The Daily Mumble March 2005 Archive
March 2005 - I don't think I've ever had such a busy month, oh, except for that one where I was sat on by an indian elephant after going into space on board an affluent carrot from Nova Scotia. Still, that month apart, I don't think I've ever had such a busy month. Study, Rose Parties, bungee jumping, testicles, GM, a wedding, a date with an ambassador and a bit of nudity all featured in this months happenings. Read on to find out more...
a long roll of cartridge paper
sex and study: plenty of one, none of the other
I've been sitting in front of this screen for several hours now, without feeling the slightest bit guilty. Usually, after about 20 minutes the feeling that I really ought to be studying kicks in, but no, that is now a thing of the past.
No, I haven't kicked my nerdish nose-to-the-grindstone habits into the outer stratosphere, rather, I have begun my second week of adhering to a ludicrous study timetable which I am thoroughly enjoying. 12 hour days spent in the library with three of my classmates who share my tragic attitude towards Japanese (i.e. we love it, can't get enough of it, and can't quite get over how much we are expected to learn in the space of one week) fly by. With a wide selection of tuppers filling my rucksack containing such delightful delicacies as Organic Quince Jam Sandwiches, Organic Cous Cous and Nut Risotto, and a selection of Organic fresh fruit, I rarely have to leave the building. A flask of piping hot herb tea keeps me in fluids for the day, whilst I have adopted an astonishingly clean toilet downstairs as my own. Pooing in public loos is not something I make a habit of, but this cubicle is really rather attractive.
My cold is on the way out, which is rather exciting. At one point I was getting through 5 sheets of kitchen roll a day. There's only so many times they could be dried out on the library radiator in preparation for re-use.
Hhmm, it's interesting observing the party-politics within our year. I think I, and the other "vocal" members of our group must piss people off at times by being too enthusiastic. Tis not intentional of course, but at the end of the day I came here for one primary reason - to learn Japanese - so that's what I'm doing. Of course there are other reasons too, such as making use of the opportunity to have lots of casual sex, something which so far has (almost completely) eluded me.
At the end of the day [note 2nd use of this phrase in only 5 lines] it's only by actively participating in classes that we are going to learn anything... I was amused the other day when I overheard members of another group in my year discussing how they "really must try harder to talk in class", and that they felt bad about giving the teacher such a hard time by being so passive. I salute them for recognising that they have an issue on their hands, and acknowledge that I sound like a patronising twat.
I was particularly happy today to be able to make use of an opportunity to make [twice in one sentence] a joke in Japanese. It wasn't particularly clever, or funny for that matter, but none the less, satisfying. "Do you like children?" I was asked in the role-play situation. "Yes, but I couldn't eat a whole one!". Sadly I got one word slightly wrong, substituting the word for "whole" for another which then gave the sentence the meaning, "yes, but I couldn't eat a smoke alarm." Also, the joke was also lost on the teacher - I guess they don't know that one in Japan. Ah, what a treat they have in store, if only they knew what talent is going to be gracing their flat screens in 6 years time...
Phoned an old friend in America tonight. Ohhh I tell you I was that close to booking a flight to the US. Having now spent over 10 weeks without a proper shag, well, the fact that this friend of mine is rather partial to the idea of a game of scrabble in the haystack with me, and I with her... well, it just demonstrates The Power of the Willy. Flights aren't too expensive at the mo, but with my trip to Japan now only a few months off I don't think I can afford it. Bah humbug. I shall just have to pray that my willy doesn't drop off until the next time it is called upon to bring untold pleasure to one lucky lady, or several lucky ladies, whichever opportunity arises first. :-P
Anyway, look, it's bloomin 2am now, I have to be up in 6 hours for another day of fun on the Wonderful Planet Earth.
May peace (heiwa) love (ai) and harmony (haven't learnt that word yet) be with you until next time.
It was back in November 2002 that my girlfriend at the time and I escaped the stress of city life by heading for a magical location deep in the Italian outback. The cultural society that hosted us, Reading Retreats in Rural Italy, has now moved to the magnificent Castle of Galeazza, where relaxation, classical concerts and general well being are to be found.
I hope to go back there one day, and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone seeking time out from life on the coal face.
Feeling somewhat uncomfortable today. I believe it stems from my participation in mt university department's Open Day this afternoon- I was there providing the current-student's point of view on Japanese Studies at Sheffield Uni. I was so nervous - which I'm annoyed about - and, oh, I don't know, it's just made me feel bad. I also feel guilty about having bombarded Japan Society members with emails this week, necessitated by various people telling me things which then turned out to be incorrect etc etc.
Also, it's been a week of lots of new people in my life, and this has rocked my sense of place in my world. I'm not talking new people who I will have a great deal to do with in the future (or at least I doubt they will) - these are people who have come into my life through (for example) the Japan Society, and this website. Those who I have met through Japan Society I feel some kind of responsibility towards (due to my position as secretary). I dislike being the go-between between members and committee. Of course that's my job, and I volunteered to do it. I do think that the Japan society does a great job in facilitating inter-national "stuff", but the stress involved in organising it all... I know for sure that I won't be standing for any position on any committee whatsoever next year.
I'm in a bit of a mess. I'm going to get a pizza (my 3rd since arriving in Sheffield last year).
oooh ello. well my pix=zza tuenrde into a party. A Rose party. we all wore pink (as evident below). And drank cheap rose wine. I met someone from hereford. she was very nice. Went to the same college as me. Bit of a "good girl" I think. Got to the impression that she went to her classes when a student there, rather than being 'misled' by peers and spedning the days in the clouds in churchill gardens! i also met a very nice man studying russian. all i could say to him was "ya tibya lubleau", something marina tauight me when we were together. he didn't want my love thopugh.
on the way home I walked past a window and took a photo. there was a naked man on the other side.
a few of tonight's photos.
release the pressure
feeling so much better today. Delighted that I managed to sleep until 10:45am, quite an achievement for me.
Did some monkey dancing last night. Would show you the video but my computer can no longer cope with converting my movies into some format suitable for the web, it must be getting old. Yeah so yeah but no but dancing is like magic the way it can free you of tension. Things are back in perspective now. Sun is shining. No hangover.
There's a bunch of students over from Nagoya Graduate College at the mo. They're allegedly 19 years old, but I swear they can be no more than 16. Maybe Japanese years are shorter than those in the west. We had a social t'other night which I enjoyed in a kind of smile-on-face way.
Here's my breakfast bowl. Do you like it?
Spring's gonna be here real soon. It's Easter holidays in just two weeks. 3 weeks in the Welsh outback preparing for my next lot of exams early next month.
Ooooh, which reminds me...
[Joseph gets his own trumpet out and prepares to blow]
I've got my exam results! These cover all the work I did between September '04 and January '05. I did two modules, one focusing purely on language, and another dealing with Japanese history / culture etc. For the former I got 84%, for the latter 74%, giving me an overall result of 81%!
The cut-off point for a First is 70%, so I'm comfortably beyond that. Being a perfectionist I wouldn't have been happy with anything less than a First so it's a jolly good job I got one!
Me big bruv came up for the weekend which was nice. We went to a party, the kind of party where the music (read "Oasis") is turned up full blast so no-one can talk, where the beer is thrown all over the floor, the Mr. Muscle Oven Cleaner sprayed in people's hair, and truth-or-dare type drinking games played, with bottles of vodka and tequila being downed by the minute, mixed with Strongbow Cider, cheap white wine (and beer). Ah, yes, took me back to when I was about 17 [was I really like that?]... I must say though, it was actually quite an amusing experience, and the hangover the following day wasn't all that bad either. Our thanks to the host for enabling us to travel back in time.
Today's been a good day. A friendship which had been on the rocks ever since the end of a brief drunken relationship of sorts has finally been freed from the rockpool that had ensnared it, having had the hole through which it had taken on water repaired by a resident octopus who was handy with ducktape. In addition to that, one has received news that no less than at least 5 of my class mates also got 1st's in their exams, which is great. Mind you, burn-out could be just around the corner. Tonight, at 9.15pm when the library staff kicked M & I out after our 12 hour 15 minute stay there (with a couple of hours off for lectures), I said to M, "You know, having studied the Kanji for the past 5 hours, I think I might go home and give myself a treat, by revising a bit of grammar".
Kind of sums it all up really.
Holiday: 9 school days and counting.
another week over. and what a week it's been. very busy.
i'm not going to take you through my week, but rather, pick out a couple of things that have touched me (sadly that won't include some sexy ladies hand...)
We start with a little cruel irony. These past few months I have found myself becoming very fond of someone who I would very much like to have as a good friend, but someone whom society dictates that I cannot socialise with, someone whom I can but admire from afar and discuss with nothing but business related to the nature of her official role in my life.
When speaking with her earlier this week she seemed to have something to say to me, something she was clearly quite embarrassed about, something that had its roots outside of our official environment. I was completely bemused, but encouraged her to speak her mind, which eventually she did - by inviting me to her wedding!
I am touched by this, deeply touched. Here is a wonderful example of feelings overcoming constrictive social norms. (*lucky bastard!* was something else that went through my mind...!)
Tired tonight. Feeling lonely. No doubt Beth Orton has a hand in that, as has my inability to move on from a life I had several years ago. I've always found it to be the case that until the next relationship sweeps one away, one will always think back to the last time one felt true love, and yearn to return to that same cocoon, no matter how wrong it may be to do so.
Felt like quitting Japanese earlier this week. Wanted to be a full-time environmental activist. That's where my true passions lie you know, Japanese is more... a sideline, or perhaps, a tool I shall make great use of in my bid to make the little bit of difference that I can make.
well, as I said, I'm tired, so I'm going to go to bed and watch a DVD.
Whilst sitting in the library today writing an essay in Japanese entitled "The Worst Day of My Life", I couldn't help but notice people jumping off the ground with ropes tied to their legs just the other side of the glass wall to my left. Bloomin' good jumpers they were too.
Saw The Incredibles tonight at the Union's cinema... I tell you, I've hardly got any nails left! If you haven't seen it yet - don't wait a moment longer. It's great, I loved it.
Phoned one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world last night. She lives in Japan and is utterly wonderful. I had been feeling very nervous about seeing her again after over 2 years of no-see, and what with our torrid history... well, it's understandable that I was starting to get a bit hippity hoppity about it all. But last night I was able to be completely open about about how I've been feeling, and I tell you, I feel so much calmer about it all. It's time for us to move onto the next stage, and strange though it will be at first, I have high hopes for what we can produce from the fertile land that has nourished us throughout many seasons in the past.
Ooohhh very tired. Think it's time for a bedtime snack, then a DVD to send me to sleep.
it means my darlings, that for the first time since last Autumn the sunshine has reached over the rooftop of the building opposite mine and shot a ray of pure golden light into my room BEFORE 9am! This makes me feel very excited - a sure sign that the winter is almost over. Nice half-sunlit daffodils huh?
100 protesters, 1000 police officers
Those of you who know me well will realise that what they need to do right now is send me a big bar of chocolate, wrapped up in a girlfriend who is either a) Japanese or b) speaks fluent Japanese, thus enabling me to have a relationship whilst not feeling guilty when not studying, and undo all my masculine Japanese language training.
The others amongst you may perhaps realise that it is exceedingly difficult to wrap a bar of chocolate up with a person in a manner in which the result is a parcel that the Post Office will accept as acceptable according to their accepted acceptable packaging regulations. Still, if someone does happen to manage to get around this slight problem, for example, if you are a postal worker yourself and have insider information on how to get unacceptable packages accepted, or if you know a Japanese girl who happens to be the daughter of Flat Stanley, then please do go ahead. Mind you, if Flat Standley is truly flat, then I think the chances of him successfully producing children are slim (boom boom!) to say the least. And as far as I'm aware he isn't a real person either.
Thursday then, that was the day when 1,000 police officers were brought in from 20 different police forces nationwide to prevent myself and 99 other people from rioting on the streets of Derby. I kid you not - 10 police officers for every one of us - at a cost to the UK taxpayer of over 2 million pounds (4 million dollars?).
The protest, organised by local environmental groups, was held to bring attention to the fact that a few miles outside Derby, the G8 Environment and Development Ministers were meeting to discuss what the world's richest countries should spend their money on. So far, sustainable development seems to be at the bottom of their list of priorities, judging by the amount being poured into armed warfare and the extraction of what oil remains beneath the crust of our precious planet. Yet, whilst people continued to be slaughtered en masse by the US (with the support of the UK) in countries such a Iraq (a pursuit of wealth by the moral-less yet powerful few), millions of people throughout the world remain without drinking water. We all know the figures - the effects of poverty kill the same number of people on a weekly basis as died as a consequence of the Boxing Day Tsunami. It's for all these things and more that we were demonstrating.
Derbyshire Police made a request to the Home Secretary that he enact a special law that made any kind of demonstration (any more than one person carrying a banner is classed as a "demonstration") illegal outside of a specified zone - that being a cordoned-off portion of the town square. A 12-foot steel fence was erected all around the summit venue - a countryside hotel. In addition to that, an exclusion zone of some 40 square miles was enforced, meaning that police had the power to arrest anyone who appeared to be "demonstrating".
1,000 police officers were on duty, many armed like robocop, in preparation for the "rioters". The council boarded up statues in public areas for fear of vandalism, whilst shops were advised to board-up their ground-floor windows.
The headline of the morning edition of the local newspaper read:
Stepping out of the railway station I was greeted by this:
A policeman filming me - a potential rioter - my patchwork jeans no doubt the cause for his suspicion. His mate seemed quite amused when I returned the favour and by taking a photo of him!
There were policeman along every street between the railway station and the centre of town. My God I thought, there must be thousands of us protesting today.
However, arriving in the square (having made it through an army of police buses packed with officers ready to fire tear-gas), I found just a handful of protesters, including about 8 of my friends from Sheffield Uni who I had arranged to meet up with.
We numbered 100 at lunchtime. There was a bit of theatre, there was throwing cream-cakes at a couple of people dressed up and Bush and Blair, there was drumming, dancing and football. At 2pm there was so little going on we decided to go to a cafe for some food. We joked how we should have brought a sign with us to put up in the middle of the cordoned-off area "Gone for lunch, back in 1 hour", just so that the 1000 police surrounding the place wouldn't think we'd gone home.
By the time we returned to pick up our banners, most people had disappeared, creating a ratio of approximately 50 police officers to each one of us. We lowered our banners and sat in the sun, waiting, for there was one thing left for us to do - deliver our message to the G8 leaders.
Negotiations with the Chief of Police were entered into, and after about 3 hours of sunbathing we received good news - due to the quiet nature of the demo it had been agreed that 2 members of the Sheffield Uni People and Planet society and 3 members of Friends of the Earth would be allowed to go to the hotel. An unmarked police van was commandeered, and off we went. I say *we*. I was actually given the chance to be one of the 5 granted access, but rather stupidly I was utterly selfless and said no, let someone else go instead. If only I was as ruthless in my approach to G8 summits as I am with women... (;-p
Our message took the shape of a specially prepared oil barrel.
It's a scam that over 2 million pounds of UK taxpayers money was spent on policing such a small, peaceful demonstration. Imagine what could have been done with that 2 million pounds. Imagine the number of families that could have been provided with free, clean running water for life.
How can one call this a democracy when so much money is wasted due to the fear of those in power that the people will violently object to their decisions? If they are acutely aware of our concerns (as the actions of the police would seem to demonstrate), then why are they not acting in accordance with the wishes of the majority of the people that they have been voted in to represent? We are losing our right to speak our minds. Our leaders gather and the world turns into a police state - this is not the way it should be.
"I had my testicles felt up this morning", I said to my classmate on Wednesday.
"What was his name?" was the oh-so-witty response of my classmate.
"Derek" I replied, and burst out laughing. But I was not joking.
Last week I started getting an ache in my left testicle. It was the kind of ache one has after someone has kicked you in the balls quite gently. Uncomfortable rather than crippling. Being the sensible kind of guy I am I checked out my symptoms on the internet, and following that, checked myself for lumps. In addition to the usual swelling caused by the condition that I have been suffering from for quite a while (that being *bloody-hell-I-haven't-had-a-shag-in-ages-itas*), on Tuesday night I found a new lump. It was quite mobile, and about the size of a pea. However, when thinking back over my diet for the previous few days, I realised that I hadn't eaten any petit pois since January... and I started to worry.
Thankfully the university has a very good health service, and so it wasn't long before I's booked myself a 30-second slot. On telling my ex-landlady about my appointment on the following day, she kindly said, "well, just make sure you don't get an erection!"
The next day I left my Korean History lecture five minutes early in order to make it to my doctor's appointment. I'd informed the professor that I'd be leaving early, although I didn't include the explanation "in order for Derek to have a play with my balls".
Lying there on the couch whilst Derek squeezed me to see where it hurt, I didn't feel any need to repeat in my mind the words "Margaret Thatcher naked in a bath of dog poo" or "squashed hedgehogs". No, it was just like going to the dentist in a way, but without the fillings. Or that pointy metal thing thank God, oh, hardly bares thinking about.
The diagnosis was of a positive nature: most probably, it was something that affects about 20% of men at one time or another. The tube that leads from the testicle to the willy (spermatic cord - apparently used when people have sex, although being a born-again virgin I wouldn't know anything about that) sometimes develops a little growth, an extra tube off the side that goes nowhere. Sometimes, these internal danglythings get twisted up, causing the ends of them to swell into little peas, due to the fluid that they contain. The twisting however has a fortunate side-effect: it cuts off the blood supply to the abnormal growth causing it to die and fall off - case solved.
So that's what I'm waiting for. I've been told that if it gets worse, or continues for more than a couple of weeks, I should go back, but it's most likely that it's perfectly ok, and nothing to worry about. The chances of it being testicular cancer are very slim.
*For those of you who are maybe thinking "what on Earth does he think he's doing writing stuff like this on The Daily Mumble" I have two things to say to you:
1) The Daily Mumble is MINE!! All MINE agh agh agh, it is private, a record for me of my own life that I can read from the internet-cafe on heaven when my time comes, and I did not force you to come here, and it's private, and it's private as well, so if I want to talk about swollen balls I can. The exit is here if you don't like what you read here.
2) I've written a fair bit about my epilepsy and have received a lot of feedback on that from people who appreciate knowing that there are others out there with common experiences. So you see, I write this just in case some bloke is a bit worried and puts "I've got a lump by my testicle and it hurts like someone's kicked me in the nuts" into Google. Mind you, if they did that Google would only pay attention to it as far as the 10th word I think, thus omitting the bit about being kicked in the nuts. But still, that's not the point. Put "swollen testicle" into Google in a week or so, and by then the G-Spiders would ensure that this story came up in the results, and one worried man may become one not-so-worried man. And if you happen to be that man, make sure you click here*
berdoing berdoing i'm a kangaroo
I'm back on the Welsh Garden Project Site for a week, hauling wood, eating food and loving the countryside.
I really miss birdsong, living in a city. And crocuses with pretty patterns on, like this one.
many thanks to all mumblers who have expressed their concern for my testicles. I am pleased to announce that all is ok now, no cancer.
Attention all shipping, especially in sea areas Dogga, Rockall, Malin Light Head and Joseph's cup of tea. There are warnings of gales in Dogga, Rockall and Malin Light Head, and lots of strange dreams involving American poets sleeping with my ex-girlfriend in Joseph's Consciouness. What does it all mean I wonder? Who knows but Worzel Gummage, that often laughed-at scarecrow who stood so valiently for years on end whilst the BBC filmed him. I wonder how many scarecrows exist in the UK today? One can't really count AOL CDs on strings now can one?
Speaking of agrculture: good news
HA! That'll teach those nasty american Biotech companies to mess with us Brits!
The UK government's 5-year farm-scale trials have proved conclusively that GM crops cause more damage to nature than non-GM crops. As a result of which, it will be nigh-on impossibel (for the time being) for those profit-comes-before-human-rights-and-the-welfare-of-our-planet companies such as Monsanto and Bayer to obtain licenses to grow GM crops in the UK.
It's so exciting when governments actually do the right thing, what with it being such a rarity and all. The war is not over yet though: Bush, that murderous twat is still trying to push US-produced GM cack on the EU even though we don't want it. Such a shame he hasn't caught BSE off one of his ranch cattle... although having said that his behaviour does match that of a mad bull in a china shop - the china shop being Mother Earth and all the broken Tea-pots being those that live upon it.
But anyway, back to the UK - yes, good news indeed. The next headline I want to see is "The End of Supermarkets as family-owned cornershops specialising in organic fair-trade products make a comeback". The next headline after that I want to see is "Joseph has the best sex of his entire life thus far 10 times a day for weeks on end with the most gorgeous, funny, intelligent and caring English girl in the whole wide world with a strong interest in environmental issues and Japan", followed by "Joseph falls in love Hollywood style, just like in Notting Hill, but without Hugh Grant or the woman he fell in love with because she's a bit too old for him, and not until after he gets back from Japan in 2007".
*It'll never happen if you think like that Joseph...*
For now though, "Joseph, despite suffering the hardship of being single, is really very happy with life in general, but really must stop Mumbling and instead learn some Japanese vocab" will have to do for me.
Last night, for the first time in my life, I used what could be classed as "a chat-up line". This was quite something for me, as I really don't recall ever (in my 27 years) ever having attempted to chat anyone up.
Standing at the buffet table at the wedding yesterday, I asked the rather cute waitress which platters were vegetarian. She pointed out those that were suitable for me, and then added, "I'm vegetarian too".
"Really?" I replied without thinking, "Hhm, in that case, can I have you for dessert?"
"Yes", she said, with a wicked little grin on her face.
Yesterday's wedding was a wonderful event indeed. The bride looked even more beautiful than usual, and the crowd were simply the nicest bunch of people I've met in Sheffield.
Congratulations to M and B, may you spend many very happy years together.
Wedding Traditions: Tossing the Bouquet
"All the single women are called to the dance floor to catch the bride's bouquet. It is "believed" that the person to catch the bouquet will be the next to marry. When tossing the bouquet, the bride's back should be towards the group and she should toss the bouquet over her shoulder."
Yes, it was me. I caught the bouquet! (the rather odd expression is due to the consumption of alcohol)
Prospective brides should contact me via email asap.
Met up with my mates today for post-wedding gossip. None of us can recall doing anything too embarrasing. Oh, except I remember telling the beautiful bride in some detail... hmm, perhaps better leave that bit out... It really was a very special day, the most memorable in all my few months in Sheffield thus far.
Yesterday was all a bit of a blur. Following the reception, we'd gone back to a mate's house for a mini-party. That basically involved drinking coffee, smoking and laughing (the latter good cancelling out the two former evils) until about 3am. I then somehow managed to make it home, and decided to edit over 1 gigabyte's worth of photographs and videos that I'd shot that night (see the usual section of TGW for them). I think I got to bed at about five.
Naturally, as a result of all that, I was in a bit of a mess yesterday. I don't think I did much but watch a couple of DVDs. Felt depressed too, a natural reaction to the smoking - good job I've done the getting-stoned-everyday-for-six-months thing (that was 10 years ago now...). I know some of my friends up here are right druggies - I really don't know how they manage to keep it all together.
Anyway, today, following a 10-day break from study, it was back to the grindstone. I enjoyed that. made a few preperations for the Japanese Cultural Ambassador's visit (tomorrow) too. My suit will be getting a second outing in a week after years of no use! It's not what you know...
Exam dates are published on 11th April, then I'll be able to buy my flight and start counting down the days to the 2-month orgasm that awaits me - or will it all be one big anti-climax?
Watch this space.
These were taken in the light of the Window's XP screen that says "Windows is shutting down". So they're called "me shutting down". Next thing you know I'll have a Microsoft logo tattooed on my breast.
Yes, so my suit did have a second outing in the space of one week tonight, as can be seen below in the rather faded photograph.
The occassion was a private engagement with the Cultural Secretary of the Embassy of Japan. Yes, very nice chap he is too. Had lots of ideas for what we can do with Japan Society with the support of the Embassy. Has made me feel somewhat obliged to continue as a committee member next year (despite my private insistance that I won't have time).
hmmmm. Time to do a bit of reading then bed.