Category Archives: Tea

I have to admit it’s getting better…

There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before…

Henry David Thoreau

clone 02 2I think I can safely say the fog of beastliness has finally been lifted and the mending is well and truly on its way. That said, there is still a residual strangeness afoot— no doubt owing to a few nights spent bolt-upright for fear of drowning from the nose down. The head is clearer, so much so I can picture phrases in their entirety and have them committed without the worry they’ll escape as they did yesterday; which wasn’t so much a case of forgetting what I was trying to copy, as it was a series of chases I wasn’t properly conditioned for. That’s the worst thing about feeling under the weather: as climates go, they aren’t particularly chivalrous.

I remember one particular malady which left me so indisposed, I not only considered it malfeasant, so unnecessary were the symptoms; but also the closest I’ve ever been to becoming a vegetable. I was so delirious at one point, I actually considered making clippings of myself to send to friends so they could grow their own me.

Since then I’ve used the man/pot-plant spectrum as a rough rule of slide to gauge the gruesomeness of whatever it is that ails me: one being quite normal and ten: Salix babylonica or Weeping willow— a pleasant enough looking thing, but with all the characteristics of a state you should never be: ornamentally droopy and narrow, deciduous and named after a place which arouses images of exile and immorality.

While I hadn’t quite reached the shady heights of a ten, I was nevertheless pendulous enough to remain tucked up, clinging onto my duvet— along with the sixes and sevens in-case they ran off in search of the words that’d absconded earlier in the day. It’s just one of those ghastly things we pick up over time, along with the odd bug or two, that once things start getting away from us, there’s really no stopping them.

Fortunately the emancipation ceased and I didn’t get too much worse as the day dragged on— the drugs plugged the symptoms to the point I could at least breathe without making gargling sounds, which in turn allowed me to sleep a little. Unfortunately, I haven’t the stamina to delve into anything remotely grumpy today, at least not with the gusto it truly deserves. The beastliness may have evaporated, but there is still the small matter of about 50IQ points to make back up. So with any luck, after a few cups of tea and one good rest I’ll be ready for whatever the weathermen may throw at me; and with any hope be smarter than the cat again.

Without civilisation, we would not turn into animals, but vegetables…

Mason Cooley

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What does Casper, Head & Shoulders & fingernails have in common?

Really, honestly, truly?

Probably nothing— but this is all a bit of a rush-job!

And kind of how I actually sound in real-life…

goalExcept that the friendly ghost actually was the prime-shaker responsible for my non-participation this evening. The soiree I was invited to didn’t really appeal to me that much, it never does. The parent’s godchildren were going to be there and because someone with no brain whatsoever decided to take my advice, they now have kids with 90% of their bodies without so much as an ounce of bejesus in them. However, after actually watching Scream they did comment— much to my amusement— how much they were enjoying it until Casper started killing everyone— thereby laying their own stepping-stones for years of future therapy. I decided it was in my best interests to leave them to their baked potatoes and Transylvanian Stew.

I can then vaguely recall having an important revelation whilst tearing off my fingernails so I had something to give to the trick or treatersabout something or other but alas, as with most things today, my mind has just turned the other way in embarrassment— shunning me like a giant turd…

I am aware of course that turds do not shun or be shunned; are merely flushed away without a second thought. It’s just I found the idea of a giant shunning turd, particularly on Hallowe’en, an amusing concept. If for no other reason, because it would be the last thing I’d ever expect to come get me; just like Casper with disco-hips and a twelve inch tempered-steel blade. I mean, come on! It’s not a kids film, stop taking anything I say seriously!

One thing I do remember though, was a little ditty I had whilst flicking through hundreds of thousands of television channels, attempting to find some gore for this evening and failing miserably. Anywise, between the profanity I was hurling at every unsuccessful attempt, was born a new cure for food poisoning. If Head and Shoulders could wipe out the microbes that cause unsightly bonce-flakes after a few applications, imagine the speedy recovery from the pain of a dodgy barbecue you could make from downing just a few shots of the ammoniun laureth sulfate rich formula. Naturally, some form of long-glass milk based cocktail could probably be developed to take the edge off the really bad cases, but I reckon that, even if I’m wrong, I could still be on to a winner.

The rubbish that occupies my mind sometimes is just, well! Dangerous, if you’re stupid enough to take it overtly literally. Whatever, I want a snack.

So now this post has been taken care of, I need some rest and a cup of tea— and owing to an unexpectedly busy day and no sleep last night, I haven’t had time to bring together in a glorious arc, the relevance of my recent brain-foraging. There’s a plan to it all I’m sure and something about today’s about to harbour a severe rattling fit if I ignore the popcorn for a second longer, so-no more ado:

Happy Hallowe’en; and should you find yourself my way and don’t fancy eating a bowl of nail clippings

I’d knock very carefully…

A couple of weeks of reading and writing; writing and reading— commenting and what-have-you

I thought I’d just take a day today;

Such a lazy day…

marley mummyIt’s been fabulous; just spent it drinking tea and reading— watched a film on the other screen; managed a few emails; brushed the cat, twice; considered the weather with an eye on cutting the lawns. I thought about eating a chocolate bar at one point but decided against it. I did take a phone-call though— it’s been like a month of those irritating social-media status updates all rolled into one lazy day— I’ve really enjoyed it too. It’s given me the chance digest my first couple of weeks on this site.

It’s been a few years since I blogged regularly. Some things have changed, some haven’t— there’s a far greater seriousness in the tone of the average blogger than I remember, there are certainly many, many more than there ever were. I’ve certainly found some gems— some just bewildering, but in my experience that’s how most things appear to me: like gems or just bewildering.

One thing that hasn’t changed and I doubt is likely to in the immediate future, is that there are still smart people who cannot write and the not-so-smart who are just delicious to read. It’s the way it ought to be— ought, is— it doesn’t matter: writing isn’t a competition, like thinking isn’t exclusive to those who do it best. The two are separate animals thank goodness.

Perhaps we should all just check the egos at the door, because everyone’s doing exactly the same thing: having thoughts, making meaning, stringing-words— trying to make something happen, to inspire, react, create. Some are just trying to learn, to teach— but for a lot of guys it’s just about trying to understand themselves and the world around them. And it’s hard for them to find the words, but they try and you can read how difficult it is for them to do— but they do it anyway. There’s something wonderful in that.

For all the perfectly clipped and presented prose and essays and advice blogs and experts; there are a hundred of these guys; a hundred experiences, a hundred opinions and thoughts and expressions and feelings that’ve been agonised over just that little more than the rest.

I’m glad that not everything has changed.

Image: my nephew winning 1st prize for his creation…

On Furniture…

Moving it, rearranging it, wrinkles, flat-pack-language, fear, stuff, unhelpful phrases, bedrooms, tea & baby elephants…

elephant_swim_07I like my sense of all things random to be ordered, which isn’t to say their appearance always need be. Upheaval and periodic change is an unavoidable constituent of life; and try as I might to slow it down, at some point a good heaving is inevitable. So when it comes,I like it like I like my piles; I like them to develop over time so I don’t notice them at first— and by the time I feel there is just-cause to say something about them— I just do something about them and leave the ‘saying’ to other ‘like’-minded individuals. Preferably those who like that kind of thing.

When I’m informed that my world is going to be ‘transformed’— small, big— it doesn’t matter, naturally, my first thoughts are of my world being heaved-up. Quite how far and in what manner it’s to be thrust is largely irrelevant— what goes up, must come down. I can always sense catastrophe is imminent— and sure enough, the ‘secret vein’i that tells me so, begins to throb wildly.

It just so happens this was one of those times, I felt the vein and sure enough, when I probed further and discovered new furniture was on the way to afford me more space— my nesting-principals began to shudder also. I’m not one for unnecessary wildlife smilies, but I felt like a squirrel might, upon discovering his secret cache of nuts had been eaten. The very idea that ‘stuff’ would have to be moved out and then moved back was dawning slowly upon me, despite being explicitly terrifying, it also had horrific undertones— just for good measure: it multiplies you see: the stuff.

Bedrooms thus, appear to made from the same substance as that famous nanny’s carpet bag. It eats things. And they don’t even have to be your own. It’s ridiculous when you think about it, but there are no known laws or governing principles which adequately describe the phenomena.

But that’s besides the point because it always gets to the point when you’ve got to unload your ‘stuff’ to get at the furniture you’ll be replacing; and find you need two rooms to store it in; and the landing between them; and then there’s the sitting room and the small corner of the kitchen that never seems to be used for anything. And if that’s not enough, it’s round about this time the twitching begins.

However, if you look at it in this way your enthusiasm for it will wan— which is hardly surprising. I don’t even like packing. There is an easy part of course, it’s not all bad— but that’s all over once the delivery finally shows. It’s just shudders from there-in out.

Constructing the new units should’ve be a pleasurable experience. A visceral act allowing me to purge certain irregularities of thought with power tools. It should have, yes. But designers feel obliged to include certain elements in their designs that not only refuse us of our right to purge— but create entirely new ones. This is I’m sure— in the hope that if a paddy or wobbly is thrown during fabrication, it’s thrown in the direction of what it is that’s being put together— so a new one must be bought— and the anger can be spread out indefinitely.

I believe then, that half the battle is delegation. Since you need ideally, three, perhaps four sets of hands to realistically complete one of these tasks without feeling obligated to swear at it or anyone else within range— which on occasion, could mean anywhere in the region of four to five households. I find that knowing what each of the two hands I do have at my disposal are doing at any one time— and more importantly, what they will do— or as is usually the case— what they are supposed to do, is far more important.

Take the slats for the new shelves for instance. They’re supposed to slot into the runners and just stay put long enough to be fixed into place by a screw: They do not, because that would be all to easy. They either all go in first time and behave until you show the drill to them— at which point they become startled and leap out which means hiding the drill from them and starting over; or you have one tricky one that seems to be testing your patience by seeing how far you can be pushed, by refusing to move no matter how hard you seem to; only to allow you to succeed in manoeuvring the awkward one into place at the expense of disturbing all the others. This is when you discover you were being observed— and for quite some for time it seems— struggling.

It is a curious thing, to become suddenly aware that you could have been in a position of smug completion as opposed to a bundle of nerves ready to launch the offending pieces of wood far, far away. Because they always say the same thing: I was frightened to ask…

To that I can contain rational judgement— but I generally tend not to and indulge instead, in a far more resounding ‘bollocks and fuck’, in a pronunciation somewhat scattered and aimed at no-one in particular— but at the same time to anyone close enough to hear it.

It’s at this point I decide to abandon my task and drink tea in the hope of expectorating visions of setting light to people, laughing. But the madness concludes with madness until certain phrases become familiar to the point of over-use:

  • Let me have a look at it…

  • It’s perfectly simple…

  • Surely not…

  • It can’t possibly!

  • Why have they done it like that?

  • Fucking thing!

  • NOOOO!

  • For God’s sake, just leave it alone…

  • I know what I’m doing!

  • Ouch, shit, fuck— bollocks!

  • You do it then…

And so on…

Naturally, to avoid predictability I cut myself eight pieces of cheese to protect me from such a fate— each approximately 5x10x30mm and eat them with the back of a curved knife.

Since the slats had been constructed the day before to form part of the shelves, and the wardrobe had been constructed with few casualties— it was time to clamber over the little space I had left, in order to move or dismantle the existing furniture. And since it defied its appearance by weighing about the same as a baby elephant, I made the decision to trade the screw-driver for a series of heavy thwacks to its joints with a 5lb yellow fibre-glass handled, double-dipped masonry lump-hammer and hacking knife— thus weakening it sufficiently without destroying it; allowing me to remove it piece by piece. It was never going to be used again so I considered the battering I administered, pay-back for the previous day’s sweating and bad language.

That part was at least fun. Getting the new stuff in was not— not because it was overly heavy or cumbersome, despite having to negotiate the over-spill— but because it wouldn’t fit. You’ll have to imagine my disgruntlement; something the TV didn’t have to, nor the bin and neither did the two slippers that made up the pair. But to their credit, they did have the good sense to detach themselves from my feet before going flying. Granted, they did so at an inconvenient time, but had they not have, they too would have been copping unfortunate ones.

There was no way round it. Dismantling was out of the question, my voice was becoming hoarse; I was intolerably thirsty and any minute soon, I’d be surrounded by cretins. I decided to stop and have some more tea before returning to the grounds being stomped upon by impudent pieces wood.

CDs went flying in the direction of the bed followed by the DVD player, books and assorted non-specific papers. The monitor displaying an AOL login page joined the party to the right of the now hidden guitar— though it was doing its best to return to the chair by sliding slowly towards the ground. I solved this by balancing the chair on top of it and hoped that God would intervene to keep it there. Next it was the clothes that went for a trip , before the turn of the delightful piece of rogue ‘wicker’ I had discovered stowed away somewhere or other. The rest of the obstructions were cleared in much the same way you’d remove water from a sinking boat— though in my experience a breach can be stemmed— and water doesn’t use nearly so many expletives.

With the new found room, I teased the items into place, admired them and then surveyed the monstrous state of the remaining artefacts and swore a little more. I think ‘for fuck’s sake!’ was uttered under every breath— sometimes more, but with an eye on the prize and the other one twitching away madly— I managed to swathe away my denial-complex until the job— on the face of it— was complete.

I say ‘on the face of it’, because it was so, only thanks to a little creativity— meaning I hid a great many of the things I could no longer bare the sight of in a large box, then secured it away from my line of sight: what the eye don’t see, blah blah blah.

They say, ‘a job worth doing is a job worth doing well’— well, yes and no. If it’s worth doing at all, you’re better off letting someone else doing it. How and why anyone would chose to move house more than once in their lifetime is beyond me.

Bedrooms are my absolute limit.

Period— the end…

i For future reference, my secret vein and wrinkles of deep persuasion are located on the left hand side of my upper forehead and around, so as to be tickling my left temple. Like pain, they are there to inform me of stuff.

image: Odd Stuff Magazine

Senses & Nonsenses…

One’s real life is so often the life one does not lead…

Oscar Wilde

IMG_0013Such are the senses, that we have more than five and fewer than six. Try tasting something without seeing it for instance; it almost always tastes like something other than what it’s supposed to and rarely anything other than chicken; listen to someone speak without seeing their mouths move or those unusual sounds that keep you awake at night when you’re trying to sleep that never turn out to be two thousand pound mice and you’ll forever be in that darkness— or even tasting something without smelling it and so on and so forth. Life is so much more than it appears to be, though it’s little more than it actually ever is. Unless of course, there is such a thing a two thousand pound mouse or you really were asked to shake and squeeze the band which gave King Tut its mildew…

My real life is far cry from the award winning, affluent, multi-faceted and admired jaunt and jolly through which my other self is no doubt enjoying somewhere where the senses are better understood and household pets and rodents are disproportionately large; but that’s not to say I’ll ever be to old to be everything I could have been-or too small for Autumn to call me sweetheart.

It puts me in mind somewhat rather of him— S; a splendid chap and so was his wife— K. At least she was when I knew her. She was smart too, in that sensible way that can get up the noses of people who try to sit down to quickly wearing tight pants, smoking whilst owning chest complaints and the intolerably foolish doing well, anything. She could and would point out the obvious with a style and punctuation, few of us would or could even dream about. I remember one such occasion at college, when she was trying to persuade S to disband one of his pro-radical movements— he liked to use meaningless compound phrases in those days— retro-activist-avist was his favourite— he said that it left dangling inferences suggesting guile and determination. K said it left an unpleasant odour in the air and a salty taste in her mouth whenever he said it. Her favourite saying on the other hand was, What’s with the finger E.T.? They were a charming bunch.

Anyway, he claimed the campus anti-everything lobby weren’t doing enough complaining about things that didn’t matter to anyone, so he founded the double A. E. B. The Anti-Anti-Everything Brigade, to which K merely pointed out that its tautology gave it ’all the noise of a harmless educational committee. Trying to point out the pointlessness of rebellion in the civilised world— is rather like an unwanted splinter’ she meant this quite literally; ‘a forgotten part of the Nation Union of Teachers perhaps’ she fancied, and besides, wasn’t it dishonest describing himself as a brigade, especially since he hadn‘t persuaded anyone else in actually joining him; that to disband an army of one was something that ‘reality just wouldn’t allow’ and perhaps he should try doing something useful instead like, drawing up a petition against himself and joining the N.U.T., ‘allergies allowing of course’, maintaining that she had read somewhere that ‘at least education had an ethos…’

S had missed the train again. It was the third time in as many days and he was starting to take the whole thing very personally. He wouldn’t have minded had it not been for the decrepit old fool in front of him who insisted on buying his ticket with an exact change he couldn’t really see; unless demonstrating the ability to distinguish the denomination of a coin by rubbing them against his eyeball counted as seeing.

As for me,I have a new cafeteria— reward for installing a utility next door, which brings me to my last point in a pointless exercise…

If you ask for and are expecting a cup of tea— but are given a mug of coffee instead…

It doesn’t taste well, and quite unlike either.

The Gramm’azis’s a rude bunch. Even the term [just spoils my tea]…

When was their 1919 moment?

Besides the mobile-phone…

536031_10150755819601041_591256550_nGramm’azis sometime jump all over paragraphs, because in their rage they sometimes fail to recognise them as paragraphs; instead focus on a particular phrase. Even the term— perhaps even the use of Nazi in the plural tense— perhaps even the use of italics instead of the inverted comma. They’d complain that ia sentence wasn’t a sentence and didn’t make sense and blah to the la-de-dah, calling people stupid and whatever. And in one version of the universe— where cohesion, elision, endophora, hell, even the minor sentence didn’t exist— they’d be quite right, which is why I find the very term Grammar Nazi so apt. There really couldn’t be a more fitting soubriquet; it’s accurate with just the right hint of irony. Lucky for me however, I live in a galaxy far, far away from the one party state where a little sterilisation is OK. Because although language is a constituency of one, grammar is just one of the bits. Granted it’s one of the big bits, but without a complement of bits, shit gets sterile; and that would be— as long as you accept gramm’azis turd is safe to eat— an ineffective form of rule. And a contradiction: shit should not be fit for human consumption.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Standard English and think it ought to be protected. As a teaching tool it’s invaluable and as a means with which to measure English variance, there’s really no substitute, but holy-moly. I wouldn’t want to imagine a world where these guys go unopposed, which shouldn’t be too Earth-altering because they inhabit a really small place; it’s not even part of the planet. It’s a place with zero separation of spelling and grammar— which is a big no no Brown-Shirts, and if the metonymy offends you, you’re gonna love this one: grammar is based on sound, not words. The your, you’re, their, they’re, there place— I don’t know what to call this ego-enhancing pleasure-palace— is not a grammar problem, it’s a representation issue, it’s orthography; and yes, it’s annoying and best avoided, but in comment-boxes? Really? Is there really no higher place to call? Did pragmatics and deixis suddenly disappear?

That was me thinking out-loud. And that was me being flippant. And that was me wondering why anyone— and let’s be clear here— anyone with but a rudimentary grasp of language think it’s perfectly acceptable to respond to something with— wah, wah, grammar police wah fucking wah wah?

Clever people don’t do that. Linguists and language folk don’t do that. In fact the guys who are in a position to comment upon specific language uses, tend not to make the mistake of using too many logically fallacious statements, especially not ad hominem, tu quoque crap like your momma’s do— come on. I mean, god— is there some kind of high-register discourse convention for comment-boxes that I don’t know about? The one where anything short of five-part essay-standard formality is open-season for the sanctimonious? Aren’t comment-boxes supposed to be a convenient way to get a point across when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to instead of working? Are gramm’azis so blind-sided by blues-and-twos that they cannot see that good points sometimes come in shitty packages?

The ability to spot these mistakes then point them out does not require any particular skill or training, it really doesn’t. It doesn’t make you smart— it makes you an asshole. It means, at the very least you have a rudimentary grasp of language and are conscious of it. Our cueing systems are remarkable things, brilliant; they’re not toys to throw at each other. Now, most non-drivers can tell the difference between a good and shitty driver, and on this I’d steak a gamm’azis’ momma. Driving is not an inherent attribute. Language acquisition and development is pretty uniform the world over which means we are all, to some degree grammatical creatures, we are also contextual creatures— with few exceptions, I should know, I’ve worked with a few. But I’m also careful not to generalise too sweepingly and incur wrath from the fallacy police, even though those guys know how to party.

I can go on for weeks, literally. It was my job— Actually, I rarely left a dry eye, but I’d rather not. These people are ruining just about every article I read these days.

Bollockations—

I just don’t like the rude, it’s not contructive…

Damn you gramm’azis! All I wanted to do was read about cricket, drink tea and find my day!