Monday, 22 December 2014

A Very Merry Time of Year!

HELLO EVERYBODY I've been having a moody time of late but I'm feeling absolutely fine now. Well almost. 

I saw Binky today and she thinks I'm still mental from the other day. I kind of had a lost weekend when the "Full Moon Feeling" (hypomania: which is when I'm high without any drink or drugs) hit me pretty full-on on Friday/Saturday night and I barely slept at all all weekend then did conk out and came back to life at 7 o'clock with absolutely no idea whether it was the AM or PM (it was 7AM).

Ukh I hate this time of year, don't you?? But I hope you like my dancing elf figure. Seriously this was the best thing I got when keying in "elf animated cartoon gif" ~ ha ha!

I was going to do Xmas with Binky but she "has to" do it with her Supported Care Home, so I'm pretty glad I got out of that one. It just would have been roast lamb + massive cab fares all for a day I don't give a French toss about anyhow... know what I mean?

But having said that I DO with you all the MERRIEST OF SEASON'S GREETINGS + AN AMAZING NEW YEAR IN 2015 XxXxXxX 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Puttin' It Back Together... (Again!)

I'VE BEEN TRYING to put my life together of late. I'm learning Japanese again. (Dropped Arabic. Me and Semitic languages do not get on.) As some of my longer-term friends will know, I've been circling around the Japanese language for years. Trying and learning a bit and stopping... But finally I gave up on the Teach Yourself type book/CD combos and went for the type of books they use at evening classes and beginner's uni courses, ie: Japanese for Busy People (the most frequently recommended textbook but not necessarily the absolute best), Yōkōsu! An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese... and so on. Japanese for Busy People came complete with stuck-on 70-minute CD and is completely in Japanese kana. Book 2 is in kana + some kanji, which are the Chinese characters...

O I'll shut up about this. Suffice it to say I've learned so much I can understand entire written sentences in full adult-style script. Wow! Even the introduction to the advanced-level dictionary I found in Sainsbury's carpark years ago is no longer just an exotic mystery of characters, I scan through and see 新語、古語 etc  which means new words, old words etc... or in more dictionarian language: neologisms, archaisms etc... So wow I can read Japanese! (A Bit!)

But I'm still feeling kinda lost, miserable, depressed deep-down... and not so deep-down... I really want to get a dog. A furry waggy doggie with a piggly curled-back tail. A Japanese 忠犬, an Akita-inu or a shiba-inu (which is like a baby akita that never gets big...)

I don't even know what to write now because I just want to get offline. But isn't this cute? It's an Aussie marsupial called a quokka. About the size of a housecat, it's only found on certain small islands off the Western Australian coastline... (not far along from Perth):~~~

This is what came direct to mind when I keyed in that title Putting It Together... 
This is live (studio) singing in real time... 
... Pretty Professional, isn't she!...

This Aussie documentary dates from 1994 when Burma was the world's biggest poppy-grower... which stupefied crown is now of course proudly worn by Afghanistan...

This is a stupid portrait of Mozart but I love the tune.
It's Lacrimosa from the Requiem Mass, which of course means tearful and sad, but it doesn't sound sad to me... More uplifting &c...

OK I have to go now. Sorry I haven't got a lot of stuff to say but hi to y'all and I hope y'all are doing well...

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Smith's Vole

Furry Friday on Saturday
Smith's Vole is the only type of vole native to Japan...
They have tiny little eyes...
They love nibbling things...
+ They're related to the common European water vole...
That means AREN'T THEY CUTE!!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Mysterious Languages of the Arabs, Berbers and Italians...

I UNPLUGGED my TV aerial (again) and tuned in loads of Italian channels (Rai 1, Rai 2, Rai 3, Rai Scuola, Rai Storia ...etc)  plus a couple of good ones in German (ZDF and Das Erste), TV5 Monde FBS and TV5 Monde Europe in French... plus over 120 channels in Arabic. So I'm doing courses in Italian and Arabic just so's I can understand my own TV set's polyglot babblings ...

أنا أتكلم العربية قليلا

Yes I've been learning a bit of a mysterious Semitic language! (Arabic.)

In my attempts to acquire some of the native lingo, I've been following quite a few Moroccan soap operas in the night. Perhaps the term "following" is a little optimistic. I watch the dubbed shows, gazing at things like street signs, cars, architecture and countryside etc to try and figure out which country these programmes originated in. Quite a lot seem to come from Pakistan (Asian features and manic-episode-style Arabic script) and Turkey (weird-taste interior décor and the Latin alphabet, eg Turkish police cars =labelled POLIS).

So I've been banging away at the Arabic, a little every day. I "mastered" (in the sense that a two-year old child "masters" it) the script in three days, but in the 3-weeks+ since,my command of it doesn't seem to have drastically improved since... also they don't commit as much of their words to paper as we do (most short vowels are left out) ~ so Arabic is a bit like trying to learn to write a foreign tongue via txtmsg-speak.

Arabic words are very difficult to remember. But once I know them I can recognize them straight away in conversation eg when they're babbling away on Al Aoula TV, which is my new favourite channel, I can pick out expressions such as mumtaz and mumkin with ease. Which was never the case when I did basic Chinese (a lot of Chinese words sound the same, and it's not just the tones...)

Moroccan TV has a lot of early-morning programming in French, which is great for an insomniac like me. I've been to Morocco... surely the boat-trip from Spain has to be the most drastic journey on earth... Europe to Africa... it's like voyaging into another dimension...

In 2011 the Moroccan government gave legal recognition to the mysterious Berber language of the snowy hashish mountains and shimmering camel-trotting deserts, which is written in its own ancient runes... How cool is that! Here's a Moroccan roadsign in Arabic, Tasselhaït and French... don't you think it's cool...?

The Italian's coming on really fast. Faccio un diario segreto in italiano. Lo trovo piuttosto semplice perche la grammatica italiana corre in parallelo con la francese. Per esempio, se vorrei dire che qualcosa accada a Milano, userei la stessa parola "a" come in francese: "à"... 

Does that make any sense to you? It does to me now! (I'm not claiming to have any command over grammar whatsoever, I just kind of dunk it here and there, like a corgi's nose at a Royal Tea Party...

So I'd really like to go back to Morocco. + Italy. So these foreign idioms are going to come in extremely useful one day not too long away...

O well I must rush. 

Spero che tutti sono bene...

أتمنى لجميع بشكل جيد.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Most Beautiful Tune in the World

FINALLY I've found out the name of the most beautiful classical tune I've ever heard... it is NOT "Ave Maria by Bach" (which is two tunes intertwined, not entirely successfully)... but it's

It sounds especially good plucked out on a harp...

Isn't it amazing!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Still Not Smoking... Or Smoking 1 A Day...

HELLO this has to be a very quick post. I am still not smoking! (Ukh I hate to admit this but I DO average about one real cig a day; having said that I have just as easily gone days without, so I know that technically means I am smoking a tiny bit but it really is just that tiny bit.) Having said that, I bought shisha pipes for other people, and I'm the only one of the three who appears to have genuine intent to stop. The other two just want to get round the smoking ban, so they use them in waiting rooms, hospitals etc. I actually enjoy the e-pipe more than real cigarettes. I honestly didn't realize how much I wanted to stop until the opportunity presented itself to me. I **briefly**, it has to be said, looked up the "dangers" of e-smoking and couldn't find ANY. Yes nicotine is addictive and deadly in overdose (the fatal dose level is about 30-60mg, equivalent to 30-60 entire cigarettes at once). I get the impression that nicotine is (paradoxically or ironically) a lot like heroin in that it is severely habit-forming and fatal in overdose (what drug isn't fatal in overdose?) but that if you let it clear from your body it leaves your system strangely intact. It's the TAR in ciggies, not the nicotine that causes all those smoking-related heart and lung diseases... so it seems.

Oh, and by the way "nicotine stains" actually means "tobacco tar staining"... "nicotine stains" just has a catchier ring to it!

I did NUMEROLOGY on my name and found out my numbers for this pen name I want to use (a secret) EXACTLY match those of Charles Dickens... pretty coo for a would-be writer, huh?

LONDON is supposedly in a heatwave. Like hell it is! The temp here is only 28C. Tokyo is 35C, Oslo Norway was 36C last week. Death Valley was 51C just yesterday. There is no heatwave! It just feels hot. Because it's summer ~ duh.

ANYWAY I gotta go. Take care y'all and don't fry to death in this hot weather!!

Oh one last thing, and this is a real PS because I'll forget to put it in later... I read the autopsy reports on Peaches Geldof (daughter of Sir Bob Geldof) who died of a heroin overdose this year. She had in her possession just under 7g of "importation strength heroin" (61% purity ~ average UK street purity used to be about 50% a few years ago; it's about 25% now) and a blood-heroin level of 3mg per litre, which was TEN TIMES the amount they found in her mother, Paula Yates's body when she died of the same thing 14 years before... 

But anyway for the first time EVER since I've been an addict I thought far less along the lines of "give me that spare bag of gear" than "what an evil drug that heroin stuff really is"... how weird is that. And I wouldn't say I'm doing amazingly because I'm still using intermittently but I've gone a few days without and whatever I was buying I seriously doubt was anything like as strong as 61%... or even 25%... it was such rubbish (or my system is hammered to bits, I never can be sure...) that I feel almost exactly the same on just methadone as wasting all my spare cash on that CRAP CRAP CRAPPY SHIT!

Illustrated: I don't actually use the type up top, I use a nicotine pipe as illustrated down below... it gives WAY more vapour... middle pic=Peaches Geldof as a tot with her mother Paula Yates who also died of heroin overdose...

uuuur i'm sorry i can't go around commenting today i'm running out of time...

OH GOD isn't this the most beautiful tune...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I've Given Up Smoking!

ALMOST TWO WEEKS AGO I bought a nicotine pipe (not an e-cigarette) and have gone days without smoking any cigarettes at all.

The type I got takes refills from a bottle. A 10ml bottle of 24mg/ml nicotine solution costs £3 and lasts me six days. Ie I'm "vaping" 40mg a day, which is about the amount of nicotine in 40 full-strength Marlboros.

I have tried e-cigarettes, but they (1) aren't strong enough: the strongest I've seen were only 18mg and more importantly (2) they don't give out nearly enough vapour. Lastly (3) they are far too expensive.

I don't reckon you'd save very much money at all smoking e-cigarettes with their poxy cartridges. Last time I tried smoking one, I'd exhausted the entire disposable cigarette with half an hour's constant puffing. I would never puff for half an hour on my wizzy new pipe, because you don't need to vape on it for that long. In fact, I'd say I spend a lot less time vaping than I used to smoking, because if anything my pipe is stronger than real cigarettes. Also with a cigarette constantly smouldering down you kind of feel duty-bound to finish it, hence taking more puffs than you otherwise might do, purely to get your money's worth. With a pipe I take between three and ten puffs, then that's it. The other difference is that I tended to blow cigarette smoke straight out, whereas with this thing I take double and treble puffs and really hold it in.

For years doctors have been telling us that most of the dangers of smoking come from the tar, and that someone, somewhere might be preposterous enough to do that. I'm sure that someone, somewhere has experimented with nicotine patches just for the hell of it, got addicted to nicotine that way and gone on to smoke ordinary fags. But does that mean nicotine patches ought to be banned?
nicotine is relatively benign. But at last that an efficient nicotine-delivery system has been developed that does not require smoking, a load of mean-spirited physicians are up in arms about it, making ludicrous claims that children might take up vaping and switch to smoking! How extremely ridiculous is that! Now I'm not denying that

I know there are health risks associated with nicotine, but they are far far smaller than those associated with tobacco smoking. Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemicals, of which at least 1200 are said to be toxic. Some, such as benzene and arsenic are extremely carcinogenic. Though as we know, human beings appear to be selectively susceptible to these harms. Some die off early. Others have been able to smoke daily for eighty years or more with no apparent ill-effects.

Another great advantage of vaping over smoking is the vastly reduced fire hazard. There is no more need for lighters, ashtrays. My house no longer reeks of fags.

Plus my teeth are whitening by the day.

I didn't even know how badly I wanted to pack in smoking until a viable alternative was available to me.


Illustrated: Shisha Time vaping pipe, like the one I use... "Tobacco-flavour" e-liquid tastes of stale hamster-wee so I use lemon-flavour instead... The next one I'm gonna try will be mint... Nice white teeth (mine aren't that white) (also, when I wear lippy, I far prefer "plum paradise" to that rather bland shade...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pygmy Hedgehogs as Pets, Humungous Hedgehogs Wild...

these little guys are

they're African pygmy hedgehogs
~Atelerix albiventris~
they came originally from Algeria
+ these are fully grown!

Compare the size to the gigantic European hedgehog that most Brits will know from their gardens...
(which you can't let indoors, they're so flea-ridden)

A lot of people feed our wild hedgehogs...
Cat food is a particular favourite...

Look how enormous they are by comparison...
A nervous hedgehog will curl into a prickly ball...

Dogs will sniff around hedgehogs curiously...
But wouldn't dare try to eat one!

Cat + pygmy hedgehog
How exceedingly cute!

Aren't they the sweetest little things!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Etruscan Shrew: Smallest Mammal in the World


The Etruscan shrew Suncus etruscus; by weight it is the tiniest mammal in the world...

It is native to Southern Europe and parts of Asia including Burma...

This little guy is fully grown...!

Wishing y'all a fantabulous weekend!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Sweet Summer Rain

IT'S STILL "lovely and summery" here in London. I've been writing as much as I can.

Even when depressed and "wading through the honey of life" I am still pressing myself forward.

And, when you think about it, wading through honey is better than wading through shit!

Monday, 9 June 2014

A Writer's Thoughts in the Summertime...

IT'S A CHARMING SUMMER'S DAY here in London. I've heard  London is the place to be now, for the international super-rich. The reason? (Apart from the British government's lame tax regime for non-domiciled residents?...) The mild climate. Yes! The precise thing we Brits profess to hate so much ~ and emigrate to Spain to avoid is now our USP for billionaire aliens!So people from India, China, Arabia etc come here for the far far more tolerable summers (much milder than New York, or Paris even). Having said that, on the hottest days, London can get unbearably muggy and really tense and close and horrible.

I had a silkwood shower this afternoon, so I'm supposedly clean. But I'm sweating like a swine again. I'm dying to reduce my methadone down from the current 30mg dose. I'm also giving up the other stuff (again). Yes that horrible crap called heroin is still in my life, to my eternal shame. I really do feel shamed to be a heroin user, heroin addict, whatever you want to call it. And I do realize just how lame it sounds to say "I don't take drugs any more. Oh ~ except heroin. Oh no! I don't take drugs, only heroin." How thoroughly pathetic.

I've been very busy, not sleeping and writing intellectual novels. Well, I've written 1¾ stories. I like to call them novels. I've got to get my computer fixed to type them up properly, so I can send them off. I was going to self-publish, but now I'm thinking of at least trying a "normal" publisher first, y'know. See if they offer any money for it. Because I'm really really broke. Hey wouldn't it be exciting if a real publisher did take me on as their next big thing.

Oh and for the person, I can't recall exactly who you were, who told me I was delusional and that I couldn't even write anyway ~ you haven't even READ my writing. Judging somebody's prose fiction by what they put in a blog is like trying to assess somebody's singing voice by listening to them speaking. I would say my strong points as a novelist are my characters and their dialogue, also I write a "classic", slightly posh style of prose which I hope would set me apart from the modern "trendy" type of writer. None of this will ever come across here in my blog, because my blog is only ever a first draft dashed off quickly. Often I don't even read through what I've put before clicking "publish". So no, you really CAN'T judge a person's novels by their blogging. Example: Jeffrey Archer is a multi-million selling novelist, but his blogging prose is unremarkable. In fact, the best writers usually do write rather pedestrian prose. I far prefer this to the "aren't I witty/aren't I clever" "literary" type writing, which might be good in short extracts, but is wearying in the extreme when you have to tackle an entire book of it. I only ever read "commercial" fiction, I can't handle modern "literary" novels ~ I find them too pretentious by far! 

Years and years ago I did a course at uni for one semester entitled "writing a novel" ~ for which we all had to submit a long short story. My teacher, who was a Booker-nominated novelist, said to me she particularly liked my work for my memorable characters and striking use of language ~ so there you go. I hope that augurs well for my career as a "famous writer"..!

Anyway I must go. Hope you're all enjoying the good weather... if the weather IS good where you are. Beverly Babe you've gone and put your blog on invited readers only and I haven't got an invite. But I'm sending you Sorbitol-flavour kisses here. Be careful; if you eat too much of it, Sorbitol can give really severe diarrhoea-y runs! (I take sorbitol-based methadone, so I should know!)

PEDESTRIAN PROSE by Bestselling Writers...
Their blogs
Danielle Steel
John Grisham
Jackie Collins
Barbara Taylor Bradford
Stephen King
J K Rowling

Illustrated: various of my favourite Famous Five books in Continental languages...

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Singing Mice of the American Forests...

Furry Friday on Saturday...

Deep in the jungles of Costa Rica and Panama, the Central American singing mouse Scotinomys teguina chirrups and chirps to avoid fights and confrontations with his neighbours...

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

London is the International Place to Be! (But save your pennies if you want to buy a house here!)

LONDON IS THE INTERNATIONAL PLACE TO BE, I have just found out. The local news reported on Sunday that more billionaires now live here than in any other city on earth. When I moved to London in 1996, Time magazine and other American publications were reporting that we were "swinging" again (presumably like we used to do in the 1960s) ~ that Britannia was again cool. In 1998, Madonna came here. She met her husband-to-be Guy Richie in 1999 and married him the next year.

Before I came here I did look into the possibility of migrating to New York City, but for a nobody like me who had only ever worked in menial office jobs the visa regulations were so forbidding that I didn't even bother (and I never have been the type of person who would wing it and live as an illegal alien!) But then I came here and found that everything I'd wanted of New York, London actually did better; I'm talking about dance clubs, theatre, museums, parks, art and culture in general. What London never has done as well as New York is self-promotion. I have always known far more about the "high society" of New York than I do here ~ perhaps because America has more celebrity names and, until recently, had far more famous billionaires than London ~ all of which made the city seem as glamorous to me as its sparkling skyline. The billionaires who have chosen London today comprise an international set, and most of them seem to come from Russia or Asia.

As a result, house prices at the top end are absolutely ludicrous, with properties going on the market with asking prices in excess of $100 million. Posh Spice and David Beckham recently moved back here into a £40 million ($67.3 million) double-fronted Kensington townhouse. In late 2012, a rather nondescript property on one of our "billionaires' rows" (Bishop's Avenue, Hampstead) went on the market for £100 million ($168.3 million) with the cheeky estate agents demanding £5000 ($8410.50) just for the brochure. And nobody was allowed a viewing without first purchasing said booklet.

So why of all places is London so internationally appealing?Well partly it has to do with so-called "non-dom" (non-domiciled) tax regulations, where if you come in and live here on earnings from businesses outside the UK you can get by paying no UK income tax at all! British immigration and visa requirements have always been more liberal (for example, the USA demand to know whether visa applicants have ever been arrested (not convicted of anything ~ just arrested!) Britain is far more laissez-faire and you'll only run into trouble if you've done prison for more than four years. We're geographically closer to much of the rest of the world than New York. The climate is milder (and contrary to myth it doesn't rain all the time!) British private schools are said to be among the best in the world (though the same cannot be said about the state sector).

I suppose most cities are nice places to live when you have a net worth in nine figures. And London is a wonderful place. That said, I would really like to see the Big Apple for myself. Every time I see a film set there, I spend as much time focusing on the beautiful backdrop of New York City's streets than on the rest of the action. I suppose billionaires will always go where it's most convenient to be a billionaire and if that means London then so be it. But I have to say, if I ever did have £40 million to spend on a house, I'm not sure I would buy where everybody else does. (I'd actually rather have a large apartment with roof terrace than a house ~ wouldn't you?)

Hmmm anyway. Anybody planning to become a billionaire in the near future is welcome to comment on whether they're most likely to opt for London or New York City as their primary place of residence and why... in the meantime, best of luck to all of you in your attempts to cross that pesky barrier dividing £999,999.99 from the crème de la crème of this wonderful world of ours!

Illustrated: downdown Manhattan viewed from Central Park; the Beckhams' $67 million London mansion; $167 million house in London; One57 building in New York ~ the penthouse has already sold for $95 million; The Shard building in London with apartments for up to $83.6 million ~ and you don't even get a terrace!; One Hyde Park in London ~ not our prettiest development, but one of the smartest addresses in the metropolis and at least you get a balcony! Prices range from £3.6 million ($6,059,547.48) for a one-bed to £136 million for a penthouse (wouldn't you just love to take 2 and knock them together?!) ~ and by the way £136 million calculates to precisely $228,916,238.27 ~ do you think they'd accept $228916238.26??

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Zipedee Do-dah!

IT'S a hot and sunny day. I feel as wondrous as the world around me. Which makes a charming change, as I spent most of last week wondering why anybody in this shitty world would want to be alive at all. But, y'know that's what being a manic-depressive junkie does for you...

Righty-ho I've got to dash. Take care everybody... :-)