Random

“The widespread northern leg contrived inside tennis.”

Sentence constructed entirely using a random word generator. The only variable which was changed was whether the next generated word should be a noun, verb, adjective, etc. and the only addition I made was ‘The’ at the beginning for ease of readability.

The other day the age old subject about how some people insist on grossly misusing the word ‘random’ in order to describe anything which is slightly wacky or bizarre came up and I wondered what it would be like to write something truly random by means of using a random computer based generator in order to completely remove any chance for prior forethought.

The end result doesn’t seem so bad, even if it is nonsensical. When I get some more time I may even generate (I can hardly say write) a longer piece of random text to see what I get. Because I love cheap gimmicks.

Otherwise, I realise I’ve not been writing much lately, so I endeavoured to chnage this over the past few days. I’ve not gotten anything solid down yet, but I do have something brewing in my mind now and with any luck will soon develop into something. It’s all rather exciting, especially considering how long it has been since I’ve been able to really latch onto an idea for any length of time.

Fingers crossed…

Fiction Friday Entry for April 17

Writing Prompt: Include this line somewhere in your story: “I’m never doing that again.”

It wasn’t exactly nothing. That is, it wasn’t that it was not something but more an absence of something. The sum of its parts did not entirely add to a whole and, instead of order, chaos had now become what some people would refer to as ‘the current social paradigm’. And one such person was Paul, a relatively non-descript fellow save for the fact he had gained some amount of recent fame for being the person who had successfully negotiated what, for all intents and purposes, had constituted the end of the universe.

Paul sat alone in this absence of something, or at least he thought he sat. Spatial conventions, he figured, did not technically apply any longer. Something floated ponderously by his head. By now he had given up trying to hazard any guesses to what these objects were. Their shape defied identification and, theoretically at least, they could have once been anything; a small rock, a mug, last weeks newspaper, for all it mattered now it could have once been France. Whatever it had once been, it drifted on slowly by and eventually twinkled and vanished in what he thought may have passed for the mid-distance. He sighed.

It had all happened rather quickly. Paul’s face was contorted into an expression of deep thought, as it had been for some time now. Under any ordinary circumstances he would have been quite pleased with this arrangement, but then these were no longer any ordinary circumstances. Back when things had mattered, back when there was still some semblance of order, no matter how imbalanced it may have appeared back then, he had been paid to think. Some people are natural born doers. Paul was a natural born thinker. And that was where all the trouble had started.

There is a school of philosophical thought which holds that our experience of reality is a merely subjective occurrence. That is to say that order only exists because we perceive it to do so. This is a dangerous line of thought since, if followed to its logical, albeit extreme, conclusion then it can ultimately mean that nothing technically exists, or even if it did it wouldn’t matter any way. Unfortunately it had also turned out to be true.

On the day that everything had disappeared it had just so happened that enough people had been, at exactly the same time, thinking exactly the same thing. This went broadly along the lines that given the infinite multitude of variable possibilities within the universe and given that any single thing is merely relative to a set of purely arbitrary constructs of thought that existence itself must logically be declared null and void. Paul had joined this thought and the resulting mass of minds thinking as one that the universe when considered as a whole was so immensely unstructured as to be negate any possibility of existence had meant that the universe was presented with very little option but to agree and, as a result, had consequently and obediently scrapped the rule book, descending instead into a state of total unreality.

Which was where Paul now found himself, helpless and for all he knew totally alone. “Well”, he thought to himself in silent monologue, and with a certain sense of clarity and conviction he had never felt before, “I’m never doing that again.”

Fiction Friday

There’s this blog I’ve been following called Write Anything, which is a pretty good read for the aspiring writer type. I thought I would finally bite the bullet, so to speak, and take part in one of the weekly writing prompts they run since it was about time I posted some creative writing (that was kind of what I had intended to use this blog for). So here goes nothing. Be kind. Or else.

***

A dentist is stabbed while he waits in line at the movies.

They always had said that dentistry could be a tough gig. He had always used to laugh at such statements. “What is the worst that could happen?”, he would ask, “I’ll pull out the wrong tooth?”. Today had been an altogether different story.

For it had been a tough day indeed. From when his first patient, a walking brick wall of a man with more muscle than skin, hair or organs combined and festooned from chin to toe with tattoos, had settled himself in the chair to when he had arrived home to find a burst pipe, 6 inches of water everywhere and one slightly drowned and extremely concerned cat the day had been one long, unrelenting assault of mishaps and bad luck.

And that was why, despite better judgement, he was currently standing in line at the cinema. He normally wouldn’t have attended, but the friends he was staying with at short notice while his house was being drained out had been quite insistent. The evening was mild, as was common for spring. Twilight was just beginning to settle in as the afternoon sun died away. Storm clouds were silently edging their way across the sky, creeping ever closer, and a metallic bite to the air left no doubt in the mind that April would soon be living up to its name in full. He stood glumly as the line moved slowly, ponderously, sluggishly until at last it had been whittled down to the last few survivors. It is a fact of life that there will always be a queue at the cinema. Tradition is a notoriously hard thing to break, and thus far both television and the internet had yet to break this one.

It happened suddenly. A sound behind him, some form of commotion. He looked around just in time to be confronted by the face of a man he had long since forgotten. And then suddenly something was not right – searing pain coursed up through his body. He took one step backwards, his eyes still fixed on the familiar face. Slowly he forced his gaze downwards to witness the inevitable sight of the knife protruding from his side. He felt the warmth of his blood as it began to soak his shirt. Stumbling to his knees, he watched the man turn and slowly walk away as his friends rushed to his aid.

They had always said that dentistry could be a tough gig.

Modern Urban Phillosophy for the Apathetically Lazy

Traffic lights are deeply symbolic, when you think about it.

There’s a group of us, all standing by the edge of the road wanting to get to the other side.  We would never have assembled as a group under any other circumstances, but we have been bought together and united in our common conviction that we, not being happy with the side of the road we are currently on, need desperately to get to the other side.

And the people already on the other side want to get to where we are.

And so we stand around waiting for the fabled green light.

It all seems deeply symbolic if you ask me.

Nationalisation?

I am overcome by simultaneous confusions of bafflement, disgust and anger at the news that as a result of the recession there are now families struggling even to afford basic necessities.

Rising prices leave families struggling to put food on the table.

The reason for my bafflement arises from how this can be allowed to even happen, in this supposedly more enlightened modern age in which we are supposedly living in. It is clear that the current levels of social provision for those out of work are simply not enough for those with families to care for. Hell, it’s stressful enough managing my own budget and I only have my own mouth to worry about.

Of course people should not be dependent upon benefits and hand-outs, but in the current economic condition there is simply no other option for many people. The job market has now become so stunted that it is beyond a joke; as more businesses go under and more people are laid-off from their work, the competition becomes fiercer and fiercer. It is clear that there is no longer sufficient available work to go around and employers are either unable themselves to recruit any more, or in some cases are happy to sit back and enjoy their own new found prosperity in being able to be even more picky than normal in their selections.

For all of its promises, it is doubtful as to how much is going to change after the recent G20 summit in London. They may have pledged $1trillion to the IMF and world bank, but there is little said in the way of where this money is going to be coming from. Why was the provision of work not discussed in greater detail? Government provided work would give people the means to support themselves with the two-fold effect that the government itself would be generating extra income for itself in order to manage its own rising debts. Would not nationalisation of key industires – public services, utilities, the banks, etc. be an effective means to this end? This was the tactic used during the Great Depression, and I see no reason why it should not be employed now.

G20 Protests

It’s late and I am tired so I don’t have time to write a lengthy post right now.

Sufficed to say I have been virtually glued to the television all day watching the news reports of the anti-capitalist protests against the G20 summit which have been occuring in central London today.

Since I was unable to attend in person I feel compelled to lend my voice (however small that may be) in support of the protestors. It really is time that those in power wake up and realise the glaring faults within the system that has failed us all, and which even now they are fighting desperately to mend.

More wordy post to follow hopefully tomorrow… err, better make that later today.

http://www.g-20meltdown.org/

This had better be an April Fools joke…

Tea prices set to increase as consumption begins to outweigh manufacture, according to the BBC.

I can just imagine the news reports in a weeks time:

Britain panics. Supermarket shelves have been emptied of teabags as panic buying grips the nation. World leaders are set to meet in order to discuss a global tea contingency strategy. Hospitals are struggling to cope under the pressure now put upon them by many being forced into going cold turkey, and police are now out in record numbers in attempts to curb any violence which may erupt between bands of roaming tea addicts who may be facing sobriety for the fist time in upwards of 15 years.

Freedom?

I was reading in the news this morning more articles on the upcoming G20 convention which, it is assumed, is either going to save us all or is going to plunge us into a period of rioting and anarchy if the politicians get it wrong.

Personally I am happy with either result – not that I condone violence, but sometimes when an injustice is suffered for so long by so many and when our ‘leaders’ appear so steadfastly reluctant to listen to our pleas, well… it creates volatile situations and sometimes they can explode, often with dramatic effects. We may have passed the ‘age of revolution’, but it doesn’t mean that sometimes the people in charge can do with a sound kick up the bum to remind them where their mandate lies.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. Specifically, this article from The Gaurdian. Terry Smith reminds us that it has not only been a failure of the global banking system reflected through the sheer greed of the top-level bankers which has culminated in the current economic crisis, but that it has been the desire for prolonged prosperity without suffering any form of downturn and in particular America’s rejection fo the gold standard for the dollar in 1971 which has pushed the global economy to the brink it is at now.

What it made me ask is, “how free are we truly?”. You can talk to me about social rights, civil liberties and the free market as much as you like, but currently from where I am standing it appears that the plight which many people today are suffering was caused by matters which were entirely out of their control.

How many people have lost their jobs because of the bankers untapped greed? How many people are now struggling to make ends meet, to support a family, all because the economists refused to accept the boom and bust nature of their capitalist system and instead tried to maintain the boom for as long as possible, with no thought to the impact it would have upon future generations? How many people have been thrust into desperate situations though no fault of their own, and despite their best efforts face little prospect of change in the near future? That our own governments could be so crass in gambling with the lives of their citizens sickens me.

Is this really true freedom, when our own lives can be influenced to such a great extent by factors over which we have no direct control?

Growing Out of Being Young

I’ve noticed an increasing trend as I’ve gotten older. I find that these days, more and more, I seem to take the cynical approach to pretty much everything. Every item of news, every new event, every daily occurrence usually gets briefly mentally dissected, its faults picked and finally rejected before I decide that I would much rather not bother doing/thinking about whatever it was and that instead my time would much better be spent by having a “nice cup of tea”, or some other equally stereotypical British-ism (which is another thing I seem to have developed).

But time was I used to be quite the opposite. I would consider each new proposition that was put to me on its own merit before dismissing it out of hand, I was more willing to try new things and to take new risks and I generally took the world (and myself) a lot less seriously. What changed?

Age and experience changes a person, there is no denying it. It seems pretty weird for me to be saying such things seeing as I am only now 21, which is hardly old by anybody’s standards, but I’m old enough now to be able to perceive how we change and evolve as a person as time wears on. I am not the same person I was five years ago, and I doubt I will still be the same person as I am now in another five years. This, I have come to realise, is just a fact of life and the trick is being able to use our life experiences in changing ourselves for the better.

And that’s the bit which worries me. Have I really changed for the better? I’m less willing to participate in things, have much less enthusiasm and have become extremely jaded towards a lot of things. I still try to keep an interest in politics, for example, but it is difficult when you have lost all faith in the political system.

Growing up can certainly leave you feeling embittered; no more so than graduating from university and being forced into a lengthy period of unemployment because you took a degree which was not so much career minded and because the bottom fell out of the job market. It certainly grounds you in reality and forces out a lot of that youthful optimism. To a degree, I think it is good that I have now become a lot more guarded, much more wary of things than I used to be as it means I now question everything a lot more. And since I studied History for three years, my natural opinion that questioning things is always a healthy thing to be doing.

At the same time however, I regret the fact that I am no longer willing to open myself to new experiences. I now frequently dismiss new ideas and suggestions since I believe that I now “know better”. To “know better” is in some ways a curse of age – the older you are, the more sure you become that you “know better”. But surely this just means that I have stagnated mentally. I am no longer trying to experience new things, I am no longer willing to reformulate my opinions and even subconsciously will filter out things which do not fit into place with my own current view of how things ‘should be’. This is not a good thing to be doing.

Clearly a happy balance can be reached by always allowing ourselves to open up to new experiences, but in doing so also to apply the knowledge and experience which we can only gain through age. Perhaps this is easier said than done.

Obama In Support Of Blair

It looks as if Barack Obama made one of his first real mistakes yesterday when he praised the leadership of Tony Blair after a meeting between the two.

Joking aside, I shall resist the temptation to embark upon a lengthy digression listing my grievances regarding Blair’s time as prime minister and the legacy of New Labour which he wrought (for indeed I have many) for it is another issue which has piqued my curiosity here.

That Obama should come out in support of Tony Blair strikes to my mind as slightly incongruous in that not too long ago it was Obama’s predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush, who was playing the role of ‘best friend’ with the former British prime minister. Surely nobody can forget the way in which Blair and Bush worked together to forge their ‘War on Terror’ and continually defended their decisions over the controversial war in Iraq.

Now, if we bear in mind that it was President Obama’s campaign message of change which eventually won him his title, things do not quite add up. If Obama is indeed proposing a radical break from the policies of the previous administration as his campaign rhetoric suggested, and also given that once of his goals is to restore the integrity of the United States upon the international stage, why then is he coming out in open support of someone who not so very long ago was one of the most overt international supporters of the Bush administration?

Similarly, in 2000 when George W. Bush first became president, I remember being equally as baffled by the complete about turn of our own government in welcoming the new president and leding their approval to the new administration, when only a few months before they had been doing exactly the same to the Clinton administration. It seems at times that any time a new leader or political party takes charge in either of the two countries, one will blindly back the other.

Of course, the other possibility is that the whole affair is merely couched in the usual flattery and politeness which gets brandied about amongst leading political figures the world over. Even so, it still does not sit entirely comfortably with me sinces it represents at the very least insincerity; at the worst flagrant lies. I look forward to watching the events of the next UK general election, and observing international reaction should it produce a government with a different party at the reigns.