The following posts have no fixed theme or style, but I hope you enjoy reading them!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Advice #42

Be keener to be cleaner

Cleaning my house a bit really cheered me up tonight, because living in squalor is horrible. Uk

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


The biggest laugh I have laughed any time recently was heard when I was watching Gladiators on Saturday

In case you haven't seen it, I should explain that Gladiators is a TV programme in which "Contenders" win points by completing physical challenges and games against "Gladiators", who are the same every week. At the end, the challengers have to complete the "Eliminator", which is an assault course. The Contender who has done better in the preceding games gets a head-start in the Eliminator.

The Eliminator culminates in a run up a Travelator (like an escalator without steps that goes the wrong way) to reach the finish line. It is not guaranteed that Contenders will make it up the Travelator on the first attempt because it's very steep and they all try while they are very out of breath from the rest of the course. They often need to get their breath back before they get it right.

This time they were all doing so badly that they had to slow down the Travelator. Then the Contenders thought they might do better without shoes, so in the heat of the moment, where every second counts, both Contenders were fiddling with shoelaces and socks. But they still couldn't get up it. In the end they had to turn off the Travelator and crawl up it. Can it still be called the Travelator if it's not moving? These people are supposed to challenge the Gladiators and have incredible strength and endurance. Hilarious. It's not often I say this about TV (I dislike TV and a rant is bound to appear here at some point) but I really enjoyed it. If you have my sense of humour you'll love it too.

Moods again

A few people spoke to me about how bad my mood was in this post and to be quite honest, they had a right to be worried because I was worried myself.

Being in a bad mood for a long period makes you feel helpless. Being in such a bad mood that you can't enjoy anything and are crying several times in a day is scary. It's a complete loss of control. Perhaps it's my academic, thoughtful nature, but I am not used to being out of control of my emotions to such a large extent. I understand myself fairly well and if I'm in a bad mood I can say that I won't be in it forever and have a pretty good guess at what has upset me and what will cheer me up.

I'm scared of mental illness, perhaps more than physical disability, because it would knock my confidence entirely, exactly at the moment when I would need a bit of self-confidence to get me back on my feet. The idea that I could not reason properly is scary, and a change in personality is even scarier. A person whose personality changes may as well be a different person, and will certainly be treated as such. What I value in life is happiness, and mental health is a direct path to happiness, whereas physical health can only be an indirect path. After all, there are plenty of ill people who are happy, and healthy people who are unhappy.

After my little episode I feel like I am recovering. 2010 has been a reasonably good year for the first few weeks, but as you can guess, I have lost a bit of confidence and am not ready to put myself in difficult situations until I become more confident again. I'm happy but always looking around for signs that another metaphorical earthquake could hit and I could be unhappy again as I was before. I think I'm on the way out now and I'm feeling pretty good. Thanks for all y'all who got in contact and let me talk at you about my problems. It helped

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

New Year

I told Rachel at VerticalBlue that I would write about my New Year's resolutions. I only have to confess that I don't actually have any, because I didn't make any at New Year. I was too busy trying not to look into the past to look with any meaning into the future.

In any case, there's no point in writing New Year's resolutions, because it's a well-known fact that nobody ever keeps their New Year's resolutions. So I am making some now. Most resolutions get broken within the first week, so by skipping the first week I'm bound to succeed!

  • End 2010 happier than I started it. My December was pretty shocking, I'll be very disappointed if December 2010 is as bad as December 2009.

  • Learn to touch my toes. Try every day until I manage, and it'd better be in 2010 because this resolution thing is supposed to be yearly

  • Cycle to work 3 days per week on average minimum

  • Tidy your room and then keep it tidy by tidying it every day

  • Somehow escape the habit of stopping half way through a sentence and forgetting my words. Remember that the end of a sentence is just as important as the first half and that even if it is clear where my sentence is going, the listener still wants me to finish it, so I have to make the effort to finish it off. I don't know when I started doing this a lot, but I have been annoying myself by doing it every sentence, and it needs to stop!

I hope these work out. I think I've chosen a manageable amount of measurable goals, rather than vague ones or a ridiculous amount of goals that will not give me any free time at all. Will thinking of goals and putting them on the internet help me to succeed in improving my life? Will fulfilling goals make my life happier? It might help me understand the questions I was asking here

Sunday, 10 January 2010

War part 2

I said in part 1 that I felt that public opinion was moving away from my views but I didn't really back that up.

What I hear more and more often is that soldiers are being called "Our heroes in Afghanistan" and similar things. During Prime Minister's Questions on a Wednesday, the Prime Minister reads out the names of soldiers killed in action over the last week. Usually the leaders of the other parties repeat what has been said, just to get in on the act of looking supportive of the troops. Now we are holding enormous ceremonies in Wootton Bassett to honour our dead soldiers as heroes. People travel from all over the country and it is in all the newspapers.

I cannot emphasise enough that being a soldier does not make a person a hero.

Some of them probably are. Defending our country could make a person a hero, as could behaving honorably on a battlefield and saving someone's life.

But most people go into the army for reasons other than being a hero. It's a lifestyle choice more than anything.
1) Being a soldier is a well paid job for someone leaving school with few qualifications and not much of a career path laid out ahead of them
2) Being a soldier is a well paid job with very few expenses, so soldiers can save a large amount of money from the beginning of their careers, something that most people can't do
3) Being a soldier is a job for someone who wants to be outside, active and stay fit
4) Being a soldier has a lot of camaraderie attached and a great spirit between the soldiers. If you don't have many friends, this could be the place to start.
5) Being a soldier means you can leave a place where you grew up and come back with a reputation. Not all people have the freedom to move around when they want to.
6) The adrenaline of computer games and paintballing is fun. Whether it's more or less fun when the ammo is real and the dangers are greater I don't know because I haven't been there. Nobody who signs up knows what fighting with live ammo will be like, but they can only guess it'll be like paintballing but more intense.

Very few people have "serving the country" as their number one reason for joining the armed forces.

We never have similar ceremonies for our other heroes in society like police, nurses, doctors, immigration officers, social workers, carers. Let's face it, if a bin man died it would affect hundreds of people negatively because he provides a service that serves the country. There are red cross workers on the front line putting themselves in danger all the time to help victims on all sides, yet they are not recognised half as much as the soldiers who have caused the problems by being there.

I find war disgusting. I find that the way we unquestioningly call our soldiers heroes is misguided and the reaction to their death is out of proportion.

At the moment I feel like I am the only one.

War part 1

I have always been a bit of a pacifist, but public opinion is moving away from my views at a rate of knots and I find it a very worrying situation.

We are at war in Afghanistan and I understand the well-rehearsed arguments that once we are there we need to leave the country in a sensible and responsible way.

But let's be honest, since World War 2, no war has been waged that is in self-defence of British citizens. I know some people will argue with me about that but most places where there are wars today are places where the rich west has put its nose in and disrupted how the country works. Afghanistan and Iraq were both sites of previous wars in the last few decades. A lot of the problems in Africa are because white settlers arrived and forced black people to be second-class citizens. A lot more problems exist in Africa because white people decided the nation had to be split into countries, and chose boundaries that were fixed and not necessarily aligned with tribal boundaries. So even in the long term, war and meddling with other people's affairs is usually not justified.

It's even counter-productive, because wars abroad fire people up to be extremists and terrorist movements are bolstered.

In the short term war is even worse. People die, and every person who dies has a family and friends and acquaintances, hundreds of people whose life will be changed for the worse. Most of the people who die in conflicts are civilians. Anyone who has had someone close to them die will understand what I mean when I say that a premature death is a terrible terrible thing.

Civilians die, enemy soldiers die, our own troops die, and every death is a tragedy.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Advice #41

Don't drink and drive, you will spill your drink

Monday, 4 January 2010

Advice #40

Feed dogs dog food. They are apparently allergic to raisins/grapes, and maybe other things (I don't know, look it up). Dog food is meant for dogs. Dogs will eat human food even if it is not good for them. They could die. Watch out!

A friend of mine claims he killed a dog by a moment of negligence where a dog ate human food. Do not give dogs any food that is made for humans

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Everyone has their own idea of a place that is a model for every soulless, boring place in the country. The epitome of the crap town. Mine is Nuneaton. I have had to change trains there a few times and the town seems to be full of concrete, with discount shops (most of them closed even during the middle of the day) and little else. I'm pretty sure I found the town centre and that there's nothing in it but obviously I might have missed some of it so maybe I've got it all wrong.

I was in the train yesterday and the lights went out, sparking the excited British small-talk that can only happen when something has gone wrong. But one man stayed aloof. He was pale and bland-looking, and he looked horribly uncomfortable being on the same table as some Asian teenagers. Maybe he was scared he was going to get mugged. They seemed fine to me, we had a nice chat, but he looked awful. He was perched on the edge of his seat and he clutched his bag as if he was going to have to run away a moment's notice. I was really tempted to shout "BOO" at him and see what he did. So it was no surprise that he got off the train at.. wait for it... NUNEATON!! All of my prejudices have been confirmed!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Feeling Glum

I've been feeling awful for a while now. It got to the point where I just burst into tears without warning. I even had someone ask me if I had any symptoms of depression like tiredness or changes in eating patterns. I've actually been quite scared because I don't recognise the patterns as being how I am.

What I was going to say after my last post was that happiness seems to be a build up of good things happening. At that time I had been feeling down for a while but had had a really good week. After a week of really good things happening I felt generally better and my mood lifted. But soon after I fell right back into the hole of gloom and it's hard to get out.

I very rarely get down because of one thing. More often it's a build up of several things all coming together. My default state is to be happy and then things disturb that state, but I come back to happiness when that passes. But in the last few months it's been the opposite. I don't get really happy unless a few things build up and cheer me up. It's as if I have suddenly turned into a pessimist from being an optimist. My default state has been unhappy and then things disturb that.

Anyway, I cheered up on new year's eve so I hope that 2010 will be a good year. The days will be longer, I'll do some more exercise and I hope that good things will happen.

As we were told in virtually every assembly at secondary school (ages 11-14) - our headmistress must have been the most unimaginative lady in the universe -
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

...although I don't mean it in a religious context, it's more of a new year's resolution thing.