Birds are stupid

Birds are stupid

On Boxing Day, as is our wont, we got together as a family for a nice lunch in a posh pub.  During a convenient break in the eating, Bro and I slipped out for a fag.  I stood there comfortable and content, surveying the beautiful green countryside (glossing over the area cleared for future building next to the pub…  Neatly enclosed by a wire fence, considerately painted green so it wasn’t an obvious blight on the view). 

A pheasant flew out of the copse of trees opposite, flew gracefully across the road, swooped majestically over the aforementioned green wire fence and dipped into clear area that would soon become a building.  And then completely failed to swoop majestically over the fence on the other side of the area.

I paused for a moment for the sight of a graceful flight ending suddenly and unexpectedly, to sink in…  Then laughed my arse off.  This was only heightened by the way the pheasant got back up and looked around like ‘WTF??!!’, and then proceeded to spend the next five minutes wandering up and down the fence trying to work out how to get past this impregnable barrier.

Tonight I was outside my Bro’s… also having a fag (nope, you can’t smoke inside any building in the UK now.  It’s the law! Apparently).  A mad fluttering up against the side of the house caught my attention.  At the point where a slopey bit of roof came out from the wall, a black shape fluttered in a frantic attempt to take flight.  I can only assume that it saw me and desperately tried to escape in the opposite direction.  Sadly, the opposite direction was kinda taken up by the house.  All went quiet as it worked out that this wasn’t a winning strategy.  I grinned at its futile attempts, and went back to my fag.

I was a little gobsmacked when a minute or so later it resumed its frantic flapping.  Again, INTO THE FUCKIN’ WALL!!!  Did it not spot that flying into the solid and completely obvious lump of impassable building that it could not fly through a few moments before, which was (surprisinly) still there, would be no more fruitful than the last time it tried!


Angry-BirdsDuring this frantic attempt to escape the obvious threat that was me (quietly standing there having a cigarette and thinking of my next stop… bed), it fell off the slopey bit of roof.  After it picked itself up, and before it hopped and fluttered off into the darkness…  You wouldn’t believe the look of malice that it threw at me across it’s shoulder.  I felt bad for a moment.  That I had caused it such strife and hardship. 

Then I remembered that BIRDS ARE STUPID, and I went to bed.

(Dear stupid Blackbird…  The above picture is not you.  It's not real.  Birds can't really do this.

And if they could, you'd still need a bloody run up!  Dumbarse!)

I don’t get older, just wiser.

I don’t get older, just wiser.

A New Year looms before us. 2014. And I have some resolutions; or should I say they are WIPs?

The good thing about growing older wiser is finding out what matters in your life. And what doesn't. I can't change the way others act around me, or think of me, but I can decide how it affects me and my life.

I'm not very good at social stuff. In Norway we have an expression – dørstokkmila – the doorstep mile. Making up excuses for not going out, because I dread the actual going out, is something I've been really good at for years. Even if I know I'll have a great time when I finally make it out of the house. It's a WIP and I am getting better at it, it just takes more time.

A big realisation hit me when I hit 38 28-with-ten-years-experience. You can only hurt me if I allow it to happen. I can choose to be hurt by your words and actions – or not. Unfortunately, I have people around me who do not wish me well, for unknown reasons. Some do it out of malice, others because they don't know any better. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” is rubbish. Being unaware of the results of one's actions doesn't make them forgiveable.

There are no more psychopaths or sociopaths. Instead, they've changed the name of the condition to Antisocial personality disorder. I prefer psychopath. Most of them are only antisocial towards one or two people in person, and are generally perceived to be extremely charming. However, we have a new breed of antisocials: the internet psychopath. The one who'll stop at nothing to spread as much hatred, venom and bile as possible, bulldozing over other people as much as possible. They'll find a prey and will stop at nothing to try to break that person.

And then there are the passive-aggressives. What's up with that? Nope, sorry, not falling into your trap. Yes, thank you, I will take that last sandwich. If you wanted it for yourself you should have said so. I'm not going to fall for your manipulations. Ever.

Turning 28-with-some-years-experience has mellowed me in many ways, although those who know me will probably laugh. I choose my battles more wisely. There are two versions of me: the edited and the fury. Edited me is also a WIP. I can still be tricked into a discussion/fight where it would have been wiser to keep my peace and not say a word. But I will never stand down if someone is treated unfairly or unjustly – ever.

Life's too short. Too short for wasting time and energy on people who give you nothing. Too short for dwelling on should-haves and would-haves and could-have-beens. Too short for not drinking bubbly when you feel like it.

So, my wishes and WIPs for 2014: less time wasted on people and things that don't really matter. More time spent with people and things that do matter. And waterfalls of bubbly to all!

Everything is awry as usual – Game features in RL

Everything is awry as usual – Game features in RL

If my life was a game, would I play it?

Let us look at both issues from each appealing angle. Life, happy to live it; good graphics and all the other tiny jokes that stopped being funny around 1998. What would improve life on a normal basis, what is it in games that make them more appealing to us if we should adapt them to a everyday life?

The obvious ones would be the save/load function, debated to ashes as a convenient tool against lover’s tricky questions, being run over in traffic and lottery numbers if you could remember what happened before you loaded. That is nice tools to have and do you want to see it being used and misused to comedy effect, go watch Bruce the Almighty.

Other features would be character customization, a nice feature seen it bucket loads of RPG’s to great effect for the casual community. Upside would be no painful operations and dangerous side effects. Downside would be that you wouldn’t know how your friends look in a week. Middle ground, there would be so many perfectly fit women that the words “messed up lesbian sex” would be embroiled on the national flag. I am not sure that I see that many downfalls with that, libido aside… I can see many ways that could be misused since a personality is and will forever be a personality no matter how you look. I know people use the phrase “Rotten to the core” often, without really weighing its deep and cruel meaning.

Third idea would of course be quick-travel. Who doesn’t hate traveling and find it… convenient to skip the boring traveling part so they can enjoy the destination for a longer period of time. Who wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere at the blink of an eye. A teleportation machine that could make you reappear miles away in a instant. You are late for work dear! Fuck no, I got 4 seconds to work… the machine is already charged in the hallway and I already ate your breakfast woman! How does that dystopian future sound? Nice I bet…

Since we are taking the obvious points of games, ignoring arrows to various parts of the leg, why not consider that most RPG games does not have the feature of aging. A horrible thing to imagine; that the excruciatingly annoying 12 year old boy with the deafening girlish squeak and the tendency to attack on random, would never grow older and or wiser. If there is no impending risk of being THE asshole, then why not ruin it for everyone else when you can? Making a real person respawn or jump into a clone that has the same rotten attitude as the previous brat would just make this planet unbearable and I feel obliged to go with Dr. Farnsworth. Some great features are not for everyone and no one likes everyone and those who we think ought to live forever, were only lucky enough to die before they ruined their reputation.

We praise Shakespeare for his stories, we sit in awe of Mozart and Beethoven and we grovel in the mere thought of Aristotle and Socrates. How would they have turned out in this day and age? Would we have praised Shakespeare for his Broadway show about bitches and money? Listened to Mozart’s Industrial Acid hit: Gangrene, a new type of vegetables? Short answer… no!
There is a long debate about these mentioned artists and their claim to fame, but I am not here to debate that. I am just trying to make the point about eternal life being whatnot boring and volatile in the wrong hands. I will not start the discussion about wars and that lot living longer than expected, that would just be a powder keg on several levels.

Is there anything else we would enjoy if we could have gaming related features in our lives? A Guybrush related down your pants, unlimited storage facility you say? Of course you don’t. You have only heard about ‘Monkey Island’ in a reference long time ago and for that I spurn you and send you all the evil glares I can muster. Go play that game, it is funny, enthralling world for a point a click adventure and most importantly… it is fucking funny! Back to the subject; a unlimited level of carry or limited if you fancy a little challenge. The point of this is often that you cannot see or feel the items you are carrying. I have a carry capacity of 300? That car only weighs 220cc? Awesome! Down my pants with the lamp post and a year’s supply of meow mix you go!

I would love that feature, even in the never games where you can see the items worn by the disgruntled character, they still do not weigh them down or interfere with their movements during anything they might imagine doing. Carrying a shotgun to town? Fuck it! As long as you don’t point it in my face while we talk about interesting subjects like the elaborate tutorial of using a vending machine, I am okay with it!

This is getting silly. I know! I want it to be silly. I love silly. Tell me more about silly! Tell me more about the aspect of humor. Tell me more about comedy. Tell me more about ancient Egypt. I am done talking about Egypt; let us talk about something else. Goodbye.

Just a minor sidestep, but I promise it will still be in the gaming spirit. Am I surrounded by NPC’s? I get the feeling when I go out shopping and see the same people walk their dogs at the same time every day. Would the world be a better place if you knew half of them were NPCs?
Is there a comforting lie in hoping that mediocre lives and pointless tasks in our normal lives are done by people who doesn’t think about them or feel bad for doing that same shit over and over? When we see a NPC in a game we do not pity them, they are not real. But they do the same job over and over, not mentioning that silly habit the real players have for grinding valuables like freaking NPC’s themselves. No I am talking about those who never go anywhere or do anything out of the ordinary.
Since we are very different people and thank quis locus for that! I have a hard time seeing the point of doing the same thing every day over and over for no gratification than to survive the increasing cost of household living. Why not look for something new? Why not try something different? Why not eat something beside meatloaf on Wednesday? Where is the thrill and piazzas? (I know the squares daddy-o)

Suddenly I feel like a NPC in a world of active people, but my brain is telling me that I have nothing to worry about, someone is less fortunate than me so I should just be happy for what I got! Hey… I think it is trying to trick me… damn… no it isn’t… or…

We will never truly understand why people are doing what they are doing and why mock anyone for not understanding the reason they are doing whatever they chose to do. I am really feeling rotten at this moment. The people I have tut’ted for acting un-accordingly to my standards. How dare I be the moral highground for anyone but myself and that inflated a limping ego it brings being a smartass?

Getting back on track…? Why are we doing this? Who are we doing all this for?

I think I lost the game…

Game Over!

Perspective: Songs

Perspective: Songs

When I look over the 12,000 word continuation of the June/Jonas story and find that it is not really the material you expect during the holiday season, so I am waiting for my next post to continue the story. This month I want to do something a bit more cheerful by which I of course mean, I am going to nag. A lot.

At an early age I took to the piano and from the day I first put hands on the ebony and ivory keys I have never gone more than two days without playing. To this day I still practice new pieces to improve and I occasionally write music myself or arrange very old and obscure video game music, preferably music from the chip tune era. This pastime has, however, merited me the label as 'musician' among family and friends and as such the lot pops up somewhere with a link to a song and the question: "Have you heard this?," followed by a bit of subjective bias: "It's great!" As you might expect I rarely share these points of view and when answering something along the lines: "Sonic garbage," these loved ones often ask me: "Why?"

So I thought I would share with you what I weight most when hearing a song. It is the lyrics. Sure I also factor in strong melodies and great hooks and gimmicks, but the deal breaker for me is the lyrics. I demand some care has gone into the lyrics of a song, and 'tis the season, well, 'twas the season, I thought I would conjure up an example that is not 'Hotel California' or 'Stairway to Heaven'. Specifically, a passage from my favourite seasonal song: 'Old City Bar' by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. If you have not yet heard the song, cease your reading and head over to YouTube and remedy that before continuing.

The setting is rather straightforwardly presented in the song itself, but the gem of it all is the moment The Child appears in the tale:

Then the door opened wide
and a child came inside
that no one in the bar
had seen there before.
And he asked did we know
that outside in the snow
that someone was lost
standing outside our door?

Here is a very subtle commentary on pubs, bars and the people frequenting these. The Child is a stranger to everyone at the bar on Christmas Eve, and The Child being the manifestation of absolute selflessness, kindness and generosity the small comment that no one in the bar had seen The Child before says a lot about the people there, namely that these people are strangers to these sort of things. Further, The Child's question serves to underline the isolation of these people in the bar, by explicitly questioning their awareness of the world just outside, not far away, but literally through a window. What does this mean? These people are strangers to common kindness and decency and unaware and/or ignoring the world just outside. They are there to forget the world outside.

Then the bartender gazed
through the smoke and the haze
through the window and ice
to the corner street light,
where standing alone
by a broken pay phone
was a girl – the child said –
could no longer get home

This passage never fails to give me the chills. If we take it at face value it is easy to imagine the Old City Bar full of smoke and haze due to smoking, but that is not everything going on here, because the gaze of the bartender is as much fixed outwards as inwards in this passage. Suppose for a minute the first four line in the above are not taken at face value, what then? The gaze through smoke and haze may very well be a reflection on his very own morals and ethics, the bartender evaluating the situation by his own moral compass of blurry lines and shades of gray. The passing through the window would represent the passage from a world he distances himself from intentionally, and if you ever worked a bar or spent a lot of time among drunks you will distance yourself from their tales and stories eventually, and actually entering a state of mind that he actually cares. The ice then representing a departure from his own cynicism and apathy. Rather than him looking through a window, these four lines likely state that the bartender may actually care for The Girl outside in the street light, the light never failing as a symbol of hope, life and warmth.

And the snow it was falling,
the neon was calling,
the bartender turned
and said "Not that I care,

Here giving the listener a sense of outrage, a small break equivalent to a cliffhanger will have you begging for a happy ending to this tale. Continuing taking none of this at face value, but looking deeper, as the explicit meaning of the words should be clear, the snow, the downpour of cold would then signify the continually growing apathy of The Bartender regarding the world outside. The calling neon (sign) outside the bar representing the professional obligation of The Bartender, that is, his place in this world, his 'call of duty', if you will. Both of these are tempting excuses for The Bartender not to care.

but how would you know this?"
The child said: "I've noticed
if one could be home
they'd be all ready there."

Here The Child takes on the mantle of common sense, which is meant to make us question the reality of The Child. If The Child is not real, but is the voice of reason within the Bartender, his conscience, the fact that The Child is a stranger to everyone in the bar states that people when drunk are strangers to just that, reason and conscience. Further inferring on The Child's words, The Child here says that either the people at the bar are unable to go/be home, or that the people in the bar are already home. I choose the believe the latter, as the idea of Home, might mean different things to different people, something Chesterton explains in "What is wrong with the world," far better than I am able to. Whether you believe the first or the latter of these meanings does not matter, both should induce some sort of empathy towards the people present in The Bar. The very first line in the four lines above serves to calm the listener and give reason to my speculations above; The Bartender may actually care for the girl outside, but he is showing disinterest in how The Child gained its knowledge, that is it does not matter to The Bartender how The Child knows, only that there is a girl outside, in the snow, by a broken pay phone.

With this is mind the rest of the song is fairly straightforward, both literally and figuratively. What I love about the lyrics is that they are carefully made to have both a literal and a figurative meaning, one telling the events of a fairly plain story and the other narrating the reactions and thoughts of The Bartender, and that is brilliant, to me at least. At least, no one came in like a wrecking ball. Happy new year.

Living with infertility, my story

Living with infertility, my story

I won’t bore you to death with every single detail of how I became barren and how no one is to blame but it still happened and I am still in the situation I am in. When I discovered that hoping to conceive would be actually hoping for a needle in a haystack to grow into a healthy baby, without punching a whole in mummy and deflating her into an early grave, my world collapsed. Omg how melodramatic some might think but in all honesty it did. When a girl has been playing with dolls all her life and was picking up babies at an age that some would fear a kid might fall over, she nurtures a certain mothering sensation inside. Getting married and building a house with 2 kids rooms and a big garden was all a logical preparation for a new little person to step into my life.

My marriage didn’t survive the kid dilemma; I basically gave up a marriage for kids and a happy family. I found a guy who would love to start that little family with me, just when the rug was pulled from under my feet.  At first the only thing I felt for a long time was sadness. After a while it became a back seat passenger, a sadness hitching a ride on your soul, keeping you company through the happy times and there were happy times. Now years have passed and that sadness is still present but most of the days I can just tell it to shut up and live my life without a nagging feeling of incompleteness.

But there are days, for instance days that I see “I am pregnant, woohoo” on facebook or “Our family is going to grow by one”, that I can hear the sadness chatter in the back of my head. I call it the “I wish” days, I wish days are not that hard, they are just a reminder of the fact that there is something I want that I can’t have. I deal with them the same way then my “I really want a horse/pool/trip to New Zealand/winning lottery ticket”, I tell myself that I have loads to be thankful for and that you can’t have it all. Plus it is a happy message I am reading, the happiness for the people with the happy news easily drowns out the sadness sobbing.

Other types of days are ranging from the “If only days” to the “Its not fair days” and “Shut the fuck up or I will shout at you days”.

Let me enlighten you about these days, “If only days” mostly happen when I see a cute baby romper or baby bed or baby room décor and I walk by that empty room in the house and those plans, ideas just fill my head and the dream of a family living in our big house fills my soul. The longing for a family of our own is so strong it will fuel the sadness. I deal with it normally with a good cry and a hope for a way to get this family not requiring me to actually get pregnant. These are still days where the sadness is fueled by basically happy dreams, so they are not stemming from what I call the negative pool of emotions.

Now the “It’s not fair” days are caused by an acute sense of injustice, why me, what did I do to deserve this, why can they fix most issues but not mine. These are days when I hate the world and life for putting me through this. I often think these days happen when there is an extra “injustice” done to me and that puts me over the dark edge. For instance when I get blamed for something I haven’t caused but no one is listening. It is like a spiral in my head of every occasion that life has been cruel to me ending in the big pool of sadness that I am infertile and an endometriosis sufferer. I wallow in self-pity and shout out how unfair it all is. These days need a certain point of light, someone who shows me there are good things happening and I do get blessed with a nice job, nice colleagues, a fun hobby, a garden that has wildlife in it most people would only see on tv or in a petting zoo. Here is where my boyfriend shines in patience and understanding, he will let me shout and get angry at the world and then point me in the direction of light. It will take me a while and I might fall on the way out but I will get out and be my happy self eventually. He is my rock, he is my savior, he is my lighthouse keeper.

“Shut the fuck up or I will shout at you days” happen mostly on one of the above days combined with a new factor of perceived insensitive behavior by someone I know, care about or that I expect to know about how hard a time infertile people have. They don’t happen often but when they happen they simmer in my system for days, sometimes weeks. I believe it is because my soul was hurt, cut and it needs to grow a scab, then a scar and with time the scars fade. These days no one can console me, I know this hurts the people I love the most around me. One of the most common reasons of this is people complaining about a)pregnancy, b)their baby keeping them from sleeping or c)being a parent and how their life is ruled by kids. And looking back I know they are not meant as harsh and its normal to every now and then complain. But on those days when I read some woman complain about how much her pregnancy is hurting her, I rage inside. How can she even complain about it, when I would give the world to shot at it. How can she not pick herself up and just keep telling herself that in a few months she will be holding a little miracle in her hands. The worst one of these days was when some lady actually had the nerve to tell me to not minimalize her pain by telling her she would have a baby at the end of it. I was about to rip her a new one, but contained myself. Weeks later her baby was born and I snapped. I was having a really painful endometriosis day and all I could find was her cheerful posts of this beautiful perfectly  healthy baby that even looks like the parents. I was still in excruciating pain while her pain was over (or would be soon at least) and she got for me the ultimate reward, a baby. I went in a search in my brain about all the things I would tell the world and how amazingly insensitive people are and how everything is shit in my world and no one cares. I shut myself in a box of regrets, ‘this is unfair’, ‘why?’, ‘I hate everyone who doesn’t get it’, ‘no one gets it’, ‘I hate everyone’, ‘no one cares’ and spiraled around and around. Driving my car I was having conversations to myself about how was going to tell everyone what they put me through, how they hurt my feelings and how they are slowly killing me. I kept it up for quite a few days and even my boyfriend told me to ‘Get over it’. This is about the worst thing you can ever tell someone in this situation, if the person across the table from you could “get over it” they would. Some wounds take longer to heal, his wound healed mine was still in the process. It did shock me so much that I realized I can’t put this on people who obviously love me, not that I consider that many people. From there I worked my way out of the box, ‘not many but some’, ‘who needs many if you got a few good ones’,’who cares what they write and say’.

I wrote this more for myself than for others, to remind me how to free myself from the box of sadness and self-pity. I wrote this for others like me, to remind them they are not alone and there is no shame in feeling, even if you are feeling untrue things. Most of all I wrote this because it needed to be written. I don’t expect anyone to learn how to deal with me or other infertile people, but secretly I do hope you get an insight to what might go on in someone’s head, someone who looks perfectly together but actually is fighting for her sanity and happiness most days.