Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Question: Can anxiety and avoidance of a necessary task cause lethargy and loss of energy?

I'm talking more than just a sense of 'not being bothered to do something'. I'm talking about actual physical symptoms of tiredness.

I am tired.

I've done nothing physically or mentally demanding today, i've had as much sleep as I usually do, maybe even a little more from laying in this morning, but at 3pm this afternoon I felt too tired to do any writing. Instead I just lay on my bed for a couple of hours. I didn't sleep but I sorta just lay there with my eyes closed and I didn't want to get up or do anything.

Am I doing too many hours at work and haven't got used to it yet? I don't think so, because it's not like I haven't done those kind of hours before now. Plus while I'm at work I'm fine and I'm pretty active the whole day. Yesterday I did a 9 til 5 shift which meant I had to be up at 8 in the morning to get ready and go. Today I didn't get out of bed until 10:30 and by 3pm I was back in bed again, which isn't healthy.

It could be my diet. I turned vegetarian in April and with a few things that have happened recently I'm finding it difficult to maintain a consistent diet, it could very possibly be causing this state of lethargy I've been experiencing since the weekend. But on the otherhand my diet has never been stable or consistent, when I think back to uni, during the months where I was poor my diet was almost exclusively made up of pasta, pasta sauce, and cheese with very little meat intake. I'm pretty certain that my diet plays little part on my disposition as I've always just eaten when I felt like without any consideration over what I'm putting inside me.

I feel hopeless. I want someone or something to come and save me, give me drugs, a magical spell, a bloody army drill instructor, ANYTHING, just to get me going and past this ridiculous funk I've been in since Saturday.

I'm starting to feel like I'm going to achieve nothing of worth in my life, nothing I can be proud of. I'm afraid I'm going to be just part of the crowd like everyone else working a normal regular job devoid of meaning or value, another wage slave with nothing to show for the effort... and why? Because I'm scared and I'm lazy. They make the worse pairing for overcoming motivational problems. If you just had one of them it wouldn't be so bad, if I were just scared by motivated I could past my anxiety with drive and determination, if I were just lazy but not scared I would attempt things every so often and could maybe build up slow momentum to get over it. Unfortunately though, I think fear and laziness generally come hand in hand, or maybe one is a symptom of the other. Maybe my laziness is an excuse for my fear, or maybe fear is an excuse for my laziness.

I'm back in the same place I was earlier this year, it's like I've become a wimp and can't handle the pressure of anything anymore and I'm wallowing in it, but is it easier than the alternative? The fact that I repeat this pattern of behaviour it must be, but I want to stop and get off. I want to get off it now.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Dan & Eye: My little hobo - part one

Dan & Eye returns with a new tale: My little hobo. This is part one of a two part epic and hopefully part two will be up in a few days once we've conquered the most frustrating editing process I've ever witnessed.

To be a kid again

*note* - This is a repost from a blog I wrote for my tumblr (darkhorsedan.tumblr.com), about two days ago.

I heard a story on the local news today about a guy from Portsmouth who had kidnapped a 13 year old girl (yeah, he’s a paedophile), and taken her with him to Ireland where he was picked up by the police. The guy managed to gain the confidence of the girl and her family in a particularly unique way: he pretended he was a 13 year old boy, and not just with the girl and her family, somehow this guy had made a fake birth certificate and enrolled himself in a catholic school. How he did this without the help of a parent or guardian I don’t know, then again maybe he had assistance from other paedophiles pretending to be his parents (yeah, we all know how these guys like to hang around together in special little groups, setting up fronts for their special paedophile rings such as petit-bourgeois variants of Mothercare and Early Learning Centre). Or it’s even possible with the Catholic church’s seedy reputation for pedophilic priests that members of the faculty in this Catholic school were in on the scam as well. Personally I don’t know the details I’m just speculating and it’s not really interests me about the story anyway.

What the story did get me thinking about was a personal childish fantasy that myself and a few friends of mine have had (no! Not that kind of fantasy), where we wondered what it would be like to relive your school days with the minds we have now. I’m not gonna get into specifics whether we have just our intelligence and maturity of now, or if we keep the memories of this current life when we go back, all you need to know is that we would be children with adult minds.

I think many of us come to envy the lives that children have when we become adults and at some time or another wished for that life again. A life free from responsibility, a life of simple fun, and going back there with the mind I have now I could really appreciate it. And imagine all the things I could get done with all that extra time? School would be a breeze, and maybe I would become really popular with my much maturer attitude, and maybe the girls I liked back then would like me back.

But then I start thinking how shit it would actually be because the girls I liked back then would look different to me if I go back there with the mind I have now. They would just be kids, incapable of the kind of reasoned, adult conversations I have now (well, some of the time), and they will inevitably get on my nerves. The reality would be that I would be more interested in some of my female teachers who are close to the age that I really am now but they won’t want to be with me either, because No matter how intelligent and mature I come across I’ll fail to woo them due to the plain and simple fact that I’m in a child’s body. A child’s body with a child’s penis, which is no good to them, and has it so happens no good to me either. At least until I “grow up” again.

But let’s just say that all that stuff doesn’t bother me. That I enjoy the whole experience, become the popular kid, and leave school with amazing grades. What about the life I have lost? As a cultshasha pointed out to me, you go back and live your life in a new way and chances are you won’t have the life you have now. I wouldn’t have made the friends I have now and I could end up a completely different person. Better or worse it doesn’t matter I don’t wanna change what I have now for some other life.

BUT, the greatest revelation I’ve had while writing this, is that in some ways I’ve lived out that fantasy and relived my school experience with an adults mind. Having done poorly in my GCSE’s I finished school at 16 and worked for several years before coming back a “mature student” when I was 21. I got to go to school again with the maturity and mind I have now and I have to say I’ve benefited from that. Putting this year aside (and it’s not out of laziness that I fucked it up - well no more laziness than usual) I’ve worked hard and got the good grades and I’ve made plenty of great friends too, so what have I got to complain about? Nothing. I didn’t think I was really complaining anyway, just examining a silly daydream.

Don't read this one it is about a nosebleed I had today. Nothing special.

*note* a few days old repost from my tumblr (darkhorsedan.tumblr.com)

I went to see Dark Knight this afternoon but I’m not gonna talk about that (it’s not because I thought it was bad, I just don’t feel like giving it a review, I’ll let it speak for itself), instead I’m going to talk about the nosebleed I had in the shower this morning:

I had a nosebleed in the shower this morning.

What? Is that it?

No, I’ve got more to say.

Get on with it then!

I was just about to until you interrup- wait a sec… Who the hell are you?

You but you’re writing in italics to make it seem like someone else is in this conversation. I think you’re trying to be funny because you haven’t got much else to say but it’s probably not working, specially now that I’m tellin—

—Alright, enough of that. It’s pointless. Back to the nosebleed—

You still going with that whole nosebleed thing? Or are you going to carry on being gratuitous with these constant interruptions from a fake person?

So I had a nosebleed in the shower this morning and it’s the first time I’ve had a nosebleed since I was about 15, when for some weird reason that particular summer, I kept getting nosebleeds. Never had them any other time in my life, just that one year and now this morning. I was never one of those “nosebleed kids” that you seemed to find in every year group at school but my brother was. It was rare to have a day go by where he didn’t have a nosebleed. He’s had his nose cauterized so many times when he was growing up but they just kept coming back, I’ve no idea what was wrong with him but it got to the point where we wondered if there was something more permanent that could be done like maybe like filling his nostrils up with poly-filler.

The other thing that got me about my brother and other nosebleeders is it doesn’t seem to matter how many times in their life that they’ve had a nosebleed before now, everytime they get one they act like they’ve never had one before and have no idea what is going on or what they should do. They just sit there bleeding over their desk getting blood on their exercise books and pencil cases. All they seem capable of is anouncing to the teacher or anyone who’s listening “I’ve got a nosebleed”. They won’t move or do anything until they receive instructions on what to do:

“Don’t just sit there Gary put your hand under your nose! Get some tissue! Put pressure on your nose with your hand! No your other hand its dripping everywhere again, tilt your head back! Go to the medical room quickly!”

I think the school medical lady should be grateful for the nosebleed kids. It’s because of the nose-bleeders and the sickly children - which are often one and the same - that the expense of having an on site nurse is even justified. The rest of us “normal” kids hardly ever had to go to the medical room except for the occasional accident.

Well, not me actually, I was another breed entirely. A marvel to modern medical science I was the school hypochondriac, baffling the minds of even the most moderately qualified school physician with unusual combinations of symptoms and no definable course or reason outside the fact that I just didn’t want to be in school. I think there were even a few occasions where I actually made myself sick so that I could be sent home.

You’ve ran out of things to say now haven’t you?

For now. Would you like to round everything up and bring this to a nice conclusion?


The End.

Phantom friends

*note* yet another repost - this ones a week old. Alternatively navigate my tumblr (darkhorsedan.tumblr.com)

Sophie left the house yesterday. We’ve only got another week or so before the tenancy is up and I’ll be going back home to London as well but I don’t particularly want to. That’s kind of a horrible thing to say isn’t it? My family is back home in London as are many of my friends, whom I have known for years, but I would rather stay here with the friends I’ve made in the 3 years that I’ve stayed in Bournemouth. I have formed some very close ties during this final year and now that we’ll be seeing considerably less of each other it’s going to be a difficult adjustment.

When Sophie left yesterday it got me thinking about how you can become emotionally attached to someone. It seems that the closer you get to a person the more they seem to become part of who you are. Like an appendage - an emotional one mind - that if you were suddenly to find yourself without it you feel as if you’re missing something. And in a similar way to an amputee, when they experience the sensation of their missing limb still being there, what medical professionals generally refer to as a phantom limb, you still feel like that person is/should be around. I felt it accutelly when I woke up this morning. You know when you’re head is still fuzzy and you’ve just come out of a dream? Things felt exactly like it was months ago but then as the fog cleared I remebered, Sophie’s gone home and soon so will the rest of us.

Bundled in with that sense of loss there’s also anxieties and fears (where would I be without my anxieties and fears? Somewhere a lot healthier and happier most probably) that this is it for our friendship. My track record for keeping in contact with people over long distances isn’t particularly reassuring as I’ve a tendency to heavily emotionally invest myself in whomsoever is in close proximity to me, hence the closeness of the ties I’ve made this year, and the scarceness of my visits back home to London. But maybe being so worried about this will encourage me to make that extra effort and keep in contact. Plus it will be tragically stupid of me to let a friendship like this to drift apart, could I be that much of a dick?

My comic collection

*note* Another 2 week old repost from my tumblr blog (darkhorsedan.tumblr.com)

So I’ve been back home in London for a few days and have managed to keep myself from going insane by keeping myself unusually busy with a number of things. On Saturday I actually finished one of the comic scripts I was working on and in general I’ve been doing a bit of writing here and there. Then yesterday, for some unknown reason, I decided I was going to catalogue my entire comic collection… It took me the best part of yesterday and about an hour and a half today to do it.

Actually, I think the reason I started doing it is because when I leave Bournemouth in about two weeks time I’m going to be moving in with my dad and I know issues are gonna arise over the storage of my comics. Even now my bedroom upstairs has very little space, I’ve got two full draws of comics, a bookshelf overflowing with graphic novels, and about 5 other boxes full up with comics so I took some time on the internet yesterday looking for alternatives for storage. I found various sites that sell boxes made for comic storage, the largest of these being able to store up to 400 comics (apparently). These sounded ideal, so in order to find out how many I needed I decided I better count them.

Figuring out to actually catalog them came as a bit of a problem to begin with, I figured I would use excel spreadsheets to do it but I’ve never really used excel before and I wasn’t sure of what categories to put them into, all I knew was that I wanted to keep it simple.

Then I stumbled across a site on the internet called StashMyComics, which will actually do most of the work for you. You just find the comics you have, create your own categories e.g. Superman, Marvel, DC, etc and it will organize your collection. It gives you the totals of how many you’ve got that you can export onto your own computer in an excel spread sheet and it even values your collection (only in dollars though) tallying up approx how much you’ve spent against how much they’re now worth.

Ok, firstly bear in mind that most of these comics were bought between the period of 2002 - 2005 (when I came to uni I pretty much stopped buying comics aside from a few select titles), and this is just my comic collection, it doesn’t include the trade paperbacks (these are comics collected together into one book also known as graphic novels - though annoyingly, “graphic novel” is a term that people who don’t like to admit they collect comics use to refer to comics in general).

Altogether I own 819 comics and I paid (approx in dollars) $2193.42 and their totalled approx worth is $2786.10.

If any of you reading this (Geoff & Sophie) feel like having a look at my collection (can’t really think why you would to be honest but I’m just trying to show off the novelty of this site) it can be viewed here:

Pulling a tooth could lead to tailor-made sperm

*note* This was written and published on my tumbl blog a few weeks ago.

Researchers in Brazil have found a unique doner for sperm - the human tooth:

Could sacrificing a tooth enable some infertile men to father children? That’s the goal of researchers in Brazil, who suggest that stem cells from human teeth can be coaxed into becoming sperm by injecting them into the testes of mice.

I told this to thesophie, and she suggested that should this be possible, she could take her own tooth, inject it into a mouses testes to produce sperm and then impregnate herself with sperm made from her own tooth, effectively being both mother and father to her own child (the mouse being nothing more than a surrogate).

Isn’t that a bit like incest but with yourself though?

Reading further along the article raised more questions however:

Irina Kerkis of the Butantan Institute, São Paulo, and her colleagues injected stem cells from the dental pulp of human teeth into the testes of live mice.

The cells seemed to migrate to the tubules where sperm usually mature and differentiate into cells resembling human sperm.

The way this was written makes me wonder if the scientists were just dicking about. Like injecting random cells and body parts into mice testes is something they do when they’re bored or just passing the time, or maybe a way to justify the funding they get: “So how are you guys getting along with all that really expensive equiptment and mice we gave you?”

“We uh, we’ve been conducting a lot of useful experiments involving stem cells - all the rage these days”

“oh really? Like what exactly? I’m just making sure that we’re not overspending or anything”

“Y’know, just stem cell stuff, it’s very important.”

This excited me even more:

However, the process was inefficient and some of the human cells fused with mouse cells – a problem that would have to be solved before the technique could be used therapeutically.

So you’re saying that can create human/mouse hybrids? Will this process work with all animals? Say I wanted to create a werewolf, could I inject my stem cells from one of my teeth into a wolfs nuts and it would give birth to a man/wolf hybrid?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Teenager finds bat asleep in bra

This is taken from the BBC news website:

Teenager finds bat asleep in bra

A teenager who thought movement in her underwear was caused by her vibrating mobile phone found a bat curled up asleep in her bra.

Abbie Hawkins, 19, of Norwich, had been wearing the bra for five hours when she plucked up the courage to investigate.

When she did, she found a baby bat in padding in her 34FF bra. The hotel receptionist said she was shocked but felt bad for removing the "cuddly" bat.

"It looked cosy and comfortable and I was sorry for disturbing it," she said.

She was sitting at her desk at work when she decided to investigate the strange movements in her underwear.

"I put my hand down my bra and pulled out a cuddly little bat.

Perhaps I should have left it there and given it a good home
Abbie Hawkins

"That shocked me very much at the time, but it scuttled off under the desk into the dark. I was shaking from head to toe.

"It looked quite cosy and comfortable in there so it was quite rude of me to take it out.

"When I realised it was a bat the first thing that occurred to me was how did it get in there.

"I felt quite sorry for it. Perhaps I should have left it there and given it a good home.

"I did not notice anything as I put my bra on. The night before I had had one or two drinks and I was getting ready quickly.

"The bra was in my drawer but it had been on the washing line the day before.

"When I was driving to work, I felt a slight vibration but I thought it was just my mobile phone in my jacket pocket."

The bat was captured by one of her colleagues and released.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Boredom filller

I'm writing here, talking to absoloutely no one because I am bored. I have experienced new untold levels of frustration today and I'm surprised that I'm still alive and not had an anyeurism yet from all the straining and screaming that I have been doing. I dunno what it is but everything about the world I'm finding very tedious right now and I have little patience for anything....

I'm in the process of editing the next installment of Dan & Eye with Geoff, well, I say in the process of, but in reality we're still trying to get the files to work in the editing software that Geoff is using. I've tried countless times to play them on my p.c. and we've tried streaming them off Geoff's pc onto the TV through the xbox but the files were in some weird format that is solely exclusive to Sony camcorders.

At present we're waiting for all of the files to convert into mpeg2's so we can edit them but its taking ages. To pass the time we seem to be watching a nature documentary on baboons. An interest fact about the female of baboons species: during mating season their bottom swells to let the males know they're ready for some nookie. Pretty cool uh? I thought that technique was exclusive to human females but apparently baboons are doing it too.

Another interesting fact David Attenborough has just pointed out to us is how the size of an apes brain will dictate the size of the groups they knock about with. The bigger the brain, the bigger the social group. He later goes on to say that forming social groups may have been one of the keys to our evolution as the bigger the social group the greater the need for more effective and advanced forms of communication - leading to the eventual develop of language in humans.

In another species they quite humorously show how they pretty much play psychological warfare with each other, just for something to do. Like the term coined by Satre: hell is other people, for these guys its hell is other baboons. All they seem to use their sophistacted (for apes at least) modes of communication for is to wind each other up and make each other miserable. Ape experts have actually detected similar symptoms of stress in these apes that can be found in humans, such as ulscers. In one instance we see an ape trying to get on with some female, and the alpha leader of the pack just keeps hanging around near by. He's not interested in the female or anything like that, he just wants to put the other male off his game, something we human males often refer to as "cock blocking".

It looks like the files have finally converted now so I'm off to try and edit this mother... So long!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

National kissing day (whoopee! - sarcasm alert!)

Apparently today is national kissing day. As sad as this may sound I don't think I've snogged anyone for about 2 years. Yes that is a fucking depressing thought. For those of you who frequently enjoy kissing (you cunts!), here is a list of interesting facts I copied and pasted from article about kissing:

1. Two out of every three couples turn their heads to the right when they kiss.

2. A simple peck uses two muscles; a passionate kiss, on the other hand, uses all 34 muscles in your face. Now that’s a rigorous workout!

3. Like fingerprints or snowflakes, no two lip impressions are alike.

4. Kissing is good for what ails you. Research shows that the act of smooching improves our skin, helps circulation, prevents tooth decay, and can even relieve headaches. (what about loneliness and depression? I bet it could do something about that).

5. The average person spends 336 hours of his or her life kissing. (except for me, who will spend 336 hours of my life fantasizing about kissing).

6. Ever wonder how an “X” came to represent a kiss? Starting in the Middle Ages, people who could not read used an X as a signature. They would kiss this mark as a sign of sincerity. Eventually, the X came to represent the kiss itself. (this is about the only type of kissing I get to indulge in on a regular basis)

7. Talk about a rush! Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in our brains as parachuting, bungee jumping, and running.

8. The average woman kisses 29 men before she gets married. (and?)

9. Men who kiss their partners before leaving for work average higher incomes than those who don’t. (great, so I'm gonna be poor as well as lonely for the rest of my life!)

10. The longest kiss in movie history was between Jane Wyman and Regis Tommey in the 1941 film, You're in the Army Now. It lasted 3 minutes and 5 seconds. So if you’ve beaten that record, it’s time to celebrate!

A lovely day out

I've just walked my mum and brother back to the coach stop at Uni after spending the weekend here. It was really good to see them, and we had an enjoyable day out yesterday. We went to the La Tasca tapas bar & restaurant for dinner, got a new pair of trainers bought for me, and we went to see Wil Smith's new movie, Hancock, which was a pretty good movie. Then again, I couldn't see a movie about an alcoholic superhero, doing more harm than good when rescuing people so that he's become a menace to the local population, being a bad movie. And suprisingly towards the end it turned into quite a dramatic and sad love story reminiscent of Casablanca... but i'm not gonna totally spoil for you if you happen to decide to go see it yourself.

Then in the evening I sat down to watch the series finale of Doctor Who, which, I have to say, had its moments and probably one of the saddest endings of the program so far when his assistant Donna Noble has to have all memories of him and their adventures together erased... In some ways a more tragic ending than simply killing her off. It also answered the BIG question raised at the end of the last episode with the Doctor's apparent regeneration. Last week, my housemate Sophie and I, spent ages on internet sites and forums looking for any information we could find that could hint at what was going to happen next. We knew Tennant was supposed to be signed on for numerous specials and the next series but we wondered if it may be an elaborate hoax by the BBC to suprise it's audience. Realistically we knew it would be next to impossible to cover something that big up but we had to find out, as personally I would have loved it if that were true. Don't get me wrong, I really like Tennant as Doctor Who, but I would also find it really exciting to suddenly find a new Doctor in his place, even if it was only a tempoary one for this episode.

So as the week went on many discussion were had about what was going to happen, each of us with our own theories. The general agreement was that it was likely David was going to stay and the hand may have some part to play as it has been quite a significant feature over the course of this series. I think Sophie even made quite an accurate prediction, if maybe partly in jest, that through the hand he would create a duplicate version of himself allowing one of them to live happily ever after with Rose!

The episode was by no means perfect though. It still retained much of its cheesyness from the previous episode, plus quite an annoying amount of technobabble as every two seconds a character would reveal some sort of amazing superweapon or gadget to use against the Daleks, with the explanations coming so quick and fast, you may as well be watching the episode in Spanish with the amount of words that were going over your head. And although it was quite funny and enjoyable to see Donna becoming like the Doctor it did seem a bit stupid to me that there was a control panel right next to the tardis that could remotely control the entire Dalek fleet and their reality destroying superweapon.

There was also the issue of the Doctor giving his duplicate self a telling off for commiting genocide and wiping out the Daleks - so what would you have done original Doctor? I can't see you letting them live or offering some sort of deal that would make them back down. In almost every confrontation with the Daleks, or the cybermen, or various other alien foes, he wipes them out and now he's giving himself a telling off for doing exactly the same thing.

But now there's no more Doctor Who until Christmas but at least that gives me ample time to watch all four seasons over again, or maybe I should try and get out some more?

Friday, 4 July 2008

Self destructive habits

I'm writing this seperately to the one I posted moments ago coz it's an unrelated matter... well kinda.

I'm feeling kind of ashamed of myself. A pattern of behaviour has resurfaced recently, it's an old program of mine that I probably picked up during my childhood and over many years of acquiring various insecurities and anxieties, its developed into a very nasty and self-destructive mental complex that I'm having trouble erasing.

It has already cost me much in the past and I feel doomed to repeat it all over again and ruin something just as special. And I know what people might be thinking: "if you are aware of what you're doing, and you know what it is going to lead to, then why do you keep doing it?" I used to get really frustrated with a friend of mine in the past because whenever I used to confide in her with my problems she never acted like she had any sympathy for me, and took it on herself "to be cruel to be kind". I never understood why she was like this and I used to get annoyed with her attitude because I knew full well that had I given her the same treatment she gives me when she wants to unload her problems, she would react in exactly the same way.

But now I'm understanding why she was like that. She used to say the exact same thing I said a minute ago about "why act like this, or become upset by this when you're aware of what you're doing?"... And she's completely right.

I know when my behaviour is wrong, and it's not even like I become aware of this after an event where I have been a little shit, I'm often aware of it at the time. I can hear that voice in my head screaming for a little rationality, asking for a moments pause to heed the opinions of reason and objectivity, but instead I follow the program that is being run by my emotions... No matter how logical and pragmatic I may seem, my emotions and their needs will always take over and lead me on a terrible path of self destruction. It's ended a relationship and caused strains on various friendships over the years which is why I need to knock it on the head before it leaves me deeply unhappy and I end up pushing the people I care about away.

You see it's not enough to continously be apologizing all the time. Anyone can say sorry. I say sorry all the time and I really do mean it everytime but I can't keep it up. I can't keep saying sorry if I go and do the same thing again, it will render the word useless and make it so it has no meaning for me whenever it passes through my lips. It's like telling someone you love them over and over, the word is so big you can only cheapen it through overuse. Saying sorry and asking forgiveness is a big thing to ask of someone as well, if you have to do it frequently for the same thing over and over then what are you saying about what that person means to you? That you would rather continue hurting them and aplogising for it afterwards, rather than actually giving them the love and respect that they deserve by not hurting them in that way again in the first place?

It's time to start learning again.

You may be thinking that I'm being hard on myself. People often say that about me and a friend has made that remark about me a couple of times recently. Personally I see it the other way around: I am not being hard enough on myself.

21 days to go (again)

This past week I've been on one of those "motivation" missions again where I decide its time to get my life in order and I develop a strategy for myself to get back on track and being proactive with things such as my writing. Over the years I have tried things like this so many times to combat laziness and lethargy, and over the years, I've become more frustrated with myself when I fail to make a permanent change and I frequently begin to wonder if I will have succeed in changing myself and my ways for the better.

The plan for change this time involves borrowing two different strategies for combating motivation and combining them together. The first one is what is known as the 21 day principle. According to some, if you can do the same thing everyday for 21 successive days that thing will become a habit and be ingrained into your daily routine. The 21 day principle is often used with people combating an addiction as the task would be to go that many succesive days without whatever it is they may be addicted to. So I'm using the 21 day principle to combat my addiction for doing nothing day to day.

The other thing I'm doing is what I read in an article called Lazy productivity. It takes the attitude that if you're not a particularly productive person (like me), or may only every once in a while and sit down and bash out chunks of work, you will hugely increase your productivity if you just limit yourself to doing 3 simple, and relatively short tasks everyday. So like I said before, I've combined the two together so my goal has been complete 3 tasks everyday for 21 succesive days so that it becomes a bonafide habit.

Would you like to know how well I've done so far?

I failed on my first day... I completed my morning task easy (get up early and do an hour of writing on a feature script at 7am), but the other 2 tasks had to be done after work (no big deal), but unfortunately I put off doing them until late then my housemate, Sophie, returned home from Kent, and had brought another friend Emma around to have some wine... I was halfway through my 2nd task at this point but predictably I stopped. I beat myself up pretty hard about it and had to reset my 21 day counter to zero and start again (well, I say reset, but really I hadn't even completed one day so it just stayed at zero). Oh yeah, it might be worth mentioning that I'm recording my progress using this desktop program called sticky notes. It's a bit like having post it notes, but on your computer desktop. I have three notes up with each of my tasks on then another fourth one which I'm using as my 21 day counter.

On the 2nd day (well, my 1st day again after the reset) I was still feeling bummed out by my failure, and again I became fretful and anxious that I will never conquer my laziness and will be continuously met with failure after failure in my attempts at change... Then I read something in a book that I was reading on overcoming procrastination (one of my tasks that day), and it helped me change my perspective on things. It talked about reslience and the ability to get up and trying again being a character trait diametrically opposed to procrastination, so even though I go through periods of what is typically called "volitional depression" and retreat into negative and addictive behaviours, I'm always bouncing back with new attempts at conquering laziness.
It is quite possible that I may never fully conquer laziness and become a proactive writing machine, but always during my frequent attempts at asserting proactive behaviour for myself, I achieve a lot. As long as I'm always fighting inaction it will in itself prevent me from being inactive.

So I stopped looking at my first day as a terrible failure but instead chosen to see what I could learn from it. One of the things I learnt from that first day is that some of the tasks I set myself were too large and needed to be more specific in their duration. So if I need to read something I'll set a page limit, or with writing something I might set a fixed time limit of an hour. From doing this I managed four completed days before I manage to miss two of my tasks yesterday. Like before I was initially upset about it but then I took a step back and realised that I did achieve a hell of a lot yesterday, even though it wasn't on my list of things to do, such as finishing most of the filming of the Dan & Eye comedy show - that is an achievement.

Today I didn't even have any tasks written down but it doesn't matter. I'm setting tasks for tomorrow morning and I will see them done, and yes the counter may be resetting back to zero again but it's no big deal, so long as I don't stop fighting it, I will make it to 21 days some day.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

I've not slept yet, the sun has risen, and I can hear the birds have started singing outside.

"Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd
is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling
cymbal, where there is no love."
Francis Bacon

It's 3:30am and I should be asleep. My alarm is meant to be waking me up at 7:00 so I can get ready to go to work and the way things are going now I can see I'm gonna be in bad shape when it wakes me (providing I actually get to sleep first).

Since I turned out the light to go to sleep a couple of hours ago I've been hit by a series of panic attacks that have got me thinking all kinds of weird and depressing thoughts and it seems no matter how hard I try I can't shake them.

We had our summer ball at uni on Saturday night which is supposed to go on until 5am where everybody is taken from the the ball location to Bournemouth beach to watch the sunrise and be in the survivors photo. In the first year I managed to make it til the end pretty easily but last year I got bored and tired and left a few hours early. This year I was determined to do the same again, but quite early on (from about 10:30pm) I wanted to go home for the same reasons as the 2nd year: boredom, fatigue, and a third reason that I failed to mention before: loneliness.

At the 2nd year summer ball I was feeling a little distanced from my friends cos they were all on pills and I remember I started noticing couples and people pairing off everywhere, which started making me accutely aware of how much I dislike being single (though I should be used to it by now cos I've been single for a long long time and, I should add, I've kinda half-chosen to remain single because I'm scared of actually entering into another relationship). Similar feelings surfaced again this year though admitedly it wasn't quite as bad as the year before.

But really, being single isn't nessecarily the problem that's causing my loneliness, it's feeling unloved that's the problem, which is how I've felt a lot of the time in my life. And I know you must be thinking that there are people in my life such as my family, and yes I'm aware of that, but that's unconditional love and while I'm not trying to knock it, being loved uncondtionally means you don't have to do anything to earn that particular kind of love. The kind of love I've often felt lacking in my life is being loved and appreciated for the person that I am.

These past 5 months or so since I've come to live in the particular house I'm in now there's been extended periods of time where I've found myself the happiest I've been since my last relationship (well, mainly the 1st year of my relationship), and in a wonderful state of contentment because I was actually feeling loved. Because I felt that there were people who loved me for who I am I was able to love and appreciate myself for who I am. Which I suppose reveals my biggest problem and the greatest obstacle to happiness: I'm unable to love or appreciate myself, I can only love what others see in me, and if I feel that they're not seeing it anymore or they start to appreciate me less then I stop appreciating myself.

So recently I've started feeling lonely again and I can only see it getting worse from now on and it will be no one elses fault but mine. Sometime I put myself on a certain path and everything I try and do to get off it will only lead me further down it, gathering speed and momentum and snow balling out of control. It was how my last relationship got messed up. My insecurities, paranoia, and low self esteem turned me into a bit of monster and there's been a couple of instances recently where that same monster has reared it's ugly head and I feel totally ashamed by it. Even everything I've written here could very well be an act of that same monster but I'm not sure.

Am I making sense? I hope not.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Dan & Eye

A short little improv sketch about a peculiar allergy to Marmite. This was made over a week ago on a Sunday evening and we have since spent the best part of this last week trying to upload it onto youtube and it seems to have finally worked.
We may do more stories of Dan & Eye in the future once I’ve forgotten how difficult it was to get this thing on youtube.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Chronicles of Cannes: Part1

Okay folks I'm back from Cannes and writing here to give you the low-down on my experiences there, though I'm regretting not keeping on top of things and making a daily post while I was there so all of this might take a while and come at you in parts. Hopefully once I get started and get back into the rhythm of actually writing something other than my signature or a shopping list I will begin to post with greater frequency. Until then be patient.

Last year, as part of my degree in scriptwriting, everyone on our course was required to do a minimum of 6 weeks work experience related to our course. Through a student in the year above I got a 3 month internship at the London Script Consultancy working for a guy called Colin where I had an interesting experience getting one to one tuition in screen writing. Since working there I have kept in contact with Colin and his writers as he would like me to stay involved with the scriptwriting projects they have got going on there. Recently Colin called me up asking if I would like to go to Cannes this year for the film festival as it is something the script consultancy has been going to for some years now. This year they're taking some scripts with them with the aim of pitching them to production companies etc. to hopefully get something made. Obviously I jumped at the chance as this was a major opportunity for me to really see how the industry works and perhaps make some good contacts. I would definitely say that the experience has been an eye opener for me.

I booked my flight to leave on the late afternoon of Thursday 15th of May, the festival goes on for almost two weeks and I was going to be staying until Sat 24th. I'm not sure how many of you are aware of this but I really do not enjoy flying, in fact I very much hate flying and it scares me. What would make this particular flying experience potentially even worse than all the others was that this time I was doing it all on my own. No family, girlfriend, or friends to keep me company and make the experience a little more bearable. I was all on my tod and about to climb aboard a vehicle that I have been assured on a number of occasions (in fact every time I fly and every other time I whinge about my fear of flying) is statistically the safest mode of transportation.

Well I'm afraid the statistical likelihood of crashing does nothing to make me feel better, because like those people who religiously buy a lottery ticket each and every week believing that they are going to be millionaires come 7 o'clock, all I seem to be thinking once that plane takes flight and we're in the air is “what if I'm that one in a 11 million? What if that giant black hand of fate (if you win the lottery it's a big and gold hand made of light, if you're going to die in a plane crash its big and black and made of night so if you're taking an evening flight you won't be able to see it) comes and taps on the glass of my plane window and says – without the aid of an actual mouth I might add - “it's you!””.

Plus if flying is so safe then why is it every time you go on a plane you have to be treated to a moronic safety procedure of what to do in the event of a crash (putting on your life jackets, oxygen masks, escape routes etc.). If you are assuring me that this is the safest mode of transportation then why must we be prepared for the worse? On top of that, if the plane does indeed decide to go down while it is fifty thousand feet you are never going to get the chance to use those life jackets or emergency exits because you will most certainly die. The only thing that will save you then is an intervention from God or Superman.

And this brings me on to what really frightens me about flying: what the actual experience of being in a plane crash might be like. Every time I fly the scenario involuntarily ends up running through my head: Imagine that your miles up in the sky halfway into the flight and the engines suddenly decide to give out, or one of the wings dramatically snaps and off causing the plane to take a nose dive and plummet back down towards the Earth's surface miles below. It's pandemonium, everyone around you is screaming (you're probably screaming to), those useless oxygen masks pop out of their little compartments and some hopeful fool is actually trying to put on and inflate a life jacket, while everyone tells him it's no good it's not gonna save him but then suddenly they're all putting on life jackets, and they try and cling on to the same desperate hope that he has that they might actually survive this.

Then, if you haven't done so already, your life flashes before your eyes, but as you're 50,000 feet into the air that moment passes by quickly leaving you with a few horrible minutes to ponder your imminent death. After/during that, you start to dwell -not just a quick flash of thoughts running through your head - but actually dwell on all that time you have wasted in your life with meaningless pursuits whilst putting off all the things you should have been doing, wishing desperately for a second chance. At least if you died in something like a car crash the death could be instantaneous so that it won't give you time to think about this shit, or if you find out that tragically you only have six months to live due to some incurable illness it would at least give you some time to say your goodbyes to loved ones and a chance to achieve some of the things you hadn't earlier in life.

Fortunately as the flight was only to the south of France it would be a short one and by the time I was sat on the plane I had managed to calm myself sufficiently that I wasn't really pondering on the possibilities of a plane crash. Anyway I soon had other things to worry about as I had noticed a guy sat in the aisle opposite me that I didn't really want to see again. His name is Rob Brown, a film student from the Bournemouth arts institute and a former employee of Blockbusters, and we didn't get on with each other. I'm not sure I can put into words what really got me riled about the guy aside from his arrogance and the patronising way he would try to talk to me. I think he considered himself a bit of an 'auteur' and our opinions on things differed greatly so we were never going to get on that well. The thing is, towards the end of his time at Blockbusters I think he began to realise that a few of the people there weren't that keen on him and I began to wonder if I judged him a bit harshly to begin with. Especially as the last few times I saw him at work he seemed to have dropped that air of superiority that he had carried around him to begin with and he was much friendlier towards me. But then he lost his job, or quit, I'm not sure now why he left but I remember feeling relieved and guilty for feeling relieved that he had left.

Now however, he was on the plane only a few meters away from me and I had a decision to make: Wait until I catch his eye and perhaps make some sort of gesture of recognition like a nod of the head or mouthing the words “aright”, or alternatively never look in his direction for the whole flight and pretend that I just didn't see him, and if we do happen to look in each others direction just pretend to myself and him that I don't recognise who he is. Well me being me I plumped for the latter, which may sound like a harsh thing to do but I knew full well that he was probably weighing up the situation in the same way as I was and ultimately I believe he made the same decision. In many ways this turned out to be quite a ridiculous situation because I ended up spending more than just a short flight within 3 meters of this guy. Even after landing he was there when we went through passport control, he was there when we went to pick up our luggage, and even on the hour and a half coach journey from Nice to Cannes he was there.

You're probably thinking that like me, Rob was on this plane journey all on his own. That we were the only two loners on this trip to Cannes and had anyone known that we actually knew each other they would probably be thinking - like you could be now - “why didn't we just starting chatting to each other?” cos at least that way we would have some company for a few hours. Well the situation wasn't quite that ridiculous as the guy was with a whole group of his college friends, which gave him extra excuses, and me extra reasons, to pretend that we didn't see one another.

Anyway, when the coach finally reached Cannes I was to go and meet Doug - one of Colin's writers who had been an intern at the consultancy like I had but a couple of years before - at McDonald's of all places. It's funny that, you travel miles away to another country and the most identifiable land mark that you can find to meet someone is a bloody Macky D's. So with my clumsy and difficult suitcase in hand I left the coach and my pal Rob behind to go and find Doug at McDonald's.

To be continued...

Saturday, 10 May 2008

New laptop

I'm writing today's post on my brand new laptop so I guess you could call this a kind of christening for it. My reckless money spending that I vowed to put a stop on really did get the better of me when I purchased this thing though I have not come to regret buying it yet. I had a little trouble with it yesterday when setting it up, which is typical of me when it comes to computers. I don't know why but I always have headaches with them at some time or another and all I had to do to get this thing going yesterday was to turn it on and let it install itself - shouldn't be complicated at all should it? For anyone else no, but for me, most definitely.

And it's always the little things isn't it? Whenever something is wrong it's always some very small minute thing you've missed that creates the big problems - such as not making sure the driver installation disk is firmly clicked in to the optical drive. For about an hour yesterday I thought the optical drive wasn't working but it was only because I hadn't put the disk in properly. What a silly person I am! Would you believe I even called the support helpline before I realised that?

The other big headache was getting the wireless connection working. It took me about half an hour to realise that I had to turn my wireless on then about another hour to figure out what combination of keys was necessary to do that - though that hour was consumed by trying to get that disk to read in the optical drive because said disk was where the instruction manuals -with the information on how to turn the wireless on - for the laptop was kept. Having finally finished with all that yet another obstacle was placed in my path preventing me from connecting to the internet: None of us knew the password for the router in our house so I still couldn't connect to the internet. After some trouble I reset the router and created a new password, problem solved.... Or so I thought.

While I was now able to connect to the internet, two of my housemates were experiencing problems. Sophie and Geoff were able to use the new password and connect fairly easily but Paddy and Yoli were now locked out. Both Sophie and myself spent a couple of hours on Paddy's computer last night before I was finally able to figure out what was going on. From what it looked like every time we try to use windows to view available network connections it wasn't picking anything up. We realised that it wasn't that windows couldn't see the connections but that for some reason windows was not allowed to view or configure the connection. It seemed that another program on Paddy's computer was responsible for configuring his internet connection and it had used up its 90 day trial period so it was refusing to co-operate unless we bought the damn thing. We refused to play ball and uninstalled it. Windows was now back in charge.

Yoli's problem appeared more complicated - mainly because she's the only mac user in the house and the rest of us are mac illiterate - but in the end the solution was very simple. With hers we could see the connection but it just seemed the password wasn't working. After a bit of fiddling it just turned out we were typing the hex code in (whatever that means) and not the actual password I typed in when setting up the connection.

I had thought all the headaches were over but halfway through typing this blog Paddy came into my room with his laptop - it's not letting him connect again.

Fuck knows what it could be this time.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Monday, 5 May 2008


Sell! Sell! Sell!

Recently it feels like there's been even more pressure than usual to sell stuff at work. We've always got some promo running that we must offer to every customer but over the past couple of months they have really started cracking the whip. Telling customers about the promotions we are running has always been the part of the job I hate the most because I feel like i'm being a sleeze. When I'm out and about in town and people come up to you trying to sell stuff I can't stand it so having to go to work and become something I hate has been a problem. But over the years I've learnt to deal with it and conditioned myself with the mantra that "it's just another aspect of my job", the same as dealing with rental returns or checking out films. It's something I have to do to get paid - in some ways a bit like a Nazi soldier working in a concentration camp. The job he's doing is grotesque and evil but he has to do it, he's just following orders, it's his job.

Of course, ultimately though you do have a choice don't you. I don't have to ask every customer to take an extra rental or buy two bags of popcorn for £2, but there will be consequences if I don't. Generally it involves nagging. Getting customers to buy extra stuff at Blockbusters has no real rewards for us lowly employees. It's not like working in a call centre where you get commision for selling something. Nope the only incentive you have for selling as much as you can is that you won't get moaned at by your manager to sell more so long as you're hitting, or preferably exceeding, your sales targets. What's really horrible though are those employees who enthusiastically sell stuff and relish and beating their sales targets.

Frequently I have to deal with the boasts of a certain employee who is always so very chuffed with himself if he manages to convince a customer to take X amount of rentals, or purchase the latest computer games console with tons of extra goodies and peripherals. Just the other day he made a boast because he convinced a woman who had just bought an xbox 360 from ASDA to return it and come back to and buy one on one of the deals from our store instead. All the while he was telling me this I was thinking to myself "What the fuck is so great about that? Has Blockbuster given you a bonus in your pay packet for that? Have they sent you some superchecks (an odd type of currency that can be exchanged for goods and services from a variety of places, anything from Top Shop to Little Chefs)? Perhaps even a letter of thanks from head office for all your hardwork? Do you think they will even give you a pat on the back?"

I didn't say that to him but I felt he needed to be set straight on things. I told him how tired I was of having to try and sell extra shit to customers, how I felt like a sleeze everytime we try and push them into buying more stuff on a pathetic wage of £5.50 an hour. I told him how jaded I was feeling and that he will probably, eventually, start feeling that way too, but I doubt it. The guy loves the job. But who's the bigger idiot? Him for being a blissful and grateful wage slave or me for turning up there everyday when it makes me feel like this.

I'm exagerating a bit here, I don't always feel like this. I didn't have such a bad day today. Most of what is written here was something I wanted to write at the weekend but never really got round to doing it.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

I got 7 minutes to go

I've got about 7 minutes until I have to leave for work so this is gonna be brief, particularly because I have no idea what I'm going to write about....

Yeah I know, it's been a while since I've done one of these so perhaps you'd like a quick update on what's been going on in my life? Well I've been working mostly this past week now that i've gone full time at Blockies. Still hoping this other job I recently applied for will go through, although things may become slightly complicated if I get an interview and a job offer soon because I could have more notice to work before I could leave blockbusters and I'm taking a short holiday to the south of France in the middle of May to go to Cannes film festival. I'll provide more details on that at a later date as right now I've got about another 2 minutes before I have to leave the house.

So what else has been happening? Oh yeah as I was trying to get to sleep after work last night I heard through the TV in the next room that Boris Johnson has been elected mayor - shame on you people of London.

Look at that. Times up. Laters.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Ignorance is bliss.

Ignorance is bliss. It really is.

Before I launch into what I have to say, first I'm gonna tell you about the massive hangover I have right now. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!! My brain hurts and feels like it is trying to grow itself out of my skull! Also all this typing and staring at the computer screen is probably gonna make me feel sick so I might have to leave for a little while and vommit.

SO back to my opening statement.

I went out yesterday and got plenty pissed - hence the hangover.

A friend of my mine made a big confession to me yesterday. They told me they had some big secret but then tried to withdraw what they say. I guess I caught them at a moment of weakness and they were feeling like they needed to tell someone but then kind of regretted saying it. Like what usually happens when someone tells you they have a secret but then say that they don't wanna say it you start pestering them don't you? That's what I did. I badgered them until they tell me, after all it's their fault for telling me they have a secret in the first place isn't it?

So after hammering in to them for five minutes they finally tell me thier big secret.... And I really really wish that I hadn't heard it. I never expected it to be what it was and imediately I felt betrayed. Also, quite oddley, I felt really jealous too. I felt like I had been left out of something. Plus that massive inferiority complex that I have kicked in big time as I began to feel that I should have been chosen over this other person. Why them and not me? I always felt that if there had to be a reason not me it was down to my own choice, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just not good enough - but at the same time I don't I want that. Things were really good as they were. But now it is kind of ruined. I don't know how it's gonna effect my friendship with these people. I feel so resentful right now - and yes bitter... I'm generally a bitter person and shit like this can only make me more so.

I told this friend their secret was safe with me and in a way it is. Though the other party involved will not exactly what I'm talking about but right now I feel they have to know what I know.

Most of all though, I wish that I never heard what I heard. Why did this person have to tell me this? Why me of all people?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Money money money

My loan came through!!!!!

It was a really amazing feeling to look at my bank account on Sunday and see that there was money in there when I had almost totally convinced myself that I wouldn't receive any money because of my deferral so I won't be worrying about my rent anytime soon. You might also be thinking that I won't need that full time job at blockbusters (or better still find a better job), but I think I will be taking more hours - It would be the sensible thing to do really. More hours means more money so I can start clearing some of my debts now and buy a few more luxury items.

Guess that's what I've been doing today and yesterday. In an earlier post I talked about finding a new "look" for myself, so I set about doing something about that. I asked my housemate Sophie to come with me and we kind of made a day of it. I spent loads of money quite recklessley without feeling at all guilty about it and ended up with a few nice items of clothing. It's funny how I get like that when I have a bit of money - I feel I have to spend it, quite often with no idea of what it is that I want. Fair enough I felt I needed the clothes but there's still that need there to buy things even if there is nothing I need or want to buy. Today for example I ended up in Borders with an impulse to buy myself a book or a DVD, though there's still a ton of books I've bought from there that I've not read yet and there's no DVD's that I want right now that I haven't got already. I almost had to slap some sense into myself to get out of there without buying something.

I reckon I could easily go into a rant about how the society we live in creates dilemmas like this; where we're often wanting things almost for the sake of it let alone it being something that we don't need but I've just eaten a load of chips and fried chicken and I'm not feeling particularly articulate right now so I'm gonna leave it.

Until next time.

Friday, 18 April 2008

OK BABY (title provided by Sophie because I couldn't think of one)

Sophie's in my room with her laptop and she is telling me she is feeling blue. I ask her if it's blue as in porno, or blue as in unhappy... She says both. I ask her why (let's assume she's joking about the porno bit), and she says she doesn't know.

Well she does know why and I know why but it's not gonna be written down here.

I have to say that not much has been going on today, I haven't been anywhere, not really spoken to anyone aside from Sophie who is sat in my room... oh wait a sec Sophie's giggling. She's just shown me something on her facebook profile. It's a message on her wall from one of our lectures saying "OK baby". She assures me that it's out of context and not a sleazy response to something. I believe her. This time.

I've been kind of half busy with a couple of things today. Finished reading and writing notes on my housemates major script, I hope he is pleased with them and they help. I've read 3 of my housemates scripts so far and his was the hardest to critique - that's usually a good sign.

I've also updated my CV to send off to a friend who knows a place that is hiring. The only thing left to get on it is my manager's address for a reference and I should have that by tomorrow afternoon.

....Hmmmmm, what else has been going on?

Nope can't think of anything. Today has been a bit of a non-event I suppose, or I might be just in one of those moods where everything bores me. I know what I'll do, I got a DVD out from Blockbusters last night that I have a feeling will get me fired up and angry, it's called Why We Fight and it's all about American Imperialism. I doubt that it's gonna enlighten me in any big way and will probably confirm most opinions that I have about this subject already but at least it will provide me with a new bunch of facts that I haven't heard before.

I was actually thinking something along those lines last night when I picked the film up. Left wing documentaries like this are really good for picking up new facts and information about many of the worlds injustices, but they don't really challenge what I'm thinking. I often wonder how many people with a more right wing perspective watch documentaries like this one, or Corporation, or Fahrenheit 911 and all the rest of them. Not that many I should imagine. And how many have had their views changed after watching this kind of film - probably even fewer still. It's a shame, but in a way I can't really blame them. I mean, I never pick up a Daily Mail newspaper because I don't agree with their politics, and on the few occasions that I have happened to read an article in there that makes an attack on asylum seekers or single mothers I will refuse to accept any arguments they might make as it doesn't conform to my particular world perspective.

So what am I trying to say here? I dunno, I'm just rambling my thoughts out onto the page. I might read this back through in a minute and delete all that, in which case you probably won't be reading this. Of course, if you are you are reading this then you're probably wondering why I bothered to leave in this little paragraph about the possibility of deleting what I've just written when I haven't actually deleted it?

To answer that honestly then I would probably say that I left it in to sound "random" *shudder*.

I hate randomness... But for some reason it doesn't stop me from trying to sound "random".

Fuck off.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Charity shop day

My housemates and I invented a new game today. Well it's not so much of a game though I'm not sure what you might call it.

Because it's been such great weather Sophie and Geoff have been relaxing in the summer house. Although it might not be particularly warm outside on account of the strong winds, the summer house gets lovely and warm as it sits in direct light of the sun. You can sit in there with the patio doors wide open letting a cool breeze in whilst basking in the warmth of the sun's rays. I went out to join them to get their advice on a current dilemma of mine regarding getting a new look for myself.

Basically every so often I go through these phases where I decide I need a "look" because I'm one of those people that clothes shops casually and I dress kind of middle of the road, y'know smart casual. I've never really fit the mold of a particular style or trend since I was in my teens and I was in to punk and grunge and I'm not looking to follow any current trends now. I want my own 'thing'.

I began throwing out ideas to them and they threw some back but of course we started moving into silly territory and suggestions started like adopting the style of a 15th century bard, or going Scottish highlander and wearing a kilt. The suggestion of wearing a cape came out as well reminding me of something myself and a friend of mine, Swpnil, talked about last year where we had this plan to start a brand new fashion craze by wearing a cape. We thought if you could convince enough of your friends to start wearing capes and not make an issue out of it like it was something normal - the same way a person would go out wearing a hat -it would catch on. Perhaps rope a celeb or two into it and it could become popular and why not? Capes were the fashion once many years ago why can't we bring em back in a new way now?

At the end of this little talk I had nothing and I probably won't even do anything about it as by the time I have the money to buy some new clothes this phase would've passed anyway. So somewhere near the end of the discussion I decided to go to the shops and asked if the others wanted anything. Geoff jokingly asked me to buy him a turban from the charity shop as I think one of the last things suggested was that I start wearing turbans. I said no but if he gave me a pound I would buy something for him and it would be a suprise. He was up for that and so was Sophie, thus was born our new game (Yeah I know it's not really a "game" but I don't know what else to call it - an activity perhaps?).

I took a pound from each of them and went into the Help the aged shop and brought back Sophie a video: Learn line dancing: A step by step tuition by Maoliosa Bond, and I bought Geoff a book called The world's most amazing freaks by Mike Parker. I think they were impressed with their suprise gifts and we're thinking of making a regular thing of it, say probably once a week. We haven't come up with a decent name for it yet except "charity shop day", which is lame, but if you have any ideas please send your answers on a postcard to... well actually just leave a comment here I guess.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Bog roll thief

Hello again... oop, back in a minute.

I'm back. Just had to pop to the toilet, but I'm sure you wanted to know that. Why did I bother writing it in at all I may hear you ask? It's not as if there is some sort of indication on here of whether I'm in the room or not (besides any I decide to put in myself), or if I suddenly stop typing in order to leave the computer for five minutes. Um, can you wait just a sec?...

Back again... Not really, I never went anywhere that time, I was having a joke with you and I bet you fell for it didn't you? Oh, you don't care? Fine, be that way.

Right that's a couple of paragraphs wasted, what's next?

Ah! Yes! We have a bog roll thief in our house! It's come to light over these past few weeks that at least one of us in the house is consuming an obscene amount of toilet paper. It's going so fast they might actually literally be eating the stuff. Only yesterday there were two full rolls in the one working toilet with have left in the house, and come this afternoon Yoli has bought a new pack for the loo.

I suppose if someone is eating the toilet paper I could perhaps understand why they are doing it as everyone is a bit tight for cash at the moment. It's still only have a week or so left before the next loan installment comes through (that may not be including me though, remember?), and I'm sure there is a lot of fibre in toilet paper if you're without food and need something to get you by but this person needs to learn to save some for the rest of us. Perhaps if they supplement their diet intake of loo roll by eating the paper in the recycling bin? That way they could keep themselves fed while simultanesouly providing a service to the environment as well. I know at least one of our more enviromentally concious housemates would be happy with such an arrangement.

That is all for now. You may stop reading at the conclusion of this sentenc

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Cleaning house

We had a nice big house clean today. It's been a while since the last one, so not suprisingly it's been looking and smelling minging in places - particularly the downstairs toilet...

I would like to say we did it because we felt it needed in but for me that isn't nessecarily true. I KNOW the house has been needing it for a while and we have even talked about doing it a few times. I think that almost at least once every other day one of us has said "we should clean the house on (X) day", and everyone else will half mutter in agreement. No, the real reason that we got off our arses and cleaned the house today is because our housemate Yoli is coming back tomorrow afternoon. Being the housemate who is the most concerned about ensuring the house is clean and tidy we decided to have the big tidy up for when she got back. None of us has actually admitted to each other that was the reason why we cleaned the place today, stuff like that generally goes without saying here.

We've got Jonathan Ross playing on Dave, i think it's probably about a 3 year old episode. He just introduced a female guest, but I wasn't really paying attention and looked up to see the back of her and got a little excited by what I saw until I realised it was Amy Winehouse and now I feel kind of wrong. The same way I think a friend of mine (yes a friend, not me), thought the keyboard player in Hanson was fit only to find out it was actually a boy and not a girl (you know who you are - Steve).

I'm gonna cut this one a little short because I'm writing it on Sophie's laptop and I said I would only be 15 minutes. I thought I would've been able to write a little more than I have but my brain has gone a little blank so I'll stop forcing it.

Until next time...

Monday, 14 April 2008

darkhorsedan vs sophieblog

Sophie is telling me to write what I want. We're trying out a little blogging activity that she played out with another friend of mine, Swpnil, last year. I'm not sure if it's gonna work or not because it was probably something that happened naturally last time and now we're kind of forcing it.

It is pretty funny though. She is sat on my bed with her laptop typing away while I'm typing this, all that can be heard is the clicking of the keyboards. Now she is telling me to ask a question, or throw a question out there to answer.

I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to be doing. Apparently I'm probably doing it correctly as it's not supposed to make sense to anyone reading it. Sophie has just gone to check the cakes she's making.

What cake is it? - Lemon Drizzle cake, she answers. It's got another 12 minutes before it's done Yum!

I just got her to answer a question that often bugs me "does my room smell?" However all she can smell is the cake from the next room, it probably means my room always smells.

The religeon of one age, is the literary entertainment of the next - DISCUSS! (a crap attempt at generating discussion between us)

I attempt to express how stressed out I am to Sophie about my dealings with the scripting of a game i'm playing. She mishears me and thinks I'm stressed out about a game of Mario Kart we had half an hour ago, where Yoshi kept overtaking me and causing me grief. I tell her the games of Mario Kart are feeble distractions from my current obscession with learning the scripting language of a computer game so I can attempt to make my own games.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Trivial pursuits (haven't I already given a blog this title before?)

The house has become a little busier and louder these past couple of days with the return of Sophie, who was joined by her boyfriend Scott, and the arrival of Paddy about 30 mins ago. The house had been quiet this past week with only 2 of us here. Sophie had brought the game Trivial Pursuit back with her from home, so today, myself, Sophie, and Geoff all had a game.

It's been a while since I'd last played, but this version is different to the one I'm used to. It comes with a DVD that provides you with special questions every time you land on a square to play for a piece of cheese (or pie, or wedge - whatever your preferred terminology is for those little bits of coloured plastic). The categories are different as well, gone are the history, arts and literature, and general knowledge questions, this particular version of Trivial Pursuit is based around popular culture, covering categories such as film, TV, music, sports & games, gossip, and trends. Consequently this makes the game far easier to play so you can feel a lot smarter when you're getting loads of questions right, but at the same time it also makes you aware of how much of your precious gray matter is taken up by useless and trivial bit's of information such as "who gave the best man speech at David Guest's and Liza Minnelli's wedding", or "which actor was in an off again, on again engagement with singer and actress Jenifer Lopez?"

What does knowing that do for anyone? You might try and argue that knowing the ins and outs of an historical event such as the Battle of Thermopylae does nothing for you other than making you look like a smart arse, or geek, but history can teach you many things, such as how we got where we are today, and how we can use events in our past to understand how to deal with events in the present and our future . But what things of importance has the lives of people like Jenifer Lopez and Ben Afflek taught us (except for the importance of signing a prenuptial agreement)?

Anyway, those were two of the questions I had while playing today, and I answered them pretty easily. In fact pretty early on in the game I managed to collect all the pieces of cheese (or pie etc) and was heading towards the centre for my final question while Sophie and Geoff had only collected two pieces. Foolishly I believed victory was now assured and gloated quite openly about this to Sophie and Geoff, to which Sophie declared that I "hadn't won yet, it was a 'tortoise and the hare' situation". How right she turned out to be.

It seemed no matter how many rolls of the dice I got I could not land on the centre square and kept missing it to answer other questions, most of which I got right. For almost an hour I was trying to land on this square, and achieved it only 3 times, and all 3 times I couldn't answer the question. Then as Sods law would have it (or perhaps Karma, though I think a game of trivial pursuit is too 'trivial' an affair to have karma get involved) Sophie completed her collection of cheese (plastic pies etc), landed on the centre square and got her question right first time and won the game.

I'll be sure to swot up on heat magazine and the gossip columns from tabloids in time for the next game, then victory will be mine!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Taking more hours

In my last post I talked about my need for a new job and my strong desire to leave Blockbusters. It so happened that I had my shift that same day and I told my manager that I wanted to hand my notice in to look for a job that had more hours. She knew it was coming, but she also mentioned that there would be 40 hours left open now that Emma is leaving. I thought someone else had already laid claim to those 40 hours, plus I didn't think I would want them, but when she made the offer I must admit I was tempted.

I know I already expressed strong feelings against staying there any longer, let alone doing more hours, but when offered the hours my mind started weighing up the pros and cons of whether I should take her up on the offer. The main bonus to staying would be that I wouldn't have to look for another job and it's been a while since I've had to do any job hunting and I remember I never liked it (but who does?).

I started trying to decieve myself, thinking that doing more hours there wouldn't be that bad, it would actually allow me to get used to the job if I was there more often. Plus I would be up to date about what was going on in store and not have to play catch up to the constant changes that it's always going through. So, only ten minutes into the shift I told my manager that it was likely I would take the hours, I would let her know within the week provided I haven't found anything else (though already in the back of my mind a little voice was telling me that I'm never gonna find anything else because I'm too lazy and would rather suffer long term pain and annoyance rather than disrupt things in the short term).

After agreeing to the possibility of staying on my manager finished her shift and it was me and Hayley to run the shop until close.... and it was one of the worse shifts I've ever had. It was a Tuesday, the shop should have been quiet. We were left a few jobs to do and should have easily got most of them done but we could barely finish one of them. It seemed like almost every customer we served would somehow lead to a complication. Films were misfiled or missing, films weren't checked in properly, or they weren't checked out properly, it was like we were suffering the consequences of all the mistakes people had made on previous shifts and having to sort them out... There were a few moments in the shift where I came very close to just walking out of the shop and never come back. Basically the shift was bad enough to make me seriously rethink wanting to stay on, and get to work finding another job.

Of course Wednesday and Thursday went by and I have done nothing about finding another job. I had work this evening and had decided that Tuesday was just one of those days - they can happen in any job right? But then I when I worked tonight, it was almost like an exact repeat of what happened on Tuesday - except I was afforded a slightly different perspective. On Tuesday's shift I was pretty much in charge so it feels like a lot of the responsibilty falls on me. Not only that but it means you get asked all kinds of questions by whom ever you're working with if they haven't been there as long as you or are not a senior staff member, whenever there is some ambiguity on how to deal with a certain problem. The truth is, at Blockbusters when you run into a complication of problem there isn't always a definate right answer or way to go about things, you just have to go with what you think is right and hope you don't get in trouble for it later. So when you encounter a gray area or an ambiguity you instantly look to someone in a higher authority for the answer, although the answer they'll give you is the same answer you have come up with yourself. Quite often, in the shifts that I work, that person someone would go to is me and it really stresses me out because I know they can come up with an answer themselves. Sometimes I encourage people to sort it out themselves (if you can call it 'encouragement', to be honest it's either apathy, so I'll say something like "yeah do whatever", or it's more like an ostrich burying it's head in the sand and I'll say "I dunno, do whatever you want I'm not involved".)

Until today, I never really understood why some of them come to me when they have a problem. Like if it's something I think they genuinely don't have an answer to I'll help out, but when they know it already I'm just thinking "why are you laying this burden on me?" However, today I was working with Spencer, the assistant manager, and it occured to me during that shift that I was doing that exact same thing to him. I had to deal with numerous problems that I know I would have just dealt with if he wasn't there but today I kept double checking with him, or asking him what I should do. So I realised why people do it, because they're not in a position where they don't have an alternative but to deal with it themselves. It's like when I work with staff members as experienced as myself. We've got more or less the same knowledge and the same know how but we just don't like taking the responsibilty for something directly onto our own shoulders - if you can shift it on someone else, or at least gain a second opinion so that the responsibility is shared it makes the job that bit easier to deal with, coz all any of us wants is an easy time.

You're probably thinking "but it's just Blockbusters, how hard can it be being a till jockey", and I used to think the same thing. But something has gone wrong there, I find myself becoming far too stressed out. And today with Spencer in charge having to go through a shift that mirrored my shift on Tuesday I got to see from an outside perspective what I could've looked like and it didn't look very nice at all. Do I really wanna have a job that could do that to me for 40 hours a week for the next few months only getting paid 5.50 an hour?

Admitedly these were two very bad shifts, but almost every shift now seems to have its moments. I think if I'm clever I should take those two shifts as a sign. They're a sign that I should get the fuck out of there a.s.a.p, and I'm gonna have to get serious if I really wanna do that... Like maybe I should actually give in my notice, rather than perhaps look for a job and using this one to fall back on. Maybe if I leave myself nothing to fall back on I'll get out there and find something.

Apologies for typos and spellings - I haven't even bothered to skim through this to see if it reads okay, as long as you get the general jist who cares?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

'Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent'

I should be worried. I tend to worry easy but my tried and tested tactic over the years is to shift anything worrying, problematic, or soon to be an urgent matter, out of my mind and fill it with meaningless distractions instead. It's only when things become really bad that I suddenly scream and panic and try to sort it all out, all the while cursing myself for not doing anything about it sooner. My problem at the moment is that I need money. I used up everything I had on last months rent and now have to wait two weeks before my next pay day.

Despite my current lack of funds I wasn't that worried about my situation until yesterday. My Dad is putting 30 quid in my bank account for my birthday (yeah I know that was a while ago, but he sent me a cheque through the post, only it was from an old cheque book and bounced) and I know I can easily buy enough food with that to last me until pay day. I've recently found a nice and cheap alternative to endless weeks of pasta as well so I'll have slightly more variation than I usually do when I'm on a budget. What I do now is make up loads of rice and then mix it with soup because you can buy loads of rice and soup on the cheap. I've found the best combination so far has been chicken soup and rice and I'll usually make a huge pot of it up and get up to four big servings out it.

It's not uncommon for me to find myself in this situation at the end of term. Those few weeks before the next loan payment comes forces me to turn into a student cliche', spending my last few pennies on huge bags of pasta, eating nothing but carbohydrates for a month. At least with this new recipe I get a bit of variety so I can now make a choice between either pasta or rice each day. Then by the time the loan comes I'll vow never to eat pasta or rice again (at least until the next time I have no money).

However, the BIG problem is, the loan might not be coming now. I got an email the other day asking to hand my student card in because of my deferral and it has left me wondering if that means they will be keeping back my next loan installment. The thought had never occured to me that this might happen up until now. I thought as I'm defferring it means I'm still a student, and will be for much longer, but as they have asked me for my student card it must mean that from now until October I am exempt from having student status, and consequently lose all the benefits that come with that.

After seeing the email yesterday I sent a message asking if my next loan payment would be withdrawn but I have recieved no reply thus far. The scary part is, if they are not gonna give me the next installment then that means I've got to start looking for a full time job, like NOW, because I know they won't give me more hours at blockbusters, and the way I feel about that job, I work far more hours there than I would like to already. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm contracted to pay rent here until June I would just run home, but that's not really an option so I'm in a right pickle because even if I do find a job in the next week or so I'll have to wait another month before I get paid, in which time the rent will be overdue. On top of that Blockbusters won't let me go so easily, because I've been there 4 years and i'll have a load of notice to work, which means it could put a halt on starting a new job anyway.

Thing is, the part about getting a job doesn't really bother me as I was thinking of doing some temping work and quitting the hell that is Blockbusters anyway, it's just there's potentially greater urgency about it now than there was before.

I better get off my arse and get to work finding work.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The monthly scripwriters meal

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?), the scriptwriters meal last Thursday had none of the drama of the previous months meal and was generally a pretty tame affair. The only time it looked like a fight could break out was when Sophie found herself sitting opposite Sheila and was unable not to make a, perhaps deliberately, provocative joke towards Sheila. The set up was, our lecturer John Foster had a little wine left in the bottle and was trying to offer it around. Sophie jokingly said "pour it on Sheila's head" (not particularly funny but it sent out a clear message), causing Sheila to aggresively retort saying "Would you like to find out what it's like to have a wine bottle shoved up your arse?"

Knowing Sophie, I knew she would have to respond to that. I gripped her leg under the table hoping it would send out some kind of message to her to stop and just leave it but I knew it wouldn't work. Instead she said "I don't need to find out, I already know, and I liked it."
Thankfully Sheila's didn't want to take it any further and she said something like "Okay, glad to hear that", and went back to her conversation with John.

After the meal was over and everybody was going home, two other students off our course called Lorraine and Sam came back with us to our house. Lorraine was enthusiastic about staying out and drinking more, and although I felt tired for much of the meal, I felt like I was up for more drinking now. When we got back to ours we decided to go to the summer house and play some texas hold'em poker, although Lorraine and Sam hadn't played before and would need to be told the rules.

However almost as soon as we started trying to play the game, I knew we had made a mistake. It seemed that while we were trying to teach Lorraine and Sam how to play, Paddy who has played poker many many times before, seemed to want to sabotage everything we were trying to teach them. He started questioning the betting procedure, saying we shouldn't play the blinds, or that everyone should put a blind in, or that you never have big blinds and little blinds. I don't know if it was just because he was drunk, or all the other times he's been playing poker people have been putting the blinds and the bets in for him (which is apparently what Sophie said of him after). Even Geoff, usually dependable and reliable in situations like this, seemed to become mischievous and adamant that he would throw a spanner into the works at everymoment possible. We would become confused about how much money there was in the pot because he would just throw random chips in when people weren't looking, or it wasn't his turn to bet.

Despite all this, Sam managed to pick the game up suprisingly quickly, while Lorraine hadn't a clue what was going on because of Paddy's confusion of the betting process, and also because she was very drunk by this point. She was at that stage of drunkeness when your legs decide not to work properly anymore and ended up having three very bad falls over the course of the evening. One of them, where she was spinning around and fell into the patio doors of the summer house and bashed her head on the window looked particularly painfull. Thankfully, it looked as though her intoxicated state was numbing the pain.

So, as poker became more difficult to play with the alchohol steadily regressing the mental age of the players, I remember turning to Sophie during the game and saying that it was like trying to organize a poker game with children at a McDonalds kids birthday party. It shouldn't have been a suprise to us then, that after we had given up on the poker game, a few of them started playing Snap!

By sometime after 4am, after some games of truth or dare and a dance off competition (I know, not exactly grown up - but if you can't beat em, join em) everyone was burnt out and Lorraine and Sam got a taxi home. My evening was finished off with an episode of Takashi's Castle and then I went to bed.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Leisurely pursuits

And what has today had to offer? I'm not sure really - not much. Played Mario Kart with my housemates for the first time in what has seemed like months, but was probably on a few weeks. Coz everyone has been so busy with their dissertation, leisurely pursuits like that had been forgotten about. But the transition back into a hedonistic lifestyle has always been an easy. The real dilemma is in getting out of it.

I have to say I've enjoyed myself the past week since I've deferred finishing my degree until next year, but I never wanted to talk about it until now because I didn't want to depress or turn against me the friends of mine who might be reading it and were still slogging their guts away on their dissertation. That's not to say I've sat around doing nothing, or watching TV all day. Far from it. For most of this week I've been more productive than I have been in months. I've devoted my time to three different writing projects, started reading one of the many books that I've been wanting to read for ages, and I've discovered a new interest in poetry (that is reading it, not writing - at least not yet).

So tonight is the night of the monthly scriptwriters meal. I can't seeing it live up to the drama of the last meal (which can be read about here if you haven't read it all ready) - mainly because Richard Berger won't be there for people to fight over - But i'm hopeful it will give me something to write about tomorrow.

Just one more thing before I go, I know I've put a link to it once already but in case you haven't checked it out here is a link to my online scrap book http://darkhorsedan.tumblr.com/

Monday, 24 March 2008

Easter is lame

I forgot that it was Easter weekend. One of the reasons may be because it has come so early this year, the other is because the deadline of the dissertation had fallen around this time so I never made any preparations to go home to be with my family over the holidays.

When I was still meant to be graduating this year I had told my family that I would delay the holiday until after both the dissertation and the script were out the way, meaning I would have gone home in May. I suppose now that that's all changed I could make other arrangements, though I don't think I'll bother. It will be a hassel telling work that I need the time off so soon, and I generally don't like going home anyway.

That last sentence was a bit harsh, and perhaps a little bit of an exagerration. Coming home can be nice, but not for holidays like Easter. Actually I would have to say that of all the holidays each year (meaning xmas, Easter, and summer - so the main ones, not half terms), Easter is the crappest one and sometimes depresses me. The only thing Easter has ever had to offer is chocolate eggs and family meals that either end in an argument or have been very dull, lame, and anti-climatic comparions of the much more fun Christmas meal.

Also, there is something bizarre about Easter. Last year, or maybe the year before I told my mum that I didn't want an Easter egg because I had gone off chocolate. Instead I asked her to get me a large pork pie. She thought this was strange, but then I pointed out to her that eating large chocolate eggs in celebration for a man dying for the sins of humanity doesn't make much sense either... Get me a pie.

But am I right to point out that there doesn't seem to be a relationship between these two things? A religeous figure on the cross dying to save humanity and a nation steadily making itself obese gorging themselves on chocolate eggs? It would make more sense if they at least changed the egg theme for something that was more related, like crucifix shaped lollies, or Jesus on a cross chocolate bars... But eggs?

Ah! I almost forgot. In fact I have forgotten to mention this in the last few posts as well, but I now have a tumblr account. What this means is that I have another thing that is very similar to this blog. The way my housemate described it is, if a blog is like your diary, then a tumblr account is like your scrap book. How I would sell it is by saying that my tumblr is very much like my blog but with extra features, much like a special edition DVD, or perhaps a DVD when compared to the old VHS tapes. And like the change from VHS to DVD, I may exclusively just start writing my blog on my tumblr account, but I'm not sure when, and if I even will. I'm still kind of testing out at the moment. Most of you are probably reading this via facebook so ultimately it won't make much difference to you anyway.

But if you want to check it out the page can be found here