Drifting in and out of consciousness (oxfordhacker) wrote,
Drifting in and out of consciousness

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A miscellany (v 1.2)

Here are some things that have happened recently nailed together for your disjointed reading pleasure *

A dream
I was in my cell at the asylum. They'd locked me up, because they didn't understand that it was only my concentration that was keeping a few key roses alive. I was concentrating, in a trance, trying to save the roses from inside my room, but something went wrong, and I fucked reality up. A gate or gates opened to Somewhere Else. I was able to use a gate to leave my cell, but reality was breaking down, and the asylum was in chaos. I went to visit my friend Becks [Jo's ex-housemate and a friend of mine in Real Life] who was in a padded cell upstairs, but she had become a growing amorphous mass of organs. I thought I'd better stay there and comfort her, feeling responsible for her plight...

That's all I remember.

A test
Bored at work, I decided to seek out personality tests this week. Really, I wanted to find out whether I was a plant, a shaper or whatever, from the popular 'put your workers in boxes' Belbin test. However, this is apparently popular/trendy enough that companies are willing to pay to have their workers subjected to it, and therefore a cursory search couldn't turn up a free on-line version (though I assume there's one out there somewhere...) Shame, because I thought that it might even be useful to find out what sort of work I'm best suited for, because the only criterion I've found so far is 'as little as possible. With net access.' Still, found a pretty hard-core personality test, which was mildly revealing. The result's too long to post here, so I tested my 133t HTML skillz to their limits and slapped it up on my web-site: Voila!

Further tests
Not content with just one evaluation of my personality (narcissistic? Moi? (He asked in his on-line journal...)), I started trying some fun seeming ones that I'd found referenced in other people's journals. Most of these have a common source: E-Mode. These may seem fun initially, but it soon becomes clear that they are a test of patience as much as personality. They're like taking the same trashy Just Seventeen/Cosmo personality test over and over again, squashing you into the same procrustean bed with a different name each time. These things are like a lamentably advanced cancer through the LiveJournal community, and distressingly addictive, as you think "Maybe this one will give something approaching accurate or interesting results..." Nope.

I may at some point put the full personality descriptions that these things have assigned me, but for the moment, suffice it to say that:
- my aura is golden
- my theme song is 'Born to be Wild'
- my monster match is a vampire
- I'm a 'demi-slacker'
- my personality type is shark
- my inner rock star is Randy Travis.

These are pretty much as nonsensical as they sound. They seem particularly fond of interpreting my trade-mark blend of irresponsible hedonism and jaded nihilism as either happy-go-luckiness (happy-go-luck?) or self-assured arrogance. I do hope neither of these are accurate. I dunno, at least the proper test break-downs to show that (for example) an average introversion/extraversion score can be made up of relatively extreme extraverted and introverted elements, these ones just steam-rollers nuances like that.

Shit. I've just spent a couple of paragraphs criticising a test purporting to tell me what colour my aura is. What have I come to...?

(Yet) another way I've found of killing time is by surfing the mass (one might even say morass) of journals on this fine site. I've been having fun choosing one of my less popular interests, and seeing which other benighted souls (or even communities) agree with me. Occasionally this finds me interesting people (added a couple to my friends list), occasionally people so vapid as to make me regret sharing any aspects of my personality with them, occasionally I can feel smug (such as realising that of the five or so journals of other people who like Victor Pelevin, three are actually in Russian (I assume. It might just be gibberish)); but all of these pale into insignificance compared to my most exciting find: the actual LiveJournal of the actual keyboardist (I think) of the actual Rock Of Travolta! Ironically I didn't find this by having 'the rock of travolta' as one of my interests, because the only other person who likes them that much has apparently deleted his journal; but through the UK LiveJournal community (which is sadly much like a newsgroup, in that it's mostly irrelevant.) Still, having stuck him on my Friends list, I'll have to go back through all my past entries and edit them to pretend that I went to gigs, bought t-shirts, listen to their music, etc. (That's the weird thing about these journals. I could, and only someone who'd been both reading and remembering this journal for a while would be able to tell (and what are the chances of that, eh?))

Update: Wo-hoo! He's posted a comment! On my journal! Fame by proxy at last!

A problem
Went out and had a really good time last night, but therein lies the abovementioned problem: that writing about fun I've had without Jo has been known to make her feel left out (not entirely unreasonably). Now, in this case, she knew about the plans but had some of her own (out with her lovely mate Suz in London), and judging by the slightly drunken phone-call I had from her last night, had rather a good time, so I shouldn't worry really. Still, it's an occasional problem, though one that seems to have lessened in gravity slightly now she's moved back to Oxford. Before that it was typically the case that anything I did without her was either during the week, and hence something to which she couldn't come; or during the weekend and hence eating into time that I could (should?) otherwise have been spending with her.

Hmmm... I know she doesn't expect or want me to stay in weeping into my pillow when she's out in London, or too tired to go out, or whatever; but it still feels a bit like rubbing it in to rave about stuff that she'd have enjoyed but didn't come to. Ah well, sod it. I'm rapidly getting the feeling that this isn't really a proper problem at all.

A film
A bunch of went to see the French subtitled film 'Amelie'. I was not alone in having been somewhat put off by the trailer, which is half charming-looking film, half quotes from respected critics saying that it is the charmingest film EVER. They really seemed to be setting themselves up for a fall with this, and I for one am always put off by a film described as 'moving' or 'spellbinding', even though I like moving and spellbinding films. I dunno, it's not even like my criteria for these properties are radically different to those of most critics really. Maybe they're just over-used terms.

Nevertheless, it really is a fantastic film; whimsical without being fluff, charming without being cloying, meaningful without being pretentious. I wish no-one else had seen it, so I can recommend it to people who'd be amazed by it. I wish there were more films like this. I wish that Amelie lived near me...

I think one reason why I liked it so much is because I feel that its underlying philosophy is profoundly discordian. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but the central idea is essentially that of Operation Mindfuck: making people's lives more interesting, confusing and random is likely to improve them. I'm told that Gestalt therapy has a somewhat similar premise. Anyway, I think we were all agreed that it was excellent.

An interlude
After Amelie, we all went to The Radcliffe Arms. Great omelettes, a few pints, some chatting, very nice. George turned up, was charming, and then disappeared again, as is her wont. We were somewhat disappointed that the Thursday pub-quiz wasn't restarting until next week, none more so than our secret weapon: 'Sparky' Mark Boyes, Thane of Trivia and nearly single-handedly (single-mindedly?) responsible for us winning a bottle of wine last time we entered. I guess we'll just have to do this sort of thing again...

A second film. (Caution, some spoilers within)
Most people wussed out and went home after last orders, it being a school night, but the hard-core (me and Jeremy) wandered back down to the Phoenix for a (possibly ill-advised) coffee and a second helping of film: Svankmajer's 'Alice'. This is a deeply strange Czech surrealist adaption of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. It's a stop-motion animation, though it features a real live girl at times, as Alice and the narrator. It gives the impression of being produced by the evil twins of the Bagpuss team, perhaps using the things in the dark recesses of Bagpuss's shop, things that were never claimed by their rightful owners, and never will be: small animal skeletons, set squares and scissors, sinister puppets and manky stuffed animals. The overall feeling was that this was the original, the one that Carroll bowdlerised to make his child-friendly, chatty, punny version. This is much darker. Alice finds herself in a world of doors and staircases which she enters after falling asleep in a playroom/junkroom. There are few inhabitants, and their interaction with her is mostly mechanical and uncomprehending; no quirky poems or philosophical dialogue here. The rabbit isn't a hapless put-upon messenger, but an effective executioner; more Kai than Stan. We also get the impression that Alice is not so much following the rabbit as chasing him. It's what I thought the computer game 'American McGee's Alice' was going to be like, not a pretty but unimaginative Tomb-Raider knock-off but a baffling series of quietly menacing vignettes. The ending was particularly eerie, seeming to mirror the book's 'I woke up and it was all a dream' close, but then showing us that the case which held the stuffed white rabbit really is broken, the rabbit really has freed itself. Not content with the disturbing implications of this, the final scene is of Alice grasping a pair of scissors, deciding that the rabbit's head must come off... Wow. Some time ago Archie commented that we were devaluing the term 'fucked-up'; and that if we used it for every other 'South Park' episode, then we wouldn't have a more extreme term for when we really needed it. This film demonstrates the wisdom of his words. It's fucked-up. Really.

A winding down
I returned home at about 1:15am to find Tanaqui was in Archie's room. I was unable to countenance sleep, my body twitching as caffeine, alcohol and fatigue fought for dominance of my brain, my mind throbbing with the clashes of two sets of powerful imagery. I lurched around Archie's room for a bit, listening to Radiohead bootlegs, watching him read my journal, attempting definitions of words he didn't recognise and bickering with Tanaqui about them. Thus the typical conversation went something like this (and I'm sure Weaver will correct me if I'm wrong...):
Archie:What does X mean?
Alex:I was kind of using in sense Y.
Tanaqui:Actually it means Z.
Alex:But it can be used in sense Y.
Tanaqui:But it actually means Z.
Alex:Carping old sow
Tanaqui:At least I use words properly.
Archie:The dictionary says it means W.
Alex & Tanaqui:Well... I suppose so. In a sense...

Repeat until I feel up to attempting sleep. Go to bed with 'Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space' by Spiritualised on repeat. Realise heart-beat seems somewhat fast. Get up. Ask Archie and Tanaqui what it should be. Internet says 50-100 bpm. Fuck all use. Go back to bed. Lie listening to heart. Get up. Apologise to Archie and Tanaqui in case I have inadvertently offended either of them in my distracted state. Assures that not only have I not, but I'm actually much funnier in my current state than normal. Go back to bed. Ponder the implications of this. Fall asleep. Wake up feeling better than I have any right to.

*Your pleasure not guaranteed. Your mileage may vary.

Current site: Theory of Rudeness - A philosophical essay about theories that brook no criticism.
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