Born To Sink

I love tattoos.  I can spend hours browsing through websites and magazines, poring over designs.  That said, I’m not an expert.  I generally adhere to the adage: ‘I may not know much about art, but I know what I like’.  Which, when it comes to deciding to permanently mark your body, is about the best you can do.  I don’t believe your tattoos need to be coated in fifteen layers of meaning to important to you.  Art because you love it is an equally as valid reason to permanently etch your body.

When browsing tattoo art there are some images that keep cropping up again and again.  These traditional designs are classic as they timeless pieces that generally resonate with a lot of people over generations.  The anchor is one of these icons that has long history.  It originally started as an identifying mark among sailors and has gradually entered the main-stream as a symbol of stability and steadfastness.  In U.S Navy, there is a famous tradition that a person will only get the anchor tattoo if he has crossed/sailed the Atlantic Ocean safely. Religiously anchor tattoo is worn by a person who is faithful to Christianity (source).

I’ve recently noticed a glut of anchor tattoos hinged with the line ‘refuse to sink’.  Every time I see one I internally cringe so hard I practically collapse in on myself like a dying star.  I just don’t understand the message it is trying to send.  As mentioned earlier I’m not of the school that believes that on the only tattoos worth doing are those that are deeply meaningful.  The thing is though, the ‘refuse to sink‘ anchor tattoo is clearly communicating a meaning; it isn’t a hotdog wearing a wig smoking a blunt tattoo (that is to say, a tattoo whose meaning is either ambiguous or non-existent), it’s an anchor and some script, the meaning of which would be obvious to someone even with little knowledge of tattoo iconography.

The reason for my supernova-like cringe is that anchors are meant to sink, that is like literally their purpose, hence their use as a symbol for stability (and also their practical purpose of anchoring ships).  It’s the addition of the line ‘refuse to sink’ that gets my hackles up.  I just don’t understand what it is you’re trying to say (you’re in the pejorative sense, I need to direct my frustration at someone, even if only generally).

Is it that you are the anchor?

You are born an anchor, your whole life, upbringing and genetics are literally setting you up to sink, yet, through perseverance and tenacity you manage to fight your very nature that has made you and moulded you specifically to sink to the point you simply refuse and against all odds float. Is that what this tattoo is saying?  That yes, you’re an anchor, you are meant to sink – it’s your raison d’être, if you will – and against all the odds of your nature, and hell, of physics, you float – because dammit you will not sink!  In fact, you refuse.

Well that’s all fine and good, but you’re an anchor, don’t you want to sink?  Don’t you want to live up to your full sinking potential that is born within the very depths of your being?  Why would you want to be shitty at floating when you could be awesome at sinking?  It’s your destiny, it’s fundamentally who you are, who you were born to be.  You can’t just throw that all away because you want to float like a buoy.  Buoys float, anchors sink – that’s life.  You can’t just buck the trend and simply refuse.  Refusing won’t stop you sinking; you’ll just go down fighting your own nature till you hit the sandy bottom.

But you're an anchor?!??

But you’re an anchor?!??

A note from the author:  I was going to include an example of the 'refuse to sink' anchor tattoo that I speak of
in this post but I didn't want to directly target someone's tattoo or work.  If you have no idea what I am talking
about google it for yourself.  That said, get the tattoos that make you happy, don't listen to some jerk on the
internet.
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I Read, Therefore… I Must Have A Lot Of Time On My Hands

I love reading and am always looking to spread my latest book love with my friends.  If I love a book I am the first to accost someone in the hallway at work and pester them until they take it.  Then I harass them every day asking where they are up to, if they like it yet, all the while I nod knowingly to myself like a sage (but kooky) old professor.  I textually assault people, beating them with paperbacks until they agree to read it.  A level 1 text offender if you will.

But it’s not enough!

Like all perverts I now take to the internet to get my (literary) jollies.  Here is my list of what I read in 2013 and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed by a single paperback on this list.  In fact, The Count Of Monte Christo is now one of my top 5 favourite books.  So there’s that.

The Colour Of Magic – Terry Pratchett

The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman

Miss Bunkle’s Book – D.E. Stevenson

The Rubber Band – Rex stout

East Of Ealing – Robert Rankin

Sprouts Of Wrath – Robert Rankin

The Light Fantastic – Terry Pratchett

Auntie Mame – Patrick Dennis

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe – Douglas Adams

Life, The Universe And Everything – Douglas Adams

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish – Douglas Adams

The Fourth Bear – Jasper Fforde

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

The Fellowship Of The Ring – JRR Tolkien

Equal Rites – Terry Pratchett

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The Eye Of The World – Robert Jordan

The Great Hunt – Robert Jordan

The Count Of Monte Christo – Alexander Dumas

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Dragon Reborn – Robert Jordan

The Shadow Rising – Robert Jordan

Meaty – Samantha Irby

What I’m Thinking Today

Way to bury the lead, this is quite literally a list of shit I’ve thought about today.

In response to my cat crying after my boyfriend went to work: ‘I wonder if the controlled crying method works on cats?’

No cereal yummy cereal in the house means: ‘Two cheese and bacon rolls is totally fine for breakfast.’

All the clean clothes I own are on the washing line: ‘why is the backyard so far away?’

When I realise that exhaling via my nose causes a light breeze to rustle the hair on my upper lip: ‘fuck this meaty pre-corpse!’

Listening to Coolio: ‘whatever happened to Coolio? Didn’t he have a guest appearance in Fast and the Furious? I think that was Ja Rule? Whatever happened to Ja Rule? Hmmm… Well we all know what happened to Paul Walker.’

Reading about that bloke who didn’t know how to sign at Nelson Mandela’s funeral: ‘this would never have gone down at Paul Walker’s funeral, Vin Diesel would be up there cracking skulls.’

Tooling about on Wikipedia (that shit is my jam, mind you, I never donate because I’m an asshole): ‘holy shit! Shirley Temple’s still alive.’

‘Download ALL the Christmas movies!!!’

After I missed a call from a new recruitment agency: ‘if I don’t return their call, they can’t reject me. I can no longer conceive a future in which I will have a job.’

Three in the morning, unable to sleep, listing my thoughts for the previous day in the vain attempt it will appear like a sardonic a look in the mind of an affable, if, easily distracted job-hunter, when I realise that this post is as lazy as I am: ‘huh? Just realised I am too lazy to even be bothered by being lazy – does that count as a win? Eh, near enough if good enough.’

Don’t Confuse Laziness with Depression and Vice Versa

This post By Mikael on A Manic World recently ‘freshly pressed’ (just like fresh squeezed OJ).  Although that means it has reached a huge audience I am nonetheless re-blogging this myself as it is now officially required reading for all humans.

Enjoy.  And thanks Mikael.

Don’t Confuse Laziness with Depression and Vice Versa.

I Literally Don’t Want To Hear Anything About It (Or Why I’m Not Accepting Comments)

The last post I made was my 40th.  It was also my second post of 2013.  The first being in January, the second being in December.  I feel as if it is rather telling that my only posts of the year have been in the months of January and December.  Despite the fact that time will roll on almost, maybe indefinitely (what?  I’m not a scientist) we all still mark January and December as beginnings and endings respectively.  Of course my personal time will come to an end at some point, but I am pretty damn certain that time itself will keep rolling on.  What I’m getting at is that is makes sense that my only blog posts of the year have been at both the beginning and end of said year.  It is the season for celebrating but also taking stock, that is bound to lead to some personal reflection even if it’s only about whether it is better to be covered by your doona or not.  I don’t know, I have just felt the urge the past few months to share.  To leave something behind, even if it is only my shitty words on a shitty blog.  While I may be disparaging, it is the best I can personally do, and if I keep doing it I am bound to get a little a better at it.  Practice makes perfect and all.  So that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Since returning to my blog I have had a bit of a fiddle with the settings to make it more a user friendly.  That is, user friendly for ME.  Given my unreliable presence at this blog I don’t exactly have a built up readership so really I am the only user at this point.  But like that crazy guy building a baseball field for ghosts, build it and they will come.  Thing is though, I can’t actually be bothered dealing with comments.  That sounds like I am the biggest asshole, but hear me out.  So far, in my thus far 40 posts I have only ever had nice and thoughtful comments.  I know, some problem right?  But that’s just it, it is a problem, how can I do justice to someone who has taken time out of their day to comment of my little tiny blog when I just can’t be bothered respond?  I realised I can’t, so it is simply better for all involved that I remove even the option for comments to save your time, should you have otherwise been inclined to leave a comment, and my time banging my brains out about how to respond.  We are all winners here.

I will eventually turn them back on, I just need time to get more into the swing of blogging again.

Security Blanket

I was lying in bed with my eyes shut.  Or maybe they were open, I don’t know, I suffer from such extreme night blindness that even in moderate darkness I am sometimes unable to tell if my eyes are open or closed.  Let that just sink in for moment.  A person, unable to tell if their eyes are opened or closed.  What is that shit?  I mean really.  I actually have to try and blink; if I can, then they were open.  If I can’t they are closed.  Honestly, once I safely tuck my iPhone under my pillow (fuck radiation) I am swimming in a void of darkness and silence (because I wear ear plugs, that is nothing to do with my eyes).  When I am feeling particularly existential I like to think that literally only myself and my bed exist and we are just floating in perpetual darkness…

Anyway, as I was saying, I was in bed with my eyes either open or closed (if I can’t tell, neither can you).  I was performing that peculiar style of martial arts known for its profundity at casting aside, and also re-cloaking, bedding in a single blow.  I was an incredibly shitty temperature.  Granted, I am usually dissatisfied with my personal temperature, but this time it was actually due to outside forces.  Under the blankets: ugh, too hot.  Out of the blankets: nice temperature, bit of a breeze even.  And that was the problem, I was out of the damn doona.

OK, I get that very few people (meaning no one, because really who are these freaks?) like, or are comfortable without the security of at least a sheet covering them while they sleep.  It’s not even that I am uncomfortable, it is more that I am hyper-aware that I don’t have my security cocoon of downy goodness covering me, then that causes this conversation to happen in my head:

“Hey, you know you don’t have your doona right?”

“Yes, I am aware, it’s hot as fuck tonight, If I put it on you’ll sweat like a bastard.”

“Yeah but, it’s weird, I don’t like it.  It’s all just so… open.”

“Coolness trumps openness.  Goodnight.”

*clears throat*

“What?”

“Monsters, burglars, rapists, aliens, zombies, the tax man, slender man, your boyfriends mother, YOUR mother, the North Korean government, people who say ‘totes’; they can all get you with out your doona on!!!!!!!”

This is what goes on in my/our head when I decide to cast aside the shackles of oppressive warmth.  In my mind my doona is like a suit of armor repelling all the worlds evil using only cotton and goose down. Yet logically I know this is simply not true.  No would-be burglar worth his or her salt is going to creep into a house, see someone tucked up in bed and think to themselves ‘well shit, I can’t very well take their playstation 4 and jewelry when they are just tucked up so nice like, bugger this for a game of soldiers, I’m going home to do the same thing’.

Despite my doona being a protective shield of super awesome protection at night, the same cannot be said for it during the day.  I can’t very well just get up in the morning, do the business of getting ready, then drape my doona around my shoulders like it’s some sort of padded cape then leave the house.  If anything the exact opposite of protection would be had, I would stand out like dogs bollocks. I’d be some freak walking down the street in a fucking doona, I’d probably be arrested for my own safety (just don’t take my fucking doona or so help me!). Also, if I went even further than draping it about my shoulder and went for the full on Sith Lord look I’d lose my vital peripheral vision and leave myself open for some ne’er-do-well to sidle up along side and shiv me.

So there I lay, flummoxed by one of the voices in my head clearing it’s throat when I see (or sense, still not actually sure if my eyes were open or closed) a bright flash illuminate my bedroom via my window.  I roll over covering myself with doona at the same time.  I can’t be bothered finding out what caused it.  Whatever it is, my doona will protect me.

 

Also, for those not in the know, doona = duvet.

Blunt Force Truth

Here, I’ll lay some truth on you.

Truth is, I had to stop and think: ‘is it blunt forced truth, or blunt force truth?’ I settled on the latter using my own sound cognitive skills. Everybody has blind spots.

Like, when I was young I thought it was ‘next jear’ not ‘next year’ (despite the fact I was familiar with the word ‘year’), this was undoubtedly due to being brought up around people who chewed rather than spoke the English language. And if that wasn’t enough, my first ever school teacher had a raging lisp. Well I didn’t know this at the time; I was informed of it after I had too developed a lisp. Well, that’s what happens when the only adult conversation a 5 year old gets is from an ancient with a lisp. A similar thing happened about 3 years later when I had a teacher with a very heavy accent (I have no idea where he was from, Poland perhaps, judging by his surname). We were doing some science experiment that called for various chemicals, one of which was methylated spirits. However when he ran his tongue over the word it came out as ‘mettalated spirits’. So that was how I pronounced it as well. Seemed reasonable enough, I’d never heard the word before, so, monkey see, monkey do. At the days end I was describing to my mother what we did that day and by chance I mentioned the ‘mettalated spirits’, oh how she laughed at the stupid little girl who couldn’t pronounce methylated. What raucous fun it must have been.

I tell you it’s any wonder I speak at all. Not a year after the ‘methylated’ incident we come to yet another language impasse. My family was holidaying; I pointed to some very large rocks and said something to the effect of ‘look mum, boulders’. I think it’s rather evident that I was neither a smart nor an interesting child. I digress; instead of fobbing me off with some noncommittal ‘whatever, that’s nice’ that had become de riguer in my growing up, my mother instead tried to engage: ‘Oh, they’re not boulders, they’re called bowlers’. My dad sniggered. He always was sniggering; in fact, I can say without a doubt I only have 3 memories of my day growing up: him working, him sniggering, and him taking me to a roller rink (while possibly sniggering). “No they aren’t… I’m pretty sure they’re called boulders”, I said, slightly wavering in my conviction; after all I was but an empty headed child, full evil deeds and ignorance in equal parts. I was wrong before and I would be wrong again was my childhood motto (didn’t actually have my motto spelled out in so many words of course). Luckily a bottle of wine had drawn their attention away from the misinformation hour, and being the slow child I was I failed to internalize the lesson. Of course I didn’t fail to internalize the event or its meaning. I knew – still know, in fact – where I stood.

 The difference to being laughed at and laughed with is learnt young.

Why I’m Not A Nurse

Are you ok? Do you need anything? How do you feel? Is it your stomach? Your head? Are you nauseaus? Do you want some water? What about ice water? Perhaps some Hydralyte? Have you eaten anything? When did you last eat something? Do you want some dry toast? What about some crackers? Maybe a lolly to suck on? Are you too hot? Too cold? Do you want some blankets? Maybe a fan? Is the cat annoying you? Do you want more cats? Or maybe a different cat? You have a headache; do you want a Panadol? Some water? What about iced water? When did you last drink something? Can I get you a cold compress? A warm compress? A room temperature compress? Here’s the drink you wanted. Drink it anyway. Is there anything you want? Please let me bring you something. Anything. I must bring you something; it will make me feel better.

A Post About Palimpsest’s

I learned a new word.  How wonderful it is to learn a new word as an adult.  As someone with a self-reported firm grasp of the English language I am always astounded to learn a new word.  It’s as if it has been hiding from me for 27 years.  How dare it go unnoticed, unread and undefined for so long.  Imagine all the others out there just waiting to be found; cheeky bastards.  I could die tomorrow having never uncovered all of the words waiting to be uncovered.  If ever there was an argument for being widely read this would surely be it.

Do you know what the first word I ever learned to spell was?  It was ‘freak’.  It’s true.  Have you seen the Disney film ‘Dumbo’?  In it one of the mean adult elephants refers to Dumbo as an ‘F-R-E-A-K’ – because if you are going to insult an elephant with enlarged ears it is best to spell your insult lest he understand it.  Incidentally, I don’t think I knew what this spelled, or even what it meant, I just went around repeating it – constantly.  Kids say the darnedest things indeed.

I kind of gave away my word discovery in the title – way to bury the lead.  Just to spell it out (literally) the word I learned is palimpsest.  Palimpsest.  Say it with me. I love the way this word rolls around in my mouth.  In case this is a new word for you as well a palimpsest is a manuscript or piece of writing that has been effaced to make room for later writing.  Essentially it is an early form of recycling although unlike our current notion of recycling the aim wasn’t to reduce waste, but to minimise costs.  Parchment was expensive and rare so reusing it made sense.  This takes the whole notion of new words waiting for discovery and amplifies it; there are entire works, books, ideas, stories buried under layers of other ancient text.  Imagine that.

“After centuries of mistreatment, the Archimedes palimpsest is in bad shape. During its thousand-year life, it has been scraped, singed by fire, dribbled with wax, smeared with glue, and ravaged by a deep purple fungus, which in places has eaten through its pages. Without the use of computer technology, the Archimedes palimpsest would be largely illegible. But modern imaging technologies, similar to those that helped experts read portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1996, allow for astonishingly precise views of faded text.”

Since learning this new word two more things have come to my attention.  First: This word is everywhere.  Second: This phenomenon is known as the frequency illusion.  Seriously, I can barely go a day without seeing the word palimpsest somewhere.  To be clear, I am not spending my days immersed in ancient documents in some museums dusty basement.  Hell, I’m unemployed and barely get out of my pajamas most days; yet I keep seeing it.  The same thing happened when I learned the term ‘olfactory’ (and no, I don’t know how I got to approximately 25 years of age never having heard or read the term).  Perhaps it’s due to the word palimpsest being somewhat unique that I am more likely to notice it when it does crop up.  Perhaps I’m going insane.  I can’t rule either out.

Image and quote source