youngraven: (suffer)

Do you believe in love at first sight?

It was the latter days of 1990; I was seventeen and full of the usual sorts of pipedreams and frippery. You were a small drum played in a way that I'd never seen before, and to be quite honest, couldn't quite work out by simply watching. 

But the sound of you. It was deeper than a heartbeat and older than primal. I could liken it to the echoes of the Big Bang and not only would that be grossly florid, everybody knows that the Big Bang remnants sound a bit more like eeeEERRNNNKKkkk (seriously - look it up, it'll set your back teeth vibrating. Ah, the dulcet screech of the creation of everything). 

All silliness aside, I was instantly fascinated and fixated on this thing: I had to get my hands on one to find out what it would do. A few months later, I was afforded my chance. Not long after that, I began spending rather much time in its presence, working out how to give the sound of it that primordial thrum. 

Now I feel strange when it's not somewhere nearby. So much for being a rock star. 
youngraven: (Default)

Who is your look-alike?

So I'm a bit late on this one, but I wanted to chime in, 'cos despite what I may think about it, mine isn't a unique face. Over the years I've been compared to: 
Kirstie Alley - back in the 'Cheers' day

A woman wearing stripes in a magazine  - somebody tore the page out and gave it to me. Hang me, but I may still have it

Jodie Foster - this used to be The One. For a while, whenever somebody would say 'Do you know who you look like?!' I'd draw a breath and (patiently, mind) answer 'Jodie Foster'? And inevitably they'd go 'yes!' I had a table full of randy English business men calling me 'Jodie' in Dublin. I did the 'Dr Lector?!' bit just to piss with them. They were going on about mistresses (nudge-nudge-wink-wink, we're staying here in Temple Bar? Yourselves?); we got away from them quick-quick like.

(Oddly, never Meg Foster)

Rene Russo


Adam Lambert - somebody on somebody else's friends list thought my profile icon was a photo of himself.

Gabrielle...janey what was her name? The French girl in 'Inglourious Basterds'. Melanie (what? Sounds just like 'Gabrielle') Laurent.

Anna Colliton - who happens to be another bodhranaí up in New York. This one proved a bit awkward. She came down to do the bodhrán class at O'Flaherty two years ago. Albert stood us up side-by-side so that he could compare us. Mostly, we're roughly of the same height and figure. She's younger than myself, so she's a bit more svelte, but otherwise. (And often very similar hair! What the hell? It's not as though we're consulting with each other first. I've lately let mine grow a bit, and am sporting the long jagged layers. I saw a recent photo of her a few days ago, and so is she?! I think our hairdressers must be cahooting or something.) I mean, I almost see the resemblance - but you'd have to stuff my friend, Jenna, between the two of us. Then Jenna and I look like sisters and Anna could be a cousin. But...the result was that people I know in passing called me 'Anna' all week, and at least one of my friends reported racing up to Anna only to find out she wasn't myself at the last dying moment.

At least nobody asked me 'is that your daughter?' XD


youngraven: (Default)
My word (literally, as it worked out), was that a fucking gas. I don't think I've ever had as much fun in an office, for realz like. So. The project. The way that the hunter of heads presented it to me was 'they want you to bring something into compliance with company brand' - which I can do in my sleep providing you give me all the specifications, colour palette, fonts, &c. Only he didn't exactly understand the scope of the project, 'cos headhunters often approach job descriptions at very high levels. It's been more than once that I've gone into an interview to find out that the description and the reality are about eighty miles apart from each other. It can be awkward.

Here is what they actually wanted: somebody to read a book about leadership that their consultant had written, and then distil it down into a work book and other materials (little cards, to be precise) that complied with corporate brand. There was no extant workbook, thus it fell to me to do the writing of it. Hence my (correct) use of 'literally' in the first sentence.

It's the first time I've ever been paid to write in my life. It's daft, usually I feel I can hardly string two sentences together, and my grammar (it might be noted) is colourful. However, since it's for a training workbook, I can keep it fairly conversational, but having to strip my own voice out of it has meant for mental gymnastics. It's as though I'm thinking with another head. I'd write something, spin round in my chair a few times (thus invoking said other head), and then I'd think 'would this make sense to me if I were a corporate suit? If the answer was '...merrrgh?' then I'd know that clearly something wanted changing. 

And yet, I did it. I now can say I've been a professional writer. For fuck's sake, yeh? How the devil did this happen?
youngraven: (Default)
What was the longest road trip you ever went on? How did you pass the time?

I can't be sure of the actual physical longest driving journey I've made. My family were fond of motoring about places and often great distances were involved. 

The longest feeling one was the time my sister and I drove from Alta Loma to Castro Valley. We'd two choices: the PCH and the 5. Since the 5 was the shortest distance between the two points, we chose it over the 101 (where all of the interesting things can be found and seen). 

It started off well enough, really. We thought of topics for natter, moved along at a fair clip, and then everything got yellow. The local flora took on this shade of interminable ochre that seemed to cover everything: the side of the road, the foothills, the sky at the horizon, and soon enough it got into our brains. There was nothing to break up the monotony - and then? Traffic ground to a dead halt. In the middle of the back of beyond. With no apparent cause. Simply stopped. 

We'd thought to save time by going up the 5, but a journey that should have taken us round six hours (surely less than seven) took closer to eight and a half. Had we opted for the 101? It still would have taken us a year and a half, but at least we could have seen people attempting to hunt for whales from their cars - or whatsoever it is that people are thought to be doing. 

Somewhere, I've got video I shot through the window when the scenery was still novel. Now, I never want to see that particular yellow again. 
youngraven: Ah, I've had better days, me. (Drownt rat)

What was the worst significant purchase you ever made, and why?

I suppose I'm fortunate in that I can talk myself out of buying nearly anything (providing it's anything for myself), even cheese. I'll linger over the dairy in the supermarket, Swiss in hand, and wonder to myself do you honestly need this? Case in point: I've been back living in my house for nearly a fortnight now, and I've yet to pop out to the shops.

I almost always come up with some reason why whichever thing that has caught my eye is merely a folly, and I oughtn't have it.

Almost always.

It is possible to trick me into parting with my brass in exchange for something foolish (say, a pot of mineral make up), providing you set upon me when I've wandered so far afield in my mind that I'm no longer entirely sure how I got to where I might be standing.

Then you can plop me down into your bouncy-swivelly chair, scrub half of my face clean of...whichever glop I'd shmeared over it that morning, and do your powdery worst. I may protest, aye, I may do at that, but all you'll hear from my lips is a wee creak that might sound like '...neeernk' and since you don't speak Daft, you'll leave it hanging there wondering what is its purpose in life.

You'll extol the virtues of your jar of sand in a fast language that deftly eclipses the Caveat Emptor in my mind chanting 'it'll make you look like shite' in a cadence reminiscent to iambic bloody pentametre. Toss in a few thees, thous, thines, and a few vague references to fallen virginity and it'll be reciting frigging Shakespeare. Thou shalt lookst as shite doth, ye painted and pricked doxy. Sure it's a pity how the classics are lost on these modern sensibilities.

So after a quarter hour of bibbling, swirlling, tapping, and buffing, you'll send me on my way with your eejit tin of orange (orange?!) dirt and an assurance that I can't have the lot back to you even if half my face splinters, cracks and falls away.

Never penny wise but surely pound foolish.

Afterwards, I'll beg a mate of mine to tell me I've not been a complete imbecile, and she'll smile and oblige me, but with her fingers crossed fast behind her back.

Come the morrow, I'll step out into the light of day looking for all the world as though I'm after sleeping it off face down in a pile of wet clay.
youngraven: (Default)

How do you define a true friend? What would lead you to end a friendship?

The real question here is whether I'll get through this entry without burning Carole King into my brain on an infinite loop. Not that this would be a bad thing, per se. Carole King is one of my absolute favourite singer/songwriters.

Winter, spring, summer or fall - all you've got to do is call, and I'll come running, yes I will.
You've got a friend...

I suppose I've been thinking on friendship for a little while now, since I'll be taking my leave of one circle of friends and returning to another.

I hold my friends in high esteem, this isn't to say I find them faultless, but I don't see the worth in spending a great lot of my time going about with people I don't hold in high esteem.

Such as This One Chap...who delights in telling me all about the times that people who I don't actually know have had harsh words about me in his presence so's to can boast about how well he defended my honour. I fairly take exception to that ('cos what am I going to do - attempt to Sort Things Out with strangers? That's a bit weird, don't you think?), I question his motives, and thus he's been relegated to 'acquaintance'.

So, one criterion for friendship would be do not tear me down to build yourself up. I am fairly skilled at niggling away at my own psyche (for good and for ill), thanks very much. This is not a role in my life needs that needs filling; kindly desist.

Then, there was My Client...who's after deciding that I'm the next best thing to psychotherapy. Never misunderstand me, I'm not averse to lending an ear, being a sound board, or otherwise bearing witness to the spilling of one's guts (figuratively or literally). I do get that friends do this. Hell's bells - look at the title to this piece. Sure, I didn't write it myself, but I'm never scratching my head and wondering 'what the devil does that mean'. There's a stark difference between asking for support and wringing a person dry (much in the way there's a thin line between aiding and enabling). Do I feel oddly compelled to get to the bottom of things when one presents me with a parcel of mental woe? Hang me, but I do - and that's solely on me, I get that. However, it's not on me when somebody takes a notion to feel entitled to my perspective over that somebody's life. If nothing else, at the end of the day, I en't qualified - my advice could well prove bloody awful - why take that risk? 

Thus, another criterion for friendship would be do not call me Dr Freud and expect me to wear a pointy beard and ask you probing questions about your mum. Especially, do not pull me away from doing This Thing Over Here that I feel defines my very being in order to douse me with a gulletful of your fortnightly spates of angst. I know...I know...I can always refuse, but meet me halfway, yeh? 

Digging into my past friendships' dregs, I'm reminded of That Girl I Used to Go Round With to Stop Me Being Bored of a Friday Night (janey, what a title)...who's crashed headlong into middle age with an 18-page criminal report. As I recall, she's now been locked up at society's urging...five times? Six is it? Mostly for prostitution, but with the odd drug and armed robbery conviction tossed into the batter for a bit of spice and texture. As I'm sure the title I've given her depicts, I can't exactly call her a friend, really. Or a mate. Or...I don't know - comrade? That still seems too close. Circumstance might be the best word I can come up with. Ha. Thick as thieves. That's a good one, 'cos for a while our circumstance (apparently morbid boredom?) did render us nigh unto inseparable - and your wan there, she couldn't lay her hand to an object that it didn't end up sneaked into her handbag. Absolutely incorrible, she was - I honestly think she's a sociopath. I could go on - and I may do someday, 'cos I'm still baffled by what a thorough disaster is she - but that'll keep for now.

Which leads me to proclaim that an especially vital criterion for friendship is do not lead me into sin. (Mind, 'sin' is used a bit ironically here...only a bit).

That brings us to Mr Nose Is Growing...who singlehandedly ended his two-year marriage and slandered a mutual friend all in one calamitous go. There are many reasons that a monkey-based lifeform may deal in untruths. Fear, shame, cruelty, cowardice (not quite the same as fear) - some of which are more forgiveable than others. If a person panics and tells me a lie about something, then chances are I'll take that under consideration once the truth is out and my pardon is begged. If a person tells me a lie about herself 'cos the truth shames her? Again, I'm not heartless. I don't necessarily assume that a person will lie to me out of disrespect; more often than not, it's more about the strength of that person's self worth. Now yer man here...he lies to amuse himself. He's got this strategy when it comes to lying: tell as many lies as possible and as quickly as possible. The result is that people believe him out of self defence. He's filled up their ears with so many tall tales that to show them to be falsehoods should take rather more commitment than it's worth. In truth, most of the lies were harmless - tales of middle class derringdo meant to make the teller seem a bit more interesting than the average 30 something white primate. If he'd contented himself with being a bit of a Walter Middy, then I'd not want to spit something foul and sticky whenever I see him. Only he chose to take his lying to the next level, and in effect laid the blame for the dissolution of his marriage at the feet of somebody else (particulars spared to protect the innocent). I can fairly suss why he did as he did: he wanted out, and he never wanted it to be his fault. Sussing is not the same as excusing or forgiving. 

Therefore, a third criterion for friendship is do not be a lying rat bastard. Especially not at the expense of  myself or other people.    

Last of all, I offer the Fellow With the Green Eye Shadow...whose behaviour was so ghastly at the end of it all that it warranted me writing rather a derisive song about him so's to completely exorcise him from my life. There are few people with whom I've burnt bridges. Even with people who've come into my life and acted many different maggots, I'm slow to slam the door, lock it fast, and then flee prior to blowing up the building. 'Cos who knows - it might be that all we need to come to common ground again is a few years' distance. He'd have been in the unburnt bridge drawer, but for one thing that he did. Pardon the dramatics of it, but he came spying for a group of people who'd made it known that they intended to do away with me. It got back to me through three unrelated channels (which lent the rumour credence to my mind), so I've no doubt that it was discussed. Whether they ever thought to actually go through with it? I can't say - and I'd be daft if I went to go find one of them to sate my own curiosity. In short, it was what it was, and I don't need to know. This fellow - once I'd said my peace to the effect of 'if ever I see you again, it'll be too soon' - had the absolute daft gall to wait a beat, and then begin telling me all about some person who was giving him fits or something. Sure jeez, boyo - what part of eff the fuck right off did you not get? I told him to keep still and then turned and walked away.

Which brings me to the most important criterion for friendship - do not try to have me killed. I can fairly guarantee you I'll not be laughing with you, or at you, or even laughing at all. Make a move to teach me the ancient art of shoving up daisies, and we're done. Sin é. So that we're clear. (Note: it's not escaped me how mad it is that I've got to include this one on the list.)

All in all...I don't ask for terribly much of my friends. Sometimes I get a bit whingety and crave reminding that I'm not some sort of undesirable sea creature (why's it always sea creatures?), but mostly I'm fairly self contained. At the end of the day, I think that if we can find joy in each other's company, compassion in each other's sorrow, at least a wee swath of common ground, and we're willing to accept (or at least ignore) each other's quirks and idiosyncrasies, then I see no reason why we shouldn't be friends.
youngraven: (Default)

Who was your favorite childhood superhero, and why?

I dithered over whether I would opt for fanciful or choose to be a bit grittier for this one. I tend do to err on the side of the light-hearted surface in this journal; I understand that it may make me a bit difficult to relate to, but that doesn't bother me, really. I've seen too many times how too much relating can cause too much mess, and I'd usually rather count myself out of it.

Life's too short, sort of thing. being a new year and all, perhaps just this once I might go away from my trusty rule.

To put it in brief terms, I had a Problem with comic books. This isn't to say that I mortgaged the farm and sold all of my teeth to buy them, but rather it got too easy to dissolve into the worlds certain of them portrayed. Not that they were better worlds, really - I mean...people joke about what to do when the dead rise, brandish knives and forks, and demand chunks of the living's grey matter, but who really wants to go there? Never myself, for one (or however many). All the same, these worlds spoke to me, and their words proved so much seductive poison (sure, drama, trust me when I say it was on the cusp of going very wrong).

I can't exactly recall what possessed me to cough up the dosh for that first one. Come to that, I can't actually recall where I was at the time. (Got a theory, so for argument's sake, let's have a look at that, will we?) I do recall the book. It was the fourth issue of a 'Teen Titans' mini series. The one about Starfire. Go on. Have a look, and a bit of a chuckle. It's nigh unto thirty years gone, pointing out the absurdity of it isn't going to vex me. Hell's afire, I'm doing it myself, right?

Starfire. Tall, curvy, about as clever as my cat Cleo, named for a spice, and emits ginger coloured vapour trails out the back of her hair when she flies. Seriously, the sheer daft of the lot of that is enough to make you laugh till you puke. I mean, come on? What's with the frigging coiffure smoke? You could never nip off to Paris for a secret weekend rendezvous, could you? The paparazzi would follow your damned hair straight to the Seine. And that name - in Spanish, she's known as 'Cilantro'? Who thought that was a good idea? The writers partook of an especially heavenly garam masala and felt compelled to somehow honour the experience?

The world may never know.

But what I knew is that this character represented everything I wasn't (and still am not, come to that), yet desperately longed to be: tall, lovely, and able to fend off attackers. That she came from space and could fire lasers from her own hands were the icing and the sprinkles on the cake. I'd spent so much of my life (and do yet, come to that) feeling so incorrigibly least if I'd come from space, I'd have a reason not to think like the rest of yez. (Assuming that's true. At the end of the day, we all keep ourselves to ourselves, so I've no honest way of knowing how anybody thinks, so.)

Despite our many obvious differences (pretty versus plain, from space versus from earth, fictional versus real), we did have one thing in common: a particular tormentor with an almost identical motive. Starfire had a elder sister called 'Blackfire' (ever seen black fire? 'S really difficult in the dark - och, these names are enough to make your back teeth vibrate). Through some political intrigue involving the sister having been born unable to fly (sure, why not), Starfire was slated to become Queen of Everything. Blackfire (who's actual name is too eejity to speak) being the jealous sort didn't much care for this change in plans, and fairly vowed to hate and menace her sister for All Aeternity (raaar). As ye do, like.

As ye do, indeed, actually. Starfire had Blackfire, I had Alan. Alan is my auntie Kathleen's younger son. He's two years (I think) my senior. As of this writing, I'm wrestling with a revelation that has the potential of distilling Alan's behaviour down to a two-word diagnosis. But never mind what I think of that for now - it's fresh yet, and I can't quite make myself not hold this grudge. I know. In time. Possibly after a few well-aimed verbal chain shots at his main mast, but in time. Sure. Why wouldn't I? As Starfire shook up her sister's world when she came along, as I did to Alan's.

After I was born, my mum fell grievously ill and went into hospital for a little while. In all truth, I cannot recall whether it was for a couple of weeks or a couple of months. It was the seventies, so easily it could have been a month or more. She'd had a haemorrhage and was showing signs of potential cancer. You know - nothing at which one might sniff. As a result, for the first little while of my small life, it was Kathleen who cared for me. And because she'd had no little girl of her own, doted over me.

Alan, you could accurately surmise, was livid and fairly vowed to hate and menace me for All Aeternity. I'm not going to bore anybody with a list of grievances beyond me saying that there was violence done me again and again, and when we met as children, I was usually assured that it would eventually not go well for me at his hand. Even as we've met in adulthood, the teeth have been bared. Telling him off Once and for Dyin' All is on my 'bucket list', no lie.

I read that first Starfire book till it disintegrated. At the end of it all, when I purged my 'collexion' in self defence to a fellow at school, that one was scarcely fit for a birdcage. I recall poring over it in an upstairs room at my great aunt's house. My great aunt's house was in Grove Avenue in the Fan District, so the chances are high that I bought the book in Richmond. The chances are higher still that I bought the book out of a childish, hopeful desire to relate to my cousin. He was mad for comic books at the time (for all I know he is yet) - truth be told, he was mad for collecting things of many ilk. This particular time, it was comic books.

I can even clearly recite one line from the book that stood out: she was my older sister, I wanted her to like me. And as proud as I was, and unaffected as I wished to seem, as much as I felt compelled to get the upper hand of him just once, that line struck me.

He was my older cousin, I wanted him to like me.

Ah well, it's good to want things, innit.

I read comics voraciously till It All Unravelled, and I realised with some surprise that I'd lost my head, sort of thing. Whether that should have happened with or without comic books to reveal it...can't say, really. I do know that I've been suspicious and resistant to that sort of escapism since then. My reality is tenuous at best, it'll ill serve me to stretch till the point that it's transparent, yeh? So discussion of childhood 'heroes' is a bit of a steep drop for me.

Unless, of course, we're talking about Pippi Longstocking...but hers isn't the story wanted telling today.
youngraven: (Default)

What's your favorite snack for a rainy afternoon?

I find it a bit amusing that the image attached to this writing prompt is a couple of jars of brown ale. Translation: when it rains, get pissed!

Slainté, maise!

Years ago, I was what a polite person might call curvy, and what a brutally frank person might call 'well on her way to elephanthood'. I wittled myself down to svelte by means of regimented nibbling (regardless of the weather). I've proven out to be the sort of monkey who rounds out if she doesn't put something into her mouth every few hours or so. It's worked a charm, it really has done.

For example, it's...20 past 11 in the morning at the moment - fairly midway between brekkie and luncheon - and I am eating vanilla flavoured yoghurt with a handful of blueberries stuffed into it. I prefer this way to buying yoghurt with the fruit already included. For one, god knows how long it's been in there, and for another, I'm sure that I add more to it. I find more's the better when it comes to fresh fruit. Add a cuppa to that, and there's elevenses done.

My cat, if you were wondering, is dancing about on the floor beside me, 'cos I've taken to given her the empty cup to lick. I checked - it's not bad for her, and she never actually gets quite a spoonful, so I'm not terribly worried. It has made her a bit of a demanding wee beast, so I'm thinking it's time to teach her to say 'please' and 'thank you'.

So, back to the nibbly bits. I mentioned 'elevenses', which I'm sure sounds a bit quaint, only it's used illustratively here. This bit of nibbling occurs at roughly the same time every day: roughly between eleven and half eleven - ie, it's regimented. And because I'm a creature of habit (and I've bought into this pro-biotic thing), there isn't a great lot of variance. I mean...I'll choose raspberries if I can't find blueberries, but otherwise my selections are fairly consistent.

As could be expected, there's a corresponding afternoon bit of nibbling that breaks up the space between lunch and supper. Since 'high tea' is as good a time as any (and easy to remember - this is vital), it usually happens right round four o-clock everyday. Usually it consists of tea (well, always it consists of tea) and some sort of biscuit (although, this week it's been slices of homemade Guinness gingerbread), and it may or mayn't include a piece of fruit not consumed at lunch time.

When I committed myself to making this lifestyle change (which began in mid 2001), I subscribed to a service. I feel no embarrassment about that; I clearly didn't know what I was doing in regards to what should and shouldn't go into my mouth. For the first few weeks, though, I thought I would die for the sheer volume of what I was expected to consume on a daily basis. I was achieving the desired result, mind, but the approach wasn't perfect. It was actually rather uncomfortable at times, so I had to tailor that approach to suit my own corpuses clamourings.

I'm not so deft with time. I suppose one could go so far as to say that I'm rather daft with time. It became swiftly evident that if I didn't train myself to nibble at prescribed (by me) times, it'd never happen. So I set alarms. I've since disabled my eleven alarm, but the tea time one chimes faithfully every day at four. Having these reminders made an immense difference in those first few months. Nowadays...I fairly remind myself; I've been conditioned towards hunger when it's the best time to be eating something. It's brilliant, really.

Now then, lest I give the impression that I can horse it in carte blanche, the time isn't the only thing kept to certain constraints. I've become a great proponent of small containers. Little boxes and bag that only ever hold so much of a certain thing - for example, crisps. It's Very Simple to consume Very Many of them in one go, only to feel Very Wretched about having done Very Soon afterwards. The best way to thwart all of those damned Verys is to make it difficult or impossible to consume more than a certain number of crisps - say, the number that the back of the package asserts one should be consuming. Oftentimes, it's eight. Fair enough, then, I'll count out eight crisps, put them either onto my plate or into something, fetch the packet back into the cupboard, and then go away from it. If 'away' means the office, then it's fairly impossible for me to go back for another helping unless I buy a packet of crisps somewhere, which isn't likely to happen. If 'away' means into another room, then I'm disinclined to go back for more, because doing so has become (to me at least) a bit of a nuisance, thus sidestepping 'monkey see, monkey want'.

I ration fairly everything this way. It used to be that I'd count many things out rather diligently (and I still do with biscuits - often, I'll count out less, 'cos I've realised that not quite a 'serving' will do - and it stretches them a bit), but I've got so accustomed to the shapes of certain quantities that generally my idea of a 'handful' works out to be right round what the packet, box, or dubious government organisation thinks a 'serving' should be.

At the end of the day, it looks a bit like this:
Breakfast: some manner of cereal with some form of berry added
Mid-morning: yoghurt with more berries, possibly a banana
Lunch: a sandwich with (usually eight) crisps
Tea: Three biscuits and a cuppa, possibly an orange
Supper: whatsoever I manage to chuck together - often two veg and a dead animal

(I allow the fruit some motility; as long as it finds its way into my mouth, I'm not terribly concerned as to when.)

This combination of rationing and regimenting has well served me for right round a decade now - no matter the weather. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for lunch.
youngraven: (Default)

If you unexpectedly won a $10,000, how would you spend it?

First of all, allow me to reflect upon how massively I would balloon if I were to consume a latte for every day of the year. To nick a line of Mike Myers: I'd have my own weather system!

But this isn't a song about the weather, or a whale, but it is perhaps a song about being happy.

Or peace of mind, at the very least.

It's quite simple: I'd chop the money in half - no, no! Not literally, sure jeez, I'm never that weird. I mean, right, I do tend towards the money corrupts mindset, but I'm hardly foolish enough to spit in Dame Fortune's eye should she choose to look on me favourably. Eh, we all need a leg up from time to time.

Ah no, I'd chop the amount in half - so that Shaddow and myself would have two tidy, equal piles. We would then proceed to flog our cars, add that money to our two stacks, and then march forth in search of gluaisteáin (there's your Irish word for the day) with a bit more youth left them.

Living in Atlanta, I've reduced my driving considerably (there's no place I'm keen to go on a weekly basis that's farther from me than 17 miles), but the clock is ticking, and it's beginning to sound less of a timepiece and more of a timebomb. In support of this, let's consider where my car is this very moment, will we?

It's in the garage. For the second time this week and all. With a banjaxed clutch. Alright, in my car's defence, it had to go back to the garage due to parts of the new clutch being dodgy (where dodgy means 'making a nasty rattle as bits of it broke apart and one piece fell out whilst I was driving'). It'll be there till the end of the week.

In the course of making this very costly repair, the fellow at the garage uttered such phrases as 'next "big-ticket" repair', 'valve covers' and 'considerable oil leak developing'. Sigh.

At least the hire car's got heated seats, yeh?

I've had her nigh unto ten years, and although I'd hoped to eke many more journeys out of her, I've got to face up that my wish mightn't come to pass.

So...that's what I'd do with the money. Possibly an Impreza this time. Likely still blue.
youngraven: (Default)

Which song by The Beatles is your favorite, and why?

There have been many musicians over the years who have climbed into my soul via my ears - each of them leaving me changed in tiny and large ways. But none so much, I think, as the Beatles.

At the time of his death, I was vaguely aware of John Lennon. The Beatles had been widely played at carnivals and festivals in Germany, so I'd come to know them without actually knowing them.

I was lying on the floor when the announcement was made that John Lennon had been shot to death at the door to the Dakota Building. I was aware that some profound wrong had been done the world, but I hadn't anything concrete to stitch to that concept. For years afterwards, I would dismiss the Beatles as passé and provincial (I know, I know).

I'd gone fourteen when the paradigm shifted, and it was a monumental shift. Something in the Beatles' music and Lennon's words grabbed hold of my schema and tipped it on its edge. They were alive, and represented a generation* that seemed to me so vital and in motion. They decried social injustice in fantastic ways. In the midst of the dreary 80s? The best I could do was to stiffen my shoulders and wait for it to pass, 'cos as Rod Stewart said in 'Young Turks', ...there ain't no point in talking when there's nobody listening...

I spent the next several years obssessed with the Beatles. I wrote lists and lists of every song I'd heard and knew, and those lists spanned pages' worth.

I built a shrine to John Lennon, and made plans to run away to Liverpool for ever and aye (which has yet to come to pass, but curiously...I have ended up with a house in Liverpool Drive, so...). I suppose it would be entirely appropriate to say that he'd become my guru. At least it's less mad than me saying 'he'd become my God', although...

But never mind that.

In the intervening years, I must confess that I no longer require a steady diet of Beatles in order to remain upright and breathing. It's better when frenzies gentle themselves and settle, I think.

I don't think I could choose an absolute favourite song - so many of them held so many different meanings to me. Once, I was really keen on 'I'm Only Sleeping', first pass seems a silly one, really. All about a fellow who'd rather stay his bed if it's all the same to you, thanks very much. Not terribly deep, is it?

Only to me, it represented a quiet, downy barrier between myself and people who I perceived would much prefer I wasn't amongst them. Even now, I'm most often keeping an eye on the world going by my window rather than jumping into the mix.

*I'm no longer so enamoured of that point in history.
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What do you think happens after you die?

This is true: I read it on the internet somewhere.

When you die, you'll be rounded up with a bunch of other dead people and ushered into discrete little rooms, each equipped with a scuffed Laminex desk that's got a drawer missing its key (this is important later), a wee green lamp with a rusty chain, and a chair that squeaks and lists slightly to port.

After the compulsory waiting period of forty days and forty nights ('Er, it worked with the Flood', they'll tell you if you ask them - but don't ask them, 'cos they'll tell you other things as well.), a runty sprite of a fellow got up in what looks for all the world like his grannie's old dressing gown will wheel a rickety blue shopping trolley along the corridor, and he'll use it to batter open each door.

Expect to be startled. Rather a lot, really. If you happen to be one of the few people who manage to shake off the ennui enough to go and fetch yourself a cuppa, then the odds are high that you'll chuck the thing skywards in your surprise.

There aren't umbrellas in the afterlife. Sorry. Wear it with pride, my duckies.

You'll look at him, and he'll look at you, and right round the time you're prepared to say 'what the fuck, mate',  yer man will have built a shaky megalopolis atop your desk out of stacks of faded, water-stained red folders that he's fetched out of his trolley. 

It's now that you might be thinking to yourself, as your eyes trace the shape of the stacks up, up, and up '... Well. This room's got no ceiling?' 

'Erm...' you start to say, but the little fellow cranes his neck round his feat of wood pulp and paper-clip architecture and fixes you with a bored gaze occasionally eclipsed by the halo that keeps slipping down to his nose.

'File these', says he, and leaves.

Welcome to the afterlife. :D


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What famous person from history would you have liked to have as a parent, and why?

Well, I'd hardly call him historical in the sense of Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte (which I suspect is the actual question being asked), and I'd never want him for a dad really, but I've wondered from time to time how life would be as Willie Nelson's granddaughter.

...Yer wha?
 You say, screwing up your eyes in that way you do when you've been presented with something that Simply Does Not Compute. 'Willie...with the manky plaited hair, and the tax evasion, farmers, and...that awkward voice Nelson?'

The very same. Surely. It's crossed my mind; more than once and all.

You're pissing with me, aren't you? Admit it: you really mean Nelson Mandela. You want Nelson Mandela for a granddad, right? 'Cos come on--he's Nelson Effing Mandela. It's like living in the time of Gandhi with that chap round--how could you not crave kinship? We all want to be chips off his particular block, yeh? 

Eh, I loved Invictus as well as the next person, but I'm afraid this time it isn't a saviour of the free world I'm wanting to play Father Christmas come 25 December. It's an ageing hippie with a nosey voice and twangy guitar. Seriously. Willie Nelson. Will. Ie. Nel. Son.

But Mandela...

Did amazing things; does them yet--I'm not discounting his service to humanity. How can I convince you? ...(croons) I'm...crazy...crazy for feeling so...lonely? I'm...crazy...crazy for feeling


I'm crazy...for tryin'...and cra...zy for cryin'...and I'm crazy for can stop now. It's alright, I believe you.

Worry...why do I let myself...worry?

Stop, please




Thank you.


In all seriousness, there is something about him (dare I say 'je ne sais quoi' - 'cos I really can't work it out) that makes me think he'd make for an entertaining grandfather.
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Which living person would you choose to be for a week, and why?

Since I tend to go on about her from time to time... I can see how this would go.

8.45 Sunday morning
The usual soft light filters in through the windows. Perhaps a breeze ruffles the curtains (that's odd, I haven't got curtains). I yawn, stretch, open my eyes proper, and ...mother of Jesus. Where the effing hell am I?

Somewhere amidst the shock of Naked! Tattooed! and ...Brazilian? (eeep) I notice that ...well, of course I'm not alone, yeh? Holy hell. That's Brad Pitt. I mean it - seriously. Fucking Brad Pitt. Snoring the teeth out of his head, and (squinty-peery face) ...he really could do with a bath, couldn't he?

A bit of strategic dressing gown donning and tiptoeing across the floor ensues, and lo. I have decided to brave the mirror. And...well. Would you look at that. Angelina Jolie. Innit. She's--I'm taller than I'd thought she--I would be?
9.00 Sunday morning
The door opens as though by force of nature, and I'm knocked off Angie's feet by her sheer number of children. I cannot recall their names. I do not know who prefers what for brekkie. Nor do I know what happened to the middle one's...thing that seems to be lost. Since I don't often browse the headlines in the supermarket queues, I don't even know whether there's a nanny on the way to sort all of this out for me. What I do know is there is now a child attached to my every limb, one coilled tightly round my middle, and another climbing determinedly up onto my head.

No sooner have I decided to buckle under the weight of that many children, does the phone begin to ring. In earnest. I make the mistake of lumbering over to it and picking it up.

'Aaaaange!' the voice coos at me. 'Listen, Baby. The Ufnisor Foundation want you to be a keynote at their annual Poodle in Handbag Ball on the 25th!'


'Can you make it happen Lovey-do? Say you will?'


'Gor-ge-mous, Poox! Catch you there! Smoochins!'

Oh... god. I don't want to do it, but I shake the children off (well, I do want to do that - they're surprisingly heavy) and make my way to the table where clearly I can see a Filofax. Sneaking up on it's no good, so I screw up my courage and open the thing. I'm not often a fainter when it comes to shock, but Ms Jolie apparently is, and the next thing I know, I'm in a heap on the floor with the Filofax on my face.

Every moment is accounted for. Every. bloody. second has got an entry in the diary. As I consider the absurdity of it all, I realise I'm more than fashionably late to three absolutely must attends marked down for the morning. I've no idea what any of it means. Not where I was supposed to be, apparently, two hours ago; not what I did last week; not what I'll do tomorrow. Well, sure, I know what I did. Be hanged if I know what she did. And what's this note mean? Continue last week's discussion with Ari. Who's Ari? What the hell did we talk about? 

9.30 Sunday morning
I have been Angelina Jolie for, by my reckoning, a full three quarters of an hour and I've made a bags of it. They never tell you that, do they? When you chuck that penny into the well, shut your eyes, and say 'I wish'? Nobody comes along and lets you in on the caveat emptor. They leave you standing there, agog, with the realisation dawning that Brad Pitt has since awakened, shooed the children from the room, and is giving you a Look.

And he hasn't a had a fucking bath in weeks!

youngraven: (Mise me fhein)

Do you wish you had grown up in another time and/or place? if so, when, where, and why?


If you'd asked me this twenty-five years ago, I'd have expressed a desire to be shifted backwards in time to 1967. I was keen on the Beatles, and thus a bit mournful that I'd missed taking part in their era.

Now, after having spent a bit of time with what passes for hippies in the modern age (ha - as though the late sixties weren't the 'modern age' to those in the midst of them), I've thought rather strongly better of it. The brightly coloured tie-dye swirls had foxed my vision against the twitching undercurrent of dysfunction. Suffice it to say, I am thoroughly Off the Bus.

I'm still keen on the music, however.

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere was a song and a celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bomber death planes
Riding shotgun in the sky
Turning into butterflies
Above the nation

Ah, if that had been real and not some nitid illusion? Sure, it would have been grand.

These days, I understand that any point in time will have its advantages and disadvantages. I mean, I thought the world was going to hell during the first war on Iraq - to my mind, it was a messy and complicated time. Before then, it was the dying vestiges of the Cold War and hostage crises that went on for years. Wishing I could rewind back to a simpler time is mad, 'cos they're none of them Simpler Times.
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If your dog or cat had a mobile phone, who would be listed first on her or his speed dial?

Me: Good morning, Kitten!
Cat: Erm...hallo. I threw up over the duvet whilst you were sleeping. Sorry.
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At what age do you think kids should start dating? How old were you when you went on your first date? Was there anything you would change about the experience? How do you think it shaped your expectations?

Oh dear. This is a sticky one, isn't it? It really depends upon the child, and the activity, and the ability of said child's parents to clearly and logically set the boundaries - and ensure that the child understands them.

I do think I'd be in favour of later rather than earlier, but that may well stem from my own experience. I should pause to say that it was never a bad experience (well, but for the film that we went to see - which was both weak and revolting all in one go); a bit early, perhaps, but never bad.

His name was Rex (I'm reasonably sure of this, although at times my mind styles him 'Rhett'. I can't actually picture his face in my mind, but I'm blest with a different take on memory, so this doesn't trouble me, really), and he was nineteen years of age. Myself? Thirteen. I'm sure we can see a potential problem with this at the outset, can't we?

He'd really no business being anyplace near me at all - let alone a-courting he will go. But I was ancient for thirteen, and he did let this cloud his judgement for a little while.

Oh, I was crushed when he came to his senses (I've a feeling his mates Took Him Aside over it), but...

...but some years later, when one of my own mates (who was but eighteen at the time - 'cos you know that makes all the frigging difference in the world, that one year. Ha, sez I), came round boasting of his new out of the box fourteen year old girlfriend, I nailed him to a wall over it and extracted a promise from him that he was quits with her or There'd Be Consequences, yaaar.

After that, I can but look back on my time with Rex, shake my head, and utter a rueful chuckle. Ah, the follies of youth.
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Was there something you were afraid of as a child that just seems silly to you now?

It took me years to break this habit, and to be honest, I do think it was at long last 'broken' by means of moving to a place where this sort of behaviour wasn't feasible.

I'd a ritual when I'd go into the bath: I had to switch on every light and the fan before I could step in the room, shut the door, and commence to whatsoever I might have been doing.

The light and the noise kept away the daemons, spirits, bogarts--anything at all ecto-plasmic, vile of temperament, and wont to shout 'oogedy-oogedy'.

I must say, it worked a charm. In the midst of many hours spent curling up my outrageously peroxide hair (it was a phase, and we all go through them) and my thickly mascaraed lashes, I was boogled by Something From the Beyond nary a once.

But to admit that this salt-throwing behaviour carried on till I was a least 21? Ah, it does make me wince a bit.

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If your pet could talk, what is the first thing s/he would say to you?

She'd not turn to face me, but rather one ear would swivel oh-so-slightly in my direction.

'Well. Pardon the expression, but look what the cat's brought in'.

I mumble something and study my shoes.

'Have you any idea of the time? At all?'

My shoes, I think, really need a good shining.

'Seriously!' she goes on. 'You monkey-brained, bloody opposable thumbs lot went through all of that trouble to devise a measurement of time, and then invent watches and clocks to keep track of it all, and you can't be arsed to - I don't know - look at them now and again?!'


'I was sick with worry. Sick. Here, let me show you. You'll have to clean that up now, won't you. If you'd come back at a decent hour, you'd not have a soiled rug, now would you?'


'I really want to believe that, but - snf-snf - ... Good Lord, woman! Have you been at the drink?!'
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If a catastrophe struck and you had to leave your home in a hurry (and never return), what items would you grab in your last ten minutes, and why?

I think of this from time to time, actually. I thought about this rather a lot last September when the river overflowed its banks nearby and made an ungodly mess of things. The ground is still saturated, the river is still rather high, and it's springtime in Georgia. Where I'm situated for the time being is on relatively high ground (hillside sort of thing), so...I'm never chewing my fingers off my hands in dread of a flood.

But if there were one, I'd bring with me:
My handbag. Seriously, a chairde. Within its wee, cramped space is the ability to prove my identity to the People With Badges. My mobile's usually stuffed in there as well, so there's my line out to the world to tell them all that I made it through.
My cat. Likely at the bottom of a pillowcase, but that's not important.
A sack of kibble. Cat's gotta eat.
A box of Clifbars. Monkey's gotta eat.
Water. Although here's hoping I could find more of it elsewhere.
A blanket.

If I've managed all of this with time to spare, I'd collect up my laptop, my bodhrán, and my guitar--I do understand that these things are replaceable. The laptop...has got files on it that I might need in order to sort myself out once the waters recede.

Last September, I stored filtered water in all available containers, 'cos the water in several nearby counties fouled in the floods. The sky's grey and it's raining. I reckon I should start doing that again, yeh.
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'I'm just sitting round being foolish when there is work to be done...'

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If I'd any grace at all, I'd offer up something reasonable such as Spiders or Eaten By Tigers. Something not at all sticky, like. Falling down a well in the snow. Acceptable.

Only I've been feeling dangerous and contrary of late, and I know this Isn't the Forum, but occasionally I break my own rules. And circumlocute fit to encircle the globe. Sure jeez.

It's sort of a multi-partite fear, and the best I can describe it is 'fear of obscurity'. All well and good, right? Perhaps even understandable, yeh?'s really very shameful when examined under a microscope. 'Cos who am I to think I deserve anything better than obscurity? What have I done, been, or said that warrants anything but living my life and leaving no trace.

I understand that a great lot of it's cultural, and a sizeable portion of that lies rooted in the faith of my birth. I'm compelled to keep my head down, my voice quiet, and never to allow any sort of compliment paid me to actually stick to me. 'Cos that'd be cheeky. Who the hell do I think I am, at any rate?

Sure, I've Done Things. Things that might make the people round me point to the paragraphs above and respectfully call 'bollox'. They're at their leisure to do - I can't really stop that. They're never in my own head, and they never see what I've got to mentally wriggle past in order to Do the Things that I've Done.

My viscera tells me that when it comes to Success or Failure, that it's the moral and good choice to do neither. To allow the Success to grace the heads of those truly worthy ('cos if it ever should fall upon my head, then surely I've nicked it off somebody else), but never to fail as to become truly wretched.

My intellect tut-tuts that not a whit of this is in the least bit logical. Or responsible. Or terribly brave. Erm...well, perhaps those last bits are my judgement speaking. 'S got rather a loud voice, that one. Innit.

At next weekend, I may well be faced with the chance to rise a bit, but there will be another one there with that chance as well. I don't know whether I should take my chance, or give it over, turn, and walk away from it. I know what my friends would say to me (possibly after boxing my ears a bit), but I reckon it remains to be seen.

...Having said all of that, certain spiders do worry me greatly, and I can think of thousand of things that I'd rather be doing than to be eaten by tigers.


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