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Wednesday, 14 January 2004


Dear Vanessa

You have decided that I am your prisoner. I never ever go out. Except for those few times I got between Wickedex's legs, dashed down the stairs straight into a fight between some monstrous rabid cats.
Still, some sights are arresting. Some days I manage a glimpse of what life might be like if I didn't have a fucker like you locking the door.

Yours, The Cat

Dear Vanessa

I live on the wall at the end of your street. I try to explain why half your street is Georgian terrace, but every now and then is a modern building, looking out of place. Why there's a sign by the tube memorialising all the dead.
I do my level best to remind you that there are worse things than selling your poncey yuppie flat at a vast profit and moving on. But do you fucking notice? Look up more, woman.

With regards, The Sign.

Dear Vanessa

You're a Londoner so I irritate you. I've heard you slagging me off and saying you've seen me eat sick. Flying rat, you called me. And you voted for that bastard mayor who banned pigeon feed.
But I have other issues. I can't swim, see. I have to stand at the side and watch the world get their bread. Maybe it's not so great in there. Maybe the bigger birds peck at you, or nick all the good stuff. Maybe it's icy cold, and you have to fight the others to get to your crumbs.
I know there's nothing I can do about it, but some days you have to dream.

I remain, The Pigeon

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:07 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2004 6:15 PM GMT
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Portrait under Lock and Key

Well, that's my PMS done with for another month. Now I can delete the post slagging off my friends, regain a normal relationship with caffeine, stop loudly proclaiming my abhorrence of deodorants, pretend I didn't do that last irrelevant post at all, blink as I realise I did an enormopost that started and ended with manky tits, and get back to the swearing and cussing as usual.

In the last few days, almost everything I own has disappeared from my flat, spirited away by the engine that is Wickedex; the walls have changed colour, and I can see out of (some) of the windows for the first time in three years. My kitchen is now blue, my hallway is brown, and I possess no music, nail varnish, perfume, tights, dvds or nasty messy videos.
Suddenly, I only have a few books, and they're only one row deep on the suddenly visible shelves. There isn't a small dark hole that opens directly into the attic and makes weird windy rustles any more. My bathroom tiles look like they could be white and not grey. I only have four hair products, and they're kept in a silver box - there's no space in my cabinets for five year old Nurofen or half used shampoo. There's bits of rubble, plaster and boxes over many many floor surfaces, but my cupboards are all empty, or colour coded and regimented.
My back yard contains the smashed remains of a three seater sofa, a cupboard, and a six foot high furry cat tree. Somewhere in the depths of Big Yellow Hell is a cabinet containing carboard box after box after box after box of my mistakes, but for now, it's padlocked, alarmed, and I don't have to open it again till I've spent a hundred and seventy five thousand pounds more.
Sounds like a deal to me.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:46 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2004 5:49 PM GMT
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Now Playing: nothing

It struck me between the eyes when Friendly Stranger wrote:
I haven't felt anything intensely in a long time. That realization is kind of shocking. Joy? Elation? Where's the pain? Hate? Anger? Lust?
A person does feel those, yeah? They do feel those types of emotions on a regular basis, right? I don't know when the last time I felt those was. It's different from the numb drone of day to day. The slow deadening of self that comes from the Singular Routine.

Yesterday I deleted seven and a half thousand emails. Then I threw away all the music I'd collected in my teens and twenties. Every bit. After that, I listened to an orchestral piece that was left in my car, that I can't stop listening to again and again.

Currently, my day is all pain, hate, anger, upheaval, loss, separation, denial - all extreme emotions, and it's the most wearing thing. I spend every minute of my day trying to numb and deaden everything back into that droning routine, because too much drama is exhausting to the emotions, the spirit and the self. It has the same effect. I blog to get away from it.

Sorry, that's completely irrelevant, I know, it just struck me that we were both feeling emotionally anaesthetised, but for the most separate of reasons.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:06 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2004 8:07 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 13 January 2004

Written on the Body

The mole on my breast that started out to the left of my nipple when I was ten, and slowly grew and moved, so that it's a way above, now, and sits just above the line of lace on my bra. It raised itself, it split into three plump sections, but it didn't react badly when as a misguided teenager, I tried to slice it. I wonder if one day my breasts will be so old and pendulous that this one will count as a neck mole.
The serrated pale grey roundel on my right knee's instep, with dark blue incision marks, and one black line to the left that reminds me of how cycling at speed in a circle is a stupid idea if you cycle so fast that your bike goes into skid. It reminds me that I took every bit of skin off my left hand, earning no such scar, and surprises me every time that although I skidded on my left side along the gravel, I had the wit to leap sideways from the bike as I did so, and somehow scar the 'wrong' side of my arm and leg. It also reminds me of how I held grudges against my family for angry years as a child - two days after the accident, we were scheduled to take a series of buses to Lancashire to visit my grandmother. We could have stayed home, but we didn't, and although each time I bent my knee the whole graze opened up again, my mum insisted on travelling on the top deck of each of the buses. No doubt with the grizzling, vengeful fuming eight year old that was me in tow. The scar also reminds me that I swore an oath to that revenge.
There's a shadow of a line on my left shin, that recalls the first holiday I took without my family - a primary school trip, aged ten, to the Isle of Wight. I was slightly surprised that guest house furniture wasn't as strong as ours at home, so when the wardrobe I'd clambered onto in order to hurtle onto my bed, repeatedly, collapsed over me, I was more perplexed than actually hurt.
Beneath my chin is a tiny white smile, a map of my oldest scar, and the only time I ever scaled the summit of the playground climbing frame, only to plummet head first onto the nineteen seventies rock hard playground tarmac. As my gran used to say, 'you're lucky you have a tongue left'.
On my left upper elbow is a small white indentation, a memento of a mosquito bite from Cairo when I was seventeen (one of a hundred and twenty seven on my arms, as a long, itching, scabby night testified). I picked it and picked it, tearing the bloody scales from it daily; its scar was a fair exchange for the hundred and twenty six raging prickling rawnesses that I didn't touch.
In my right palm is embedded a small blue solid, five millimetres below the surface - a solid leaden lump serving as a nonfunctional reminder of a crazy golf pencil sharpened to a blade. Notable mostly for the memory of having to explain to my teacher the reason I'd stabbed a sharp pencil directly into my palm was to see if I could. It dates from nineteen eighty, and over the years it's waxed from black to into blue, and slowly dissipated into my flesh.
There's a scar that isn't visible, on my central nervous system - I was a weird, freakish looking, sickly child ('like Robert Stevenson was', I always used to say, hopefully), and contracted poxes and scarlet fevers right up until my twenties. One month of shingles lacerated the connection in the tree of nerve endings that spreads across my back forever, and there's a spot just at the highest point of my right shoulder blade, where if you scratch it, the nervous reflex perceives the sensation as a touch on my lower arm. It always makes me shiver, so I do it often, for fun.
Both my thumbs, twice a month, dry and peel just alongside the nail, so I tear and gouge out bits of flesh with my teeth till they're bleeding, peeled red wounds. I assumed it signified nervousness, or perhaps a hormonal fluctuation, till once, in my twenties, I glanced at my father's thumbs, and saw he had the exact same hands. It's a spooky heredity that makes you tear at your own flesh. I wonder if people who self-harm or mutilate have a genetic predisposition of which they know nothing? I bite my thumb at you, sir.
My left big toe doesn't appear to be different, but since dislocation in a school sports game (I ran only three times throughout my entire adolescence - because just look what happens when you run) it's become clairvoyant. My toe, strangely sentient, aches dully whenever it's about to rain really heavily for days. Which isn't that much of a meteorological surprise in Britain, where we submits to perennial grey drizzle from January until late April. So, thanks, to my lesbian sports teacher, who yelled at me that I was a useless, sodding lump, and made me go to Geography with a grossly swollen foot dangling (then tried to chat me up when I hit seventeen), you left me with a prince among toes, a psychic toe-route to another dimension. Also, my mum wouldn't pay for a taxi to the hospital, so it marks another spot where I swore, one day, vengeance would be mine. I never quite worked out if other kids called upon the heavens to witness their vow of vengeance owed on an annual basis as I did. Puh. Their loss.
As a pimply, whining adolescent I had the most atrocious acne. I have a scar to the side of my left nostril that looks a little like a nose piercing healed over many years ago. I like these scars. They developed after many many hours of poring over a sweaty mirror at thirteen. They provided much needed relief at school - it's so much easier to be called 'pizza face' than 'lesbian' amongst the ignorant wilds of rural pubescence. If it weren't for the acne, I'd never have discovered the glories of William Blake's verse. And it reminds me of the agonies of a two hour home piercing my sister attempted with a dirty needle on her own nose, on her first night at university. I prefer mine. Mine didn't hurt, and I got to squeeze, as a bonus.
A writer's lump on the second index finger of my right hand. I was proud to develop this at age seven. And a texter's rough patch just above the ball of my right thumb, which I was horrified to develop at age thirty two.
Above my left eye is a prolonged snaking fissure, following the arch of my brow, but just below. It marks an important lesson I learnt, about not gorging amphetamines for any extended period of time, because they lead you into fights with people who are demonstrably tougher than you; it reflects a night in Brixton when I decided to rescue someone from being mugged for five pounds and achieved fruition when a cricle of glass was pounded and ground into my face by a gang of five meaty men. I was partially blinded for a year, which I never found less than fascinating. However, the irregular seam left above my eye bothered me - it stemmed directly from my stupidity and my lack of social agility and nous. I deserve this scar. It is a disfigurement in the oldest sense - a dishonour. A blemish of the character as well as my face. So therefore I always assumed it was the first thing people saw. Over the decade since I won this reminder, I've learnt that most observers can't see it even when pointed out - it's only in my mind that they see the disfigurement, then see me.
Finally, the cicatrices in corkscrew whorls about my nipples recall the times I became embroiled in a world I wasn't ready for, in a vain attempt to mutilate myself in order not to be the same, physically not ever the same, as the person whom she'd rejected. I got mixed up in a world where others maintain ulterior motives for causing pain, ones I was not aware of, and have four small white worm obliques spiralling from my aureoles to remind myself not to trust. And these fissures worked, too - I'm not the person she rejected. Not at all.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:30 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 January 2004 10:58 AM GMT
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Monday, 12 January 2004


Despite all those meaningless, mindless blogs below, I've been busy as a one-armed paper hanger today.
Good things that happened today:

Yidaho pushed me out of prevaricating blindly, and into getting a flight to Belfast to visit Tess next month. I shall be spreading alarm and despondency in Norn Iron for a change. Hurrah!

JatB came over with a tube of Jaffa cakes for me, and told me I look and sound terrible, which makes it alright for me not to go into work tomorrow, either.

Wickedex and Melons decided not to come over and pile everything into their van today, so I got to sleep all day, while they twisted slowly slowly in the wind.

I heard from my Schwester Snowflake, sur le telephoneo. That's yer actual French, that is.

I got email that set the Thames on fire from loads of people - a friend in Spain, Tess, Dee, Nik, Yidaho, Martin, Looby, Miss London, SarahSpace, ooh, loads of people.

I cuddled my schnuffalicious cats.

You betcha sweet bippy that I nominated all of these people for the Bloggies, and you're all too late to get me back, ha ha ha ha ha ha, so put a sock in it:
Web Frog, Looby, A Trip Down the Shops, I'll Talk to Myself, Blah blah blah, Eurotrash, Not You The Other One, Creepy Lesbo, Countin Flowers, Empty Fridge Light, Belle de Jour, Friendly Stranger's Beer, Too Much Too Little, Lactose Incompetent, Scorpio Girl, Smitten, The Purple Pen, Boyhowdy, Peeling Wallpaper, and Uffish Thoughts.

And can I be bothered to type out URLs for anything in this post? Bugger off, my Jaffa cake high has just run down, and I couldn't run a whelk stall this moment. I'm going to bed.

Sniffle. Pass me the Nurofen.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:25 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2004 9:31 PM GMT
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De Odour Rant

What my mum always told me about deodorants is true!
BBC: Chemicals from underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can build up inside the body, according to a study.
British researchers have found traces of chemicals called parabens in tissue taken from women with breast cancer.
While there is no evidence they cause cancer, the scientists have called for the use of parabens to be reviewed.
I always felt filthy-dirty (say it in an irish accent, please) for not using deodorants. It seems to be a modern disease to feel unclean unless you've shoved a stick of wet carcinogenic soap substitute into your pits to mask that you haven't actually washed enough.
I haven't used a deodorant for at least five years. (And yes, okay, while at secondary school, I did indeed smell slightly of broiled onions, that was before I abandoned the deodorant. I've learnt basic hygiene since then.)
Actually, when I'm in horrendous lust with someone, there's nothing nicer than tasting and smelling their skin. Their natural skin smell, I mean. We seem obsessed with making ourselves smell like a hospital dispensary these days, though, no matter what a daily dosage of chemical irritant on our freshly shaven lymph glands does to us in the long run.
I do wash, though. But I think that all you weirdos with big chemical stinky white streaks under your pits are ... well ... ewwwwwwww.
So there.

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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:05 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2004 9:27 PM GMT
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I am actually addicted to caffeine. I tried giving it up a few years back. I only really drink it in the mornings (well okay, till four in the afternoon), and decided that on a long journey with Harvardboy to recover his stuff from a break up with Kinky, that I'd try going cold turkey. I was stood in Harvardboy's bathroom, ten minutes after waking, trying to sort my head out for a five hour drive, enduring a banging headache from the caffeine withdrawal, and staring in the mirror, thinking "ifheasksifyouwantacoffeesaynoifheasksifyouwantacoffeesaynoifheasksifyouwantacoffeesayno".
Harvardboy called through the door: "coffee?"
"Yes please."
Five minutes. During which I gripped a sink till my knuckles bleached white and talked to myself in the mirror like a loon. That's as much withdrawal from caffeine as I've ever been able to take.
I've learnt not to drink real coffee at work, though, as I go into irrational rages and end up getting official cautions for my irascible and imflammatory attitude. If I'm in a bad mood anyway, coffee exaggerates all of the things in the world that disappoint or annoy me. When you have PMT, it's annoyance at yourself that sends you into rages, essentially. Pure coffee created rage is totally externalised.
A bad morning recently, (another where I woke up at three) resulted in my actually writing angry emails to the newsreader on my local radio station. He'd twice in an hour taken the piss out of Tom Cruise, by wondering loudly what on earth a 'haiku' is. I fired off my best Victor Meldrew rage encrusted sarcasm, pointing out that most eleven year olds know the meaning of the word, and demanding that they only use words in their bulletins that they knew the meaning of.
Presumable they do know the meaning of 'ridiculously overinflated sense of own importance'. It's merely I who had to wait for the coffee rage to stop kicking to realise it.
They did drop the pisstake from the next bulletin, but every day since then, the DJ interrogates the poor newsreader as to the meaning of a word in his bulletin. So all of London gets ribbed because I'd drunk my coffee too quickly.
Two of my favourite bloggers, Friendly Stranger and Lactose Incompetent, have been blogging about caffeine addictions lately. The Rev at Friendly Stranger suggests having mediocre coffee that's not so strong for weekdays, and rich, full, gorgeous coffee beans ready for the weekend. Boy, do I like that suggestion. Although I'm not sure I'm that organised.
Whereas Edward Ocean at Lactose Incompetent is giving up caffeine. Merely the idea of someone else doing it is enough to give me the willies, metaphorically speaking. He says caffeine contributes to depression and makes you fat. I sure had never heard of that before. I can imagine that, like any stimulant, sugar included, there's a come down from an easily bought high. But fat? Is it the rich tea biscuits?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:04 PM GMT
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And in contrast to the friends ... the family

Something that struck me over Christmas, that I haven't blogged about: my parents. They were great. And have been great ever since I split up with Wickedex (who seemed to be the first partner they ever liked).
My dad lost his job the Friday before Christmas (great timing there from the bossman), but at no point was anything stinted. At no point was there any suggestion that the whole family and friends and in-laws shouldn't turn up and expect four course meals. That they should do, in fact, anything for themselves other than consume horrendous amounts of the food that frequently appeared in front of them. That we shouldn't spend half of our time on the phone or on the internet. No hint that we should pay our way as the thirty something grown adults we are.
Added to this, guess what my mum got me for Christmas?
A voodoo dolly of the Wickedex, and a set of pins.
What a great family.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:04 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2004 2:09 PM GMT
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Panachetta's Meme

Created here, in an effort to prove that bloggers whinge on and on about being untidy, but actually, they're really really anal.

1) In the last 3 years how long (Alaskan trekking expeditions excepted) have you gone without washing your hair?
One day. My hair mings if I don't wash it every day.
2) How long past its sell-by is the oldest item in your fridge?
There's an aubergine that's three weeks old. I couldn't swear to the parmesan, either.
3) How many items are there on your bedroom floor that shouldn?t be there?
Do we count cats? More than a thousand. My house is being 'spring cleaned' by my Wickedex, which in effect means if she has a temporary fit of rage at me or any memory of me, things get thrown at my bed. Yesterday: every coat I ever owned. The day before: curtains.
4) How long do you go before cleaning behind the U-bend?
Three months, and that's me trying.
5) The patter of tiny feet tell you the mice are back. How long till you can be bothered to put down traps / poison?
One day. I shriek like a wally - a real girlie high-pitched shriek and jump high if I see a mouse. Back when I first came out, and was trying to be butch, this was highly embarassing. Now I've accepted that I'm irrefutably a girlie girl, where are the mice? Exactly.
6) The cast of Will & Grace are coming over for supper. How long will you take to clean beforehand? How long should you take?
My friend Harvardboy pretty much is the cast of Will and Grace, blended. I got into a habit of only ever tidying up if he was coming round, because he doesn't do tact, and names and shames loudly. So I know for a fact that it takes four hours. When he emigrated, I had to grow up and occasionally clean for myself.
7) There?s a dead computer monitor in the corner of the bathroom. How long will it take you to have it disposed of?
Nine months. It might prove useful. I could collect toenail clippings on it. Actually, I have two dead computers at the moment. I think Wickedex threw one out this week that had been out of action for two years. Oh dear.
8) How long do you go before cleaning the kitchen floor?
Twelve months. It's not that dirty! I sweep it occasionally. But clean it? I've only done that once.
9) Carrying the laundry through a pair of worn socks falls off in the hall. How long can they stay there without feeling an urge to pick them up?
Two minutes. Ugh. Socks are dooooorrrrrrrty.
10) How long can a saucepan of vegetable soup remain covered and undisturbed on top of the stove?
One day. And then I feel rank. I hate bad hygiene when it comes to food. Vegetarians are the worst - their fridges are health hazards. Yeeeuch.
11) You see a cockroach. How long till you?re on the phone to the bug man?
A millisecond. I can't stand them. Ugh. Shivering at the thought.
I once lived above a chip shop in Wood Green (the greek one on Turnpike Lane, if you're wondering) that was utterly infested with cockroaches. Arabic flatmate would leave stews out all night, and they'd go into a feeding frenzy. I had to switch lights on and stamp feet at the doorway before entering the kitchen, to encourage them to hide. Unfortunately insect brains are small, so they'd hide their heads behind a bit of lettuce, leaving the other two inches in full view. Hideous.
A few years ago, I dreamt there was a roach in my kitchen here, and freaked - everything I eat comes out of sealed tupperware containers, now.
12) Do you have dirt under your fingernails right now?
I ate too many clementines, and my left thumbnail has turned slightly orange. It's minging.

So ... what? Am I a lazy slut, or an honorary gay man?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:46 AM GMT
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Sunday, 11 January 2004

Conscience Twinge

I'm not speaking to one of my best friends. She doesn't read this blog (because she "doesn't want to encourage me"), but her friends do, so I'm not even gonna use her usual pseudonym. She's a heart-on-her-sleeve, high maintenance, manic type who takes a lot of energy to deal with usually, but who would go to the ends of the earth for you if you say just one word.
But she's on the 'up' part of the manic cycle right now, and I'm clutching at defences to cope with her when she over-medicates and rings me on Christmas Day to shout "where's my PRESENT", or on New Year's Eve to yell "donkey!" (Christ only knows why), or to point out that all-my-friends-are-out-with-my-ex that night, and doesn't-that-feel-weird-for-me?
Last time I saw her, she cooked me a beautiful Christmas dinner, but then invited someone she knows I loathe to share it with us, and they spent all day chatting about how wonderful all their relationships had always been. One minute she was cooking in the kitchen, the next she was nowhere to be found - she'd run out of the house to 'do something' without thinking to tell us.
The time before that, we had a sugar products and videos evening (like you do); I spent #15 on Belgian choccies to take round. I left in a hurry for some reason - she rang me to tell me that I'd left the chocolates and she didn't want to get fat, so she'd thrown them in the bin.
She's caught up in a relationship triangle, too, that's hard work, because one of the guys she's seeing - the geriatric millionaire - is a homophobe, and doesn't like to think of me or her other gay friends being in her house, because it makes him feel unclean. Her other partner, a builder in his twenties, is lovely, but a bit hopeless, but she keeps ridiculing him to everyone: in his presence, on the phone, mid sentence, then calling him possessive. I did use to point out my objections, but I think it hurt her badly, and now I find that hard to bite my tongue about.
The medication she's on makes her belligerent and prone to exaggeration; largely because she drinks heavily on it, while asserting that she lives an ascetic lifestyle, and is avoiding the usual outre lawlessness of our previous social lives while trying for a baby. So when she tells me that she spent most of the holiday alone in bed being depressed, I'm not sure if she means a day, or a week.
I feel dreadful guilty about it, but she's too much for me to take right now. Dreadful guilty, because I know that she's the only person in the world who doesn't get bored when you ring in tears at three in the morning night after night after night. And because the only reason I didn't lose my mind entirely last autumn was because she let Wickedex move out of here to stay with her rent free. She's a thick and thin type of friend who's always always there for you. But with the other stuff that's going on right now, I just can't deal.
I know that long term friendships with people necessarily go through highs and lows, and points where you don't talk at all, then forgive each other for. But still, the man-triangle thing and the medication thing mean she needs support right now. Also, we had intended to go to South Africa together this summer - dunno what'll happen to that now. I was talking to JatB about this, and she pointed out that it's ten years to the day since the last time this friend got too much to deal with and I stopped speaking to her for six months.
I dunno. As a teenager, one of my friends was sectioned, and I couldn't deal with it. She developed a fixation with hating me because of that, sent me all sorts of weird stuff in the mail - copies of greek tragedies with all the lines that referred to killing people underlined in purple (she seemed to think purple represented me for some weird reason), and all the other pages scrawled with words like 'hate'. All my friends at the time (who weren't as close to her) thought I was a shit of the highest order for cutting her off at her lowest point - just one, much older friend, said that how we deal with mental illness is our prerogative, that others couldn't judge us for saying no. I never regretted making that decision, (despite her knocking me unconscious in the street three years later) - but I'm not sure if this, here, now, is a similar case. Or if brooding on my own problems is simply making me become more and more insular, and encourages me to make less and less effort with my friends.
Anyway, I'm not speaking to her. On the grapevine I found that neither are several of her other friends who've had a bit of an overdose of her mania of late. I might be right, I might be wrong.
I hope I'm not too wrong.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:52 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2004 6:17 PM GMT
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Saturday, 10 January 2004

Sleeping Patterns

Mood:  lazy
Now Playing:

My sleeping patterns are fucked.

I know I go on about how much I sleep ad nauseum these days, but it?s really controlling my life right now. It?s so fucked.

Of course I?ve been getting more sleep lately, too much, often, although I reason that I have a massive sleep deficit to compensate for, so over sleeping regularly isn?t something I should worry unduly about.

I wonder if my increase in time spent in the land of Nod actually compensates for the years of going without, yet?

I don?t work all year round, but have to get up at six in the morning when I do, so a sleep diary for a typical year would be:

Most of the past six years

Slept from 1am till 6am

5 hours a night

6 and a half months of the year

Ditto, but during the holidays

Sleep from 6am till 7pm

13 hours a day

3 months of the year

Ditto, but on weekends

Sleep from 2am till 11am

9 hours a night

2 and a half months of the year

Average zzz's per night = 7 hours 50 minutes

Things started to go a bit haywire last Autumn, though, and I embarked upon a sleep regulating routine that involves Pavlovian conditioning via herb teas, baths, no alcohol, a ban on sugar after eight o?clock, on caffeine after four, and an alarm clock that goes off at ten o?clock in the evening, giving me notice that I must sleep, now, like it or not:

October, just after splitting up with ex

Slept from 3am till 5am

2 hours a night

1 month

During the holidays

Sleep from 6am till 7pm

13 hours a day

3 months of the year

On the weekends

Sleep from 10pm till 11am

13 hours a night

2 and a half months of the year

Using sleeping pills since October

Sleep from 11pm till 6am

7 hours a night

Just three months, so far

Average zzz's per night = 9 hours 56 minutes 50 seconds

I upset the balance a little last week, by going to see a four hour epic play, Mourning Becomes Electra, with JatB, midweek. On a work night (pious gasps of horror all round). I knew I?d have problems staying awake for it, not least having taken my daily soma before setting off at five o?clock. I drank copious quantities of coffee to help keep my eyes open, at first, but when I realised that front row seats mean you can only exit and enter for pee breaks inbetween scenes, the coffee routine was disrupted. So I tried sugar, my second choice stimulant. After, I calculated I?d stuffed seven cakes down my willing pie hole, over the course of four acts. That, and the added advantage of it being a brilliant play mostly worked. Although there were obvious signs of impaired mental faculties ? took me an entire act to recall who wrote the play (one of my favourite dramatists), and another two to remember it was based on a Greek tragedy. But, hurrah, I only fell asleep twice! Both times in the second, plot-padding scenes of an Act. Yay me. I?m like an old dear on a bingo trip.

This week's sudden increase in sleep debt, plus a stinking dirty head cold, means that since the theatre, I?ve been going to bed at around 4-6pm, and getting up about 3am. This morning, I rationalised that there?s nothing fruitful to do at such an hour, and made it back to sleep by seven. I woke up again at ten, but thought it was one. I?m completely, utterly disoriented, having drifted from someone who had years of nowhere near enough sleep a night, to someone inundated with sleep, who gets way way too much.

[Of course, if I get home and immediately sleep, it does mean that I don?t have to speak for more than five minutes to Wickedex, yeah I did get that benevolent coincidence. (Damn, I hate when the books you?re reading infect the way you write; I?m starting to write like Aldous Huxley. And not in a good way.)]

During the holidays

Sleep from 6am till 7pm

13 hours a day

3 months of the year

On the weekends

Sleep from 10pm till 11am

13 hours a night

2 and a half months of the year

The last two days

Slept from 4pm till 3am

11 hours a night

If it continues, I suppose that?s the rest of the year. Zoinks!

Average zzz's per night = 11 hours 55 minutes

So now, I?m having a mild panic, a panicquette if you will, about whether this will be a permanent state of affairs. Will I forever be dropping off just before teatime and waking up an hour and a half before dawn? I had assumed this was normal for a pensioner, but it?s thirty years too early for me to be able to get away with it. Im not even incontinent yet.

I know I should work out the averages, now, see if I?ve paid off my six year sleep debt. See whether I can afford a few late nights, now and then. Believe me, I?ve tried to work it out. But I?m an English, not a Maths, and it?s 3am as I?m writing this ? I?ve nigh on forgotten how to add up at all.
Correction: Martin has just worked it out for me, and the averages seem to show that over each year, I always got enough sleep. I just get it at rilly rilly weird times of day, me.

My sleeping patterns are so fucked.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:28 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2004 2:18 PM GMT
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Friday, 9 January 2004

Christ on a FUCKING bike

God fucking DAMMIT!

I hate it when you write a huge fucking post, leave it up for a few hours, edit it, adapt it, add to it. Spellcheck it. Make sure it's ready to go out.

Then accidentally delete it.


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Thursday, 8 January 2004

Statement of Audience

"I realize that nothing I say matters to anyone else on the entire planet. My opinions are useless and unfocused. I am an expert in nothing. I know nothing. I am confused about almost everything. I cannot, as an individual, ever possibly know everything, or even enough to make editorial commentary on the vast vast majority of things that exist in my world. This is a stupid document; it is meaningless drivel that I do not expect any of the several billion people on my planet to actually read. People who do read my rambling, incoherent dumbfuckery are probably just as confused as I am, if not moreso, as they are looking to my sorry ass for an opinion when they should be outside playing Frisbee with their dog or screwing their life partner or getting a dog or getting a life partner. Anyone who actually takes the time to read my bullshit probably deserves to ingest my fucked up and obviously mistaken opinions on whatever it is that I have written about."

The Funniest Thing I've Read Today

"Personal weblogs, those that tend to go on about their cats, their grandma's health, their trip to the big city, or what film they just saw, are to me a fascinating catalog of human experience. Who care, detractors ask? I care. I often find them inspirational. [snip]
It takes a great deal of courage to share your life, to choose to live it publicly. It's encouraging to me to know that there are people out there struggling and suffering and overcoming the same sorts of things that I wrestle with in my daily life. Personal weblogs make the world less cold, less isolated, less... impersonal.
For those of you who don't like personal weblogs, remember that you don't have to read them, just like you don't have to watch TV shows you don't like, read books you're not interested in, or listen to the music ClearChannel plays (or shoves down your throat, depending upon your perspective). You still have free will, and can exercise it any way you choose."

And The Most Eloquent Response

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:01 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 9 January 2004 7:11 AM GMT
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Wednesday, 7 January 2004

Why the Shit Days?

What's been going on that has been making my life so shit so far this year was trying to parcel up stuff from my home, and put it into storage, so I can sell the flat I bought five years ago with Wickedex.
I tried all last week to do it, but it was too depressing. Immobilising. The furthest I got was renting a storage container in a warehouse nearby. I had to get Wickedex to promise to come over and accompany me to pay the rest of the fee, because I was pretty sure that if she weren't there holding me to ransom, and calling me to account, I'd have spent the day under my duvet feeling sorry for myself instead.
Now, she's taken two weeks off work to clear out stuff from the flat, for me to put into the storage container. So she's here every day, when I'm not.
None of this stuff will ever be entering this house again, so it all has to be sorted into boxes that are mine and hers. When she fucks up or doesn't do it fast enough, or stays in bed half the morning instead, I have to bite my tongue, because one doesn't criticise people who aren't one's partner. I have remind myself that it took me a whole week of moping to do nearly nothing.
So if she packs a box that would be too heavy for two blokes to carry, let alone me unaided, I have to do polite bloody things: like ask her to pass it to me, before I take it down four or five flights of stairs. If she doesn't bother to tell the estate agent the house will be ready for viewing in a week: instead of snapping grumpily at her about it, I have to put on a kindly face, and wonder when she thinks it's best to ring the agents?
It's also a huge strain having to see her every single day. Knowing that she's been in my house alone. Going through all my stuff. My stuff. Making decisions about whether my stuff is worthy of me keeping or should be thrown away.
She gave me a break from the constant contact that was grinding my soul into grit over Christmas, and it was ace - I could stop being angry with her, and get on into the next stage, where I miss her, and I've lost my best friend.
If she's here every day, I can't afford the emotional leeway to miss her. Which makes it harder yet again to move on. And it's gruelling to keep having to remind myself that although she's someone I get on well with, whom I can talk to so easily, I shouldn't get too comfortable. She's not really my friend.
Added to that, nine years of irritating habits can't be forgotten overnight. Excuse a short whinge here: I can't gripe about this one anywhere else. Although she still owes me #200 for groceries from before she left, although she got right on my tits for never doing enough housework, particularly for not washing up once since last June.... when I got home I saw she'd helped herself to a meal, to a chilled drink, to my coffee. This in itself would have been reasonable, had she said something about it. But, to leave shit all over the kitchen, shit on the floor, shit on the chopping board, shit on the hob, on the kitchen surfaces, then go home again, leaving all my stuff in fucking stupid pissy boxes in the hall that I hate and that I trip over, and to not wash up or clear the dishes she used ...... that was really fucking hard not to rake up old arguments then.
Two weeks of this. With five extra projects at work starting at the same time. Anyway, that's why I have shit days, and shit blogs at the moment.

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Tuesday, 6 January 2004

Oh calm, dishonourable, vile submission

[Well, either I annoyed people with the self obsessed primping and navel gazing of the past few days, or Technorati is down, and sixty one sites didn't really just remove their link to this blog.]

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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:03 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 January 2004 6:55 AM GMT
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I'm sure I've written on here before about what a huuuuuuuuuuuuge Princess Di fan I was at uni. Me and some friends tried to form an unofficial Diana for Queen society.
We wanted a monarchic split, along Tudor / Stuart lines, with the houses of Windsor and Spencer providing twin dynasties, who would fight to the death for the crown.
(We were still discussing what should go on the soc T shirts when we finally left uni and lost interest.) Added to this, pretty much everyone in Britain remembers what they were doing when they heard her car had crashed in Paris. And pretty much everyone has some opinion about how the British people responded at her funeral. Over here, it was a JFK moment.
I left flowers, of course, on the morning that she'd died - at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace. JatB and I went to the gold encrusted, sheikh-heavy Park Lane Hilton to buy them, and I'm sure the florist threw in a lot more effort and flowers when we told him who they were for. At Kensington, the alleyway leading to the gate was already filled with round bouquets, and shrines were already popping up along the railings of the park, including a sign accusing MI5 of murdering her, which later disappeared. At Buckingham Palace, we refused an interview to Swedish television, on the basis that the press had killed my heroine. (shyah, right, the Swedes did it - have you thought of that, al Fayed?) It was extremely weird to see a ring of policemen holding tourists back from the Palace, but allowing us to pass within; weird to be the ones allowed through, for once. If you saw any pictures of the fields of flowers laid, you can actually see our flowers; they're the first layer laid, leaning against the gates of the palace.
My own take on the funeral was that this country doesn't handle grief well, as a rule. That lots of people lose someone and feel that they haven't really accepted it for years, that they haven't quite done their grieving. The Diana funeral was a fairly safe place to portray and express that grief - the funeral of a stranger whom you respected in some way. Anyone recently bereaved whom I knew responded very differently to the 'masses' and found the whole thing an intrusion into their, 'real' grief. But the point about that is that they were still grieving the first time around, they hadn't got to that stage where people don't want to hear any more, yet, where people give you subtle hints that going on about the person you've lost for three years is perhaps enough.
When visiting her coffin in state - which I did most days - told you I was a huge Diana fan - I was most interested in watching the other visitors (voyeuristic as ever). Interesting a higher proportion (than you usually spot in The hoity toity, tourist-laden Mall) of black citizens laying wreaths and flowers. I was particularly surprised to see that in this unaccustomed and rather European outburst of emotion (remember, the British regard Europe rather as 'over there' - a Johnny Come Lately), the majority of the people pilgrimaging to Buckingham Palace to sign the books and pay their respects were young men. I love it when men aren't afraid to express emotion - it reaffirms for me that Hollywood hasn't stamped out all individuality and human compassion from the male gender yet, with their relentless stereotyping.
Anyway, my reason for writing this post: today, the news that, six years on, a UK judge will finally open an inquest, not into the accident that killed Diana and al Fayed, but into the speculation surrounding the accident. I doubt the result would be public, or that we'll ever see a full and conclusive result. But it seems a shame that we can smash open the secrecy of Parliament to conduct the Hutton Inquiry into the death of David Kelly, but we can't ask awkward questions about the death of the mother of the future king.
Were the Secret Service tailing her car?
Why haven't they admitted to being in front of the hotel? It's inconceivable that they weren't keeping a very close eye on her.
It wasn't some ordinary hit and run - so why hasn't the car that witnessed the crash ever been traced?
Why and how, of all the underpasses in Paris, could the CCTV footage of that tunnel, at that moment have 'disappeared'?
If the driver, Henri Paul, had taken the huge cocktail of drink and drugs the French inquest found him to have, how on earth could he have even walked to the car, let alone driven it?
The issue has been complicated recently, by the disclosure of a letter from Diana to her butler, Paul Burrell, dated ten months before her death, in which she accuses someone of plotting with the 'men in grey' to murder her in a faked car accident. Legal issues allowed publication of the letter, but not of the name of the person she suspected of masterminding the plan. (of course, monarchists suggest this was all paranoia - conveniently forgetting that Diana lived in the royal household for fifteen years - if anyone was privy to their machinations on a scale even the most ardent serf and footman wasn't, it was she.)
That name was released today: Prince Charles.
I'm a natural conspiracy theorist, me. And I definitely fancied Di. But even I had pretty much decided it was just a car accident in a tunnel. An end to a pitiful life, in many ways. The tragedy of it was how little she was allowed to achieve, in the end.
But then today I heard an anecdote, a little, telling detail, that I'd never heard before.
Apparently, Sarah Ferguson, (Diana's sister-in-law, and another huge embarrassing thorn in the side of the Royal House of Windsor), used to share confidences and laugh cynically with Diana about how between them they were destroying the old regime. They shared together the rank of loose cannon, of wayward outsider on the inside of 'The Firm'.
When she heard the news of Diana's death, Fergie's first response was to write a letter to the Queen, saying that she would step into line, she would move back into the Palace, she would behave - but please, her children could not grow up without a mother.
Now what in hell does that reaction tell you?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:00 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 January 2004 8:03 PM GMT
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Monday, 5 January 2004

Days Gone By

As ever, I shall shamelessly rip a good idea from another blogger's talons; Emma Swords (or Emma's Words - I prefer the swords image - better visuals) had the idea of doing a creme de la creme round-up of one's best posts from the previous year.
Of course, I only started blogging in July, and at least the first three months of posts were unadulterated shite, but here, for you edifica-- oh, okay, stultification - are the ones I really enjoyed writing - my own personal on-site Blorgy-Fest:
Busy Busy Busy
48 Hours
Details, Details
Do I Know You?
God takes the Central Lone
Fractured Femur
Drinks Menu
Sixty Things
Why The Big Read Sucks
London Fog
Ignis Fatuus
How to Be a Cat
Cancel Christmas
Fucked #1
Fucked #8
Fucked #10
Tea at the Ritz
PS. Don't nawbody bother telling me how arrogant, self-obsessed and megalo maniacal this post was, noway, nohow; I don't even care. It's a blog, dammit - narcissism is endemic to the genre.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:58 PM GMT
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Sunday, 4 January 2004

Blobby Bellie Porker

I am a fat porky. I need to do some sodding exercie. This is what fell out when I undid my belt in the changing rooms at Bluewater yesterday.

Okay, I'm obviously trying to distract attention from real life with this toss, but what the hell, I slept till seven in the evening today, I have nothing really to blog about other than that Love Actually is really cruel, really it is. It's all mean, and loads of people finish up miserable in it. Poooooooooor Emma Thompson.

And yes, I do always take a camera into the changing rooms with me. And stilts. And sellotape for collecting dead skin particles. And a jar in case I dribble.

Be afraid.

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Saturday, 3 January 2004


Dammit dammit dammit, why can't I sleep?

I can't bear today. Really, really no. I forgot that New Year's Day was a Thursday, not a Friday, so had 24 hour's reprieve, but spent most of it having anxiety dreams. I rang Wickedex and talked to her about it, which relieved the horror and tedium a little, but not much.

I've spent the evening / night watching movies, and making Mirror Project posts while I pick my nose, idly. Here's one, complete with toothpaste spatter-marks:

Won't look as awake as that on Saturday, that's for sure.
Ma Femme Est Une Actrice = good.
Buffalo Soldiers = toss.
Ripley's Game = great.
Billy Madison = worst film ever.
National Lampoon's Loaded Gun = apart from that one.
Love Liza = no, no, NO! Go to fucking bed, you loon!

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:25 AM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 3 January 2004 4:32 AM GMT
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Friday, 2 January 2004

Precious Precious Alcoholic Haze

Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Ma Femme Est Une Actrice - Charlotte Gainsbourg - phwoooaaaaarrrrr!

I really really really shouldn't have drunk that champagne yesterday. I felt like a hammer made out of an elephant's foot had hit me today. I didn't even wake up till seven pm, after throwing the pillow over my head to ignore so many calls the phone ran out of batteries. Still don't know who rang.
Hangovers are hell - they're just hell. Not having drunk for two months, I'd both forgotten, and lost any tolerance for head pounding eye throbbing tongue swelling personal horror. I have two huge sweaty zits on my face, and my hair is all greased upwards on one side, pancaked on the other. As my dad says, I'm getting good wear out of my pyjamas.
When I could face food, I dragged myself by virtue of strong caffeine alone into the damn kitchen, squinting so I wouldn't have to look at the bottle by the sink and worshipped some cold icy water. I haven't seen the sun for about two days. I'm suddenly really fucking glad that I don't drink. This feels like shit. It tastes like shit. And I was loud and embarrassing and self-absorbed and paranoid when I was drunk. Okay, so I wrote better than usual, but it's a tightrope between life and soul of the party and passed out old drunken whore, really.
We swearss, precious, not to ttouch you again, we sswears, masster, we swearsss.
Kudos to Martin who actually managed to make me feel guilty in the middle of it, by messaging me at three in the morning to congratulate me for not drinking on NYE.

Today I have a shit shit shit shit shit shit day that I want desperately to avoid coming up on me. I don't want to blog about it, in case I use up even more excuse to stay in bed and avoid it. I've already stayed up half the night watching video after dvd after video to avoid the issue. I'll blog it when I'm safely out the other side. Which hopefully will take place in Bluewater. Mmmm, consumerist manna awaits. We swearssssssssss.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:18 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 2 January 2004 4:20 AM GMT
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