The Daily Mumble February 2005 Archive
February 2005 saw a distinct madness in the air, and within my brain as I climbed inside my latex fly suit and ate a snowdrop. Buzzing on from there, I grew beansprouts and flowers, I went into free-fall like a wet T-shirt, I wrote essays, I felt lonely, I felt happy, I did all these things and more...
hello again boys and girls. It's me. I'm back. Fresh as a Spring flower, as you can see in the photo of me below in my lifesize fly costume.
Jolly tasty snowdrop it was too.
[commercial break: a friend of mine who insists on stealing my photos (albeit having asked my permission!) has been educating me in the ways of phenology – studying the timings of flowering and leafing events - you can learn more here courtesy of www.naturedetectives.org.uk]
So yes well then it does seem that Spring is just around the corner. In addition to these lovely flowers that are popping up both here in Wales, and 10 miles down the road at my parent's house (as pictured with a yellow crocus in the foreground), this afternoon I spotted my first tree showing signs of wanting to burst into leaf. Hurrah!!! Oh yes, we likes Springs doesn't we's my precious. It makes us feel happy.
I've had a pretty grim couple of weeks. Post-exam trauma combined with feelings of isolation in Sheffield, general exhaustion, and I-just-heard-my-ex-has-a-new-partner syndrome. Mind you, the exams went really well, or at least, I think they did. We get the results later in the month.
I've been on the Welsh Garden Project site for almost a week now, which has been very good for me. My host-mothers are too kind. My mood hasn't been all that good - which would account for the manner in which I hacked through an inaccessable-until-now section of the garden with a chainsaw today. Only took a couple of minutes as I revved up and castrated many a tree. Oh the POWER!! (I'd just like to add that this is not just indiscriminate destruction, but a sort of thinning out to make it more human and wildlife friendly, and to let the nice trees (that have until now been smothered by brambles and weedy-trees such as Ash) see the light of day, just in case you were thinking that I was a bit of a hypocrite).
Well, anyway, I don't really have any news, but I just wanted to say hello, and to share my happiness that Spring is on the way, and show you how sexy I look in my fly costume.
Ah, there's nothing like the taste of real butter. - so I'm told, you understand, me being vegan I wouldn't know now would I? I can only guess at how good my organic cabbage would have tasted with organic butter smothering it's tender leaves this evening... and as for the chahan that's accompanying it, well, only my imagination could tell me how nice it might be with Organic local cheese bought up the road at the wholefood shop...
I need all the treats I can get my hands on at the moment. Feeling rather overwhelmed with the enormity of Semester 2. Got my timetable today. Add the demands of that to the list of other regular commitments I have, plus the hours of homework I can see I'm going to have to put it, and I end up with barely a moment to call my own.
The new timetable is also resulting in a kind of splintering of the group I've been a part of in classes as we all have different seminars to go to at different times. Ooooohh not change! I'm human, I don't like change! Make everything like it was 7 weeks ago please!! AND THEN couple in the fact that I have offended, rather badly, a good friend. It was completely unintentional, a result of a moment of unthinking honesty, but has had harsh consequences. I'm sure we'll weather the storm in the long term, but for now it's like walking round with a string of cow-pats nicely laid out in front of me wherever I go, startegically placed to ensure that I don't miss a single one. Good job I bought some walking boots the other day I guess, as my old trainers would never have prevented my feet from getting squelchy.
My flat mate is a sweety. I think he must have read last month's mumble in which I memntioned feeling rather depressed due to realising that I have no bosom buddies here. He was telling me how he feels the same... and I'm starting to get the impression that this is a general anticlimax sweeping the first-year community. Yes, anyway, he was a comfort. He may be crap at washing-up but he's a real nice guy beneath the congealed baked-beans and bowls of mouldy coco-pops.
This evening then, I'm trying to get to grips with dealing with my timetable, like, moving beyond the panic stage and into the acceptance of it as a fact of life that will leave me with no time to go out chasing ladies as I really want to do. Woops, did I say that? I tell you though, I'm sure that over Christmas the general sexiness of Sheffield women has increased by at least 75%. I'm starting to think that I've caught something off the Siamese cat that lives on the Welsh Garden Project Site and has been on heat for much of the last month. I try not to yowl as loudly as her though.
It might also be something to do with my recent education in the world of Asian concubines - purely incidental you understand, it occured whilst studying East Asian Cinema. Oh for the good old days when I was Chinese emperor. Ah, just thought of another reason why my chastity belt is becoming warped at the seams - it's spring, and therefore the sap's rising. I am afterall an organic being, a part of the ecosystem and so it is only natural that my urges come and go with the seasons. Although I must say mine have a history of not really going once spring is over.
It's about time I had some huge adventure in the world of love, worthy of a BBC documentary. Can't involve credit cards this time though. Oh but that probably means I'd have to fall passionately in love, and then that would mean two months of pining when I go away in the summer. Better to stay single Joseph. A ladyfriend would also distract you from your studies, and you know how badly you did with last night's homework. Not that a ladyfriend was involved last night you understand, rather, I mean, I need to do lots more study.
You know what though, I dribbled all over teddy last night!! Yes, I woke up and he had a soaking wet nose! Poor thing, I'd been using him as a pillow. Dribbling on buses is the most embarrasing thing though, not that I make a habit of it. You know that feeling of horror though when you're woken up half-way through a long bus journey by a huge dollop of dribble hitting the back of your hand.. you look around to see if anyone else has noticed... mind you, on the number 12 from Torquay to Paignton you'd be stared at for NOT dribbling.
Well, I can see I'm not going to get anywhere with my million and one things to do list by sitting here typing, so I'd best sign off.
well well well things have certainly changed for the better. I took positive action and now, well, I'm very happy again! No time to tell you about it all though as I'm absolutely shattered. nighty night.
Happy Birthday Daily Mumble
I note that today marks the third birthday of The Daily Mumble. Happy Birthday Daily Mumble!
The viewing figures from last month's BBC broadcast of my legendary sob story are in. Thanks to the wonders of some very clever website I have been able to retrieve the exact figures representing the audiences of the last two broadcasts of Body Hits - a combined total of 102,657 - 55,000 of which were full time house-wives apparently, and one of whom was my Japanese teacher here at Sheffield. This figure is really quite pathetic when compared with the figure for the first broadcast - that was over 1 miilion I seem to recall.. ho hum tiddly pom WIGGY!!
Honestly you lot What Are You Like? I make one mention of things having "changed for the better" (here) and you immidiately jump to the conclusion that this must mean I've ended up in bed with a lady! Chance would be a fine thing. And no, it wasn't a ginger Tom Cat either - as has been suggested by the owner of the randy Siamese cat to which I referred on Tuesday. I quote:
"She has, despite being on THE PILL, managed to come into season for the 3rd time in about 6 - 8 weeks! That would be semi-OK, EXCEPT that she got out the other evening, and came back in with her back legs wide apart, and a grin at the front end ...the big ginger Tom who was leaving the premises also had a smile !!!"
Anyway, enough about cats and sex, this is a family site.
So anyhow let me tell you about my week. It's been quite an emotional rollercoaster - although it lasted more than 30 seconds and I didn't have to queue for 4 hours to get on it.
So yes, when I returned to uni I felt damn depressed about my apparent lack of friends here. The anti-climax hit me quite hard, and coincided with the news that my friend with whom I've had a pseudo relationship for the past year had her socks under someone else's bed. In a bid to deal with that I transferred my affections to another, as one does when in that situation, and about 15-years-old, only to be gently rejected after a nail-biting two days of waiting for a reply to a drunken confessional email. That's the worst - waiting for a text or email from someone who've you've just broken some highly sensitive news to. Thank heaven's for email programs that check your 12 active email accounts (one for each of your personalities) every 60 seconds, otherwise you'd have to go and click on "refresh" every few minutes...). Yes, then following all that I rather stupidly told a good friend that I'm a nymphomaniac. This news clashed somewhat with the impression she'd had of me, and due to the context of the situation in which I told her this news, I really pissed her off. That's dreadful, when you let your friends down. Anyway, she's far too nice to hold a gridge, but it does mean that I don't think I can go round for supper anymore due to the embarrassment I've caused myself. Run away to Japan, that's the answer.
*note to self. Don't try to sweeten your tea by taking a teaspoon of it from your mug and adding it to the sugar bowl whilst distracted by your website. tit.
Anyway anyway, by Tuesday night I was feeling pretty crap - that's when I wrote my mumble entry above. Note that I finished it by saying "Well, I can see I'm not going to get anywhere with my million and one things to do list by sitting here typing, so I'd best sign off". It must have been about ten minutes later that I could be found stomping around my room swearing loudly. I think I was saying something along the lines of "**** it all! I'm ******* pissed off with all this. I'm fed up with all this pressure and bollox and [cue joseph reaching behind chair for 1.5litre bottle of evil, cheap fizzy white wine] I'm going to get completely pissed!"
This I did. In the space of about two hours not only did I consume - by myself, alone in my room - 1.5 litres of sweet alcoholic urine (I swear that's what it's made of), but also 4 bottles of beer kindly offered by my flat mate who is lovely despite the fact that his room smells worse than a 25kg sack of rotting potatoes that has been used as a recepticle for the contents of many a doggy-do poop-a-scoop (I'm sure he's agree with me on that one. We've been trying to encourage him to enter and leave his room via his window, thus preventing contamination of the corridor).
The alcohol inevitably led to a few phonecalls, although thankfully I was actually too drunk to dial the numbers I wanted to call! I remember fumbling around for ages trying to call America (not the whole country at once, because that would be a bit expensive), but in the end giving up after about 7 attempts at dialling the number.
Rather cunningly, my drunken state coincided with Chinese New Year, and the huge Chinese New Year party at Middle Kingdom nightclub.
Oooohh it was great. I danced all night, till 4am I think it must have been. It was such fun. And so many gorgeous women people there, ooohhh... but I wasn't there to pick anyone up - and if I had been I wouldn't have had a clue how to go about it, unlike one of my mates who constantly shocks me with the ease with which he ends up playing the role of dirty stopout. Must be the ginger hair - or the sheer cheek of the guy. I watched him for a while and couldn't believe his audacity - and lack of respect!! Shocking behaviour.
This example of my work is quite pathetic in terms of tecnique, but I had fun playing around. (Answer / suggestions to what the message means on a postcard, first one out of the hat wins the first prize of the priceless scroll itself!).
In addition to the classes there were other little events that served to propell my spirits even higher, such as the ten minutes spent talking to a friend whom I haven't seen for months, whilst waiting for the paternoster to start moving (it never did, meaning we had to walk up 19 flights of stairs to reach our lecture theatre!!).
Last week I made the decision to join People and Planet, a campaigning student society that can be found in universities nationwide. I've been meaning to go along to one of their meetings ever since I started uni, but until now haven't made time for it. However, on Wednesday, having had such a great day, I though a good way to round it off would be to meet a bunch of like-minded folks who would possibly become good mates. So that's what I did. And they were like-minded people, and I think they may become good mates. We had such a laugh practicing a song which we'll sing on the main campus next week to mark the launch of the international Make Poverty History campaign. It's to the tune of "Do they know it's Christmas", but with all the lyrics changed to relevant messages regarding the call for the dropping of third-world debt, providing more aid and restructuring trade laws in order that they work in the interests of the majority as opposed to the minority. All of this coincides with Britain's hosting of the G8 summit in July, which unfortunately I won't be able to attend due to my decision to go to Japan.
That was a great night, and I'm looking forward to making a right prat of myself with all my new aquaintances next week.
So yes, there's been no fireworks, there's been no toppling into the chasms of true love. Rather, it's been the gentle appearance of a rainbow of friendships, (much like the sort often seen from the Art's Tower when it's pissing it down), it's been these little happenings in combination that have resulted in my return to the top. So, all that stuff about needing a girlfriend, it's just not true. I'm perfectly capable of functioning without thank you, so in future, next time you hear that I'm feeling mightily happy don't be so quick to jump to the conclusion that it's the result of an incident involving a ginger pussey (cat).
My life this week, as demonstrated by the beanspouts I have on my window ledge.
On the left (Monday): hard, unappetising and not the kind of thing you'd like to nourish yourself with.
That hummus just does NOT want to be made.
My first two attempts ended in failure when I forgot about the chick peas that I'd left to soak ...for four days. If you've ever soaked chick peas for more than a day or so you'll know what the consequences are - a frothy stew that stinks of fresh doggy-doo, a stew so potent that if one was to fill a swimming pool with it one could use the resulting effluent to fuel all gas boilers within a radius of 500 miles. That's how smelly it is. My second attempt ending with a little more drama: having finally managed to get as far as putting the chick-peas in a pan to boil, I then promptly forgot about them. 2 hours later I'm sitting in my room wondering what that smell of smoke is - only to realise that it IS smoke, coming from a kitchen which one can't see across for the fumes. My greatest worry was the fire alarm: the one in the kitchen is set off by heat, so that wasn't a problem, but the one in the corridor is activated by smoke, and if it went off it would result in the evacuation of over 100 students and two fire engines racing up from the other side of town, with a possible fine of up to £500 for the false alarm.
Thankfully, this being Sheffield, there was a gale blowing, and so once I'd managed to open the cursed windows with their 1850's security locks the smoke cleared pretty quickly. For the first time in my life I bought Brillo Pads, which to my astonishment, removed all traces of chick peas soldered to the bottom of the pan.
Gosh, the excitement of it all.
I particularly liked the comment made by one of my flatmates after the incident.
"Oh yeah, the pan was starting to smoke when I was in here, so I turned the extractor fan on..."
I wrote a fantastic essay yesterday in Japanese, about the time I met Bjork on the London Underground, and ended up having babies with her in Iceland.
Got a phone call from a friend last night at 12.30am. She was in a terrible state, and it took a little time for me to understand exactly what had happened. When walking down her street last night, she was approached by some children. In a completely unprovoked attack, one of them grabbed her by the hand, whilst another punched her to the ground.
Poor girl, she was in a right state, such a dreadful thing to happen. Physically, she's just bruised, but psychologically it will take quite a while for her to heal. The shock of it all. I know how she must feel, and my heart goes out to her. One wonders what terrible things have happened to these children to make them feel the need to release their frustrations on vulnerable passers-by.
*end of social comment*
spring in my cupboard
I bought a bunch of daffodills yesterday. Look how much they've changed in 24 hours!
These hyacinths were but green buds a week back... and look at 'em now
*note to self. Remember to get a bigger letter box next year to allow for the excess of cards and chocolates being delivered*.
Yes, it was a nice dream I had last night. That was the one after the one where I got all my teeth knocked out in a Hong Kong side street, which was proceeded by the one where I was chained to a desk for hours on end writing out the Kanji (Japanese characters) in a bid to remember them all by tomorrow's midday test. Oh, hang on, that wasn't a dream...
I've really struggled with my university course this week. Not so much the grammar side of things, that's been easy. No, it's the kanji, the third Japanese alphabet that consists of about 2,000 characters 'borrowed' from Chinese that is posing the problem.
I did a little sum tonight, the results of which show that in a bid to learn this week's 24 new characters I have written them out 4,500 times! With a mean-average stroke count (number of strokes per character) of 10.25, that's over 45,000 individual pen strokes! No wonder my hand is knackered.
My social life has suffered somewhat as a result. I don't think I've done anything "social" since, er, last Wednesday, Doesn't bother me in the slightest though. I'm really enjoying seeing all me classmates and tutors every day... ho hum tiddly pom
Anyway, I think it can be safely assumed that my plan to ensure that I got at least one Valentine's card was a complete failure. Numerous cards sent via the interweb, bunches of flowers delivered to neighbouring specimens of the female race, big ads taken out on billboards nationwide advertising my availability and address.
What did I get in return?
One text message.
From someone who I know for a fact doesn't fancy me one little bit, but who does feel guilty about breaking one of my flowerpots last week.
Well, hey, it must be fear of rejection putting them all off, there's no other reason for it. Ah, well, it's perfectly understandable really. I know if I was a girl I'd feign disinterest in me; that's the only way I could cope with my feelings without melting into the floor like a big pile of melty stuff that is unstable in room temperatures when exposed to racing hormones.
*Joseph is suddenly awoken by the sound of his own snoring. He rolls over ...and within seconds falls back into a deep sleep*
YO YO WIGGY ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah
joseph's wiggying it up big STYLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
today has been marvellous for lots of reasons:
You know, I'm really pretty damn happy at the moment.
ooh ello. I just happened to be passing by the television last night when I witnessed the murder of a central character from Eastenders. He's been in it for years... shocking stuff. Almost as upsetting as the time Harold Bishop allegedly fell of a cliff, but in fact was just hiding behind the pepperpot, until the time was right to re-emerge, 5 years later.
So, another week has flown by, with all the speed of a wet T-shirt falling from 30,000 feet as a dare. The trousers said it wouldn't have the guts you know. The socks, which are related by marriage are waiting anxiously on the airstrip. Will the T-shirt survive the fall? We'll just have to wait to find out.
I had a great time at the Tuesday Club t'other night. My neck has just about recovered. Not sure why it's been aching ever since as I wasn't exactly headbanging. Having shaved all my hair off last week I don't exactly have the neccesary credentials.
Following night saw the very successful lanuch of Make Poverty History, which I shall plug again here. Excellent speakers, and a couple of extreme anarchists in the audience to lively things up. One of them I instantly recognised as a chap who'd crashed a public seminar given by a resident professor on South Korea that I'd sat in on earlier that day. Attended by all the big-wigs of the School of East Asian Studies, it was a serious affair, debating Korea's place as piggy in the middle between China, the US and North Korea. Half-way through the proceedings, a rather rugged-looking man entered the boardroom, and took a seat at the table around which we were assembled. It wasn't long before he found an opportunity to introduce himself, by stating not only his name, but also the fact that he was desperately in love with a North Korean woman...
A few minutes down the line it was clear he wasn't really aware of the framework of the discussion, or, for that matter, the basic current state of affairs within Korea. Eventually, he was asked by the chairman to please put his question to the guest speaker, to which he replied,
"I'm not here to ask questions! I'm here to tell YOU the answers!"
Silence hit the room. Here was a man who wasn't even aware that Korea had been a Japanese colony for over 30 years, telling a bunch of experts on the divided nation that he had the answers! Looking around the table I could see surprise being replaced by stifled expressions of amusement. To our shared delight, the chairman was quick to put him in his place.
I have found it difficult to balance my frustration with the state of world affairs with appropriate positive action, my time being the factor that has prevented reconcilliation. I look at those who devote themselves to good causes, and I admire them. But they have also given me reason to feel guilty due to my comparitive lack of action. The fact is, is that at the moment my priorities lie with learning Japanese etc... something that could be considered to be a wholly selfish commitment.
Hmm, anyway, the point I actually want to make is that this week I have been able to reconcile the two. I have put my foot down regarding my right to put my studies first, in return for a small but sustained effort in terms of campaigning for a better world, whilst simultaneously avoiding Tescos.
I've spent much of today writing an essay (in Japanese) about what I'd do if I were a bird. It was quite a frustrating process actually. My first title had been "If I were God", but I found that I lacked the neccesary vocabularly. My next title was "If I couldn't live in England", but I couldn't think what I'd do if that were the case and so gave up. I tackled the subject of life in Iceland last week and so "If I were Bjork's boyfriend" was out of the question.
The conductor on the tram let me have a free ride yesterday because I didn't have enough money to get home. What a nice man.
This week I have revolutionised the way in which I use my mobile phone. It involves keeping it switched off at all times, except for maybe once or twice a day to check for messages. Ohhh, the freedom this gives me, it really has made a huge difference to my stress levels. The message that my answerphone plays adds to the sense of sitting in a bath full of naked ladies feeding me crisp green grapes - "please don't leave a message as I can't afford to retrieve it. Instead, send me a text or email, and I'll get back you soon". It's amazing how many people respect this request. I find a mobile phone such an intrusion upon one's personal space ...then of course there's the mind-warping radio waves they send out, as if I'm not brain-dead enough as it is.
Well, time for a RAAAAAAAAAAAAAA goodbye I think
oooh gosh another week gone. Time flies when you're having fun. Or very busy.
In a bid to keep up with all the work, and allow myself guilt-free relaxation time, I have initiated a new working week schedule. Essentially, it involves getting up at 8am everyday (which has been a bit of a struggle), going to the library and staying there until it closes just after 9pm. The 12 hours I spend within the compound are punctuated by one or two lectures in the adjoining Arts Tower, and lunch, which takes the form of a fanastic packed lunch which I have made the night before. This way, you see, when I get home I can do whatever I want all evening and not feel the slightest bit guilty. It's working wonders for my stress levels, and as I enjoy the study I'm a pretty happy bunny too.
This routine also gives me the chance to go out at weekends, as I did last night, and the night before. Friday saw me having a celebratory drink with the two lovliest ladies that reside in Broad Lane Court. That was all very amusing; I was completely drunk after half a pint of beer! However, when the boyfriend of one of my two companions arrived, and they started getting all cuddly and smoochy, myself and my fellow gooseberry found it all a bit much to handle, both being semi-reluctant singletons... and so headed home for a DVD.
Yesterday morning I drove a minibus full of children to a HUGE steel mill on the outskirts of Sheffield. It was a damn sexy place, with huge great metal girders flying overhead and cranes the size of very big elephants on stilts. With the collapse of the steel industry way back in (insert date here if you know it, because I don't), the plant was forced to shut down. However, it has now been resurrected and transformed into a hands-on science park. Sadly I didn't get to play as paying the nine quid entry fee (which incidentallly is "nyuujouryou" in Japanese) would have resulted in me living off beansprouts alone for the next month, as opposed to bean sprouts and raw potatoes. The driving of the 6 metre minibus went without a hitch through all the Saturday traffic, but when I got back to the minibus compound I managed to reverse it into a big steel fence, whilst one of the mechanics was watching. Tee hee.
Last night I met up with the delightfully lovely Lisa, whose used to occupy the booth next to mine in the little Tokyo office where we allegedly taught English. It's been almost three years since I last saw her, so boy was it good to catch up. She was crew for The Wedding Present who were playing live at the Leadmill, and I was on the guestlist! This meant not only getting in for free, but also going down to the dressing room afterwards where, whilst mingling with the stars (I didn't have the foggiest who was a band member and who wasn't) I gorged myself on grapes, hummus, bananas and cheese. It was practice for when it's my name on the door.
Anyway, I have a pile of stuff to get through today, so I shall bid you a fond farewell.