Saturday, 27 February 2010

Beat Procrastination!

I know you've stumbled over here expecting me to give you the holy grail and help you beat procrastination with some sort of magic trick. Unfortunately for you, I am hoping that since you've stumbled over here already, you'd give me the gold and tell me how I can beat it myself.

Thing is, I know there are like, tricks. Like breaking things up into manageable chunks for example. This is one that I do myself. For my essays, I read the bits I need to read and make notes, then make an essay plan, then first draft, then finalise it all. Only, the first draft part stumps me. Starting essays makes me a little anxious and I avoid it like it's poison or something. Once I've started and the ball has a steady roll going on I'm fine and I can sit and write and save myself a tiny bit from the mound of work I have to get through. But it takes me days to start.

I literally sit staring at it for days. I leave the window open all the time, so I can see it while I'm doing other things. Like this for example... I go to start it off, but can't seem to find the right words so I take a break and do something else. A lot of time is spent playing with photo booth, see Exhibit A above.

It seems to the rest of the world (well, ish - depends where they're picking my projection up from) that I'm projecting this super hard working ethic and that I don't leave my room or the library for mass amounts of time to study. Only most of that time I'm not really doing much.

So help me out. How do I go about starting?

The irony of this all is, that the essay I'm trying to write is that same weakness of will one I mentioned last week. I guess I'm a little weak willed myself? I guess that maybe I agree with Aristotle on the matter then rather than Socrates in saying that people can in fact know what the right thing is and be able to do it but still do something else. We do the thing we want to do, as a matter of opinion. It's the possibility of the incontinent person, who knows what is good but does wrong anyway because they lack self control required to resist licentious behaviour. It isn't just about being ignorant of certain things like Socrates suggested. Humans form bad habits and are constantly tempted to take pleasure in the wrong sorts of activities (Aristotle believed pleasure was a great thing - unlike Plato - and that we take pleasure from the right sorts of things). Our intellect and rationality do not have full control of our every action.

If there is a wallet on the floor with £100 in it I bet most people would pocket the money. Some people might even thank a god or two for the gift. But is taking the money wrong? Aren't you meant to hand wallets into police stations or something if you find them? Do you feel guilty for it?

I don't know. I'll keep thinking on this. But I guess I just found the solution to that procrastination problem after all...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

ShortStory: The Clone Next Door

I remember reading about them cloning that world famous sheep back in the 90’s. Scientists cloned the worlds first mammal that day in ‘96 and the world took heed. Science fiction fans were going crazy and conspiracy theorists were jumping off buildings to prevent having to live through the terrible future this would inevitably lead to. It was all a big deal. Only I remember being sat on the opening end of 2010 and wondering why the hell science hadn’t lived up to all our wild fantasies. Why nothing was really that spectacular and how this futuristic life we we're living in wasn’t really even touching our expectations.

Yeah, sure: YouTube in my pocket is great, but is it really Earth shattering? I remember reading about scientists growing pork from stem cells and thinking that was it!
They can cure world hunger!
They can save the world.
Only, this place is over populated enough and until we can start shipping people off to other planets then they can’t really fit us as it is, let alone start saving people.

So the people with the money decide they want more. They decide who is allowed to live and who is  allowed to die. Science runs on the premise of being good for the people, of discovering and understanding our world to better benefit our people. But maybe that’s just a lie, maybe they just want our money to fund experiments to discover things they’ll convince us we need so we spend more money buying it only to be told there’s something better.
That’s just how we roll.

Jump ahead 35 years and not much has changed. It’s still about making as much money as possible and screwing over the little guy as much as you can. But now, they’ve wrangled permission on human cloning with ethical backing. If you have the money, you can have a double. It takes a while to grow and it’s more expensive than you could imagine, but it exists. And with it a new kind of power.

The clone is in effect your slave. Or ‘partner’ if you want to be nice to yourself. You dish out chores for it to complete, you send it to see people you don’t want to see, you have it commit a murder while you sit in a busy bar full of witnesses who can swear that you didn’t move all night.

But then there are the people like me, who don’t want to take advantage of our clone, just make use of him. So we split tasks up. Some days I get the fun things; some days the shit, but it’s balanced. I always thought the balance was important. The clone may well be an identical replica of me in every way; every cell. But as soon as it’s completed, it becomes a he and he is now having his own thoughts. We are now two separate thinking beings – incredibly connected, but equally as aware or sentient or rational or whatever else it is you want to ascribe to humanity.

They would put tags in the clones, so they could be told apart from us real people. So they could be tracked and controlled if they got out of hand. But there was never any trouble, they seemed to accept their role as a human play thing and people enjoyed the company.

It all just started with this one guy.
This seemingly innocent one guy. Really I should be saying boy, ‘cause this child was only 18. His daddy had bought him his very own clone for his 18th birthday to welcome in this shining new adulthood.

He was sat in his bedroom staring at himself. Talking, investigating, simply trying to get his head around the whole thing.

Best. Gift. Ever.
Kind of.

He touches the clone. The boy’s finger rolls over a lump. He checks the same spot on his own body almost instinctively but there isn’t a lump to match. He asks his clone if he knows, but he may as well have been asking himself. So he tells his obedient clone to stay still and he’ll help him find out. The boy pulls a switch blade out the top drawer of the desk in his room and prepares himself. He places the edge of the blade against the skin of his clone, who stares at him, terrified. He doesn’t want to be hurt but he suddenly realises he doesn’t actually have control. The clone realises they’ve done something to him, they’ve made him less than human.

He wants to pull away but he remains motionless on his original’s instruction to ‘stay still’. He cries out in pain as the blood gushes down his forearm and onto the blue carpet beneath him. A few drops land on the original’s shoes and he gets real angry. Starts shouting, telling the clone that he’s a ‘worthless piece of crap!’ and all sorts. Hits him round the face and catches him with the blade, that is still in his hand a little. More blood. His blood.

The boy reaches for some pliers from the floor near a pile of other tools, to pull whatever he’s found out of the clones arm. It’s tough at first and it’s more than just lodged into the clones body. The lump had been woven in, almost as though it were part of him. Part of the creation from the get go. The boy looks at it and discards it into his clones lap, before getting up to walk away. He calls his clone “Number Two” and tells him he can go to work for him tomorrow.

But see, Number Two is now alone in the room and picks up the discarded lump from his lap. He uses his other hand to touch the blood, still dripping from his arm where good old Number One cut into him. Slowly wiping away blood, then wiping the blood off his hands onto his jeans. Repeatedly. Wiping the blood from his cheek to his jeans. Repeatedly. But see, this was how it all began – well, how something began.

The next day Number Two was out and about, doing the tasks he was asked to do. While he was out he noticed something: most people doing things are actually the clones. The originals of the world have become lazy. Dependent on their duplicates to fulfil their daily routines so they can spend their time relaxing.

Our Number Two from earlier had made it his mission to secretly remove the lumps from other clones he came across, on the sly during the work day. He realised something changed when his came out and he wanted to help the other slaves of circumstance as he stood shoulder to shoulder with them in the battle field. The originals never paid them much attention, so it was easy enough to do. Now, no more traceable than an original itself, the clones were able to walk amongst the people. Undetected. As more and more of them had their lumps removed they started to become less and less obedient.

Men who saw themselves as owners would use violence on their clone to try to control it’s wild out bursts. As the days went on clones were being murdered in cold blood, but the murder of a science project wasn’t classed as an offence. Murderers were let off the hook, because they didn’t kill a real person; just one that we invented. It was only a matter of time before real people were being murdered but claims of mistaken identity had the killer back on the streets. After all, if someone is acting strangely, exhibiting clone like behaviour and such, how are we suppose to tell the difference? We can’t be held responsible.

As time went on, I watched as the chipless clones grew in number. They wanted ‘human’ status but were being refused such rights. They’re not humans! Just a bunch of human cells grown in a lab… Or at least that was the general consensus on the matter. Humanist protesters had called for a ban on cloning but were never listened to. And why would anyone have listened? These hippies were trying to get in the way of progress. Of evolution and science. No, instead these hippies were thrown in prisons just to keep them off the streets. They filled the court houses with clone workers who worked on shifts between each other. Stem cell grown pork and beef were on hand to keep the new wave of people fed. World hunger is still an issue, but only in those poor countries we haven’t bothered colonising yet. We on the other hand are sorted for life when it comes to food.

Some of these clones even started mating with each other, or even with real humans. Inter-human relationships were frowned upon though and often clones would be shunned by their own kind. They’d be forced into the shadows with the likes of me, hiding for the rest of our lives because we simply don’t know what else to do.

I was one of those damn scientists. Or at least that would be what you’d call me anyway, now that you can see what’s become of us. Those scientists who fought to be allowed to try and clone an entire human. It was just wide eyed curiosity to begin with, the way all scientists just want to know ‘what if?’ or ‘whether I can?’. That’s just how science works, you test the boundaries the universe seems to have in place. I was young and didn’t think science was enough, didn’t think we were moving fast enough into the future so I jumped on the bandwagon straight out of university.

The clones out number the originals maybe 6:1 these days and they have full control of everything.

But they’re just clones of humans… why is this not the same thing as there just being lots of humans around? It’s not like we can tell on looking at a person now is it?

I can tell you’re after answers. They know if they’re clones, they can tell. They remember realising they weren’t in full control and they remember cutting out that lump we created as part of them. The idea was that they could be controlled, culled into helping mankind into the future. Instead they have taken the future from us.

I’ve seen all this, but the most tragic thing of it all is that nothing looks that different. If you didn’t know already, you wouldn’t be able to tell that we were on the verge of extinction and to always watch your back. ‘Cause the clones are angry and they wont let us forget it. They now work in our labs and behind our desks. They found ways to enhance their own clones, who were grown a little taller or a little stronger. Who’s brains were a little bigger and a little more efficient.

We called it evolution when we had the power but now it’s more like an apocalypse. Both sides living in fear of the other, unable to even tell who the enemy is until it’s too late. These days everyone has a gun in the pocket and a knife in their back. And my pathetic little self hides out in the dark corners, trying to go unnoticed because I simply don’t know what else to do. The new breed of people, these clones, aren’t even given the opportunity to build the city up thanks to the constant battles on the streets. The internal conspiracy fears will have them destroying each other once we’re all gone. The world will be a wasteland and mankind will have been extinguished and I will die knowing that this was my wide eyed curiosity that got us here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rules For Story Writing

This is just a quickie, 'cause I'm mid study times and realised I hadn't posted since Monday.

I looked up the 7 types of story a while ago, after being told there are these set types of story and if a story doesn't fall into one of these 7 types it's going to fail. It becomes one of those stories that you feel didn't really tell you anything, when you get to the end.

I found 3 versions (take from that what you will)


1) ACHILLES - The almost flawless person, e.g. Superman.

2) CINDERELLA - The dream come true (e.g Dirty Dancing, Prerry Woman.)

3) CIRCE - The chase, e.g The Blues Brothers.

4) FAUST - Selling your soul to the Devil may bring riches, but eventually, you will belong to him, e.g. Wall Street

5) ORPHEUS - The loss of something personal, e.g. Regarding Henry, Farscape (think about John Crichton!)

6) ROMEO & JULIET - The love story, e.g. Sleepless In Seattle.

7) TRISTAN - X loves Y, but one or both are already spoken for, e.g. Fatal Attraction.

1. Overcoming the monster -- defeating some force which threatens...
e.g. most Hollywood movies; Star Wars, James Bond.

2. The Quest -- typically a group setoff in search of something and
(usually) find it. e.g. Watership Down, Pilgrim's Progress.

3. Journey and Return -- the hero journeys away from home to somewhere
different and finally comes back having experienced something and
maybe changed for the better. e.g. Wizard of Oz, Gullivers Travels.

4. Comedy - not neccesarily a funny plot. Some kind of
misunderstanding or ignorance is created that keeps parties apart
which is resolved towards the end bringing them back together. e.g.
Bridget Jones Diary, War and Peace.

5. Tragedy - Someone is tempted in some way, vanity, greed etc and
becomes increasingly desperate or trapped by their actions until at a
climax they usually die. Unless it's a Hollywood movie, when they
escape to a happy ending. e.g. Devils' Advocate, Hamlet.

6. Rebirth - hero is captured or oppressed and seems to be in a state
of living death until it seems all is lost when miraculously they are
freed. e.g. Snow White.

7. Rags to Riches - self explanatory really. e.g. Cinderella &
derivatives (all 27,000 of them)!!!

1. A hero – the person through whose eyes we see the story unfold, set
against a larger background.

2. The hero’s character flaw – a weakness or defense mechanism that
hinders the hero in such a way as to render him/her incomplete.

3. Enabling circumstances – the surroundings the hero is in at the
beginning of the story, which allow the hero to maintain his/her
character flaw.

4. An opponent – someone who opposes the hero in getting or doing what
he/she wants. Not always a villain. For example, in a romantic comedy,
the opponent could be the man or woman whom the hero seeks romance
with. The opponent is the person who instigates the life-changing

5. The hero’s ally – the person who spends the most time with the hero
and who helps the hero overcome his/her character flaw.

6. The life-changing event – a challenge, threat or opportunity
usually instigated by the opponent, which forces the hero to respond
in some way that’s related to the hero’s flaw.

7. Jeopardy – the high stakes that the hero must risk to overcome
his/her flaw. These are the dramatic events that lend excitement and
challenge to the quest.

I just thought I'd share these tips with you, 'cause I know that some of my readers are writers themselves. I looked these up, because I started working on my own novel and figured it wouldn't hurt to do some research. I'd like to know your thoughts on these tips and if you've used them in your writing before.

The actual lists were just copied and pasted from somewhere. Unfortunately they were just pasted into my notepad and were never cited 'cause it was just for personal reference. But if you want to know who really owns those words, I'm sure it wont be too hard to find out. Massive props to them. 

Monday, 22 February 2010

The SuperPennie Paradox

Privacy is one of those things that people used to take as a given, but these days doesn't really exist unless you try. Everybody knows everything and if they don't Facebook and the likes will be sure they get an update. This actually freaks me out an awful lot. Worse since December or whenever it was that Facebook got more with the sharing and removed loads of the privacy settings that were once available. Now if you do anything, everyone knows about it.

Somewhere in this ultimate openness lies a different kind of privacy. People are so bombarded with information that they don't really give a crap about they don't actually take much of it in. They have so many friends falling through their news feed that they don't actually pick much up. People start missing all the information they are being given. This is sometimes the best you can hope for in our modern day. Yipee.

Ok yeah, I could just delete all these accounts and solve the problem, only I need to stay connect. I'm a writer and a poet and I need to build up my contacts if I want to be known and get gigs etc etc. I hate phone conversations so would much rather message a friend than actually talk to them. I like being able to see any pictures anyone has taken of me that exist (not because I'm in love with myself, but 'cause I'm self conscious and I don't want ugly pictures floating about).

If you have a face, you can bet it's on cctv.
If you register for an Oyster card (that's how we get on public transport in London) then the machines know where you are at what time.
If you have a mobile phone you are completely findable anywhere - or at least anywhere with signal.
If you own a computer machines record your ip address. Machines remember what you're looking at and what you're buying. Machines know everything.

But that's not even what I want to talk about. I want to focus more on real human to human privacy and am just going to ignore the fact that we're practically living in 1984 and nobody is doing a thing about it.

I don't like people knowing things about me. If I wanted them to know, I'd tell them myself. It's not like my life is a big secret, my friends are entitled to whatever information they want. But I want to be involved in telling them, I don't want them to find out separate from me. And I also don't really understand why I'd just give away certain information for the sake of it. I know so many people that probably shouldn't be considered friends, more like acquaintances and those people aren't entitled to updates on my life (I'm sure they feel the same about me). But here is the SuperPennie Paradox.

I divulge information to people all the time. I have a blog. I have a YouTube. A Twitter. A Myspace. A Facebook. I'm connected to a world of faces and fingertips and I share a lot of myself. I'm sure it seems strange after all that to come out and say I'm a private person but somehow it's still true.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

February's FairyTale

Ok. So I'm writing this blog post but I'm yet to decide if it is suitable for posting (RE: some old posts to see why...). But I'm going to tell you a story anyway, because I think it's funny (and kind of a little cute) and I don't think it'll be as embarrassing to tell you now as it would have been last week. Maybe.

So for the last year I have been avoiding women after concluding they are all nut cases and I have to study. I choose books over girls, does that make me a geek? Well, probably.

I have been perfectly happy under my single banner and probably the least stressed out I have been since I started dating people at all. My darling best friend thought she would pull me out of said happiness and throw me towards whatever the opposite of peace and serenity is. Chaos, maybe?

I get a phone call from her telling me she has found me a girl and that she isn't crazy and that I have to talk to her. She was very excited about all of this as I remained completely against the idea. Whilst this was going on, my best mates girlfriend was in the same room on the phone to the girl in question and there is a lot of screaming going on (I do actually hate girls that scream, throwing that out there). Turns out this girl has been on the phone to my mates girlfriend complaining about crazy lesbians and wondering if there are any that aren't crazy. This was the moment my mate chimes in proclaiming that she knows one! One! Next came my phone call.

My mate was demanding I talk to the girl, as I laughed it off and refused, perfectly content with my life as it is. She talks me into looking at her on Facebook, which I do. I agree that she is pretty but I still do not care and I continue to refuse. I'm soon talked into messaging the girl. It's a short (abrupt) message pretty much saying I was told to say hello.

And so it began.

What's funny is how the girl knew my mates girlfriend. But that's not my story to tell, so you'll have to use your imaginations. But I will tell you that I soon found out that neither my friend nor her girlfriend had ever actually met this girl in person before. How ridiculous is that?

So we talk lots and meet up and she makes me forget that I hate women a little bit. I've never been in this situation before (having a girl thrown at me that is) and it was all a little strange, but turns out she is actually a bit lovely. She's a Cancer and as much as I don't want to believe in all that astrology rubbish it seems to be right about the fact that I get on well with Cancers. Maybe it's just all in my head...

She actually came to a poetry night, which is really fucking cool (putting up with my poetry obviously helps pick up points). I suddenly realise the further into this story I go the less it seems like a good idea for me to share it with you all... Especially as I know she's going to read this and laugh at me as it is!

After lots of me being awkward and being told to man up this section of the story does indeed have a happy ending. I say this section, because fairytales only ever tell you up to the part where the princess gets her prince and they live happily ever after, but you never get told what that happily ever after entails... I imagine lots of formalities and fake conversations with people at balls you don't really want to go to.

I can only presume mine will not fit into this category as formalities and balls are not actually things I come across very often (being that I'm not a princess, I'm more like PeterPan). But if anyone wants to throw me a ball, I have a green princess dress somewhere just waiting for an excuse.

I say that, but the likelihood of me ever building up the courage to wear the pretty princess dress out is so very low. And I don't even know if it fits anymore after spending 2 years of my life getting fat (thank you university). Now I'm just going off on a tangent a bit, but you have to be used to that by now! I mean come on, this has to be like blog post 60 or something, right?

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Video: Above Tables (GayAfrica)

Ok, I kinda feel like I'm mass posting here - let's just say I'm making up for lost time and I promise not to post anything else in the next 24 hours!
This is the poem I wrote for the GayAfrica thing I mentioned. It's 4am so I have tired eyes going on, so there you go.

If you're in London, be sure to come down to the event. Click for the Facebook page.

Sunday, 28 February 2010
16:00 - 20:00
Free Word Centre
60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA
London, United Kingdom

PressRelease: SpeechMotion (Feb)

February 23rd 2010

Immediate Release



A Monthly Platform for Performance & Shorts in Shoreditch

February may be associated with Love, but if you are sick of all the fake flowers and cheap teddy bear’s, come along to SpeechMotion on February 23rd to see where love will get you if you’re not careful!

As always, we have a great line up which includes some of the best talent from around Europe.

Resident Poet, SuperPenniewill warm up the mic and get the crowd feeling super inside with her latest rhymes. The London born poet claims that, ‘Growing up is bad for your health. In fact it is one of the biggest causes of death...’ (Obviously another Peter Pan complex)

The line up continues with London based Guest Poet, Jade Anouka, who’s feature spots include:  Farrago, Apples&Snakes, TriForce Promotions, I Think I'm Here Darling and UK Poetry Podcast.. Jade has also performed at the Sidewalk Cafe and The Bowery in New York. 
Guest Film, ‘Think of Me Then Die,’ by French Filmmaker Sullivan Corredo, is about the way Nicolas Sarkozy rules France. However, watching it you would not necessary know that because Corredo is one of the best young surreal filmmakers out there, which means there are different interpretations to his work, some people love him, (speechmotion) some people don’t get him, but no one can deny his unpredictability. Corredo states, “It was not easy to fit the cultural view of the president, but working hard on it, I can affirm that I'm part of what the French government does at its best”. Vive la France!

As we are on the subject of politics has anyone ever a loved one?  Of course you have! “Little Secrets” is our Featured Film, by our favourite German Filmmaker, Sascha Zimmermann.  What a wonderful mix of dark humour and witty dialogue.

We sing the night out with our Featured Performer, Blanche Visarro - "A modern Chanteuse" - brought to the future from 1920's silent films, she will tell the story of love in trouble. With the piano at her finger tips and her magical voice in your ear, you will go home and cry yourself to sleep.  So moving!

Listing Information:

SpeechMotion promotes the work of original storymakers and offers a platform where a unique mix of performance and film co-exists between emerging and established artists.
Every last Tuesday of the month performers/filmmakers get in FREE)
Venue: The Horse and Groom, 28 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3NZ
Tickets £4/3

Producer Notes - Who is msft? The Storytellers Pedestal
msft, formerly known as missfit productions, has been producing events since 2006 and specializes in raising the profile of emerging artists, across the creative spectrum, (poets, performers, film makers and playwrights). msft create performance opportunities around London in quirky venues, that promise to nurture creative talent and artistic innovation. Why? - Because msft loves theatre. Not just the finished product, but all the drama that brings the product to life. For more information, images, interviews, sponsorship, or to perform/screen your work, please contact festival director Lennie Varvarides at

Warm Regards,

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Public Displays

I apologise for having disappeared for a few days people, I was away visiting some amazing people in Swindon/Taunton and couldn't find the time to pull myself from certain lovely faces to sit down and write to you guys. But now I am home I figure I may as well get back on it!

I was thinking about public displays of affection while I was gone and have decided to share such thoughts and check out other peoples opinions on the matter. See I think if someone wants to hug or kiss their partner in public they can crack on, there's nothing wrong with that. I mean obviously, nobody wants to see someone with their hand down their partner's jeans or two people gyrating against a wall, but those moderate displays are cute.

The other day I saw an old couple kissing on an escalator down to the underground. I want to still be kissing someone I love when I'm in my 60's and 70's!

So I started thinking about gay couples, I think it's that little bit scarier to kiss or hold hands with your partner in public, for fear of being gay bashed or something. That's not cool; people shouldn't be afraid of showing their love. I think this is more likely in gay men rather than gay women, but I could be wrong. I think it's less likely you'll see gay boys kissing in public than you are to see lesbians do it, I wonder why that is...

Maybe people are more likely to say something to guys. Maybe they're more likely to want to fight with guys. Maybe they're just more freaked out by gay guys than girls, 'cause they see them less. I don't know, I don't know why people do anything. I imagine most things are just because the world is fucked up and people are just shit, but maybe that's just a hint of pessimism or something. But hidden inside that pessimistic shell of mine, is a tiny little penguin looking for a hug... or something to that effect, maybe.

All I know is, is that people should be able to love whoever they want and not be afraid to let anyone know. People shouldn't go round punching people for being happy. And people need to take a step back and get a grip 'cause there are far worse things in the world than someone that isn't you being happy.

I like holding peoples hands, I'm a hand holder.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Weakness of Will

I am about to begin working on my 3rd Greek essay and thought I'd share some thoughts with you lot. I know some of you are philosophers and may appreciate my ramblings - to those of you who are not, you can always play along =p

"No man can know the better and be able to do it, but do the worst"

So basically, we can't do the wrong thing on purpose if we're capable of doing the right thing. I've been thinking about this for a few days now, trying to work out what my thoughts on it actually are. I have yet to actually do the reading, because I only just finished my Theaetetus essay this morning, where I concluded knowledge is not perception and that they are two very different things. I didn't quite work out what knowledge was, just that it was something special and a certain shape - it doesn't fit through the perception shaped holes in my understanding box. I realise that is probably a really confused analogy, but it helped me work it all out.

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. What do you think, can people err knowingly?

I think (today) that it's all a very subjective subject. I might think that your actions are wrong but you may not agree, which would mean I guess that you're not erring knowingly. But are you erring at all? Let us think about an example so we can try to get our heads around it: smoking.

People smoke even though they know it is bad for them. They know they will lose years off their lives and that their insides are being destroyed. But they do it anyway. 

This makes me think it has to be something to do with instant gratification vs long term gratification. In the moment they feel better for it which seems worth the worse later on. It's a value scale - what's more important to me? What is it I want more, to live freely or live longer? Maybe.

I think we like our instant gratification, us humans. We respond to instinct to feed animal desires. Hunger for example - we get hungry, we eat. But sometimes we go on diets, do delay instant gratification for that long term goal of being skinny. So how does it all weigh up?

This is just an informal idea soup. I will read Plato and a bit of Aristotle and come up with my essay and let you know what conclusion I came to on the matter. Let me know what you think in general about whether or not we are weak willed. Do we do things even when we don't want to do them? What does that even mean?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Hans Christian Andersen

So the other day I was thinking about stories I liked when I was a kid and how a lot of them were ruined by being brightened up (like by Disney and the likes). In following this thought through I hit up Amazon and purchased a copy of Hans Christian Andersen's Complete Fairy Tales. 

It is pretty damn awesome! More awesome than I thought it would be in fact. I saw my package from Amazon, sat patiently waiting for my attention up on the table in the hallway outside my bedroom. I swiftly pulled open the cardboard to see it was huge (I should have assumed as much considering the word 'complete' is in the title, but shhh)! It was wrapped in cellophane, which doesn't often happen to be honest, so that was quite exciting. I pull the book out and realise it is HARD BACK. You have no idea how excited I got. I ripped off the cellophane and sat holding the book, touching the cover and just looking at it. I got a little bit over excited and was about to start crying, so I put the book down and left the room for a few minutes to calm down. 

Yes I am actually that lame.

A friend of mine phoned me at this point, which meant I had someone to share my excitement with. Which was so very necessary! I could well have exploded. I was actually about to phone Mr Gaige and tell him all about it before my phone started ringing! I literally spent the next 20 minutes talking about how happy I was and what it felt like and how it smelt like new book. I even went on Skype so I could show her the book on webcam. 

At which point, she informed me of a movie I should really have known about from the 50's which I have now ordered! Amazon tells me it will be at my door by Tuesday. This too makes me very happy! Hopefully it comes in the morning as I plan to go away for a couple of days and would love to take it with me so we can watch it together and sit and get all girlie at the singing and the storytelling! 
Amazon should blates pay me commission... I should write them a letter or something =p

I will give you my thoughts on the movie after I watch it! I have actually banned myself from reading for fun until after my degree, so you will all have to wait until summer for a book review. I find I feel really guilty for reading anything that isn't studying so have implemented a rule. 

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Man Up Pennie

I've been thinking about my general approach to the world today. You see, I'm not a 'jump-in-with-both-feet' sort of girl and like to keep hold of the safety rail incase I need to get back out. I like to pretend that I don't care when in reality it's all I seem to be able to do. The problem with this approach is obvious - it's the difference between playing in a paddling pool and swimming in the ocean.

- Ok, yes. I am enjoying the water analogies.

What all this really brings me to, is that I need to man up. I don't want to look back at my life and just see all the things I didn't do 'cause I was scared - that's just a waste of a human. I want to see my adventures; the good, the bad and the dangerous.

Monday, 8 February 2010

If Blogging Was Like Keeping A Diary

When it comes to blogging, a lot of the time it takes the form of a quasi-diary entry - only the juicy bits have to be taken out. The problem with that is, the juice bits are obviously the most entertaining parts of any story. The meaty gossip about someone's life makes for the best stories to pass away the time. More often than not people would rather read about those embarrassing moments or the love matches that go into everyday life than just spiels of academia (tell me I'm not alone in this).

I have actually kept a diary since I was 10 years old. This last year it has received minimal amounts of attention from me, I imagine solely because of the amount of writing I do otherwise. Poetry especially meant I didn't need the diary as much anymore, because I could work things out another way. Since starting blogging I've almost deleted diary keeping completely, turning it into this obsolete passage of my childhood. It just means a few thoughts and feelings go untouched because I don't want to share my inner most anxieties with you and I can't always put them into poetry. I guess with time I'll see what the result of this will be on my psyche...

But the thing is, unlike a diary, your blog is a public forum. Anyone can read it and you can't even monitor who these people are. You can't just keep all these secrets hidden in a book under the bed, buried in a box you know nobody will open. People can see what it is you're saying and if you are saying things about the people reading, well - that's a whole other world. I can't just sit here and bitch about people I don't like or proclaim my love for anyone without getting myself into trouble. It seems that is the way it always is for writers. We want to write what we know but have to work out how to get away with doing it. Work out how to do it without telling any secrets you shouldn't have told and make sure you don't destroy any confidences that were left with you.

So how do I propose to go about this? There are things I want to tell you that I know would make for good stories but I'm trapped by my need for self-preservation. Does that make me a bad journalist? Shouldn't I just suck it up and get on with it? Well, hell no. I don't want to jeopardise my personal life just to give it away for the entertainment of strangers.

Instead I plan to write all the things I want to write and just wait. They can lay in waiting for a while and I'll start posting them in the future, maybe next year. When it's less embarrassing or delicate because it was the past. I hope you are all excited about what is to come, but I am sorry to tell you those juicy bits will be a long time coming.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Gay Africa

I have been asked to join the Rhymes Wont Wait collective and do a performance at a charity event.
"GAY AFRICA is a powerful response to the human rights and sexuality crisis sweeping the continent. In Uganda they propose to execute gays, in Malawi they imprison gay men who marry, in Nigeria they ban all meeting and support for LGBT people"
I have sat down today to try to pen a poem on topic and have come up with my first draft. It is called Above Tables and I'm sure you'll get a peak at it when it's done.

This is a really important issue and I am proud to be part of something so special in trying to make a difference and get awareness about the craziness going on out there out. If you are in London (or near by) hit up the gig, it's free! Clicking on the title will send you to the event page on Facebook.

If you don't already know, you should look it up. Right now a scary level of homophobia is sweeping across Africa to a point where laws are being passed to have people killed. Murdering people because you don't agree with them is not ok. Doing it in the name of God is worse. American Evangelicals (as well as the Catholic Church) have gone over there and preached hate and violence to such a degree that almost the entire continent has jumped on the bandwagon. This really isn't ok.

Sunday 28th February 2010 4pm – 8pm

Free Word Centre, Farringdon
60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

Farewell Dear Dollhouse, You Will Be Missed!

So Dollhouse is over. I watched it all online, ‘cause I couldn’t bare to wait for those belated English airdates; how I love the Internet. I realise I’m way behind seeing as it’s been over for over a week and I bet if any of you care you would have read loads of posts about the same thing elsewhere. But meh…. I’ll carry on.

Dollhouse is the latest piece of gold to come from the God that is Joss Whedon and (yet again) Fox didn’t give it the chance it deserved. Cancelled. Morons. With only two seasons to prove it’s worth, you may as well take the time to watch it all!

For non-sci-fi/Whedon fans out there who may not already know, I’ll fill you in. There is this evil corporation which the future-changing technology to be able to re-write a person’s brain. This corporation runs a load of underground ‘dollhouses’ across the globe (though we don’t know that part right away – obviously) full of ‘volunteers’ who have their brains wiped for 5 years. They are referred to as actives and work for the house. Their bodies are pretty much rented by very, very rich people who can pick and chose what qualities they want their doll to have. It’s like a really expensive pimp agency only, your doll doesn’t know they’re a doll and genuinely loves you. All the dolls are beautiful – because obviously us humans would never pay high dollar for an ugly bit on the side. But wait! They’re not just prostitutes, they can be ANYTHING you want… ninja, thief… whatever.

So season one sees Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku sign her life away to Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams). She is then wiped and becomes the wondrous Echo.

The initial premise may seem a little far fetched and season 1 was a little samey with the first 6 episodes just setting the scene, sending Echo off to do a variety of different things. It gave us all a chance to settle into the idea of what was going on before it started to hit us with the awesomeness. Unfortunately as amazing as it was, the show was never given a chance.

Dollhouse was at least given warning of the approaching end, given them enough to come up with an ending rather just leaving it in midair but this isn’t like it’s good enough. There are so many shows that just keep going and going until the writers have nothing left to say and they stop caring about their work – it’s just about the money now.

There is an awesome io9 article here which deserves your attention. She talks about the desire – fear paradigm going on through the show and the slow shift towards fear as time goes on.

Because Dollhouse was facing it’s cancellation some things felt a little forced and clumsy, as they sprinted to the end of the story in such a tiny space. If they were given more time, it wouldn’t have been such a sprint for the finish line. And the Boyd thing might have been a little less lame…

Dollhouse is a show that should have made it. It explored something different, but there we have our problem. By stepping away from what everyone else was doing and trying to be creative and explore new ideas the show was always going to be under threat.

Throughout the two seasons, Dollhouse has explored what it is to be human. It was an ambitious concept but I think they did it. Dollhouse takes a possible world (as opposed to a fantasy world) and builds on it. That is how science works; keeps trying to improve on itself and to make money. Science wants to move the world into the future and isn’t going to let a few ethical qualms get in it’s way. This is scary. Actually scary.

Dollhouse was probably too dark for Fox. But it’s filled with a whole bunch of upbeat themes that showed the light through the darkness. The hints for Fox to see and hold on to, like Anthony and Priya’s love being completely unbreakable and able to transcend the mind no matter who they were printed with.

As it turned out, Dollhouse wasn’t as dark as we all thought it was going to be. Joss gave us some optimism, this idea that even though all this is coming at us, we’re still going to come out the other end. Yeah the world is a shitty place, but we can get through it. Ok, I almost feel like that sounds a little cheesy – but maybe that’s ‘cause we feel like there are only two dots on the spectrum; cheese or misery.

It would have been nice to get to see the show run it’s course at a regular pace and smooth everything out a bit. I am a little angry that it was taken away from me! I don’t understand why there needs to be so much of the same crap on TV but as soon as something comes along exploring anything remotely deeper than a group of teenagers having sex or people trying to become pop-stars, then it is shut down. How dare anyone in the media industry try go against the same tired formular…?

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Before The World Was Flat...

This is going to be a really short one I'm afraid as I'm currently working and paused to share this with you all. I'm sat transcribing my tutorial (I recorded us talking about stuff - it was a damn good plan) so I can have all the notes written down to refer to and it got to a part where were were talking about the Greeks and geometry and how they used it to work out the world was a sphere. Turns out that story about Christopher Columbus discovering the world was round rather than flat was a lie! I feel cheated. Part of me kind of wonders what the point of school (as in high school) even was you know, they didn't teach us anything and when they did teach us things it was a lie and they totally had us believing Britain were the saviours of the planet or something big and British - with all the look at us and our spirit. Ok that's just in history classes that last bit I guess, but still. In fact, I feel a rant about secondary schools in Britain may be in order. Just not today. This is me making a note of it.

They saw the shadow of the Earth on the Moon during a lunar eclipse was round. And they used the stars rising and falling to work it out too.

Plato used geometry (which he had mass love for) to tell us the sun, moon and planets would all have a natural circular motion.
Ok so we know the sun doesn't orbit anything now, but still - be impressed!

They even worked out how big the Earth had to be.
And when eclipses and other cosmology related events would happen.

I started researching this so I could share with you how awesome the Ancient Greeks were, but I should instead be writing my essay. I am like a super procrastinator, yet it's all somehow disguised to look like it's still work.... well I'm reading about Plato, so it still counts... only, that's not really true now is it? Sorry this entry isn't really up there with the awesomeness that is [SuperPennie] but I just needed to share my findings with someone and there's no one to talk to at 5.40am about this and I was far too excited to just keep it to myself.

You know, it kind of upset me that I wasn't an Ancient Greek. But I guess, being a girl I wouldn't have been able to go to any of those schools of thought and studied with all the lads anyway. Pretty sure only rich men or little boys the rich men could look after got to go to school. But I don't actually know how true that statement is.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Some Days The World Is So Small

Don’t you find it strange when two people you met in very different environments know each other? Even more so if they’re like best friends, right? This actually happens to me fairly often! I live in London, it’s not like there is a shortage of people or anything, yet somehow everyone I come across knows somebody else I already know. 

I’ll give you an example. I was at a media course thing (I’ve spoken about it before) for a couple days however long ago. While I was there I met a lovely Russian girl and we got talking and she is the only person from the day I kept in contact with. There was also a boy who gave me his email address but he wrote it on a really small bit of paper and I unfortunately lost it by the time I got home… and he doesn’t have a Facebook. So he’s lost to the world now.

But I have kept the Russian and we’re actually friends now. Turns out I met her best friend like last March or something (maybe further back) in the club I used to work in with some other mates of mine. I know these people from separate worlds; writer world and clubber world – yet not only do they both go to ucl, they’re friends. Not even that they just know each other, but real friends. I find it hilarious. And they are both Russian, which probably almost explains how they both know each other to be fair, but still. I think it’s weird.
I used to have a pink Mohawk, back when I was 18/19 and working in the night club. Friends of mine would bump into lesbians all over the country and start talking about either London or me or Ghetto or whatever and they ALL would know me as ‘The pink haired girl from Ghetto’. How funny is that? National ‘fame’ for having awesome hair and working in a once awesome club.

Alas, it got less awesome and now it doesn’t even exist anymore. But I got one year of it’s awesomeness (I know that was a lot of 'awesome-ing' in a short amount of space - but heck it's the right word). Apparently it was even better in the years before I was old enough to play. Some days I miss that me, but most days I don’t. Being sociable is really exhausting. People wanting your attention all the time you don’t get any to yourself – and to be honest, I’d rather sit alone and watch a movie any day. This isn’t me blowing my own horn by the way, you just meet a lot of people as a student and working in a bar. I used to make a lot more effort to talk to people, but this year I don’t make much at all. My reason is study and that I now live on the outskirts of London which means it’s too much of a mission getting home if I go clubbing. I think if you over do something it loses it’s spark, and I definitely over did the social queen bit and the drinking bit. But you’re allowed to drink excessively as a fresher – you’re never going to be able to do that again if you get a grown up job when you graduate! Now days I pretty much don’t drink at all. People look at you funny if you say you don’t drink – what does that say about our society? It’s got to be more than it says about me, right? 

Monday, 1 February 2010

When The Fun Goes South

I realise that actually sounds a little sexual. That’s not what I was going for, but heck I’ll leave it that way –

I was thinking about how much I enjoy reading. How much time I spend reading. Whether it’s a blog, website, newspaper, novel, philosophy, script or poetry I enjoy every moment of it – until I have to do it. Until I have to do it and be tested on how well I understood it. Those moments I not only have to do it and be tested on it but I have to throw in my own input. Suddenly thinking and reading becomes the last things I want to do in the world. Suddenly I’d rather do nothing.

How does that make any sense? How can something I love so much one minute suddenly become a nightmare I’m trying to avoid? So I spend more time than I can afford telling myself I can’t do it or I don’t want to do it or not even thinking about it at all – until every so often I just suck it up and sit down to do it. Once I start it’s fine, it’s just getting myself to start that I have a lot of trouble with.

I think it’s ‘cause I’m scared of failing; of not being good enough. So I don’t want to try. 

I don't want to think like this and I’m trying to push those thoughts away but it’s a bottom of my stomach kind of avoidance. The same sort of feeling I get if I have to tell someone something they don’t want to hear or ask to do something they might not want me doing.

Fear isn’t going to get me anywhere. Apart from left behind while the world speeds on by. It occurred to me that I’m actually scared of lots of little things. I’m not the sort of person that sees a mouse and screams or watches a horror movie and has nightmares, but I am the sort that see’s a microphone stand that’s too high and panics at the thought of having to be the person to fix it. The person that freaks out because she thinks she’s going to fail, but somehow can’t stop the freaking out and just get my head down to stop the failing. I’m getting better. I’m learning to organise my time better. But it's not like it's even enough.

It’s never been this hard before. School was a doddle, never had to work that hard; never had that much to do. For anyone that’s ever been part of the National Curriculum you know that they don’t want us thinking for ourselves or thinking outside of any boxes – school was just about memorising random crap to purge onto a page in an exam. Suddenly I’m learning, I’m thinking and I’m scared. Everyone around me (pretty much) went to private schools and read really fast and have been doing philosophy since they were little so they seem so much better at this than me (ok partial exaggeration going on but let it go). I chose philosophy on a whim. I was going to take law and realised it would be a nightmare and there was no way I could be a lawyer. I’m not emotionally strong enough to send people to prison, or to help murderers walk free.

I did some work experience with the CPS when I was 15 and went to a bunch of trials in the crown court and there was at least one occasion I started to cry. There was this black guy who was being done for assault and the police officers were giving their evidence. 10 white guys who were all reading notes from their little black note pads which they all sat down in the cafeteria and wrote together. Of course their stories are going to fit together, they can draft out what they’re going to say and compare notes. Of course this one man’s word isn’t going to be able to stand up to the word of 10 policemen. And I felt sorry for him, I could see in his eyes that they were screwing him over (maybe I’m just na├»ve).

But living off Old Kent Road in S.London for a year I saw the police take advantage of a fair few black boys from the council flats across the road, so I have little faith in their policing ability and think British Police are more like bullies.

Again I’ve gone off on a tangent. Now to suck it up and get this bloody essay out of the way.