31 December 2007

The obligatory list...

Hmm. Due to the whole posting-in-the-future thing that my stupid whims have lumbered me with, this blog has become rather difficult to navigate. After careless consideration it seems to me that the only solution is to post a list of my blog posts here at the beginning. Or is it at the end... well, it's "here", anyway. This post. The first bit you feast your tired, bloodshot, text-addled, work-avoiding eyes upon. Unimpressive, isn't it? [Sighs] Making a good first impression has never been one of my strong points.

Anyway, the list.

List type: links, numerical and ascending - No. 1 being the first post, and whatever the highest number happens to be at the moment being the most recently written blog post.

The list:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17...

Note for first time visitors: Most of the posts make slightly more sense if you've read the first few posts. Stuff goes on in the comments, too. Now, onwards and downwards... much like my life, really. Ho hum.


a quest to be thorough I am now also wasting virtual space. Woo hoo! As quests go, a quest to be thorough is quite a dull one. Also quite difficult. I shall therefore end it now. Next paragraph, please. ......... Oh, go on. Please.

Since the last paragraph asked so nicely, I shall oblige. I'm not happy about it, though. Let me make that perfectly clear: I'm not happy about it. That gap was, of course, "I'm not happy about it" written in perfectly clear text. I don't think it's going to catch on. Very difficult to read. Perfectly clear communication is anything but. Are you supposed to end sentences with a but?

So, yeah... well... erm... Why was I doing this again? Oh yes, some kind of misguided and ill-fated whim. Chances are that this post will find itself very lonely. Yet I shall cast it out into cyberspace nonetheless. I can be cruel like that sometimes. But only to defenceless blog posts. Perhaps it shall find friends, posts of its own kind. Maybe enemies. Perhaps even a soul-mate. Most likely it will remain alone and unloved. But such is life.

Check back sometime to see how it's getting on. I've called it Albert, should you need to know. Albert the Lonely Blog Post. So it's a he now, apparently.

[You can talk to Albert the Lonely Blog Post, if you like. But I might have to change his name if lots of you do it. Also, if he's at all rude or uncommunicative, please try to understand: he's not used to company]

30 December 2007


As I understand it, I'm expected to talk about my life in this blog thing. So here goes:

Got up
Went to work
Got home
Ate something
Turned on computer

There. I hope you're happy. No? Well, neither am I. But Albert the Lonely Blog Post now has company, so he's feeling a little more chipper. Which is nice.

This blog post is called Lucy. Do you like her font? I shall leave her and Albert to hang around together until I can next be bothered to write something. Who knows what will happen in my absence. Will they become friends? Will they argue? Will a shy, gauche, rather touching kind of love slowly blossom between them? Maybe they'll just have a meaningless one night stand. Which could be rather awkward if I never post again and they're left up here trying to avoid eachother's glances for all eternity. Still, it's their life. I shan't interfere.

Oo, I can hardly wait to see what happens... it's so exciting! No? Oh well. Suit yourselves.

28 December 2007

A date!

No, not me. Albert and Lucy have been on a date. (Even my blog posts have more of a social life than I do. How depressing). It seems there was an instant attraction. Of course, this meant that they were rather shy and awkward around eachother for the first couple of days. You know how it is. You get all tongue-tied. You don't want to show your true feelings in case they're not reciprocated. And, of course, they already share a home. "What if things didn't work out?" they thought to themselves. They'd still have to live together. Plus if they didn't get on, I might have to delete one of them. Neither was too keen to die, or to live with survivor guilt. In short, there was a lot riding on it when Albert blurted out,

"Oh, to Hell with it, Lucy! I just can't hold it in any longer. You're... umm... oh... you know..."

"Oh, so are you, Albert! I'm so relieved."

"You mean... you like me?"

"You're wonderful. The way you blush around me is so cute. And Arial 10 point looks so good on you."

"And I can hardly take my eyes off your Verdana. And you wear it in 10 point, just like me. It's like we were meant to be together."

"Albert, let's get out of here. Where can we go?"

"You mean we can get out of here? I thought we were stuck here."

"Oh, don't listen to that Occasional Poster chap. He's clearly unreliable. Let's just go!"

"Ok, here goes. I don't know if this is going to work, but grab my hand, close your i's and... Now!"

Here is where they ended up. It wasn't an auspicious start, and said much about what was on Albert's mind at the time. But Lucy didn't mind. She was actually quite flattered. Although she pretended not to be.

"Albert!:)" she exclaimed, in what she hoped was a horrified fashion. But even he could see the little smile she was trying to hide and they both burst out laughing.

"Sorry... Umm... do you want to try it this time?"

"I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to me!" she chuckled. And off they went gallivanting around the interweb. I don't know about you, non-existent readers (and Taiga and patroclus), but I rather envy them. There are so many great places to go. Below is how the date progressed:

First (much to Lucy's embarrassment - "Humph! That was your fault!").

Then here - which they found both a little odd and for the most part utterly wonderful. But a touch noisy for proper conversation, so onwards they went...

dropping in here to say 'Hi' (as they'd been so very kindly invited and happened to be in Finland already). Before moving on to find some liquid refreshment.

This is where they found themselves. It was the first bar Albert or Lucy had ever been to, but even they weren't too sure about the place. They turned to eachother, shrugged their shoulders and went in anyway. Maybe this was what all bars looked like. They ordered drinks, but all the bikers kept staring at them. Perhaps if they'd been written in a hairier or more leathery font they would have been accepted. Who can tell. Anyway, it was clearly time for another venue change.

Quite some while was spent in here. They'd been intending to go elsewhere, but for some reason they just lost track of time.

Not unconnectedly, they eventually felt compelled to go here - I rarely go in these places myself, but they have this great "frites sauce" dip thing in the Amsterdam ones. Lucy and Albert certainly thought so. Which was what prompted them to google their way over to this place for the real thing. So many "sauzen", so little time.

Finally, it was time to return home. And don't worry, on the way back they disposed of their takeaway wrappers responsibly.

All in all the date went swimmingly. Kisses were exchanged, hands were held, some tentative caressing went on, but as you can see they're sleeping separately (which took great self-restraint on both their parts), though most probably dreaming about eachother. Don't they seem peaceful? Blissful, even. In fact, neither of them has been happier.

However, there is a dark cloud on the horizon for our happy couple. Nope, I'm not going to delete them out of jealousy. Far more interesting than that. When they awake Albert and Lucy will not be alone. Miranda will be here. Literally here. This post. Do you see? Good, good.

Who knows what chaos and complications her multi-fonted, multi coloured, link-strewn presence will bring? Who knows whether I'll get around to posting again? Everything depends on my ever-changing whims. And everyone knows how undependable whims are.

To be continued...


27 December 2007

There'll be vets bills, no doubt...

Brrr. It's cold!

Right, that's my small concession to reality out of the way. On to other matters.

It seems I may have been wrong about that dark cloud on the horizon. Black and fluffy though she may have been, up close Miranda turned out to be, in fact (or whatever passes for fact in here), a cat. Yes, a cat. Not some pretty young thing who might catch Albert's i, or Lucy's for that matter, but a cat. Well, I for one am not happy about it. Not only do I still have to put up with Albert and Lucy mooning over eachother - Oh! Albert! Oh! Lucy! (Bah! I say) - but now, after 27 years of successfully avoiding anything resembling responsbilities, I find myself saddled with a cat.

She's a pet for Albert and Lucy really, but they're always off gallivanting, so I have to drop in and kasjhdiaiacbsjhbvbj ioasdlk askj akuh sfjkdjkadasdlasklhzxnmvbncvbn sssssssssssdddddddddf Shoo! Get off! Down! I won't tell you again!

Humph. The sooner that animal gets trained, the better. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. Albert and Lucy are always off gallivanting. They're probably ensconced in some Tokyo love-hotel or something as we speak (and why not, I suppose). So I have to make sure Miranda's fed, change her water, check she hasn't got herself stuck on top of the sidebar again, that sort of thing. And there I was wondering if this sprouting seeds malarkey wasn't a commitment too far! Very healthy, I gather. Oops, another bit of reality seems to have crept in there. Well, that's two for you. Count yourselves lucky. Not about the sprouting seeds thing. Just in general. Not everyone has a computer, do they? Sorry, I'm digressing. Mind you, this whole blog's one giant ever-expanding digression really, so I don't know what I'm apologising for.... Give me that apology back! Seriously. I need it. I make an awful lot of mistakes.

Hmm? Oh. This post? It's a potplant (not that kind, more's the pity). Probably one of those big Yucca things. I haven't got the headspace for another character today. I'm supposed to be doing something productive for a couple of days. No, really.

26 December 2007

The thoughts of Chair(wo)man Meow

The productive thing I was supposed to be doing still isn't done, so without further ado, today's guest blogger [big drumroll]:


Mew... Mew, mew... Mrrrrroooooowwwrrrr.

[purrs at length]


Hmm, I'd never looked at it quite like that before [spends some while in stunned contemplation].

Well... [still somewhat stunned] I can only hope everyone found that as illuminating as I did.

N.B. I wasn't going to blog today, but I felt that Albert and Lucy could do with a bedroom (i.e. this post - I'm sure you get the idea by now). I'd like to make it perfectly clear that this is not an uncharacteristic fit of generosity. I'd just rather not walk in on a sight like this again:

I don't know about you, readers, but I didn't know where to look.

25 December 2007

So here it is...

... Merry Christmas! Everybody's having fun.

Well, no, they're really not. It's no fun at all in here today. In fact, everyone's quite, quite miserable. It's that time thing, you see.

Look to the future now...

How bitterly ironic that line now seems. For here we are in the future and, good God, isn't it dispiriting? As Dave so rightly pointed out, by 12:01am tomorrow everyone's presents will have returned from whence they came. So, yes, Christmas in Not 4'33": a time for sombre reflection, grim stoicism, and a few desperate last-ditch attempts to bleed dry some treasured possessions of whatever lingering drops of joy may still be held within. Albert and Lucy have decided to see it out in bed. Maybe they've got the right idea, but I can't help feeling that they're just postponing the inevitable. It'll all still be there in the morning. Or not.

[sighs dejectedly]

Oh well, it all raises some interesting questions about the real world, though, doesn't it? Wouldn't we all appreciate gifts more if we knew the date they would be taken from us? And maybe the same rule applies to people? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to prepare ourselves for the heartbreak and sorrow of loss? To cherish those last moments together?

Or, perhaps, not. Perhaps we would all just become complacent in the knowledge that should we, say, offend someone, we would have x days to repair the damage. When I think about it, not knowing when people will be taken from us should lead us to value them more, to enjoy every moment with them in case it is our last together. But that's not what we do, is it? We assume they will always be there. We take everything for granted. We lie to ourselves. And why not, quite frankly? If we lived life as if everything could disappear at any moment, we'd all be bloody knackered. It'd be bedlam, I tell you! I mean, good grief! What a ridiculous idea. There's a reason life is built on lies. It makes for less running. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Anyway, this reversed time thing. All nonsense. And frankly, I can't be arsed with it. Besides, time was always heading forwards anyway - you can't halt the inexorable march of time etc. It's just the dates that are going backwards here. I mean, time heading backwards? Who ever heard of such a thing? Why, that's crazy talk! [All rights to use time related pretences to score satirical points off the present should I be feeling clever enough at a later (or earlier) date hereby retained (it's my blog, it doesn't have to be consistent, I'll do whatever I damn well etc.)].

So, yes, the upshot of all that: it really is Christmas on Not 4'33". Woo, and indeed, Hoo! A proper Christmas. Holly and ivy, mistletoe and wine, parsley and sage, gifts on the fire, logs on the tree, turkey under the grill etc. Personally, I'm still facing it with grim stoicism, but everyone else seems to be enjoying proceedings. The tiresome twosome are bouncing all over the place, knocking stuff over (Santa got them matching space-hoppers, the great woolly-bearded swine) and being all happy and jolly and all those other things I can't seem to quite get right. Miranda's clawing things off the tree quicker than I can put them back on. The telly's blaring out some execrable dreck from the Christmas pop charts. The Christmas cake seems to be suffering from subsidence. I've had to cook a full Christmas lunch even though I don't much like the stuff, because, well, it's Lucy and Albert's first Christmas and I feel obliged. Frankly, the only bright spot on the horizon is the Eastenders Christmas special. The unremitting bleakness always lifts my spirits. And I suppose later I'll be forced to play consequences, charades and all those other games telly was supposed to replace. Oh well, at least Monopoly's always good for an argument.

Right, well, I suppose some of you will be wanting a breakdown of all the gift giving. Well, what do you buy for a bunch of blog posts? I didn't have a clue. I mean, they've got the whole worldwide web at their disposal. Everything's on there. So, gift tokens all round. Plus socks, lumps of coal, Easter eggs (there seem to be rather a lot around for the time of year) and the complete works of Schopenhauer (anything to stop their relentlessly chipper ways, not that they'll read a word of it, mind). Miranda? Well, we bought her all sorts of toys, but she seems to prefer playing with bits of string. Always the way with cats, the contrary little beggars. Mind you, you have to like that about them; the contrariness, that is.

I'm not sure whether they were trying to cheer me up, or just annoy me, but Lucy and Albert bought me a selection of self-help books, some Abba CDs and some rather dubious looking Prozac. I probably should have given them a list. Here's what L & A got eachother

For Lucy, from Albert:

  • Lots of nice sparkly things
  • A Coen Brothers DVD Box Set
  • A subscription to Heat magazine (just to wind me up, no doubt)
  • Some things I've been told I mustn't mention and it's none of my business anyway
  • Plus he wrote her a nice poem, but she won't let me see it. It must have been good, though. She got all overcome and had to wipe away a tear or three. And they were still kissing when I got back from basting the turkey (whatever that might entail).

For Albert, from Lucy:

  • A Playstation Portable games thingy
  • Clothes that actually suit him and fit properly
  • A week of debauchery for two in the location of his choosing (he just better take Lucy, or she'll be furious)
  • And a guitar (God help us all).

So, too soon for a marriage proposal it seems. Maybe some other time. Then again, they'll probably just get drunk in Las Vegas and I'll be the last to know about it.

Don't worry, I didn't forget about that Darren person who seems to be locked inside Bernard the Bundes-Bedroom. We all gave him some gift tokens. He'll never get to spend them, of course, but they were all that would fit under the door. I don't know, I suppose we could have fed a magazine or book under the door a few pages at a time, or something, but it's a lot of trouble to go to for an uninvited trespasser. Which reminds me. That smell and the rumour that he may have died. Not true. He's just stopped washing. They say personal hygiene's the first thing to go when you're depressed. Mind you, when you're trapped in a bedroom with en-suite bathroom, surely having a wash is one of the few leisure activities left to you?

Who or what is this blog post? Well, that's your festive surprise. Have a look in the comments.

Right, best go check on the turkey. I wouldn't want it waking up before it's fully cooked.

What? How am I supposed to know how to kill a turkey. A few sleeping pills, shove it under the grill - seems like it could work.

24 December 2007

'Twas the night before, erm, after... oh, never mind

This post takes place in the freezer compartment of my fridge. Picture a sub-Alaskan wilderness of snow and ice, Birdseye garden peas roaming free across an Arctic tundra. This is bleak territory, hypothetical reader, bleak territory indeed. Neither man nor beast has dared breach the interior of this barren land in going on two, maybe three years, though what beast might have any business doing so is unclear. No matter. Somewhere deep in this stark seclusion is a pea called Rodney.

Besides being called Rodney, Rodney is no different to any other frozen garden pea. He is round and green and somewhat cold. Fairly standard for a pea. I don't know, maybe he is slightly smaller, but that's about it. Big enough to make the Birdseye grade, anyway. He didn't slip through the filters at the packaging plant like some of his little brothers did. Exactly according to plan he was sealed away inside one of those trademark green packets with its red Birdseye crest and sent on his way. Not only was it the proudest day of his young life, but the saddest. He had made the cut, but the pod days were over. Never again would he gaze upon the verdant countenances of his beloved family. He tried to imagine some of them mingling with new friends in other packets, but the smaller ones... it was best not to think. But that is all behind him. Now he sits in the freezer compartment of my fridge. And waits. And waits. And waits.

You see, Rodney is one of the peas that got left behind. The packet and most of its occupants are now long gone, consumed and disposed of as Nature, or at least Birdseye, intended. Rodney, though, and maybe ten more of his kind came loose during the struggle to disgorge the bag from the freezer's icy jaws. Soon its frosted maw clamped shut permanently. And the years of waiting began. Cold, dark, empty years. Some of the peas could not cope. They just rolled back and forth, back and forth compulsively, until finally coming to rest in the south-eastern corner. They remain there in some kind of catatonic state. Others of the peas dwell amongst the sweetcorn atop the Great Ice Peak. Such mingling is of course not unprecedented. Peas and sweetcorn are natural allies, united by a common religion - the Cult of the Jolly Green Giant. In such harsh conditions the religion has flourished, as religions tend to do where there are those in desparate need of comfort. Rodney is not amongst these peas, though, nor the catatonic peas. Rodney is a pea apart.

Under an abandoned icecube-tray he resides, alone, caught in the desolate no-man's land between the quiet madness of despair and the jolly green madness of belief. Memories are his only company, his sole comfort. Except when one of the peas rolls down from the Great Peak to doorstep him. He is polite with them, but always insists that he has not strayed from the flock. He would rather be alone with his memories.

For Rodney a life lived in the past is not as impoverished as one might suppose. Rodney has many happy memories within which to wander. Sometimes he will revisit his childhood, those salad days spent in the pod with all his brothers and sisters. As the warming rays of the summer sun turn the pod walls translucent he wakes to a day spent blissfully basking in its nourishing radiance, chatting and bickering with his kin. The petty squabbles he recalls as fondly as the happy chat and banter. He was living the good life. Other times he might be on a conveyor belt mingling with all the new friends he met at the packing plant. He imagines their round faces, each with their own distinctive lines and dimples, recalls their names, remembers and - when he cannot remember - makes up conversations with them.

On occasions he even chooses to recall seeing his smaller siblings falling through the sifting holes. It is painful to do but, still, such sorrow is the stuff of life. Sometimes he imagines them landing in a better place where sun shines and refreshing rain falls, but at other times he cannot help but dwell upon that indelible image of them all descending into a bottomless darkness. He scans it over and over for traces of light. Sometimes there is a pinprick, sometimes nothing. Sometimes the darkness of his memory bleeds into that of the freezer compartment, Rodney and his siblings reunited in its combined inky depths. Invisible to one another, they could be many miles apart, they could be right next to eachother. Such a possibility brings Rodney great solace.

One memory in particular Rodney cherishes above all others. It concerns no more than half a minute of his life, a brief few shining moments, like no others he has ever experienced. Both recalling this precious memory in ever more minute detail and the anticipation of the moments when he will allow himself so to do have kept Rodney going all through these empty wilderness years. It is not a memory he recalls often, though; only so often as to maintain its shine and clarity. To bring it to mind as often as he would like would only rob it of meaning, render its crystalline beauty too much a part of this place of snow and ice. There would be nothing to cling to, nothing beyond this life of his. This memory?

Rodney is being rushed along a conveyor belt, towards his new home, when it grinds to a sudden halt. He is propelled into the air and as he lands so too does the most beautifully smooth, perfectly green pea he has ever seen, coming to rest literally face-to-face, right beside him. Perhaps she will roll away in disgust. But, no, she gazes tenderly right back at him. He feels loved, accepted. They stare deep into eachother's soul. Love at first sight. Each of them knows it. And each of them knows it can only be fleeting. There is no time for words. The machine will doubtless jolt them forward again any second. They will be parted. Time only for a kiss. Their lips touch. The machine starts. She is gone. In the sea of green he glimpses a perfect curve. It maybe her. It may not. He doesn't even know her name. Seconds later Rodney is inside that ill-fated bag. And inside him: a priceless memory of such clarity and purity as could rival any diamond.

Upon such perfect moments it is possible to build anything. It is possible to imagine a future as blissful as that fleeting kiss, a whole alternative life. The kind of imaginary world to which a pea can escape when its world is too lonely and desolate for words. Rodney lives there with the pea he now calls Maya. The moment they met, the moment that is real, he indeed recalls only sparingly, but its beauty is enough to sustain him forever.

In short, I've been defrosting my fridge.

So, what of Christmas Eve on Not 4'33"? Well, it's been kind of an anti-climax. We all tried anticipating the coming of Christmas, but it just seemed a little pointless. Thanks to Santa, and my culinary ineptitude, there weren't even any leftovers to polish off. So instead we all had a Chinese take-away and went out to watch
the low country playing their beguiling country type music. God, that girl has a beautiful voice! Lord, I want an Exit, gives me shivers every time I hear it.

Right, I'm off to see about getting Mr Claus into the Lapland branch of The Priory.
Oh yes, and I suppose this post has to be something or other. How about a... [tries to think of something festive, but not too troublesome] an off-key rendition of We Three Kings? That'll probably do.