Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012 - 47

The 'Eye' of the Storm

I'm really glad to say that I'm beginning to feel human again. I mean really human, not pretend. I probably should have gone back to work today, but, well, you see, there's no easy way to put this... I'm having the expected side effects from the uber-strong antibiotics.

You see, my job requires me to wrangle behavioural problems and that requires me being with them for best part of the day (apart from morning break and my lunch) and this isn't because it's a good idea, this is because it's virtually impossible to get someone to cover for you, even if you only need a few minutes; you know, to go and have a wee or something.

Going back today would have meant that facing the problem of needing the loo (and I've already discussed my OCD thing about toilets) and not having anyone to cover for me would have been a little uncomfortable, potentially messy and unfair on just about everybody, especially me. Admittedly, tomorrow, when I return, the problem might still be there, but I will have given myself a better chance of 'holding on'.

Just to really put you off your dinner; the other gladly accepted side effect from the Erythromycin is that as it hammers the infection in my lung, it's also clearing everything out - hence the former paragraphs - and that includes about 6 months of junk on my chest. If anything my coughing has actually increased over the last couple of days; but it's come without that crappy feeling. It feels more like my body going 'hey, let's get this shit out of here while we still can' and every day I feel as though more air is getting into me - which might explain why I feel better.

Fucking hell... Reading back some of my blogs, no wonder people call me a hypochondriac, wimp or sickly. I am a walking disease magnate. If The Stand ever happened in real life, I'd be the first to get Captain Trips!

Rah! Wha? Huh? Oh! Oops!

This is good.

Yesterday, I spent about an hour, during a relatively un-winter-like period of the afternoon, sitting at the table on the patio, banging out a 'Sidcup' - which isn't a euphemism for a wank - when I heard what sounded like someone banging on the front door. The dogs didn't react in any way at all, so I ignored it. A few seconds later, I heard the banging again, so I thought I'd better investigate. There's so much building work being done round here at the moment, you can never tell.

The dogs started to bark and as I got to the front door, I saw there was indeed someone standing there. So I ushered the dogs into the house and answered the door.

"I tried the bell, but you obviously didn't hear it." I looked at this man, about mid-50s, standing in front of me; he was the guy from down the road, about 5 or 6 doors down. "So I had to bang on the door."
"Okay."
"Would you mind moving your car please. I can't understand why you've put it there." I looked at him really puzzled. I had the wife's car today - the Zafira - and it was about 10 feet directly behind my neighbour.
I scratched my head and pointed at my car, "What's wrong with where it's parked," I asked quite honestly. The neighbour looked at the car, then down the road to his house, where there was indeed a silver Zafira parked in front of his drive. Then he literally did a double take and the transformation in his body language was remarkable. Where he was all puffed up, possibly expecting me to be arsey, he suddenly became utterly passive.
"Oh. I am sorry. I don't know... I just..."
"It is a silver Zafira," I said smiling.
"Yes... But... Oh dear. I really do apologise. How stupid of me?"
"Really, don't worry about it. No harm done." I said and he apologised again and wandered off down the road like he'd been dazzled by a really bright light. Poor sod.

The car was owned by one of the multitude of builders being employed by the Sexually-Explicit Family. It was moved before Confused Neighbour could ask them.

I said to the wife that the really annoying thing about the incident, one that dawned on me later, was that we're and always have been the first port of call by our neighbours when a car is blocking their drive, yet, we're the least likely people in the street to do it; as a matter of fucking principle.

Driven to Death

My mate One El has this thing about courteous drivers. He even occasionally keeps a score on his Facebook, normally when he's had a bad day full of selfish wankers who, it has to be asked, must have either slept with the examiner or given him lots of cash, because how these arseholes get driving licenses I don't know.

We all experience idiots. There's more and more of them on the road and one day we'll all have been rear-ended by some bint texting on her phone, doing her hair and probably pleasuring herself with some Ann Summers' product at the same time (and will then not be able to understand what she was doing wrong).

This is possibly how I would have described the woman, in her BMW, yesterday when I was taking the dogs for a walk. I drive the dogs to Bradlaugh Fields; it's an absolute oasis for dogs in the middle of this turd we call home and I'd rather drive down to a nice place than walk them round to Eastfield Park with its crack dens, teenage prostitutes and rent-a-vandals. I was driving down Broadmead Avenue, near the dodgy pub with the eponymous name, when this 'lady' in a BMW waiting at the junction, looked at me, looked the other way, then looked at me again, this time I was less than 50 feet from her and proceeded to pull out right in front of me; forcing me to slam my anchors on or I would have rear-ended her.

I flashed my lights at her and she gave me the finger and then proceeded to drive slow and fast and slow and fast, while attempting to abuse me at the same time. I was left wondering what I'd done to deserve so much abuse. When she turned at the junction as I went straight on she was bellowing something out of her window at me. I have no idea what it was, but I'm betting she was taught words like that by one of her two or three dozen children (or any of their 32 fathers).

Amazon Delivers (Again)

I made reference to Amazon trying to sell you things they've already sold you in the past; today I got an email from them that essentially said 'You liked the latest Stephen King novel so much you bought the hardback; now's your chance to buy the paperback with a 30% discount!'

How very jolly decent of them. I know I was impressed with the book, but really, I don't need a paperback copy as well. In these austere times that's a bit extravagant...

In Development

My summer writing project is still nowhere near even being started, or even decided upon; but I have been toying with two ideas. The first is the story of a 300 year-old man, whose unique physiology means he looks about 70. I have this idea in my head that he's a really spiteful and nasty old bastard, who actually wants to die, but is being kept alive by the state because they want to unlock the secret to his longevity.

The other ideas is a little less formed. I've been toying with SF for years, but struggle with it for reasons that are beyond my interest or are necessary to convey the story I want to tell, but not being scientifically minded, I'm conscious of the fact that I don't want to write complete and utter bollocks.

Watching the dreadful Falling Skies at the moment; being aware that teenage novels are all the rage and being a big fan of John Christopher's Tripod Trilogy; I keep thinking I could try and write a SF novel for teenagers. I mean, I work with them; I know the way they talk now better than ever before and I have literally hundreds of canvasses to mix and match from.

One idea I was working on recently was another attempt to take a concept I came up with and utilise it; the problem is I have the setting, I have the cast, I just don't have a story that's remotely original. So I decided that the concept still hasn't found a worthy home yet and moved into thinking about other things. Alien invasion is something that appeals to teenagers; in fact, my experience of what kids want in stories is usually the oppressed fighting back - kids seem to identify with the resistance (perhaps it's because fundamentally they have similar goals - the disruption of order).

The problem with alien invasions is that Christopher covered a shedload of bases with his children's trilogy and the dreadful Falling Skies has borrowed from that; focusing on children as the focal point of the struggles and the reason behind it. The similarity to V is also there, with the introduction of a supposed Fifth Column. It seems that humans will always try and make an alien invader susceptible to human emotions and drives - which is probably wishful thinking or the need to be able to make an audience identify with it.

In the shelved SF story I was working on, I wanted to have a crew of astronauts, searching for a new home for Earth's inhabitants, to find a world completely alien to ours. One in which no stereotype is adhered to. But the problem with describing something alien is difficult because we only have Earth as a point of reference. Aliens usually tend to be given some human emotions or features and even when writers such as Lovecraft, Derleth and Ashton-Smith often used other-dimensional creatures or aliens they tended to describe what they regarded as the indescribable as indescribable...

I had this world mapped out in my head; a place where the benign isn't and the malevolent looking is anything but. Tiny creatures capable of obliterating something huge; and massive monstrosities that have no desire to do anything but eat and... dance. Stephen King has had a go at describing the indescribable; most notably in the extremely good From a Buick 8. But he likes to not just ramp up the horror with strange creatures, but also to make you feel wrong. If it's alien then it isn't what you know - instinctively or intuitively. I think King remembers delirium - either from when he was a child or the withdrawal effects from alcohol and drugs - and the feeling we've all got from delirium is one of detached but totally there; of almost like watching ourselves being ill. I got the impression that this was the basis for King's otherworldliness and therefore, as much as I applaud his attempts; it is grounded in human experience and perception. It isn't alien, it's a human reaction, even if it isn't normal.

I think the problem with SF is that I sometimes hope that it's really far-fetched and different. I toy with the idea of writing a series set a million years in the future; when things we think of as fantasy are real and things we haven't even dreamt of are in existence - but, if we haven't dreamt of them, how can we come up with an idea? Plus, whenever I set a story in the future I get bogged down with the chronology of it all. An idea I talked about a couple of years ago, a great sprawling space opera set on a Dyson sphere required far too much history and while I enjoyed planning the future history of the universe; I sort of lost the story and the sub plots in a miasma of 'facts'.

Which brings us back to writing a story for teenagers about an alien invasion that doesn't tread on the Tripod's Trilogy or any gungho film or TV series. Here's an interesting idea; one I'm not thinking of pursuing and came to me while watching the fourth episode of season two of Falling Skies. The sub plot for that week's episode was the leader of the resistance discovering his daughter is alive and well and running with a gang of kids who have so far managed to evade capture by the aliens. Every time these ragamuffin kids appeared on screen it just shouted at you that their story was probably far more interesting than the one we're (not) being forced to watch. I don't give a shit about Noah Wyley and his band of wanky freedom fighters; but I did wonder how a band of 15 kids, ranging from 10 to 18, manage to survive in a hostile environment where they are the prize.

I could always write about a bunch of kids being abducted by aliens?

Or I could just fuck about and write Aliens versus Blue Lagoon - an epic struggle between two teenagers more interested in shagging than beating the aliens that threaten to ruin their idyllic environment. I could have an entrepreneurial alien selling tickets to watch the two teens rutting like stags. Suddenly I have this image of Aliens Bukkake and if their blood is like acid can you imagine... In space, everyone can hear them orgasm...

Moving swiftly along...

Someone Out There Has a Memory

Sticking with SF for a second; recently I've been having memories of a TV drama I watched when I was a kid, probably during the summer holidays and possibly, heaven forbid, on ITV. It was a one-off drama - a bit like those Children's Film Foundation things with Jack Wild or Phil Collins. I seem to think it was Canadian for some reason and it was set in a class room on a planet (possibly this one) where it just rains all the time - hard, torrential rain from slate grey skies.

The end seemed to be the rain stopping and some sunlight peaking through the clouds and I think, even for the 1970s, had a eco theme about it. But that's all I can remember. Or perhaps it was a dream I had recently... Or just reality...

Just Make My Life More Difficult Why Don't You?

I freely admit to downloading 'premium' TV from the Internet. I watch a dozen or so shows that originate in the USA and I'm not going to subscribe, in these austere times, to a premium channel for something I can download for free.

Recently, my preferred format .avi has become scarce and most of the main sites I visit have switched to posting links for mp4 files or other formats which my DVD player baulks at. Once upon a time I could download a copy of the latest True Blood in about 20 minutes; yesterday three versions all failed to work and the fourth I downloaded had so few seeders that it was a little like being back in the 1990s, watching it come in at 7.3kbps instead of upwards of 1.1meg.

I was told by a reliable friend that this has been done to stop these sites from being landed on by the FBI. Apparently, most DVD players still don't like mp4, or mkv formats and the people who don't like us downloading things and watching for free are happier if it's only playable on a computer and not able to be converted to play on a disk and therefore easily distributed (how isn't the net now better than a physical disc?). If this is the reason, and I can't think of a better one at the moment, then they will have succeeded in making my life bloody awkward and as I pay for the bloody TV package I have with Virgin, if I have to wait six months to watch a TV series then so be it.

With things that only appear on Sky Atlantic, then Murdock can go fuck himself. I'd rather remove my own testicles with a spoon than give him the drippings of my much talked about arse movements!

Stuff
  • I continue to listen to Triple S, Axess/Maxxess, Boards of Canada and to assuage the old raver in me some MoS.
  • Another pound of raspberries was picked this morning - some as big as your fist... Well, the fist of a small monkey maybe.
  • So far raspberries are beating strawberries by the score of 3lbs to 4 individual berries...
  • Ness, the alpha dog in the house, is small, black and really vicious to the other three dogs. watching her bully the other three, bigger, dogs is actually quite comical, even if she is a nasty little bitch. However; for all this dog superiority, she is scared of the fridge; she's also scared of the washing machine, dishwasher, hoover, the builders, the bin men, the car, her collar, the men over the back, the gate closing, squirrel farts, the rustling of leaves, my phone, the house phone, my computer, the electric toothbrush and a man sawing wood in Hanslope. Her hearing is so good, I'd like her to go deaf.
  • Some woman on TV the other day was bigging up the word 'juice', saying what a positive, healthy and great word it was and how she likes all kinds of juice. How about bin juice, then love?
  • Solemn cake.

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