Archive for the ‘Rambling’ Category

From an Up to a Down

August 9, 2010

The other day, Fate decided that, having reached what it presumably saw as the pinnacle of my life’s achievements, the only path left to me was falling backwards fifteen feet off a ladder onto concrete paving.

Needless to say I rather disagree with Fate’s assessment, and we’ve since reached a consensus that such things should, in fact, be kept to a minimum wherever possible.

Convincing? No? Alright. By ‘Fate’, I of course mean ‘the laws of physics’. What happened, was that after starting some cleanup work on the outside walls of one of my aunt’s properties, I discovered that ivy had snaked its way around the walls and roof, in the way that ivy always does (presumably given the absence of more interesting things to do, like go to parties, or, say, take up parkour).

This, I was told, would not do, so it had to be pulled down. Being a person who is not a giant, I needed a ladder for this. Luckily there was one to hand, which was fine for the lower strands, however the ivy that was entangled around the roof remained out of reach despite my increasingly frenzied efforts, one of which involved a pair of shears, which were too short, and then a broom, which was, well, a broom and so not really all that much use.

After five minutes or so of waving garden implements around, a spark of “I’m going to sort this out if it’s the last thing I do” determination* hit me, and I decided to recruit the garden table into my mercenary band of ivykilling brothers. I placed the ladder on top of the table to gain the extra height I would need, and began to climb. It wasn’t the most stable of setups, I knew, but I had someone holding it steady for me. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

I’m not sure what it was that did cause the ladder to topple under me, be it overzealous grasping, poor positioning, or badly timed breeze, but topple it did!

They say that time slows down in that sort of situation. As it was, I only had time to wonder which bit of me was going to hit the ground first, before immediately finding out. Fortunately it was my side and hip so the impact was fairly spread out, resulting only in some bruising and a slight House M.D.-ish limp for yesterday and today.

I got most of the ivy down, too.

.

*idiocy
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An Aria of Alliteration

July 17, 2010

This week, amongst property adventures and employment explorations I’ve mostly been writing a new short piece of fiction, naturally in complete odds with the writing goals set out in my last entry. It’s a bit gimmicky really, but basically the story is made up of paragraphs using words beginning only with the same letter of the alphabet,  going from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ (which, oddly, hasn’t been the hardest part to nail down). Almost.

I say ‘almost’, because without ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘a’, and other incidental words, even Tolkien or Lovecraft in their wordiest of writing fevers would have had trouble pasting a coherent sentence together. Believe me I tried it, but after much humming and lip-chewing  decided to forgo my first idea for a piece of writing that’s actually – hopefully – interesting to read, rather than just a pile of words that start the same way. I’m not using any thesauruses (or thesauri? The debate rages within us all, I’m sure), so it’s a masochistically enjoyable process, as I’m having to scrape the very bottom of my vocabulary knowledge with each new section. It’s a test of how capable I am, and all said and done, this thing is probably a psychological response to the fact that, lacking employment, I have no other outlet in which to prove to myself that I’m not completely useless. So this is how I’m doing it.

As for the story; it started off as the fairly mundane tale of a man looking for his kidnapped friend, but – and don’t ask me how – quickly turned into a much more… theological, supernatural tale of power and misjudged malice. Basically, more of the fun stuff 😉

Deep Space Discs

July 11, 2010

As most of us know by now, being stranded on a desert island these days means becoming instantly embroiled in adventures involving mysterious hatches, smoke monsters and electromagnetic anomalies. You wouldn’t even have the time to listen to your favourite CD ever, or settle down with a good book.

The silent voids of deep space, however? Now there’s a desolace worthy of a castaway from the 21st century! And so, if you were left drifting through space, and could have one book, one album, one game (or film), and a luxury item, what would you choose?

I would take these:
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1. Book – The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

As a young’un I was a rather voracious reader – a bit like Mathilda, but without the domestic abuse and psychic powers. However, for all my word-munching,  I didn’t know what comedy writing truly was until I stumbled across The Guide. Obvious thematic practicalities aside, I chose this book as my papery space companion for a few reasons. Firstly, it is emminently re-readable; there are a wealth of clever little details to pick up on, and the humour hits home on so many levels that it demands just a little bit more effort from the reader than they might be used to. And that was what attracted me so much as a child, and has kept me coming back. Secondly, this particular version of the book is comprised of all five parts to the story, so once I’d read the first three books, I would go about trying to rewrite the last two so that they were better, keeping me well occupied between bouts of space-snoozing. This leads on to the third point, which is that on reflection, the appreciation of Mr. Adams’ writing style served me well as a diving board into my own scribblings.

2. Album – Appetite for Destruction (Guns N’ Roses)

There are more complex compositions out there, sure. And those which perhaps invoke a fuller spectrum of emotions across their tracklist, but to me, if I was lost in the universe with no sign of rescue, nothing beats Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction for sheer energy and bravado. The guitar licks in this raw monstrosity could melt suns, and there’s not a single duff* track in there. Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City and Sweet Child of Mine are the well-knowns, but it’s the dynamic riffs of tracks like Nightrain and You’re Crazy that would keep my spirits burning long into the endless night.

3. Game – Planescape: Torment

This is a rare beauty of the gaming world. The experience offered by Planescape: Torment transcends  simply being something to ‘play’.  You take on the role of The Nameless One, a man who, for one reason or another, cannot truly die. He has lived thousands of lives, but each time he dies, he loses part of his memory. By the time we pick up his story he is waking up on a mortuary slab, covered in tattoos, with absolutely no knowledge of where, when, why, or who he is.

‘What can change the nature of a man?’

Along The Nameless One’s journey, it is you, as the player, who addresses that question, exploring his past and present, and forging his future. It’s a role playing game, with a script of 800,000 words. Yep. And the number of different decisions and choices you can make are astonishing, as you explore Sigil, a city of doorways to every other plane of existence. And those doors could be anything – a word, a feeling, an object…

Aside from its thoughtful reflections of the decisions we make, and what makes people tick, PS:T is also highly replayable due to the number of different paths it is possible to take through the game. So off it goes with me into space!

4. Luxury Item

Pens and paper for writing. Technically multiple items, I suppose, but it’s my catastrophe – I’ll let myself off. And who knows, with all  that time I might actually get something finished. And, er, be the only person to read it…

*(Hoho!)

Paradise Settee

July 3, 2010

I’m still in Leicester! Furthermore, I’m being held here against my will…

By sofas.

Earlier today I purged the house of 99% of my worldy possessions, with the help of my aunt, her fella, and their Volvo.  Sofa so good. I, myself, was also supposed to accompany this menagerie of people and objects back up to York.

However, there are also two awesome leather sofas in my house. They were given to us by our lettings agency when they saw that our lounge was furnished with a lone deckchair, and a beanbag which bled little white bobbles every time someone sat on it, and the resulting spike in Lounging Quality (scientific term) sent my housemates and I into levels of comfort previously limited to only the wildest of furniture fantasies.

And so the issue arises of what to do with these big lumps of ex-cow, now that I’m moving. I couldn’t leave them for the next tenants to take advantage of, after all – that would just be wrong – but neither do I yet have anywhere in York to relocate them to. A solution for now is that I’m going to have to stay in Leicester ’til Monday, and rent out some storage space to stick them in until the time comes where I will either need them to furnish my new place, or take them to market and trade them for magic beans.

To protect the sofa’s identity, an actor has been used in this recreation

Much Mochage

June 28, 2010

Free wifi cafés are wonderful places. Let us take a moment to appreciate their gracious offer of potentially limitless internet access (so long as you sip your iced mocha really, really slowly).

I think I wrote my best piece of poetic writing ever yesterday, while on the train to Leicester (successfully managing to get the connecting train from Derby, natch).  The tale of a forbidden love between one man and his zombie sweetheart, entitled ‘There’s Plenty of Room in my Heart’ (in reference to the Dawn of the Dead line, “When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth”), it’s a deadly serious piece…

Other than that, a T-shirt that I’d ordered online arrived, which was good… However, over the  duration of the day I had to fend off two people who wanted to buy it off me, and one who wanted to do a straight shirt-swap, right in the middle of the train. Hands off!

For those curious, the T-shirt says this:

*Chuckles*

Anyhow, this is the beginning of my last week here in Leicester, and it feels very strange. After six years, the time to move on seems to be approaching with all the serene patience of a speeding freight train, so I’d better stop writing, drain the 1cm of mocha I’ve been carefully maintaining for the last half-hour, and start packing!

Hm, lots of train-centric things seem to happen to me. Wow. To paraphrase Kim Pine, right now, if my life had a face, I would punch it. I would punch my life in the face.

Blogging on the Razor’s Edge

June 23, 2010

Internetless (adjective; describing a lack of access to internet) ~ A state of being which first manifested in the late 20th Century, regular web users suffering from this condition may experience restlessness, erratic twitching of the index finger, fresh air, human contact, and other similarly confusing and unfamiliar symptoms .

I am, for the next couple of weeks, a victim of this unspeakable curse. The last entry was posted with two security guards looming over me, because I was stealing internet from the University library after it had closed. My life gets more extreme with each passing day, truly.

Now, with it being the end of the academic year, I have to hand my university card back in which means no library access at all (excuse me while I fetch a damp towel) so… for the next few days, I hope to get my internet fix by masquerading as a Modern Foreign Languages student, sneaking into my old Uni department building, and hoping that locks haven’t been put on the computer room doors during the last two years. These are dark times indeed 😉

Something to think on while I go about tracking down a reliable internet source – do geese see god?

Signing off,

Your friendly neighbourhood internet thief

One Night in Derby – Part 2

June 20, 2010
.
I wandered lonely as a cloud, along the Derby streets
As if I’d fallen from the sky, shaken free by techno beats
(If you will remember, I had left the warmth of Fusion,
With three hours still to go before the night reached its conclusion…)
 
 ————————-
 
Salvation came in the shape of a bar which was named the Flaming Fox
Referring, I supposed, to the barmaid, whose smile could have melted rocks
I settled myself at the edge of the room, and got out my notebook
Figuring I would do some work, make the most of my bad luck
 
But it wasn’t long before I was approached by one of the in-house bouncers
Who’d seen me writing in a book, and had come looking for some answers
“Are you an inspector or something?” He asked me, to my surprise
“No,” I responded, then instantly thought of many better replies
 
About ten minutes later, it was the barmaid who ambled over
And we chatted nonsense for a while, me glad that I was sober
She went away for a few minutes more, and then, upon returning
She turned my head and kissed me, leaving my cheeks fairly burning
 
“Keep up the good work,” she said with a grin, and slinked back to the bar
While I smiled like a lunatic – best moment of the night by far!
‘On par with Zeppelin Dude at the least’, I thought, and began to wonder
If any other strangeness would emerge from out of the thunder
 
Lo and behold, the night indeed had one more thing in store
Blasts of cold wind filled the room, and a midget walked through the door
He wandered round the room a bit, and passed me once or twice
So on his third pass I said “Hello”, trying to be nice
 
He said hello back and so I made polite conversation
Feeling rather sorry for his slight air of desperation
However this backfired when he asked me “So… wanna come back to mine?”
I managed to say, with contained shock, that I’d have to decline
 
After that he turned away and left without a word
Just as the dreaded call ‘It’s closing time!’ was heard
Thusly did I head out again into the Derby night
And trudged back to the station, which was a very gloomy sight
 
The only passenger was I, on a train so quiet and dead
That never so eager have I been, to see my single bed
And when finally I did get home, at around half-past seven
The cloudy grey of Leicester dawn looked like the plains of heaven
.
—————–
.
So that, then, is the story, of what happened on that night
Of shocks and laughs and oddities, and the occasional fright
But should I ever find myself once more stranded in that hell?
.
I think I’ll do the sensible thing, and find a good hotel.

One Night in Derby – Part 1

June 17, 2010

A few entries back, I mentioned that there was a tale-in-waiting which deserved to have an entry dedicated to it. As it turns out, it needs more like two, so here’s part one of that story, dragged out of the dungeons of my memory, 100% true. To set the scene: I was travelling back to Leicester from York by train in horrendous weather, and arrived at the station of a small, grimy town called Derby, where I was to change trains to continue my journey…

.

It was a dark and stormy night; I think you know the kind
I watched my connecting train depart… while I’d been left behind
And the story of what happened next I wrote out for you all
But the tale came out so long it would’ve filled the entire wall
So here instead are the events, rewritten in poetry form,
Of what can happen stranded in Derby, in the middle of a storm
Oh, and just one crucial point – to add to my bad luck –
My phone battery had up ‘n died (Yeah I know; I suck 😉 )
.
———-
Time: 9:00 pm

At nine o clock I missed my train, the connection had been late
The next one? Half-past five AM; so now, I’m thinking ‘Great...”
Then I saw a pub nearby, and headed towards the lights
To be told: “Closing early, love. Sorry, it’s one of those nights!
You’d best head into town by foot – it’s only half an hour.”
Which was fine, ‘til five minutes in, the sky began to shower
So watch me leg it down Main Street, while folk in taxis gloat
(I’ll leave it up to you to guess, whether I had brought a coat.)
.
10:00 pm
.
Thankfully I soon found a bar, sporting a sign which said:
“SUNDAY NIGHT IS BAND NIGHT, SO COME IN AND ROCK YOUR HEAD!”
“Band night eh, that doesn’t sound bad,” I thought, with optimism
Then discovered that ignorance is bliss, faced with Nu Metal rhythm.
However there was entertainment to find, in braving these aural assaults
By talking snobbily with some guy, about each band’s musical faults.
He’d been a friend of Robert Plant; so I ensured that we shook hands
While he reminisced about Zeppelin – “So much better than these shitty bands…”
.
12:00 am
.
That place closed around midnight, so time for some more bar-hopping
But now I had to hurry it up, with the temperature rapidly dropping
And it seemed that a club called ‘Fusion’ was the only available place
So I lingered in its doorway, spine shaking along with the bass.
I was just minding my own business there, when one of the bouncers asked
If I was coming in or not, and I had to convince him fast;
I didn’t have much money left by now, and less desire to spend it here
So I explained myself and pointed out that the weather was quite severe
The doorman laughed at this and then, after talking to his mate,
Suggested I help out on the door – “Beats freezing, at any rate!”
.
2:00 am
.
So I became a Fusion bouncer – well, at least for a while
Until the nightclub had to close, and I continued on my trial.
Through rain and wind and metal and bass, so far I had survived
I could only hope to hold my ground, until the train arrived.
But there were strange things waiting to happen in the intermittant time
And they my friends, will be the subject, of the next entry’s rhyme…
.

Humbug!

December 18, 2009

The waltz continues…

I’m breaking step just for a moment to say that tomorrow the anticipation is over, and I’m finally going to see AVATAR (in full Imax splendour no less; bring it 😀 )! Then on Saturday it’s off to Thailand with me for two weeks, so all in all December’s going to have been a Scrooge of a month in blogging terms. There is one particular event that deserves a good entry dedicated to it, but that’ll have to linger in the dungeons for a bit longer…

I might be able to catch some digital surf out in Thailand, but if not; Happy Holidays dudes and dudettes. Take care, be safe, and be glad that Jack Bauer is protecting us from Christmas.

Hatstanding Work…

November 16, 2009

Further to my ‘The Hidden’ entry last week (as there’s reality in there between the gung-ho dramaticisms 😉 ), I’m making this place a tad less… personally identifiable and purging away the pictures of myself. So they don’t know I’m here…

Heh, sounds like the beginning of a contemporary Lovecraft story, but to-

Cthuudu

Gah!! Admirable enthusiasm, Mr. Cthulhu, but it’s still not your time. The stars are all unaligned and messy and the end of days is a long way off, so back to bed with you. Go on, off you go…

As I’ve said before, they’re like over-zealous puppies, those Great Old Ones. Anyway, I do actually have a semi-finished modern-day Lovecraft-style story hanging about somewhere. However, as you’ll have noticed from my not crowing from the rooftops and dancing merrily in text form, every single one of my writing deadlines has slunk ashamedly past me and are now long gone; on their way, I hope, to fresher pastures than these. The state of my WIPs is pitifully mirrored by the state of our house’s single plant, which is now nothing but three dried claws sticking out of a pot.

‘This is a hardy plant’, the description sticker boldly claimed…

I am now using it as a hat stand.