Archive for September, 2003

Drugs make us fool ourselves

Much of today has been spent pathetically trying to think of inventive perversions of the instruction “DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours” that allow me to smoke. The most successful one so far has been “well, they always exaggerate these things, just to make sure. I expect they doubled it. It’s been 24 hours now, I can have a fag”.

While I mostly despise Allen Carr and his “Easy Way To Stop Smoking” (if you’ve never actually thought about what smoking does to you and nobody ever told you it was bad, you might find it useful, or if you are extremely susceptible to miniscule amounts of charisma) he does have one good point about the psychological lengths that people will go to to convince themselves that they want to smoke, or that they must. It’s fascinating to see the contortions that intelligent people will go through to satisfy a chemical addiction. They will actually believe that they enjoy the process, that inhaling smoke is pleasant. Look, I know. I’ve told myself this before. It’s fun for a bit but twenty times a day? If it was that much fun, why not try ginseng or clove cigarettes? Couldn’t be because there’s no nicotine in them, or anything?

There’s a similar process with alcohol, coffee and other legal drug-containing substances, except those are based on taste, and there’s indication that people do actually grow to like the taste. Coffee is horrible if you’ve not tried it before. You drink it for the caffeine, and after a while you become accustomed to the taste, and with enough exposure will appreciate its nuances – with the result that people will drink decaff coffee.

Similarly, wine, beer, spirits – they’re all foul. Admit it. You started drinking them because they got you drunk, and you couldn’t stand them at first. Everybody is like that. Some drinks even I can’t handle, even now – whisk(e)y, for a start, though bourbon I manage since (typically for an American product) it is sweeter than the alternatives. Most real ales make me want to vomit. I have been known to drink alcohol-free beer, though, and I could almost see the point of alcohol-free wine if only the alcohol didn’t make such a difference to the body and taste.

Alcohol encourages a greater level of “connoisseurship” than tobacco, it seems. I suspect this is because partaking of the drug gives you a tendency towards long-winded exposition and rambling pomposity, whereas smoking doesn’t really have much of a psychoactive effect. Compare wine bores to cigar bores – both pastimes of about equivalent socio-economic status, containing equal levels of snobbery, but I would far rather talk to the latter than the former since the latter won’t go on about it forever (unless, of course, the latter is drunk).

For the ultimate in boreship, though, you have to experience the dope bore. Any occasion that significant quantities of dope are being smoked seems to always bring out one or more people who will pontificate at extraordinary length about the qualities of Lebanese Yellow vs Moroccan Sheep and where the best places are to get them and hash vs weed and that time when they went to Thailand and scored some magnificent zzzzzzzzzz. Because dope is a drug that makes you boring and, significantly, makes you forget what you’ve already said so these conversations can go on all fucking night.

I’ve never been a big smoker, mostly because I don’t really enjoy it very much. I like to think I’ve given it a fair try, but it just isn’t my drug. So I’ve never built up a reason to appreciate it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all just stuff that you burn and inhale, or cook with and eat. Thus I am now in the same position with regard to dope as a non-drinker is, listening to my comparisons of South African and Australian Merlots and which years are better and thinking “what the hell is he on about? It’s all just booze”. Or a non-smoker listening to me talk about how nasty Lambert & Butler are. How can one cigarette be nastier than another? They’re all foul.

For completeness, even though it’s not really the same thing at all: the acid bore. Actually, there are two types of acid bore. The first type is the psychonaut, and these people can actually be quite interesting if you’re in the right mood. The sort of person who writes lengthy trip reports, comparing different dosages of different drugs in different combinations. Not something I really have any desire to do, but I think it’s at least extending the boundaries of science, and more importantly they do not buttonhole you at parties and bore you with every minute detail, they keep it to themselves.

The second type is the “last night I took acid and I understood the secrets of the universe and I can’t explain them now” person. Well, that might be because you were on a fucking psychoactive that made you feel like you understood the secrets of the universe. In any case, what is the point in telling me? If you’ve come from the other side of reality but can’t actually tell me what the secrets of the universe are, why should I care? Piss off and bore someone more easily impressed. If your mind’s been expanded then it shouldn’t just contract again afterwards if there’s going to be any point to the process.

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Light behind clouds

On Sunday evening, walking up the steps to my apartment, I saw that the sun was behind the clouds like God.

I had my camera on me and took a few pictures. They’re all very much the same, but you might prefer one over another. I was playing with the auto contrast on my camera, setting it by focussing one area then moving it to point somewhere else. Sometimes that’s the only way to get a good picture; the camera can be a little too point and shoot in situations where there’s a lot of contrast between different areas in the picture, and is known to make poor choices.

I suppose that is what Photoshop is really supposed to be for, rather than putting kitten heads on porpoises and the like. » Continue reading “Light behind clouds”

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And, just in case you were wondering

This is what a liver clot looks like.

liver clot

I still hate you and everything else except penguins and squirrels.

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And yeah, I got back and apparently it was an abnormally-growing “liver clot” i.e. big lump of gunk in the socket. So I got more anaesthetic, it got removed and some pads got sewn in. And now I’m back again, and I am hungry and my jaw hurts and I hate you all and everything around me. I am really not having fun and it’s only going to get worse once the anaesthetic has completely worn off. I wish I’d never gone to the dentist in the first place, I should have just glued the tooth together myself and left it, I wish I hadn’t been such a miserable moping chickenshit all this time because I might have at least learnt to drive and this would have been easier, I wish I’d never moved to this fucking place or left London. It was always a stupid fucking idea and I should have known that from the start. I’ve just wasted a year of my fucking life and gained only an iBook, a knowledge of American cartoons, further hatred for the suburbs and a number of new and fascinating behavioural abnormalities.

And I want a fucking cigarette.

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So I went to the dentist. And I had to wait about two hours to be seen. And when I did get seen, they took an X-ray, and the guy looked at it and said “there’s a fistula in the root, I recommend having the whole tooth removed, otherwise it’s going to be a long process that might not work to try to repair it”.

“Okay then,” I said, because to be frank people have been buggering around with this tooth for years and it still gives me problems. So in with the Novocaine and yank out the tooth. Bite on the gauze. Go home. Apparently this is going to really hurt after the Novocaine wears off so I have some narcotics for that.

So I get home and remove the gauze and (a) the thing is still bleeding everywhere and (b) there’s this weird lump of flesh? gauze? something in the socket. Do I pull it out? Do I not? What is it? I can’t feel anything there because of the Novocaine so I don’t know if it’s part of me or not. What do I do?

I call the dentist and they say “come back in and we’ll take a look”. Oh, terrific. I’ve wasted enough time going back and forward already. I do not need this crap. But I suppose I don’t have any alternative if I want to find out. I have to get the fucking bus again, and back – I walked there this morning but that’s likely to make it bleed more, so bus it is. I’m objecting to paying $2 for each 2-3 mile bus journey since day passes seem to be unavailable. So it’s down to the bus stop, yet again.

And one thing that may become increasingly obvious – I’m not allowed to smoke for two or three days.

Don’t open beer bottles with your teeth.

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Textamerica moblogging

Blog, with pictures, for free, from phone.

I can already blog from my phone, but this looks interesting; it’s updated by email so you can use it from any phone, not just a geek-enabled Java machine like mine.

No, just because it’s called Textamerica, doesn’t mean it’s for Yanks only.

I’m off to the dentist in five minutes or so. Some clothes might be good.

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Beer bottle teeth part two

You remember how I said the top of the filling had come off my tooth? And I was told I couldn’t get an appointment for weeks if it wasn’t an immediate emergency? And I thought I’d look around to see if anyone else could do it quicker?

Well, guess what, I didn’t; I thought, given that this has happened before, that it would be okay to leave it for a bit, just keep the area clean to avoid infection. And guess what, just now, one entire side of the tooth started wobbling. Oh, that’s great. I expect the top of the filling was not just there to prevent things getting to the rest of the filling, but was also keeping the tooth together. Terrific.

Of course, it appears that it’s utterly impossible to see dentists on Saturdays or Sundays, according to my phone calls. I’m not in immediate pain so it’s not an emergency. However I now don’t want to eat anything in case it causes half the tooth to entirely come out. I seem to have managed to jam the wobbly bit back in there but I don’t trust it to behave itself now… hopefully I’m not going to swallow it in the night, or inhale it. I’m guessing they’ll probably want to take the whole tooth out and replace it with something expensive. Got an appointment for Monday 9am at the second-nearest dentist.

Sorry, this is not as entertaining as the last tooth entry but I’m quite worried and it’s completely killed any positive mood I had. Watching the latest played-entirely-straight piece of CNN propaganda (focus on kindly US troops teaching Iraqi orphans to play American football out of the goodness of their hearts, which apparently also requires leading them in chants of “America! America! America!” and “Democracy! Democracy! Democracy!” – no, I am not joking, I think it was supposed to be heartwarming) didn’t help. You can watch this if you have a CNN Newspass or RealOne Superpass, but I don’t because it’s a waste of money and I don’t want to see it again anyway.

Mind you, there was an appalling segment this morning about the two Muslims arrested by the Army at Guantanamo Bay – the ones who were supposed to be on the US side, that is – which immediately assumed that they were both guilty and asked at length “should we ban all Muslims from the Army?” despite the fact that one of them hasn’t even been charged yet. I didn’t like that either. But I was trying to forget about it. CNN on TV is very different from the CNN website.

Sod. Don’t open beer bottles with your teeth, kids.

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I have you now

Got back from the shop and am in possession of SoulCaliber II. The characters are leaping around in all their pert, murderous glory. It even looks good on my appalling TV.

This isn’t a review, this is boasting. I haven’t even played as Link yet, though I did play all the way through as Cassandra. This young lady is geographically confused. She was apparently born in Athens, which seems now to be in “The Ottoman Empire (Turkey)”. I know I’ve lost track of European affairs a bit recently, but I didn’t think I’d miss that. In any case, she looks and sounds like a Valley girl.

Here’s a video clip proving it in case you were inclined to doubt my word. You people don’t believe a word I say, I know. The hummingbirds told me.

What I will say for the moment is that this is a seriously good-looking game. The cut-scenes are movie quality, apart maybe from the faces (there’s only so much animation can do – they remain Final Fantasy Movie quality). Everything moves slickly and at amazing speeds, there are no significant load times… if you like beat-em-ups you must own it now.

I’m taking a break for the moment because I’ve started trying to move myself around using the analogue joystick, and thinking that I’ll have to sidestep round the corner to get into my bedroom.

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Garfield wart remover

Today’s comedy consumer item, found while looking for dental floss. I didn’t find the dental floss in that section. I assume there is a reason why they keep wart cream near toothpaste. Maybe you can get tooth warts.

“Makes wart removal fun!” I highly doubt that, Garfield. But, you know, kids just won’t accept medical treatment unless it has a merchandising character on it, even if it’s actually from their parents’ generation. Why not have Thundercats? Deputy Dawg? The Beatles? George Formby?

Now it’s a job that just suits me,
A window cleaner you would be,
And my feet are all wart-free,
When I’m cleanin’ windows!

But you know what kids today are like. When I was a lad, we’d eat rusty nails if the doctor told us we needed iron (not new nails of course, much too expensive, rusty ones were quite good enough). And they didn’t have frigging He-Man on them, or even non-frigging He-Man. Nowadays?

Kids today

Today’s conclusions

  • kids are little bastards and deserve warts
  • Garfield is crap and anyone who still reads it is also crap
  • Dilbert is of the same vintage but is still funny sometimes so I forgive it
  • I thought Transformers beat Go-Bots once and for all in the 80s, but I’ve seen adverts for Go-Bots recently, so I conclude that Go-Bots are travelling from the past into their future and our present on a mission to destroy Cybertron and have rough sex with Optimus Prime. They must be stopped.

Questions yet to be answered

  • if we have to have bloody Go-Bots come back, why can’t we have She-Ra, Princess of Power as well? Or was she really more of an Eternian My Little Pony? Do you realise there were 193 TV episodes of She-Ra? I didn’t.
  • exactly how much of a stereotypical 80s kid am I, and how much should I grow up? Don’t worry, I can talk about modern cartoons too.
  • Isn’t Dexter’s mom hot? Particularly with her gloves.
  • no, seriously, she is. But Timmy’s mom is not hot. Timmy, from Fairly Oddparents. However, Vicky the babysitter is pretty hot.
  • I can’t bring myself to think Kim Possible is hot. Nobody on the Disney Channel is hot. Particularly not Lizzie McGuire. How strange and worrying is anyone who fancies Lizzie McGuire? I’d prefer it if they were Overfiend fans (best quote from that page: “Once you Get Past the Raping, Everything is Just Fine”). Having sex with Lizzie McGuire would be like jizzing on a Care Bear.
  • am I now going to get Google hits for “sex lizzie mcguire“? By the Sorceress, I hope not.
  • Teela was not terribly hot in the original He-Man cartoon but is significantly hotter in the new one
  • I have no opinion on Bugs Bunny

Incidentally, somebody’s just called up CNN saying they signed onto AOL, cancelled and mysteriously they are still billing her. (No, I am not watching E! Entertainment Television. This would be much worse if I was.) You, lady, are a fool.

But no. Oh my God. Not as much of a fool as this guy. Someone has just called up now saying he is thinking of getting into a “pyramid” involving selling things to other people.

CNN Money Advisor: “Are you talking about a pyramid scheme?”
Moron: “I don’t know if it’s a scheme, if it was a scheme I probably wouldn’t get involved.”

I can’t go on.

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Yesterday I saw a praying mantis in the car park, and took a picture of it (slightly photoshopped – as usual, the phone camera wasn’t terribly good). I expect many of you see them all the time but I’ve only ever seen them on nature documentaries.

They can’t fly any better than crickets can, by the way. They appear to have two pairs of wings but it doesn’t seem to help them find their way out of an open-fronted car park.

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