Winamp predicts my 2016!

Let’s see what Winamp thinks of my next year. You can see what it had to say about 2015 here and, as always, it was eerily accurate.

The rules are simple: add all your music folders to your player of choice and set it on shuffle. The titles of tracks will be answers to the questions below. (I usually skip instrumental tracks but that is a personal preference.)

1. Where am I by the beginning of 2016?

Кино – Мама, Мы Все Тяжело Больны

Мама, мы все тяжело больны…
Мама, я знаю, мы все сошли с ума…

Yeah, my mental health could indeed be better but I’m already working on it 🙂

(The rest is behind the cut, otherwise it’s an endless scroll 😛 )

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Aaaaaaand we’re back to our regular emo broadcast

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.

“The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones”, Neil Gaiman

*

Rant on interpersonal relationships ahead, yo.

I’m not sure why this is but every time I meet someone amazing, there’s always a catch. Other people seem to manage with far less drama (at least it doesn’t show on the outside) but in my case there’s always a certain amount of ‘well, fuck’ involved. Unfortunately, the more awesome that new person seems, the larger that particular showstopper is…

Goth Boy is a wonderful, smart, polite, attractive, sexy dude and we’re so alike in many ways that we began to call each other ‘clones’ pretty soon after we met online. We’ve also spent time together face to face which was filled to the brim with laughter and adventures of the sexy persuasion that were frankly amazing for both of us. However, he’s not in the same country as I am (AGAIN!) and… well, my position in his life could probably best be described with the word ‘lover’, as certain feelings are (were?) involved on both sides, though we always carefully tiptoe(d) around talking about them directly. There are other, more specific obstacles between us, which I’m not going to describe in detail but the general point is that I’m afraid this isn’t working out and it makes me really sad.

It’s much easier to let go of someone who isn’t treating you well than a person who is pretty much damn near perfect in every regard (and apparently thinks quite the same about you) but the trouble is that you simply cannot fit into each other’s lives at the moment. And nobody knows if a better time will ever come… it probably won’t anyway.

Right now I’ve been giving him time to sort his life out a bit, since there’s quite a lot on his plate and on the rational level I can understand that. However, I am getting tired of being reasonable and accommodating and undemanding. I don’t really like to pretend that I have the patience of a brick when I’m actually unhappy on the inside due to acute lack of attention. Although I really want to see him again and do all the fun things we can think of (and we both have extremely vivid imagination), I don’t think I can wait for as long as it may take him to get his shit together.

Real estate is not what it’s cracked up to be

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

Alexander Pope

*

Why is it always so that just when you’re getting your life in order, someone politely taps you on your shoulder and when you turn your head to see who it is, they slyly piss on your foot while you’re looking the other way?

Long story short, the neighbours (or at least one neighbour, who may or may not have tried to set the others against me) of my hometown flat are suddenly extremely pissed off at me that I still don’t live in my apartment nor renovate it and sent me a rude and threatening e-mail. I’m pretty sure this has to do with a certain news article that stirred passions around here a few weeks ago, as to my knowledge nobody gave a damn until now. Since several people there have my phone number, I stupidly assumed that someone would, you know, give me a call if something was bothering them. Apparently I was gravely mistaken and instead received an e-mail under which all the people in the house had ‘signed’ and which demanded that I immediately take action regarding the apartment. Else they’ll sue me and maybe even force me to sell it against my will because they are convinced that my carelessness will cause the house to fall to pieces.

What the fuck, people? What happened to saying ‘yo, there’s an issue, what are you going to do about it?’ first, like normal grown-ups do? My apartment is insulated well enough so that the temperature does not drop below 0 in any weather and there is absolutely no water usage there, which means no moisture either. Every time I’ve been there it’s been as dry as in a pyramid, for fuck’s sake. And as for the heating – Jesus Christ on a tricycle, people! – it’s March! Where were you in November, or even January?

control

Apparently there have been no meetings of the apartment owners’ association – or so I was told – but amazingly they all decided to contact me all at once, channeling their thoughts through this one individual. If it turns out that I was lied to and there actually have been meetings in the past few years or so, I will be extremely miffed, as that would mean I have all the obligations but no rights, since I have not been informed of any such gatherings at all.

When I replied to that e-mail and asked why was I being threatened with court from square one, the response was ‘this is not a threat, this is a warning!’ Well, I don’t know – statements that end in ‘…OR ELSE!!!’ pretty much classify as threats in my book. I am yet to receive a reply to my last e-mail in which I explained why this sort of approach is not very profitable if the goal is to find a solution to the problem and wanted to know what it exactly is that they want me to do then, as this was not pointed out neither before nor after the ‘warning’. Unfortunately I only have this one person’s e-mail address but I asked her to share my latest response with the whole house. I’ll wait for a while and then I’ll probably call my next door neighbour and ask about his point of view on the matter.

Yes, RDN – if you’re reading this you’re welcome to happily go ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ all over the place.

Oh well. I was planning to sell my car and use the $$$ as a down-payment for a new one but it seems that I’m going to have to use it for renovation purposes instead and learn to live without four wheels again for a while. To be honest, I can’t carry on like this forever – owning two flats I can’t live in and paying rent for the third, so maybe this was a kick I sort of needed… but there are the friendlier kind of kicks and then there are kicks in the teeth.

Well, my New Year’s Winamp prediction *did* describe my relations with neighbours this year with ‘Count to 6 and Die’. *le sigh*

And for some reason I’ve been playing this song over and over and over tonight:

They say that I’m a clown
making too much dirty sound
they say there is no place
for little monkey in this town
nobody like to be
in my place instead of me
’cause nobody go crazy
when I banging on my boogie

Oh, look out you rock’n’rollers

I still don’t know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I’d got it made
It seemed the taste
was not so sweet

“Changes”, David Bowie

*

Ch-ch-ch-changes indeed, in personal life and at work, too.

I’m hoping that 2014 will be better for me than 2013 has been. There were some really cool moments and times when I was really happy but the second half of the year was filled with continuous anxiety and heartbreak. I really don’t need any more of that shit in my life, thankyouverymuch. Funny how people manage to convince themselves that things aren’t that bad, really, and by ‘people’ I mean ‘me’. I’ve always preferred horrible endings to never-ending horror but somehow I could not put two and two together this time. I just dearly wish it all had ended in August for real, as it should have, instead of swinging on the proverbial fence for months to come. Anyway, this chapter has been finished, new and exciting ones are about to begin.

I think all my Inner Circle people noticed how the uncertainty of my situation throughout this autumn affected my well-being and they were totally there for me with the safety net when the inevitable fall took place. I could not ask for better friends even if I strained my imagination really hard. For these people I am deeply grateful to the Unnamed Spirit of the Universe and in return I will go through flaming brick walls for them, if necessary.

As for changes at work – weeeeell… I will move to a completely different position in February (same company, different floor). My future boss is extremely happy to have me there, he even told me that if they had had a vision of the ideal candidate, it would have been me. Awww yiss 🙂 I will have normal working hours – that means no more waking up at the ass-crack of dawn to make it to the morning shift, no more worrying whether or not I have the weekend off!

The funny bit is that I still have no idea what it exactly is that I’ll be doing 😛 The tasks are going to be rather versatile, which means there will be very little day-to-day dullness and that is very important for me. I definitely need to read up on VMware and remember all that Linuxstuffz I’ve forgotten by now. Perhaps the most intriguing bit about this change of positions is that at my current job we have procedures and guidelines for mostly everything but my boss-to-be said that there are no such things where I’m going and that he is very much looking forward to my suggestions for improvement etc., which – unless I completely misunderstood him – basically translates to “we’d like you to help us create procedures and put them down in written form”. I think that is awesome.

So, less than 2 weeks until the new year. It better be better or I’ll make it regret the day I was born!

Freedom

‘Where Are We Going?’ said Dorfl, as Vimes strolled across the Brass Bridge.
‘I thought I might break you in gently with some guard duty at the palace,’ said Vimes.
‘Ah. This Is Where My New Friend Constable Visit Is Also On Guard,’ said Dorfl.
‘Splendid!’
‘I Wish To Ask You A Question,’ said the golem.
‘Yes?’
‘I Smashed The Treadmill But The Golems Repaired It. Why? And I Let The Animals Go But They Just Milled Around Stupidly. Some of Them Even Went Back To The Slaughter Pens. Why?’
‘Welcome to the world, Constable Dorfl.’
‘Is It Frightening To Be Free?’
‘You said it.’
‘You Say To People “Throw Off Your Chains” And They Make New Chains For Themselves?’
‘Seems to be a major human activity, yes.’
Dorfl rumbled as he thought about this. ‘Yes,’ he said eventually. ‘I Can See Why. Freedom Is Like Having The Top Of Your Head Opened Up.’

“Feet of Clay”, Terry Pratchett

*

I’ve always felt ambiguous about the meaning of freedom. On the one hand I don’t fancy being controlled by anyone except myself, on the other hand… I guess I’m taking the word rather existentially, as to me it mostly means “not being tied to anything, at all”.

When I was very depressed a few years ago, I used to feel free in a rather scary way. I felt like I was bouncing along the world in a hamster ball, while even gravity had mostly given up on me. Imagine walking on the Moon – you just bound along in slow motion. So I was just a passive passenger who felt she could not reach out to anything and nothing in the outside world could stop my journey either. Just gently gliding through Stuff That Matters To Other People, from whom I have been separated by that hard curving wall.

It was really fucking lonely.

When I finally managed to break that Hamster Ball of Depression, one of my first goals was to create new and strong ties with people, so I would not drift away like that again. I think the main reason why I did not seriously consider suicide while being depressed was that it simply seemed like too much effort. I had stopped caring about mostly everything, especially myself.

I’ve come a long way since then but I still feel the need to check every once in a while if the ties I’ve made are still strong. Sometimes I haven’t tied knots very well or the rope just isn’t suitable for this purpose and it all comes undone. Other times the knots simply remain even tighter. And sometimes I just want to make a noose out of one.

I hurt myself today to see if I still feel

It’s an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater lustre to our colours, a richer resonance to our words. That is, if it doesn’t destroy us, if it doesn’t burn away the optimism and the spirit, the capacity for visions, and the respect for simple yet indispensable things.

Anne Rice, “The Queen of the Damned”

*

They say (and yes, it is the same ‘they’ as in ‘everybody knows’) that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. In my psychology lectures I was taught that this is actually not the case at all – that which does not kill us (but gets pretty close to the mark), will leave us scarred. Some wounds are insignificant, others can take years or decades to heal, provided they are not experimentally ripped open over and over again – that bit I know far too well. “Does it hurt if I unravel the scenario in my mind like this? How about now? Ooh, yep, I could definitely feel that one!” What can I say – I love the scientific method.

I think it is somehow written into my national narrative that suffering will make you more noble, in a way. For roughly a thousand years we’ve always been the underdog, except for about half a century and even that little period of freedom was violently chopped into two bits. All of this has left a very strong imprint in our collective unconscious as a people, and that in turn has greatly influenced the way I see the world. If you want something done right, do it yourself because nobody else will do it for you. Trust nobody who has not proven their loyalty to you many times and even then you retain the right to remain suspicious of their motives. Be flexible like a willow tree – it can be bent in many ways but it is really difficult to break, and it will easily spring back to its former shape as if nothing happened.

Yeah. Even one of our (if not the) most famous literary quotes goes: “Do your work and toil; and then love will arrive.” This sets a very hard prerequisite: if you do not suffer at least a little bit first, you have no right to accept the reward. On the one hand it means that you should not turn back as soon as you see an obstacle on your way but should instead try to find a way around it; on the other hand it seems to suggest that you need to grit your teeth and bear it, come what may – in the end you will be thankful whether you like it or not!

So, here’s the ever-intriguing question on the subject: where can we draw that goddamn line of sanity?

Being somewhat of the emo persuasion (yes, I know what my username sounds like, thankyouverymuch) I sometimes tend to engage in the aforementioned wound prodding, perhaps even a bit too enthusiastically. Then again I completely agree with the quote above in the way that light and shadows are intertwined – you cannot have one without the other. People tend appreciate what they have a lot more when they have [almost] lost it; what they have achieved by fighting for what they believe in is always worth more than the stuff that they almost accidentally tripped over.

If you could line plot a person’s emotional ups and downs on paper, many people would be happy with a slightly wobbly result and that is perfectly okay. I am not of that kind, however, for me it should be a sine wave the size of a roller-coaster – that is the time when I feel truly alive. Trouble is, sometimes the decline is so abrupt that it is very difficult to spot any way up again… The ones who prefer to keep to their wobbling are definitely more at peace with themselves, it seems to me, and sometimes I secretly envy them. But not for long.

When I am overwhelmed by sorrow, I try to break it into small, manageable, bite-sized pieces that I can tackle one by one. All large things consist of little ones which, put together, form a whole and it would be insane to try and handle it all at once. I am used to analysing my thought processes and I already know the triggers which make me act irrationally (which does not mean that I can always handle them but at least I know to watch out for them). I can’t simply let things be – I need to understand myself and others to be able to make any sense of it all. This includes going through painful subjects over and over again in my mind until I have got the hurt out of my system and only facts remain. To some it may seem like pointless self-torture if you could just pack that kind of thoughts away in the back of your brain and after that let sleeping dogs lie but that is just how I roll. I have tried the .zip format of thoughts in the past and while it did work for me for a while, there’s only so much room in the attic, so to speak.

In short: getting hurt sucks but, sadly, life would not be half as interesting without it 😐 I just wish I had more of the uphill regions these days, seeing as I keep travelling on my sine wave. I have no idea how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Matters of life and death

‘I think that at a time like this you can stop calling me Miss Flitworth,’ said Miss Flitworth.
RENATA?
She looked startled. ‘How did you know my name? Oh. You’ve probably seen it written down, right?’
ENGRAVED.
‘On one of them hourglasses?’
YES.
‘With all them sands of time pouring through?’
YES.
‘Everyone’s got one?’
YES.
‘So you know how long I’ve -‘
YES.
‘It must be very odd, knowing… the kind of things you know…’
DO NOT ASK ME.
‘That’s not fair, you know. If we knew when we were going to die, people would live better lives.’
IF PEOPLE KNEW WHEN THEY WERE GOING TO DIE, I THINK THEY PROBABLY WOULDN’T LIVE AT ALL.

“Reaper Man”, Terry Pratchett

*

As a little explanation to those who are not familiar with the Discworld series – the person speaking in capital letters is Death, one of my favourite characters in Pratchett’s creation. “Reaper Man” tells the story of what happens when the Auditors of the Universe decide that it is not right for Death to have developed a personality and therefore he must retire so that a new, impersonal Death could arise. As a departing present Death is given some time, so he could finally experience life first-hand. It is a truly fascinating tale about how Death tries to come to terms with the process of living, during which he learns a great deal about being human and especially what compassion means.

It seems that I am going to have to attend a funeral in the near future, as my grandmother had another stroke yesterday morning. Her mind has been wandering for some time now, she cannot remember things and is paranoid that people are always stealing from her (in reality she hides her things in fear of theft and cannot find them later). She is very old, next Friday is her 88th birthday. I spent half of Saturday at her place, holding the bucket while she was violently sick in it and doing other not so pleasant things for her because she could hardly sit up in bed. While I was there, I asked her several times whether she would like me to call the paramedics again and she kept saying ‘no, don’t call them’. In the end the ambulance was called for the second time anyway and she was finally taken to the hospital.

It is a pretty damn hard choice to make. On the one hand it seems like calling the ambulance is the only logical thing to do, on the other hand… had I been in her place, I would have said ‘no’, too, and hoped that maybe this is the end, finally.

It was heart-wrenching to look at her. She’s become so scrawny, pallid loose skin is hanging off her now-deformed skeleton like donated garments on a wire coathanger in a thrift store. She used to be a strong, independent woman who never took cheek from anyone and always stood up for herself. Yesterday she was nothing but a small shivering heap under her blanket and could not even hold a cup of water in her shaking hands.

My other grandmother died when she was 94, the last years of her life were horribly dull. She was paralyzed and her mind was completely gone. When she talked, she didn’t make much sense but she kept asking one question over and over: “Why hasn’t death come for me already?”

I hope I never make it to that point where I am nearly blind, deaf and unable to move about. I also hope that by the time I get old, we have a law permitting assisted suicide.

If you have not seen the movie where Sir Terry Pratchett talks about assisted suicide, now is a good time.