Saturday, November 30, 2002

Small Pleasures

Popping the thick plastic wrapping that holds the cans of soup when they're delivered. It's strangely satisfying, like trushing through a big pile of leaves.

Watching a customer knock over the Tic-Tac display. This was cool, because there were about fifty boxes of Tic-Tacs and they made this brilliant noise, and the customer went a lovely shade of pink. And I was able to make light of the situation so the poor bloke didn't feel too foolish, which in turn made me feel good.

Chopping big juicy red tomatoes for the deli counter, on a clean white chopping board.

Helping little kids work out how many fifteen-cent jellies they can buy with their change.

(However, if I have to listen the the fucking bloody Smurfs singing "Smurfing in a Winter Wonderland" one more sodding time, I won't be responsible for my actions.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Eight hours of cornershoppyness (with added Christmas music!) later...

Brains... must... eat... braiiins

(Inducted into the world of the living dead by Barbelith and luminocity.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

If my employment situation does not improve, I'm going to hurt someone.

Okay. I've reached the point where, if I don't get out of doing cruddy minimum-wage jobs in the next two months, I swear I will commit some form of physical assault. Yes folks, it has finally happened: the unending hopless drudgery, the lousy pay, the condescision, the titters, the fact that people who know damn well the kind of work I am forced to do for a fucking living and who profess to be my friends will still use the concept of "works for minimum wage" as an indication of someone's stupidity in front of me and yes I did get all those little sidelong glances my quondam buddy oh yes I did, have finally got the better of me.

I know I won't have to do this job forever. In fact, I'd probably only have to do this job for another four months, because I'm leaving town. That's not the point. The point is that the crunch has come, the camel's back is broken, the end of the tether has been reached. It's over. Either I get a better job, or someone gets hurt.

Pain is an ugly thing. I'd like to avert this if I could, but it's just the way things have to be. We'd all like to belive that this person deserved what's coming to them. We'd like to imagine that the person who will find themselves on the business end of the monkey-wrench is and abusive parent, or that the individual who cops a facefull of oven cleaner works in advertising. But life's just not that simple. Bad things happen to good people every day and in two month's time, if I don't find some non-insane making form of employment, it might be a completely blameless soul that ends up in a crumpled bleeding heap, dragging in gurgling lungfulls of cold night air as the sirens wail. You don't know. You just don't know.

Controlled explosion.

Ever feel like you've lost yourself? There's all these the layers of performance, the filters that you put between yourself and the world to stop yourself from getting arrested, sectioned, or glassed in the face, or just to protect other people from the corrosive absurdity sloshing around inside your cranium because you know without even having to ask that they really don't need it. First you have to learn to put them in place, but after a while it becomes second nature. Then you see some of the toxic crud that other people are spewing out in all directions, and you see them lauded for it. You realise that hey, some of the stuff you're filtering out is actually not that terrible (provided you express it very carefully). In fact, in a certain light and a certain angle, it could be mistaken for art or enlightenment or revelation. All you have to do is get yourself into a secure area where you won't disturb the locals, and




One by one. Carefully. In case you leak out too fast and become a lake of molten goo, poisonous magma that could spill over and engulf a city.

And what happens? Nothing. Nothing happens at all. No matter how hard you try to strip away those layers, that Russian doll container you've voluntarily bolted yourself into, you can't. You tear off one, and there's another underneath. Why? Because as fast as you whip off the filters with one hand, you're replacing them with the other.

You can't say this. You can't do that. Do something more like you saw that other guy do. Just put a bit of gloss on it so it looks new. You turn round, catch yourself doing it, swear you're going to stop doing that right NOW! and never do it again, but then you turn round again and oh, look, what a lovely painting of some elves and a rainbow and a birdie.

I'm in here somewhere. I know I saw me recently.

Errr. Yuck.

(From B3TA.)

Sunday, November 24, 2002


Started my new job Saturday morning, as planned. Well, I didn't really start start: there was just a couple of hours of induction-type stuff. But it was boring and uncomfortable and I'm going to get paid for it, so you might as well call it work.

One of the two hours was taken up by sitting in a freezing cold room and watching a training video. I kid you not. An hour-long training video, for a job in a cornershop. It had all sorts of helpful advice and useful tips, like "Don't put the six kilo bag of spuds in on top of the eggs", "Don't sell absinthe, cigars and lighter-fluid to twelve-year-olds", and "Don't piss on your hands before handling the raw meat".

So anyway, there's a uniform. Which is okay, because you don't want to get urine and steak juice on your own clothes. The uniform is a top with the chain's logo on it, worn over a white shirt and black trews. Now, whilst I do in fact possess black trousers, the buckles and other bits and bobs on them might not go down to well. Which meant that I had to go out this afternoon and aquire some.

"You shop like a man," my boyfreind told me later. Cheapo department store, work clothes, for the buying of! Quick march! White shirts, two, pair of horrible cheap black trousers, one! Cash register! By the right, quick march! Hup, two three four! Hup, two three four! Well, buying work clothes isn't fun and you know exactly what you have to get. Why drag it out, right?

Okay. You're ahead of me here, I can tell.

Thing is, a few days previous, there was a jeans incident. I really needed a new pair of narrow-fit black jeans, found some going cheap, bought the next size up from my usual size because, y'know, moving, busy, junk food. Damn things always shrink in the wash anyway.

A couple of days later I tried them on. They did actually do up, eventually. What you do is, you lie flat on your back on the bed, wriggle like a landed fish and swear a lot. They were a bit on the tight side but after a while I broke them in. There was a bit more room once my kidneys popped out of my ears.

Therefore it seemed prudent to buy trousers two sizes up from my usual size. Can always take them in once the old tummy goes back down, right?

So I get this kit home and try it on. The shirts are my usual size and they fit okay, although they have three-quarter length sleeves, something I didn't notice when I bought them. Then I put on the trousers.

They're a tad on the generous side.

Not only can I pull the waistband about four inches out from my waist, but the damn things flop around my feet as though I'm wearing a skirt round each knee. I waddle awkwardly into the bedroom and check out the effect in the full-length mirror. My sleeves stop just below my elbows. My trousers billow out arount me like something in full sail.

Behold. Bozo the Clerk. Look on my works, ye mighty, and use the fitting rooms.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Plan B

The electronics firm hasn't called. Which means that tomorrow I shall be starting work in the cornershop, as planned.

Yes, tomorrow morning I will commence a nice, safe, steady job, in a building well-frequented by the public. Maybe my life is finally becoming a little more normal. Nice, normal job in nice normal shop for nice normal Carnival aaand I'm fooling nobody but myself here. There will be suckitude and annoyance and weirdness.

There will be, on past experience, at least two of the following:

Byzantine workplace feuds which, whilst having absolutely nothing to do with me, will somehow make everything take six times as long as it needs to and will generally fuck up my working day.

The I Pay Your Wages You Know type of customer who expects to get a pound's change out of fifty bloody pence and holds up the queue so that all the other customers get fed up and stroppy.

Pissed guys who smell and bring their freinds. Who are invisible.

Male co-workers who move me out of the way by my hips instead of saying "'Scuse me".

Poltergeist activity.

And there's also food-handling so I'm supposed to take out my nose-ring, which at the time of writing has failed to budge. I'm going to be up till 3am with a pair of pliers and a can of WD40 at this rate.
Less work.

And so I have the interview and they seem interested and they say they'll phone this afternoon and then they don't and I couln't reach them on the phone and I'm supposed to be starting properly at the shop on Saturday and if I'm not gonna be avaliable when I said I was gonna be avaliable then I really should let them know but I don't know if I've got this other job or not and rghghghghghghhh.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

More work.

And on the heels of the shop job, an electronics firm is making encouraging noises over the phone. Yes, you read that right. Electronics. I was just bracing myself for the inevitable rejection letter addressed to Mr. Colin, but instead I'm being offered the chance of a job. A job. By an electronics firm. And they didn't call me Colin, either! Yay! I've to pop round in the morning for form-filling and so forth, but it looks like the thing is in the bag.

I need a job. I'm bored. This lady-of-leisure thing looks good on paper, but it gets old realllly fast.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Squash: a sociopolitical overview.

As well as offering one the opportunity to buy soda-bread in the shop instead of having to make it or move back in with my Mum, the munificent retail outlets of Cork have also introduced me to MiWadi. Despite tasting a lot like other sorts of squash, Mi Wadi has Mi Wadi on the label instead of Kia Ora or Robinsons. It offers the discerning squash-drinker all the delights of squash without the embarrassment of fake tennis playing associations associated with Robinsons, or the slightly possibly a bit racist and actually rather disturbing thing that Kia Ora has going on.

They don't have Mi Wadi back home, you know. But we do have more flavours of supermarket own brand squash than in Cork so Nyahh.

Found stuck to Barbelith with a fridgemagnet

Looks like I've finally got a job. The cornershop wants me to start tomorrow morning. Which is, y'know, good and all. Yay.

However, it sort of brought home to that if I'm not careful everything could still grind to a halt, move or no move. The way forward is not to reapeat past mistakes, or to dwell on them, but to learn from them. People have to play to their strengths. The TEFL course will be a good start, and there's a Reiki practitoner nearby who sometimes runs courses. Whilst I'm committed to a writing career, it would be foolish not to explore possible sidelines. Healing might prove suitable.

Sunday, November 17, 2002


A lot's been happening. Had a friend visiting the area over the weekend so we did friend things involving days out and fun and theatre and BEER.

I've also decided to write down more of my aura/visiony-type experiences, following another episode on Saturday. I won't necessarily be posting them here (although I'm damned if I know what else to do with the damn things, so this is where they'll end up). Apparently the fit-thread-thing and some other aura-inspired writings have pissed off quite a few people-- "too personal, showing off, just being self-indulgent, chiz moan drone"-- so they must be pretty damn good.

People only call stuff "self indulgent if:

a) they don't understand it and therefore they feel inadequate, or
b) it's better than their stuff and therefore they feel inadequate.

Either works for me.

For a long time I've fought shy of writing about the odd stuff that my neurological malfunctions throw up. Partly this is because they're very subjective and it's not easy to decide whether a reader is going to gain anything from them. Secondly, De Nile isn't just a river in Egypt; writing about this makes it all seem a lot more real and that means accepting that, yes, you have this condition, it's not going to go away, something that's not easy to do.

But... fuck, colours that sing, shadows turning into blue fire, the sensation of being a waveform passing through the nonspace of the Divine... that's not just a weekend in Margate. If something new can be derived from these experiences, then maybe it'll all be worth it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

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Website of the Fire Brigades Union

Monday, November 11, 2002


I hate it when I get like this. There's just enough of me left to know that the rest of me is away with the fairies. Rational, rationale.

So here's what happened this time: a sort of synesthesic overload. Red, I was looking at red satin fabric and the colour swallowed me. It was like the sensation of someone sucking on your finger, only all over and all at once. Not sure I liked it. In the end I had to turn the light off.

This is both better and worse than the very extreme perceptual shifts. There's worse things than being God for half an hour and then waking up to find you've dribbled all down your front and bitten your tongue, but it's definately up there.

I get confused sometimes. Time goes out of whack. Memories, voices, things that happened years and years ago, people, all crowd in at once. (Please form an orderly queue. And if you don't have anything nice to say at least keep your goddamn voices down. I said I was sorry.) Memories ought to be better behaved.

I didn't go out today.

Saturday, November 09, 2002

"I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing..."

(Or: Dere Dairy, Toda I wented to see sum aminals.)

I have had a bloody brilliant day today.

I'd been thinking for a while that the whole travel thing would be a bit pointless if all I do is run around trying to create an analogue of my London life, doing exactly the same things I did there (pubbing and clubbing, mostly) and not trying anything different. So today, me and the Bearded One did something very much out of the ordinary: we took a train to FOTA.

FOTA is a big ol' wildlife park not far outside Cork. All the critters are either totally free-range or in good-sized enclosures; not like in some places where the animals look sad and stressed out. This was a serious sanctuary, involved in breeding and re-introduction programmes.

We saw ring-tailed lemurs and spider monkeys and three sorts of gibbons and dozens of different waterfowl and these weird little rabbit-dog dudes that I don't know what they were but they looked like Eohippus and pelicans and mandrills and cheetahs and seals and oryx and giraffes and zebras and wallabies and colobus monkeys and flamingoes and pelicans and capybaras and a white-tailed sea-eagle and lion-tailed macaques and tapirs and all kinds of beasties! Oh, man-- it was fantastic. The monkeys alone could have kept you enthralled for hours.

The little colony of spider-monkeys was just amazing. They were playing on their climbing frame, nibbling handfulls of grass, carrying infants on their backs, and generally mucking around. Some of the monkeys got a bit mopey when it started to rain, but they had all these little shelters to curl up in. I think we made one of the gibbons feel a bit harrassed when we stood and peered in his window for ages. The boyf got into a staring contest with a rea and neither of them would back down for ages (eventually the bird won; rea and ostriches are well intimidating close up). I found out what sort of noise a tapir makes, a rather surprising dolphinesque squeal. S'pose you always expect something like that to grunt.

It was great. Definately going back there, if only to see the red panda which must have been hiding from the rain.

After we got back into Cork, we swung by the Palace Theatre and bought a couple of tickets for Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife. I've only ever been to the theatre three times in my life before. We grabbed a takeaway curry on the way home, and chilled out for a couple of hours before heading back out to the theatre.

The play was a lot of fun, if a bit heavy-handed in places. The cast were good, especially the leading lady. We both really enjoyed it and we're planning another trip again soon, though I want to go to the opera next weekend.

Hey, look-- I'm turning into a culture-vulture!

(Although last night we ended up at the new Harry Potter, so probably not that cultural.)
First, there was the Hello Kitty vibrator. Then the Hello Kitty Warhammer toys. Now there's... well, no-one's sure, exactly, but I think I saw it move.
Remember, kids-- November 30th is Buy Nothing Day!
Another boring medication related post.

I've been reading quite a lot about this new drug, Provigil. It's an anti-tiredness med, originally developed to treat narcolepsy, and apparently it's the bee's knees: very effective, with few side-effects. I'm going to see if I can put my hand on some, because if I could find something to counteract the effects of all the Carbamazipine I'm taking my life would improve dramatically.

I know some of you will be reading this crap at work with matchsticks propping open your red and watery eyes because you've dragged yourself out of bed at some ungodly hour to do the utterly sucktasitc job that Fate has thrust upon you and are biting back a stroppy comment e'en now. I know there's also the issue of the existance of drugs like this being used to cover up the effects of overwork. ("Sick? Take a Contac and keep working. Stressed? Take a Valium and keep working. Eighteen hour days every day for the last week? Take a Pro-Plus and keep working! If you don't we'll find someone who will!")

But seriously, the stuff I'm taking for my epilepsy is just evil. I'm tired pretty much all the time. I still get stuff done (work hard, play hard, blah blah blah) but I'm constantly working round the side-effects; it's alarming how much of my day I spend wishing I was back in bed. There's things you can do to limit the impact of the meds: regular meals, exercize, vitamin supplements and so on, but it's hard to work out when all you want to do is keel over on the sofa and give it zeds.

And this, my friends and droogies, is coming from somebody on a relatively lightweight 1200mg of Carbie. I'm one of the lucky ones. How the hell people on higher doses or more than one kind of medication cope is a complete mystery to me.

I've tried pretty much every over-the-counter remedy for tiredness (Pro-plus, Yeast-Vite, various herbal concoctions) but they're all a bit rubbish, really. There's pseudoephidrine, in the form of allergy treatments, but it makes me jangly and headachey. As to the various extralegal "remedies" avaliable out there, I either can't take them at all because they make the fits worse, like MDMA, or they're just too fucking unhealthy to take regularly, like amphetamines. I'm not claiming that I've ever been an angel when it comes to recreational pharmaceuticals, but I was sort of hoping to make it to fifty. 'Sides, I neither need nor want to spend my life on a permanent speed high. I mean, how much more of a paranoid narcissist do I really need to be?

Unfortunately my chances of actually getting prescribed anything like this are slim to none. I'm not even sure that Provigil has been licenced for use in Europe yet. Then there's the issue of GP charges here in Ireland-- apparently it costs twenty or thirty Euros to see a doctor. Added to that, all GPs are heinously overworked and spend their entire lives feeling like crap and being around proper sick people. It's understandable, therefore, that they tend to give you rather short shrift if you come to them and go "I'm tiiii-er-ed!"

I'll have to see about online suppliers, which is less than ideal but there you go. I'm planning to buy my meds-- the asthma ones as well as the epilepsy-- online for the next couple of years anyhooo. (Which reminds me: I must check and see if anyone sells Carbamazipine. I stocked up before leaving London, but it won't last forever.)

On the plus side, my asthma's got wayyy better since leaving the London flat and its funny funny dry-rot. I've started singing again! It's going to take a while to get back on form but in a couple of week's time... Killer soprano! Hide yourselves, bad people-- here comes the KILLER SOPRANO!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

ZoCher from Barbelith has pointed me towards this BBC site. For to learn Spanish.

Not much to tell you, so this'll be a short post. Found a couple of places that do TEFL courses, but they don't start till Jan/Feb. Finally found the library. Still no job, but things are looking up-- the folks at one of the agencies gave me a lead on a place that's hiring. I'm sure something'll come up.

Sunday, November 03, 2002


By moi.
"Drunk. Loved friends."

No updates since Thursday 'coz I was in London for the weekend. It was great, if a little bit fweakish: I was staying with my friend Marianne who has the flat upstairs from where I used to live and being back there did all sorts of strange things to my head. On Friday I went up the Princess Louise with Lurid Archive to see D. Corvidae, who is currently gracing the Smoke with her presence. It was excellent to meet her at last! Later we met up with Pacha and went to an all-woman event in Vauxhall-- quiet but cosy.

On Saturday there was a goodbye bash for Pacha. A whole crowd of well-wishers turned out to see her off-- was very cool to see so many people there. I did my usual thing of somehow getting stuck in a non-mingly corner so I didn't speak to all the people I'd have liked to. Maybe next time (whenever that may be). Felt briefly homesick and mushy and waah-wanna-be-in-Londony, but it didn't last long.

Then this morning I had to leave at bastarding five a.m. to catch my plane. Which was a nauseating end to anotherwise fantabulous few days.