Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Coke Diaries, Day 4;

No, not the 80's version of sherbet, not the stuff that dissolves your nose, not the stuff that Kathryn Merteuil stashes in her crucifix and affectionately dubs 'God'. No no. I am not that glam. I mean Coca-Cola, the great liquid molasses, rotting our insides since 1886 (or thereabouts; Wikipedia ain't very clear on the matter). The foremost Santa sponsor, keeping him awake and wired right through the busiest night of the year. Great with rum, terrible with Tia Maria. The astringent agent we use to clean our grotty coppers with, and the favoured antagonist of dentists' oral ghost stories. The stuff that went one step beyond its contemporaries and did a little dance with vanilla. The stuff that beats Pepsi, hands-down, every time. And the stuff I am, sadly, pathetically, regrettably, dependent on.

I have no idea how this anomaly came about, and it is a sad state of affairs that it has moved beyond the point of being an addiction, as it no longer delivers the same...hit? anymore, and has become rather more of a quotidian habit. A part of my daily routine, if you will. Like brushing my teeth, or popping the old medication down the hatch, or chowing down on a bowl of honey Cheerios & soya milk with a soup spoon. Except this habit is detrimental, not only to my health, but, as I have discovered, to my mental wellbeing!

Yes. Apparently I feel okay not drinking Coke if I have a stock of it in the house. Sublime, in fact. I can resist it for days and days and days, knowing it is there if I need it. Key phrase; if I need it. So, clearly, the Coke functions as some kind of substitutional comfort. Bad day? Straight for the Coke. Good day? Why not celebrate with a good old glass of Coke! Anticipating a bad day? Have some Coke! (And usually too many paracetamol, but we'll let that slide for now.) However, when there is no Coke in my immediate vicinity, I tend to get very...antsy. And fidgety. And darty-eyed. And I urgently desire its presence. I will spare you the unsavoury details of how far I have been known to go for the procurement of Coke, because quite frankly, it's humiliating. I mean, I couldn't be addicted to something cool like...stamps, could I? NO.

It has gotten to the point where I've had 27 empty cans stowed in the drawer under my bed (!). You should hear the noise I made emptying them into the recycle bin out back—like a goddamn monster truck rally. 

Anyway, I have inadvertently begun the rehabilitation process. During my weekly romp around Tesco the other Sunday, I rediscovered the magic of Volvic flavoured water. If someone says it's just as bad for you as Coke, as Meejin already so kindly has, I will punch you. THAT IS NOT THE POINT. However, a single one-point-five litre bottle was not enough to last me seven days, so on the most recent Sunday, whilst in said establishment once again, I took full advantage of the three-for-two-fifty special offer and filled the trolley with flavoured H2O. (At the checkout, my father quipped in front of the nice-looking checkout assistant that you can actually now get water out of the tap at home—for free!!! Really, Dad? Cheers for the wisdom.) I also surrendered to temptation and furtively snuck in a two litre bottle of the good stuff.

And for some strange reason, I did not open it. Not when I got home. Not for the whole of that day. Or the next. Or the next. Or, indeed, today.

At first I didn't realise I was detoxing myself, but last night I realised when I felt the premonition of what can only be the dreaded withdrawal symptoms, and my suspicions were confirmed this afternoon when I found myself in a state of turmoil over whether to open the bottle or not. I wanted some. I really did. But I also wanted to wait until after exams are finished next Friday to open it, as a kind of challenge to myself, as a reward, as a celebration, and because I find asceticism extremely fun. 

I deferred my dilemma to the mother, who has been in a paralysing state of indecision all day as well, on account of the lime green she picked for the living room walls being too lime green. (Is that even possible?!) And she said, for the sake of my exams and being calm during them, I should allow myself one glass.

"But don't you know that if I open the bottle now I'll have to consume the whole damn thing within three days or it will go flat?!" *pulls face like Munch's The Scream at this insufferable circumstance*
"What? That's crap. They say that about wine too, and it's complete crap."
"But we're not talking about WINE here, Mother; we are talking about COKE! It goes flat! It loses its fizz!" *goes quiet* "The fizz is the best part :(. AND I SHOULD KNOW; I'VE DONE SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS!"

‘Scientific’ might be stretching it a bit far, but I have conducted experiments concerning temperature ratio and fizziness.

In the end I decided to have a tube of sherbet and endure it hour by hour. Mitigation is where it's at. Baby steps, Bob, baby steps. I came into my room and got distracted by the Jurassic Park trilogy making-of specials which I am watching in reverse for some reason, and then latterly by Philosophy revision, which totally spoke to ma soul, man. Cause like, Socrates was all "There are three parts of the soul; the part that seeks knowledge, the spirited part, and the part which desires. The spirited part is subordinate to the rational, and together they govern the desires." Hello, me! Smart guy, that Socrates, I’m telling you. He’s onta somethin’. And then somewhere along the line I guess I thought blogging about my woes might ameliorate the stress. So far, so good!

But you know what's ironic about all of this? Usually at this point I'd turn to Coke.

Oh well!

End of Day 4.  

Saturday, 23 April 2011

April 23, 2008;

The beauty of blogging means I can write this ahead of time and schedule it to post at a specific time so I'm not still feverishly typing through the pivotal moment instead of celebrating it. Bad timing runs in my family. Of course, at said specific moment, I shall not be celebrating, I shall be studying. Or watching Jonathan Creek. It's fifty-fifty really.

So, while I was battling against The System a couple weeks ago for access into my old computer, I found the original Word document of The Manuscript, with the start date still contained in the properties. This was rather exciting, as I thought I'd lost that date forever, and if you know me well you know I'm all about the dates, and even more than that, I'm all about The Manuscript. So this was a double manna. And the guess I mentioned before about the 28th? Wrong. The actual date I embarked on The Great Novel Writing Expedition, was; April 23, 2008 at eight-ten and thirteen seconds. And so, tomorrow, (or now, I guess, since I'm writing from the past and y'all are reading in the future), marks the three year anniversary.

Now, without allowing myself to digress into a nitty-gritty in-depth examination on the psychological processes behind blogging, I will say this and risk being a hypocrite: I am well aware nobody else out there, reading this, gives two figs about the precise date and time I started writing something that, never mind is still unpublished, but is, as yet, unfinished. But that's cool, because, even though I am posting this to the Blogosphere, it's mainly just a post to myself. I am essentially talking to myself over the internet. I just kind of want to commemorate this occasion in some indelible way that isn't in the same noxious and isolated vicinity as my diary!

This kind of time-tag makes you look backwards, at where you started out, and you follow that arc through the hours and the months and the years until you get to the place you are right now, typing this. It's pretty crazy that I embarked on this thing when I was fifteen, and how different it all was back then. How different I was. How could I have known, sitting in this same chair, at this same keyboard, staring at the same screen, that whatever I was then initiating was to be a three year journey of discovery? (I do realise I am beginning to float away with a red balloon, but go with me here.) How could I have known that it was just the beginning, and not the end, of something? Because even though I didn't write it down, and even though it wasn't committed to a hard drive, I still remember so vividly the thoughts compelling me to start. Driving me to start. This was my panacea, my salvation, my exorcism. It was how I was going to overcome what had pinned me down for longer than it should have. And I thought it was just that one hill, but it turned out to be an entire mountain range. It's taken me everywhere; back to basics and camping at the northern-most tips of Scotland, on a pilgrimage to the remotest village in a politically unstable nation recovering from civil war, literally to the other side of the world in Woy Woy and back. It's bore me up to stand at the highest pinnacle of happiness, of recklessness, and it's cast me down far lower than I ever thought it was possible to go. But it's always pulled me back again. It is kind of the one constant in my life. It anchors me. It has been the most amazing journey, ever, and now it's winding down. It's the last hundred miles. There's still a little way to go but there's so much more behind me, urging me on. I feel sad and relieved and happy, but most of allI feel content. And I know it's time. 

So, to fifteen year old Me, chin up! Happy April 23rd! You did good, kid :).

In the process of typing this up, Rosie was attacked by a large hairy spider, those things which have six legs too many. In conjunction with a sight she saw three times today and which caused her heart to palpitate and explode like a kernel of corn, she feels this is an unequivocal sign from the cosmos that she must Sort Her Life Oot. She is also kind of wondering if she should squish the figurative spider in the same way her mother did, and then proceed to flush it down a metaphysical toilet?

Rosie would also like to confirm she has safely returned from her red balloon escapading, and that her poor readers should be likewise safe in the knowledge that a post of this nature will not be inflicted upon them again until at least May 6th. If one does appear, they should feel free to point out the fact she should be striving to pass her exams instead of procrastinating on the interweb. Depressing depictions of her life if she fails are not required, but will be retrospectively appreciated.   

Sunday, 10 April 2011

In The Waiting Line;

'Cause like, it's where I'm at, yeah? Musically. Emotionally. Medically. Academically. Take your pick. 

Hello Blogosphere :D! *waves* I think that is one of my favourite words, along with discombobulate, which is totally discombobulating in itself, because every time I say it Meejin thinks I’m making it up. I’m not man, it’s in the freaking dictionary and everything.

Anyway, I should actually be catching up with the forty-odd lectures I’ve missed (i.e. chosen to sleep through, go out with friends over, or listen to Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review instead of), but as soon as I went on Moodle (another favourite word, despite what it actually represents) I wanted to pull a Sleeping Beauty and not wake up for a hundred years or so, and even then only on the contingency that a very handsome prince be the alarm clock.

So here I am.

If I fail my exams, I have no one to blame but myself, which is precisely the way I like it. In the name of being concise, missing lectures is a bad idea, full stop. See, there it is. A full stop. Some of them I omitted from life because I never learned anything at them anyway, some because attending them would mean hanging around the West End or town for upwards of three hours, and some because I chose my mental health over my academia. Which is a rule I always go by, but sometimes the thing that will help my mental health is forcing myself to go out and do something constructive. Some I missed because of migraines and because I have no will power and one I missed because of a phantom doctor’s appointment. But whatever the reason, in retrospect, it is not a good idea to miss a lecture if it can possibly be avoided. Which in most cases it can. You know, people always say retrospect is a great thing, and I am a great advocate of that hypothesis, but do you know what’d be an even greater thing? Time travel. Being able to take your own advice. Being able to split yourself into four and send three of you off to study for uni while the fourth you sits back and munches an apple and dallies the time away making Tom Sawyer proud.

Alright, enough blatherskiting. Let’s get down to business;

In the name of being concise I’m going to run through several things I could probably write essays on if I was crazy enough.

Religion and I have not been on good terms this past week. Not any particular religion I hasten to add, but religion in general. My mother is religious and my father is not, and apart from that they are complete opposites and I am their mutant off-spring, having no happy medium or equilibrium. Read into that what you will. Anyway, because of that, I’ve been brought up in a necessarily open and sometimes conflicting environment, with panoramic views on life and the world. Which is great in so many ways and I would never, ever trade it for anything, but can be rather confusing in other ways. Confusing in a good way though, I guess, because I’m kind of spiritually desolate—my parents have driven the minivan out into the middle of a desert, opened the door, flung me out and said find your own way home—and that gives me a kick up the arse to explore and discover. Right now I don’t know what I believe. I’m kind of going with the flow. Theism versus atheism is such a diverse issue it deserves an in-depth post, which I’ll get around to sometime when I feel impassioned about it again, but suffice it to say that right now this and this and this and this are the main antagonists. Never mind the fact my mother has taken to coming home whenever there’s been a disaster somewhere, and expressing her fears about The Apocalypse, since it’s 2012 next year. ON A FRIDAY NIGHT. F-R-I-DAY NIGHT. Nuff said. Maybe this is the Libra in me, or the humanitarian or whatever, but one thing I hate and cannot tolerate about religion is the arrogance. All this ‘one true god’ palaver. It makes religion an elitist group, membership only, in competition with other religions, this big arms race trying to convert more than their rivals, and all hidden behind this insufferably condescending pity for anyone who doesn’t believe or has different beliefs. I’ve always had beef about this ever since I grew a conscience—what about all the other religions out there? Do they not count for anything? What makes this one absolutely stellar and the others total farce? I mean, fucking hell, religion is supposed to bring people together, and it does do that, but under what circumstances? Who wants to congregate to patronise and pity? Who wants to rally and cast aspersions on other belief systems just because they’re not the same as ours? Why does everyone have to be so homogenised? Why are we so afraid of this ‘other’? It seems increasingly to me that religion is all about power and about being proven right, indicated in the quantity rather than the quality of the following and the teaching. I know this all will make me sound extremely anti-religion, but I’m not. I think, like anything, it’s great in the right hands, and a total fucking disaster in the wrong. In 2008 I and around ten others, plus teachers and our resident priest, joined thousands of people flocking to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, on a week-long pilgrimage. At that time I was religious out of habit, I guess, but it was one of the best experiences of my life, even if it didn’t fortify my theistic beliefs. No, it was so fantastic because it reinforced my belief in people pulling together and having faith and coping with life and everything it throws at you. Whether the beliefs are real or not in the end doesn’t really matter. On the whole I agree that compared with non-denominational schools, Catholic schools, or any religious schools, definitely have a tangible aura of community and family that you can’t duplicate without the same theocentric ethos. But one major criticism I have of those schools is that (in my experience, anyway) the students are taught solely about their own religion, whereas non-denominational schools are exposed to a whole variety. I think that’s a major problem right there; that superiority and total ignorance is indoctrinated from the age of five until the age of eighteen in some cases. And so after that, when you’re out on your own, you’re either going to get very confused because you know nothing about anything other than your own religion, or you’re going to stay habitually ignorant. I don’t like that. It’s like when people put a stick in a pot so the plant grows up around that instead of just letting it grow whatever way it wants. On the other hand, this era of exploration right now sometimes makes me feel like I’m right up against the ceiling when I’m lying in bed at night and my mind’s all floopy, because I’m not really a member of a community. I miss that about going to church. That togetherness. Obviously there are thousands, millions of people like me who are kind of wandering about, but that’s not the same kind of togetherness at all, because there is no common ground. We’re all just floating around aimlessly, hoping to stumble across some epiphany we can anchor ourselves to just to be a part of something. I don’t know. In the words of Meejin; “God made us smart enough to know there’s an answer, but not smart enough to know what it is.”

Whew, rant over.

Okay, in the course of writing this I accumulated some bad news, which puts a damper on the good news I had, so I’ll do bad news first, and good news at the end to cheer anyone up who’s gotten this far.

So, bad news is, a kid I’ve known since I was almost five killed himself the other night by jumping off the Erskine Bridge. I was never close to him, but growing up together sort of engenders this mutual understanding/acceptance/implicit friendship thing. I am inexplicably sad about this. I can remember him so vividly, and I’m now regretting the offer he gave to every girl in primary seven at the Leavers’ Dance via his John Travolta lookalike friend, that he would kiss them. I just want one tangible memory to be acutely upset over. He had these amazingly twinkly blue eyes, the kind that wink really good and never succumb to the sobriety of age, and a totally mischievous face, and in one of the few moments a teacher actually got through to him and he co-operated, our whole disparate music class joined together to sing a song he composed the lyrics to on the spot. The Granny Song. I have it written down in a big old diary somewhere. It’s probably been rendered in my memory, but I remember it being this amazing moment of unity that everyone could feel but verbal acknowledgement would ruin. And you can never recreate it, and that’s what makes it special. It’s just everything coming together at once and being this beautiful little golden capsule of time. I remember when his mother won £300,000 in the lottery and they bought a house in Spain and I remember that he had a white Alsatian with blue eyes named Sasha and that he loved her and I think the most crushingly sad thing is that he won’t ever get the chance to do whatever it was he said he wanted to be doing in twenty years’ time in our primary school Yearbook. (It should be noted that I did go in search of said Yearbook and nearly pulled a hernia trying to find it in the dark recesses of my cupboard, but ultimately failed. This is most disturbing as my room is almost anally organised.) I don’t think death has ever come in this guise before; it feels very...personal. Anyway, we’ll miss you and we love you and we won’t forget about you, and wherever you are now I hope you’re happy. I’m crossing everything for you man.

I am so lame at speeches.


Now for the good news. Meejin has fulfilled one of her three goals for this year (in order of priority, low to high; learn to drive, pass exams, and find a potential husband). And ahead of time too! An unprecedented feat! He makes her happy, and she deserves that. Hats off to Cupid! (Aimee, I’m looking at you, man.) And a virtual toast to the happy couple—Meejin and Kelvin Bridge! (Note: some names have been changed for reasons threefold: 1) I have a predilection for code names, 2) I like to mock people, 3) I have an obligation to Meejin, and to myself if I want to keep all my fingers and toes, to protect the innocent and keep lecherous minds away from certain social networking sites.) Go, be merry and gay!

In Other News;
- On the upside, I got Windows 7 back. On the downside, my hard drive and lots of photos are AWOL. Rosie: 1. The System: ...Also 1.

- RoseBerry and I are getting on famously, and I’m kind of in love with the fact she has a spellchecker.

- I am sick to the back teeth of literature. A rant is forthcoming.

- My mother is the best mother ever because she bought me (okay, I ordered it, but it was her money and her offer) Viola in the Spotlight!!! I am a child, let it go. In fact, you know what, damnit, I don’t have to defend my love of YA fiction. I LOVE YA FICTION, SO UP YOURS. Ahem. This brings the total TBR-during-summer-when-I-get-my-life-back (or, more likely, a-part-time-life) count to... lucky number thirteen! Not including Richard Bach's Illusions; The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Oh yeahhh. And, scrutinzing my Amazon Wishlist, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that number doubled.

- I wrote a poem about the experience of an epileptic fit, as vividly as I can recall through my amnesia. People always ask me what it feels like, and the only thing I can ever come up with is Like there’s glitter in my brain. Hence the title.

Simple pleasures are the best!

I...I completely failed at being concise, didn't I?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Drip, Drip, Drop, Little April Shower!

I forgot how cute Bambi was :). Everyone should totally feel this way about the rain! You know the way people who suffer from SAD feel about the sun when it finally comes back in summer? That's how I feel about the rain. Although I am learning to appreciate the sun more. Slow but steady.

But yeah, who can believe it's April already?! It's three years ago this month that I embarked on The Great Novel Writing Expedition. Twenty-one Pukka Pads, 137 post-its, 651 Word pages, a whole turkey's quill-count of pens, one thousand and one late nights, one heart, one soul, a couple of kidneys, and I'm still counting. It would be beautifully sentimental if I could have the final manuscript D.O.N.E for the actual anniversary, but as I've switched computers during that time, I no longer know the date I first began. I am pretty certain it was the 28th of April 2008, but as philosophy has taught me this past sixth months, you can believe something that isn't true, but you cannot know something that isn't true, because then there is nothing to know. You'd have thought common sense would have knocked that into my head many moons ago, but I have none, so it was mathematically impossible.

Other obstacles getting in the way of The Finish Line include exams, and to a lesser degree, the fact I still haven't seen Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink or, indeed, Heathers. (This will make sense only to me.) In light of that, as soon as exams are over—and I mean as soon as, as in, at eleven thirty-one on Friday, May 6th—I am going to blow a certain predetermined amount of money on my Amazon Wishlist, partly to celebrate and partly to educate myself, and lock myself in my room for twenty days to finish the damn thing, despite the fact my bedroom door doesn't actually have a lock. Don't ask me why twenty days; that number has just been in my head the past few weeks, and if I happen to finish before that twenty days is up, then mazel tov to me! Alright, before that commences I may celebrate with friends in a slightly less regimented manner, but I have a plan, damnit!

You know, when I came on here to announce to the Blogosphere that it is April, I did not intend going on a rant about The Great Novel Writing Expedition. I do apologise.

Anyhow, here is this calendar month's pikchaaaa, darling;

Cahill Walk, Sydney Bridge, Sydney, Australia, October 2009.

See right down there at the bottom of the stairs? Yeah, just there. There used to be three Chinese tourists. They're not there anymore. MWAHAHAHAHA. Good old Photoshop.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I'm out!