We’d been trying to have kids for ages and there’s only a certain amount of times you can think ‘Ah, well, we’ve been unlucky again’ before wanting to get yourself checked out.
This is why I had all the blood tests done. That’s how I discovered why my favourite film is The Wizard of Oz.
There are other tests of course; tests that involve little plastic pots and small rooms.
If in charge, I would put little pornographic pictures in the bottom of those pots to help things along. Clear, plastic medical pots aren’t the height of erotic wonder. Not for me. Internet law states that all sexual deviancy, however disgusting, must exist so I’m sure that somewhere there’s some sweaty deviant greasily clicking his way through the image galleries of tupperware.com, fumbling at his groin.
I need more normal stimulants. None of which (Nigella Lawson dressed as a Nazi) I’m going to go through now, rest assured they are in no way odd.
It’s quite a delicate process actually and you have to get the timing right. If you’re too late the Semen…actually, a quick note; I’m going to try and be as honest as possible and not shy away from the proper names of things. If it makes you uncomfortable I’m sorry, but as a grown up I should not be reduced to childishness. If you’re don’t get your sample to the hospital in time the White Gold goes off, or drys up…or something. So, what you have to do is masturbate into your little pot, write on the side with your name and the time you ejaculated, leap into the car and speed off to the hospital. Two things here: make sure the lid is really screwed on tight and to keep it somewhere warm.I kept mine in a pocket near my armpit.
Also, you don’t want to speed too much because I’m not sure shouting ‘I must get this spunk to the hospital AT ONCE’ whilst waving your sample in the policeman’s face will get you off a speeding ticket. Unless the policeman is one of those tupperware perverts.
We had to make this journey twice, because apparently my sperm count was so low they had to check it again just in case their semen counting machine was broken. It’s not called a Semen counting machine, that’s ridiculous. It’s called a Cumometer.
The average amount of semen per millimeter is around 20 to 40 million. 20 to 40 million! There’s roughly the same amount of people living in Argentina. If semen were people I would barely have enough to put together a Simon and Garfunkle tribute band (which would be called Semen and Garfunkle).
After further test’s it was discovered that not only is it slow, it’s also very lazy. It’s not great for baby making but it’s rather nice to know my semen acts the way I do. If I were young and vigorous and chock full energetic sperm I would not have been packed off to a specialist to discuss ‘options’.
Our Specialist was a very nice man in a small room decorated with lots of pictures of smiling children he’s helped bring to life. He sits and tells you that whilst things aren’t great you musn’t worry because you will have children. He has a white coat, a friendly manner, pictures of babies and he knows the ways of science. And we all know science is not to blame because through science you can now have children. Thank you science.
It wouldn’t be fair to call this man a liar,not really, but using the statement ‘you will have children’ kind of suggests everything is going to be alright. It’s like Glinda the good witch telling Dorothy ‘Yeah, just follow this road and you’ll get to The Emerald City and everything will be fine’. There’s no mention of witches, or winged monkeys or any of that other stuff you have to go through to get there, and even then there’s no real promise of getting back to Kansas.
It’s not that straight a path. Although, he can’t actually say ‘The whole process is going to be painful and terrifying and at the end it might all go tit’s up’ because that wouldn’t be very professional and I would probably complain. In fact, no-one says that, you just sort of work it out as you go along.
Last week I failed my driving test.
I’m coming up to the grand old age of 40 and still don’t drive. There’s never been need really. There’s trains, buses, bicycles, my feet, my wife and, frankly, the thought of being in charge of a speeding metal killing maching is terrifying and I wanted nothing to do with it. However, with Fatherhood looming and ‘wife driving me everywhere’ guilt every time I got in her car, it was time. Surprisingly, it turns out I can actually drive, just not according to the laws of this land. In spite of this I am an excellent driver.
I must admit that sounds a bit like a hollow boast seeing as I failed my driving test, but even my driving instructor has said “You drive like a driver”. The driving test examiner didn’t say that, he said ‘Watch out for that car’ and then kindly helped apply the brakes.
It was a near miss, which is exactly the same as an almost hit, and it shook me a little. Driving tests are not fair; this incident happened in the first ten minutes of the test and I was massively nervous so it shouldn’t count. What they should do is let you drive around for the first ten minutes or so to get past your nerves and then start your test. I bet more people would pass.
I wouldn’t have passed because I did another stupid thing about 15 minutes later and would have failed anyway but it’s still an excellent idea.
It’s a crappy situation to be in really. If you’re too worried you make mistakes, if you’re too relaxed you make mistakes. It also doesn’t help in the fact that you have a strangely quiet person sitting next to you who seems only to function as a human shaped SatNav. My strategy for the next test is to remember what my instructor has taught me and pay attention to everything. EVERYTHING.
There are lots of things to know about me: I am terrified of frogs, I am childishly egotistical and one of my legs is slightly thicker than the other. I am endlessly fascinating.
Another thing about me is I drift. I meander. I am unable to concentrate on one thing. As previously mentioned, because I am a creature of chaos I am not blessed with drive, commitment or the ability to finish what I start. Just because I shamble about the place like an animated laundry basket it doesn’t mean I don’t have any self-respect; I do, it’s just sometimes it doesn’t make it up that high on my list of important things
For instance: flat pack furniture. I’m a man right,I’m supposed to know how this stuff works. I get the box. I get all the bits out. I try and find where I’ve put my screwdriver. I check my toolbox. Yes, I have a tool box: it has a hammer in it and some duct tape. I lay all the bits out on the floor; then I get my wife to put the thing together with the screw driver she has in her toolbox.
I have no patience with it. I have the technical ability of glove puppet with no hands. Probably less.
I am a creative delicate soul, my basic urge is to foppishly lounge about the place attempting to write poetry and paint moody seascapes.
That’s me. I don’t do manual. My hands are unnaturally smooth. They are the hands of an artist, not of some rough hewn honest, day to day labourer. The other day I got a slight sore bit on my middle finger because I was mowing the lawn. It’s just not my thing.
And it’s not my fault.
According to science I am lacking a few levels of testosterone, but I can’t point the finger of blame at science. It helps me out with my asthma and my raging indigestion, so I guess the fault lies with genetics and we can hardly call that a science.
Well yes, of course we can, so who do I blame?
My dad? My mum? Of course not. I was conceived in a caravan in Wales on the side of hill. Do I blame Wales? Do I blame the caravan? No. Actually I should thank the slope of the hill which probably helped things move in the right direction which eventually helped in the creation of me, but I won’t because you can’t go round thanking bits of the scenery. Unless you’re the Pope who is allowed to kiss the ground by law and I certainly do not have the legal right to kiss hillsides, and nor would I want to. Not even if it had a chalk drawing of a horse, or something, on it. I’m not that fond of horses. Or men with enormous erections.
So who do I blame?
No one. It’s just how it is. Because of this slight lack of testosterone it means I cannot grow a full beard and I quite like Moulin Rouge. It has Kylie in it, the songs aren’t bad and I like the pretty colours.
It explains why I don’t like football or cars or quaffing enormous quantities of lager till I can’t stand up, vomiting on my own shoes and laughing at how hilarious it all is as I’m having my stomach pumped.
It’s explains why I couldn’t get my wife pregnant.
I tried though didn’t I. Lots.
We even went to Wales.
Though were no caravans involved though, I have some standards. They also have hills. Some with chalky horse drawings on, some with men with enormous erections on.
They didn’t help.
I know what I said previously, but I’m actually intending this to be a series of posts…so we’ll see how that goes…
I’m finding myself thinking about writing, and the sort of things I would like to write about.
A cursory glance around my book shelf tells me I really like fantasy novels, books on being creative and creativity in general, auto-biography, poetry, and a few books about journeys and other odd non-fiction books about subjects I have a passing interest in. What does that mean?
I don’t know. Another brilliant conclusion there; but I don’t. I’ve tried writing all sorts of stuff but nothing really feels true to me.
The old adage of ‘write what you know’ may ring true, but Austin Kleon (who’s new book is excellent by the way) in Steal Like An Artist say’s to ‘write the story you want to read’. I actually think that’s pretty good advice, but I find myself realizing that most of the books I want to read have already been written. I own most of them. So perhaps I should write about what I know.
I apologise for the vague rantings. It’s probably because It’s late and I’m tired and I have that weird tightness in my forearms which I always get when I don’t know what to write about or feel confused about a subject I’m thinking about. I was thinking that actually writing this stuff out might help. It still might.
Is it egotistical to write about stuff that’s happened in your own life? I know people do, but who the hell am I? I’m not feeling sorry for myself or anything, as you know my ego is all I have, but would people read day to day stuff about someone they don’t know, have never met and really couldn’t give a fig about.
There’s also the worry that this blog could turn into one big diary whine fest (instead of a Dairy Wine Fest which is something I would go to) which is not interesting to anyone.
Saying that, I’m not actually a teenage girl (nor have ever been) so it might be of some interest. I’ve done stuff, had experiences, been around the block a bit.
Hmmm…maybe this did help.
As mentioned in a previous blog, I have recently (no, not really recently, it’s probably been a good 8 months or so) started Role Playing again.
No, it’s not a sexual thing. No, I don’t dress up (although, if anyone would like to put their hands in their pockets to fund my new ‘Buy Richard Some Fancy Hats’ Kickstarter I wouldn’t say no) and no, I am not some weird geek loser…er…well, I’m not a loser anyway.
For those of you who don’t know much about it, it’s essentially a story telling thing. One player is the Games Master (or GM) who set’s up the story and the other players become characters within that story. It’s slightly more complicated than that, there are rules to follow (dependent on what system you’re using) and dice to roll, but at it’s heart is story.
Being a GM is perfect for me. I get to make up stories (or at least, set stories in motion) without having to think about how they’re going to play out (I’m really bad at finishing things) or what happens; the players take care of that I get to put on stupid voices and generally give people a good time. Also, there’s an element of me being center of attention, which isn’t really the point of the game but it suits me fine, I am an egotistical buffoon.
There are many different sets of rules you can use, from traditional old school Dungeons and Dragons type rules (lots of dice rolling, complicated character sheets and rules for doing almost anything to a granular level) or more loosey goosey games with less dice rolling and more capacity for player interaction. I seem to be preferring the later. It seems to me, the less rules there are the more the players can become involved. You do need a rule or two in place to function as an outcome determining device because it’s good to have parameters and you need to have an element that means the person could fail in what they’re trying to achieve. I love it when people fail, not because I enjoy beating them, it’s because it adds so much to the story. Story is about conflict, so when a player fails it adds extra levels of crunchy conflicty fun, and it gives the players more stuff to overcome and do. Failing Forward is a big thing, ‘yes you failed but this is now happening’ and it’s something I really try to bring to my game.
As I said, I prefer the more rules lite systems, Fate Accelerate being my current system of choice, but I have discovered a whole slew of small, independent games that look incredibly fun and are incredibly simple to play. I’m really excited about these games (some literally being on one page) and would like to highlight a few that I’ve played recently and some others I really, really want to play.
Everyone is John
This is a great little game where everyone plays an aspect of the same person. Each aspect sets themselves goals to achieve, and when they win control of John (it has a bidding element) they try desperately to win these goals. It’s different in that it is combative, you are trying to beat the other players, but the role playing elements are great fun and poor John is put into some horrendous predicaments as his aspects are pulling him in all sorts of directions. Click the link to get it. It’s free.
Lasers and Feelings
You are crew of the ship Raptor, you’re captain is ill due to some unknown thing and the ship is trouble. WHAT DO YOU DO.
It’s a brilliant, simple game (all on one sheet of paper) with an elegant dice mechanic that had me reduced to tears of laughter at one point in the game. I won’t tell you anymore, but go and get it. Again, Click the link to get it and it’s free.
Call of Catthulu
Not played this yet, and it’s a little more complicated, but the idea is brilliant. You play cats defending the world against horrific cosmic horrors. There’s little dice rolling to be done, focusing more on story and character, but when you do roll dice it’s nice and easy and there’s not hundreds of modifiers to add to the roll.
Three Days Until Retirement.
You play cops, you have three days till you retire and the brown stuff has hit the fan. This is a ludicrous game, and you don’t even use dice. It’s playing card based and I cannot wait till I play this.
If you’ve not played an RPG before, put aside your assumptions and have a go, it doesn’t have to be about poking Orcs with swords.
Okay, so whilst I’m working on a larger post (just doing some art for it) I just wanted to update you on a couple of weird things that have happened since finishing The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds by John Higgs. I understand all this is coincidence, but with some of the topics covered in the book…well, it’s just weird.
So, the previous book led me to The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson. It’s something I’ve wanted to read anyway so now seemed like a good idea. Instead of buying the book, I got hold of the audio book read by Ken Campbell. Again, he was mentioned in the KLF book, so nothing weird there.
I was aware of Ken, but wasn’t really sure what he was all about so I took to Youtube and watched a few videos of him. He’s swiftly been added to my list of heroes.
Anyway, here’s a small list of things that popped up today that seemed weird.
1. USvsth3m posted Bill Drummond’s new art project which popped up on my Twitter feed. I replied to Rob (@robmanuel) saying that it was a bit weird that this happened as I’d just finished reading the KLF book. He responded that he just made the below video just after he’d read the book.
2. A bit later on, I tweeted that Ken Campbell had just been added to my heroes list and Dave Stevenson (@divstivs) mentioned that it was odd because he’s just written an article about him, which is here. Rob and Dave work together.
3. I was just watching the latest of Grimm on Watch when one of the characters started talking about Jung, and how seemingly random events can have a weird sort of synchronicity; where several random events can become meaningfully related but are unlikely to be causally related (thank you for confirming this Wikipedia). Jung’s theories are mentioned in the KLF book and tied in with The Illuminatus, Robert Anton Wilson and various other things.
I’m seriously starting to think that something is messing with my mind. It’s all coincidence but I’m starting to become a little freaked out and I really feel I need to make something inspired by all this.
I think I’m just going to make note of it all and see what happens next or where this path is leading.
Chaos. Synchronicity. Grimm
So, i think I’ve figured it out.
That’s not true, I read a book that pointed a finger straight into my brain and shouted ‘That’s you that is’.
The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds by John Higgs is an excellent book, one that I’ve just finished, and it touches on a lot of stuff I’ve found myself interested in over the last few years (by which I mean most of my life). It focuses on Bill Drummond, one of the main folks behind The KLF, and discusses many of the ideas behind the band and Bill himself. Sort of, it covers a lot of other things as well, but there was one paragraph that properly punched me up the throat.
” They (The KLF) were waiting to discover what they were going to do next. This is an occupational hazard for those who are not driven by clearly defined goals or a sense of purpose, but instead follow the path of chaos. In the lulls between bursts of energy and action you become purposeless and have no choice but to wait and see what direction you will be pulled in next” John Higgs.
And that’s it. That’s me. I am a creature of chaos.
I’d always thought there was something wrong with me, and that I couldn’t stick to anything because, well, because nothing. I had no idea of why I didn’t have a drive or aspirations or anything like that. It’s because, at heart, I am chaotic.
Now, of course, I can hear the wagging fingers of doubters saying ‘Ah yes, but now you’re going to use that as a crutch to not do anything’.
Actually no, quite the opposite. Being like this has always been something I’ve felt I had to fight against, why I could never concentrate on one thing. it sort of helps to have a bit of a label now and it means I can actually work with it.
Ironically, the book talks a lot about how you should avoid seeing everything in one framework, and that it’s best to approach everything as flexibly as possible because there is no one way to see everything, so me giving myself a label and saying ‘this is me’’ sort of goes against everything in the book. Or it might not. I don’t know.
What I do know is not to worry about it so much, and whatever I make I should just make and forget about it. So no more promises of zines, no more promises of these big projects on the basis of one drawing. No more ‘this is what I’m going to do forever’ I’m just going to make whatever and present it and see what happens.
Or I might not.
Well, I haven’t blogged in a little while, I seem to have a lot of stuff going on. What with being made redundant at the end of the month, turning 40, and having twins, my time and thoughts seem to be elsewhere. I cannot imagine why. But, that shouldn’t prevent me from making stuff, and it hasn’t. I’ve spent most of my time role playing and coming up with scenarios and doing things for that, I just haven’t posted about any of it, but I’m going to change that and put everything here. Everything. It’s what I should have been doing anyway.
Today’s post isn’t anything about that, of course.
A work colleague recently returned from a holiday in Cyprus and brought back with him some fridge magnets. Over the years I’ve instructed people to bring back holiday tat for me and I’ve built up a nice little collection of terrible rubbish (which, thinking about, I really should document) but in this instance my friend Panos really excelled himself. There were about 5 of these awful things, but I’ve decided to pick out two to comment on.
On the surface, it appears that Cyprus has a normal ecosystem. The assumption is that they have all the standard animals, Crows, dogs, cats, goats, that sort of thing, but as you can see from this item they also have a healthy breed of Spider Donkeys. They have tamed them and use them to till the land. They are quicker than normal donkeys and you can use their donkey webs to fashion white boots out of which no mud will stick to. On a more basic side, look at the wonderful job they’ve made painting this thing. Perfection.
I don’t know much about Cyprus, I didn’t know they had Spider Donkeys for one thing, but I also didn’t know, during the war, Hitler lost a foot , learned to play a guitar and moved to Cyprus. He seems to be enjoying himself though, why he didn’t stick to it and had to go invading all over the place I don’t know. I have no idea why the other fella is dramatically balancing meat in a hoop, perhaps it’s a Cyprus thing. If it’s not true they wouldn’t have put it on a magnet would they. We all know that fridge magnets are the main places historians record historical facts.
I have to go now ( I have to go to work) but please stick around because I am intending to post more in the days/weeks I have left before my life is filled with small baby duties.