Nostalgia

I won’t say what I’ve been doing. I will instead fill in this quiz from my teenage years once more. It’s supposed to be done at new year but what the.

 

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
Wanted to dance in a public place. Put putty on a wall and did a shoddy job of it. Ate foie gras and got a trauma for days. Felt a lot of things I have never felt before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, will you make more for next year?
Obviously not to both.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Luckily not.

5. What countries did you visit?
Latvia.

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019?
Clarity of vision about what I want to do with myself and how.

7. What date from 2019 will remain etched upon your memory, why?
I don’t remember the dates, but my diary could refresh my memory on them as they ended up having an entry.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Writing a poem that wasn’t terrible.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Continuing indecisiveness.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I injured my back. And then there is the usual anxiety and mood slumps.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My laptop, albeit practical, is pretty good after all.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Definitely not mine.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled, depressed?
Mine.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Household stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Who can remember all such things? I suppose the times when I felt past could be shed and there is hope and magic ahead still. The times I forgot and lived in the present. The time I wanted to dance and went from one concert venue to the next, hoping to find a crowd I could dive into, but everyone was so passive. I was hyper though.

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?
I’d rather not say. It’s not a very good song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter
iii. richer or poorer? richer

I’m doing the classic middle-class man’s curve of life here, lol.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Written. Socialised.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Lying in bed in apathy or just lazying around doing nothing.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my family.

22. Did you fall in love in 2019?
Who knows.

23. How many one-night stands?
None.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
I didn’t watch anything.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, but I like and appreciate some people who I didn’t last year

26. What was the best book you read?
Les Miserables.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That Pina Colada song was rather fun. I also liked one pretty classical piece but never found out what it was.

28. What did you want & get?
Um. Can such things happen too? Okay, realm of trivialities: I bought a new laptop. I realized I hated it. Then it broke down within a month. I handed it in to be fixed and hoped it was quite irrevocably damaged so I get to pick a different model. Yes. Yes I did.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Did I watch the King Ludwig movie this year? If so, that.

31. What did you do on your birthday, & how old were you?
It hasn’t happened yet.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Possibly: being asked by one person to do something.  Winning the lottery, of course. 10 000 would do.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019? Tru bohemian. I have never had a style and wear what I like, from dainty and girlish to messy and ill-fitting.

34. What kept you sane?
I did.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Charlton Heston. I’ve been faithful to him for many years now.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Elections, I guess.

37. Who did you miss?
J.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
With new it is too early to say. No one stands out particularly.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019.
That personality is fate and in combination with the environment one is in, there is very little one can do to turn the tables, precious, precious little. I also learnt that my English has improved massively in 10 years, so keeping at it pays off.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“I’m in love with a fairy tale even though it hurts. I don’t care if I lose my mind, I’m already cursed”

 

 

To or not to

I started translating a book. It’s my first time.

It’s a nice edition and my own. I don’t want to destroy it, but I feel I cannot work without making copious notes in the book about words I’m in doubt about and adding other relevant marginalia. Such an old world way of translating, touching the source with my hand, writing on paper as well as the computer.

Translating a book is so different, so cool too.

I think I need to obtain a second copy for such destruction because mine is far too nice for it.

Otherwise, I’m doing well, I think. I have avoided the worst stylistic errors. The greatest struggle is the vocabulary. It is an old world text set in the countryside and my vocabulary of the country life is not equal to the task, but can be amended and researched and things.

Dejection

I want to be Jeff Buckley, but I’m Rodney Trotter.

I have lost motivation, lost faith in my will power, in my ability to turn things around. Sometimes, the old feeling returns in little flashes, like glimpses of a past mind and a more hopeful spirit. Sometimes, something makes me aware that I do have a fine mind and a lot of potential. But there is nothing to sustain it and I lose faith quickly. Lose motivation to try. Even though I know I could at this point turn the tables around, instead of drowning in my swamp of nothingness. But I drown.

I have also lost interest in writing on this blog.

This. This.

The psychological reason why some people are so hard on themselves isn’t necessarily a matter of low self-esteem. It’s more likely a product of the need for affect, which is the intensity at which people want to feel anything. Positive disintegration is often correlated with a higher degree of over-excitability, which is another way to say that people who develop themselves thoroughly often feel they are in a state of crisis, whereas other people would not perceive those circumstances to be as dire, or in need of a similar response.

(could relate to this)

Gratitude

My mind has a bit of a mystical turn if I allow it such leeway. When undergoing a great personality shift, in hindsight it often seems the entire universe has conspired to facilitate this shift. The right books happened my way. The right people and experiences.

I owe a lot of who I am – though currently I am so displeased with myself that who I am is largely an embarrassment to me – so let’s say, who I was and hope to become, to the people and books that were in my life at those junctions. To people who altered my views of self and widened those of the world, to books that strengthened it. And vice versa. It has been vice versa, too.

Drivel

So I was watching this mafia series and had a thought. In most films, everything aligns with the general vision: the music, the scenes, the costumes, types of actors used and so forth. When someone is waiting at the airport and hears their child has been shot, you get appropriate background for that sort of news to align with the emotion you want to convey. In real life, you might have I’m a Barbie Girl playing in the background. So what I wanted to say is, I’d like to do that kind of thing in writing. Set the scene and then add a touch of jarring realism AND then reign the thing in again, so it won’t turn absurd or grotesque or banal. Not just to disrupt, but to bring back home and pull off a serious scene with I’m a Barbie Girl playing in the background, metaphorically speaking.

I don’t know if the ability to do that is sufficient for good writing, but one has to learn to compensate for one’s weaknesses with one’s strengths.

 

Medicine

It is quite sad how conventional medicine and alternative/herbal medicine oppose each other more than they cooperate.

I could sometimes really do with the help of a qualified herbalist/alternative practitioner who a) has had as much medical training as any doctor, b) has an open mind and c) a willingness to keep informed of the most up-to-date research and to think of alternatives for patients not helped by conventional treatment choices d) who isn’t against conventional medicine.

Because what happens right now is that people like me go online and do their research on their own. But us without medical training aren’t really qualified to do that kind of thing. I certainly feel very unsure and incompetent. Alternative is to go to one of the self-taught people who are also unreliable.

But what can I do? There isn’t anywhere I could go with my questions. No specialists I could consult about dosage and possible side-effects. They’d think I’m one of the trouble-maker flat-earthers. No doctor I could take the results of a new study to and ask whether we might test it on me as well. In my dreams, that doctor would then do more thorough research and figure out the best treatment plan or tell me this is too risky to try. That kind of thing is what I’d really like.

I wish that if it became quite clear conventional treatment is not working OR if the patient prefers herbal treatment as a first option, they would be provided with alternatives. You don’t actually need to start the treatment of depression with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, for example. The doctor could ask the patient if they might prefer to try natural remedies first (like with many diseases you start with the milder stuff first if it is possible) and if these don’t work, gradually get more aggressive.  St. John’s Wort has been studied sufficiently as far as I know. 5-HTP seems more innocent as well and appears to have sufficient evidence about its effectiveness.Why not these over SSRIs?

Reality is that if you want to try either, you got to go to Doctor Google, unless you are very lucky and your doctor is open-minded.

And so, as the world polarises in every field, both sides lose and are stupider for it.

I wish one of the epic heroes of Charlton Heston’s would descend and fix the world.

Snobs

The title is to be pronounced in the voice of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty.

 

I spotted a bunch of intelligent folk bashing 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight and some other books whose titles won’t say anything to most people. It was old stuff but it annoyed me enough to inspire. There are moments recently when I feel I have to watch that I don’t become contrary for the sake of it. That I don’t suggest a different take on something because I CAN, not because I believed in it. I do believe in what I’m about to write though, so it’s not an exercise in thinking outside the box.

So, what’s the deal?

Snobs irritate me. Reading how some fifty people were bashing the same book, most of whom had not read it, and were just carried along by the tide of collective hatred and contempt for it, I felt like going “Snobs, you arrogant wannabe middle-class wannabe intellectuals you snobs!” as Basil Fawlty would have done if he had intellectual interests beyond Brahms’s third racket. What was even more striking in these discussions and reviews was that the readers were – more frequently than the law of averages would permit – mentioning how they had just read Houellebecq and needed a break, or suggesting they will get back to their Houellebecq now, after the excruciating experience of having read *insert title of some bestseller of dubious quality*. LOL. There’s comedy in this.

I have a feeling that the success of that book might have partially been based on everyone considering it so bad you gotta read how bad it is to be able to say “This is very bad indeed”. It unites people, hating the same thing.

I have not read either E. L. James or Houellebecq, but both are well-known status symbols in a certain segment of society: absolute trash and contemporary masterpiece. So those intelligent people, who are sadly still lacking in the ability for independent thought and are frequently interchangeable with each other, as they read, watch and enjoy the same stuff, suppressing whatever their individual taste may drive them towards, well, that bunch decorates themselves with the name of Houellebecq and defines their taste by being against the trashy bestsellers.

Now, I’m a mighty insecure person too and I used to do that in my late teens and very early 20s. I read critically acclaimed authors because they were critically acclaimed and watched many a critically acclaimed movie for the same reasons, but that was mostly because I was a newcomer to the world of literature and film and did not know how to find my way yet. I defined my taste against modern literature and people like T.S. Eliot more than any bestseller authors, though. Why would I do that? They were simply not relevant. But that was a long time ago, and I digress.

What I’m trying to say is kicking downwards collectively is a bit wannabe intellectual and suggests lack of independent thought and backbone. I’d find it refreshing if one intelligent person admitted to liking something bad instead of parroting how horrible it is.

Point is, the world does not consist of intellectuals or people with excellent artistic intuitions, but enjoying different forms of art is pretty universal and human. I don’t think one should appeal to the lowest common denominator, but it is natural that, for example the third generation intellectuals and artists have their own art and culture with their own standards for quality, and the people who are different – I failed to find a good general term for them – so let’s just say different – they have their art, their favourite books and music, and their own standards for what is good.

This sort of kicking downwards is just annoying when it is done collectively. Individually I wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow if someone had bashed trash novels, that’s normal, but collectively, it just struck me as one of those moments when it begins to work against the accusers, making them appear quite silly and brainwashed and in need of someone interfering and holding up a mirror.

Kicking upwards is much more interesting, if sincere. I think that is why I enjoyed that John Clare story about the man who thought Shakespeare was the title of a play. He kicked upwards and he was sincere. Stupid, yes, but we can’t help our own stupidity, can we? That too the wannabe elite fails to realise. We can’t all be intelligent, beautiful, artistically gifted, assertive and socially extroverted because we aren’t born that way. And the things people enjoy, are able to enjoy, and how they enjoy, are just so very different as a result of who they are, and they can’t do much about it. So enjoy and let enjoy, I suppose. Read your Houellebecq and leave the rest to its target readers.

My arrogant opinion is that if you are truly intelligent and confident, and not masochistically curious, you don’t need to lift your status at the expense of lower league competitors. They are just not relevant. Champions League teams do not need to trash local fourth league players for how they play like shit.

In conclusion: SNOBS!

(said in the voice of Mr. Fawlty once more)

 

 

Idiocies

Would someone please, please tell Google not to give me endless pages of Chinese (and other) machine-translated websites when I search for things in my native language. A filter, please, for omitting machine-translations from the results.

#2019 #sucks #googlesucks #discrimination #money #pleasestop

I was pleased to discover

…that there is a term for my affliction:

Analysis paralysis is when the fear of potential error outweighs the realistic expectation or potential value of success, and this imbalance results in suppressed decision-making in an unconscious effort to preserve existing options.