Tuesday, August 29, 2017

These Are A Few of My Scariest Things (The Handmaid's Tale Edition)

My top 5 scariest things from The Handmaid's Tale:
  1. May the Lord open
  2. Mutilated bodies
  3. Hanging bodies
  4. The Ceremony
  5. Power chandeliers
Special mentions:
  • Aunt Lydia
  • Wing hats (though they actually provide good sun protection)
  • Janine/Ofwarren/Ofdaniel

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Fullness of Living Each Day to the Full

The final line of my high school anthem was:
Live each day to the full!

We, the students (and probably some of the teachers), didn't really know the rest of the lyrics - something about seeking Christ and seeking wisdom, and possibly seeking wisdom in Christ (yes, it was a Catholic school) - but at school assembly, upon being instructed by our charismatic leader (aka the Principal) to sing the school song, we would mumble our way through until the last line, whereupon we would raise our voices in glorious chorus to proclaim our hive-mind intention to "Live each day to the full!!!". It was quite the invigorating experience. Say what you will about the evils of propaganda and mind control and whipping a crowd into a frenzy with apparently inspiring song lyrics and elevated levels of oxygen in the blood ('cos of having to take a really deep breath before the last line to make sure we 'sang' it as loud as possible), but I always felt kinda good afterwards and had more inclination to do some book learning.

However, I harbour some skepticism towards the popular notion that a person must 'live each day to the full'. It's a notion that seems to ascribe a moral duty to people to 'make the most out of life' - whatever that means, especially given that the fullness of living is subjective. Extrovert fullness would be going to every social function, travelling to every country, having many relationships. Introvert fullness would be avoiding every social function, staying in one place as long as possible, having a minimal number of relationships. Adrenaline junkie fullness would be skydiving, rock climbing, swimming with sharks. Not that I want to generalize or put people into restrictive categories or ignore the nuance and complexity of the human race (as satisfying as that may be), but it is possible to allocate people, to a degree, into different groups based on common behavioural and psychological traits. And these different groups have differing expectations and goals: 'loud' or 'quiet', many or few. Or no expectations and goals at all. Sometimes just getting through the day/week/year/century without too many catastrophes is a life well lived, goddammit!

It often seems as though a 'proper' expectation or goal should be loud - big and showy. And that if a person doesn't achieve, or attempt to achieve, they will be (should be) filled with regret. You'll never know if you don't try...You may never get this opportunity again...you only live once. I think I have enough self-insight, imagination and wisdom to know that the thing you're berating me to do is something I do not want or need to do and that my life will be quite fulfilled, thankyou, without having 'achieved' this annoying activity. Plus, this (at times, overbearing) insistence seems to be more about the person doing the insisting - maybe they have a domination, power fantasy - than about the person being insisted upon. Also, and (possibly) most  pertinently, there are many expectations and goals that are likely driven more by ego-fulfillment than by existential-fulfillment. Much like this blog post.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Nightmare Mode...I Am Your Master

"Victory is mine. Victory is mine. Great day in the morning, people. Victory is mine!"
(Josh Lyman, The West Wing, S1 Ep2)

I have BEATEN the infamous Nightmare Mode of PS1 game, Parasite Eve 2. Yes, I have. Victory is, indeed, mine. I am truly awesome.

For many years - actually, three - it was my strongly held belief that I would never be able to complete this most arduous endeavour. I did not believe that I possessed the required skill and commitment to achieve such glorious excellence. I documented my Nightmare Mode ineptitude in an earlier post, and since that time, I have lived with the vanquished understanding that winning Nightmare Mode was a life experience that would never be mine. Until now, because now it IS my life experience; mine, mine, mine! And so I must, again, quote from fellow glory-seeker, Josh Lyman (S1, Ep2):
"I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in the land."

"Someone give me a river to forge, a serpent to slay."

And I did slay. There was much slaying. For the last 3 months, I have devoted myself to unbridled slayage. My mantra has been: slay, slay, slay! I slayed that damn Knight Golem in the Akropolis Tower. I slayed those floppy, marionette Brain Stingers (and their giant master, the Puppet Stinger). I slayed all the lackadaisical Mossbacks (who always seem kind of relieved when they die). I slayed those adorable jelly-blobs. I killed the absolute crap out of those really annoying Black Beetles. I slayed/exploded all the mutant, exploding babies. I kept slaying, up until, and including, my final battle with Eve. And Eve threw everything at me. Yes, she did. All her deadly, and quite noisy, spells; her crazy screen-wobble chant, her full body torpedoes, her multicoloured balls of pain, and finally, her slap-happy clones (pro-tip: kill the clones before they trap you in a 'slap-lock' - this is pretty much checkmate on Nightmare Mode). I faced everything Parasite Eve 2 - Nightmare Mode - could attack me with, and I won!!!

I am now a victorious person. An achiever. I can walk among society with a champion's demeanour. I can regale ordinary citizens with tales of my video game heroism. Nothing can stop me! Though, okay, sure, there is that whole "pride comes before a fall" business to consider, and I am feeling very prideful right now. So, I will enjoy and celebrate my greatness for as long as I can before I am devastatingly conquered by my next challenge and plunged into rabid ungreatness.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Obligatory Snuggly Winter Photo

Ms Willow sleeping in Dad's old jumper:


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Internal Structure

Would it be wiser to remain with this solitude status quo? Or does it need to change? Would I be a better person if I were 'involved' with someone? Do I need to be a better person? Maybe I'm already the right amount of better? Perhaps there is no way that a human being could possibly be more better than I am right now! Would I be happier? Would non-solitude fill my internal empty places? Doesn't everyone have varying degrees of internal empty places, solitude or non? My internal empty places seem to be getting smaller, less porous, more manageable, as I get older (though my bones and cartilage are getting more porous and less manageable - external structure is letting me down, as I get older).

What drives the impetus to pursue 'involved' interaction with another person? Is it
  • desire for connection
  • to alleviate loneliness (existential or everyday)
  • to follow social convention/expectation
  • to make babies
  • lust
  • intrigue
  • a manifestation of narcissism
  • security
  • solace
  • madness
Do we really need these things? Aren't food/water/shelter/oxygen/dvds enough for us?? (Or should that be: isn't food/water/shelter/oxygen/dvds enough for us??).

But what if it's just one another person, in particular, challenging the solitude status quo; someone who seems to emanate solace, seduces with their intrigue, inspires lust. What if it's someone who was encountered unexpectedly, via ordinary daily happenings; not someone found through semi-random, though deliberate, driftnet fishing, but someone who appeared, unbidden, and now you keep thinking about them and want to know all about them and want to interact with them but can't find an appropriate means to do this and are worried that they won't want to interact with you anyway! (And they're probably married, even though they don't wear a wedding ring). And then it gets so bad that you have to write a semi-stream-of-consciousness blog post about it to stop yourself from getting into a desperate state of mind and doing something, well, desperate, and just making everything worse. (And it's been going on for awhile; exhibit A).

It might be time for another Buffy-a-thon, even though I just finished a Buffy-a-thon.

Monday, April 25, 2016

As You Wish, My Master.

Last night, Ms Willow Pussycat jumped on top of the answering machine and erased the greeting message. I was surprised, as I had thought she was okay with the message, given that I'd included her in the message and put her name before my name:

"You've reached WILLOW...and Nicole's answering machine. Please leave a message."

I now realize my unforgivable, and extremely egregious, foolishness. I have re-recorded a new message, one which better reflects the truth:

"You have reached the answering machine of the great and powerful WILLOW...and her imbecile servant, Nicole. Do not deign to leave a message unless you are someone of immense significance. Now leave me to my nap."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Unreliable Narrator

There is a small cafe, located somewhere along a dark alleyway, which itself is located off a one-way laneway. The laneway can only be reached by pedestrian access due to an enormous crater - the result of an enormous meteorite - located in the middle of the adjoining main road. The main road is one of many roads that comprise the central business district (CBD). This CBD is located entirely in my head.

Inside the cafe there is a barista of indeterminate species who serves never-ending lattes and plates of cherry coconut slice. Also inside this cafe is a shape-shifting, dangerous goods storage cabinet, where I keep most of my truths. However, despite my fondness for imaginary lattes and cherry coconut slice, I rarely visit this cafe. And when I do visit, I tend to sit not entirely in one of the imaginary chairs and close to the imaginary door. I steer well clear of the storage cabinet and only ever look at it with peripheral vision; I'm not sure how wise it is to get too close to truths kept in cabinets.

It's taken many years for me to mutate into a being with which I can be comfortable spending time. It's a mostly amicable relationship, and we have a lot in common; we have the same values, we like the same food, we write the same blog, we have the same relatives, we share the same body. But, occasionally, I wouldn't mind some time apart. I don't want to cut ties completely, but a little more space, and maybe a little less intimacy and co-dependency, might be beneficial.

Sometimes I like to believe that I am flawless, or that I have superpowers, or that I don't exist.

Many years ago, I stopped breathing and became a suspended animation. I thought this would kill me but, conversely, it made me more alive. Due to this transition, I am now able to slow time.