I’ve got a Candy Crush on you.

Hi, I’m Candy Crush. But you can call me Candy.

I’ve seen you around the place. Here and there. Oh, just when you were flicking through the App Store the other week. Maybe you’ve seen me? I know a few of your friends.

You look like fun. Maybe we could do something sometime. Whenever – I’m free to download.

Now? Sure. You move fast.

Don’t be nervous now. There’s no need. Relax. Just open me up. I know this is your first time but I can show you exactly what to do.

Put your finger on the screen, just like you would with every other app. I’m touch sensitive, you know.

Move your finger up, down or side-to-side and you’ll find the right spot. Don’t worry – I’ll let you know. You can be gentle. Or hard. I don’t mind. The screen will crack before I do.

Just go at your own pace. I can wait. We can go a bit further each time.

You’re having fun, aren’t you? I can tell. You’re a natural – believe me.

I can feel you pushing further inside me, taking it to new levels. Where’d you get that confidence? 12 levels without having to restart? You’re incredible. Keep going, keep going.

Oh!

What happened? You lost a life? Don’t worry. You’ve got more of them. Don’t lose your rhythm.

Oh no! You lost another one? Sweetie, are you ok? Here, have a booster. That’ll get you going again.

There you are. See? Don’t let a little awkwardness ruin the whole thing. That’s more like it.

God, that didn’t take you long! You’re ploughing through my levels again. I can barely keep up with you. My God, I swear I’ve never been played this well before — your fingers are everywhere. We’re making sweet candy together. Don’t you feel it? My God my God my God!

Stop.

I said STOP.

Why? We’ve reached level 35, so I say we stop. I don’t need to explain myself.

You haven’t told any of your friends that we play together. You’re not embarrassed, are you? I thought that you liked spending time with me. I thought that you loved being together.

You do? Prove it. I want you to tell people, on Facebook. Either that, or your going to have to wait for as long as I say.

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Yes, I do feel better. I’m sorry if you think I overreacted, but you mean so much to me – what we have together is so great – and I want people to know. Can you forgive me? I knew you would.

Oh, this is so good! Why did we ever fight? I know I can be difficult, but I can’t help it. I can tell you understand me. You want me, don’t you, baby?

Wait. You think I’m getting too difficult?

OK. I’m sorry. I assumed that you didn’t mind making a bit of an effort – that I was worth some of your time and, God forbid, a bit of your brainpower. Clearly I was wrong.

You players are all the same; you’re happy when I’m giving it away, but the second I want something more from you, when I want you to stretch yourself just the tiniest amount, you start snivelling like the entitled little shi-

Oh, so you’re leaving, are you? Just going to shut me down and forget about me? Like I didn’t expect that. Can’t hack it when little Candy starts giving it as good as she gets. Lose a few lives and you start stamping your feet and screaming for a nappy change.

Well, go on, then. Quit. Do I look worried? You’ll be back. Just wait.

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Missing in transcription

Being monolingual, my regular meanderings through the internet often land me on Google Translate, slapping slabs of indecipherable text into one box and watching it transform into something I can understand.

Given computers think in 1s and 0s, I rarely question their accuracy – there’s not much room for error, right? But from what I can understand of translation, it requires a deft touch, something lost in the black and white of binary code.

Recently, I decided to test that theory. The results are shown below.

∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏∏

Notes on using Google Translate

Notes on using Google Translate to translate a passage from English to Chinese and back again repeatedly, with the expectation that it will demonstrate some kind of web-based grammatical entropy, all made under the solemn promise to do nothing untoward to influence the result – except for an unnecessarily complex fundamental sentence – and with a shared hope of ensuing hilarity, and if not that, then at least a fleeting glimpse of a wry, and perhaps, knowing smile.

Use Google translator to China, and then come back and repeated the entropy is expected to prove a Web-based syntax, under the solemn commitment made, what adverse effects – except through from the English translation of the notes is not overly complex sentences – along comes hilarity, if not a common hope, then at least a brief glimpse smile, perhaps knowing smile.

Use Google translator to China, then come back and repeated the entropy is expected to prove a Web-based syntax, the solemn commitment made under any adverse effects – except through from the English translation of the notes is not overly complex sentences – along to hilarity, if not a common hope, then at least a brief glimpse smile, perhaps knowing smile.

Use Google translator to China, then come back and repeat the entropy is expected to prove a Web-based syntax, any adverse impact of the solemn commitment made – except through from the English translation of the bill is not overly complex sentences – along hilarious if not a common hope, then at least a brief glimpse smile, perhaps knowing smile.

Use Google translator to China, and then come back repeatedly entropy hopefully demonstrated a Web-based syntax, any adverse effect on the solemn commitment – except through from the English translation of the Act is not overly complex sentences – along lively, if not a common hope, then at least a brief glimpse smile, perhaps knowing smile.

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From my fast-moving hands

Like some perverse lexical hibernator, this blog has lain dormant over the summer. I could offer excuses – I’ve been busy; it was summer you slave driver; my last posts were so genius that they sucked my brains clean out of my skull; I got a new cat and I’m too obsessed to stop talking gibberish to her and sit down to do some serious writing – but instead I’ll profess to remain silent, to bear my failings like a man, all the while using the lack of an excuse as an excuse to tell excuses.

Though I’ve been absent from the blog, I’ve not given up on writing. In fact, I’ve been smashing the keyboard at such a pace that I’ve made various linguistic discoveries.

Imagine a prisoner with a pickaxe, blindly swinging at the ground, only to lose balance, fall sideways and plant his government issue tool into some untouched patch of earth (no, that’s not a bureaucratic euphemism) . As the sharp metal punctures the dry ground a shot of oil bursts upwards. The wardens lose their minds; they’re going to be rich.

In writing various things over the past few months, I have been the prisoner, hammering out work with reckless abandon. My fingers, the pickaxe, have slipped with regularity. And in these mistypes, I have struck black gold. You, dear readers, are my wardens, and I give you these discoveries to bring you untold wealth.

Below is a list of words I have discovered through my fast moving, inaccurate fingers, as well as some advice on how to employ them.

  • Brocess
    • In the age of the SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) this word should be indispensable. Two men having a tiff? “They’ll work it out. They’re going through a brocess.”
  • Bunless
    • This word can be used literally: “Having forgotten to stop at the IGA, she arrived at the Easter festivities completely bunless.”
    • It can also be employed euphemistically: “Not only was he useless at sport; when it came to filling out his trousers, he was completely bunless.”
  • Barticularly
    • Though this is quite a specific word, for Simpsons lovers, it will be handy for pointing out episodes in which Bart is their favourite character, or in which he plays a major role. “I enjoyed that episode Barticularly.” “It was a Barticularly heavy episode.”
  • Carticularly
    • Similar in origin to ‘Barticularly”, this word works thus: Q:”Is there any way you would prefer to arrive?” A:”Carticularly.”
  • Everynone
    • A superb word for expressing indecision and/or bamboozling others. Q: “Who’re you going to invite to the party?” A: “Everynone”
  • Approximitation
    • This can be used to subtly suggest that someone is subpar at mimicry. “I’d say his Alan Jones impression was a more of an approximitation. He didn’t quite convey the imbecilic paranoia .”

Don’t thank me for these riches; make like the world’s oil barons and pay it forward.

Obamacare, Socialism & the NBA

A while ago, during a period of immense self-involvement, grandiose illusions of Grantland publication, and relative unemployment, I wrote an essay about the irony in the US’s reaction to Obamacare, given their love of basketball. The idea came out of a drunken conversation with a friend, and came to haunt me like a vicious hangover.

Times have moved forward and the political commentary isn’t exactly front page stuff, but if you have a passing interest in any of the topics in the title, have a read.

Caveats – It’s long. It’s tame at the start but increases in ridiculousness as it progresses, kind of like Shaq’s career.

ESSAY

Think back to mid-2008. Barrack Obama’s campaign for presidency is in full swing. In Germany, France and the United Kingdom throngs of adoring fans with no direct political connection greet him, scream in a joyous cacophony. At Invesco Field at Mile High he gives a candidacy acceptance speech that streams through millions of televisions worldwide and sends waves of excitement throughout the United States. And in Kuwait, in front of hundreds of troops, he winds up and nails a three-pointer first go — nothing but net. It all looks so easy.

Back in the present, things are looking a little bleaker. The President’s hair gets greyer with each passing day. Though the effects of the Global Financial Crisis and the Eurozone Debt Crisis continue to ripple through American economy, there’s something else that has been shaking the salt through his mane. Obamacare. More specifically, the furious opposition it has garnered since being introduced into congress Though the Supreme Court ruled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act within the power of the Constitution, the absolute shit-fight that led up to the ruling must have made playing on Shaq in the post seem like a stroll in the park.

Notwithstanding the questionable sense in opposing Obamacare, you had to admire the commitment of right-wing America. The way the issue galvanised the naysayers proved that it was not only an opposition a disagreement over healthcare, it was a stand on principle. Ironically, for some, a reform designed to aid 45 million people without health insurance became a symbol of government dictatorship, crushed freedom, and the death of American Values. Conservatives unleashed a torrent of vitriol at the idea of universal healthcare, and tapped into a long-running suspicion of equality over freedom; “It’s socialism!” people screamed as cameras panned across their contorted faces.

On one hand, the reaction wasn’t altogether surprising; individual freedom runs thick in the veins of Americans, especially those of a conservative, small-government bent, and when viewed from those that can help themselves, Obamacare — with its emphasis on “shared responsibility” — strays away from the personal right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. But witnessing the hysteria from Australia, where Medicare — our nationwide healthcare system — is one of the few government-funded operations that people don’t complain about, the frenetic opposition was hard to swallow. Though the targeting of higher income earners under the American scheme (as opposed to the general levy imposed in Australia) might not have sweetened the sell, it seemed to those of us on the outside that the outcome of the legislation —an increase in the quality of life for millions of Americans — was being ignored. The end benefits seemed obscured by the means, outweighed by the utilitarian, and therefore ‘socialist’, distribution of care.

In hindsight, it seems as though there was no way to avoid the opposition. In pushing for such a reform, Obama had to be setting himself up for a fall. With such an established tradition of individual rights, surely the only way to go about it was the way it panned out — to charge on through and hope for a sympathetic call.

At some point, as the battle between ‘freedom’ and ‘socialism’ rumbled on, news of the NBA lockout surfaced. With highlight reels replaced by reports on the tussle for funds between players and the league, basketball started to look pretty dry. But in the light of the groundswell of opposition to the perceived socialist legislation being championed by Obama, the lockout cast an interesting shadow.

At first the NBPA’s (National Basketball Players Association) demand for an increase in player funds seemed a bit rich. These are guys who earn more in a year than most of us do in a decade. But that’s not really worth holding against them; sport and ridiculous amounts of money go hand in hand, and the players were simply arguing for less of a cut to their incomes. Everything is relative, and if you think you’re getting short changed — whether it is $100 or $100,000 — you’re probably going to have something to say about it. With the players looking at a 7% cut[1] to their BRI (Basketball Related Income), the actions of the NBPA seemed less like a dog trying to fit a second ball in its mouth, and more like one begging for its bone. Though perhaps somewhat detached from the world of the everyday man or woman, in their eyes, the NBPA’s actions were about collective fairness.

Fairness is an interesting concept. Depending on your point of view, something can be manifestly fair, or completely unjust. Obamacare, for example, with its increased health cover for those on low incomes, could be considered to be ‘fair’. But to those with incomes over $200,000 who are forced to pay higher taxes to help pay for this health cover, the legislation could, quite understandably, seem unjust. These seemingly opposed beliefs hinge on whether you evaluate equitability from a communal standpoint or an individual one. While the latter viewpoint results in an emphasis on individual rights (think self-funded private health insurance), the former edges closer to welfarism (as with Obamacare).

Socialism is closely related to this idea of collective fairness. At its most basic level it is about cooperative management and ownership, about the ‘equal’ distribution of resources. With this in mind it’s easy to see how Obamacare seems to fit the mould. But less obviously, the actions of the players could be viewed as harbouring socialist tendencies. Though the NBPA weren’t asking for equal pay for all players, they were asking for a more equitable distribution of income between franchise owners and players. In a culture of perpetual capitalism, of big business, and of take what you can get, the players’ argument for an equitable split between owners and players hinted at a something other than free enterprise.

So why weren’t the players getting howled down for heralding the death of American Values? Probably because they weren’t asking to be paid by the general public. But the lack of scrutiny over the actions of the NBPA does make you think — maybe there isn’t a blanket intolerance of socialist actions. Maybe Obama could have taken some inspiration from Dwight Howard — donned a cape and dunked the legislation through a hoop before announcing it. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The invocation of fairness doesn’t necessarily make something socialist. Arguing for more money doesn’t necessarily qualify the players as a disgruntled proletariat.

But the players’ use of the NBPA — a trade union — was an action intimately connected with socialist endeavours. Trade unions, with their deep connection with the working class, with their mobilisation of workers against bosses, with their proposition of power in numbers, have a fundamental link with socialist ideals.[2] Of course, Marx and Lenin might be more than a little disillusioned at the prospect of Benz-driving athletes standing in solidarity to keep their salaries to in the stratosphere. But that doesn’t change the philosophical underpinnings of the movement. Nor does the fact that most of the player’s leverage was exercised by a few of the big stars; the NBPA is a trade union, and requires at least 260 members to come into being. With the backing of the players, the NBPA was a voice of the people.

This brings us back to the same question; why, amidst a cacophony of discontent at the socialist Obamacare, did no one raise an eyebrow at the players’ echoes of socialist protest? Maybe it’s because even though they act as a dampener on unbridled competition, trade unions have always existed within America. That’s unlikely; despite their ever-presence, unions have a comparatively low (and steadily decreasing) participation rate in the US. OECD statistics show that in 2010, the USA’s trade union density was at 11.4 percent. In comparison, Australia has a trade union density of 18 percent, the UK 26.5 percent, and Sweden 68.4 percent.[3] Clearly unpopular, their existence outside the NBA doesn’t answer for the apathy. Maybe the players are spared questioning because they operate within a bastion of capitalism; a market based purely on competition and entertainment, and one that champions individual brilliance. Whatever the reason, the NBPA seemed to get off without so much as a sideways glance from the land of the free.

With the wrap up of the lockout came the rolling out of the shortened season. As OKC hinted at greatness, Kobe kept shooting, Charlotte marched onwards into the field of unfortunate statistics and LeBron found his clutch, constitutional appeals against the nationwide healthcare system climbed steadily up the legal framework. On June 28, 2012, two events lit up the news world. The first was the 2012 NBA draft. The second was the US Supreme Court’s decision that the Obamacare legislation was within the powers of the Constitution. There is a link here beyond the date. Though not immediately obvious, the mechanisms behind the NBA draft share a marked similarity with the basic principles that underpin the national healthcare scheme.

Despite the persistent rumours of rigging, the draft lottery operates on a principle of equitable redistribution. After taking a battering through the season, the 14 most damaged teams are given an elixir to help them on the way to wellness. It’s not hard to see the parallels with Obama’s healthcare system; by providing insurance to those less well off, the healthcare scheme aims to bring some sort of parity in the levels of medical assistance.

But the NBA draft goes further with its concept of equality. Through the weighted lottery system, teams are discouraged from ‘tanking’ — deliberately writing off their seasons in order to secure the best draft picks. This is a novel approach as it strives to ensure that teams keep their heads in the season — ‘focus on one game at a time’, as it were — and thus maintain a show of sportsmanship, while at the same time attempting to right the wrongs of an unsuccessful season by giving teams that do poorly a greater opportunity for a more valuable draft pick. By mixing entitlement with a level of uncertainty, the draft aims for a true ‘fairness’ — one that cannot be exploited to unfair ends. Of course, this is complicated by trading draft picks, by accusations of trade fixing, by teams with managers that seem to make their picks after a night of slamming shots at a bar (Charlotte) and by once-in-a-generation freaks like Anthony Davis. But at its core, the draft is a means of achieving fair and equal distribution of talent.

The links with anti-capitalist ideology don’t end there. What of the NBA’s ban on advertising on jerseys? Sure, it makes teams look cooler, but when you think of the amount of money corporations would be willing to pay, virgin jerseys start to look a little suspect. If you squint hard enough, even the press room interviews — “I’m just here for my teammates”; “We’re just a family”; “Everybody out there is giving 110 percent”; “These guys work so hard” — start to look like slogans spilling forth from the mouths of indoctrinated apparatchiks.

And no one bats an eyelid.

So what of it? Should it matter that in sport philosophy is ignored, while in politics it can bring a government to its knees? At one level, it’s just the game that’s being played. Despite Obama’s supposed attempts to bring a less partisan approach to diplomacy, politics has been, is, and always will be, factional. And unlike sport, which is necessarily split, which depends on blind one-sidedness to exist, and which resolves itself and the end of each round, politics is an argument that never ends. Politics is a competition of ideology, where there are no clear winners, no confirmation, no ending. Both sides know they are right, but they can never prove it, can never get to the end and say, ‘You see, you ignorant swine, this is the way to do things!’ Politicians will keep running the court till kingdom come.

But on another level, sport obscures ideology. People watch it for its immediacy. It abolishes principle, sucks you into the moment and proves its winners at the end of each game. At the final siren, if their team has lost, even the most one-eyed fan has to accept that on the day, they weren’t the best. There’s no recourse to broader ideals (other than the universal protestation that ‘We were robbed by the ref!’) and both winners and losers must accept the outcome of the game on its merits.

There must be a lesson here. Perhaps it is this — politics might work better, achieve more, if it took its cues from sport. Instead of worrying whether something fits within an established ideological framework, officials should debate the issue on its face. That way they might save some the wholesale histrionics that mar so much of politics, both in America and elsewhere.

But a better lesson is this. Next time Obama, or Romney, or whoever has any contentious legislation to get through congress, they should adopt a new method. With a fine marker, they write the substance of the legislation on a size 7 basketball. Then, the President and a representative of those opposed to the bill each pick a team of five from their own. Following this, as soon as is practicable, they play a shortened game of basketball. As a working rule, and subject to any other agreement, the game is held at the home court of the representative who has sponsored the bill. At the conclusion of the game, if the introducing team has won the match the bill refers to the senate. It is rejected if the introducing team loses.

For Obama, this might’ve saved a few headaches. With his jump shot, he could have sat out on the perimeter and sunk treys like a dapper Ray Allen. As for any injuries sustained, with a new healthcare system, at least everyone’s covered.

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Murder Words

Below is a list of words (with subjective explanations) that through their very use, deny the subject of the characteristic they supposedly impart.

These words are the linguistic equivalent of “the record that cannot be played by any record player”. As soon as it’s put on — dropped into conversation — it causes the whole record player — the sentence — to self destruct, rendering it meaningless.

  • Chic
    • There is a house for sale just down the street from me. It has been on the market for a while, and looks like it will continue to be. This might be because of the exorbitant asking price. But my money is on the fact that the for sale sign reads like this: “City chic living – Chianti or Cibo?” Notwithstanding the absolutely annoying asshole alliteration, the insinuation that people are going to move into the house to take advantage of overpriced coffee (and the clear appreciation the writer of the sign has for Cibo, the world’s most overrated, lukewarm, weak, dilettante coffee in this fair city) the use of ‘chic’ screams “DON”T BUY THIS HOUSE. THE PERSON WHO DECIDED THAT THIS HOUSE WAS STYLISH AND ELEGANT USED THE CHEAPEST SOUNDING, CRAPPIEST ADJECTIVE FOR THOSE CHARACTERISTICS THE COULD THINK OF. WHAT DOES THIS TELL YOU ABOUT THEIR CRITICAL FACULTIES?”
      • (My opinion of this word is in no way informed by some personal animosity brought about by the fact that for years I thought it was an alternative spelling of ‘chick’, and, if asked, would have written ‘chic’ something like ‘sheek’, which, when you think about it, is probably a more apt visual representation of the ugliness of the word.
  • Posh
    • Closely related to ‘chic’, this word robs any class from the unfortunate subject of any such description. Though the undesirability of this word is timeless, its case isn’t helped by the fact that it was used as the moniker for the Spice Girl with a tramp stamp, who sat on a golden throne at her wedding, and who named her children Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper Seven.
  • Funky
    • This word can be used safely in limited areas. Eg. Saying, “The band ‘Parliament’ are really funky”, if you’re currently in 1975. But when you go to dinner with your parents and you’ve got a new jumper on, and one of your parents says, “That’s a funky top”, you can either tear it off and set in fire, run screaming into the nearest wall, or inform your mother or father that beyond the confines of describing slap bass in a decade long past, that word is a no go.

God of Domestos

There are few things I dislike more than doing the dishes. Of course, I’m being hyperbolic; there are plenty of things I dislike more — famine, bushfires, snakes, having conversations with people you should know the name of but don’t  and they’re clearly aware of that fact, being overtired, reality TV, when facebook notifications consist purely of people posting in groups that you’ve been invited to join but haven’t rejected out of some misplaced sense of social grace, Tony Abbott, the entire ‘stop the boats’ debate, nipple cripples, bad graphic design, the title of Operator Please’s second album (Yes, Yes, Vindictive), Operator Please.

But within the fairly narrow field of household chores, washing dishes is right up there. In comparison, I actually like mopping, and I can even get my jollies vacuuming.

Being someone prone to self analysis — sometimes to the point of operation apoplexy — I can’t help but ask why one task makes me want tear my hair out then stick it to myself with peanut butter, while the other ones leave my sanity relatively intact.

It’s fairly easy to work out why washing dishes is shit:

  • It’s invariably done in a mood trough. Either you’ve recently eaten and you’re then forced to clean up your waste, or you’ve left the dishes for days and the stack of plates is so high and jumbled that it’s actually starting to resemble a white, ceramic elephant.
  • It’s a job that gets progressively worse. You start with warm, clear, bubbly water that reminds you of childhood shenanigans in the bathtub, and end up swilling your hands through cold, murky swill strewn with bits of offal.
  • For the duration of the task, it reduces your non-washing functioning to that of a double amputee. If you get an itchy nose or something in your eye, you’ve got to try and rub your face against your shoulder, looking like a dog with a peg attached to the skin behind its head.
  • It’s never ending. You feel like you finished and you go to pull out the plug only to discover 15,000 bits of cutlery caked with egg, or avocado, or Deb.

In contrast, mopping and vacuuming are infinitely more satisfying:

  • You get to use a long handled tool, which at the risk of getting too Freudian, momentarily satisfies a subconscious sense of phallic inadequacy.
  • Still on the tool benefits, you get to feel like master of your domain, utilising human cunning to make dirt your bitch, swinging wildly like a paladin with a pike.
  • There’s a tangible payoff; you get to see the puffs of dust being sucked from the corners of your room like comets into a black hole. You see the bucket of water turn brown. And you don’t have to touch any of it.

You see? The evidence is overwhelming…

With that in mind, I’m going to take a new approach to washing the dishes. First, straddled over the sink with vacuum in hand, I’m going to suck the all the excess food into oblivion. Then, with the mop, I’m going to smash away with a mop till all the dishes are sparkling. Suck and smash. You can use that.

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Sharing is Caring

Writing a blog (and expecting people to read it) is just about the most self-indulgent thing you can do…

I tried to think of some immensely wanky thing to compare it to in the hope of achieving a cheap laugh, but I couldn’t. Which proves that writing a blog is the wankiest thing you could ever do. It’s just science. Thought science.

My point, by way of this meandering introduction, is to say that I want to give something back. Not necessarily anything of worth. But something all the same. Like a gift from a five year old after craft class.

I keep a book of notes. A notebook, if you will. Yes, it’s a Moleskine, and, yes, I realise how cliched and embarrassing that it is. But I chose it because it’s small and, that way, I can hide it and get it out to use out of prying eyes. It’s sort of a chicken/egg scenario. Moleskine-embarrassing-need small notebook-buy Moleskine-embarrassing. I keep it somewhere dark and small, so that people don’t see it. I’m not going to tell you where that is, but I’ll give you a clue — it’s not my ass.

I some times write ideas for stories or articles, quotes, words I think are interesting, cryptic crossword clues, fart jokes.

What follows are a series of things I have written down but will probably never do anything with. Though you’ll will probably never do anything with them, feel free to. There’s no copyright over an idea, and if you develop what I’ve written beyond these tiny snippets, it’d be hard to argue that this is copying a substantial part of the small artistic works (legal definition) listed below. (That was for the law students.)

These are quoted verbatim from the notebook

  • A story about a guy who finds out he is three years older than he thinks he is
    • I have no idea why I thought that would be interesting. It could probably be completed pretty quickly. “I’m actually 27? Damn it.
  • “Article on origami – Fun with paper & don’t have to write”
    • This sounds like the dribblings of a dyslexic 12 year old with severe ADD.
  • “Amputee magician – only has one arm. Act called ‘slight of hand’.”
    • Actually, I’m pretty happy with that one. I’m claiming that.
    • Maybe there’s more magic in there.
    • The rest are MINE. ALL MINE. YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH

Deviant Words

I like writing because I like words. They are capable of such entertainment, such power. I don’t mean that in a, “Yes We Can” crowd rousing kind of way, though there is that side. I mean in a, “God, that word is so awesome/hilarious/disgusting that I want to write it on a piece of paper and eat, just so it’ll be inside of me” kind of way.

Certain words make me smile when I hear them. I don’t even need context. Top of that list would be ‘blundered’, closely followed by ‘apoplectic’, ‘rhombus’ and ‘parallelogram’.

There are also words that make my flesh crawl. Last year, while editing On Dit, I had a little segment called ‘Awkwords’, in which I would select a word that held some deviant associations within its humble letters. I would explain the real meaning of the word and the mental associations it created when spilling forth from someone’s mouth. Of course, over 11 issues, I was never going to get them all. So, below is a continuation of my important work. Due to laziness, I list only the words.

  • Loaf
  • Gush
  • Throb
  • Yeast
  • Panting
  • Wipe
  • Coagulate

Maybe you didn’t find these fascinatingly repellant. You might be thinking that it is not the words that are disgusting; maybe it’s my own twisted synapses that distort and ruin these humble locutions.

I don’t think so. Read on.

She was positively panting at the thought of pulling the steaming yeasty loaf out of the bread maker. Her heart throbbed with excitement. Spit began to coagulate at the corner of her mouth and she wiped it away with a stained tea towel. After she ate a slice she called her mother up, gushing about the taste.

That was gross, right? It’s the words, see? Proof.

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What I think about when I’m drumming

Some of you may know that I play the drums. Some of you might’ve even see me do it with a band — (Play the drums, I mean). When/if you do, chances are you:

  •  a) stand towards the back of the venue, yelling loudly at the person next to you, attempting to make yourself heard over the incessant cacophony bursting forth from the stage, only to be seriously embarrassed when the music stops and you’re caught yelling in the seconds between the end of the song and smatterings of applause;
  • b) wobble unsteadily on your feet, trying to disguise your increasing drunkenness as either dancing or an inner ear infection;
  • c) Listen to a few songs before making your way back to the bar to make eyes at some attractive young thing across the room.

But maybe, you might look at the various members, watching them sweat and dribble, and wonder, ‘What are they thinking about?’

In an effort to partly answer this question, what follows is an incomplete but fairly representative list of the various things that cross my mind while I’m smashing out a fat beat — (Playing the drums, I mean).

  • I hope I don’t fuck up.
  • Yes! I nailed that fill. I wonder if people are checking out the veins on my forearms.
  • This floor is so goddamn slippery. Gotta pull this hi-hat stand back and still look smooth. I should’ve bought some carpet. Car pet. Weird. Surely carpets were invented before cars. I wonder what ‘car’ means. Maybe it’s an acronym. Carrying and rolling.
  • Where’s my beer? Someone’s knocked it over! Goddamn it! How hard is it to watch where you’re ‘rocking out’? Wait, there it is.
  • I really have to pee. Wish I hadn’t got shyguy in the bathroom before. Maybe I can drum faster and get this over with.
  • How does this song start again? Wait. What song are we playing?
  • Stuffed that fill up. My left arm isn’t as quick as my right. Is that something I should be worried about? Should I be worried that I’m worrying about it? Should I be worried that I’m worried about worrying about it? Should I be worried that… Crap, when do we change?
  • I’m so sweaty. I hope no one touches my back after the show. Why does my back sweat so much? I wonder if people sweat everywhere. Breast milk is a type of sweat. Gross. What about semen? Probably not… ‘You make me so sweaty’. Shudder. What’s with that Pocari Sweat stuff? Maybe it’s like drinking breast milk.
  • This bit rocks. Am I getting into it too much? I wonder if I’m making my ‘O-face’? Is that a bad thing?
Tagged , , ,

It says, “Enter Title Here”. “Yes, Blog”

To the sensitive: this entry (already) contains fourth wall breaking, self indulgence, and numbered lists.

Those who know me beyond intermittent web-based yammerings might be aware of my initial reluctance to start a blog. My resistance was, like a piece of origami, multifold:

  1. The arrogance in believing one consistently had something to say, and deserved a forum on which to publish it, seemed to me to be too great to admit.
  2. Seeing those more computer literate than me deal with code, domain names, hyperlinks etc, struck fear into my inelastic skull.
  3. The pressure involved in having to constantly update with witty, insightful, affirming posts seemed like it might send me into a ‘Hot water burn baby’-esque meltdown.
  4. Spending vast amounts of time inputting data in an effort to represent myself didn’t seem a far stretch from becoming a machine. I felt that potentially I would be sucked into the abyss (metaphorically, or perhaps literally) my body becoming a mere vehicle for achieving cyber expression.

Thankfully for you, I managed to overcome these psychological hurdles… At first:

  1. As the above sentence demonstrates, I came to terms with arrogance. In fact, I came to embrace it. If you’ve got a boat, you may as well blow into your own sails.
  2. After receiving heavy coaching as to which website to choose (.com, not .org), guidance as to how to log in, and training in the nuances of site navigation, I managed to get a site running. I can even create links. If you don’t believe me click this one.
  3. After checking out what blogs actually consisted of, I realised that I pretty much had free reign. Seriously, have you seen what’s out there? I could write a blog about my daily fart statistics (frequency, sound, volume, location, time) and send the internet crashing. Maybe not, but people would probably still read it, if only just to compare to their own daily routine.
  4. I figured, ‘I’m a balanced guy. I’ll limit myself to important, hard-hitting posts based from experience in the real world, the physical, non-cyber world.

And all of this worked, for a time.

But just after I published my previous post a little message appeared on my screen. It read, ‘Just one more until your 5th post!’

I was taken aback. I wasn’t told that the blog would be keeping tabs on me. No one warned me that it would send out digital tendrils to invade my brain, encouraging me with statistics and exclamation marks. What else did it know? As I sat in smug silence, squeezing out mind farts, was it reading every word that I excreted?

I closed the browser, the computer, went outside and closed the door. It wanted me to write more. It was trying to control me. My fears were coming true. It was going to suck me within it like a bastard cell, have me type mindlessly until I devolved into some mitochondrial state, too far gone to be recognised as a separate entity. Even as I paced up and down my street, the wind fluttering through my hair, my mind was gone, back at the computer, leaving me muttering to myself.

Gradually, however, my panic subsided. Worn out from all the pacing, I eventually fell asleep. The next day the real world reasserted itself: food; work; food; coffee; etc. I began once again, to feel level headed. And so I find myself here, in a room by myself, recounting into a computer screen.

But wait. This will be my fifth post. Just as the blog foretold. I can’t escape it. It’s got me cornered. Maybe I could just not post it, refuse to hit the button, highlight it all and press delete.  But I’ve spent all this time on it. There’re all these beautiful sentences I’ve slaved over, constructed piece by piece like the pyramids of Giza. People have to read this. They need to know. The blog knows how I feel. I’ve given so much time. I have to post. We need to post. The people need us. The world needs us. The real world.

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