Friday, 30 July 2010

One Week

It's been a week now since I had the company of another human being – the first week of another 3 year wait? Hopefully not, but I'm still reliant on people coming to me instead of trying to get out there into the world to lasso up some friends for myself. I suppose then it's a good job that I'm so magnetic and charismatic that I can attract anyone here at all! Just need to focus on either making sure they come back, or never leave. And since that XL cage I ordered for last time never showed up, I guess I'll just need to work on being a fun and exciting host. I'm leaving negative feedback on that cage though.

I've already done a post here looking back over the years and reflecting on how far I've come, but its just hugely frustrating that the final roadblock, the last thing for me to get over and get back to some sort of normalcy is proving so difficult to get around. I've actually been out 3 times in the past week; not going anywhere in particular, but just trying to make some sort of symbolic stand against an imaginary construct of my limitations. Suffice to say, it's not gone so well.

I've been battling with M.E. for a full decade now, and I would say I've got a reasonable handle on my symptoms and how to manage them, so its all the more astounding really that I managed to misjudge this one so badly. Going out takes energy. Just because you insist that you're “trying harder” or putting up some sort of fight about it does not in any way negate the amount of energy that going out expends, leading to a rather major flaw in the plan of “I'll just do it lots and lots until it gets easier”.

My other brother returns from his travels in continental Europe tonight. He's my younger brother by age, but he passed by me socially many years ago. It doesn't help with the mid-life crisis when you're still pining over things and experiences that someone you're meant to be more advanced than has burned through them all and got sick of them! Next he'll be finished Uni and off into the world of employment, while my nights are filled with dreams of the school bus and sleepovers.

Still, I've got the chance to dazzle him with my culinary prowess that I've been working on while he's been away. Buttered pasta with grated cheese, and yes – I did grate that cheese myself.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Today I'm going to talk about something that's been a pet peeve of mine for quite some time now: pandas.

First off, I feel a special connection with bears. They're a lot like us really, you can imagine that at some point we were at the same path along the evolutionary tree. I know we WEREN'T, in a quite literal sense, but still, this is my blog and my analogy so I'll say and do what I want thank you. Anyway, we were at a similar sort of impasse, in that the tasty things we liked eating just didn't want to be eaten themselves. What to do? For humans, we developed our brains, our cunning, we outsmarted our meals and gained intricacy and dexterity, learned to use tools to do our bidding and tamed fire to cook and soften our prey. Bears on the other hand, went all out for power, massive strength and no sophistication with using it. 8 feet tall, 800 pounds, arms that could rip you apart and a jaw that could chew through bone, the brute force, sledgehammer approach to catching their dinner. And really, you've got to respect that as a lifestyle choice, it's working out well for them.

But then we come to the panda. For some reason, its decided to take all those tools that evolution has handed it, and uses it... on bamboo. And not only that, they're on the verge of extinction because they can't be bothered to carry out their most base of urges and reproduce!

First off, although they might look cute and fluffy, a panda is still a goddamn BEAR, a half-ton wrecking ball of unholy monstrous fury. So what's with the vegetarianism? The natural order of the food chain is meant to go from plants, to herbivores, to carnivores. Pandas are perfectly happy to take all the genes and the evolutionary benefits of their bear ancestry to avoid the drawbacks of being hunted, but want to have their bamboo cake and eat it by avoiding the hardships of having to do some old fashioned hard work for their meals. Giving up on the salmon to sit around on their rapidly expanding black and white arses, subsiding on shoots and leaves that aren't exactly putting up a fight is just laziness. How about you get a haircut, put on a suit and tie and go out there and earn an honest day's living at the river instead of whining about how human expansion into your habitat is totally harshing your buzz, man?

And another thing, how can you have any sympathy for any creature that's critically endangered because it can't even be bothered to have sex? Taking away the 5% who are convinced that abstinence is the key to godliness, most of the world's population that aren't getting any would quite happily wrestle in a life or death tussle with that salmon themselves for the shot at getting their end away. Are you trying to claim you're better than us, pandas? Is it religious reasons? Does the great god of the bears want you to wear a purity ring and save yourself for panda-marriage? Or is this just like the bamboo thing and you're too lazy to? Because frankly, when there are witty, attractive people out there like umm... this friend I have... who are trying their hardest and not getting anywhere with the opposite sex, it's just insulting that we can put things on a plate for you and you can't even be bothered rousing yourselves to secure the continued existence of your very species.

You can just imagine, Christmas dinner round at the bear family household, where Ma Grizzly and Pa Polar have slaved away over a hot, umm... stream, catching a nice juicy salmon for the whole family to enjoy, and effeminate cousin panda pipes up saying “actually, if you don't mind I'd rather have the bamboo”.

No, panda. No. We weren't offering you a vegetarian option, and we're all very disappointed in you.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Me against the music

I've always had a different sort of approach to music from those around me. Over the years, people close to me have found it helpful to share their favourite pieces of music with me, hoping to share an intimate, personal connection, and it's been something I've almost always completely taken wrongly. One reader in particular I know will utterly cringe at the memory of me pompously telling her off for trying to use 'borrowed words', written by someone else to express what she felt inside instead of putting it in her own way. It's just something that I've never quite got invested in in the same way as 'normal people' seem to, and it still persists to this day.

My top most played song on iTunes is a Ukrainian-language one that was available in English, but I preferred in its native tongue. I've been unbearably smug at being ahead of the curve on some of the very few European pop songs that have escaped into the wild of the UK charts – I was aware of Tatu before they hit it big with All the Things She Said, for example, and I still prefer the original Russian; I'd heard of the Turkish Eurovision band before this year's contest, and I know that a different reader than the one I mentioned before (because I have MORE THAN ONE FRIEND, ha, don't I rule) will always say that the song she associates me most with is a Moldovan one that more than just escaped into the wild of the UK pop scene, but went global via a fat guy dancing on webcam to it on the internet. In fact, maybe I should be slightly concerned or insulted that she associates that with me? Talking of song association, I've mentioned before about the bridges that I was helping rebuild with this blog, but I'm a bit concerned that the revelation that there is one poor soul who shall forever be linked with the Lonely Island song “Jizz in my Pants” might pour another barrel full of gasoline on the newly built foundations. Let's just hope none of the construction crew are smokers!

Were I somehow capable of being even MORE pretentious than I already am, I might suggest that I have a similar approach to music as Kurt Cobain, that I appreciate his approach of using the voice as just another instrument instead of insisting that music has to be its own form of art, conveying messages through lyrics and emotional investment. It's entirely possible that that wasn't remotely his views at all, but I think I read it once somewhere and it stuck with me. If any of my readers want to correct and educate me on what a misunderstood modern genius REALLY intended to get across with his art – I really, really don't care, sorry.

It's for those reasons though that my favourite genres of music are classical, dance and rap – slightly eclectic to say the least, but in a very superficial way I like to be proud of that and how 'quirky' it makes me. Like most aspects of my life, the only issue tempering just how far I take my pretentiousness is effort, in that truly caring deeply about it in any sort of way would just not add anything more to what I get out of it. Plus trying too hard would betray my radiating ennui that just makes me too, too cool. Irony. Malaise.

I know I'm being unbearably smug, but so long as I draw attention to the fact that I'm aware of that it makes it ok. It's roughly the equivalent to answering every question in a debate with another question, that way when you get called out on your bullshit you can claim hey, I'm not invested in this in any way, I'm just playing devil's advocate here! Either way, I'm too cool for it to affect me. Beautiful unique snowflake, etc.

Anyway, reappearing from my spelunking expedition up my own arse, I've come around to the 15 year old 'quoting lyrics out of context' deal, in an ironic way of course. Stylistically, cutting and pasting chunks of feeling out of songs devoid of their original context appeals to me in the sort of sense of a ransom note, cut and pasted out of magazine and newspaper headlines and all the more threatening for it. Picking a single line from a song charges it with all that intent, all the weight of the emotional investment that its original context provided it with, but leaving the littlest remnants of doubt over the reasons and motivations of what parts exactly were snipped out with the line itself, and what parts were intended to hang unsaid in the air along with it. It really is quite sinister, I just can't bear to risk that the intricate subtleties put into it would be missed, I demand recognition of how great I am for noticing and pointing it out!

No, I don't have a corgi / I had a hamster but it died cos I ignored it.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

I'll be there for you

I'm on my own with my thoughts today – the rest of the family are off to a wedding, leaving me with an empty house to throw one of my legendary wild parties in. It might have been interesting to go, but I figured that seeing as it was a family wedding, the bridesmaids would be too much of a minefield. Plus, to make myself look presentable enough to be seen in public I'd have had to do something with my ever expanding beard, and that would have disturbed the family of sparrows currently nesting in it.

Do you ever think that Lily Allen comes home from a really nice date where nothing went wrong and thinks, damn, now I've got nothing to write a complaining song about? That's about how I feel just now. Yesterday I had a lovely friend over, for the first time in 3 years, and it was great. Where's the comedy to be gleaned from that?! We watched a film, wandered around the garden and played some Wii games, and it was great to just have some very nice company. I even cooked the tea for us all (even if it was only pasta and chicken), how domesticated am I? Such a grown-up, sane, normal human being thing to do, even if we did arrange beforehand to have a dedicated moment put aside for trading some Pokémon.

I feel a bit like the writers of the IT Crowd now – I've run out of amusing ideas. Oh snap, I went there! Etc. After my last epic monstrosipost took a lot out of me, I'm not really sure how to go on. Whining about my going out fears was supposed to be the nuclear option, and I wasted it the second I saw a particularly frightening looking gerbil. Metaphorically speaking. Maybe this is a post-apocalyptic blog now, to stretch that analogy well beyond any reasonable sort of breaking point?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The town mouse and the country mouse

I think that was some kind of children's book, but I can't remember the moral of that story. Didn't the country mouse get eaten by cats at... now WHY do I want to say at a mouse strip club? What kind of warped childhood did I have to conjure that mental image?! Maybe the moral of the story there is that mice/country-folk/strip club patrons are stupid? Hit me up if you know what I'm talking about... or I suppose I could wiki it. But more fun to beg for comments instead.

The problems that face me day to day are quite different from normal M.E. sufferers mainly because we live out here in the middle of the country. When I was growing up we lived in a suburban wasteland, sprawling rows and patterns of identikit houses with nothing in between and the only way to do anything was to get on the train to Glasgow. Not long after I finished my exams and dropped out of school we moved house, into much more of a traditional town – voted the most generic in Britain, in fact, so that's one aspect of my experience that should be identifiable with! It brought its own issues with it, mainly being that with my new health levels I was unable to get out to make any new friends to replace the ones I'd lost from school, and I've more or less been on my own since.

The next step though, about 5 or so years ago (I've lost count), was moving out to the country. It was only half an hour down the road, but for an agoraphobic.. the move itself wasn't nice. Maybe one day I'll do a deep dark entry about it, but to keep myself sane for just now I'll leave it as just saying it was very, very tough, and has taken me a long time to get over. Having your entire safe zone evaporate on you and forcing you to make any sort of trek out into the unknown to try and set up a new one is not something I'd be in a rush to do again, but then I'd hope that where I am mentally now would let me be a lot more equipped to deal with it.

So in a piece about country life, I'm onto my 4th paragraph and that's us only just filled in on the background to it. In some ways, things have been really good here. I love that I can look out the window and see deer, birds, that last night when I was particularly wiped out I could just sit and watch a wild baby rabbit chewing on a leaf for long enough to let my frantic jumbled mess of half-ideas and theories about pokémon maths melt away. The quiet and tranquillity has been good for me, with no background noise (both literally and metaphorically!) to impose itself on the tasks I've managed to come a long long way with all my other anxieties and problems that sadly tend to come as standard with the set of conditions I've got. The big one though, the one that's standing between me and whatever could pass for an attempt at 'normality', is going out.

So far most of the people who have admitted to reading this have found it through connections to the M.E., so might not be familiar with some of what agoraphobia actually involves. As well as the regular 'not going out' thing, other aspects to it involve people coming into your own space, and over the years I've struggled with that immensely. Phone calls, people coming to the door, workmen/window cleaners/gas man, all add to the wonderful package to come and find you even when you're curled up in a ball hiding from the world wishing it would go away. Literally hiding from a ringing telephone as if it can see you when your friends and peers are off getting drunk and partying at uni isn't a particularly nice way to live your life, and I'm very grateful and proud that I've managed to almost totally overcome that aspect of the condition.

We recently had a massive, multi-month project going on in our house when we had building work going on on the conservatory, and despite everyone secretly fearing the worst and preparing contingency plans to try and get me through it, it passed without a hitch. I can handle people coming to the house, either planned or unexpectedly, socialise with friends of the family, keep appointments with doctors and OTs. I can even go for walks on the moor (and in the rain), as far as my physical constraints will allow me. I've come a long long way with that side of it, and maybe I should take more chances like this to look back at how things were and be grateful that I've cut the number of limiting factors on my life down from however many there were to just the one or two now. But context is everything, and what I find now looking back at my time living in a town is that I don't remember how bad it was having the busyness and noise imposing on my ability to step back and recharge, and instead just pine for the time when it was within my grasp to go for an eye test, grab a McFlurry, even (at a push, admittedly) making it to the cinema.

I suppose that, like in so many other ways, I'm very lucky to have been born into this digital age, since so much of what I need can now be taken care of via the internet. I don't have to miss out on the newest films and games with sites like Amazon that deliver to my home, and I can still stay in the loop in terms of discussing the football and pop culture happenings via forums and messenger services. But its the simple things that can't be substituted that make this system fall down.

About 18 months ago, I somehow managed to trip over nothing in an empty room and broke/tore something in my foot. I couldn't walk for quite some time, but it was impossible to get it properly seen to – I'll probably get an x-ray on it later in life to discover that it was broken and never properly reset. I've had blocked ears and had to try and keep hold of my sanity for weeks or months with no hearing while I wait for the waiting list for home doctor visits for non-urgent procedures to slowly trickle down. When my general anxiety was still bad, I was terrified that I was going to break my glasses and I'd be effectively blind unless I made it out to the opticians to get new ones. It's still pretty restrictive being stuck in like this, because the last lingering thread that won't go away is the ability to go out in the car.

There's a tiny village a mile down the road, and on a good day, I can manage that. I've been to vote, there's a village shop that I can go to to stock up on Pringles and Nuts magazines, and there's a recycling bank where I can go when I want to feel good about myself saving the earth. The next step, the one that could make so much of my boredom and loneliness go away, is a decent sized little town... 6 miles away.

Six miles. There are bridges and tunnels longer than that, but its beyond my limit. Tunnels in Norway where the entire distance through them is longer than I can manage out in the car. 12 minutes, if we go slowly enough along the road to admire the scenery. 3 and a half songs, I couldn't even finish listening to Pixie Lott's greatest hits before I'd arrived, but... its beyond me.

I was making so much progress, too, from the start of the year I could barely manage anything. Now, I've managed more than halfway there. I can quite comfortably do maybe the first third of it, jump in the car and make it down to a junction in the road without so much as a flutter. It seemed like it was all coming so easily, from nothing to what felt in those early days like everything, as if it was finally over and I was within touching distance of being free of it. We even worked out the distance to the nearest uni – all I have to be able to do is manage an extra mile a month, and I'd be able to enrol for classes next term. So easy, I almost forgot there was anything wrong in the first place.

One day, with the sun shining and the stars aligned, I made it as far as the garden centre on the outskirts of the town. Probably about 5 miles. It was the most I'd done, barring one disastrous attempt, since we moved here. And I just... couldn't breathe. Apparently its one thing getting there and back, but once you're there... you have to keep yourself together in that unsafe place, outside your comfort zone, and not only that, but prepare yourself mentally for the journey back. It was a horrible realisation, it all seemed so easy when I was taking the 10 minutes to get myself ready to face the trip out, but to keep myself together and conscious in another, unfamiliar place, and find the strength again to do it all again to get home was just... too much. I've had to try and come to terms with that since then, the reason why my progress has stalled was the reason that it needed worked on in the first place.

To most people, getting somewhere and back are just the bookends on an experience. They're the unnoticed, blank spaces in the schedule, you write off an hour's travel time to get where you need to be. To me, they're poisonous, oozing. They cover and coat anything in between them, going beyond just ruining the day out, but leeching everything that's good and fun and worthwhile out of it. The most beautiful experience, the most fulfilling, rewarding, eye-opening, it wouldn't just be bookended by a spot of discomfort, it'd have everything good ripped out of it and spoiled, degrading my achievements and my experiences to just the horrible recharging gap in the middle, the time where I had to try and keep myself together long enough to find the strength to come back home again.

I don't know how I'm going to get past this. I don't know how to solve a problem that trying harder at or putting more effort in can't fix. So far it seems that the best hope lies in expanding my safe zone, getting familiar with the road and eventually the town, letting me feel free to move about within it as I please and once the net gets wide enough, my quality of life should get a big increase. It's only 6 miles. The other end of that tunnel... and I shouldn't complain that I've come far enough to see that light, if not quite reach it.

I'm sorry for the length of this entry. I don't expect anyone to sit through it, but if you do I would love to hear from you. Drop me a line on MSN or the comments. I'll buy you chocolate.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The (very) pointless adventures of David and Togepi!

A couple of entries back I mentioned that, for reasons unbeknown to me at the time, I had hatched a near-flawless Pokémon from an egg in one of my old Game Boy games, as opposed to the newer DS ones. Since you can transfer them over to the new generation its not really a problem, but at every single stage of this so far it seems to have thrown up yet another issue to further complicate my already scrambled existence with utter, utter pointlessness. First off, WHAT on earth possessed me to hatch eggs on my Game Boy instead of the DS? Lesson one: nostalgia is painful, ignore it. Lesson two: once you've invested THAT much time and effort into something, however pointless, you have to see it through just on general principle, yes?

First off, instead of happily plugging the game into my DS and transferring it to the new games nice and simply, I decided it might be fun to properly train it 'old-school', before letting it loose competitively on the new, wi-fi, touch-screen modern hotness. Who says there's no room for romance in, erm... Pokémon? All I had to do was spend a day or so working out what in-game berries to feed it.

Problem 1 quickly reared its head: I didn't have any of those berries. So over the course of a couple of nights I got hold of one, grew it, replanted it, until I had enough to go around nicely. Of course, a slight miscalculation in my permanently sleepy state (planting 2 = twice as many) somehow meant that one morning when I woke up to find that I had over 60 of this virtual berry, far more than I could ever find a use for. Maybe I should take up virtual jam-making, although knowing my luck with this whole project so far I'd probably end up living in a shipping crate with only a retro Game Boy and a magic bean to my name.

Next I had to figure out how to make tasty treats for my precious Pokémon. Maybe this was the stage that I should have taken a step back and properly surveyed the utter, utter pointlessness of what I was doing, but for some strange reason it made perfect sense to do so at the time. I worked out that if I made purposely average treats with one of my 60 berries, it would raise its stats in 3 areas at once at half the speed – a net gain! However, with the condition stat stored as an 8-bit integer, it would max at 255, and my treats were regularly coming out at level 23 – if I could just play the treat-making minigame flawlessly twice to boost it to level 24, then it would perfectly add up to a nice, round 255 in 11 treats, saving time and... well, actually if I have to replay the minigame hundreds of times to get it to come out perfectly its not really saving any time is it? But still, it makes perfect sense in my head and I've worked it all out on my own, using my superior intellect and maths reasoning to streamline the training of my virtual creature. I'm being productive!

The next step was actually applying it. Of course, it failed to work. For some reason, instead of reaching 255, it stopped somewhere in the middle. It told me that Togepi didn't like my treats. I failed to account for this in my pokémaths. Thus rendering most of the adventure to date and previous days work pointless. Still, I've got a stack of treats saved from when I last played in 2007, so I just used them instead. It has literally only just hit me that I should have used them in the first place.

Change of plan needed then, and I dusted off one of my other old games and discovered that a very useful move tutor could be traded over from that one, that would really help move things along. The only minor flaw being that I'd need to find another old Game Boy from somewhere to trade with, but my brother used to play too so his will still be about. Amazingly, considering that this could have added another layer of complexity to the proceedings, it didn't and he found it in record time! There was only one minor flaw... the wireless adaptor. A small, grey piece of plastic designed to plug into an obsolete console, that had become separated from said console at some unknown point in the last 5 or so years. I've invested too much into this now to stop though, so on with the search!

While examining the unopened boxes from our house move (4 years ago), I came across the following items:

  • a box of wooden railway toys “for passing onto my future kids”

  • a box full of 7 year old love letters (as in, from 7 years ago, not from when I was 7)

  • a VHS tape of a 2006 wrestling pay-per-view

  • a strip poker set, unopened

  • a watch

  • another box full of cuddly toys

  • two full ring binders of GCSE physics and chemistry notes

  • approximately 400 obsolete hard drives

  • a broken remote control helicopter

  • a pair of thumb-handcuffs

  • and a partridge in a pear tree.

When I was just about ready to start burning things, I called in my brother for help... and he promptly found it in his own room. In the same box as he found his Game Boy. Maybe I should have started by looking there.

So that's the adventure to date, still nowhere near finished but I think you'll agree, after investing THIS much in it I surely need to see the project through now. All I need to do is trade that item over, and then the minor issue of beating a section of the game 32 times in order to unlock another special move to teach it. But I'm sure that will just fly by.

In other news, my t shirt and socks are co-ordinated today!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dreams, dreams, lala something littlest things...

More pretty followers! Welcome, my new friends, and thank you for taking an interest/increasing the pressure for me to write witty and insightful things! I didn't even have to resort to bribery either – I was pretty close to putting up some sort of coupons to try and force some new people to join. Present this exclusive code on MSN to prove that you've been reading to get 20% off your next bar of chocolate! Or something along those lines. Maybe that would help with the oh so mysterious anonymous people? If you unveil yourself I'll... give you some chocolate? It's an idea for the future anyway, as of just now my curiosity as to their ninja identities hasn't quite driven me to breaking point.

I've always known it doesn't take me long to run through my full range of anecdotes and run out of ways to make myself sound interesting, but I suppose its nice to put a number on it – 10 entries before the well runs dry. Maybe my brain is instead helpfully using up all my creativity for my sleep, finding new and interesting unrelated scenarios to place plane crashes into. I'm not afraid of heights or flying, I don't have any sort of issue when I'm awake with planes, but my subconscious seems determined to give me plenty of practice in dealing with highly improbably situations in which one has crashed nearby and I need to respond to it. We get planes flying over the house quite regularly though – maybe in my half-asleep status I'm just hearing one, and so my brain decides to accompany the noise that's leaked through to my dream with a full-blown situation?

Oh dear, entry 11 and there's so little going on in my waking life that I've had to resort to plumbing the depths of my dreams. At least I got off fairly lightly, I was dreading the potential consequences after I realised a little too late that it might not have been the smartest idea to start Resident Evil 4 before bed last night.

5 days til socialising! I'm a bit rusty when it comes to dealing with actual, live humans, so help me out here – they're generally between 9 and 15 feet tall, subside on nuts and small woodland creatures and are confused and frightened by open spaces, yes? I'd better select express delivery on that XXL sized cage to make sure it arrives on time.

Friday, 16 July 2010

A statement and apology

Pah! A week and a bit in, and I've got my first legal problem. What I want to know is who taught a 12 year old the concept of libel, and what exactly did they hope to gain by it? Either way, I would like to issue the following statement.

Following yesterday's entry upon this blog, dated at 16:14 on the 15th of July, 2010, it was brought to the attention of the family court that my brother, referred to as a “crispfinisher”, disputed these charges and felt that the publishing of said allegation constituted libel against his person. As a reconciliatory gesture to settle out of court, I, the author, editor, and publisher of said blog, would like to acknowledge that said accusations were, in fact, erroneous. Furthermore, it has been brought to my attention that the crisps in question were in fact communal, and that I have no legitimate claim of ownership nor incurred any losses by the finishing of said crisps by a third party. I also appreciate and accept the fact that if the finishing of crisps is going to cause arguments within the familial unit, access to further packets shall be restricted thusly.

I would therefore like to apologise unreservedly to the plaintiff, and a new nickname shall be agreed upon at an undisclosed future time. Should anyone have any suggestions as to what is appropriate to call a smart-arsed 12 year old who claims libel over accusing him of finishing the crisps, they shall be taken into consideration.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.

Buddha said that, and he was wise enough to get his own religion, let alone followers or minions. In fairness I only know about that quote through Civilization, but still. Words. Boyzone sang a song about them that was probably a cover, and is now annoyingly firmly implanted in my head. The pen is mightier than the sword. One of my favourite words is “fractal”. No real reason, I just like the way it sounds. Its funny, I don't particularly like the word 'blog' in and of itself, but some of the words that I've shared on it have maybe gone a little distance towards healing some things. Also, Ke$ha apparently doesn't like it when you use too many words, she prefers umm... physical deeds to the talking about them, to put it nicely. So I've heard.

Anyway, out of the minuscule amount of feedback I've received (HINT HINT HINT COMMENTS HINT) it seems that my lighter hearted posts have gone down better than my attempts at being deep and meaningful. Maybe I ought to dial back on the pretentiousness and stick to my zany adventures with telemarketers and hedgehogs, adjust the browmostat from high to low.

Anyway, to continue with the tenuous theme, today's word of the day in the house is “crispfinisher”. That's my brother's new name, and should any of my readers have contact with him in the near future, I expect you to address him as such. I feel it's relatively self-explanatory as to how he earned it.

I really do have that stupid Boyzone song stuck in my head now. Maybe I'll put it on on youtube to get back at the crispfinisher. He deserves no less.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Now that it's raining more than ever... I'll hit you with an umbrella.

Seven days, seven entries, seven followers. There's a nice symmetry to that. But on the other hand... that's not very good. Don't you know who I am, internet?! I am a beautiful and unique snowflake, pay attention to me! Maybe this whole blog thing would have gone a bit better if I actually had friends to bribe – or at least minions. I'm down to a single minion and she's pretty overworked as it is.

I thought it was meant to be summer? It's rained non stop for the last couple of days, really not sure that trading watering for sunshine was a great deal now. However, in those extra three minutes for Pokémonning, I did manage to hatch an uber-skilled Togepi, so maybe it will have balanced out if he wins me a couple of battles. The dogs still need walked in it though, so I'd better hope we get a break from the deluge before the day's out or I'm going to get soaked, again. I'm running out of clothes after that last escapade, I already had to spend the day freezing cold in my shorts so if THEY go... well, I'm just glad I had my OT appointment this morning instead of tomorrow. That one could have been awkward otherwise.

Last time I took the dogs out, I carried a big stick. If anyone asked, I was going to claim that I was pretending to be the legendary Sumerian warrior, Enkidu. But no-one asked.

As an aside, I'm amused that my spell check has suggested changing the words “pokémonning” to “poisoning”, and to change “uber-skilled” to “semi-skilled”. It wasn't keen on Enkidu or Togepi either, but that's not as funny so I'll just ignore that. Digitized utility stumbles slightly over proper nouns, it's not the richest vein to mine comedy from.

At least we've had some mild chaos keeping me amused. For what feels like about the 8th time, a family member rescued another dog! Maybe we have some sort of magnetic anomaly under the house that attracts runaways? Or maybe we all just smell of chum. This time it was a sheepdog that had somehow managed to get itself lost, and had made its way across several fields and a moor to come and sit at my dad's feet. Last time it was me that did the heroic rescuing I got a tin of biscuits, so I was cursing my luck at being too slow with the lasso. When it inevitably happens again we'll have a fight on our hands to go and play the hero. I'll probably get bitten.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Gardening (with Miley)

Well, on the list of 'things I didn't want to do today', phoning Amazon customer services to deal with the change in my bank card was one of them. So was getting poked in the eye, leaving the house and buying a Miley Cyrus CD (its a really long list), but fortunately for me the only one that I have to do is the Amazon one. I suppose the day is still young though, there's plenty of time for the other ones to sneak up on me.

Talking of Miley Cyrus, in a flawless segue, yesterday my little brother was hovering around in my room playing on the Wii, so I decided to play a very mature little joke on him. I put one of her songs on on Youtube and said wow, this is great isn't it, do you like this? The plan was that when he said yes I could jump out and say HA YOU LOVE HANNAH MONTANA... but unfortunately he said that he didn't like it and asked me to put it off, and got back to his motion-controlled table tennis. Abject failure, and as some sort of karmic reward I had a horrible, screeching version of “Can't be Tamed” stuck in my head for the rest of the day. I suppose I deserved that.

It's been 3 years since I saw any friends, so he's pretty much the only social company I have. I have a theory that we're actually pulling each other closer to the others mental ages, so he's 12, I'm 23, and we're probably mentally meeting roughly in the middle at about 15 just now. I'm very excited though about the prospect of seeing a lovely friend soon, I just have to try and remember what it is that regular people do together! Even the last time I saw anyone, it was a romantic visit, so I have doubts over whether I can entertain a visitor when the schedule doesn't include making out. I'll let you, dear readers, be the judge over whether that's a good thing or not.

Anyway, back to love of the brotherly variety, and yesterday we ended up with the house to ourselves. So naturally, the thing we got up to was... well, actually it was pretty much what you might expect, we pretended to be sumo wrestlers with my mum's gym ball and ran and bounced off each other at high speed. But that's not the point, the point was that after we'd done that and rolled around laughing on the floor for a bit, we did something actually mature and went out and did some gardening! In fairness it might have just been an excuse for him to play with the hose, but still it ended up a nice different sort of afternoon planting lots of leeks and tasting strawberries. It's little unexpected detours like that that really help me to smile about things again, even if I did spend all last night feeling ludicrously ill afterwards. Yet another message from the universe I think, help me out with some sort of metaphor about eating the home-grown strawberries of life?

Monday, 12 July 2010

Life is beautiful... but if you touch it you die?

I had a dream last night that I was on Big Brother. This is actually becoming something of a recurring dream for me... maybe it taps into some sort of deep, primal thing about being watched or judged. Anyway, in dream, I wondered why all the focus was on the poor people affected by Hurricane Katrina, since it would have been just as hard on the rich people who lost their homes too. Then I refused to do any of the tasks. I don't think I'd do very well on the real Big Brother.

When I went out to walk the dogs last night, all the overgrown weeds around the garden have sprouted gorgeous little delicate white flowers. I wonder if that's some kind of metaphor for life? On the other hand, the garden and moor are also filled with these beautiful deep purple flowers that are apparently highly poisonous. Depending on how I read it, I could extract conflicting meanings out of the blooming of beautiful flowers on the garden of my life. You're sending me mixed messages, universe.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Reminiscing in the rain, pondering as it pours

I thought it was meant to be summer? While London bakes in 30°C, I don't think its stopped pouring with rain here for about the last week. In some ways that's not so bad – I've delegated my garden watering duties to god, and he seems to be doing a pretty good job of it. A saved 3 minutes per day to sit on my arse and play Pokémon is worth sacrificing our summer for!

I actually went out in the deluge yesterday. I'm not entirely sure why yet again, this seems to be happening a lot to me lately. Maybe I have some sort of brain slug that's slowly trying to take control of me? Step 1 get a blog, step 2 get soaked... step 3 world domination? If anyone notices any changes in my personality (like being nice all of a sudden), alert the Pentagon, there's no telling what Zyglexz is going to do next!

Yes I named my imaginary brain slug. Sue me.

Anyway, back to reality, and although I hardly went far, I ended up out for 45 minutes. Things just... got awfully loud inside the house. At times, when I was under some trees, with the rain coming down steadily on the soft forest floor, it tapped into some sort of memory, as if I was almost there at something, if I just focused a bit harder then I'd uncover some sort of long lost link back to something I didn't even know I'd lost. Unfortunately when I tried to focus a bit harder and move on, instead of spurring on my impromptu quest to recapture my soul I somehow managed to get a Ke$ha song implanted in my head instead, where it remained for the entire rest of the walk. I saw a deer, which was nice, but when I got back all I'd really achieved was a thorough soaking necessitating a complete change of clothes, some more leg pain, and the lingering feeling that I'd been teased with something just out of my reach that I know fine well I'm never going to be able to comprehend.

Oh, and a psychotic desire to strangle anyone who claims to either brush their teeth with a bottle of Jack, or that “they know we got swagger”. THAT DOESN'T EVEN MEAN ANYTHING.

40% of my posts to date are now tagged with being about Ke$ha. This is a worrying start.

Friday, 9 July 2010


I'm in a quite significant amount of pain today. It might be partially my own fault.

For his 12th birthday, among other things, my little brother got a football. It was back in May, but we only just got hold of a pump so he's been keen to go out into the garden and play with it. Apparently its good for me to be doing this, I'm building up the amount of exercise I do, its improving my fitness! I'm not really sure though how much overall benefit I'm getting from standing in the same place for a couple of minutes and kicking the ball back, with the same leg. Maybe my right leg will get all toned and muscled from it and I can enter in bodybuilding contests, just always being sure to be seen from the one side. Or I could wear shorts on one side and a mirror on the other! Foolproof plan, now I only have to figure out how to do the same for my top half.

When I was younger I used to think I was pretty good at football. I suppose everyone likes to think they're good at the things they do really, but I was pretty fast and a good finisher, I scored a lot of goals. Its one of the things that from time to time occasionally bugs me now – I know fine well that I'd probably have never made it to any sort of professional level, but I never even got the chance to try and fail. Now at 23, even if I woke up cured tomorrow, I couldn't go and try out for a team – its about slightly more than just standing in the one place and returning the ball in the vague direction of a pre-teen goalkeeper, I'd have missed 6+ years of tactical, positional, teamwork coaching, its just going to have to be yet another thing I've let pass me by. Playing football generally involves those things, plus the ability to run around, let alone stand for 90 minutes at a time, so I don't think I can really claim to be any 'good' at it any more.

I got a call from a telemarketer yesterday. I was kind of hoping for some, to be honest, I figured that all I have to do is say a couple of 'quirky' things to them and that's a nice cheap funny entry for here. So, she asked me if I was interested in loft insulation. I replied no, I'd rather have some chicken nuggets. I was expecting that would throw her, she'd stutter and collapse under the weight of my sheer hilarity, but for some odd reason she was very professional, laughed and said she would too, she's starving, but back to this loft insulation. I was a bit lost at that, so I said I was sorry but I'd run out of sarcastic things to say and hung up. I felt really guilty about that. She was a nice woman, doing her job in a friendly way. There's a recession on, everyone's got to work hard, and she's probably on commission for the amount of loft insulation she sells people. Having a conscience about this kind of silly thing is a real setback to being a king of absurdist comedy. Hopefully the next one will be a pain in the arse so I won't feel so guilty about it.

I mentioned watching House in the last post – that's the latest thing that I've been recommended to get into, so many of my friends watch it that it could be a nice extra topic of conversation, a cultural reference point for me to latch onto around whatever is standing in for the metaphorical water cooler at the time. I'm not really sure it was a good idea by those friends to get me into that specifically though – now that I know how beloved he is despite being so sarcastic and grumpy, its reassured me that I've got a lot more leeway than I thought while staying on the endearing side.

Anyway, I was watching an episode guest starring Cynthia Nixon, and I was shocked to find that for the first time, I thought she was really attractive. I decided to share this revelation via text, stating that it must be because I find the character she's playing here much more attractive than Miranda in Sex and the City.

She was promptly revealed to be faking her illness, and diagnosed with Münchhausen's. I suck at women.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Way I Am

I'm still not entirely sure on what the point of this blog was, or who I'm writing it for. So far I've tried to write as though I'm explaining things to an 'outsider', to someone living a perfectly normal life and drawing attention to the ways that make me and what I'm going through different. Really though, the type of people likely to be reading this are those who are in the same or similar positions. All my friends and contacts now that I've built up over the years are people in the same situation, linked together by a shared empathy and understanding that we've all had limitations placed on us and trying to find ways to express ourselves that let us break free of our shackles.

There are a million blogs like that out there, so what do I really think I'm doing differently? I'm an identical drop of water in the endless ocean, convinced that I can be a beautiful and unique snowflake. Maybe there was no real point to this at all, just an empty void to throw my thoughts out there into, tossing them into the abyss under the delusion that my echo will answer me back and we'll strike up a meaningful conversation.

Something I've noticed though with all the other blogs like this out there is just how defined by the illness they all seem to be. I was watching an episode of House the other day where one of the characters wondered, how would you introduce me? As a doctor, as black, as a car thief? I suppose I'm in the same boat – no matter what I might strive for or try to be or achieve, its almost always going to have to include this as a caveat. If someone asks, what does your brother/son/friend do, the fact that my illness is the reason for it is always going to have to come up within the first two lines. I don't have a job, I'm not at college, because... .The fact is that its not normal and that it needs an explanation for why my 'scenic' path as I've described it is the one that I'm travelling down, always pointing out that its not by choice and that really of course I'd rather be on a different one.

So I've pointed it all out, but what for, what have I really achieved by laying it out like that? I've not come to any conclusions, just made myself look smarter by drawing attention to the fact that I've noticed it instead of working on fixing it. Its a good technique, especially for debating or arguing – set out all your points in the form of a question, that way if you're proved wrong then you were only being wise and spurring on a thoughtful debate!

In the end though, who we are boils down to the sum of our experiences, and for anyone else out there like me who's travelling down a path that they can insist they didn't choose, it still doesn't change the fact that they're sauntering their way slowly along it anyway. This path I'm on has influenced everything about me, even down to my looks - I have long hair mainly because there was a period of time where I wasn't able to get out to the barbers, so had to just let it grow. I happen to quite like the person that I've become now (and my extremely cool hair) – I'm fully aware that its not 'the same as other people', but for the moment I've convinced myself I'm that snowflake floating down from the sky, waiting to change the world when I finally land. Everyone in the world will have changed and grown as a person over the last decade of their life, if I tried to rebel against an imaginary construct of 'the illness' and discard everything that its influenced me into becoming, then I'd just end up with the mind of the 13 year old that I was, playing Pokémon and wanting to push girls into the mud.

Oh, wait a minute...

Culture Shock

Only a few hours in, and I've got some followers already! I like that. With Facebook (boo) it was just friends, MSN its contacts, but on here I have actual followers. Like Jesus! As it stands I've got 4... but one of them's anonymous! I wonder what this means? Is it someone who just found me on Google and thinks I'm interesting? A friend of a friend who doesn't know me? Even maybe an ex-friend who doesn't want anyone to know they care about the minutae of my life any more? Whoever it is, I'm very curious, I'd like to know what kind of odd circumstances mean you want to follow me, just... not publically.

Of course, it only shows those who are willing to reveal themselves on my front page, so I can just claim I've got a HUNDRED friends, they're just all anonymous and they go to a different school/are from Canada, so you wouldn't know them so don't try and look them up or anything but they're totally real and I'm going to see them next summer.

On the other point, I wonder what kind of people I don't know will stumble across this? Maybe I should try and push myself up the Google rankings by latching onto some pop culture. Twilight! High School Musical! Umm... Hanson?

As I've just unwittingly revealed, one of the side effects (or maybe perks) of my position firmly on the outskirts of society is that the term “doesn't get out much” applies very literally to me. I can usually be expected to be a solid 3 months behind any sort of trend, and case in point recently discovered what a Ke$ha was, putting all those MSN statuses that I thought were shockingly slutty at the time into some sort of context at least. I also have been reliably informed that Rihanna has a bangin' new choon called “Umbrella” that absolutely no-one is sick of yet.

Ella. Ella. Ella.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Welcome to my life

My name is David, and for a little while now I've felt that I might have some sort of story to tell.

When you're little, there are certain aspects of your world that are just... indisputable. They make up the fabric of your everyday life, and its impossible to conceive that some people live their lives in a different way. Maybe you go on holiday every year to Spain. Or Blackpool, or Florida, or in a caravan. Maybe you have no dad, a mum and dad, or two dads. A dog, a cat, a budgie, a thousand tiny lizards, but however it is there are just some aspects that you never challenge, they're how you live your life and its hard for your little brain to comprehend the vastness of the diversity out there. Sometimes you get a shock when you go to stay with your friend and they eat macaroni. But we never eat macaroni! The whole way they live their lives, it just... blows your mind. Then once you get older, you realise that there are no rules, that you can live however you want. The whole world opens up in front of you, with a billion paths to choose from, all under your own control. Some people go backpacking across Africa. Some hit the pubs, get to drinking and drugs and having a good time. And to some, all those paths that open up so readily for everyone else stay just out of reach, inconceivable to you, while you sit at your computer for 16 hours a day, make friends with local hedgehogs and talk to your sandwiches to amuse yourself. I'll let you guess what kind of life it is I'm leading.

I'm 23 now, and I've semi-joked for a long time that I've felt like I was having a mid life crisis. For the past decade, I've been standing still. I fell ill with ME when I was 13, developed agoraphobia that I've had to deal with to varying degrees of severity over the years, and pretty much dropped out of society when I had to drop out of school after my exams at 16. With failing health and about a 2% attendance record for my final 6 months I managed to ace the lot of them with straight As across the board, but the effort involved knocked my health back to a place where I've never quite managed to climb out of. So I've set about instead setting up a few cushions and attempting to make my stay here as comfortable as possible while I very slowly try and build myself a life raft to get off the island. Or a ladder to get out of the hole. I forgot which metaphor I was using. Either way, the 'setting up a few metaphorical cushions' tends to provide those around me with endless amusement, as my somewhat stunted teenage rebellion completely bypasses the ability to go out and get drunk and has to settle on ever so slightly minor things like putting on a welsh accent and telling a telemarketer that their call displeases me.

In the grand scheme of things, I dont really know what this will accomplish. In 20 years from now when we're accessing the neural network on our ocular implants, I might stumble across this old archive of what my life was like then and be proud of how far I've come, or reminisce about the good old days before the Oil Wars and how lucky I really was then. Maybe I'll get a few laughs. A few followers, maybe some new friends will find this and approve of the way that I'm attempting to go about things. Maybe I'll touch some poor, lost soul on a deep, spiritual level, showing them how life can keep going on no matter how many paths life blocks off in front of you.

If I touch that one, single soul... then this will all have been a gigantic waste of yours and my time. I'm hoping for a book deal out of this.

Welcome to my life. We'll be taking the scenic route. Enjoy the ride!