand before I can do that, I need to do a few other things:

-- Hoover
-- Reading (Mabinogion and then Sacred Geometry)
-- Writing (Article on candle free magic, and some creative writing)
-- Washing up
-- Washing Clothes
-- New Bank Account (because the F*cking Halifax have been sending my statements to a random branch of Cost Cutter, which is a London chain of convenience stores. Incompetent tossers)

What I shall probably do is the cleaning related stuff now, followed by a reward of playing Lyric for a while, followed by the Bank stuff, followed by playing Lyric for a while, then all that brain stuff in the evening. Maybe followed for playing Lyric for a while.

Not that any of you needed to know that, but it helps to have a to-do list ;-)

Go West, Young Man, Go West

Okay, I'm sick at the moment. The Doctor says I have a bacterial throat infection, which is charming because it means I can talk, but not eat. Eating, or drinking anything at all, of any kind, is really painful. Fuckers. I know I need to force myself to drink, and I have been, but it's annoying. It also means I'll be on @£$T^ing antibiotics on the day of the Globe end of season party -- unlimited free booze. None of it for me :-(

Being sick means that I have caveat to keep doing what I've been doing for the last few days -- playing stupid games. The current favourites are Plants vs Zombies, a really good tactical wargame, and Battle Bears, a rather fun FPS where you have to kill legions of pink teddies to stop them loving and hugging you. It's hours of misanthropic fun -- they come on saying 'hug me' or 'I love you' and you blast them away with an assault rifle.

On the other hand, there is an ugly side too -- I've dabbled in Text Based Adventure games. Now, good text based adventure gaming is just like Table Top RPing with a good GM: you use your imagination and have a far more intellectually challenging and cerebral experience than the average computer game. Bad Text Based Adventuring is like being a newbie at the gaming table with a bunch of experienced gamers who don't feel like explaining the rules -- you type in 'help' in the hopes of getting some instructions (like what commands I could type in) and get a sarky little note about how this was Mr. Text Game Writer's first game and he didn't think the puzzles were obscure enough to need a hint. Wanker.

I then spent an hour wandering around the house, looking at everything I could before getting murdered by the bloody cat. This resulted in my typing in swear words for several childishly cathartic minutes.

Okay, I've wasted enough of my life on computer games. Now to do a bit of reading and maybe something creative or constructive.

Coming

Winter is coming,
Summer is dead,
Or whispering her last words,
And Autumn,
that interim Lord,
Is laying out her soon-to-be corpse.

Persephony is packing her bags,
In a bleak seaside resort,
Where she has retreated from her mother's anguish,
And the slaying of that loyal servant,
Who made things grow.

Hades, the half year batchelour,
Is clearing away the beer cans,
And Playcorpse magazines,
Left over from his six month freedom,
And looking forward to not being alone,
In the black silk bedsheets of Hell.

Meanwhile, Winter is coming,
She has recieved the call,
And assembled her team --
Ice, Rain and Snow,
Poised in the dark at the edge of the fall.

And here we stand,
In the firelit dark,
Drinking spiced wine and spirits,
In for the long haul.

Third Branch of the Mabinogion

Okay, I have to say this translation of the Mab is far superior to the others I've owned. It has a crisp style and elegant prose -- creating a readable text without over simplifying or dumbing down.

The Third Branch was absolutely fantastic -- a post-apocalyptic alternative reality horror.

Four Friends go hunting when they're enveloped by a black cloud. When it blows over they find that every other sign of population in the kingdom is gone. They spend years exploring and living off the land as they try to find any other survivors, before going back to England.

Unfortunately while England has a population, they have enemies and have to go back to Dyfed. While there they find a fortress. At this point one of the heroes does something uncharacteristic for a Welsh mythological hero -- he goes in. Not only that, but he touches something. It turns out to be a trap and he's paralysed without the power of speech. His mother goes in too... and gets trapped in the same way. At this point (I love the sensible nature of Welsh Myth) his two friends decide that since two people have gone into the fortress and not come out it's time to lament dead friends and bugger off somewhere else.

They go to raise crops, but something eats them. They guard the crops... and see a wave of mice. They capture a mouse and (being a bit batshit by then) they decide to hang it as a thief. Along the way they meet the first other human in Wales since the black cloud incident -- a priest. He offers to buy the mouse, but they refuse. They meet another, richer priest, and another, all in the deserted wilderness. Each offers more money than the last, until they all turn out to have been the same sorceror. He hated them and decided to torture them by basically trapping everyone in Dyfed in a prison dimension (some people would have done it the other way, but thats' obscene power for you.)

They negotiate to get their missing friends back, and Dyfed restored to it's former population level. Stunning, and very atmospheric.