Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Raindrops on Roses

Man, there is a whole lot of bad shit happening in the world right now. Ferguson protesters are being treated like terrorists; the Australian treasury is an absolute disgrace; A whole bunch of terrorists are killing a whole load of innocent Muslims for no reason at all & Robin Williams died.
It gets me right here . . . I'm touching my chest when I say that. I really shouldn't to gesticulate while I write.
Anyway, it's a whole lot of "well, fuck, that sucks", and I don't have any answers to it. Because, well, the answer is obvious: Stop being shitty people. But people won't do that because people suck sometimes.

And I've been having a less than charitable week. I've had trouble writing because my sleeping schedule is out of whack; I've received so few responses to my jobs applications that I feel like my 'potential job offers' list is slipping into negative numbers; I've been seeing less of my girlfriend while she prepares for school & then there's family stuff which I don't want to go into detail about, except to say that I had to get up at six o'clock in the morning to sit in a room for four hours, and the only upside was that I got to see my young cousins whom I haven't seen in over two years.

So you, it all kinda sucks sometimes. But I'm not upset or unhappy, I'm just a little bothered, or perturbed, it's just rubbing me the wrong way at the moment. So, I don't want to talk about difficult things or smart things or complicated things. Today, I want an easy day, because I've tried to write this blog post three times now, and the first two times I just got bored and lost interest, because I was in a huff about all of this negative bullshit.
So, today I'm talking about something fun. If you want responses to all the difficult questions, well I can't offer them today. I'm taking a day off serious stuff and having fun. I want to talk about some of my favourite things. The Word of the Day is: FAVOURITE.
Favourite /fayvrət/ n. 1. Someone or something regarded with special favour. 2. Sport A competitor considered likely to win. 3. Racing The horse, dog, etc., which is most heavily backed. 4. A person treated with special (especially unfair) favour, as by a king. ♦adj. 5. Given preference: A favourite child.
If you want, you can humm the Mary Poppin's song to yourself, because these are a few of my favourite things. I've selected a bunch of common "favourite" things, and I'm going to give you my Top Three of each (in ascending order), because I think it's fun to talk about stuff I like and I think that just one of each would make for a boring post. You might perhaps learn about something which you might come to like, or at the very least you'll have an insight as to what I find interesting, because I will attempt to explain, briefly why I have chosen these things as my favourite. But before we get started, some quick ones.
Favourite Colour: Indigo
(Because I think it's mysterious and I prefer dark colours)
Favourite Number: 27
(It's the sum of 3³, which is cool, and I think those symbols are the coolest.)
Favourite Letter: V
(I like the 'vvv' sound, as well as the simple but slick symbol.)
Favourite Word: However
(This was tough, but I use it a lot, and I like the way it preludes intriguing statements.)
Favourite Animal: Dog
(It's a bit boring, but I think they have the right level of adorable, intelligent & loyal.)

So, here are my various favourite things, and why they're my favourite.

3. "Surviving is Not the Same Thing as Living."
- I like this because not only is the living/surviving thing a fun bit of word play, but to me this is part of why I write stories. I think that we need art, laughter, love & intellect to have a meaningful life. This quote is to remind people of that. Sure, you can have food, water & air and be alive. But that's not the same as living. Surviving ≠ Living, never forget that.
2. "There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch."
- I guess you could say this is the grandfather of my own philosophy 'Everyone is Selfish'. But this is a little bit more oldschool, and a little less inflammatory. This just means, if someone offers you a free lunch, they are either trying to sell you something, or they're trying to get something from you. Everyone has an agenda, even if all they're doing is to get you to believe that they don't have an agenda.
1. "Beware the Fury of a Patient Man."
- This applies to me quite a lot. I consider myself very patient, and it takes a lot to make me lose my temper and I usually give people fair warning. But when I do lose my temper, it can be dangerous. The last time I lost my temper, I almost threw someone out of a window, then again he was swinging axes in my house so he deserved it, but that's a story for another day.

3. QI
- Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening and I adore this show. Because the show is quite educational and some of the things they've said have inspired a few different stories in one way or another. But more than anything, it's laugh out loud funny, with a new collection of comedians every episode. I am a fan of both Stephen Fry (the host) and Alan Davies (the resident panellist), they make each show a real treat. I'm sorry, that America apparently doesn't have this show - but it should, because it's good and quite interesting.
2. House
- This show is funny, but that's not what I like about it. What I like is the drama. Whether it's the drama of the patient, or the drama of the doctors, there are some amazing characters in this show. Although everything orbits the medical issue, every episode is about the characters, and every event is just another step in their path. Also, as I've explained before, this show ends. I respect a show that knows when it needs to end.
1. Stargate: SG-1
- A long time ago, I wrote an entire post about why I think continuity is the most important part of writing fiction. That is the reason why I love Stargate: SG-1. This show does not deviate, to the point that they have their own kind of science. But, this isn't just some textbook on fictional wormhole physics. The characters are fun, the sci-fi concepts are compelling and there's a genuine story arch with believably dangerous villans and I think it's the best series ever made. Yes, better than Doctor Who.

3. Bioshock: Infinite
- Now now, don't be jerks about this, I don't know if these are the 'best games ever', they're just my favourites. I have two criteria for items on this list: One, I have to have played the game, so that rules out a lot of the best games; Two, I have to have finished the game. I've only completed about a dozen games in my life, ruling out a lot of them, but this was one of them. Bioshock was a fun game, but I prefer this one because it's a much more complex story and I like how the design actually helps in the understanding of the story's themes and ideas. I like a story well told, and whether you like it or not this was a story very well told.
2. Papers, Please
- This simple, pixel-art game wherein you take the role of a border patrol guard allowing (or disallowing) immigrants into the country is a very immersing one. The art is simple, as is the gameplay, but through the simple puzzle of analysing documents of citizens, you actually get drawn into the atmosphere of an oppressive government and the rebels trying to fight back. I was surprised when I found myself accepting the punishment of my government for letting an illegal woman slip into the country, because she wanted to see her husband. It's a game that opens your eyes to what it means to be the worthless subject of a tyrannical government in a stressful, low income job . . . and I highly recommend it.
1. Portal 2
- This game is amazing. You need to play Portal (the first one), because it only takes an hour, it's got some very clever puzzles; a cool, little story & it's very funny. But after enduring that laugh and a half, jump right into Portal 2, it's got all of that, multiplied by two. The puzzles are more complex and even relate to the overall story of the game which involves dangerous science, dark comedy & lots and lots of silly robots. I haven't seen a game villain which is as much fun or as believably menacing as GLaDOS.
The Enrichment CenTER is REquired to remind [Subject Name Here] that any mentions of my desire to KILL YOU is the result of - *static* - own relative abSENCE of ORIGINALITY. And NOT true. ReALLy. I proMISE, I will never try to INCINerate YOU.

3. "Your Love Song" by Angela Aki
- I like songs with a story and I like female singers, that explains a lot of why I like all three of these. But as for why these are in the top three? Well, for this song in particular, I like the passion in it, and the story - it's that of the beginning of a relationship. The potential, the "what if we could", all in that one lyric: this could be your love song. And I think the slow, plodding melody harmonizes perfectly with the song, as it emulates the slow, anxious thoughts of a girl waiting to see if her love will come to see her.
2. "I Hate this Part" by The Pussycat Dolls
- From the beginning to the end, the last song was about the potential for a relationship, this one's all about that emotion of a break-up. I think this song is important, not only because it portrays that emotion, but also the fact that it is emotional. A lot of misogynists think that women leave them because they're heartless, they think they hate them. But . . . sometimes it doesn't work. This is about that moment when you realize that you can't stay together happily - and how much it hurts to take that necessary step.
1. "Zombie" by Natalia Kills
- I like the creepy, dark atmosphere of this song, and the heavy, electro beat, it's got a good vibe. But it's also about a woman that's in love with a man who doesn't love her back, but who enjoys using her for sex. It's a poetic way of describing a heartless man, and I appreciate the imagery and artistry of that. And, it sort of delves into the mindset of the girl, how she wants the man even if she can't get his love back, but is frustrated by it. Those are simple little ideas, but in the end, they're paired with good music, good singing, good lyrics & good poetry.

3. Pasito
- I like a good soft drink and often I stick to cola or orange soda because most restaurants and grocery stores stock that. But if I can get my hands on Pasito, I don't miss the opportunity. I believe it's only in Australia, but it's a tropical, passion-fruit flavoured soda - there's another version called Passiona, by a different brand and they both taste amazing. If you have the opportunity, try it.
2. Bundy & Coke, double-shot
- There are a lot of people that drink alco-pops & cocktails when they want alcohol. I don't understand these people, I like the taste of alcohol, want to taste it, so I like a good spirit. Bundaberg Rum is an Australian rum, and while it's not the best-tasting spirit [in my opinion, that title goes to Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey], you can mix it with Coke and still get the bite, especially when you add two shots to the mix rather than one.
1. Iced Coffee
- I love coffee, I love it cold. I don't want to go over the top on this one, because I already wrote about how much I love coffee in my list of "Personal Havens", but this wins as my favourite drink. I drink two large cups of coffee a day, with sugar and milk. If I just wanted to wake up, there are other, better ways. but I drink iced coffee because I like that cold, bittersweet flavour.

3. Eggs Benedict
- I like eggs for breakfast, so inevitably my favourite kind of breakfast food will have eggs and I can't much go past the classic "eggs and ham", the salty, meatiness pairs so well with egg. Eggs Benedict is 'eggs and ham', but with so much more. The English muffins have that great texture, as well as a spongy, absorbency that soaks up egg yolk. Then hollandaise sauce . . . you wouldn't think a creamy mayonnaise goes with eggs, but it just enhances the flavour of the eggs while making it so so creamy. It's an indulgent way to start the day and most cafes have it on their menu. Hot Top: my favourite plate of Eggs Benedict was served at the Beach House Bar & Grill - perfectly cooked eggs, and a generous serving of sauce, I highly recommend it.
2. Kangaroo Steak
- I swear, this is not just an Australian bias here. I love steak, and if you can get a good cut of Aussie beef, all you need is a side of veg' and you've got a perfect meal. But kangaroo steak tastes better. It's much more gamey, it has a stronger, wilder flavour. My Beloved hasn't eaten steak, so she didn't quite understand what I mean by gamey or wild and I know it's not universlly understood, so you'll have to trust me on this - kangaroo steak is just a steakier steak. Not to mention, it's leaner than beef and I think that if it's cooked well it needs no seasoning. Cook, serve and relish in the flavour, serve with rustic mashed potatoes and vegetables if you want a real treat.
1. Nachos
- Not 'proper' nachos, that's not my favourite. Don't get me wrong, when I go to a Tex Mex restaurant and they give me chips, cheese & refried beans, I like all of those things. But I much prefer the Westernized nachos with meat, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. I love sour cream, and when I make my own nachos I add a very generous serving of it. You don't need to add the meat, that's admittedly quite indulgent, but those crisp corn chips, rich chunky salsa, melted mozzarella cheese, smooth creamy sour cream, with a dollop of a tangy guacamole? If I could get away with it, I'd eat nachos for lunch every day, I think it tastes amazing, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

3. "Mogworld" by Benjamin 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
- I've written about this book once or twice before (well, twice), but the thing is, I really think it's a very good standalone book. Is it the best book in the world? Well, no, but as far as I'm concerned, it's the best concise story I've ever read. Every other story I read seems to have several books to tell one story, several sequels which were never planned, spin-offs, prequels & inbetwee-quels. I am getting fucking sick of it. But this doesn't win third just because it's standalone. No, it wins because it's funny and it has one idea, but it's a high concept idea which is explored thoroughly. I finished reading this book feeling like it answered all of its questions and gave me everything I was looking for from this story. It's a good book, alright? Now, go buy it.
2. "The Spook's Apprentice" by Joseph Delaney
- I like a good magic system. Whether it's the way time travel works in a sci-fi story, the biology of monsters in a vampire story or the laws of magic in a fantasy story, I like it when someone puts in the effort to make their world make sense. The Spook's Apprentice does that perfectly. Known as "The Last Apprentice" in America because of racism, it's about The Spook, a man whose job is to protect the county from bogarts, witches and the forces of darkness. Although that sounds grandiose, what I love about this book is how it feels very close-quarters. Fighting witches on one one, facing the monsters, we are right alongside Tom Ward as he learns how to survive all these dangers. The only reason why this isn't my number one, is because it's the first in a series of fourteen books with three spin-off books. That's utterly ridiculous. The stories are great, but each tale must come to an end, and after 8 books I think this story has outstayed its welcome. But if you want to dive in, the first book in the series can be purchased here.
1. "Worldshaker" by Richard Harland
- The Worldshaker is the name of a moving city the size of a mountain, which rolls over the land. I love that idea, and I've been trying to find an excuse to write a story about a moving city for a while now. But this isn't just one cool idea, it's a cool story about a young boy, who grew up in a prim, proper British society of monarchy and aristocracy on the upper decks, set to one day become the Supreme Commander of the entire juggernaut. But when he meets one of the Filthies, the supposedly dim-witted neanderthal-like monsters that live in the lower decks and make the machine run, he is surprised that not only can she speak, but she's rather pretty under all that grime. There are some unusual moments in this story, but overall it's a great tale of oppression, humanity, love and power (and it only has one other book in the set). It can be bought here.

Anyway, that's enough favourites for one day. I considered including my list of favourite movies, but I realized that it was going to require a lot of effort to find my favourite movie of the many which I've seen. And I also figured that people might want to know my top ten movies rather than top three, so I might save that for a later blog post . . .

Until next time, I'm the Absurd Word Nerd and those were just a few of the things that I like. If you have any fun favourites (or you like some of the ones I've already listed) feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear a few of your favourite things.

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