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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.

Fear

Posted 25 December 2001, 7.09 pm by Villager

Fear is a funny old thing. Some people fear their shadows, some fear spiders and all things crawly. Some have either become utterly desensitised by trauma and events or simply been worn down by life that they no longer care. I don't fear my shadow, I don't fear spiders or anything crawly, but I'm positive that I've not misplaced nor outlived the feeling to fear. I have two fears.

The first, is death. Not in that I'm paranoid about the fact that one day I shall certainly be no more; I am entirely comfortable with that. My fear of death is that it will come before what I see as my 'time', before I've experienced the things I presently look forward to with such promise. Before I've had a decent crack at life and at least achieved some semblance of contentment. I want to see the world, to have kids; to play with their kids and give them Worther's Originals, to ultimately succeed or fail at my chosen profession; to carve out my own existence in this world, to sail upon my very own wave, rather than the one I have stumbled on, and now lie afloat.

That may sound a trite stereotypical, the whole future plans-that-nobody-ever-gets-around to-doing, but the way I see this journey going, I am essentially stuck in this slow educational, dependent, servile state. Which is why I damn well hope I live to see the fruits.

The second fear is to lose the degree of influence over my life that I crave. In many respects, I have that now, with only my chosen occupation and societal pressures really dictating my passage of life. But that shall change, and my great fear, greater than that of premature death, is that I shall be contained within my scope and denied the freedom I need as a person.

Again, it's a common, often stereotypical fear/concept, that one should desire personal freedom and influence over ones' destiny. But it's an entirely rational and human one. I could indeed take things into my own hands, as it were, and abandon the restrictions of college and work and the family. But such a thing would remove too much of what I have come to depend on in life. So, I am stuck with my journey.

Other than those two things, I fear no physical or mental aspect of life which others claim. For that I am grateful, as I revel in the full health and free mind that I am lucky enough to have. But, my question to you, is: are my fears rational? Should I live life as if each day were my last, and abandon the societal bullshit we all know and hate, live life to its fullest, or continue, as we do, calmly but sadly beating our way through life with the hope that our skills and fortune give promise just around that corner?

First Church of Modernity

Posted 24 December 2001, 11.50 am by Acheron

During the holiday season, many people re-evaluate their spiritual standpoint. This year especially, with its fear and economic retardation, everyday people are taking a look at what spirituality means to them. However, the present labels are not quite fitting enough. Sure, we suburbanites may well label ourselves pseudochristians or agnostics, but those are shootoffs - they imply an intellectual, moral, and spiritual choice. Ours is a different path, a mobile walkway of sorts. I hereby propose a new spiritual designation: modernity.

As a modernist, there are a few important tenets to remember:

- Religion is offensive. Never mention it. If you must mention your chosen spirituality, only say one word: modernist.

- You have no leader; you have premises whose sole purpose is worship; you have no formal rules save these guidelines; modernity has no past, no present, and no future.

- Your religion is intuitive. If you are ever in doubt as to what your current spiritual beliefs are, simply activate your television or look at the pictures in a magazine.

Modernity will succeed where Christianity has failed. It will always be trendy and it never stops with a wall. Christianity often fades, for its constituents, beyond the church property. Modernity is practiced every second of every day. Remember: you are always being watched.

The cornerstones of a pious Catholic life are the sacraments, namely: baptism, first communion, confirmation, enrollment, marriage/holy orders, etc. Are these truly the foundations of the life of even the most devout of Catholics? no. You see, even those who think themselves Christian are deceived as to their true life's path. The real sacraments are of course:

:: First Christmas presents.
:: Your parents splitting up.
:: Finding out Santa isn't real.
:: First drink and first toke.
:: Losing your virginity.
:: Moving away from your parents' home.
:: First credit card.
:: First divorce.
:: Notarizing your last will and testament.

Not everybody experiences all of these sacraments, of course; after all, not everybody lives their life to the fullest.

The Obligatory Christmas Rant

Posted 23 December 2001, 10.30 pm by Villager

In case the hype, melodrama and tradition of the build-up had somehow passed you by, it's Christmas time kids! That means turkey, drunken relatives and shitty presents that you neither want nor need. What I'll tell you that you don't already know, though, is how I'll be approaching this Christmas.

Many people celebrate Christmas because they are Christians, which makes enough sense to me. Many people celebrate Christmas because everyone else celebrates Christmas and have done so all their lives; they were brought up that way. Of course, it seems odd that non-religious people should celebrate a religious event, especially in such numbers. What follows shouldn't surprise us, though, in that a mal-formed tradition such as Christmas should be shouldered by an aggressive and superficial marketing swath, virtually unavoidable in all its extravagant glory (even if you don't watch TV). I fall, or fell rather, into the category which saw me wide-eyed and wondrous as a child, amazed at how Santa managed to fit down my chimney. Even so, it's a tradition which all ages happily partake in, young or, old.

Not having really questioned the whys and the whats before, I generally just went with the flow of things, eating, giving, receiving and being merry. This Christmas, though, I have questioned it, and I have found myself unwilling to go as cattle with the flow, when it means nothing to me. What Christmas has become, is not a holy celebration, but a mass-holiday for all those families and/or couples wealthy and jolly enough to indulge in the fortuitous spending and behaviour. But it's not all bad.

Christmas is, on the positive side, a time when family make a concerted, collective effort to be together and actually spend time in a good mood with those relatives who just don't get a look in any other time of the year. Families are seldom close-knit nowadays, Christmas offers some small repatriation there, at least. Also, despite the vast expense, it's good food and gifts, too. While the often over-elaborate spending is silly, a little exchange of gifts over a bottle of red and left-over turkey between family and friends is no bad thing.

Eat, drink and be merry. Christmas may not be all that, but it's not so bad.

the meaning of life

Posted 23 December 2001, 8.34 pm by Villager

Why do you need an answer to that? Why was it ever a question?

It is perhaps because we as a species are too intelligent to simply exist, as other animals, and be perfectly content to merely live? Perhaps it's more than a question of intelligence, but I believe so.

I do not seek a meaning to life, I never have. Sure, I've wondered if indeed we were put upon this earth for any particular purpose, but with each passing day I find that to be less and less likely. If indeed there was a reason, what should it be? To serve God, to better yourself and the people around you? Come off it. Are we so different from the animals around us to merit divine purpose?

The meaning of life is to live. That may be incredibly vague to some of you, but that's exactly why it's true. As with the plants and animals around us, we are not here to 'serve' a function, we are here to be born, to live and to die. To exist. To experience life, however briefly, and to pass on our remaining energies which become new life. One day that life may be no more. But it will have been. It is. Is that not enough? To be alive? To have the earth and its resources at your disposal? To, as a human, be able to pick and choose your way through a simply vast plethora of experiences until the day you too eventually die?

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This is again from the 'Faces of Death' cycle. In this piece, the mottled effect was produced by flicking turpentine at the image once it was smeared into the ink.


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Hmph

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 ?

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