Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The wonderful thing about flat sharing

The wonderful thing about flat sharing is that you don't just share an address and a front door. You share a kitchen (and washing up liquid), a bathroom (and toilet paper), a lounge (and floor cleaner) and so on and so forth. This is all just top notch, until you realize that someone is going to have to put their hand into their pockets and go fishing in the sea of lint and the corners of sugar packets for the elusive, deep-pocket creature that is money. And then, of course, you think "And who will that be?".

Well, you could take turns, right? Someone (not you, of course) could go to the shop and buy washing up liquid and toilet roll and floor cleaner and kitchen roll and antibacterial spray and serviettes and tissues and furniture polish and tin foil and cooking oil and fabric softner.

Oh, wait. Hold up a sec, we're *students*. We don't have that kind of money! Why would I spend twenty euros in one sitting for stuff everyone's gonna use, when there's no actual guarantee the next personal will do the right thing? Twenty euros is this week's food monety and cigarette money and condom money and the money I need to pay that guy who... who I saw about a dog. So, that's out the window.

That's fine, ya know, everyone can just buy their own stuff.  Three sets of washing up liquid and three sets of toilet roll and three sets of floor cleaner and three sets of kitchen roll and three sets of antibacterial spray and three sets of serviettes and three sets of tissues and three sets of furniture polish and three sets of tin foil and three sets of cooking oil and three sets of fabric softner. And then we just line them up in neat little rows, all different colours and brands to tell them apart, with little stickers saying things like "KEEP OFF!" and "DON'T TOUCH".

And then, sooner or later, the level on someone's fabric softner will go down a little too fast, suspiciously fats... And that, ladies gents and variations there upon, is how the hair-pulling and the name-calling starts. And now, if you look out the windows to your right, you can see three flat mates up Shit Creak without so much as a fucking canoe until their lease runs out.

So, uh, yeah... why not follow the teachings of our dear friend Karl? We could have conmmunal supplies and a communal kitty (why is that a thing that people say?) to buy them from. Everyone's happy, right?


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Glasses vs contact lenses (the eternal struggle of someone with a stupid fucking astigmatism) (task 4)

Uh, yeah, so, maybe that title isn't warrented. Except my astigmatism makes me SO FUCKING MAD. Sorry, sorry. I'm fine, really. An astigmatism, for you lucky sods that don't have one, is a eye defect that consists in my eye being twisted within my eye socket for some weird bloody reason, which, along with my childhood habit of reading in badly-lit places, makes me short-sighted. This is not fun.

Glasses are very useful because they make it so that I can actually see more than two feet in front of my face. These days glasses are quite stylish and there are even designer glasses, as well as glasses that react to sunlight. Contact lenses, on the other hand, make it so that people don't realise you're blind as all fuck and, well, people tend to notice the glasses before anything else on my face. This would all fine and dandy if my wonderful friend Astigmatism hadn't seen fit to make it so that contact lenses don't really work for me. So, yes, I look nicer, but I can't actually see very far off.

Glasses are inconvenient in certail situations. Swimming, for example. Wearing glasses in the sea tends to lead to rusted frames and, well, lost glasses. Sports are also difficult when something rather fragile and worth about a hundred euros is perched on the bridge of your nose and you happen to be very bad at sports. Contact lenses tend to help in these situations, although getting sea water in your eye with them in is tear inducing.

Contact lenses are inconvenient when I actually, you know, need to see. So, even if I'd like to, I can't wear them to school. I can't see the board as it is (Can someone remind me to get some new glasses soon?).

So, conclusion? Glasses, practical. Contact lenses, not so much, but pretty cool. Modern medicine? It needs to hurry the hell up an make some contact lenses that actually work. 

The pros and cons of ignorance (task 5)

Ignorance is bliss for the ignorant and the powerful; ignorant people don't start revolutions and not having a revolution tends to make powerful people happy. They get to stay powerful. There are obviously, some advantages to being ignorant. It's hard to be in the know about other people's problems, or even your own problems, when you are busy. Ignorance helps people concentrate on making money, putting food on the table or even just unwinding and having a relax after a hard day's work. One of the cons of ignorance is, sometimes, the problems and issues you are ignoring affect you too. Being too busy watching Top Gear to think about the abortion debate could end badly for you if you get your girlfriend pregnant. Being too rushed off your feet to pay rent could stop you from having time to vote for a higher minimum wage. Another problem with ignorance is that, if the problem you're avoiding isn't your own, it's going to be someone else's. Ignoring the issue means ignoring another person's plight. Not addressing racism because you're too busy working a minimum wage job and you're a member of the unaffected majority does fuck all for people of colour, except further their struggle. Most people have no choice but to put their faith in a corrupt, archaic system run by old, white, hetero, cis-males who are the root of the actual problem.

My favourite place... (task 2)

Green leather. Well, maybe fake leather. Different portraits of famous authors from classical literature or illustrations from historical texts. My headphones are firmly jammed in my ears, shuffling through radically different songs as I select and option from the screen. Settling back I let the words take me away; to the Chalk, to Middle Earth, to a desert island, to New York City... My favourtie place? The hundreds of place stored inside my little kindle; all those adventures, worlds, characters, all those places I can visit in my own head. That's my favourite place in the whole wide world.

My best friend the massive boobface (task 1)

My best friend lives hundreds of miles away, in a terribly cold and dangerous place called London. His name is Aaron Poole and he is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I am not biased by him being my best friend. At all. Aaron is a skinny, rather short, currently blond eighteen year old who wears baggy, grandad jumpers and hawaian shirts. He goes to college in England, where he is taking an art course and he works in a supermarket, as well as doing freelance work painting murals. Aaron is very good at art; when he's older he hopes to be a tattoo artist (he has two tattoos of his own design so far). Aaron likes comic books, comedians and making split-second decisions about his body (like deciding to dye his hair or get a piercing on the spot). To sum him up, he is a massive, idiot butt (and I adore him).

This is a self portrait he did when he had blue hair :3

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Having an opinion (task 3)

To be brutally honest, I have a lot of opinions bottled up inside that I tend to stiffle due to the nature of this country's governmental and educational systems. This has something to do with the way the system itself has educated me. When I was about fourteen, I started to learn who to "critize" texts (this is in quotations marks to indicate sarcasm, due to the fact that I do not consider it to be true criticism when one cannot overtly criticze something in case they get penalized for expressing their opinion). Having an opinion is the country can get you marked down, if the person marking you doesn't agree with you. This does not lead to a very stable environment where young people can grow and nurture their own opinions, ones that are more or less radical, but to a continuation of more moderate or conservative opinions of their superiors. This might be a problem. I'm not really sure though,; I'll have to ask my teacher if I can talk about this.

Who the fuck blesses a bus stop? (this is part of a novel I'm trying to write, I know it makes little sense to anyone but me)

The old man worries at his rosary beads, black collar of his long coat slanted against the cold. Tyler senses it, feels the cord between the man's knarled old fingers start to tighten around his throat like a hangman's noose. As he begins to choke for breath, the old man starts muttering; Tyler knows latin, but right now he's too busy listening to the roaring of holy fire in his ears to pick out the words.

Scrabbling in his backpack for his inhaler, Tyler gasps like a half-dead fish, stumbling out into the rain. The icy sting chases away the fire and brimstone racing through his veins, helped along by several puffs from his inhaler, one of the Professor's newer inventions. "Who the fuck blesses a bus stop?"

The words don't come, his throat still closed, but he's glad; if he drew the old man's attention now, he's get a lot more than a blessing for the darkness he can feel creeping into his usually hazel pupils. The familiar stab of something trying to burrow out of his temples starts to split his head open as the old bastard's bus comes.

The bus' passengers seem not to notice a skinny kid in a too big hoody leaning weakly against the wall behind the bus stop, face upturned to the rain. Or they think he's a junkie. Tyler avoids the bus stops all the way home. A twenty minute sprint in the rain cause some religious old fuck thinks bus stops are worth blessing.

The Professor has him brought to the office the minute he's home. Drip-drying onto the shabby worn carpet of the library-with-a-desk-in, Tyler tries to think of a way to explain. "Professor..."

"Blessed bus stops. Yes, I know, Johnson told me. All over town. He says the church don't have anything to do with it. Some radical, demon-hating branch, he thinks." Tyler nods, lets his shoulders slump, his backpack falling nearly to the floor. Father Johnson keeps an eye on most of the clergy, but there's only so much he can do without letting on how much he knows. He's good at it though; growing up with a psychic can do that to a body. "So, how do we de-bless the bus stops?"

"Now, that's a little homework for you lot.Your brothers are in the stacks already. you need to dry off first, then you can have a look, too." Tyler nods and strts to trudge off. "Oh, and Tyler? I thought I told you to stop going to see that angel?" Tyler pauses, closes his eyes, and keeps walking. "She's bad news, son."

Tyler slams the door on his way out.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Come near

“So, this,” I rap my knuckles on the gnarled bark of the willow, “is you? Lady, how many drugs did you do?” The green chick dances around behind a tree and appears from behind a different one. “Silly human, doesn’t believe in the fae folk.” I roll my eyes.

“No, I don’t believe in fairies. I know when I’m being punked, ok?” She just laughs. Right behind me. Maybe if I turn around fast enough I can see how she’s… gone. Great. I knew I never should have taken those pills from that guy who said he was a wizard. But the music festival was like two months ago; this shouldn’t be fucking happening.

“Name, human?” She’s above me somewhere, her voice coming from in between the long stringy “hair” she had claimed as her own. The light comes through the leaves just right to make her tattoos look almost three dimensional, her dyed hair hanging in strands that intermingle with the willow’s.

“Look, babe, I like being high as much as the next bitter, rebellious teenager, but you are not gonna make me believe that you are a tree.” If she really was a fairy or a fae or whatever the fuck she wants me to think, her laugh would be tinkly, musical. Not low and rough and mocking. Fairies wear tutus and wave wands and all that stuff.

“Don’t have to make the human believe anything.” She’s behind me again, but some way off, and I’m not giving her the satisfaction of making me whirl around if she’s going to be gone anyway. “Look, I’m gonna go. Goodbye, tree lady.” I set off back the way I came, and I don’t see her anyway but, then again, I can’t really see anything that tells me I’m going the right way. It’s not like I come up here often. Only those weird nature freaks come hiking up this old trail. This is probably some kind of publicity stunt or…

Why am I? Fuck. I followed the trail. “Lend your ear, human. Don’t be a fool.” Why is this crazy bitch always fucking behind me? I’m getting sick of this crap, too angry to care that I fly around like an idiot and, what’d ya know, she isn’t fucking there. Call me Nostra-fucking-damus.

“Keep looking, human. You only see me when I want,” she’s hanging off a tree branch upside down like a child, “you,” she’s off on my left sprawled on a pile of tangled roots, “to.” She’s two inches from my face and I’m flying backwards onto my ass like an asshole. I land on something hard and for a second I can’t fucking breath, it hurts so bad.

“Learn the forest, human, learn its secrets.” She smiles and for the first time a notice she’s beautiful in the way some of the hippies in faded pictures are, dirty and tangled and naked. How did I never notice she was naked? How did I never notice she was pretty?

Her eyes are green. Not emerald green and not bluey green and not green flecked with brown. Moss green. It makes the white of her eyes look green too. Or maybe they really are? She was green and brown and earthy everywhere else. She was so beautiful.

She smiles again, pretty pointed teeth, and takes a couple of steps back into the clearing, over the trail. The trail I tried to follow out of here. I must have missed a turn and followed the trail as it circled back around. Funny a trail should do that. I kick a couple of the stones absently as I cross over it.

“Want to learn?” Her hands are spread open, at her sides, passive and inviting and her big green eyes look close to pleading, her feet moving her back and back towards the trailing branches of her tree. “Yeah, yes, absolutely.”

“Come near.”  Her voice sounds like home. Not a two bed yellow detached in the suburbs, where the houses are a different colour so we don’t shoot our neighbours for trespassing when they try to go home to the wrong house. Actual home. Sky as far as you can see and the smell of moss staining your skin.

“Come near.” I’m smiling like a fucking jackass, stumbling towards the tree, not seeing anything but those eyes, that smile, those open arms inviting, calling. “Promise not to hurt you, human.” I just nod, I trust her. She’s leaning against her tree now, and I fall into her into her arms, her eyes, into her wide pointy smile.

That raw, cruel laugh echoes around inside my head as, in the last second, the panic sets in.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The idea of money

After spending over half an hour phoning three different banks, just so that you can transfer a small sum of money to your aunt, you tend to think about money. About banks. About the nature of money.

The money I put in that bank account is not the money my aunt will draw out. The money I put in my account was probably withdrawn that same day by a costumer at the same branch I used. The money my aunt will withdraw will be money that was in the safe deposit box at her branch, which doesn't even belong to the same company.

What I sent my aunt was not actually, as I said before, a sum of money. It was a debt the bank owed me. I gave my bank money and in return they gave me a book that tells me how much they are in debt to me. And my bank transferred that debt to my aunt's bank. And my aunt took the money that she was owed.

But a debt isn't a solid thing. If the debtor and the lender forget that any money was ever exchanged, does the debt really still exist? If the bank hadn't given me that piece of paper and hadn't written up that debt in their database, what's to say that I ever gave the bank money? Or that they owe it back to me? If something can cease to be if all those who know about forget it exists, does it really exist in the first place?

Banks don't hold money. They hold debt. And debt is, well, it's an idea. So we don't really own money. We own ideas of money. Millionaires don't own millions of dollars or euros or dirhams. They own ideas. Millions of ideas, but still...

Having these ideas can make you very powerful. In theory, you can cash in your ideas and use them to buy clothes or cars or food or a fucking rubber toy for your dog or anything. But the ideas can go away. So many ideas floating around between banks. Some can get lost. Some can be won.

Some can crumble away into dust. We put too high a value on some ideas. Bidding rises, people are buying ideas with debts, debts with ideas and the outside world can't control it and...






Lots of hurt and loss and depression. All because of ideas.

Wonder when the next one will be?