Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

There we were. Sunday evening. Watching TV.

Fast and Furious number whatever.

I try to go along with my gorgeous husband’s wishes for something simple and entertaining to watch at the end of the week, something to wind down to, something not too taxing, as I know, we know, that we have pretty busy and complex weekdays.

And so, there we were. Sunday evening. Fast and Furious number whatever.

They all look the same to me, the characters are all the same, the absence of a story identical.

This is where Thomas and I diverge. To him, this is just about the perfect stuff to zone out to. To me, it is the perfect stuff to melt my brain and make me want to tear my hair and gauge my eyes out and pour molten lead into my ears to.

I am completely baffled about why one would want to watch something like that – and why on earth one would want to make something like that in the first place. It’s – vacuous, to say the least. There is simply NOTHING there. To me, the stuff looks like a soulless computer game where every single “character” (the word is actually way too good for the action figures featured in this stuff) looks the same bar the colour of the eyes and possibly the tone of their skin. Even the few females are like male computer figures, more male than the men – they hit harder, fight more furiously, are even tougher and more soulless than the males, with scowls that could outdo the joint scowl of every GI Joe on the entire planet. In some misunderstood attempt at including more women in action movies, they have turned the females into even more one-dimensional versions of the male figures – just with cleavages strategically displayed to claim them as female.

AND – there is NO STORY! NONE. The dialogue, for want of a more approriate word, is as enticing as the conversations of pubescent teenage boys. Are action movies perhaps “written” by such? Because, if these scripts are produced by adult males there is just no hope.

It is so DROSS. So dumb.

So infuriating.

Now the pressing question is – how can I avoid watching another of those in the future? How can I avoid telling Thomas that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a blunt fork for two hours than watch another action movie ever again? After all, he has sat through quite a few of my “intellectual” movies (admittedly checking Facebook continuously on his mobile) for my sake.

Married life is sometimes so complicated.

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The first time I saw the flat I live in now I thought “thank fuck I don’t live in this hell-hole”. What met me was a dark, dank (if large) flat, filled with what to me amounted to no more than junk, and it was dirty. The first time mum saw the flat she pulled me aside and said in shocked tones: “Don’t ever move in here!” But I did.

The rooms have been “reassigned” since then, and some of the hoard has been shifted, but it is essentially the same overcrowded, dirty, ugly space it was. I have failed in my efforts to turn it into a home after my standards. It’s sad. And it makes me sad. And it is a huge contributing factor to my depression.

Mum was an architect. She loved design furniture, and of course she leaned towards airy Scandinavian designs, Bauhaus and modernism. Though our home was by no means pristine – how could it, with two kids, a dog and both parents working? – it had a clear and logical layout and the entire framework was good, as in, the house itself was nicely decorated, painted, the floors were nice, the ceilings, the walls… and the furniture was collected according to mum’s very high standards. Mostly.

There was that one time when dad had spent days clearing out the basement and got rid of stuff mum considered junk (perhaps because it was mostly dad’s junk and included old shoes he’d grown out of during the war but held on to for sentimental reasons, or perhaps it was in case they proved useful, you know, broken old shoes no-one could wear). Then he went to work. At the same time the two little old ladies next door cleared out THEIR basement and threw out several old pieces of furniture. Mum spent the entire afternoon trudging between their heap of junk and our basement, rescuing what she considered gems that she could restore and that would prove oh-so-great, quickly filling up the space dad had worked so hard to clear. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen dad reduced to tears.

So. I come from a line of hoarders. The ability to dump stuff that is of no use, or not acquire new stuff that one really doesn’t need, is not something that was instilled in me as a child. That ability came much later, when Kevin and I had an accident while moving from Edinburgh to London and a lot of our stuff got ruined in the crash. The fact that we walked away with only minor bruises put things into perspective.

Before I moved in with Thomas, however, I lived in a large flat with almost no furniture. The layout was wonderful – you could walk from the hallway to the bedroom to the living room to the office/dining room to the kitchen and get back to the hallway, all in a big circle, and every room had at least one window. There was so much light, and so little furniture, and every morning I would roll out of bed, make a cup of tea and then do my round through the flat with Mischa in tow just enjoying the SPACE and the LIGHT – and the fact that it was so easy to clean and keep neat.

Then mum and dad came to visit. First I had that “touché” moment where mum in awe asked how I kept the place so clean and tidy, then a few weeks later came that other moment when a large lorry arrived with a load of furniture from mum. My grandparents’ sofa, a dining table, six dining chairs, a beautiful, handmade, mahogany sideboard (also from my Danish grandparents), dad’s old mahogany veneer office desk (HUGE!), an old waiting room bench mum had restored herself, the old chest my Norwegian grandfather had used when he went to America to try his luck (I seem to remember dad telling me he even tried his hand as a cowboy in Arizona). The place was suddenly less empty, but as it was so big it easily accommodated all of it and still looked neat and tidy – and cosier.

Then Thomas and I married. I held on to my flat to the end of the contract, half-way dreading the challenge of joining our two households. I knew it would be a nightmare to try to add my old period furniture to the overcrowded mishmash in Thomas’ flat.

And it was.

And it is.

And every day I have moments where I metaphorically bang my head against the wall in despair wondering what I can get rid of to give myself some breathing space. And each time I find something to dump, Thomas fills the freshly liberated spot with empty cardboard boxes, or tools, or motorcycle parts or… Is this some sort of Karma visited upon me because mum got dad to dump his stuff so she could fill it with her kind of stuff?

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And that pretty much sums it up. Their justice system is a shambles, and the country is continuously topping itself where human rights are concerned. Their fear of humans is baffling, to say the least. Because that is all there is. They are terrified of people, women and men, though of course their fear of women is generally more manifestly displayed than their fear of men. Easier to get away with, I suppose. But their continued injustice against Raif Badawi shows how stupidly sceptical and untrusting they are of people in general.

How sad, to run a country based on distrust.

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A friend once gave me a book called “The Dance of Anger”, recommending that I read it and learn to manage my anger. I did. She and I no longer talk.

I am of the persuasion that anger is not actually a bad thing. It is good to be able to admit one is angry and to identify it and let it out from time to time. Hopefully before it ends in murder.

I’m getting close to murder now, however. Since I moved in with Thomas, my anger has slowly mounted to the degree where I wonder where the hell I am supposed to let off steam WITHOUT committing murder. And I feel completely helpless about doing anything about it. Not even “The Dance of Anger” is able to help me there.

I have discovered that I make a shitty extrovert. When I come home at the end of the day, all I want is silence, solitude and the dogs. What I get is Thomas’ hyperactive social engagements and his good-for-nothing son who does NOTHING around the house, complains when Thomas includes him in our dinners (the food is NEVER to his liking) and complains when he is not included and shrugs and says he doesn’t care when asked a) if he would like dinner and b) what would he like? The kid has been asked – and agreed – to do the recycling once a week. He does it at most once a month after a LOT of pressure, and then whines that there is too much for him to carry.

He has been told that he is responsible for his own room. He could see the logic as he yelled at me that I am not his mother (well, thank FUCK for that!). I told him not to treat me like his mother in that case. This includes: I will not set foot in his room. Ever. Also not to resuscitate him when he drowns in his own shit.

Last night the little twat (he is about 1.90) actually accused me of not doing very much around the house. HE accused ME of not doing much. HE, the kid who has NEVER cleaned the toilet or any part of the bathroom, NEVER hoovered anything other than his room (I have a vague recollection of him doing that sometime last year), NEVER wiped any of the kitchen counters, NEVER washed the kitchen floor, NEVER folded a t-shirt, NEVER taken out the recycle paper (not part of his recycle tasks, thus can’t be done by him), NEVER taken out the plastic, NEVER done the weekly shop or contributed to it in any way, who on principle NEVER empties the dishwasher – oh the list goes on and on and on. Apparently, all these things do themselves by magic.

I actually do believe he got a little too close to telling me I should do all the housework (probably including sorting out his room) since I am a woman. His brother managed to say as much once. He lived to regret it. What fucking century do these kids live in? What the fuck did his useless mother teach him?

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The handy*

My shingles is rearing its ugly head, and as I lay contemplating cutting my left leg off to get rid of the ugly black pain pulsating through it I started thinking about my first mobile phone. Anything to get my thoughts off the offended limb.

It was an Ericsson. I’d been fighting off the inevitable for the longest time. Even gone through the phase of having a pager – a Benetton pager, really colourful, which could only be used to send numbers. So Kevin and I had a series of codes we sent each other of which we forgot all but one. But eventually, in early 1999, I gave in and went to the BT Cellnet shop on Princes Street in Edinburgh and got an Ericsson phone with a sim card  and a contract set up on direct debit (the Lifetime, which meant I only paid for the calls and nothing else) – a deal BT Cellnet (O2) later came to regret and terminated in the worst way possible, but that’s another story. I gave in because I discovered that my landlady was inadvertently costing me assistant work by answering the phone thus: “Who? No. SHE IS NOT HERE.” And hung up. Perhaps she was acting out some secret inner wish of getting rid of me.

I still remember my first mobile with a great deal of soppy sentimentality as it gave me the freedom to confidently say: This is my number – you can ALWAYS get hold on me on this. And the then contract was great as it gave me free handset upgrades at regular intervals, couriered to me wherever I was at the time. Ah – BT Cellnet, you were great! Such a shame you had to sell out and become the less than honest O2.

Like all other people who’ve had a mobile for a while, I’ve lost count of how many different handsets I’ve had. But there’s only one that I totally fell in love with on first sight. The Samsung Galaxy Beam. A little heavier and thicker than my then smartphone, it more than made up for it with the coolest gadget I’d ever seen – a beamer! But at the price it was put of my league and I decided to sit it out.

This is where adoring and amazing husband turns up and gets it for my birthday.

At first I was unable to insert my sim card. Turned out that some plonker (understatement of the year award goes to me) had forced a micro-sim card into the sim card slot, and then legged it. That was its first trip back to Samsung for repair.

It is at present on its second return to its roots. Though I was able to insert my sim card when I got it back, it took an unexpected amount of time for the phone to actually recognise that there was a sim card present. Once it did, however, I was willing to abandon my previous, trusty Sony Xperia to the inner recesses of my dusty desk drawer.

Oh, the fun I had! I put various little videos on it for use in my English classes and enjoyed the brief joy of the childish glamour of having a toy no one else had, showing it off with reckless abandon.

Initially it didn’t bother me too much that it kept losing the network. It didn’t really bother me that I had to restart it at least twice before it was able to reconnect. Then it started to bother me. Then bother no longer covered my feelings. Then I got damned close to putting the expensive toy on the nearest tram-line, there being an abundance of those here in Vienna making it possible to satisfy my need to murder on a whim. I took a little extra time to observe when the thing disconnected itself from the world. It seemed to be WHENEVER I ACTUALLY WANTED TO USE IT for something other than showing bits of video. Such as when I wanted to make a call, or when someone wanted to call me, or when I wanted to look up a number, or if I turned on the vibrate function, or… or if I put it in my inside pocket.

I have so far only been able to conclude that the thing is highly heat-sensitive and can’t deal with temperatures over 25°C.

This might explain why there have been sporadic reports of Samsungs suddenly bursting into flame. It seems to have a really low boiling point.

I’m glad I didn’t recycle the Sony. It’s back in action and hasn’t lost the network once. But… I miss my toy. And I’m truly disappointed at the short-lived fun. Because — because I don’t really believe Samsung will be able to fix it. They’re not even continuing the development of the beam phones from what I gather, and then they won’t even work out what they got wrong. I have a dreadful feeling I will get it back with the claim that they’ve fixed it, or that there’s nothing wrong and blahblah… and that it will still only be a fancy, hand-held beamer completely useless as a mobile phone.

And I will be left feeling misunderstood, like the kid with all the fancy toys but who nobody likes.

*This is what people in the German speaking world call their mobile phones. The funny part is that they display total surprise and incomprehension when told that “handy” is an adjective and not a noun in English, and that unless they explain what they mean when they tell you to call on their handy, they are simply leaving a trail of confused English speakers in their wake.

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In the last five months Thomas and I have been at the repeated receiving end of vandalism. We have no choice but to park our bikes on the street. Well, some good-for-nothing who’s failed his motorbike test clearly has it in for bikers as the seats of our bikes have been slashed repeatedly, the brand new rear tyre of my bike was slashed last week, and whatever loser is on the loose out there has also kicked in various parts of our car.

I’m seriously pissed off. There are no eye witnesses, there is no proof that it is the same person doing it all (though I’m fairly sure the seat slasher is the same person as the marks all look so similar). And I should not take it personally as we’re not the only ones this has happened to.

Ok, I’ve accused the slasher of being a failed/envious loser. As the bastard has only targeted real motorbikes and left all adjoining scooters alone, this is what I think. There is a loser on the loose.

Well, here is my solemn wish for his immediate future:

May you get into an argument with some other loser who also has a knife.

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Terrorism? What utter nonsense!

I’m beginning to hate the word “terrorism”. And there is one simple reason. The moment it is uttered, it seems that whatever action has provoked the label, that action is given some sort of political credibility and the doer the power of thought.

And that makes me cringe.

Placing explosives in a crowd with the intent to kill or maim or both is a crime. And that is all it is. Those who commit crimes should be treated as criminals. Nothing more. There is no intelligent or acceptable thought behind it. What Breivik did in Norway, Bin Laden and fellow criminals did on 9/11, and the bombs at the Boston Marathon were all nothing more than crimes by committed common criminals.

They all deserve to be locked up for life and the key thrown away.

And Breivik should not be allowed to visit his mother’s grave. Ever.

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