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Just a few minutes ago, I was reminded of one of my favourite songs as a kid. You won't believe it when you see it, trust me. It's the "No no Song" from Ringo Starr's 1974 album Goodnight Vienna, which I used to have on, get this one, an 8-track. That song is about a person describing every sort of drug and alcohol vice you can imagine, and I used to sing it endlessly. I loved it. I'm guessing I didn't quite understand it. I also had a thing for Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walkin' and that Streak song.
Sometimes it astounds me just how... uninformed some people are about the language they grew up being native speakers of. I am reminded, yet again, of a woman who once admonished me in a public place, for bringing up oral tradition in a public place. The tit thought I was talking about oral sex. She had no idea that it meant the cultural act of passing down history through storytelling from one generation to the next. Not understanding that is acceptable, but assuming that I meant something vulgar is not only irritating, castigating me for your own ignorance, is rude.
I have come to the conclusion, after hearing two of the singles off Peter Gabriel's new cd, and re-listening to some of his old work, that he's actually a very boring artist. I find some of the lyrical content either stupid or cliche, hackneyed, and without any sort of uniqueness. Thinking back, I'm trying to remember what it was we all saw in him. There are some who think he's a genius, but I think they only find him so because they haven't got a clue what he's on about. He *sounds* esoteric, but I think he's just be obtuse.
I've got this fascination, and I think I have mentioned it before, with prion diseases, particularly Kuru. It's a progressive disease of the central nervous system marked by increasing lack of coordination and advancing to paralysis and death within a year of the appearance of symptoms; thought to have been transmitted by cannibalistic consumption of diseased brain tissue (during ritual mortuary cannibalism) since the disease virtually disappeared when cannibalism was abandoned. Kuru is also apparently a fractional unit of money used in places like Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, and Syria. Money is a brain disease. I can't argue with that one.
What is it about some people that requires them to measure their happiness by how unhappy other people are, or by something else negative? Can't people just be content with, in, and of themselves? Must there always be someone you have to beat or measure over? It's frustrating to see how little peace people find within their own lives. They always seem to be looking outside of themselves for happiness, peace, contentment, satisfaction, and all the answers. There's a good deal in life you wont find outside of your own person, unless you first learn to find it within yourself.
What frustrates me about fandom of a thing, is not that people like it despite it's quality (or lack thereof), but that people can become so fanatical about a thing that they cannot, or will not, see it in any sort of objective light. Take Tolkien, for example. It's uniqueness is in that it is unique. There was no other such literature of its type produced at that time, and so it becomes the bible by which all fantasy authors measure themselves. However, I find his writing dull as ditchwater, and am castigated for that. Liking does not equal quality.
I haven't painted in so long. I see my easel standing there in the corner, with a canvas I'd started a long while ago, and never finished. Many of my paint pots have run dry, brushes hardened from improper care. There's so little space to work around here, the apartment is hardly big enough to swing a cat, had I a cat to swing. The lighting is garbage, too. I lament that I had so little time to prepare for moving when I rented this place, or I would have chosen something far easier to work in, and keep clean.
One of these days I'm going to get around to reading a book that has *nothing* to do with school. No, really, I am. I've got the entire Discworld series to read, a book about Murray Walker, a book by Stephen Hawking, another by Ray Bradbury, and a few others I can't recall offhand, and they're all sitting there looking at me with that look only the neglected get on their covers. You know, that "You've forgotten about me, haven't you?" look. There's just so little time outside of the research I have to do. Thankfully, I like the research.
I don't eat a lot of snack-type foods, mostly because I can't afford them, but it's recently hit me how when I do snack I now go for the salty snacks rather than the sweet ones. Eating too much sugar gives me this very odd feeling in my system that I am not overly keen on. However, put a bag of potato chips in front of me and I'm all over it. My body seems to be *craving* salt very badly. I should probably find a better way of getting salts than greasy potato chips, but they taste so good!
I still have not filled out my income tax forms. It's been four years. I should probably get around to it very soon, the government owes me one big whack of money, and I need it. But getting up the motivation to get to the appropriate offices during the winter, when it's cold, and the ground is covered in a foot of snow, and... okay, I admit it. I'm lazy and forgetful. I should put a post-it note up on the computer and leave it there until I take care of business. Good thing I don't owe the government anything.
I've been having this incredible urge to listen to The Who's "Tommy" lately, not the movie or stage version, but the band themselves doing the music. I like that far better than any soundtrack version. It's such a strange story. It's no wonder the other band members didn't quite 'get" Pete's ideas for "Lifehouse". I read the radio play recently, odd, but interesting. The man's story and concept ideas were more than a tad ahead of their time, and more than a little bizarre. Quadrophenia is no exception to that. I need to get the soundtrack for that one, too.
Time keeps slipping away so quickly. I can't believe I've been back at uni this long, and can't believe how long it's going to take me to finish my degree. I was doing the figuring recently, and it'll probably take me until the end of 2005 to get it all done. (I almost said 1995!) To finish any sooner than that, I'm actually going to have to develop good study habits, and some better self-discipline than I've currently got. What I have currently got is about zilch. I keep getting distracted by other things and people, and laze about far too much.
I am impressed. Ever since I had a little chat with my landlord, the guy who lives in the flat underneath mine has actually been managing NOT to play Grand Theft Auto so loud I feel like I'm living in pit row, or that other game with the heartbeat that makes me feel I'm living in a novel by Poe. Although, now that I have said this out loud, at least in some fashion, I have likely jinxed the tolerable noise level trend, and he'll have the decibel level up so high it'll feel like living in an earthquake zone.
They just played this little clip on the radio that must have been made in the 1950's. A man is discussing the prevalence of rock'n'roll music on the charts, saying that out of the top 100 at least 85 could be classified as rock'n'roll, and then mentions, in this serious, semi-shocked, warning tone, "Today's teenagers spend an average of 8 to 10 dollars a month on records." Eight to ten dollars a MONTH? I wish! You can't get squat for that little these days, unless you're very lucky, and the delete bin at the local shop actually has something decent. His quote made me laugh.
This is interesting. Apparently, when a person is running, they "collide" with the ground with a force about three to four times their body weight with each stride. That's a lot of responsibility, and weight, to be putting on your poor old toes. Proper footwear aside, it makes one wonder how so many runners survive without doing some very costly damage to themselves. There is a former olympic gold medalist runner living in the same retirement building as my grandmother. He's a really nice old guy. I've got a copy of his book around somewhere that I haven't read yet.
Two very good friends of mine got married yesterday, and I was unable to attend, seeing that they got married in Seattle, which is several hours away (and in another country). I wish I could have gone. I really wanted to. I was unable to send a gift, as well. When I'm on my feet financially I'll have to think of something special and unique to send them; something that isn't the normal sort of dull and unimaginative gift one gives at weddings. This is going to require some thought. I do, however, wish them every happiness and joy together.
My gawd, after months of going without long distance phone service, and drowning in more debts than I can shake the proverbial stick at, I am finally through with most of it. I owe no more money to the long distance provider, I am up to date on my Internet access and phone bill, and the credit cards are under control again. It's been a very long time since my finances have been this well sorted out. Now if I can only keep it up so I don't find myself in a mud-sucking money morass ever again. One can hope.
I spoke to my cousin Cecil recently, which is remarkable in that I haven't spoken to him or seen him since I was 3 years old. He would have been the older kid that I, as a pipsqueak, would have followed around like an annoying little puppy dog. I once named one of my stuffed animals after him when I was quite small. It was really neat talking to him, and he seems like a decent person, too, with a solid outlook on life and living, which is rare for anyone in that clan. I hope we can keep in touch.
My mouse is really driving me 'round the twist. There is something functioning very improperly inside it, that's making it do things like "forget" I'm holding down a button as I drag things, or makes it think I have double-clicked when I haven't. I can't count the number of things I've screwed up because of this. I need to get a new one, but damn they're expensive, and I refuse to use a ballmouse again as long as I live, unless forced to. Optical mice are amazing, so sensitive, and you don't have to clean them all the damned time.
Damnation. The friend who reminded me that Nethack exists, while I'm right in the middle of trying to finish up some end-of-year essays, needs a spanking. That game is such an immense time suck, like decorating houses in The Sims. And now that I know how to play in debug mode, I can wish at will... and one does not die when playing in debug mode. It's my only game problem. I don't play any other computer games except the odd online Scrabble fest with some friends. Gaming and rpg'ing are things that simply never interested me all that much.
Your: belonging to you. You're: You are. There is a difference. It irritates me to no end to see how often these two are abused on the Internet, and not simply by people making a typing mistake, either. Then there's the misuse of to, too, and two, of substituting u for you and r for are. Apparently, my desire to use proper English is seen as "outmoded", "old-fashioned", and even "elitist". Since when has good grammar and spelling been elitist? You can't be properly understood if you write and speak poorly. I'd be embarassed and ashamed to write that badly.
Having migraines is, to put it bluntly, a bitch. Migraines, by the way, are not just "really bad headaches", they are a vascular problem caused by dilation of the blood vessels in the head, or at least that's one theory. They can be aggravated by, and linked to, any number of conditions, including: arthritis, allergy, chemical sensitivity, sinusitis, diet triggers, too much or too little sleep, and can have such fun accompaniments and nausea and aura. Aura can be visual, auditory, and senseory disturbances, that can range from tinling, to numbness, to bright flashing spots in front of the eyes.
I ordered myself a couple of books on grammar and style. I am getting something called "Grammar for Smart People", and the bible of style Shrunk and White's "Elements of Style". I was always afraid of that second one, it sounds so formal and depressing, but it's quite a little book and quite straight forward. I'd say it's one of those "must haves" for anyone who writes in any capacity; especially those of us who've spent our entire lives doing things a certain way, only to find out it's all ben wrong. I make some very stupid mistakes at times.
It was a typical Christmas Eve. I went to my friend's house and had it Polish style, the same way I have been doing it for the past 13 or so years. The pickled herring was excellent, and so was the borscht. I *adore* borscht. This year I was actually able to give some gifts. It has been a while since that's happened, due to my being perpetually poor. It's been an immense source of shame for me. They were little gifts, but they were sincerely meant, and I know they were appreciated. That, in the end, is all that matters.
I did an unusual thing for Christmas Day, unusual for me, that is. I went to my aunt's house. I'd always avoided doing so, partly because I don't much care socialising with my family, and partly because she lives in the middle of nowhere and I don't like being in places I can't hop on a bus and get away from. But, you know, it was nice. The dinner was simple, my cousins and I had a good time, everyone seemed happy, and Amanda informed us she's been married for a year. I guess that was our collective shocker present.
I wish Boxing Day still meant what it used to mean; the day when food was taken to the poor, when the servants got the day off and were treated to a special party, when one invited one's milkman or postman in for a hot drink and a snack. Now, now it's the day everyone rushes to the mall to return gifts they didn't want, to take advantage of sales, to stock up on Christmas supplies for the next year. Everything is too fast these days, too disposable, too easy to throw away, too extreme, too fast, and too superficial.
People amaze me sometimes; unexpected gifts of generosity that humble me and make me wish I had the wherewithal to do the same for them, or others. I have owed a friend $100 US for about three years now, haven't been able to pay it, he just told me it was a gift, that I didn't have to worry about it. Then, someone who barely knows me, purchased a new mouse for my computer and a rechargable battery pack for my digital camera. I can't believe how astoundingly lucky I've been on all sides this year. It's... speechless-making, awing, and wonderful.
I can't believe how swiftly this year has passed. Usually the years crawl by, but maybe that's just a trick of the way human memory works. At the outset I thought it'd be another year spent being and doing the same things I'd always been and done; I had no idea what it'd bring - good or bad. I'm satisfied with myself this year, for the most part. I'm spending my time in better pursuits, have made personal amends I'd never been able to do before, and feel better about myself than I have in years. I've done good. *grin*
I've had to do a self-assessment paper of my own health. Boy that's been frightening, to realise just how little I exercise and how poor my diet is. I feel ill health and an early grave nipping at my heels if I don't shake a tail and get something done about it pretty damn quick. But it's winter, and I'm lazy, and it's not so much fun to slog through a foot of snow. I really need to stop leaving assignments and studying to the last minute also. Maybe that'll be my New Year's resolution? Does anyone keep those things?
I've been in writer's seclusion for the past few days, talking little, socialising little except for the holidays. I've a mountain of assignments that I stupidly left to the last minute; but they're all getting done, sent in, and done well (from what my proofreaders tell me). I didn't realise when I started, that going back to school would be this good. I think, like many who go back at my age, we are more prepared for the struggle it's going to be. And, I'm enjoying it. It feels good to get the brain muscles working again, to learn again.
I've spent the last week doing nothing but assignments, and celebrating various winter festivities. My poor little brain is going to spend New Year's Eve hiding from the rest of the world. But you know, it's a satisfying way to spend New Year's Eve; knowing that you've been working hard and well, and knowing that the past year has been a gift of changes, all good. It's the best way to leave an old year behind, leaving old things behind, leaving an old you behind, and facing a new year with no baggage. It's going to be a lovely year.
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