The Daily Mumble January 2005 Archive
January 2005... start of a new year (unusual for January), host-month of my birthday and my first superficial exploration into Gaian theory. The exposure of Global Dimming and exams - all of these things dominated my January 2005
ooh look it's 2005
Gosh, where did it go?
Bit scary when January comes around because it means I have to employ all sorts of devious techniques to ensure that no-one finds out that the 13th marks the day on which I age another year. Go to bed 26, wake up as a 27-year-old. Hmm, maybe you can help me: if you know anyone who knows me please find out if they realise that it's my birthday next week, and if they don't, don't let it slip that it is, or that BIG presents can be sent to my usual address.
What strange days these are.
The horrendous number of deaths in Asia combined with the unimaginable suffering of those left behind leads one down alleyways within one's thinking that have until now been thought of as dead-ends, and therefore not yet considered worthy of exploration.
For me, in my situation far removed from the reality of the disaster, and now also shut off from the media that reports on it (I'm in Wales, say no more!), it is not the details of the recovery that grab my attention. Rather, it is a question, a question asked by many people: what is humankind's place in this world?
A couple of days ago I began to read the latest copy of the philosophical journal, Resurgence. This month's issue focuses upon "Gaia and Global Change". Published before the events of Boxing Day, there are of course no articles directly relating to the earthquake, and yet, somehow, it is all related. If you don't have a copy, go and buy one, in fact, subscribe to it - it will enrich your thinking, and bring you hope when times are dark.
Until this week I knew nothing of Gaian theory. I had heard the word banded about, but hadn't a clue what the ideas behind it were, and to be honest, had little interest. However, having read a little this week, I feel as if I have suddenly found a huge body of thinking that represents almost exactly what has been forming in my own mind over the past ten years. What I write below is nothing new, nothing that has not been said before. But for me, this is a first. It is the first time that I have found clarity when thinking on this question, and for that reason I choose to record my musings here.
If one then takes the basic principles of Gaia (as I understand them from my limited reading), that is, that we are all part of a self-regulating system the mother of which is planet Earth herself, and that any action taken by any one member of the system alters the nature of the whole, which in turn can bring about reactions in our environment that are completely out of our control, then perhaps recent events would make more sense. I suppose what I am saying here is that the mass destruction of human lives and habitats in Asia is in some way a form of self-preservation initiated by Mother Earth.
I'm now going to go off on a tangent... but bear with me, for it is related. At least in my mind...
As James Lovelock writes in Resurgence:
"...Global warming is the response of our outraged planet to the harm that we have already done, and the consequences for humanity are likely to be far worse than any war. We are at war with the Earth herself... The laws of Gaia imply that any species that make changes in the composition of the air and the nature of the land surface risks altering the world to a state that will disfavour its progeny [descendants]. This is how the Earth System discourages harmful species, and in that sense we are not just a pest on the planet to be eliminated, we are a part of Gaia."
(for example, we release CFC's into the atmosphere, destroying the ozone layer. We are then killed by the resulting cancer-causing sun rays that are able to penetrate this protective layer, and suffer in many other ways due to rising global temperatures).
It's all very well for governments to introduce laws that aim to minimise pollution, but these will have little overall effect if there is no shift in the global human consciousness in terms of our relationship with the Earth.
Imagine if you were an outsider, far up in the heavens looking down upon our beautiful Earth.
*How lucky the inhabitants are! How fortunate to have the privilege of living on such a rich, diverse planet, with regular seasons and endless light and warmth provided by a sun that has millions of years of life within it. A planet that supports so many extraordinary life-forms in self-sustaining harmony
... but wait, what's that? They are releasing thousands of tonnes of waste into their environment! They are taking all of its resources as if they were endless, using them and dumping the resulting waste into the air, into the soil, into the seas. Everyday they are responsible for the extinction of 100 animal species... they are causing the melting of glaciers that have existed for thousands of years, felling the lungs of the earth for the sake of growing soya or palms, which in turn are coated with toxic chemicals designed to kill... Wherever they tread they are destroying the miracle that is life on a living Earth. Do they seriously imagine that destruction on such a huge scale can go unnoticed by the beautiful planet that has until now sustained them?*
How blind we are to our genuine place within the Earth System! We treat the globe as if we are its master. Not one square mile has been left untouched. The entire surface of the Earth has been carved up and labeled as *belonging* to one group of humans or another, resulting in the presumption within those groups that we are free to do whatever we wish to *our* allotted segment. When we look at the globe now we do not see one big, living, breathing organism; we see a political map, our feelings towards the different continents influenced more by human culture and governmental attitudes than the reality of the surface of the planet.
As Anne Pimavesi writes, this attitude has gone so far as to cause us to link "the intelligibility of the universe to our intelligence as to make our intelligence the cause for the evolution of the universe. Therefore, we can more or less use the Earth as we will... So the problem we in the West face today is that within a secularised [social landscape] we live and act as if everything [upon the Earth] existed for us alone: as if it were there for us to exploit and increasingly, alas, to destroy. The doctrine of human exceptionalism remains the subtext not only of church sermons but also of political, economic, social and cultural policy and decision-making. The personal and communal challenge for us is to shift that perception of ourselves to one of belonging within a more-than-human community of life".
Of course, all of this is common sense. Sense that we all know in our hearts is, well, sense. However, those with industry-based commercial interests are now so skilled in the methods of social conditioning that the vocalisation of such ideas has become almost taboo. As Herman Daly writes in Beyond Daly, "This shift required in our vision of how economic activities of human beings relate to the natural world; this is a change which involves replacing the economic norm of quantitative expansion (growth) with that of qualitative improvement. This shift is resisted by most economic and political institutions. Enormous forces of denial are aligned against it, and to overcome them requires a deep philosophical clarification, even religious renewal... Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions run against the present project of society, which is based in expanding production and consumption. A vision of society is at stake.
John Oliver continues:
That vision is in practice protected by the process of denial, which is not deliberate dishonesty, but is a rejection at a conscious level of some truth or fact which at a deeper level is known about, but which is avoided because of the fear and anxiety it arouses. This is a permanent feature of human life, but in relation to the enormous and incalculable threat of climate change, denial threatens to frustrate the dramatic corporate change of heart , which alone can avert disaster.
How true. Oh for the day when the chant of "BUY BUY BUY" is replaced with one consisting of concern for Mother Earth.
"At present, individual companies and entire countries are compelled ti keep growing indefinately. The only paralell for this in nature is cancer cells, which by growing exponentially destroy the host body and themselves. Today it is widely acknowledged that that the human economy cannot keep growing at the cost of its habitat..." - Rajni Bakshi.
Uncharacteristically, my view is about as pessimistic as you can get. I don't see this vital shift in human consciousness coming about before it is too late, and therefore, I don't see planet Earth being able to support us for much longer. I believe that within a few generations we will see humans suffer as a consequence of our past and present actions on a scale that will dwarf the shocking consequences of the Tsunami. After all, this planet has seen five mass-extinctions in the past 500 million years - why not another? If one thinks of the manner in which we treat our planet the chances of a 6th occurring within the next few hundred years are not as slim as one might think.
This doesn't mean I'll be giving up just yet though. No, I'll do my bit, my teeny weeny bit in global terms... who knows, it might just make a difference.
I won't get my sandwich board out just yet, that being the one that reads "The End is Nigh".
Looking at the effects of the Tsunami from a human point of view is however very different from that above. From a human perspective it is a tragedy of the worst kind, a wound inflicted upon hundreds of thousands that will take generations to heal. But heal we will, for humans are remarkably resilient (look at the new skin that has covered the wound above my left eye in just a few weeks!). We have shown our shared compassion as never before - and this gives me hope. We have witnessed the harnessing of the goodness within each one of us for a single cause - and look at what we have achieved. The most visible product has been the huge sum of money raised to help those affected so badly. In addition to that we see troops being sent in from other countries to help with the recovery (one may discount that as they are the actions of governments.. but governments consist of real, live, and in some cases THINKING and CARING people). There are the thousands of charity workers, and then there are the billions who send their prayers and good wishes.
Personally, I offer my heartfelt condolences to all of those affected by the Tsunami. I do not seek to belittle your suffering through what I write above. You are in my thoughts, and I shall continue to aid you in your recovery by whatever means I can, as millions more around the world will do.
It's intriguing to observe mankind's development. I wonder where we are heading?
I think that it's very important that we remain positive in our hearts, no matter what misery we see around us. I like to think that we should all try to live as shooting stars - shining briefly as we pass through this world, bringing smiles to those who see us. To those who do not have their eyes turned in our direction we still bring light, although they may never consciously be aware of it. Our journey across the sky may be long, may be short - all are equally precious. Our time as individuals will pass, just as the time of humankind will.
oh bugger. who's gonna read The Daily Mumble when everyone's disappeared?!
yet more global injustice
I was told today that the amount of money raised following the Tsunami now exceeds $400 per victim.
Me wonders why this is the case that aid on such a huge scale has been made available at the drop of a hat, when in Africa, drought, floods and famine have given millions slow, painful deaths over recent years - and yet no-one gives a shit. Why are the lives of those in Asia more precious than those in Africa? Is it perhaps because humans are fundamentally selfish, and as such only care if they are directly affected: many in the West have holidayed in affected parts, or know of people travelling in the region. I personally know several people who were either in the region or had families there (thankfully all are accounted for) - but I know no-one in Ethiopia. Or is it the media? Big impressive waves crashing into buildings and images of people being washed away by the dozen sell far better than a shot of a mother with a starving baby. We've seen the starving children before, and so switch over to Friends when those pictures appear.
"she started it"
A long, long time ago in a far-off distant land there lived a boy called Joseph. One evening a messenger boy came galloping through the deep dark forest to the little cottage where Joseph lived, and handed over an urgent telegram:
Joseph slipped into his (women's) size 8 trousers, and donned a frilly top of the most exotic type. He then drank a load of beer and cycled off to Lady Milburn's house which was the other side of town.
The evening was a splendid affair, with food that surpassed the imagination in terms of deliciousness, and quantities of alcohol that surpassed the imagination in terms of different varieties drunk.
The evening wore on. Joseph became tired, and so decided to rest his petite backside on Lady Milburn's sofa - it was but a few moments before he fell into a deep sleep. As his mind wandered through the land of dreams, so all the other guests left, until only he and his host remained. At the precise moment that the front door closed behind the final guest, that being Lord Jimmy Saville, Joseph (apparently) sprang to life (although he doesn't recall much of the following few hours).
The following morning Joseph returned home, having spent a rather enjoyable and intimate night with lady Milburn. Still completely drunk (and marveling at how he had managed to not fall off his bicycle) he burst into his home, and proceeded to tell all of his housemates of what had happened, finishing off by saying, "She started it, I really did absolutely nothing!!"
Later that day, Lady Milburn's best friend, that being Madam Beckwith, came to visit Joseph and his housemates with whom she was well acquainted. Understanding that Joseph was still drunk and had told the other three adults in the house of the previous night's happenings, she felt free to speak on the subject, the details of which Lady Milburn had explained to her that morning.
"But Joseph, I just can't can't believe how unsubtle you are!" she said.
A little bewildered by the comment, and sensing enormous danger lurking around the corner, Joseph replied, "But my dear, whatever do you mean? I tell the truth when I speak of what I recall - It was Lady Milburn that instigated the affair, I merely went along with her wants and desires"
Madam Beckwith began to laugh, "Is that how you remember it? That's not what Lady Milburn tells me, and she remembers all of last night's happenings"
Beginning to flush with embarrassment, Joseph attempts to pull Madam Beckwith into the adjoining room for a quiet word, but alas, his flatmates (two of whom are "proper" adults, with one of them being a mature lady) sense the existence of a great truth that would cause much amusement for them all, at the expense of Joseph.
"She said that You started it! And you weren't exactly subtle about it either! You were just talking to her on the sofa when suddenly you put your hand right down inside the front her pyjama bottoms!"
Crikey, I could have died. There's me with my ideals of treating women with respect and not subscribing to the typical male chauvinist belief system... then I go and do something like that.
Still, she didn't seem to mind
a bit of real life for ya
Oh hello! It's me here. Time for a bit of REAL reality me thinks.
Well, for those of you who are desperate to know where I am and what I'm doing - can't you read? Look to the right of the date above, see? I'm on the Welsh Garden Project Site, working for a few hours everyday in a bid to save enough money to go to Japan for at least two months in the summer.
This is an ideal setup for me. I have been given a beautiful room complete with lovely tie-dye table cloth, where I can concentrate on revising for forthcoming exams. My routine is this:
08:00 woken up by alarm clock
08:30 woken up for a second time by one of my employers who brings me a big mug of tea in bed. No, I don't mean that the mug of tea that she brings me is in bed because that would be SILLY!! Can you imagine it? She wouldn't be able to carry it for a start. Unless of course it was a special cup-of-tea sized bed. Can you imagine that? Oh, how cute. A little four-poster, 25cm x 15cm, with delicate velvet miniature curtains hanging down on all four sides to shelter it from the morning sun? No, well, maybe not, but anyway, what I'm trying to explain is that I'M the one in bed when my cup-of-tea is brought to me, and I drink it whilst staying in bed.
8:45am Get up and have breakfast
09:00 Start revising
11:00 Stop revising and go and work outside in the 5-acre garden
13:30 ~ 14:00 lunch
16:30 Stop work. Have a bath. Relax.
17:30 ~ 11:30 (with an hour break for supper ) Revise
So yes, it suits me down to the ground. No distractions. Except YOU, ahhh!! Curse you!!! You and your pretty blue background saying "Joseph, Joseph, write me! write me!!" Well, I tell you, I've just about had it with you and your seductive white text!! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
But yes anyway where was I. Oh, I'd finished. Hmm, does that mean I have to get back to my studies? Oh, I know, I have to tell you about New Year don't I?
Well, gosh, it was all so special I don't know if I can. Let me see. I'll be brief.
New Year's Eve was spent getting very drunk all day by myself in my darling sister's house, followed by a drunken bicycle ride to see Helen (who I fancied the pants off all last year) who was with her fella just the other side of the M32, then the evening was spent with my darling Jo and her marmmy and her frendy Fifi in Bristol, then there was the funny business with someone the next day that I mentioned above, then it was off to me mummy and me daddy's house in Orcop where the whole family gathered to celebrate Christmas / New Year and my dad's birthday (1st jan) all at the same time. That was really really lovely, it was so special to have everyone there. I still think its incredible that we all get on so well when you consider all the poo of the past. I love my family, they are all fandabbytasticatable superstars.
The following day was equally if not so even more amazing. Having spent the morning with family, in the afternoon I popped into Hereford where I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Catherine, one of my best friends from my childhood days whom I haven't seen for over a year. Ohh she's so gorgeous, as are her lovely family. She cooked a fabby roast dinner, which I ate even though mum had already fed me.
Following that it was off to see another childhood friend who is definitely a best friend for life, (Hereford) Jo. After some lovely time chilling with her and her fella Joe I received a call from an old classmate, Ben. He happened to be coming into Hereford... which was great as it meant he could give me a lift back to the countryside where both he and I live. It was so good to catch up with him again, he's a really good mate, I feel very lucky to have him on board.
Things only get better from there: it turned out that another classmate who also went by the name of Ben was in the vicinity, as was his sister Frances of whom I am exceedingly fond having lived with her for a few months in Switzerland. In fact I am very fond of the entire families of Ben and Ben, Ben's dad having been my teacher at school and so on. Anyhow, Ben, Ben, Frances and I spent a lovely evening by a warm fire with bottles of ale and hearts of joy (where's that sick bag...?). Following that it was back to the other ben's place for a Brandy nightcap with his family, and a short trip back to my bed.
I don't think I've had such a lovely, precious day in a long time. Friends really are vital for a happy soul.
Anyhow, I've already put about 3 million photos in my January album, which you'll find here.
Must get on with study, MUST!!
ps. I forgot to mention that last week I had the absolute pleasure of meeting up with the darling Tokyo Tom and his gorgeous lady Miyu. Anyone who wants an example of a very happy couple, see page 10 of my December photo album...
oh dear I do get stressed and upset when I start thinking about the state of the world. Sometimes, like yesterday and the day before, I can be all blasé about it and think "yeah well if it's going to happen it's going to happen".
...But then I remember that I'm a thinking feeling individual that cares, and I feel so upset by it all.
I want to go and live up a mountain, and be entirely self sufficient. No roads. No television. Potatoes growing in the soil. Apples growing on the tree.
Oh, but I would need an internet connection. And a bloody sexy nymphomaniac partner.
I don't ask for much.
What the hell am I doing studying Japanese at Sheffield with the intention of returning to Tokyo, one of the most densely-populated cities on Earth? Baka! BAKA!! (which incidentally is Japanese for "stupid").
I have two options if I wish to be happy in the big city, and not feel like a complete hypocrite: I could
a) suppress all uncomfortable truths and go back into a state of denial (where the majority of the world's population can be found)
b) get a job in the Tokyo Steiner School.
No, that was a joke, I've already lost most of my family to teaching, I'm not going that way. No. Really, I'm not. Never.
No, I think I could start off by buying all my food from that little family-run organic food shop in Koenji. I then have to work on my Japanese until it reaches the point where I can write amazing Wake Up To The Truth articles for Japanese magazines, get on TV, sing a song about not leaving the tap running when brushing your teeth, perhaps dying my hair blonde, dressing up in drag and performing a dynamic dance routine whilst stroking a plastic globe which has had a face drawn on it. RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
calm down joseph.
yes, but I'm upset. I think it might be a result of the Welsh isolation that I've been in for 5 days now. The isolation is self-enforced. Today, I worked outside for 3 hours, digging up the last of the Solberia (sp?), a wretched plant that I have been fighting with a spade ever since last August... but apart from that I've been here, at my desk, studying bloody kanji Erm, 8 hours I believe. . Oh I love it and I LOATHE it. It must be the most cleverest writing system in the whole world, but it's driving me CRAZY!!!
I need a girlfriend, it's as simple as that. But she'll have to be 100% organic and loathe Monsanto at least as much as me. And not mind having a boyfriend with a beard. And be a nymphomaniac. Of course.
Oh to live in a bubble. How I miss my bubble.
Well, I'll just do my bit, not have any children, then die. That way I don't have to feel guilty.
OOOHHH the GUILT! Damn my Catholic upbringing again! Or perhaps it was the Steiner School teaching me to be sensitive to the needs, wants, desires and feelings of others. Mind you, it wasn't the Steiner school that taught me how to put my hand down ladies' pyjama bottoms. Woops, that wasn't me, that was a fictional character who just happened to be called Joseph, and who starred in the story of Madam Milburn's Dinner Party.
Emails. I need emails! Send me emails people!! You know my email address, and if you don't you'll find it here. I know you're out there because my website-server thing told me. You guys have viewed the pages of Tame Goes Wild over 12,000 times now since September 25th - so I KNOW you're there!! Yes, Yes, I know that 11,999 of you only found TGW by chance when putting some freaky perverted phrase into Google (god knows why it came up with TGW!...), and the only single person who came here on purpose was having a particularly bad day and wanted to be able to say, "oh well, at least I'm not as stupid as HIM", yes well...
Well anyway, I spose I'd best try and calm down otherwise I won't be able to sleep.
Incidentally, I planted an acorn yesterday, and I shall be taking it with me back to Sheffield to join my Avocado, Fig, Cactus and Fig. I shall let you know when it sprouts. One day it will be a famous tree, just you wait. About 200 years.
p.s. the lack of photos so far this month is NOT due to the fact that I lead such a tragically dull existence that I have nothing to take photos of. No, the real reason is that my stupid image-editing software has decided that it doesn't want to work, and so therefore I am unable to downsize any of my 7.2 megapixel images to TGW sizes. And if any of you smart arses out there know anything about Dreamweaver MX 2004 just be quiet ok.
woop woop woop!
It's no good. I'm just too excited. It's after midnight, and I have to be up at eight... I'm tired, I want to sleep, but it's just not going to happen. I've gone into hyper-mode. Analysis reveals that the reason behind this is quite possibly the realisation that my revision plan is yielding incredible results, the likes of which have never been seen before within my brain. Following today's 10 hours of study (that's after deductions for meals, but including 2 hours spent painting the bathroom ceiling whilst listening to vocab on my MD) I am shocked to discover that certain elements of the Japanese language that until now have seemed impossible to understand have actually weedled their way into my memory, with the result that they no longer appear as psychologically terrifying monsters that say RAAAAAAAAA and are always hungry for green jelly babies.
I am reminded of a TV program I once saw - back in the days when I watched TV that was, funnily enough - about a comedian who was set the challenge of learning Taiwanese (Chinese? Forgive my ignorance) in 3 months from scratch, and then performing a stand-up routine at a prestigeous national comedy competition that was to be broadcast nationwide. He did it. He actually managed to learn the language in 3 months. He had the advantage of having no distractions (just like here in Wales), as he was locked into a single room for the entire duration. I forget what he did about toileting incidentally - I know that's what you were wondering.
Anyway, it just goes to show that the human mind is capable of incredible feats if given the opportunity.
Of course I'll probably burn out completely just in time for the exam next Wednesday, and end up forgetting everything including my own name.
What's happening in the world these days anyway? Anything exciting? I've not heard a peep since, oh, I dunno, erm, yes, I can't remember. Who am I? What are you doing here? How many time do I have to tell you, this website is PRIVATE!! Last night I watched a film about Jellyfish. They lived in Tokyo and had lots of babies. And the man liked table tennis.
ohh look my camera, being the sexy beast that it is, seems to be able to resize photos by itself. You know what this means don't you? It means you can have a look at my 23-day-old beard, as it appears on my chin as of about 10 seconds ago.
What do you reckon? Does it suit me? Remember, "YES" is your only option when choosing vocab to put in your response. I have a special beard-filter set up on my email inbox that automatically deletes any email that contains the words "beard" + "you" + "look" + "bloody" + "stupid" + "shave" + "it" + "off" , then the filter thing automatically adds the sender of any email containing those words to the "I-Want-Hundreds-of-Internet-Porn-emails-in-my-inbox-every-day-please" mailing list. Then it puts a rotten maggot in your breakfast tomorrow morning when you're not looking. HA! But please, do be honest. I am strong enough to hear the truth no matter how harsh. I live in reality remember, not some fantasy world where everything revolves around me and hundreds of naked ladies who don't mind if I do the washing up, because I like washing up. Yes indeed, I am securely fastened to planet earth by means of a white jacket and a lot of straps. And nice men who give me 700mg of Epilim every day to stop me fitting off all over the place. Berdoing berdoing berdoing. That's the noise of a kangaroo hopping you know. Berdoing.
ok, I've worn myself out now. night night.
For Sale: Joseph Tame
Not so much as the DAILY mumble this, more the TWICE Daily Mumble. Aren't you lucky?!! It's only because I should be doing something else you know.
Many thanks to all one of you for your feedback on my beard - the rest of you "Loyal" Mumblers are fired. Go on, off you go. If you can't be bothered to check The Daily Mumble at LEAST every five minutes AND respond to my every whim then well, what does that say about you? [perhaps that you have a bit of sense - ed]
Aghh!! Where did that editor come from?? I thought this TDM stuff was like word-from-the-street with no bigwig intervention! (and I ain't talkin' about oversize rabbits that talk to seagulls either) My god I'm going to have to be careful what I write in future.
Anyway, you asked, "soft or spikey?". Well, it's still moderately spikey I think, although I believe this week it may reach that crucial stage of becoming a veritable blanket of velvet in time for lots of snogging at university. That was a joke by the way. I mean, the snogging bit. Chance would be a fine thing. I am dead serious about the velvet business, so just don't push me.
Oh yes I know why I decided to take up even more room on my server tonight: I have something for sale that you may be interested in: ME!
Yes, I received an email a week or so back informing me that I will no longer own myself as of 1st March 2005, and if I want to ensure that no-one else gets hold of me I have to pay 70 Euros before the 16th January - and that's 70 Euros that I don't have.
Now come on, only 70 Euros for Joseph Tame! What a bargain. You can do anything you like with me, as long as it doesn't involve Brian Adams or a camel called Humphrey.
I first registered www.josephtame.com back in 2001 I think, but have since had very little use for it, what with Tame Goes Wild taking off like a Royal Air Force Harrier-Jump-Jet that's just heard that a swarm of wasps have submitted an application for planning permission to build a luxury-hotel nest hanging from the underside of its cockpit (Ok, so where DID you think that wasps stayed when on holiday then? Huh?! Haven't you seen the brochure? "Fly without flapping. Great Scenic views from the 14th floor restaurant, observe human beings in rural Britain shitting themselves as the hotel passes over them at 700kmph, 30 metres above their heads.").
Erm, where was I? Ah yes, josephtame.com: Last time it was up for renewal I thought it best to hang onto it in case some dodgy german company got hold of it and decided to create a website allegedly all about me, but in fact actually featuring videos of a stunt double doing things of a questionble nature with can openers and Tortoiseshell Butterfly wings. Well, you can never be too careful.
Alas, this time around I am a poor student, and I have not the financial means to renew my domain, which means that come 1st March 2005, I am at the mercy of workers in the Norweigian AOL Complaints Department who with nothing better to do with their time (Norweigians are far too nice to complain) decide to take loads of magic mushrooms and then write my entire life history, publish it online at their newly aquired www.josephtame.com website - EXCEPT those cunning fiends will replace my head in all of the photos - with that of Nemo, the fish of Finding Nemo fame.
Call me neurotic, but I tell you, it will happen.
So yes, anyone got 70 Euros (about 35 quid?) they'd like to buy me with?
Ho hum. Oh look, I've been here so long it's Tomorrow now, which means that alas, this is now only the Daily Mumble, not the Twice Daily. Lucky you.
nighty nighty sleep tighty
much love to you from me kiss kiss xxx
back on earth
Hello. I've been a bit manic of late it would seem... but I feel myself coming back down to earth today. I think I may have stumbled across one cause for the unrest: a draw full of medication for epilepsy that I've forgotten to take for the past few days. I tend to think of them as having the effect of a warm relaxing bath upon my brain. They calm the hyperactivity through bringing about a great decline in the number of electrical signals shooting off all over the place. Without the drug a strom of activity erupts within my skull, and I become a raving looney. As has been seen this week in the mumble. Physically though I've felt pretty crap this week. I've only got a slight cold, but it's in its 3rd week now, and has been causing me to wake up in great coughing fits. My energy levels have been low, resulting in exhaustion following just a few hours work in the garden. Still, I think change is in the air, and it will only be a matter of days until I'm back to my normal health.
Tomorrow my current stint at the Welsh Garden Project will come to an end, as I make my way about 8 miles north to join my parents for my birthday. It will be a quiet affair; just myself, them and Herefordshire. No drink, no drugs, no women. Hmm, it may sound positively dull, but you must remember that I have my roots in the countryside, and that silence and stillness are precious gifts.
Gosh, this area really is so beautiful.
Spring is on the way!
A few moments ago I popped outside and took a stroll around this 5 acre site. There are buds popping up everywhere, signs of life emerging from the cold, muddy ground. Some plants have gone so far as to flower. I spied some snowdrops, and this bedraggled beauty that has evidently provided a tasty dessert for one lucky insect. Some trees are continuing to offer their berries up to the birds, in order that the seeds may be spread far and wide, and fertilised by a nice bit of white poo, the type of which can be found on the sleeve of my jacket.
It's very very beautiful around here. I shall miss the countryside (again) upon my return to the red light district of Sheffield - although not for long, as once the exams are over I think I'll head back this way for a week or so. It's such a great arrangement - I am able to choose the days / hours that I work. I am given a beautiful little study-bedroom, and lots of 'vegan' food (cough) such as cheese (just don't tell anyone or my vegan status will lose all credibility! I actually had a bacon sandwich on Christmas day, and a little sausage at New Year!). My hosts are the most wonderful employers one could ever hope to meet (they also happen to read the Mumble!), and without them there is no way that I'd be able to make it to Japan this summer, or feel able to commit myself to this strict revision timetable that will hopefully go some way towards my being granted a place at my first choice of Japanese university in my 3rd year.
Life's good. I'm happy. I was happy yesterday, and I'm happy today, and I'm really happy to be able to say that. And I haven't got a clue what I want to do after I graduate! Hurrah!!
"Otsukaresamadeshita" as they'd say in Japan having completed a long arduous task. I tell you, Welsh place names can't even touch Japanese when it comes to long words.
Yes, my 9 days of studying for an average of 10 hours a day is over. Phew.
When I was cutting back the brambles in the garden today, a tree starting to sing to me:
you are wonderful,
Hmm. I want to eat some chocolate but I've already brushed my teeth.
Bjork's been keeping me company this evening. She Loves Him apparently.
I think I'll go to bed now. At least the cat's quiet tonight. She's Siamese, and has been on heat for the past week or so. I tell you, you've never heard anything howl like this poor thing. "Shag Me! Shag Me!" she's been crying, louder than the kids you see out around Torquay harbour on a Friday night.
Well, I shall now bid you a fond farewell from Wales. I cross the border in 12 hours. (Don't say that there's never anything about travel on Tame Goes Wild...)
the shocking truth behind anti-dandruff shampoo
Yes, I now understand why women, well, why *most* women don't wear beards. It does make applying foundation all that much harder. I had enough trouble before trying to make it appear as if I wasn't wearing any, and now, now it sticks to the end of my bristles, which, according to the mirror positioned on the wall behind me, are now in excess of 8mm long. For those of you over the age of 50, 8mm is slightly less that 2lbs.
Another revelation occurred shortly after I had a shower this afternoon. Incidentally, I think midday showers make far more sense from an ecological point-of-view, as
a) there is a huge demand on the mains water supply in the mornings and evenings due to the number of people having baths and showers at those times, meaning that the specially trained goat-herds employed by water companies to run along the treadmills that power the central water pumps have to exert an awful lot of energy, which means eating more food and doing more do-do's than on average. At midday, there are goats surplas-to-requirement at the waterworks - so if one showers at that time one lessens the chance of them being sold off as dog food by Thames Water Authority.
b) I'd get my bed wet if I had a shower in the morning, and my desk-chair wet if I had one in the evening.
So yes, anyway, just after midday I decided to have my first wash of 2005. Being On Tour as I currently am (until tomorrow), I do not have my own shampoo. Instead, I have been relying on the generosity of my various hosts up and down the country. Today then was mum and dad's chance to provide the chemicals with which I could rid my hair of the filth that builds up through being committed to such a harsh study routine. Usually I like to use nice organic stuff, you know, the kind of shampoo that doesn't contain paint-stripper. Alas, today my choice was limited to one bottle that sat on the edge of the bath. It was labelled Head and Shoulders Anti-Dandruff.
Now what you must realise is that I don't have dandruff. Rub my head with a very cold hedgehog and you's get nothing fall to my shoulders except a few broken spines. Still, I could see no harm in using anti-dandruff shampoo. So I did.
It's now one hour after my shower. I am sitting here at my desk, right hand clutching a green gel pen with which I am copying out some Japanese characters, left hand supporting my head which is cocked to one side as Lassie's might be when required to do the expression that says "what Are you talking about? I don't speak Human you fool! I'm a dog! Look, I've got four legs! Wwoof! Wwoof!! Get it?!" Anyway, such is my pose. The words I am copying out get progressively harder, and I begin to scratch my head.
Suddenly, my desk disappears under a 2-metre (about 8 shillings in old money) blanket of snow-white flakes! Agh! It's my scalp! It's falling off!
So you see, I now understand how anti-dandruff shampoo works. Rather than care for your skin with nice nutrients that ensure optimum health is maintained, it contains sulphuric acid, which has been diluted in a mixture of blue double cream and roll-on deodrant to disguise its true nature. What happens is that the shampoo simply removes your scalp, thus completely avoiding any risk of dandruff developing in the future.
So now you know.
Patch the Joseph campaign
I was thinking of launching a campaign today called "Patch the Joseph". Following the immense success of my appeal for people to fund the purchase of myself (i.e. not a single reply), I realised that due to the captive nature of the TGW audience, "Patch the Joseph" would undoubtedly be a huge success.
My problem is this: my favourite jeans are in need of patches down the front side of my left leg, but I don't have any spare denim left. So, I though I'd ask you to send in bits of material cut from your favourite jeans in order that I can cover the worn areas of my jeans, jeans which must surely be the most famous jeans currently worn by me in the western hemisphere (I don't have any others). Patches of any size welcome at the usual address. Please don't send them by email as my inbox capacity is limited to 50g (about 9 inches).
Many thanks to all my dear friends around the world who communicated your best wishes to me on the event of my 27th birthday yesterday. I was touched indeed. Emails, text messages, real live cards made of cardboard with pictures on, eGreetings with music and animations, birthday hugs, messages in my guestbook, phone calls and gift certificates - all very very muchly appreciated. Every single one of you made me feel even happier than I was to begin with, when woken at 8.20am by the phone - it was my Bristolian landlady (and precious friend) singing Happy Birthday!
I know at least one or two of you have been waiting to hear just how much mischief I managed to get into on the day - and I am pleased to announce that this year I went even wilder than on my legendary 20th birthday when that jumbo jet had to be diverted from Frankfurt to avoid an international scandal involving King Balfrezi of Quaxibevkankoon.
Yes, this year much of my birthday afternoon and all of my birthday evening was spent (wait for it...) darning my jeans. Jeans that are now embracing my lower body with their newly-aquired thick blue threads that run down the left leg, in preparation for patching. I must say, I really do enjoy sewing my trousers up (but not whilst wearing them). The thing is is that it takes such a long time that I seldom allow myself to indulge in the practice, having far too many other important things to do, such as study, or write drivvle on the internet. Thus, it really did make me feel very happy to be able to devote so much time to binding together the threads of my Milanese Jeans so that they could exist in a cacophony of harmonious strands. I also drank lots of cider, my glass being continuously topped up by dad, and laughed at all the classic jokes of a film that I really shouldn't admit to watching in this day and age, that is, Four Weddings and a Funeral.
I was in bed by 10.15pm, only to be woken up 5 minutes later ("Is it night or morning?" I asked mum in confusion when she opened my bedroom door!) by another telephonised rendition of Happy Birthday, this time performed by my dear sister.
Overall then it was a lovely relaxing day. My thanks to all of you who took part in it one way or another. :-)
Mind you, I knew that going to bed before midnight was a bad idea: at 4.20am I woke up and just couldn't get back to sleep! However, three hours later, having written 10 pages in my diary, I was shattered, and nodded off again until the respectable waking time of 10.30am.
I'm feeling rather unsettled tonight, which without analysis I can attribute to the fact that I am actually in transit, as tomorrow at 10.55am I shall be boarding a bus that will take me into the dark and dangerous north of England, where I shall continue to work towards my ultimate goal of becoming a superhero.
The grounding of almost all commercial flights in the USA for three days following 9/11 gave researchers a unique opportunity to find out whether air pollution had an immidiate effect upon the temperature of the Earth. Their discovery? It does, a lot. In the past 40 years there has been a 10% decrease in the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of our planet. Scientific research, such as that carried out following 9/11, indicates that this is due to man-made pollution, dust particles, reflecting sunlight back up into space.
The discovery of Global Dimming means that we now know that our present predictions on the rate of the rise in global temperatures due to global warming could be grossly underestimated. It is now thought, taking global dimming into account, that If we continue to pollute at our current rate we will be looking at a rise in global temperatures of 10°C by the end of the century. A rise of that nature would be catastrophic. We're talking a rise in sea levels of 7 metres, vast swathes of land that is currently green and fertile turn to desert. We can say goodbye to the rainforests too.
Remember the horrendous droughts and resulting famines of 1980's Africa? It is now thought that pollution in the Europe and the US was responsible for keeping the vital rains away.
We have have seen how nature is capable of killing thousands in the space of a few minutes. Scientists now fear that the manner in which we in the West currently live is leading directly to the deaths of billions of people, the majority of whom live in Asia. We're talking up to half the world's population.
It may sound like exaggerated scaremongering, but we really have to accept that we are having a huge impact upon our Earth, and that if we do carry on as we are, we are assuring that our children's children meet an early grave.
And yet the world's biggest polluter refuses to acknowledge that pollution is an issue, refuses to sign up to the Kyoto protocal.
And yet everyday around the world vast sums of money are spent by humans killing other humans. The sheer narrow-minded, selfish shortsightedness of our leaders is unforgivable. What will be left for future generations when the fuel for wars has run out, when billions have died due to such crimes as Wars on Terror, when those lands over which the wars are fought are nothing but scalded deserts?
This is a future which is a very real possibility, and every year we come to appreciate more and more just how close this future really could be.
T minus 40 hours...
Yes, less than two days to the big exam that is worth 60% of everything I've done so far, and I'm thinking...
Why oh why did I choose Japanese? Why not French? Or German. I bet you they don't have regularly-used words that fit into categories such as (and I kid you not)
"Dental Fricative Consonants"
"Voiceless Bilabial Plosives"
Those are ENGLISH words by the way, not Japanese!
Grrrr atama ga itai... (my brain hurts!!)
[UPDATE: ahhh, I have been informed by the linguists amongst you that many languages have such elements. hhhmmm, well I bet not many other languages have 4 alphabets!]
T minus 1 hours 29 minutes...
That's right, kick off is just an hour and a half away for my first ever proper exam. Well, sort of. My first exam today is actually just being run by my department, so it's not really big or scary. Our regular tutors will be present to invigilate, it's only an hour long, and it's being held in a relatively small lecture hall that is pretty familiar to us anyway. That one's centred on Kanji knowledge and listening skills.
It's at 1.30pm that things get really scary. That's when we have to join hundreds of other students in a huge hall, surrounded by machine-gun-toting grey-haired half-moon-spectacled proffessors sporting rather eccentric waistcoats, who these days get their kicks by competing to see who amongst their ranks can take out the most mobile phones from 50 yards with a single shot. That's a three-hour scorcher, testing all our knowledge of everything we've learnt so far in Japanese. Translation from English to Japanese, Japanese to English, and a composition.
hmmm I'd better stop writing about it, it's making me nervous. The last time I did a proper invigilated exam I lost it half-way through. Wrote "fish" all over my paper, stood up and walked out. That was the end of my college carreer, 10 years ago.
GANBARIMASU!! (Good luck / I'll do my best!)
(that's the bit of the tune played on Channel 4's Countdown when the second hand crosses the line meaning "time's up!")
Well, they'll be no counting of niwa tori's (chickens) just yet, but I must say, I do believe the study paid-off. Ok, so I know that I translated "left leg" incorrectly (it's "hidari ashi" not "hidari soku", and that I didn't catch the part in the bloomin' difficult listening exam that explained that the photograph was taken by her grandfather and given to her by her grandmother on the occassion of her birthday, but, on the whole, we are content with our performance. Results will hopefully be out in a couple of weeks.
It seems the rumours about the gun-toting professors were false. All we got was a 70-year-old beanpole who was frightfully polite, aided by a team of yellow T-shirt sporting youths.
The next exam is set for 9.30am Thursday 27th January. Until then I shall have my head buried in books learning all about just why Japan is not all all special, and is in fact 'just another country, which has a habit of denying that it ever did anything wrong.
joseph's moving house
Since last September I had been assured that next year I could stay in the place where I currently reside, the rather convenient Broad Lane Court. Imagine my shock and horror therefore when a couple of days back a mail fell into my inbox from the university management on high saying that there had been a policy change: I was to either accept a place in university-owned catered accommodation (no thanks. The things I've heard about the food served there would be enough to cause a hippo to go on a ten-month fast)... or, I could find my own place in the private sector.
Being the immensely efficient chap that I am, I am pleased to announce that within a fortnight a contract for a room in a modern flat not far from here will be winging its way to me. The fact that I was scared to lift the cover of the next text book on the list of required reading for my exam has nothing to do with it. Anyway, yes, it's all sorted. The room's smaller, the internet's slower (512kbps vs 3.5mbps, how will I survive?), the rents higher and there's all sorts of nasty extras to pay, but hey, I think it will make for an easy life. The idea of a big, cold, damp victorian house without soundproofing but with sticky carpets does not appeal - so I am willing to pay the price. You can see it here if you really want to. I think I'll be in a mixed-sex flat of 4 or 5. Oh, I get an en-suite bathroom too - never had one of them before. Although, the size of Japanese apartments means that most of them could technically be classified as en-suite...
I move in on September 15th, probably.
Experienced something of an anti-climax this week, and therefore have been feeling pretty crap. It has been fuelled by two events: the ecstatically wonderful Christmas holiday that I had, in which I was able to see friends and family from my childhood days. One can forget how precious these relationships are - you know that these people are important to you, but the extent to which you feel attached in a familial manner can be lost to time - until you meet up again and feel the joy brought about by their company. Couple this then with my return to Sheffield in exam season, when one does not see friends as a matter of course as there are no classes, and everyone is at home revising.
The resulting feeling of isolation has been quite strong, intensified by the contrast between the emotionally supportive environment I was in a fortnight ago, and the one I am in now, which lacks this form of sustenance. I had been looking forward to my Japanese course for quite some time, and so did feel a certain amount of anxiety that I would experience an academic anti-climax. Thankfully, this has not been the case at all. However, what with Sheffield University playing host to some 26,000 students, I was not expecting a social anti-climax - yet this is what I now feel.
Don't get me wrong, I am very fond of my classmates and the other numerous friends that I have made here in Sheffield. And (never start a sentence with "and" I'm always telling my friend) PERHAPS my feeling of craptivity is due to not being in regular contact with the m... However, I don't think that this is the case, i.e. when we do start classes again although my mood will lift, I don't see the dissolution of this undercurrent of unhappiness. You see the thing is I am lacking in any really good friends here with whom I can share stuff, you know? I'd been expecting to meet at least one person over the course of the first few months with whom I could "bond", but now, having reached this definitive point in time, that being the end of the semester/start of new semester I'm looking back and comparing what I have here with what I've had elsewhere. That's a grossly unfair thing to do of course - how could my home of four months possibly compete with a lifetime of friendships? Still, it doesn't stop me doing it.
Coupled with that is this morning's news that a former longstanding sexual partner has moved on. Despite the fact that we had no obligations towards one another, I found it hard to deal with the jealousy. Damn jealousy, was there ever a more destructive human emotion?!! I think it's more or less under control now (not bad, 3 hours). Just have to not think about it.
Well, that's enough whining for one day. RAAAAAAAAAAAA.
THINGS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THIS WEEK:
I received, from dear Kaechan in Japan, a hat that she hand knitted for me. It's lovely. Rather camp, just how I like my clothes.
I received, from dear Melanie and Tim in Bristol, a Birthday Box containing a gorgeous organic mug for my tea, and some divine organic chocolate.
I received, from one of my second mothers in Wales, advice on how to re-stretch the cotton trousers that I shrunk in the tumble drier on Thursday. Having wet them (again.. I know, you would have thought I'd have learnt by now), I tied weights to the bottom of the legs and hung them in the shower. This technique has worked wonders, restoring the lost 10cm of length. Amazing.
I have struck up a friendship with someone I should have had the guts to approach a long time ago. Alas, it's all too late, for they leave the country in a couple of weeks - but that does not lessen the happiness that I feel at having made the connection. Not very good for revision though, I spent an hour last night composing an email when I should have been learning about Unions and their role in the development of the Japanese economy.
So it's not all doom and gloom. Just mostly.
three hours my arse! Well, maybe the jealousy only lasted three hours, but I forgot just how depressing all the baggage is.
I think I can say that that was officially the most depressing weekend I've had since that legendary one of the summer of 2003. Events really conspired against me. To top it all off my computer got 8 viruses yesterday and ended up diplaying the dreaded Blue Screen of Death - twice. Thinking that might signal the end of this current Windows installation (it's been almost two years now, quite a miracle) I was up until 4am backing up the 28,260 files in my My Documents folder. Twenty-eight thousand? What the hell have I got in there? Hhmm, so it's now 2pm Monday. I haven't left my flat since 7pm Friday. Oh, that's a lie - I put the rubbish out on Saturday. Been trying to forget about real life by studying Japanese culture.
I had a thought today, that maybe this weekend marks a watershed for me. Thinking on it a bit more, I have come up with the following plan: continue to feel like poo for a couple more days in isolation, then have a cleansing period in an environment totally detached from the causes of my depression - that'll be The Welsh Garden Project Site - I go there for eight days commencing Friday. Then I return to Sheffield. New semester, seeing lots of people again (not including those who have led me to feel like I do now), meeting new people on my new module (East Asian Cinema) etc.
I find, on those rare occasions when I go into prolonged states of minor-depression, that it's best to absolutely embrace the feeling, to be thoroughly miserable and not try to fight the emotion. After a few days, I then discover a little light - maybe in a piece of music, or in the words of a friend on a train a long long way from here (thank you)... and I realise that if I put my new hat on and go and buy some toilet paper and tofu, I can absorb the negativity associoated with recent events into my long-term memory, which has a natural filter that acts to blunten the cutting edge of hurtful, er, *stuff*. Accept what has happened as a consequence of the passage of time, or, as is more often the case, as a consequence of my actions in the past. Then it will become just a part of my life, another chapter in the publication that will take the world by storm upon my death.
At least it's not unrequited love that's been screwing me up, as that must be the worst thing, on a par with strong jealousy I'd say (and often due to its very nature, intertwined with jealousy).
RAAAAAAAAAAAA oh yes RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I shall survive with a big RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
At least my computer's ok now. (strokey strokey keyboard).
on TV ...again
I thank you.
Yes, just had a phone call from a friend of mine to inform me I was being beamed out across the nation tonight on the BBC network, for the, er, 6th time - I think that's including my Australian airing. So that's 120 minutes of fame now... It's only been two months since the last time. I had a quick look for the viewing figures to see how many people switched off during the course of the sob-story, but alas, they're not avaialble for a week...
on the up
Must say, I'm feeling much better now. No, it's got nothing to do with being on TV, or the fact that I finished that damn depressing book on Japanese Culture. Mind you, I'm onto an even more depressing one now. Having serious second thoughts about where to spend my year abroad. Tokyo is becoming this big evil lump of polluting concrete. Did you know that due to the high population density, Tokyo temperatures are increasing at 10 times the speed of global warming? Did you know that due to the sheer amount of corruption in the construction industry (strong connections with politicians) it costs 9 times as much to build a road there as in the USA (not a bad thing one might think if it weren't for the fact that the projects go ahead anyway, using money "borrowed" from the largest financial institution in the world, that being the Japanese Postal Savings system, in which I actually have about 1 pound invested). Did you know that the country is now so in debt due to Government corruption and overspending that 16% of tax revenues are swallowed up by paying the interest alone?
One story that made me laugh was that of one of Japan's formermost architects, Takenaka, who designed a 1000 metre high 'Sky City 1000 which would accomodate 35,000 residents and 100,000 office workers in "a synthetic, yet totally comprehensive environment which will unite both urban functions and nature with the goal of developing the vertical utilization of urban space"'.
i need chocolate
Well with all thoughts relating to women now cast from my mind, I am able to feel the full weight of the huge snowball of knowledge that I need to aquire by Thursday, as it happily thunders over the top of me in the never-ending fashion of a scratched CD, a scratched CD that is playing a medley of tunes all of which go along the lines of "What a mess that country's in!"
But that wasn't what I came here to tell you. No. The reason I made the epic journey over from my bed which lies about 100 milimetres behind me is that I NEED CHOCOLATE! It's as simple as that. I don't care what form it comes in - although I'd prefer it if it hasn't already been partially chewed - I just need CHOCOLATE!
T minus 9 hours
That's it. I can do no more. I've done a final whole day of revision, not been further than the toilet for 36 hours or so. Oh boy oh boy will I be glad when the exam's over. That's the last proper one until June I think. I think I pretty much know and remember everything I need to know and remember - but I can see that knowing and remembering stuff won't be the problem, no. I've just done a couple of practice exam essays, and I can see that the main issue is going to be time. 2 hours, 3 essays. 40 mins per question. That's so tight, I don't think I've ever had such pressure. And you know what I'm like, I do like to waffle, as evident here.
Oh well, here goes. Wish me luck.