Sleeping Under Enon

solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris

Category Archives: Musings

Committing To Getting Things Done

So I’ve been messing around with the theme again because that signifies something productive and perhaps some kind of commitment to writing something somewhere down the line. Or I’m listening to Thrice and procrastinating.

What’s frustrating about this kind of mindset is that it’s very difficult to shift, despite proving, time and time again, to be a great fucking waste of everyone involved’s time. When has starting anew ever worked? Take New Year’s resolutions. They’re stuck to precisely no percent of the time.

‘This year I’ll actually do something! ……Oh wait, no I won’t. I’ll feel vaguely productive for, oh I don’t know, a few hours or so, and come to realise that meticulously going through my ludicrously large music collection making sure each artist is correctly tagged (should Alcest be ‘post metal’ or post black metal’? Or should that be ‘post-metal’?) is what I’ll actually end up doing instead of reading something useful. Fuckstickles, I hate my life’

Rinse & repeat.

The (empirical) evidence suggests that you’re much more likely to make changes and stick to them if you do it gradually. So, instead of quitting Skyrim (seriously, help me) like every smoker sort-of commits to maybe cutting down every New Year, I should gradually try and reduce the amount of times I wake up and think ‘Oh, I’ll just do a few quests to wake me up and get me in the mood to work’ (seriously, what kind of fucking idiot must I be to think this might make sense?!). The problem with this is, and I can’t stress this enough, that it involves having a schedule, however wishy-washy it might be. I’ve tried having schedules, I really have. Well, I made an account on Wunderlist, and if that doesn’t indicate the presence of a serious work ethic, I don’t know what does. I keep getting emails from that site, light-heartedly rubbing in my face that I’ve missed every single deadline I tried setting. But Wunderlist doesn’t realise that I am the master of reasoning myself out of my own deadlines. Sure, giving myself a few days to make a phone call to the council so I can sort out my council tax gives me way more time than is necessary, and –in fact– any reasonable person would have just phoned them instead of going on to a website and making a task out of it, but what I forgot to factor in was that the council are a bunch of totally incompetent, utter, utter cunts, and that the process of phoning & dealing with them is akin to repeatedly smashing one’s bollocks with a hammer [1]. So I’ll give myself an extra month to psyche myself up to it (it’s only fair).

I’m a serial last-minuter. If it isn’t the night before the deadline, I probably won’t think about doing it. Actually, that’s not true. I will think about doing it. I’ll think about doing it a whole lot, and I’ll get right on to it just after this cup of coffee. Whilst I’m drinking that coffee I might just check Diaspora or Google+. Oh and have a peek at imgur whilst I’m at it. OK now I’m ready to…. oh hold on, it’s 11 at night, well I can’t do any work now. That would be irresponsible (? [2]). It would be much more sensible to relax now, write this day off as a no-show and get up early tomorrow, start work as soon as I get up and have an extremely productive day. In fact, it’ll be so productive I’ll have a guilt-free porn fest in the evening as a reward for all the hard work I’ve done. To be fair, between those two things (work and porn fest), one of those will definitely happen (no prizes for guessing which). So Wunderlist, Evernote, Google Docs and the myriad of other things I don’t end up using have provably helped me get my work done. I would (/should) get really quite angry about this, but this is pretty much a daily thing, and is as effective as Cnut’s attempts at tide-taming.

The only thing that makes me feel vaguely OK about this ‘way of life’ is that I’m not alone in living it (actually, if you read this and can’t relate to it on any level, I hate you and all that you stand for). I know professional academics who, the night before, are busy finishing their paper for the conference the next day (the night before I was supposed to give a talk at my first conference -which was early in the morning, mind-  I got blind drunk, I don’t recommend doing this because you, unlike me, are not a champion). I’m confident that if I applied myself all the time and worked as hard as was physically possible, I could achieve quite a bit. As it happens, I don’t; I just have to figure out who or what to blame for this (and at some point down the line, I may or may not post a rant about how it’s moronic to medicalise every single behaviour ever).

‘Oh sure, he didn’t work as hard as he could, but he had super-serious chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s a miracle he did anything at all. We should get round to building a statue in his honour.’ -I imagine this is probably what will happen when I die, that is, once the ground has stopped splitting, the skies have stopped roaring with thunder and the entire animal kingdom has stopped mourning.

Now, I’m off to make a coffee and get some work done.

[1] If I was copy-editing this article, I would rage about the length of that sentence. But I’m not. So I won’t.

[2] OK, I should probably point out that for any normal person with a normal sleeping pattern, this would be fairly decent advice. I, however, do not have a normal sleeping pattern; I will probably be up for another 4 hours or more, which is more than enough time to get some work done.

The Great Internet Clearout: Most Things Must Go!

I’ve pretty much given up on blogging, mostly, I think, for the same reasons that I’ve never been able to keep a diary that lasted for longer than a few days, in which the entries would become shorter and shorter whilst increasing in tedium. My main worry is that I’m simply not interesting enough, or that my life isn’t particularly worth showcasing to the wider world. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary; granted most don’t do a PhD, but then most people would rather not be bored to tears with the sorts of things I find interesting (or they have a set opinion in their mind about how what I’m studying works based on what ‘They’ said -I’ve never been able to work out, or get anyone to explain to me, just who ‘They’ are; the Illuminati?). This desire to avoid talking about something beyond the usual quickly becomes apparent at the start of meeting someone.

‘…I’m currently working on concepts & thought, and what they consist of; are thoughts computational in the same way a Turing machine is, for example’

‘Oh cool…… So do you like football?’

Twitter and Facebook are two things I’ve also abandoned for largely related reasons. That and – just give me a sec whilst I adjust my tin hat- privacy concerns (seriously, I don’t know how everyone can be so comfortable with that stuff -‘What do you mean uploading all these pictures of me doing semi-illegal things to a private server where you’ve agreed that they can do what they they will with it, might, at some point, come back to haunt me; the recent obsession with linking Facebook profiles to amateur porn springs to mind). What becomes depressingly clear about social networking with friends, that is, having the ability to find out every single thing that a friend has, or hasn’t, interacted with at most points in any given day, makes you realise just how boring & uninspiring you -and people you know- are. What was nice about friendship (‘in the good old days!’) was that this strange thing called a ‘private life’ used to exist alongside your ‘public life’. Whilst your friends would get to know intimate parts of your life, they were usually spared the woefully dull aspects, like what you ate for breakfast or that really clever observation about people in queues you had that turned out to already be mass-printed on a t-shirt on some hipster clothes site. You knew about the important aspects of a persons life; you knew the hidden things that made them them. Now that everyone is OK (nay, obsessed) with habitually documenting every single experience of their lives in ‘the cloud’, that is no longer the case. When you used to meet up with friends, you related to them the more notable things they’d missed since you’d parted in order to fill them in. Now if you haven’t seen someone in a while (and that usually now means less than 24 hours) you just look at their profile and become overwhelmed by 3,000+ ‘updates’ made in the past hour; who has the time to wade through all that, especially once you multiply that by however many hundreds of people you might have as ‘friends’.

The great thing about actual clouds is that once they reach a certain size, they break up and the water that once comprised it falls as rain; in other words, it purges. The problem with ‘The cloud’ is that it doesn’t. It just keeps swelling, and if it reaches capacity, instead of ‘purging’ some -or all- of itself, it just adds more space to fill up (i.e. the companies that own the servers simply buy more). The internet, construed as some kind of entity (which, for the record, it isn’t), is an obsessive hoarder; a seriously demented creature that can’t comprehend getting rid of anything. All status updates, tweets, mind-numbingly stupid blog posts (……) are all seen as representative of human development (or is a chance to milk some money from someone at some point), so it’s all kept. Gmail proudly boasts that you need never delete another email again because, well, it has more space than anyone would ever need so why wouldn’t you? Am I alone in thinking this sort of mind-frame is lazy at best, demented at worst? Most emails that reach most inboxes are spam, or contain as much meaningful information as the average spam email (I haven’t, technically, bothered to look into this, but I can’t imagine I’m far wrong); I really wouldn’t be surprised if 75%+ of Google’s Gmail servers were emails that no-one is ever going to read or find useful at any future point in their lives (I imagine for businesses they need to keep hold of a lot of details simply for record keeping and so on, however I’m concerned with Joe Public).

Hoarding is a dysfunctional behaviour; if your brain stored every single sensory experience, you’d quickly become overwhelmed and go insane. In reality, our brain filters out a hell of a lot of information, discarding a lot of what isn’t helpful; this is a good thing (FYI, my take on concepts is that, by their very nature, they aid in this process).

As the internet increasingly feels like you have to wade through a hell of a lot of shit in order to get to something remotely worth anyone’s time, I say that we need a good spring clean. Youtube, for one, could probably use  99.9% of its videos being taken off the internet, if for no other reason than just to save everyone the hassle of having to fight through it all just to find a video that is at least moderately entertaining. How many hundreds of videos are there of people singing along, or lip-syncing, to some popular song? More importantly, who the hell actually watches these videos? Who in their right mind might think someone (who isn’t bat-shit crazy) would want to watch them lip-sync to a Britney Spears tune (I confess that I have absolutely no clue what songs or artists are popular these days, and this has been the case since at least 2001)? What’s the best that could possible come out of that for either party? Is there an organisation desperately in need of people to lip-sync to various songs or speeches (to be fairy, if the not-too-distant memory of the 2008 Olympic Games were anything to go by, China might) that hires scouts to scour Youtube for?  Does that account for the ludicrous amount of views those videos get?

A lot of Twitter and Facebook (etc.) needs culling too. At the time of writing, the following was a trending tweet:

#WhenIWakeUp I either stay in my bed or check my phone or Twitter. RT if you do the same :)”

(It has been retweeted over 100 times -I assume that figure has risen too)

That tweet has been saved in the Library of Congress (in case you weren’t aware, all tweets are now being permanently stored there). Alongside classics of literature. Amongst some of the very finest uses of the English language by some of the greatest minds that have lived on our planet we are now storing such gems of auto-biographical snippets.

Maybe every single website, video or picture should have a thumbs up/thumbs down (or tick/cross, etc.) next to it, and if something receives too many negative votes, it gets taken off the web permanently. We’d have to set up a worldwide committee to enforce it, but think of the benefits. Sure there’s room for abuse of the system, but I’m starting to think it would be massively outweighed by the possibility of never having to acknowledge the existence of a Rebecca Black video.

Any takers?

Are You A Real Vampire?

 

Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 film Intervie...

This poser has nothing on trve kvlt vampires. For real. Image via Wikipedia

 

Note: This post should have been up ages ago (hence the huge delay). It was going to be put up on Vampires.com but as it’s been ages I’m just putting it up here now and then I’ll link to it on Vampires.com if it ever gets posted there. You’ll also note this post is significantly longer than usual.

Given that I’m quite clearly a multi-talented kind-of-guy, not only can I review films but I can also review people. And as this is a site all about vampires (ed: which will ring true if you’re reading this on Vampires.com, less so if you’re reading it on my blog), what better type of person to review than vampires? I won’t, however, be discussing Dracula or Lestat but instead will be focusing on the non-fictional vampire (though the definition of vampire in this case is being stretched rather thin). While Twilight (I’ll be reviewing the others some time in the future for those who are interested) ruined my fondness for vampire films, I’ll now, for this one-off article, be turning to people who have spoiled my interest in vampire culture; ‘real’ vampires.

I could sum up my view of this issue as follows: Just like Edward Cullen doesn’t come across as mysteriously sexy, people claiming to be ‘real’ vampires do not come across as anything other than the goth equivalent of the cock-end who wears underwear outside their trousers and claims to be a super hero.

One might be tempted to think along the lines of ‘live and let live’. After all, there are bound to be people wandering around thinking all kinds of stupid things and, at the end of the day, believing you’re a vampire isn’t the most harmful thing to think. That’s all well and good if you aren’t, like me, allergic to, what scientists have termed, ‘truly stupid crap’ (it’s crippling, I assure you). Not only that but what is particularly frustrating about websites like this one are that they (without the slightest hint of irony) rally against ‘posers’. That is, they’re perpetuating a sort of ‘in-crowd’ mentality amongst themselves, feeling they can sling abuse at people who are sullying their good name. It’s like watching hardcore Linkin Park fans rant about manufactured boy bands. Just like those asshats that feel it’s their duty to scream at you for falling short of ‘god-like’ on an online game, pontificating tr00-kvlt vampires have made themselves ‘fair game’. Which I guess would make me like (Vampire Hunter) D, if you replaced the sword with a keyboard and the symbiotically inhabited hand for a….well, a hand.

Maybe you yourself are one of the lowly blood bags who are blissfully unaware that there are those who think they’re one of the undead, in which case let me help to fill you in. Firstly, ‘real’ vampires don’t claim to be undead, presumably because that would be a genuine supernatural characteristic and is much harder to seriously claim than, say, being clever (see criterion #4). In fact, there are no interesting claims being made at all. If you thought that Edward Cullen verged on being a truly rubbish creature of the night, you’ll be even more disappointed to find that ‘real’ vampires, by comparison, are as dexterous as a paraplegic and as mentally alert as a coma patient.

How are we supposed to spot these fiends? Thankfully, ‘real’ vampires have spelt out the criteria you need to meet if you are to join the Super Best Friends a ‘real’ vampire. These include the following:

  • having bad lighting and shit insulation in your bedroom (criterion #20)
  • being a self-important commuter (criterion #23 & #24). For anyone in England, this means ‘being from London’.
  • having irises (#28)
  • hanging out with people as socially inept as yourself (#30)
  • pissing people off because you’re busy whining about how your steak isn’t rare enough (#38)
  • making sure you get your 5-a-day (#8 & #11)
  • still getting asked for your ID when you’re in your early 20’s and trying to buy alcohol (#6)
  • coming from a broken home (#5)
  • and possibly my favourite, being disliked by your toaster (#33)

Clearly anyone meeting the above criteria are not of the human race. Although why I can’t get this image out of my head when reading pages like that is a mysterious mystery.

But fear not, mere mortals! Just like there are people claiming to be the new-age nosferatu, the world is also populated by ‘real’ slayers (Seriously). Although unless a lot of this slaying is covered up by The Man, it seems that the most blood that has been shed during this great supernatural war has been from a desk that was unfortunate enough to come facetoface with ‘Hacky’. So it’s probably best not to seek shelter from a slayer in times of need. Or at all, ever. For anything.

Brilliantly, the disclaimer on the site points out that “Any individuals who are or who know someone who has taken the information from this site to cause harm to themselves or others, [should] take action by properly alerting the authorities”. So you’re more than welcome to tell everyone you’re Van Helsing, so long as the most that you slay is your dignity. In fact it’s probably just better to just buy the first couple of seasons of Buffy and quench your need to kill the cold ones through cathartic means. Or, stop pretending you have a calling to kill vampires. One of the two.

Maybe all this could be used for a new Blade film? One which could proudly boast ‘Based on a true story’. OK, so maybe you’d have to replace Wesley Snipes with Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon and cast Sheldon’s friends (bar the hot one from 8 Simple Rules) as the vampires. Admittedly you’d also have to make the evil vampire plot something along the lines of a dastardly attempt to make the general population aware of their superiority via a shitty Geocities website. Sure the fight scenes would be non-existent, but at least there’d finally be a film about REAL vampires and not ‘poser’ vampires like Lestat and his ilk. In fact, I’ve already scripted a potential dénouement:

Blade: #knocks on the front door of a typical suburban house, a woman answers# ‘Hello Mrs Sanders, I’m here to speak to Dave?’

Mrs Sanders: ‘Oh hi Blade! My, haven’t you grown since I last saw you! Come right in, don’t mind the dog. He’s just in his room, might want to leave your coat on as it’s a little chilly up there. Will you be staying for dinner?’

-Background music -something by Celldweller-

Blade: ‘No, this won’t take long’

#goes upstairs and goes into Dave’s room#

Dave: ‘Gah! So you made it past my hell-hound Cerberus and fought your way past my Guardian She-Bitch!’

Blade: #draws Hacky# ‘I’ve seen what you’ve tried to do, calling for a vampire revolution. Take down the website or this will end badly for you’

Dave: ‘Dude, what’s with the knife? Wait, isn’t that a letter-opener? Anyway, I totally just got the new Halo game, wanna co-op?’

Blade: ‘Oh cool! Yeah, let me just go ask your mum to bring us up some cola’

It’s a work-in-progress and I currently have no studio backing. But, you know, give it a few months.

In a way it’s rather bleak that some people have to go to such inane lengths in order to feel good about themselves. In another way, it’s an utterly misguided form of elitism that deserves the ridicule it gets. I was going to conclude this topic on a bit of a neutral note to try and balance it, until I scrolled through this page. The bit that got to me was at point #3, where it suggests the best way of getting human blood is to ‘find an emo’. In the site’s own words:

People talk bad about emos but truth is they don’t care about cutting themselves, and they like the attention that a real vampire wanting that blood will give to them

I guess this is a somewhat more serious tone than I would otherwise take, but as I support the ‘To Write Love On Her Arms‘ charity on this very blog (please do take a few minutes to check out the Social Vibe app on the right hand side of the page) I feel that I should raise this point. Self-harm, although a popular topic to mock (I’m by no means saying it can never be funny; there are some hilarious jokes about it on the net and I firmly believe that anything can be made fun of), is a serious issue and to seriously suggest that people who do it need the attention of these fuckwitted misfits in order to feel good about themselves is a level of egotistical wankery that I previously thought was only populated by people who own Apple products. Brushing off all instances of self-harm as nothing more than a pathetic means of getting attention is akin to claiming people with lung cancer just have a bit of a chesty cough. 20-25% of people who die by suicide have previously been admitted to hospital for self-harm; suicide being the fourth leading cause of death & sixth leading cause of ill health & disability of those in the age range of 15–44 (World Health Organisation, 2000). And there you were thinking I couldn’t be informative as well as an asshole.

Right, I’m off to go play the latest Castlevania so I can replay the vampire levels and pummel the scrawny bastards with my crucifix-shaped Swiss Army knife until my eyes bleed.

%d bloggers like this: