Back in the UK

I think it’s a song. “Back in the UK”. Most likely a shitty one. That’s why the name popped in my head for the title of what’s most likely to be a shitty post. As per usual.

I do shitty, I don’t do pretty.

As this time last year, I had the displeasure of accompanying a client on a business trip to the UK. Ostensibly to interpret from/to English. Actually to waste my time. Plus to get me some new scars in the mind and ruin the remainders of my nerves.

You know Dante’s Inferno? The guy clearly never was in the UK.

Yep. I postulate that the UK is worse than hell. Sorry, guys, if you’re British. If you’re British, you must be a rare exception. If you were the kind of British that I observed in their natural habitat during my trip, you’d be above and beyond reading my blog. So, yay, consider yourself exceptional! In a good way. Not in the way the word is abused to denote dumb kids.

Sorry, if you’re a dumb kid.

Actually. No. Not sorry. I’m so tired of being politically correct. That’s ultimately my main issue with my UK trip. Let’s give you the exposition. The dirty details, that is. Where I was dragged was a would-be-fancy London hotel for a convention of employees of a HR corporation. The horror, the horror.

Insert white space. The horror is unspeakable.

Fine. Unspeakable clearly doesn’t work for a blog post. Let me throw in some descriptive words then to capture the environment, the mood and the people, British and otherwise (the otherwise presumably attempted to assimilate, successfully):

  • Pretentious
  • Ostentatious
  • Inauthentic
  • Meaningless
  • Substanceless
  • Personalityless

What’s a roomfull of HR people? Zombie apocalypse.

I used to be a teacher and I live above a pub, so you can imagine I’ve heard my share of crap. Alas, I never heard so much crap crammed into such a small space and short time as at the HR convention.

On day one, I swore that if I hear the phrase driving our business forward once again, I shall scream. (I was reduced to hearing it a gazillion times more and I screamed inwardly and flinched outwardly.)

On day two, I swore that if someone asks me one more time if I’m OK, I shall scream MURDER!!! (I was asked many more times but I refrained from answering to prevent myself from screaming.) When I caught a glimpse of my face in one of the many useless decorative mirrors in opulent frames lining the hotel corridors, I had to admit I did look very unokay. Outright sick. Of course I was sick, what else should one be at a sickening corporate event? Sick.

On day three, the eve of the gala dinner, I wore an eveningish gownish, as instructed, and I didn’t breathe for three hours straight. Because the iron maiden is a pleasure tool when compared to a bra, tights, heels and evening dress. A fellow attendee attempted small talk in the lift, complimenting my dress. She should’ve known better. I rolled my eyes, tried to take a breath (unsuccessfully) and hissed breathlessly, I can’t fucking move in this piece of crap.

Moving, breathing and thinking strictly disallowed.

That was pretty much the catchphrase of the whole trip. I couldn’t move or breathe. I did suspect before that corporate environment was not a particularly healthy one but I didn’t appreciate the extent of the crippling effect it would have on me. I’m still recuperating. Not doing too well. Also, I’m quitting the client. Sheer survival instinct.

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A “Shocking” Revelation of Why I’m MIA

Disclaimers

I’m not even Mia.

Mia is my dumb smartphone. But not even she is a Mia really. (Why, yes, of course I personalise and gender my phone.) My phone is a Xiaomi. That’s an actual brand. And since she’s called Xiaomi by the factory, I didn’t want to confuse her and so I called her Mia.

Mia is also my cat. No, not really. My cat is a tabby by default and an Ella by name, but since she goes miaow, I call her Mia sometimes.

But I’m not a Mia in any way. Except for one. I’m MIA. As in Missing in Action. As in not blogging. Why would I do it? I wouldn’t know. Until today when I was struck by a striking epiphany. (Which is a dumb thing to say because an epiphany is always striking by definition.) But before I expose myself (I mean, before I reveal my revelation to you as well), more disclaimers.

The shocking revelation is not shocking.

Neither shocking, nor revealing, if you must know. It is arguable whether it is anything at all. That will largely depend on which school of philosophical thought you subscribe to. I subscribe to nothing, so my revelation is not a thing to me. Neither is it a thought, since it’s obviously thoughtless. It’s also mindless because I have nothing on my mind.

Enough.

Non-shocking Non-revelation

I don’t have fucking time!

You didn’t see that coming, right? Seriously though. Consider it, since I’m so inconsiderate that you have to do so on my behalf. My blogging started its downward spiral when I started my own downward spiral when I started freelancing when I finished my half-life-long studies when I divorced (shock) and moved (twice) and when etcetera. That’s all obviously quite time-consuming, no? (I’m not asking, I’m saying.)

About the same time, also WordPress started its downward spiral. Since WordPress abolished all community features and challenges, I have not only zero will to live (unrelated to WordPress, I assume, although… hmm) but also zero will to blog. Because there’s zero stimulus. No more getting a catchword in a photo challenge, whipping up a crappy phone pic in response and call it a post.

But mostly, I don’t have time. Fucking time. It never occurred to me until today. Like I really don’t have time. I’m obviously doing something wrong. Possibly everything. There’s also likely something wrong with me, which is somewhat corroborated by my psychiatric diagnoses.

The Idea, the Point and the Moral

You didn’t fall for it, right?

I mean, you didn’t actually expect there to be an idea, a point and a moral in a threesome? I’m clearly idea-less, possibly point-less (even moral-less, since you mention it). So the idea is that I’m out of ideas. I sort of depressed myself by this ridiculous excuse of a blog post. I guess the moral should then be that I should be working. Or something.

WordPress Reinvents Gutenberg and I Can’t—

WordPress invented the printing press for the post-printing age. They called it Gutenberg, thus positively impacting people’s factual knowledge in the post-factual age, while adversely impacting search trends on Google. Every idiot is searching for keyword Gutenberg and the more enlightened ones for phrase whats the difference between gutenberg and hewlett packard. Apart from circa half a millennium, none.

As for me, who was brought up at the height of the trivia age (aka let’s-see-how-much-encyclopaedic-facts-we-can-input-in-a-schoolkid’s-head-before-it-implodes age), I have a more interesting question. What’s the difference between Gutenberg à la WordPress and Shakespeare? Apart from a few random centuries, none. Both are much ado about nothing. Also, I tend to disapprove of both of them, while everyone else seems to be shitting themselves with enthusiasm, and I’m thinking what the heck I’m missing.

What is this thing, then, this Gutenberg by WordPress? Well. Since we’re on the literary note, let me whip up a simile (worry not, that’s the shit that is easier than the metaphor, or even the oxymoron). Just as WordPress allows you to make a website without actually knowing how to code, so Gutenberg allows you to produce content without knowing how to write. Okay. I might be exaggerating, but not much. Gutenberg is a kind of an upgraded visual editor. Like Word is an upgraded Notepad.

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This may or may not be my make-up (see below for [ir]relevance)
I have literally (not to be confused with literary) no idea (I could just as well finish the sentence here, right?)—no idea what my problem with visual editors is. A childhood trauma, perhaps? Hardly, unless my traumatising encounters with MS Dos count. (To my schoolteacher of IT, who never graded me better than a B: Dude, wanna see my latest bit of JavaScript? Or my new CSS tricks? You know, I happen to be a coder now. So fuck you, in yer face. [Not literally, please.])

I love new stuff and shit that makes other shit easier. I’m not the fashionable weirdo who bakes her own bread though she can buy it courtesy of the supermarket. I suspect I’ve had too much experience with visual editors not doing their one job and me ending up just coding the job, which, as it happened, was more efficient on all fronts. Whenever I hear visual builder, I’m getting measles. I’m kidding. I’m not getting measles at any time because my mother wasn’t a militant bio-mother, so I’m fully vaccinated.

I’m not sure whether the vaccine is the reason I’m semi-autistic. Maybe I was born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. It could be Rimmel, too. But not Sephora. I’m not a Sephora person. I know a person who is a Sephora person, which is why I researched what the fuck. It appears that Sephora sells overpriced make-up to those dumb enough to buy it. Which didn’t really answer my what the fuck question. I wear make-up once a week at most (not coincidentally, it coincides with the equally rare occasions when I leave the flat), and so I’m still wearing the glossy red lip gloss I bought five years ago.

Glossy lip gloss is no more fashionable, I hear (and deem it irrelevant), but I no more like it. Trouble is, as is the case with all things you don’t like any more, that the product is bottomless. I assume it’s also past its expiry date; fortunately, I don’t believe in expiry dates. Nothing but propaganda. I shall keep on using and/or eating any expired thing until it manifests highly visible signs of mould which I evaluate as severe enough to justify throwing the shit out. Don’t even try to argue with me. See above for post-factual age. You’re welcome.

What You Should(n’t) Do to Sleep

I’ve decided to explore a new blogging niche. That of writing anti-blogs. Is anyone even doing it yet or have I finally stumbled upon something original? What I have in mind are specifically anti-manuals, anti-instructions and anti-advice. Since I suck at pretty much everything, particularly life, I thought I’d share my wisdom for the benefit of those whom I might serve as a cautionary story.

I quite enjoy the irony of this idea: I can’t save myself, yet I’m proposing to save the world. Okay, not to save the world, I’m more modest than that, hence I only seek to make the world a better place. Do you believe me? You shouldn’t! For fuck’s sake, you’re reading an anti-blog! Also, do I give the impression that I give a shit? I hope not. Scratch that. I don’t have hopes.

I’ve been sleep-deprived for quite a while now. Which may explain the preceding and the following. A bar recently opened right under my flat and I think my sleeplessness might be related to this fact. It’s not just a bar. It’s a rock music bar. A non-stop music bar, to be absolutely precise. I have their fucking jukebox right under my bed. No kidding. Let’s just say that the constant noise of varying quality and quantity doesn’t exactly facilitate sleep.

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Screw this shit

Which is where I’m getting down to my anti-advice. Aka, what you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to sleep. All the methods detailed below have been tested on myself and have been found inefficient, cumbersome and likely unsafe. While not recommended for human use, these methods seem to be safe for cats. Mine is not only not insomniac but appears perfectly at peace, especially in contrast to yours truly. My truly. Me.

The first method I tried consisted in listening to a meditation for sleep on the phone. This trick was actually nice and is comparatively safe. At least so I thought, until I talked to a friend, who happens to be a firefighter and who is obsessed with the idea that unattended phones in beds may spontaneously combust. Even when they are not Samsung. Do Samsung phones still explode? Just asking. I have a low-end phone and what it does is to freeze, so I assume no fireworks are happening here, literally or figuratively.

The second method I tried was purchasing a set of earplugs. I was very pleased with them because they looked cute and came in a pretty pod. They didn’t come with a manual, which displeased me, since I’m obsessed with manuals. So I googled. I was terrified, applying earplugs is basically nuclear science. However, apply them I did. Semi-successfully. They even worked, sort of, except my ears are still hurting from that foam shit. I must’ve misread the manual or something.

The third method I tried was to block the noise with even more noise. I was hoping one noise would cancel the other noise. Well, it doesn’t work like this. I selected an ambient ocean sound and played it in endless loop on the laptop. The roaring ocean was terrifying rather than relaxing. Though it did balance the noise nicely: there were drum beats coming from below and ocean screams coming from the left, where my laptop was sitting on the table. I didn’t dare to put it in the bed in case my firefighter friend would disapprove.

That much to my anti-manual so far. Excuse typos and general shit, I haven’t slept well. Like forever. Also, I’m writing this with my headphones on, listening to the roaring ocean. It sounds apocalyptic. I think it goes well with my life.

WordPress’s Daily Post Quits—Now What?

In case you haven’t heard yet, the Daily Post is a goner. It bothers me more than it should. As we say in the second world, it’s not like bread is gonna be cheaper for that, so why care. As I hear is legit in the first world, though, one has the privilege to rant about things. Let’s do this!

Stages of Grief

I’ve gone through the five stages of grief regarding the Daily Post’s demise.

  1. Denial (“What? Nooo—!!!”)
  2. Anger (“Losers! Quitters! Traitors! Class enemies!” — Please note that “class enemy” is a cultural thing and it’s a bad thing to be. The worst, actually.)
  3. Bargaining (“How hard is it to keep the thing running, huh? As Ben admits in his post on the Daily Post, WordPress servers shall be chugging along for the next 14,320,078 years, so come on!”)
  4. Depression (“Can’t even…”)
  5. Acceptance (“As you wish.” — That means I strongly disagree with you but currently can’t think of any means to bring you to senses.)

I even added an extra stage, just for the fun of grieving.

  1. Resistance (“You won’t take responsibility? Fine. I’ll take it myself. In yer face.”)

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Random picture

Stages of Feelings

I notoriously suck at connecting with my feelings because I read on Freud’s virtues of repression in an impressionable age and it stuck. I perfected the art of not admitting to feeling anything to the point of actually not feeling anything. That is, besides a single uniform formless emotion, whose name I don’t know but which is dull and depressing. I think it’s a constant lack of will to live. Is that an emotion? I need to practise naming emotions, so let’s identify how I feel about the Daily Post’s decease.

  1. Disappointment — I was dumb enough to form some expectations and to believe that at least over at WordPress, everything will be as it should be. That’s disappointing on so many levels. (Which I’m too lazy to describe, so trust me—and you shall be betrayed! See below.)
  2. Betrayal — Well, I didn’t sign up for this. For WordPress quitting on me.
  3. Guilt — I should have had more sense than to be trustful and end up cheated, so serve me just right.
  4. Anger — I was totally triggered by the mention of the discontinuation of the Daily Post being “a hard decision” in the post bringing this news. Saying “a hard decision” means avoiding telling the real reason.
  5. Loss of faith in humanity — See above. I wonder what the real reason for this “hard decision” was. Kidding, I don’t wonder, we live in a capitalist society (even me), so it’s an easy guess.
  6. Affirmation — The Daily Post challenges kept me blogging and connected with the world when I was too depressed and/or busy to even—  But we’re ultimately all alone, so it’s up to me to do shit. You know, like to blog about it. Incidentally, I just did that.

Second-World Alternatives to First-World Products

I have the dubious (dis)advantage of living betwixt the first and the second worlds. My ass is sitting on a second-world chair, but the first world is at my fingertips, literally, through the internet. If you haven’t heard yet, what I define as second world are primarily post-communist countries in eastern Europe, which are, just like me, sitting uneasily between world one and world three, thus logically constituting world two. Makes sense, right?

Living in the second world entails having mostly second-world problems, which are pretty down-to-earth and typically revolve around the overarching question of how the fuck do I pay the bills. Assorted first-world problems do creep in, such as, what the fuck do I do with myself when the wifi is down, but mostly, first-world problems remain the source of endless hilariousness for me. You know, most first-world problems are not a thing here. Yep, they’re virtually nonexistent. Don’t everyone move in here.

In the unlikely scenario, though, that you’re a first-worlder looking to live in the second world (whatever crimes you committed to deserve that), here’s a helpful list of how to go about it. Among other things, your strategy must cover procuring alternatives for first-world products, which are here either entirely unavailable or are no way affordable. My insider advice is based specifically on Czechia, but should be applicable elsewhere too. Here you go. Take notes.

Item to substitute: iPhone, iPad and other iStuff
Get instead: normal stuff, huh

I suspect it’s not common knowledge in the first world, but when you want a smartphone, you don’t have to buy an iPhone. (Shocking, I know, but indulge me for a bit.) Just Google cheap smartphone in the local language and you shall be surprised to see that there are plentiful non-i-items in terms of phones, tablets, computers and laptops.

Be advised, however, that a tablet is not allowed. I can spare you the waste of money and tell you right away that a tablet doesn’t do anything that a phone or a laptop wouldn’t do. See, you’re already spending less!

Item to substitute: coffee machine
Get instead: kettle

Let’s make it clear straight away. You’re not drinking fancy coffee, and even if you wanted to, too bad, there are no more than two or three cities in this country where there’s a Starbucks. Take-away coffee, obviously, isn’t admissible anyway, so get used to making your own sooner rather than later.

What you do drink is called Turkish Coffee and has nothing to do with real Turkish coffee. For a recipe, see my earlier post. It’s pretty simple, wholesome, and all you need is a tin mug (if you want to go authentic), generic brand coffee and a means to boil water. If you really want to cut spending, you don’t even need a kettle, an oven will do; and if you don’t have an oven, use the fireplace in the middle of your room.

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Congrats! There’s a railway in your place!

Item to substitute: car
Get instead: bus ticket

This is another outrageous concept, but sorry not sorry, that’s what it is: you don’t need a car. Here, I said it. It’s good news really because you can’t afford a car, obviously. You used the money you saved up to pay for your driving licence already, which is good, you might need it in case you ever need to drive a get-away car.

Look around. It might be that there are buses, trams and trains around. See them? Good. You just got yourself a means of transport. Can’t see anything? Too bad. It looks like you live in the middle of nowhere, where there is no public transport. Never mind though, you can still walk. So put those silly stilettos away in the closet, you won’t be using them here.

Item to substitute: TV and/or Netflix subscription
Get instead: nothing

I’ll let you in to a secret: if you have a computer or laptop, you have zero need for a TV. Actually, TV ownership is here associated with the lower-class (euphemism for dumb people in this case), so if you’re keen on making it (i.e., making it until the next rent is due), you won’t bee needing this crap.

As to Netflix, don’t worry about it too much, it’s probably not available in your new region anyway. Despite globalism, don’t think that you could subscribe to an US version of Netflix or anything really. You can’t, you’re now in the wrong place. The main point is, however: you don’t pay for watching anything. If you find yourself doing it, you’re doing it wrong.

There is obviously so much more, so much more that you couldn’t wrap your mind around it, which is the reason why I’ll leave you to it for now. I might bring more advice later. Or not. In case I do, watch this space. (Instead of Netflix.)

 

 

My Week on Instagram

Hey, I have some crappy photos on my Instagram, so why not slap them here? (That was a rhetorical question.) Each photo represents one day in the last week. (Be advised that I have no life, hence my photos are no photos.) For explanations, even duller than the photos, see captions.

015
15 Jan: A business trip. A photo that says more than thousand words nothing but proves that I rose to the occasion, got up and got dressed. Also, see my nails. I didn’t #wakeuplikedis, I had to paint them. Extra effort.

016
16 Jan: The first proper snow of this winter came in the week when it was my turn on the building’s chore wheel. Convenient. Not. I probably should’ve shovelled the shit but, instead, I waited a few days for it to thaw. Problem solved.

017
17 Jan: I found neither peace nor anything else during my meditation, however, I still have painted nails and these cute yoga pants on top of it. 

018
18 Jan: Breaking in a new candle. It smells vaguely of mulled wine. Give me a candle anytime and I’ll burn the world down (the same when you give me mulled wine). I wonder if candle lovers are closeted pyromaniacs. 

019
19 Jan: I must’ve been watching too much Breaking Bad because whenever I see a powdered substance, I want to snort it. Also, this is magnesium and I swear it’s the best placebo I’ve ever had because it helps me shake less when I’m anxious. Which is all the time, duh.

020
20 Jan: The ultimate cat box. A perfect fit for your cat. Order a yoga mat now and receive your gratis cat box! A fun note: I haven’t tried my new yoga mat yet and am still using the old one because I believe I don’t deserve nice things. Yeah, I know.  

021
21 Jan: The fucking chore wheel has been haunting me all week. Sunday looked like the deadline for cleaning the building. So I was sweeping cigarette butts (not my own), stray tinsel (not my own) and dead tree needles (not my own). It’s not like I have to dispose of dead bodies, I don’t know why I hate doing this so intensely. 

Random Suggestions Poetry

I’ve been fascinated with the relatively recent feature of the WordPress Reader: the Suggestions that show at the top, just above the feed. What’s so curious about them is:

  1. I often have no idea what the suggested keywords mean. Homesteading? Sous vide? Come on, don’t swear at me! Don’t tell me what that is though, I already Googled and confirmed that I’m highly uninterested in these subjects.
  2.  The suggestions are extremely random. I would’ve thought that as all other advertising (which is what suggested content really means), the keywords would be personalised. I don’t think they are, otherwise I couldn’t have been offered Homeschooling, Politics and Toddlers, all of which I intensely don’t care about.
  3. The whole thing is so hilarious! I waste time taking the three words suggested and using them in a poem or something. Like the thing below, which incorporates my latest incongruous suggestions of Beauty, yoga and Batman.

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Beauty, yoga, batman 

Beauty is—not a thing
But if it were
   real

It would be
   me
With my arms up
   in a flying V
In the position
   of a tree

Doing yoga
Flying—
Like a fucking
Batman

The Dumbest Things to Tell a Person with Depression

I’m, so far, a depression survivor. It’s a mixture of depressing and hilarious. I’ve started to collect the weirdest, dumbest and most illogical things people tell me when I mention that I have depression. I usually mention it as a disclaimer—and for comic relief because depressed people tend to love black humour. It somehow fits the dark mood.

While I’m risking that I will come across as a smartass (probably because I am that), I’ll share a selection of the most hilarious responses I’ve collected over the years. Sometimes it looks like people have no clue what they’re actually saying. It appears that some people have no sense to see what pearls of nonsense they are dispensing.

Let’s start with the usual:

Get over it.

Think: would you tell this to someone with cancer? I hope not. Let’s establish that there is a difference between manageable and curable. And guess what! Depression is the former, but not the latter. Who would have thought? (That’s not a real question, that’s the tricky rhetorical kind of a question, which is really a statement. Whew!)

My personal favourite:

Cheer up!

OMG, how come it didn’t occur to me before? I’m cured! Kidding. This is too ludicrous to deserve further commentary.

Another of my favourite exchanges:

Look at the bright side!

“Such as?”—”Well, you’re alive…”—”You realise I’m suicidal?”—”Uhuh?”—”That means that being alive isn’t the bright side for me!” Duh.

An inspirational story:

Look at [insert a famous actor’s name]! He functioned just fine with it, he’d just get on the stage and when his act was over, they’d take him straight to the hospital!

I’m not sure how being taken straight to the hospital could mean that someone is fine. Maybe I’m missing something. Or maybe you’re missing something. (Not you as the specific you, but you as the generic you, like someone.)

A piece of undeniable logic:

But you smile in photos!

Of course I smile in photos. I’m not a moron. (Okay, I am a moron, but not in this respect.) Please be aware that I didn’t have a stroke, hence my ability to lift the corners of my mouth remains unaffected. My exercising this ability doesn’t necessarily reflect the state of my mind.

A case of stating the obvious:

It’s just in your head.

I wholeheartedly agree that mental afflictions affect the mind, which resides in the brain, which resides in the head, so it is indeed all in my head. But, uh, how is this piece of information helpful? *shrug*

The list goes on, but I think you got the idea. The point is: let’s all mind what we’re saying and whether what we’re saying even makes any sense. Here’s an inspiration for a new year’s resolution!

I’m Procrastinating and I Know Why

Most of the time, I know exactly what to do. Much of the time, I do the exact opposite.

I’ve been procrastinating a lot these last few days. I know why. Because I’m an idiot. Also because I have too much work and there is no end to it. I’ve been diligently overworking myself for the last few weeks. That’s the very definition of idiocy: doing the same thing and expecting a different result. The last time I worked myself through to the madhouse, which wasn’t that bad but somewhat counterproductive.

So I’m procrastinating now by blogging. I also procrastinate on social media. I’m not sure what I’m doing there and what the point is, I pretty much just open the relevant app and close it again without even bothering to scroll. I procrastinate by posting idiotic posts all over the place too. I wonder if the motive is that I’m trying to make someone somewhere care. I really should care more for and about myself.

Another underlying reason for my current procrastination and pissed-off-edness are two social occasions I’m facing. One is the long anticipated visit of my father, who never fails to make me want to kill myself. Another is an impromptu business thing scheduled for the next day, if I survive. For both events, I guess I should make myself presentable. Not in my usual way presentable but in a respectable way presentable.

I should probably remove my black nail polish and replace it with something decent aka boring. I might have to wear a headscarf because my father is irritated by my hairstyle and I don’t want him get a stroke. I suppose I shouldn’t wear my big dangling earrings and my favourite lace collar either. Sigh. I hate it to assume an air of normalcy / professionalism. If you’re waiting for the point, there’s none, sorry. Gotta go do some serious work now.

This pretty much sums it up