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The Power of Sentiment

Posted 1 January 2002, 9.05 pm by The_Roach

(The New Year is a time of looking forward to the future, a time of hope and of joy. It is also a time of sentementality, fond remembrance of times past that shall not be forgotten. I would like to demonstrate how powerful sentiment can be by telling a story of New Year's past.)

It was by no means a particularly significant evening by anyone's standards. In fact, that night we all discussed how it didn't seem like New Year's, that Christmas hadn't quite seemed like Christmas. As far as I was concerned, it was just another night out on the town, another excuse to get drunk (as if we ever needed one). Two of my friends who made up this little group were recently married, having done so in the early part of the same year. Very much in love, they've never ceased to demonstrate to me that, while love does not conquer all, it makes the hard times seem that much easier. This specific evening, we ended our troublemaking at their home. As they were in the process of moving, much of the furniture had already been removed and we were forced to sit on the floor.

Two minutes remained until the dropping of the ball. The New Year was fast approaching. The pair prepared themselves for another year of living and of loving. The husband grasped the bottle of champagne, planning to pop the cork at the precise moment that would be upon us while the bride held their ceremonial glasses in anticipation. The cork popped prematurely, the husband's face red with embarrassment, or the cold, or the earlier indulgences of alcohol that had taken place earlier. I'm sure I'll never know. What I remember happening next was the clink of crystal, or so I thought at the time. On reflection, it was too sharp, too severe. It sounded more like a heart breaking, which is not too far from the truth. As a result of amusement towards her somewhat clumsy husband, she had clapped the champagne flutes in her hands together and shattered one.

Here was a woman that I had never seen unhappy, never experienced any hint of sorrow from. No matter the circumstances that tried to hold her down, she always stood proudly with a smile on her face. Not this night. Not this last minute into another year. All she could do was stare at a broken champagne flute and cry silently.

I was stunned. The thought that something so trivial as a glass could possibly tear down the defenses of this strong and independant woman was mind-boggling to me. She was graceful, though. The moment it occured to her that someone might have noticed her plight, she rose and walked from the room, lifting the tears from her face with an empty hand.

I'm still not quite sure I understand why this was such a horrible event. Certainly, I can relate to the sort of attachment that comes as a result of associating material items with events in one's life. I am just as guilty of it as anyone else. I suppose what has always led me astray is my own sense of symbolism, coupled with my attitudes towards love and all it's joys: That it is to be shared.

Now they have but one glass to drink from each year, one they will both sip from in hopes of a fruitful and harmonious New Year. I have no doubt that she has forgotten the importance of that broken crystal in times past, but I also know that she weill never forget the significance of the one she still has.

Happy New Year. May you be safe, and joyous, and free.

A Brand New Day

Posted 31 December 2001, 3.19 pm by Alexander

I awake and the light of a new sun hits my face. Smiling at it's warmth I get out of bed, get dressed and eat some breakfast. I put the radio on a news station, just to make sure nothing bad has happened in the world while I was asleep. Sure enough, nothing to report. All is calm. Finishing my breakfast, I turn on my pc. I connect to the world wide web and make my way to my website. I designed it myself. It's taken me just under a year of solid work to develop it to where it is now, it's not perfect by any means, but I'm always learning. It seems to have been busy overnight - lots of discussion in the forum and some of the staff writers have posted thought-provoking articles. It's not an amazingly busy site, but it seems to have a loyal following and the readership is growing steadily.

I pop open bersirc and enter the #akpcep chan. It's got a few people in, we chat about mundane matters. Some of the staff are there and we thrash out a few ideas on new functionalities. But too much internet is bad for you, so I switch off my computer and pick up my guitar. I work on a song or two and scrawl down some lyrics. Checking my watch I notice it's time for rehearsal, so I load up my car and drive to the rehearsal studios. The rest of the band are already there setting up so before long we're running through the set for the upcoming show. All goes well and equipment is working perfectly.

After the rehearsal I come back, unload the car and get back into my flat. I put on some old skool hip hop and drink a beer. After a few freeweights and a run through some of my kung-fu forms it's time for bed. I don't resent sleep because it gives me the energy to face tomorrow.

Living in a fantasy world is fun, try it.

Writing

Posted 30 December 2001, 2.21 am by Acheron

//Pre//

Charybdis. A puking mess of emotions, swirling about. The greatest poem-essay-novel-epic-symphony ever set down on conceptualized paper, dancing about. The human experience. If we were telepathic, or at least honest, we would merely examine each others' emotions. Bottled joy. Suicidal depression and angst for the youth and youthful at heart. Content in a can for the masses. Love for the lonely. Instead we vicariously experience these emotions through indirect means. A subject! my kingdom for a subject! Open my ribcage like a tabernacle and pour emotion like honeyed molasses syrup onto a dry dusty canvas. Frantically search the mundane world surrounding me for some fragile link between sense and nonsense. 4 walls, floor, ceiling, chair, everything anything something nothing. Somehow a story comes into mind, moulded imperfectly from my perfect emotions like Plato's Play-doh. At last, the searching is over: viens, mediocrity.

//In the act//

The hardest word to write is the first. I have a subject, still more ethereal, closer to perfection, than my finished product can hope to be. The perfect essay does not exist - on whatever level that statement is looked at. With practice, writing the story itself is not so agonizing. Just ignore that little voice up top - logic, reason, intelligence, thought, consciousness whatever it's called - and let the haphazard rhythm of the keys carry me. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Backspace. Clickety clack. The environment fades away as the keys become everything. I am exist when and where my fingers touch the keys. I am AWEFJIOL. ASDTJK;[SHIFT]. [TAB]WEY[SPACE]HIO[?]. I exist like sparks in the darkness; salmon reflecting moonlight on a tranquil lake as they take flight in the night. Like a locomotive pulling into the station, I slowly fade back into reality. Done.

//Post//

Embarrassment. The emotional context is gone - just a soul, in dire need of a fig leaf or two. Shame, shame, shame. Tut. Tsk. Chit. Edit. Correct. Edit again. Ba-dee-ba-dee-ba that's all folks. See some more mistakes. Edit again. Finished? Never - corporeal existence is quite a burden for us perfectionists.

The Internet: A crock of shit.

Posted 28 December 2001, 11.18 pm by Alexander

Vill, you're wrong. The internet is the biggest fucking disappointment of the 20th Century. It has utterly utterly failed. The fact that you can chat to people across the world using it is an insult to it's original promise. Where's the money it was supposed to generate? Why can't companies survive in a virtual marketplace? Why is it used to peddle porn and advertise things nobody is buying?

We're like kids playing in the shell of a NASA rocket that failed to take off. There are no innovations, nothing new. Things just got faster, more anonymous, with less personal responsibility. That's been happening gradually since the dawn of time.

It's a medium like any other. Except other modern media has fulfilled it's expectations, mainly because there weren't many to begin with. Take TV, great entertainment for all the family. It's a roaring success because it brainwashes the masses and is a very successful advertising tool - uhuh, you can't watch the other half of that film until you sit through this message from our sponsors... So TV is doing better than anyone would hope, and did from the outset - it informed, entertained and sold people shit they didn't want.

The internet sells nobody anything. It provides nobody with a significant amount of work (anyone can design a website). It's use as an information source is only as good as the data input, and there is no safeguard guaranteeing validity of information. "I read it on the internet" is as scoffed at as "a bloke down the pub told me". It has no credibility.

The internet is a fairly good timewaster. It can help college kids scam second hand data for schoolwork. It provides stupid negative fucking losers like me another outlet to inflict pointless 'art' on the general public. The more you think about it, the more you just want to disconnect and play video games on your pc, a much more wholesome and focussed entertainment activity.

Damned Technology

Posted 28 December 2001, 4.31 pm by Villager

Did it ever occur to you how self-contained your life is, or could be?

For those of us without responsibilities such as dependents (children, disabled) or important, outdoor jobs, we could shrink into hermitry and live our lives in front of the screen you are currently staring at. Most major supermarkets do home deliveries, and you can always get a pizza or take-away delivered. The bathroom caters for all our hygeine needs, and our beds for our slumber.

I could easily not leave the house for a month and not be terribly bored by the end of it. The internet is a whole new world at your fingertips, entertainment and interaction on a scale, range and resolution unprecedented. And by jove is it addictive.

Save the need most of us have to earn money, there is next to nothing we any longer need from the real world. Even without cutting off all of your worldy ties, think of what you already do in front of the TV. You can listen to music, watch films, play games, talk to your Taiwanese girlfriend in Australia, eat, smoke and drink your way through vast amounts of time, with little other than the need to pass liquids/solids requiring you to leave your chair. You can even fall in love.

A world through a screen. Far from being a tool of indoctrination such as television, it is a plethora of information and entertainment in which we carve out whole new lives, new identities, new friends and new opinions. We are the virtual generation, and it's all happening right here.

Stella Artois: Reassuringly expensive.

Posted 28 December 2001, 12.34 am by Villager

A few weeks back I had resolved to abstain from alcohol consumption from that point on. Why? Because :-

* Alcohol is expensive, and I'm poor
* I prefer to remain in control of my senses
* I can honestly have more fun sober
* Alcohol is bad for me (and I'm a fairly health-conscious person)
* Alcohol is expensive (worth noting twice)

Tonight, however, I succumber to my most familiar poison; Stella Artois. Don't get me wrong, I didn't spend my hard earned £, it was bought by my boss at work (I work in a restaurant). I had finished a long hard shift, and he offered me a beer. I declined, saying I had given up beer. He asked again, saying it was 'on him' (I'm not legally old enough to buy beer anyway) and I gave in. Not because any of the aforementioned reasons had expired or changed, but because I was damned thirsty and fancied a beer.

I drank the first pint, chuckling to myself at how my resolve had been so easily broken, and then the second, third and fourth pints, abandoning any concern for my little slip in sobriety. No question, I had a good time playing pool and the rest of it, as I usually do. But I have been left to seriously question my will and strength of resolve. Do I give into the enticing evil, or sacrifice a little fun in the name of health, wealth and level mind?

Death bed

Posted 27 December 2001, 11.28 pm by Villager

My grandmother is 76, and dying. Having smoked (cigarettes) heavily from the age of fifteen up until two years ago, she is lucky to be alive. She has lung cancer, diabetes, bronchitis and a couple of things I don't remember the names of. Yet she remains of relatively sound mind. Two years ago the doctors gave her six months to live, and every month they tell us the same thing: that she shouldn't be alive considering her medical state. For this defiance of life I could not be more thankful, but it comes at a price.

My grandmother takes over 30 pills a day, along with oxygen. She is in considerable pain every time her lungs are called upon to do extra work, such as going to the bathroom, or to and from bed. Eating results in abdominal cramps. What's worse is that at this point there are no pills that she can be given to help the pain that wouldn't kill her. So, she suffers, systematically crying and desperately struggling for breath, and we can do nothing but hold her hand and try to comfort her. It's soul destroying to watch her suffer this way, day after day.

I wish she would die. I am ashamed for thinking this, I truly am, but seeing the magnitude of her suffering, against the miniscule joys she can still take from life, I feel no emotional remorse for wishing that it would end; for her benefit and ours. I love her as much as anyone; she is a funny, charismatic grandmother and has always been there for me, for all of us. But despite her remaining happiness, despite her sanity, every time I watch her weep in silent agony I wish that her next breath would be her last.

I hate myself for not being able to care enough to remain positive for her sake until the day she does die; I just hope she knows I love her.

Reprinted With Permission

Posted 26 December 2001, 7.48 pm by Berly

I've got some great friends. They send me email I love to read. I wanted to share part of one, it's far too illustrative to let it go:

I'm taking orders from the blond attack-hamster-come senior partner, Rolf. In his mind the years since the war have transformed him into an American, indistinguishable from any other native born son, yet he still can't pronounce the letters W, S or that Th combination found in English. This is funny. Not because of his accent, but because it illustrates the first generation immigrant's ironic struggle to become "American." Comedy ensues when he shares his $300.00 per hour opinion of a recent deposition:

"Zee dumb fuck shtook 'is hand in za band zaw und zen screams but nobody understands vat za bastard is zaying. You could hardly understand him in zee depo vith tat accent!"

You may not smile when he says this. You don't want to. He is not aware of the irony. Many Germans in my firm seem to lack this insight, and I'm not sure why. But don't be mistaken, Rolf loves a good joke as much as the next guy. Jews are particularly funny people. He acknowledges their humor. It is a separate thing in his mind. Separate from other types of humor, say British or American humor. Almost everyone his age was in the Hitler Youth. It was expected, kind of like the Boy Scouts here - only with Panzerfausts.

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They were done for an exhibition a couple of years ago . They asked for something to so with the summer. They are mixed media and oil paint on metal advertising boards - for ice cream.


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80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

* Alexander wonders if this still works

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