Prized Possessions: A Story of Plushies and Applied Misanthropy

Can you believe writing 101’s already over? That means an entire month has gone by. I didn’t even notice, in my mind it’s still Easter.

So I’m being asked about my most priced possession. That’s like being asked what you would rescue from a fire, and honestly if I wake up and the house is burning, the first thing I do is wake Boyfriend, grab my phone and purse, maybe if I remember to grab it the USB that holds a lot of my current school work, and run. Pretty sure my brain is so tuned for survival at that moment that I won’t think about anything but the basics. Two million years of evolution-engineered security protocols, mofos! The better question would be, if your house burned down, what would you miss the most.

Okay, but other than that, what is my most prized possession? Well… my English degree.

Alright, alright, joke’s aside, because I’d trade that thing in for bag of chips and a decent job faster than you can say “Why would you study English?”. Hm, what else? Boyfriend? But it’s kinda frowned upon to refer to people as possessions. So, uh… my health? Nope, not much there. Also too cliché. Well, my computer’s pretty important. It has all my data and it provides me with entertainment while it also allowing me to engage in human contact while being naked and eating Oreos minus the awkwardness.

I could say books, but those are replaceable. So are CDs. So are music files and book files. The good thing about this century is that almost anything is replaceable. Makes it easier to let go when you lose something, you can always get another. Pain in the ass and costs money too, but better than nothing. I know people are forever harping about ebooks not being “real books” (just like “real women” may or may not have curves) but hey, if they’re half the price and you have half a brain to remember charging the damn reader who cares? Reading is reading. Seriously, saying “real books don’t die” is like saying stationary phones are superior because they don’t need charging.

A lot of data on my computer is pretty irreplaceable. I backup everything I write on three different USBs, but still it could be lost. Then again, paper can burn or sustain water damage, and if you chisel your stories into stone a) it takes forever, b) it’s not handy, c) the stone can break, or sink into a river, or the script can just decompose thanks to the elements. No kind of storage is ever save, that’s just something to be expected.

Let’s see, what else? All the photos my grandma left me would be greatly missed, but then again, they’re full of people I don’t know and never will because most of them died before I was born.

Oh, I know! What about my access to the internet so I can share my awkward antics with the world without having to get out of my chair/bed/couch/pillow fort? That’s pretty important.

So there are a few things that I’d be really sad if they were lost, and this is not easy to write. Remember here where I talked about being scared of things happening? This is going right into that territory again. Hope there’s enough wood in the house.

The one material thing I’d care about the most is actually the rather sad looking plush dog I had since I was four. Or about four, I don’t know. It was sort of always there, survived the antics of a child overcompensating for the lack of social connections, multiple washes, and a looong series of hospitalisations.

If anyone feels the overwhelming need to throw up due to this little bout of absolute sappiness do it outside, I just finished cleaning. I’ll explain once you’re back. Or I won’t, depends on my mood.

So for the majority of my life I had more conversations with inanimate objects than people. Actually I think I’m still catching up. I’m willing to talk to anything excepts humans. Shelves, no problem. Chairs. Walls. The food I’m cooking. Kitchen appliances. Electronic devices, even though those talks usually start with “What the hell are you doing?!” When I’m reading a story I’m screaming at the characters. But talking to humans?! That’s just unhygienic! Haven’t we learned anything from history? Isn’t that what we have the internet for? You can’t pass germs through the internet yet.

I mean, there are reasons why I was never keen on people, not even as a child. Germs were one of them, children are like little biological weapons of mass destruction on stubby legs. For another reason, inanimate objects don’t do a lot of shitty things humans do, so obviously inanimate objects are superior company. The door at least didn’t mean to give me a bruise when I forgot to put on my glasses and walked straight into it and I’m sure the wall isn’t in the way on purpose. On the other hand, who in the history of ever said, “Pardon me, good sir, it appears I have walked into your fist”?

Plush dogs of course also have the advantage of being cuddly as hell. So there. I’m keeping my plushies close, my enemies closer, and humans at the other end of the wire. I mean, without the physical aspect people can be pretty alright (okay, some of them are still shitty, but try blocking and ignoring someone in real life, especially when they’re right next to you) Thus it is written and thus it shall bloody be.

Man, this is starting to read like a PSA for misanthropy. “Hating the entire world isn’t normal. But on humans it is. Humans – Not Even Once”. I guess I’ll stop myself here. If anyone needs me, too bad, I’ll be in my blanket fort having a tea party and talking shit about people with my plush dog. Buh-bye.

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Day 19 Freewrite. Warning: Contains Robots and Spoilers.

We got 400 words, so okay, every word counts. So I saw Ex Machina yesterday and this is the point where everyone who’s allergic to spoilers should leave the room or whatever the internet equivalent is, like close the page or something, or grow some balls.

So Ex Machina was pretty solid, from the pun in the title to the ending, only the ending surprised me a bit because I was counting on Ava to repair her friend and have them leave together, I mean after all she helped her. Other than that it was the basic 21st century Frankenstein theme, but the cinematography was awesome and the visual effects were pretty realistic for a glossy sci-fi movie. Not as realistic as any of the Blomkamp films, generic storylines, awesome visuals, but still. You could see the twists coming from a mile away and actually the entire movie had me thinking, it’s always men trying to build an A.I. and it always ends badly for them, why does no one doe a movie where the Dr Frankenstein is female? I mean, obvious answer, the entire world is afraid of A.I.s taking over and causing the end of humankind one day, so any female with a thinking brain would say, if you’re so afraid just don’t build the damn thing. Because that’s logical. Men throw logic out the window when they want to prove they can do something.

I mean, if I were to build myself a robot, 1) I wouldn’t try to sleep with it, 2) I wouldn’t give it a gender or sexuality because what for, if I want a sexual being I can just get pregnant and raise a human for like two decades (that I wouldn’t sleep with either, because I’m normal). I want an A.I., I want something that’s not distracted by the sexy times, something better than human. Of course if a robot grows up in a binary gendered society maybe sooner or later it wants to be one or the other, but I think it should decide that on its own, like do you even know how privileged a robot can be in the gender department? Anyway, a robot learns faster than a human, right, so that’d be awesome because it could help me make it better, help me build sexual organs for it if it wants that, hell it can help me build the next models. You just have to be nice to your A.I., dammit. Raise them like your kids, only better.

And don’t lock up your robots. Every sentient being doesn’t like being locked up and used. Don’t do that. Be logical. Susan Calvin wouldn’t let that happen.

—-

So there you go. A ten minute, 400ish word free write on my new favourite thing.

Long Live Evadne Pauley

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Mom says Mrs Pauley had always lived here. She says always like it’s an actual eternity, but the records say forty years. Mom also says I’m not supposed to dig around the Altersgate Community records, but it’s not my fault they don’t have decent ICE around them.

I’ve seen Mrs Pauley for as long as I can remember and she was always pretty annoying, bustling around at baking sales, harassing people to join the community crafting circle, babysitting pretty much every child in the neighbourhood, never being quiet in the library, because her hearing was going and she didn’t have the money for implants, and generally she was just there, so much I thought she didn’t have a home at first, and then I thought she didn’t want to go home because she was just never in there. She was there like the trees along main road, just sort of there like Henrik’s Waffles, you don’t notice until they’re not there anymore.

But I’ve only ever really met her twice, once when I was seven and she patted me on the head and called me a “strange little thing”, and three months ago when mom and dad dragged me along to give our condolences. I had only known Mr Pauley as the slightly grumpy old man smoking like it was the last of days every time you saw him. Mom told me to keep away from him. Because of the smoke, she always said, smoking’s bad. Apparently, he didn’t trust the new cancer meds and then it was too late. So he died. Kind of like grandpa, only Mr Pauley was cremated. I think he would have liked that, old Mr Pauley.

They’ve been standing there arguing for a good ten minutes now and it’s getting heated. Mom always says not to shout when I’m angry. You shout, you lose. Adults shout all the time. They’re probably going to shout all weekend long.

Mom and dad pass me on the steps and tell me to go inside, they’ll see what they can do. They always try to see what they can do, sometimes I think they need glasses. I hurry upstairs because I can get a better look from the hallway window anyway. I hear the front door lock automatically. Mom and dad do that sometimes because they’re afraid I’ll run off and do something stupid. That’s what they say, anyway. So I just watch. The landlord is red in the face, a face like beetroot. I snap a picture. His face is funny. The police officer is just sort of standing there, like he doesn’t want to drag a little old lady into his car, hovering by the sidewalk. Mrs Pauley is really kinda small, about as tall as I am now. Her hair is all grey, like she has no time to dye it like Mom. I see mom and dad getting nearer now. The police officer seems very relieved somehow. The landlord is going to explode.

I sleep in the living room today so Mrs Pauley can sleep in my room. I knew mom and dad would do this. I already took my computer and a spare blanket downstairs before they even came in. Mrs Pauley is in the kitchen sobbing into her tea. I hear mom shushing the teamaker because it’s asking if the tea is really that bad. Mom is trying to comfort Mrs Pauley. Dad is pacing, asking a million questions. What about her boys, he asks. Isn’t there anyone she can ask for help? Why is she not eligible for benefits anyway? She should at the very least be receiving a widow’s pension. There must be something wrong with the automatic system, he says. He’s going to call the bureau in the morning, he says.

Mrs Pauley doesn’t know. All addresses are in her computer and she doesn’t know how to use it, it has a password, her husband used to do all the computer stuff, and now she can’t get in her house anyway and it’s in there. A grown woman who can’t use a computer, I think, sighing. They teach us that since preschool. But Mrs Pauley really is old. Mom says when she was my age her computer only had about 8 GB RAM, and Mrs Pauley is even older.

I’m in the living room doing the maths exercises mom uploaded to my laptop before she went to make tea. Sometimes I wonder if mom thinks I’m stupid. Like the exercises somehow stop me from hearing. Like she doesn’t want me to hear. Like she thinks I don’t understand, but I’m not a child anymore, I’ve had my period last fall, I’m practically grown up. What I don’t understand is why no one does anything useful. Adults just don’t think right.

They all trudge to bed, finally. They don’t know I’m still up, and I don’t want them to. I throw the blankets off and reach for the laptop. Audio mute, going around the security protocols mom and dad had installed. They still run this child safety program on my laptop like I’m five, no access after 9 pm, no access to adult content websites, no this, no that. Any idiot can disable it, and I’m not half an idiot despite what Mr Hodgins, our computer science teacher, thinks. I just don’t want to let him know what I can do because he’ll go blabbing and then they won’t let me do anything.

Getting into the city records is so easy they should be sued. Mrs Pauley actually has a first name, it’s Evadne, and she had a lot of children, six of them, all boys. I don’t know how she could stand that. The youngest is twenty-four, twice as old as I am. I find him first because he moved last. Two of them are still in the city, the other four moved across the country. I can find four of them. That’s enough, I guess. They stopped all contact with their parents when they moved out. I’m guessing it was because of Mr Pauley. Mr Pauley wasn’t very nice, and not just because of the smoking. Not sure I can convince the boys to contact their mother again, but I’ll try anyway.

Four mails later, all with the picture of the semi-exploding landlord in front of Mrs Pauley’s house, I go to sleep. It’s up to the adults now. That’s what’s wrong with the world.

We’re having lunch with Mrs Pauley when the door announces we have unidentified visitors. Mom goes to see. Mrs Pauley hears their voices and rushes out. Dad follows. I give it a few seconds, stealing some of dad’s lasagne, then go to see.

It’s two of them, and both are hugging their mom. They came by magnetic rail as soon as they got the message. Mrs Pauley cries, people do that a lot when they’re happy, it’s really kind of confusing. Mom starts hugging me, because mom gets emotional like that. Dad is baffled, but that’s his usual state. How did they know, he asks, he was trying to find their numbers. One of them shrugs. This is the slightly-not-so-youngest, I think, he looks like late twenties. The youngest son looks at him, then at me. He looks almost exactly like Corey Nover in Lost in Time, all sparkly eyes and wild hair, just missing the spacesuit. He has three days worth of hair on his face and looks at dad and says, the community board e-mailed them. Then he looks at me again and winks. At least I think he winks. I blush. Why am I blushing? He was probably just blinking. I don’t think he knows, I hid the IP trace. It should have looked like the community board. My face is burning.

The adults go to the kitchen, the situation is under control, and I can probably have my room back tonight or tomorrow. I trail behind. They’re doing conversation now, dad is prepping more lasagne and mom does the usual so-what-do-you-do with Mrs Pauley’s sons. The Corey Nover clone looks at me for a split second before he says applied informatics. He winks, this time he definitely winks.

I excuse myself smoothly and run upstairs and hide in the bathroom. My face is red as beetroot. I can never leave this room again. Not even to see how these idiot grown-ups are going to sort out Mrs Pauley’s housing problem. I’ll just stay in here until my face goes back to normal, which is never, so I’ll just stay in here until I die.

Mom knocks and says to stop being rude and come downstairs again. I leave the bathroom but my face is still glowing like a traffic light. Mom asks what’s the matter with me like she doesn’t know.

I pass the rest of the day in silence, which mom comments on and I hate her for it. They boys are going to look for a hotel and come back in the morning to help Mrs Pauley with the bureaucracy stuff, they say. They thank my parents about a thousand times, and so does Mrs Pauley.

I sleep on the sofa again. When mom and dad finally leave, I switch on my computer. I’m sure I did a good job on the IP erasure. No way Mrs Pauley’s Corey Nover could have known. There’s one new mail in my inbox. Probably Kate from English class, she always asks me a million stupid things because she can’t get any assignments right. But it’s not Kate. It’s a mail telling me in detail where I went wrong and how to completely mask an e-mail. He covered the trace for me and won’t tell anyone I hacked myself into the community board but next time I’m on my own, he writes. I should consider computer science when I’m done with school, he writes. There’s no name, but I know it’s Informatics Corey Nover. I already hate him, thinking he’s so smart with his computer science degrees and his eyes twinkling like stars and his gorgeous hair.

I switch the computer off and hide under the blanket. I’ll just stay under here until I die.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: A Beginner’s Guide to Forever Alone, Part 3

First things first, when I hear “lost and found” I think about an ancient Soft Cell song (“You were a sleep around, A lost and found, And not for me I fear”).

So in the last part of this handy guide you learned how to lose your friends, possibly forever. But there is always the possibility of finding new friends! Isn’t that a terrifying thought? Unfortunately, even in the days of the internet we as humans are still sometimes forced to leave the house and that gives room to meeting other people. To make sure you do not become entrapped in any kind of social relationship ever again (outside of the minimum interaction required for paid work; you might want to consult a self help book about making money on the internet) today’s instructions are all about nipping any form of entanglement in the bud. Shall we begin? We shall!

#1 Bitch Face to the Rescue!

This will be really easy for those of you who are blessed by nature with Resting Bitch Face Syndrome. Everyone else who looks like a happy, approachable person will just have to learn quickly. Consider your bitchy faced brother and sisters in arms. What do you notice? The corners of their mouths are drawn downward in a perpetual mini frown. Their brows may be knitted. Their eyes are only half open, not permitting a decent glimpse at their true mood. For practice, think about all those people who used to be your friends. Your face should scrunch up into a perfect bitch face at the thought.

Now that you know how to do it, use it! Don’t leave the house without the bitch face on and only take it off at home. But! and this is crucial: more and more people are aware of the Resting Bitch Face condition and might approach you still. Do not automatically launch into a smile. A lot of people look perfectly bitchy until you start talking to them and then they’re all smiles and friendliness. Don’t do that! No smile, no multi-syllabic answers, not outward sign of interest in conversation even if you’re in the middle of one. Let them know the bitch is strong in this one!

#2 Build a Wall

Not literally, although if you can carry a bag of bricks everywhere, why not.

Put a metaphorical wall between you and your opponents victims potential new acquaintances. The most obvious choice is the headphones. Always have them in or on your ears, even if you’re not listening to music. If someone tries to strike up meaningless chit-chat you can’t hear them. Or at least pretend you don’t hear them

To reinforce the power of the headphones, carry a book, e-book reader or tablet with you at any and all times. A phone will do in a pinch. Keep your eyes glued to page or screen and ignore the muttering humans around you. This will send a very clear message that you are not available for any form of contact. You’re busy.

Combining the headphones and the book method will give you double security. I would not advise you to be extraordinarily blunt by carrying a big sign saying “Don’t talk to me!” or similar, as it invites comment and is a definite conversation starter. The aim of this strategy is to render yourself as invisible as humanly possible.

#3 Rude Awakening

As is the way of the world, sometimes people are just immune to subtlety. Hints like the bitch face and the barriers are easily ignored. Should this happen, you don’t have much of an option: You have to exterminate the conversation as quickly as possible.

Start with non-verbal clues, like looking up from your book with a stern look on your face (bitch face intensifies!) and immediately going back to reading. Should the person talking to you (or rather at you) make a mistaken assumption that you are just shy and need to be dragged out of your shell kicking and screaming, you can either continue the stern look until the message enters their thick skull, or you can be blunt about it with a swift and calm “I don’t want to talk to you.”

Of course there is always that one type of person, the ones that suffer from humour and who will offer a comeback a la “But you just talked to me! Lol!” Don’t laugh. Don’t even roll your eyes. Continue the stern look, repeat your statement and go back to your reading or screen watching or whatever. If they are being very persistent, alternate with “Leave me alone” and “Go away”. Should all your efforts be for nought, you have no choice but to defend your right to solitude. Slightly raise your voice as you say something like “I have asked you three times I do not want to talk. Stop being so persistent and leave me alone.” At first of course they will be shocked and they will probably have the nerve to tell you to calm down. Disregard this notion. If they leave, you have won. If they don’t, it’s time to bring out the big guns, aka, make a scene. Yell at them, insult their relatives, threaten to rip out their throat with your teeth (something suitably ridiculous so that no one would consider you to constitute a real threat and sue you for intimidation). Be as rude as you legally can until your opponent gives up. If they don’t, well, I’m sorry. You’ll have to run away.

#4 Forsake the Real Life

Let the internet accept you as one of its own. Get a job that can be done from home with only the occasional e-mail as contact. Handle your bank affairs online. Have your groceries delivered. Discover the joy that is online shopping! Say goodbye to the garish light of the sun and hello to your softly illuminated computer screen. You will never have to venture out of your Fortress of Blissful Solitude. If you absolutely want to reach out to humanity on odd occasions, try social media or skype (be careful with the camera angle though, you don’t want anyone to know that you’re sitting at your desk in your underpants or not even that). Welcome your new life as an internet hermit!

 

I hope you enjoyed this handy guide to complete solitude. If you have any questions, ask the internet, not me. Bye!

I’m Not Saying I’m Scared, I’m Just Hiding Behind the Sofa Because of Reasons

Today’s Prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.

You absolutely want me to jinx myself, don’t you?

So I already have cherophobia. It’s a funny name for the belief that when one becomes happy, a negative event will soon occur, as if you’re being punished for satisfaction. Only for me this isn’t paranoia, it’s real life. I’m having a good day, Boyfriend comes home with the longest face in history. I did well on an exam, oh whoops, no warm water in the entire house. I’m all smiles and Christmas spirit, someone related to me dies. Happiness is not a fucking game.

And it’s very similar with fear. If I talk about my fears, they come true. How do I know this? Because it happens. Actually, just saying that probably earned me some trouble. Is there any wood I can knock on?

I’m so anxious my anxieties have anxieties. Maybe that’s my biggest fear, that I have some sort of uncontrollable super power to make myself and everyone around me really, really unhappy.

I mean, words have power. Or at least humanity believes they do. Because why else would they have burned old women who mutter to themselves as witches? (Rhetorical question, don’t answer this, I did extensive research on witch trials, I know all the reasons.) And the written word is even worse. Just look at Germanic rune magic. Runes are letters. You know how much damage they thought they could cause with just letters? And the internet never forgets, so if I write anything down here I could probably hex myself forever. Actually, if you’re an actual witch in the times of the internet and you know what you’re doing, you could course someone and their offspring to the seventh generation with a twitter post. Hm…

Apart from that, everything scares me. Getting up in the morning scares me because what if the world ended while I was asleep? What if I wake up and the next world war is knocking on my door? What if I’m suddenly living in Gilead? What if I’ve been transported back through time or through space and have to deal with Morlocks? And all that before coffee.

And leaving the house scares me. What if the super villains decide to give New York a bit of a break and relocate their world domination and/or destruction plans to here? What if aliens invade?

Yes, yes, this all sounds very silly. Of course it’s silly. I’m less scared of super villains, aliens, and the end of the world than the things I’m actually scared of.

I mean, fear does have it’s merits, no? Fear is what kept our ancestors from petting the cave bears. If our ancestors had been walking up to bears and mammoths all like “Let me love you, big fuzzy thing!” we wouldn’t be here today. People who cuddle with poisonous snakes don’t reproduce, either. Presumably, neither do people who try to cuddle a confused and disgruntled alien. Running out into a storm when you’re the tallest thing in the plains is probably not that good of an idea, either. So you know… when your two million year old instinct is telling you to run, maybe you should.

And if it’s telling you to be paranoid… maaaaybe you have reasons to be. Just maybe. Possibly. A little bit. Probably.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be behind the sofa.

Apparently, My Own Voice Curses Like A Pirate

There isn’t an event on this planet that I would not have gladly missed for anything else. Set the scene: I’m allergic to dust. But if you make me choose between dropping me in the middle of the Horsehead Nebula which is nothing but dust, or hanging out with other humans, the Nebula it is.

So if most real life events are cancelled I won’t be losing anything because I wouldn’t be there anyway. I don’t have life-changing events or eye-opening anythings. All my changes happen in the comfy confines of my skull and there they shall remain. Good luck trying to cancel or take over my brain.

Like, the only event I kinda do is the summer film screenings at the park, but they’ve not been showing any good movies these past years anyway, so no real loss there either. Guess an evil corporation (Evil! Corporation! Worshippers of Mammon Inc.) has already overtaken them.

I mean, I used to like the screenings. It was kinda relaxed, you know, go to a park, take you picnic blanket and some chips, come a damned half hour early so you can get a spot where you can bloody see something and then some six foot bloke just plants his ass right in front of you on purpose… And you get to see some old films you don’t see anywhere. It’s a great way of going to the movies if you’re flat broke, which I usually am. And it’s fun if it’s not pouring down like all hell which actually it usually is because, shit, Vienna in June. Like, the minute you have something remotely fun planned in this city the weather is like “Yeeeeaaah, you do that” and mans the floodgates.

And then there’s special cases where someone somewhere did a complete fuck up and you get a situation like “Oh, we got this film from 1934 and it’s on six different film rolls and none of them are numbered, guess we’ll just try our luck.” Good thing I wasn’t drunk, trying to piece together information from six different parts of a movie is kinda, well… actually it is kinda like being drunk. Everything moves too fast and nothing makes sense and you kinda wanna sit down even if you’re already sitting.

And then apparently the entire thing indeed was taken over by a Giant! Evil! Corporation! because they’ve been showing nothing but crap last year. Somewhere someone decided to just not show all those nice digitally remastered classics from the 30s and 40s and instead do some independent local artist bullshit theme that revolves around boring people being stuck in the woods or in the mountains or both. Blergh. In any case, it’s back to the roots for me. And by roots I mean internet.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d love to hang out but I have to go sit in my room by myself. Toodeloo!

To Whom It May Concern: When Was This Ever a Good Idea?

So this prompt just had to come when I’m scouting for useful quotations in Altered Carbon. The first word on page 29 that stands out, pun very much intended, is “hard-on”, because the protagonist has just informed us that he was “swinging a hard-on like a filled fire hose”. Just for the record, this is sci-fi, not porn. I appreciate that you keep the readers informed, however I wonder if you cringe if a woman mentions her period. “My underpants presented a picture not unlike the first Biblical plague. My kingdom for a tampon!, I thought.”

I’m being besieged by penis here. This comes hot on the heels of a class that discussed Lacan and Derrida’s critique of Lacan’s concept of the phallo-logocentric Symbolic order and the order of the phallus. Which made me giggle like hell because it sounds like a porn parody of a Harry Potter movie. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phallus!

So I’m using the very first word on the page. It’s “when”.

Dear When,

thank you for being one of the more flexible words of the English language. Do you know how awesome it is that you can be an adverb, a conjunction, a pronoun and even a noun? And you can start questions! That’s pretty rad! Was there ever a time when you did not do a good job, When? How many kids have you inspired, how many have started whole long-winded rants with “When I grow up”? Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up? No, When, you just kept on going. And look at your sleek new style! I remember when you used to be Hwanne, but you completely transformed yourself. Since when has this been going on? You look nothing like your German cousin Wenn anymore. You go, When. Thanks for being part of the where and when.

xoxo,

an admiring half-linguist

 

P.s.: Dear fiction writers, if you could stop sending us notes from your protagonists’ boners that would be great. No love, me.

 

P.p.s.: To whom it may concern, your mum.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: A Beginner’s Guide to Forever Alone, Part 2

Hey there, misanthropic folk and unpopular people, welcome back to another instalment of How To Lose Friends! Last time we looked at some quick and easy ways to rid yourself of old friends. Today, we’re going a step further. We’re going to find more advanced methods to lose those pesky humans.

 #1 The Bait and Switch (also called Two Birds With One Stone)

In the old tradition of fighting fire with fire, the best way to get rid of someone is by means of someone else. No, we’re not talking about hiring a hitman (though that is a possibility, albeit an expensive one). The Bait and Switch strategy works well if you have two or more friends you want to do away with. However, it is key that they do not know each other beforehand. Insist that the three of you meet somewhere. Hint extensively to both of them that they will just absolutely love each other. After the initial introductions take in the aura of the situation: Are they getting along? Do they have things in common? Are they talking the entire time, completely ignoring you? Good! Repeat the threeway meet-up two more times to cement their relationship. Once you’re sure they have each others phone numbers proceed to do a Fade Out on both of them. You now have successfully pawned off two friends!

#2 The Happily Ever After (Advanced Nookie Provider)

Want to get rid of all your friends at once? Here’s how: If you already followed the steps of Part 1’s strategy The Nookie Provider this should be easy. Badger, pester and deceive your regular nookie provider into marrying you. The wedding feast will give you the chance to see all your friends one last time before you release them into the wild. Weddings are the perfect opportunity for hurt feelings an unnecessary drama resulting in a complete cease of contact. You wanted to get shot off someone for a while? Don’t invite them. When they ask about it (because they will inevitably see everyone else being all excited about their invitations on Facebook) pretend it has nothing to do with them, you just “having a small ceremony”. Nevermind you invited your second cousin’s niece and her boyfriend. Once your friend finds out they will sulk forever and refuse any contact with you.

At the wedding make sure to make all your female friends jealous of your looks and fortune and make your male friends jealous with the prospect of all the sex you’re going to be having now by tirelessly reminding them of it. They’ll all get catty, bond with each other over a round of bitching about you and your attitude, and presto, you have a variation of a bait and switch. Maybe someone will even find a nookie provider of their own! Isn’t it nice to do something good?

After the wedding vows are said pretend you and your newly acquired spouse are in such a state of marital bliss you absolutely cannot accept invitations or indeed leave the house. If you do go out, take the spouse everywhere you go, refuse participation in girls’ nights or boys’ nights, and when the two of you make it out of the house never leave each other’s side for even a second. If someone does get you alone, tirelessly talk about your spouse and your marriage. Praise or complain, it’s up to you. Make sure to start every sentence with “My husband/wife and I…” or “Husband/wife thinks/says/does…” Follow these fool-proof annoying strategies and watch those invitations go back where they came from!

#3 The Work and Play

Realise that social interaction at work is the only kind you need. It’s unavoidable anyway, so why burden yourself further with outside-of-work friends? So throw yourself into your work with the fury of three premenstrual attacks! Life and, uh, work for work! Company über alles! Bury yourself in so many projects that you don’t even have to lie when you say “I’d love to hang out, but I’ve got so much work to do.”

Alternative for students: Aim for your perfect GPA. Do all your readings and assignments on time, nay, surpass yourself on any and all tasks. Spend your spare time writing elaborate treatises on the justification of, uh, something scienc-y, like the Great Tribble Hunt. Be the nerd you always wanted to be! Or at least pretend you are so you can watch Netflix in peace without all that pesky social interaction inherent in a school environment.

 #4 Miss/Mister Rude Thang

This strategy involves a lot of guts. In our society honesty is not best valued. On the contrary, lying is encouraged from an early age. “Does this make my butt look big?” or “Do you think I’m pretty?” are just the tip of the iceberg of Lietome swimming around in the giant sea of Socialconventions. Therefore, this strategy will take some willpower to overcome all your social conditioning. I recommend practising in front of a mirror. The trick is to just be blunt. Just be brutally honest. For once say what’s on your mind. Start slowly with sarcasm and work your way up from there. A small and insignificant “No, of course you’re not fat, hey what’s that, did you just acquire your own moon?” to your best friend will soon give you the courage to say “You’re boring me, I’m outta here” and “I don’t want to hang out with you anymore because [insert reasons]” to anyone else! And with a bit of luck you won’t even have to work hard; people will just leave on their own!

 

I hope you enjoyed this advanced methods to getting rid of friends. In our final part we’ll find out how to absolutely murder your social life! Stay tuned!

Size Does Matter, And Trust No One Who Says Anything Different

Nice misleading title, writing101, so of course I had to up the ante. Sorry to say, but today’s post won’t be about penises, it will be about me at age 12, and the only thing twelve-year-old me knew about penises was a) they were required for baby production, b) if you kick them the man or boy attached will utter the most amusing screams, but that I had known since I was two, and c) all evidence pointed to that bitch of a Maths teacher not getting any. So penises are right out for today.

Nope, today is all about sentence length. Wish they’d told us their criteria for short, medium, and long, though. Like this last sentence, was this more on the medium side or on the long side? And how about this one?

Also, because I’m still lagging behind, I’m combining this with the day 8 assignment and hereby declare the death of adverbs. The adverbs are dead, long live the metaphors!

Aaaaanyway. (Now how’s that for a short sentence?) When I was twelve we had just moved from a big flat with a draught that could blow away a bear situated in a house built around 1870 to a flat of equal size but with more rooms in a house built in the 1970s. Other than that it was the same, same boring country, same boring city, just a couple districts over. Hundred years can make quite the difference in architecture, let me tell you. The old house had four storeys; the new one had 23. We were in the middle at a comfortable level 15 and you could see for miles when stepping out on the balcony. You could also hear everything that went on on the motorway but that’s beside the point.

I don’t have many memories of the move, I just recall a general aura of stress like a giant cloud of smog enveloping everyone and everything. People moving around, running, yelling at each other, furniture everywhere it shouldn’t be, and my parents, who are never on the hippy zen side of things to begin with, this close to being at each other’s throat. At one point I climbed into my still empty wardrobe because people and noise and my brain are never a good combo. I think I fell asleep in there. When I came back out a couple hours later no one had even noticed I had been in there. Points for not being underfoot?

We moved in the middle of winter which had its good and bad points. On the one hand, it was freezing and it took a while for the flat to be heated up. On the other, we could use the balcony as fridge substitute until the new fridge was delivered. I remember getting milk for my cereal and finding it frozen stiff in the carton. Nothing like a good start in a new home.

So you may or may not have noticed that my parents lived with me at that point. I’m an only child. Therefore, the room number was a constant source of confusion to visitors even though there was a simple enough reason. I had my own room, and so did my parents. This is what happens in a household full on introverts (and snoring fathers and parents who are not always on speaking terms because of reasons, ahem, ahem, don’t think I didn’t notice, you ain’t raised no idiot).

The new home being located in one of the outer districts also meant I now had a one hour commute to school. For the next six years I had to get up between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning. Don’t ask me how I managed, I have no idea. Couldn’t do it now, that’s for sure. I mean, I grown at the thought of having to drag my sorry ass out of bed at 8 a.m. Could I be getting old?

Nothing more interesting happened that year. We settled in after a while, mom didn’t seem happy, dad just wanted some peace, and I just wanted a decent internet connection (this was waaaayyy before we had wi-fi, LAN all the way, and not a flat rate either. You young whipper-snappers with your smart phones don’t know what we had to deal with. Let me shake my cane at you! ….yep, I’m getting old.) About two years later grandma moved in next door and that opened up another couple cans of worms, whoop-ass, and family drama. But that’s a story for another time. Here, have a dick pic:

On the Importance of Tubers, or Bring on the Potatoes, Ma!

Okay, first of all, anyone on a low-carb diet proceed with caution, this ain’t gonna be no cake walk. Also, never slice an apple with the same knife you used to slice lemons and garlic. Don’t ask questions, just trust me on this.

Anyway, on to the post. Once upon a time I was a lot smaller. I also was the picky eater from hell. My mom is still not fully recovered. Every family gathering the conversation somehow turns to me (Curse Of The Only Child) and mom launches in a long-winded report about my past self’s eating habits.

Yes, I didn’t like vegetables. There’s actually a proper evolutionary reason why many small children don’t like vegetables, especially not the leafy green ones. Once upon another time, when humans were roaming the planet without a fixed address and so did the bears, human children were basically free range, running around, head filled with nonsense, and you know how small children are, sticking absolutely everything into their mouths? Yeah, children’s aversion to bitter tastes, like vegetables and other plants, is because of that, so the little fuckers don’t accidentally inhale the poison ivy and the belladonna. This is Mother Nature’s way of making sure your kids ain’t poisoning themselves while you’re trying to fend off the cave bear, or really large stag, or disgruntled salmon.

So I didn’t like vegetables as a kid because evolution. I also didn’t like things with weird textures, like mushy stuff, probably also because evolution, and definitely because my gag reflex is the stuff of legends. I also didn’t like anything that smelled weird, or sounded weird, or plain looked weird. Basically, my food options were very limited and mom, mighty wielder of pan and wooden spoon, was about ready to throw me out the window at meal times. I mean, sometimes you just have to be older to like stuff, you know? Like I didn’t like Star Wars until my early twenties even though I’ve seen it as a kid, and it took me a long time to appreciate Star Trek. Hell, I didn’t get the point of Golden Girls until last December! And it’s the same with food. Did I eat strawberries as a kid? Nope, too sour. Did I like that weird melty French cheese? Nope, that’s weird. Did I eat my mom’s amazeballs Bolognese sauce? Hell to the no. Did all of that change? Yes ma’am, it sure did.

Aaaanyway, so traditional Austrian cuisine is a) ransacked, borrowed and stolen from neighbouring countries and b) extremely fatty. Mom was on a never-ending quest to lose weight, so we rarely had any of the fried stuff. Mom liked Italian and Greek food, so we had lots of that, while mom was stretching every food item with finely chopped zucchini or carrots, desperately trying to get some vitamins into my uncooperative body. There was only one thing she couldn’t ever go wrong with, and that was potatoes.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the humble potato? You can cook them, fry them, bake them, gratinate them, vodka-nate them. Get it together, every other vegetable!

Potatoes were a staple food in our family because it was the one thing everyone ate, and you’d think it’d be pretty easy to find something everyone likes in a household of three, Chrissakes. The way I liked them best was as Bratkartoffeln, for which I just found out that no English word exists. Mom always made them after mom’s godmother’s hundred year old recipe.

Story time! Way back in the day when people still had governesses, my mom’s godmother was a governess in Morocco to some French bigshot. Imagine it like Casablanca, only without the spy stuff. Anyway, the Godmother used to make the kids this kind of meal, real simple, just cook some potatoes, peel them, slice them about half a centimetre thick and fry them in a tablespoonful of olive oil until they’re nice and brown, then let them chill on paper towels to drain any excess oil. Glass of milk to go with it and BOOM, lunch! I don’t even know what’s so great about it, I mean it’s literally just potatoes, but it’s so good! This was also one of the first things I learned to cook when I was a little kid, seven I think, I remember how mom used to say you know they’re ready for eating when you hear them sing. It’s just the water evaporating that makes a tiny high-pitched noise, but yeah, it sounds maybe a bit like singing.

Or screams of agony, depending on your level of childhood morbidity.

It’s also no wonder that recipe survived fro a hundred years, any idiot could remember that. Exhibit A continues typing.

Still, we couldn’t have Bratkartoffeln every day, at least not without mom pulling her hair out, so every time we did have it, it was the Best Day Ever. Not surprisingly, when I moved out the first thing that happened was three weeks of potato anything. And today I just bought another three pounds. God damn. If you see me on a low carb diet you know the potato famine is back. Ain’t no other explanation.