Showing posts with label humanity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humanity. Show all posts

8.2.12

RIP Tom Dowler

i got the news today that my great-grandfather, Tom Dowler, died peacefully this morning at 0920. he was very old and suffering from the advanced stages of dementia, so the family has been expecting this for a while, but i guess you can't ever prepare properly for this kind of shit.

we called him Farver - that was all we could pronounce out of "great-grandfather" as tiny kids. he and my great-grandma Doll-Doll lived very close to where i grew up, just a couple of blocks away, and they were always involved with us, always happy to see us when we came to visit. they'd break out the biscuit jar and let me eat as many ginger nuts as i could cram into my face, and they kept a stock of proper Schweppes lemonade for us. Farver would press a pound coin into our hands as kids, when it was a fuckton of money to us, and grin and tell us to go and spend it all at once. later on as i left for the University he'd give me a tenner when he saw me, even though they don't have very much money to live on. he would always bear hug me and tell me, "Stay lucky, kid. Be good."

i was lucky enough to get a proper goodbye, which was more than i managed when my gran died. lucidity was incredibly rare by last Christmas day, the last time i saw him, and i thought it had been gone completely for quite some time. for the most part, it had. he was still cheerful, and we (me, my ma and my nan) opened his presents with him in the care home and made sure his giant pillowy bed was comfy, just sort of chilling and fetching the occasional drink and talking shit with him. he was the nurses' favourite guy in the whole place. they'd just changed his bedding, given him his meds and made sure he was okay, and we'd come back in to hold his hands and make sure he fell asleep knowing there were people there with him. before he went under he looked straight at me and said, "It's okay, kid, I'm still your Farver." i gave him a hug and he fell asleep.

he was a good person who did some bad things and some really fucking good things. he fought in the Second World War, driving an amphibious tank called a duck, and helped liberate the camp at Flossenbuerg. he was also a good friend of the Kray twins. he never spoke about this - to us, he was just Farver. he loved us.

i can't say he's in a better place, but he's not suffering any longer. recquiescat in pace.

L

15.1.12

crisis averted

erm, sorry about that last post there. it did let up after a while and i was able to sleep after trying the whole (Internet videos + hot bath with sleeping aid oils) thing suggested here. i'm pretty sure the cause is just stress since my first exam is tomorrow, the rest all happen in the same week and i am totally unprepared for any of them. i guess at least it gets them all out of the way quickly. after they're done i can start focusing on what to do about housing.

regarding "get to a psychiatrist rite nao!!!", i already have one and his office is shut at 2am no matter how crazy i am. i didn't want to call NHS 24 after the result i got last time, which was the on-duty staff insinuating that i was a crackhead, refusing to believe that i wasn't in treatment for heroin use, and repeatedly telling me they would not give me any morphine or methadone (i had not asked for any kind of drugs). i will let Dr. D know what went down when i see him next on the 24th.

i really appreciate the comments from people trying to help, too. it helps to know people are out there and they're not all judgmental dicks. there's not a whole lot of people i can call or whatnot when this kind of shit happens - my parents are too far away to do anything about it, so all it would do would be scare the crap out of them for no reason, and i didn't wanna wake either them or my one other friend Feoa up at that hour of the morning just to listen to Cracky McGee blabber on about shadows and imaginary singalong time.

gotta go "revise" now, but will be connected for the rest of tonight up through the morning if anyone writes back. carpe corporem

L

19.10.11

donor pie

verified: the PayPal account is working, but it got hit in the face with shrapnel when my overdraft exploded and now it hates my bank account. i can still use it and take money out of it, just can't put any in from my own account. so it's kinda useless for shopping.

today me and Muad-Dib took £10 out of the account and went to the campus bakery. i mention this because it would have been impossible without you all. thankyou so much. we bought some reduced shit to last the next few days and something to eat then and there and i realised how hungry i was; yesterday's tests revealed ketosis in my system, which the doctor yelled at me for until i told her it was poverty rather than anorexia. i wasn't surprised the meat was breaking out the emergency systems after a couple weeks of not really eating anything at all, but i'd been trying to suppress the sensation of hunger itself and i guess it worked until i went in there. everything looked so good, even nasty shit like the mac'n'cheese, and it smelt like greasy, bacony, sugar-topped motherfucking heaven. i had a caramel square, and a plasma physicist mate i see every now and again gave me a steak pie before that because "you look like you need it". he was probably right. i still haven't been sick either, so it will actually give the meat some nutrients this time, albeit not very good ones.

i also found some Ribena in my locker, but it had turned into fermented stuff. not even chooh. all the glucose had been used up and it tasted like arse so i threw it out, feeling like a tool for throwing away technically still edible food. the Sprite was alright, and there were some Haribos in there as well wrapped in tin foil (fuck knows how they got in there, i don't remember). i have used up all my Xanax, though since i was using it to ignore hunger, i might not need it anymore. donor wall and proper FAQ page coming soon.

i called the Student Loans Company yesterday. they said the first employee who spoke to me shouldn't have given a time estimate because that's not allowed, and had been disciplined. they also made me skip lectures tomorrow to try and catch my passport arriving via Special Delivery (probably going to get lost since nobody can find my fucking house.) after patching me through "to my boss" three times they said my account was still being processed at head office, and that it would take about 14 working days to finish processing and then a couple more to actually get the money and letter proving the money exists to me. that is, it won't get here before i have to pay rent for November.

i asked the guy what about the October and November rent, and house bills, and the food it's meant to cover. he made a sorta nuirgh noise. fuck the SLC. thankyou, sapes. i'm not exaggerating when i say i would have bailiffs taking my furniture right now were it not for you. this has only reinforced the lengths i am willing to go to to fetch knowledge for you.

L

16.4.11

prodding the corpse

hey, i think its eyes have rott - FUCK IT'S STILL ALIVE.

um, hi. you've probably forgotten about my sorry ass by now. have the fans all gone? is that guy who kept asking me to marry him still here?

i owe you all an apology for being away so long. lots of things happened; first there was the move, which was so fucking stressful i kept throwing up, and then trying to catch up with my honours year project, trying to get my application to repeat last semester approved and get repeat tuition fee support for it, trying to catch up with everything else i missed. there was a lot of serious head problems just after the move as well, plus fallout head-wise from the shit i did at Christmas. it still eats at me. then my finances crashed while we were moving, i got a phone call from the bank about how they needed £800 that day, and i had to use up every single penny i and my ma had, anywhere, just to stop them closing down my account. i'm still so broke i can't afford fuck all except rent. Muad-Dib is helping me get food. it's pretty much just potatoes, noodles and those frozen bags of discount meat you get at Farmfoods. i still owe my friend Feoa and Muad-Dib's dad for Berlin, my flatmate B for the massive electricity bill that came in when the boiler broke and my ma for helping me pay the deposit on the new place.

headspace got pretty corrupted this time around, as you can probably guess. i didn't try to end it this time; it makes me feel too guilty, on account of the life partner and family i'd have to leave behind, and the bupe sorta cushions the blow of a lot of those thoughts. i did completely shut down for everything but the Honours project, so i haven't even been answering my phone or checking my email, much less working on the experiments. i thank the gods of sedation that i had this shit in my veins that keeps me from going completely insane when my brain just falters and fails for months on end like that. i think i'd have succeeded at death a while ago if i didn't.

it's time to start again, again.

in my absence two places have been set up to document and plan the experiments: they are Biohack.me and SelfModifier. they were set up by people who read the blog, and i will be establishing myself on them tomorrow. it's going to be the day when i finally check emails, answer messages, make introductory posts, etc. and i promise no matter what kind of progress i do or don't make, every Saturday i will check in here and on those sites.

i tried on various people's advice to set up a Flattr. i'm still trying. my paypal broke when a payment from my bank got refused, and i think that might have broken the flattr as well.

also i had an invitation in January to go speak about H+ in Ireland; i may or may not actually do this, since i don't know if it's too late to accept or about travel funds and whatnot.

in the main, though, sorry. sorry for leaving you all for this long. sorry for not replying to your messages and emails and SMS. sorry for not being better with my finances so i have any money at all to do anything. mostly, sorry for fucking up.

i have an essay i'll post for you tomorrow about underground H+. it's a long-ass bastard (4K) but it's a fairly decent piece, i think, since i wrote it for a University course. it's 0354 now and i ought to go find something to make me sleep. i'm okay, but i'll be better when i get back into talking to people. g'night, sibs. carpe corporem.

L

26.12.10

winter feast

a rare moment of fightless calm in my ma's house finds me sitting in front of a real log fire, working on my slides for the congress, eating bulk-buy pick'n'mix strawberry sweets. deciding what colour eyes to wear tomorrow out of a beautiful new palette and feeding leftover beef to the never-sad dog while it tries to steal my share of the meat, heat and liqueur. fuck all this Jesus and Eid and Kwanzaa and Pagan Solstice crap. i celebrate in winter what my farthest ancestors, all of them, did: there are people i care about, reachable and not, and most of us are still alive to see the words when i say them.

merry winter feast, sapes and friends. i toast your continued existence.

L

14.9.10

fightan good

(title stolen from the SCP Foundation's guidelines of things they don't want any more of, which is appropriately enough also what i don't want any more of.)

this, gentlehumans, is a rant. it is not directed at anyone in particular; rather, this thing that pisses me off is a whole fucked-up paradigm that colours all of our thinking and seems to come from society itself. that thing is fightan good.

it seems like every time you go looking for information or discussion on a particular technology, some fucker is looking to use it to fight good. usually, i expect this as a matter of course: TV and cinema, for one, seem to be saturated with the idea of combat, gaming even more so. everything's about fighting. every protagonist in anything i play has to fight something. i wish this weren't the case, because it bleeds over into science; nice tech, now how will we weaponise that? transhumanism suffers from it every bit as much as biotech and physics do. everyone wants embedded weapons, or enhanced reflexes, or super-speed, all for fucking fightan good. cyborgs as portrayed in common culture are almost all soldiers or mercenaries or bounty hunters. you can't get away from it.

this annoys me to no end. technology is so beautiful, knowledge even more so - and hurting other humans is not its intended use, nor is merely defending oneself from other equally violent motherfuckers who can't think of any other way to enhance the human body. what about your brains, people? what about longevity, or quality of life for the elderly? what about improving our capabilities to learn, to enjoy, to experience?

i'm not saying the species doesn't need defence capabilities: i hope one day it won't, but right now that's not the case. i'm just very sick of seeing people prioritise harming others over anything and everything. that's not what transhumanism is about. i won't help anyone weaponise themselves no matter how many times you ask me.

omnis moria, especially me, and i want to leave this planet a tiny bit better than i found it. you can't do that by making the world into a game of System Shock.

L

19.8.10

motherfucking teamwork

so, with my electrical incompetence on display for the world to see, Unqualified and others have suggested a far better way to power the Northpaw; inductive power transfer, something about which i know very little and will hopefully know a lot more by the end of tonight. i have a paper to read and a lot of 'pedia to peruse.

i'd just like to get lame for a second here and remind you all that this is precisely the sort of knowledge-sharing or idea teamwork that i have really, really been wanting to see more of in this field. thankyou all for your improvements, questions and suggestions. i would not have gotten so far without you. if any of you are ever in the Silver City, come meet me and we'll share a dram or two.

L

16.2.10

so i heard you guys like fiction

okay, i am not dead yet. soon i'll be writing either an article for h+, if i'm lucky, or a post here, if i'm not, about the ethics, legality and processes of self-surgery. in the meantime here's a piece of fiction called "tea". i wrote it a while back, but maybe some of y'all would like it.


tea
Lepht Anonym
23.04.09

Cherry stares at his earlier text-file notes through a haze of purloined codeine, the pills themselves long gone and the holder of the rest of the stash out of reach for good. "How the fuck you s'posed to grind stuff without a mortar'n'pestle?" he asks the half-deduced recipe, regretting again that he threw the pestle at a yowling cat outside his kitchen window three weeks ago and gave the mortar to the thing that lives upstairs the month before, when said bizarre neighbour inexplicably appeared at seventeen minutes past four outside his bedroom, requesting in his well-spoken way that Cherry lend him a non-metallic bowl.

He's way too nice for his own good sometimes. He's gotta stop being so nice.

Google reveals nothing, except sites where you can buy brand-new shiny mortars and pestles, none of which Cherry can afford. Hell, he can't afford to reconnect his own broadband line; he's stuck hijacking half the pathetic bandwidth of downstairs' ancient WEP setup, much to his annoyance and the bewildered chagrin of the lower floor. He's gonna be so screwed when they finally figure out what's going on. Cherry sighs, and goes back to the kitchen cupboards; retrieving the best alternative to the mortar and pestle a life in the City's patchwork slums can come up with (the mixing-bowl and shot glass) he empties a bag full of khaki dust that he's been trying to grind up with a rolling pin out over the bowl, and sets to mashing it against the pale china with the side of the glass, muscles complaining as the pliant fragments refuse to comply with his efforts.

"Hello?" he calls as he hears the door creak, expecting some drinking buddy, maybe Tommie with sake, and recoils. "Gah, fuck!"

His upstairs neighbour has drifted quietly into the kitchen, proffering a handful of thick stoneware fragments that once were Cherry's ex-wife's Italian mortar. "I'm afraid I broke your bowl," he apologises in his half-whispered, drug-addled monotone, and deposits them reverently on the introductory electronics textbook that sits open on the counter. "It was less... sturdy than I assumed it to be. Sorry." He sinks, cross-legged, to the grimy tiles and stares up at Cherry with hollow, dulled green eyes, snuffling the dust in the air and adding, "If you're trying to make a Papaverum somniferum infusion, by the way, you're doing it badly. You can't grind it like that, for a start."

Cherry glares at the interloper, annoyed but not surprised after so many years of living here. The block is essentially communal and such intrusions are common, if not this late. "Who are you again?"

"They call me the Saint."

"And Saint, what the fuck are you doing sitting on my kitchen floor?"

"I'm instructing you on how to better brew morphine tea... assuming that's what you're trying to do," Saint's eyes focus upwards on the cupboard door behind Cherry's head, "and not making oregano pasta sauce or some such idiocy. In addition," and he leans forward on his elbows with a slightly unstable air, gaze scanning over the detritus that clusters on every surface in here, "I'm refraining from asking you impolite questions about where you got the somniferum straw, or what's causing you enough pain to risk synthesising Class A drugs when you've left your front door open."

"You're some kind of crazy. I knew it." Cherry narrows his eyes and mentally prepares for another nonsensical fight with another of the block's cadre of meth-addled nutjobs. "Always with the crazies in my block. Go on home, Saint."

"Quite," nods the Saint in agreement with the insult, ignoring the order to leave. "The mental health profession do disagree on exactly what's wrong with me, though. When they can be bothered to see someone with as much negative finance as myself," he smiles, parenthetically. "And they ignore that anything's wrong at all when it comes to getting their fix." His half-focused eyes travel distractedly to the empty bookshelf, the dangling unfixed locks on the window, the dirt-soaked mat in front of the sink, and his expression takes on a tinge of mirth.

He doesn't leave. Cherry goes back to brutalising the poppy straw, and eventually the bedraggled little figure rises and wanders away.

When he wakes up with his cheek smushed against the keys of his laptop and a strange, not unpleasant scent invading his nostrils, the room looks... cleaner. It is cleaner. Beyond the cleared, wiped surface of the table, he can see his recipe books and reference texts have all been put neatly back on their shelf, ordered by subject. Did he do that? The one spare blanket he owns is now covering the ripped back padding of his sofa, joined by four puffy, comfortable-looking cushions from fuck knows where, all lit by a thin shaft of orange streetlight from the open window. The sink is devoid of dirty dishes, freshly bleached. It must be nearly dawn, he realises, because a soft drift of birdsong is infiltrating the room on the night air. More of the little chirping voices join in every few minutes.

"Unh, shut 'em up..." Cherry peels his face off the keyboard. The floor has been swept, the work surfaces wiped. His ashtray has been emptied. There's a fresh bag in the bin, and a fragrant pot of chai tea billowing steam into the air beside him, and a battered candle in an old jam jar burning on the counter. Cherry feels like a slumhead Sara Crewe.

"What the fuck?" he mumbles. "Tommie? Did you lot clean up in here? Where's this stuff come from?" Did he already take that crap he was trying to make and it just broke his brain? What's the point of a painkiller if it's gonna do that? He coulda just Rohypnol'd himself
.
"I had some things spare... An apology, since I broke your bowl." Cherry's shoulders jump at the deadpan voice from behind him, where the Saint, barefoot on the dirtless floor in his ancient fatigues, with the sleeves of his once-white jersey rolled up to the elbows, is stirring something in one of Cherry's dented aluminium cooking pots. Oh fuck, he thinks, this guy's some sort of stalker. Now he's going to think you owe him, and he's gonna take your liver as payment or something. Why don't you ever lock your fucking front door, you fool.

"Is... that why you're called the Saint? Doing this kinda thing?" ventures Cherry, unsure if he's about to be stabbed with his own wooden spoon or served cream of chicken soup. He means it as a distraction, a ruse while he looks around for his knife, but the Saint's easy posture and the air of relaxed, naive friendliness that surrounds him are disarming. "'Cause... thanks."

"Yeah, it's that," says his new chef, "and it's also because I'm the source of most of the narcotics around this district. If you're addicted to morphine, anyone who delivers it is a saint to you," he points out with a twinge of regret, and swirls the contents of the saucepan about. "But it started off when I used to bring people food." He looks up, remembering something. "Sorry about invading your kitchen like this, by the way... but you were really going to mess this batch up, and it's very good straw, very well-prepared. A shame to waste it." He scrapes around the inner edges of the pot with the spoon, tapping the handle on the side to flick the scrapings back into the boiling liquid. "Nowadays, I'm something resembling a dealer, but once I was just a young man trying to do his peeps some good. I'd give this another four or five minutes if I were you."

Cherry nods placatingly, still not really awake enough to follow anything the Saint, with his barely-audible voice like an Eton schoolboy permanently hooked to an opium pipe, can say. He's heard enough words like peeps and bring people food and source of narcotics to figure out that the Saint, rather than turning out to be a psychopathic killer, is more likely to be pathologically charitable, and definitely not on the opposite side of the law to Cherry and company. "Mhm. What exactly are you cooking? Did your oven break or something, cause you could've just asked -"

"I'm steeping your poppy straw, like I said. Wasn't that what you wanted?" The Saint turns to face him, and the hollows beneath his eyes are arresting despite his smile. He's one of the palest people Cherry's ever seen, with Caucasian skin that's bleached out like an albino's, the little holes in the backs of his hands and those bruised pits looking even worse against the pallor. "I'll dry it back out if you weren't going to use it yet."

"No, no, I was trying." Cherry holds his hands up like a hostage. "Listen, I don't really need any more help, but thanks for cleaning up. I'll bring you a few beers when I'm done tonight. Thanks," and he stands up, expecting the Saint to amble out with his odd junkie grace.

Instead, his new friend points to the pot and beams widely, a genuinely warm grin that looks misplaced between the gaunt cheekbones and the blemished skin, lighting up his eyes so they almost look normal. "Do you actually know what to do with this now that I've cooked it?" he asks, almost playfully. (Can crackheads be playful? wonders Cherry.)

"Well, I've read the wiki."

"I wrote most of that, but I left a few things out. The users have probably filled in the gaps by now." The Saint holds out the spoon in a conciliatory gesture. "If you can do it, I won't intrude any further."

Cherry wrinkles his lower lip. "Fine, you do it."

"I can stay?" Another alien smile.

"Yeah - wait, you can chill here while you cook, you can hang here, but you can't live here." Cherry is struck by a wave of irrational suspicion. "I'm not trading drugs for living space, this is my house, damn it."

"I have a home," the Saint says carelessly, looking at Cherry over his shoulder. "I live on the floor above you, have done for years."

He knew that. Damn, he's out of it. He's obviously been under for a while. The Saint picks up the pan with no regard for the heat it must be radiating, carrying it over to a cup on the work surface on Cherry's left, on whose rim an unfamiliar object - a tiny fine sieve with two scratched wooden handles - is perched.

"I shan't keep the recipe a secret from you," he reassures Cherry in his conspiratorial whisper. "I'm not Betty Crocker... First of all, you don't really need to be grinding it, especially not with straw like this - it's already been ground fine enough that you can just throw it into a few centimetres of water. Let it steep at about sixty degrees for a couple hours, and always add a few shakes of lemon juice, don't forget, because the pH needs to be low..." He looks at his host to see if Cherry is following, oblivious to the fact that although his eyes are open, the veteran is essentially still asleep. "A lower pH makes for a better morphine yield. Anyway, my tea strainer is yours to borrow anytime you need it," and he pours the sludge from the pan, now turned a greyish mud-brown, into the little mesh strainer, compressing it down with a teaspoon. It takes him a while to push all the fluid out of the wire basket, and the resulting cup of brown liquid looks anything but appealing. Its thick organic scent, tart like dung and not entirely distasteful, hangs around the Saint like a cloak as he brings it over. "Here you are."

"You sure this stuff is even gonna work?" mutters Cherry as the Saint places the teacup, carefully like some underworld maitre-d', in front of the still-steaming teapot. Its own gases rise and mingle with the pot's cloud. "I didn't pay very much for it."

"Of course. Papaverum somniferum," shrugs the Saint, as if that even approximates an explanation. Cherry looks at him vacantly. "The root of all opium," he clarifies. "It made the Victorian opium dens what they were and it got the Persians high enough for surgery; it makes the heroin people get from me, and those rubbishy codeine pills that you buy at the chemist's, and the morphine they pump into people in the State hospitals instead of antibiotics. East is east," he smiles. "It's all Greek to me."

Cherry chews at the inside of his lip warily, heaves his head off the table again, stares into the brown stuff. He sniffs it and recoils as a stronger wave of the tangy smell hits his nasal membranes - exactly how much lemon juice has gone into this shit? - and then, with the same instant resolve that made him take this apartment years ago and join the Army a decade before that, he lobs it down his throat.

"Jesus!" He coughs and spits a fragment of stalk away, fishing another out from under his tongue. "God, that is fucking disgusting. Augh."

The Saint puts the half-full, mostly solidified bag of sugar back where he found it, in the back of the cupboard that houses microwave chips, Yum Pax toaster pastries, extra-caffeinated instant espresso and cornflakes, items which compose the majority of Cherry's diet. "You can sweeten it before you... never mind."

"Fuck it. Whoo," Cherry shakes his head as the tea slides into his stomach. "Strong stuff."

"I told you it was a good batch. Thankyou for letting me help."

Cherry raises an eyebrow, but ignores his doubt that anyone would possibly thank people for letting them help with chores. "Sure. Any time." At least he doesn't have to do it.

"Really?" The Saint looks hopeful, and Cherry wonders how many people invite this wasted little dealer into their houses without wanting drugs. What do saints do in their spare time?

"Yeah, come for a beer whenever you want. You saved my ass," he gestures to his creaking back, and to the invisible damage inside his chest from the gas they don't tell recruits about. "Y'welcome here anytime, Saint."

A slow, lopsided smile creeps over the drug synther's face. "Honestly?"

"Sure."

"Then what do I call you, amico mio?"

"Lieutenant-Corporal Martin B. Chandrasekhar, son... but most people stick with just Cherry." He grins back. "Can't be arsed with that regiment shit any more, if I'm honest." The opiate tea is starting to kick in, and his slurring becomes progressively more apparent as he speaks. He drags himself out of the chair and around the table, slumping onto the sofa with relish.

"No ranks amongst scum," observes the Saint as he moves. "We're all just sitting down for a cup of tea."

"Cup of tea," agrees Cherry as his eyes start to close. He's asleep before he can say it again.

[EOF]


thus ends another round of public humiliation. whoop.

L

30.11.09

public humiliation time!

sometimes i get fucked up and morbid and it leads to me writing whiny-ass pieces in lectures instead of taking notes. i'm sure it looks like i'm taking really fucking good notes, though. anyway here's the piece i wrote in Knowledge-Based Systems today while Dr. Kollingbaum was talking about backward chaining in Jess (awkward); it's called "doll", and it's about biohacking, in the sense of the word that i don't use. assume it's set at some unknown time in the future, like most of my crap. and ignore the wangst; it spills out into the text editor so that it doesn't stay in my head. i'm not actually this emo in real life.


doll
i am a morbid, morbid motherfucker
Lepht Anonym 30.11.09
-------------------------------------

He can't sleep without his doll. That's fucked up, and he knows it. Close to necrophilia, closer to obsession or maniacal grief. It's just a doll now; no more sentience, no more talk, but he still needs it. He talks to it sometimes anyway, even though it won't hear. Those fuckers. He still tells it he loves it, gives it those little showers of kisses it used to laugh at. It says nothing. It sits.

Those fuckers. He's almost traced them, doesn't know any more how much time and money he's invested in making the contacts to do it and bribing the ISP and trading the guy upstairs drugs to teach him how to work the black wares. It's become all he knows, and it won't make the doll into a sentient being again, but it will make him feel better. Sometimes, like the doll itself, he doesn't feel anything at all.

He kisses its cheek, thirteen years' habit, as he climbs out of bed - it sits up in reaction to his absence, his stomach doing its familiar barrel roll before he tells himself for the thousandth time that that's just the basic functionality of the shell activating. Looks into its slack face to make sure. Sees its dead eyes and turns away sick to the screen. Almost there. Almost there. Those fuckers.

Do they even know? Do they ever feel guilty? Do they give a fuck that they killed the only person he depended on?

Of course they know. They do it for fun. And why should they care? It wasn't their love. They didn't technically murder anyone. They just threw some commands to a botnet drone that happened to sit inside his partner's favourite coffee shop. They didn't even manually spread the infection. Just programmers, showing the world their skills. Clever programmers proving the weaknesses in modern technology. Those fuckers.

He turns back to the bed. It's still sitting there; the urge to smash it rises again, throw the lightweight shell out of the window and watch it be crushed by the trains below or fried on the rails, but he can't move his limbs. It still looks like his life partner. It's still wearing a medical bracelet and the T-shirt that smells like cigarettes long gone. Like it could light up any minute, speak again, make one of their stupid injokes or yell "Psych!" and start cackling. Its head lolls. The deep blue eyes stare at the whirls on its blanket.

He doesn't know what he'll do when the trace completes. He knows it won't be legal. He cradles the doll's limp torso tight.

[EOF]

it's out

i told everyone at the dissident gathering in Hatton last weekend that i loved my partner. i feel like saying it here as well.

i love you, Muad-Dib. i'm always gonna love you.

L

27.7.09

Milanese stars

i still can't believe they sent my streetscum butt here. i'm at the visiting scientists' residences of the Mario Negri Pharmaceutical Research Institute, in Milan, which turns out to be not a pompous and preening fashion capital but an industrial wonderland full of huge open factory spaces, lamps hanging from wires bundled down the middle of the streets, tram lines crossing every space of the sky. the Institute's HQ is new, and where i'm staying is essentially a fancy city apartment, or the best goddamn student dorm i've ever seen. there's air conditioning in here, and a power shower, and lights around the bathroom mirror, and ice water in the fridge, and a double bed, and goddamn i still can't believe they sent me, Lepht "Charity Shop" Anonym, here.

i'm writing from right in front of the open windows, looking across the Institute car park where you can see white pools of light on soft grey stone and the words "Istituto Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri" in huge neon letters, and the scientists' office balconies all lit up, and at first i thought you couldn't see any stars - this is Italy's most industrialised city, and the light pollution is pretty bad. i was wrong - you can see them if you're not looking directly at them, faintly, like the Pleiades in Scotland. they're still there; you just have to look for them in a different way.

uplifting, when you think about it.

20.7.09

revenge on Lepht

right now, ladies and gents, i am one sick-ass motherfucker. my stomach's roiling like the North Atlantic, i'm only sitting on the floor because to get up is guaranteed to make me hurl and i personally just want to jack in to my beautiful cluster and not ever look at meatspace again.

why, you ask? well, competition.

i don't like competition. and it's nothing to do with not liking to lose - in fact, i'd prefer to have the competition be in a subject where i know i'll lose, like sports or chemistry. (you're listening to the virtual voice of Dr. Rubber-Legs Can't-Catch What's-A-Reagent itself, here.) what's sparked off all this sickness is, once again, my last ex.

w3dyt, in his wisdom, has decided that he is going to take revenge on my dain bramaged ass. i'd thought that a relationship during which: i got jealous and got between him and his new flame; he punched me, a guy literally half his size, in the damaged kidney; i seemed like a total binary-flipping psycho because i don't even know my own mind when it comes to proper relationships; he posed my unconscious body in 'funny' positions and took pictures without my consent; i told him i loved him when i couldn't possibly know that; he ratted me out to the legal authorities for doing implants as soon as he wasn't the only one i was doing them for and coldly told me in Starbucks that he did it for moral reasons; etc., etc. - i woulda thought that a relationship like that, which i should never even have started with him, would be revenge enough for both of us.

apparently not. whilst i take a lot of the responsibility on myself - for not ending the relationship as soon as i realised i was in over my head, for allowing myself to play at having emotions i'm just not really capable of, for getting jealous, a million things like that - not all of it belongs to me. we both did awful things. in w3dyt's mind, though, it seems that it was just me.

so he's decided that he's going to try and - i quote, from a twenty-year-old man - "work my ass off to beat [Lepht, academically]". he says competitiveness will give him "the edge". i break no sweat over this happening - i've been selected for a dozen things over him, including the research job i'm working right now (he didn't even get shortlisted) and founder President of the CompSci society at the University, plus i'm pretty well known at the Department and my grades are generally a lot higher than his - but it's this i'm-gonna-getchoo attitude that makes my blood freeze.

you wanna know why? because it fosters a hostile attitude towards me in general that's not gonna go away. i am indeed a med-popping, drug-addicted, virtually friendless self-implanting machinehead nutjob, and having w3dyt in all my classes, trying to find out what my grades are so he can crow if they're lower than his and hate me if they're not, telling people he's going to beat me because i'm an asshole who "prides [itself] on being top of the class" (i'm not top of the class, ever, i hover around the middle) - this is not going to make it any easier for me or indeed him to get over what happened.

in addition, i can see it engendering a common practice of grade competitiveness, and from that stems that culture that makes undergrads value themselves on their grades alone. getting a 12 when i get a 9, or vice versa, does not make the higher graded guy the better person. whether he "beats" me or not, we're still both going to be fucked up humans with serious problems to get over.

so far the best practice i can think of is what i usually do, which is to avoid revealing my scores to anyone who isn't in my immediate tribe. i'm still sick as a dog, though. to be honest the fact that he's reduced the whole situation, in his mind, to one where he is the good guy, i am the bad guy, and he will work hard and beat me like some Hollywood high school movie, just hurts. even though i vehemently dislike w3dyt, i'd hoped to see him do something more mature than that.

3.7.09

six months

so ten minutes or so ago, we got an 8-node Kerrighed Beowulf cluster working with Bio-Linux. i've never had access to this sort of computing power before; 18Gb of RAM, 3Tb of storage and 10 Opteron CPUs - it's a behemoth made from nothing more than off-the-shelf components. it's utterly fucking stunning.

working this job mostly makes me think i've died and gone to hacker heaven. there's the little perks, like i can wear what i want (facial skin divers? circuits and vines drawn around my eye socket? no hair? fine by these guys) and the canteen food is somehow both dirt cheap and delicious (strawberry meringue cheesecake in a box = 50p), and the free coffee and my own goddamn lab - yep, they gave my streetscum ass a lab of my own, and i still boggle at that - but more than that, there's all the shit i'm learning. i've learned more about networking and Linux here than i coulda done in the entire summer by myself, and i've only been here a month. i can't fucking wait to see what else there is.

as if that wasn't enough, not only are they gonna be paying me in a month what i thought i'd make in the whole term of employment (i'll be able to afford my big ink way sooner than i thought), but i'm gonna get to go to Milan, to help out at one of our partner institutes for a week. i'll get to play with a huge cluster they built out of garbage.

looking back at six months ago, when i was stuck in an abusive relationship, broke as fuck, dependent on escapism and drugs to survive, i can't believe i survived that long without major depression. i was so lucky not to get any more fucked up than i did. i didn't think it was all that bad at the time, even, but looking back on it makes things these days seem like a fucking dream; i just used to always have this sense that something was wrong, that i needed to get away. i'm so fucking happy compared to back then.

if i'm asleep, i don't wanna be woke up.

L

22.6.09

the curve, or why i'm glad i'm not dead

seems like the learning curve for your first research job is pretty steep, especially one where you're expected to be almost completely independent - here, i've just been given an overarching task ("see if this cool clustered Linux workstation idea is viable for what we want to use it for") and a lab full of hardware to set it up in, plus a knowledgeable superior to ask questions of if i need it. this is my third week now, and in two weeks i've learnt:

- better bash scripting
- the structure, merits and disadvantages of cluster systems Kerrighed and openMosix
- how to use Debian-based systems, especially Ubuntu and the NERC's BioLinux
- practical (i.e. kludge) networking
- Beowulf cluster theory and architecture
- how to patch and recompile the Linux kernel
- how to use vi
- not to fear machines without a monitor or keyboard
- all about PXE booting
- how to SSH into remote machines without being a floundering idiot
- not to fear setting up your own servers
- way too much about NFS, GlusterFS, and XtreemOS/XtreemFS
- how to get around a crappily-written government wiki and edit it without the European professors who contribute to it kicking your ass for being retarded
- how to use skype (yeah, i didn't know how before.)
- how to build machines from scratch without shorting anything out or electrocuting my part-metallic ass
- the difference between IDE and SATA drives (yeah, that's another fucking duh thing i shoulda already known)
- how to network printers under Linux

...and how to use a filter coffee machine that's older than i am.

my head is so full of new stuff, i'm fairly sure i'm gonna lose a language or something to make space, like all the Japanese or Python is gonna drain out of my brain because it's full of init.d commands. this has got to be the steepest learning curve i've ever encountered, and it's fucking brilliant - i have never learned this much in two weeks, ever. the best thing is that there's so much more to go - i've got another two and a half months of this, and next week a cluster guru from Milan arrives so i can pester him with questions he'd expect from his seven-year-old kid rather than his twenty-year-old colleague. and as if all that wasn't enough, i might get to go to Milan myself to go see said guru's research institute and help him build a cluster like my prototype - Linux and hardware and a chance to practice my Italian and my favourite summer food in the whole Union,delicious chocolate semifreddo!

the downside is that i've been getting up at six and going to bed at one, so i look... frightening. i'm as white as my coffee mug and the shadows under my eyes are getting frankly Gothtacular - like i've said before, i look a bit like Bela Lugosi dressed up for an all-night rave. (i'm gonna look even worse after i shave my head for Cancer Research again.) i'm pretty much permanently exhausted, but it's so utterly worth it that i wouldn't mind surviving on four or even three hours a night indefinitely if it meant this kind of knowledge access.

knowledge, people, software, freedom and fun - man, i am so fucking glad to be alive.

L

14.6.09

ridiculousness

i get bored sometimes, and to my eternal shame, i end up reading manga. this time it was Bleach - but i had to stop after a couple chapters when i hit the little 'character vital stats' pages.

the heroine is physically a 15-year-old woman. weighing 33kg. that's 5st 2lbs, for anyone who works in stones, or 72 pounds. that's the weight a nine-year-old should be, on average.

that weight could never be achieved by anyone who wasn't dying of starvation or an end-stage anorectic. and that's what's being held up as a woman's normal weight at 15, never questioned? disgusting.

L

11.6.09

the sorceror's apprentice

working this job is... difficult. the material i study and use here is arcane and obscure; i'm working with Linux distributions i've never heard of before, modifying their kernels and filesystems to do clustering and grid tasks whose theory i've been studying for a week, if that. i'm eyeball-deep in complex projects, sub-developer teams, many-branched source trees and technology i only barely understand. i'm also surrounded by people with an average of about twenty years' education and experience in the top of this field, several degrees up on yours truly; i should probably be depressed at how little of this i get.

i'm pretty damn happy, though. i discovered a method way back in my first year of University that helps you deal when you're on the brink of being overwhelmed by your own crappiness. it's an experience metaphor, a way of seeing your life in analogy; you're the sorceror's apprentice. it's particularly apt when you're working with advanced tech, since 90-node clusters doing complex genomics computations sure as hell seem like magic if you're seeing them for the first time.

the apprentice is a learner in their world. maybe they're one of many, maybe they're the only one, but they're a newbie in the midst of masters, someone whose task it is to gain knowledge from those around them. it's an image in direct contrast to the 'fighter', a metaphor i know a lot of guys use - the fighter's approach is to see others around her as rivals to be competed with in terms of skill level, whereas the apprentice sees them as sources of wisdom.

considering yourself to be an 'apprentice' seems to improve your motivation to learn and to perform better at your tasks. it stops the whole "Everybody's better than me, therefore I'm worse than anyone else, therefore I feel like shit" thinking that plagues you sometimes in situations like these, and it makes you consider your peers as a beneficial force rather than an army of rivals. after you've stopped thinking of them as people who've 'beaten' you, you're in a better position to pool your knowledge with theirs, and you can approach them for help - that way, you help each other. it's also a pretty good way to minimise your own hubris - you can't walk around thinking you're the schiznit and nobody's greater than you if you've been considering yourself a humble apprentice for a week, so you don't get overconfident and neglect stuff.

most people probably don't need this kind of cognitive metaphor, and i know a large percentage of y'all won't have a goddamn clue what i'm even trying to say. but it sure helps me, and i hope someone'll get something out of using it.

L

7.6.09

straight edge

my immunocompromised, can't-handle-finals-week immune system can't fight off glandular fever, so i been pretty damn sick this week. in a way, illness kinda sucks ass: a week on your ass, losing ridiculous amounts of weight because your throat hurts too much to even swallow liquids, not being able to breathe properly (it was that that made me call the NHS, contra to my advice to other people about not being an over-macho i-can-take-it asshole and letting yourself get horribly ill), dehydration because you can't drink and if you do you vomit and you've got diarrhoea, yada yada.

the plus side was i got an entire stash of Kupkakes* - 30mg cocodamol, an excellent little drug that actually does something, compared to the 8mg that serves as a rather crappy bulwark against my codeine addiction. i guess they don't care about giving pills to addicts if those addicts are shaking uncontrollably with raging fevers, crying like pussies in the emergency clinic at 4am.

that got me thinking. i don't use the Kupkakes recreationally, though i sure as hell could - aside from their analgesic/antipyretic effects, they'll calm you down and make you walk around floating on a cushion of chill, but they're far too valuable to me as a CP patient to waste on chilling. i was looking at one the day before yesterday in an attempt to psyche myself up for swallowing it (yesterday was the first day i could eat solid food, and since then i've been fucking golden), and i remembered the stash of Rx Kupkakes one of my exes has.

i have a lot of ex-girlfriends and boyfriends, but most have been from my side of life - alternatives, sort of. i think i'm just attracted to that willingness to try anything; well, this ex - call him Will, names changed to protect the fucking guilty - was sort of an anomaly. had ink and piercings, sure, less than me but a few, and weird hair like yours truly - but Will's a straight edger.

this was sort of a shock to me when i found out, after we first started dating, but i figured hey, if the man doesn't tell me what i can and can't do with my own meat, i ain't gonna tell him what he should do with his. it was only after we had a conversation in which it transpired that if i got seriously ill and resorted to cannabis for pain relief, he'd leave me no matter how ill i was, that i realised there's something kinda fucked up about this straight edge philosophy.

for a start, i reject the argument that the philosophy bans things because they fuck you up. the SxE list of 'banned' substances is... well, sorta arbitrary. tobacco, recreational drugs, alcohol. some of them are also vegetarian, some don't approve of any drugs at all - no fucking paracetamol in one kiddie i heard about on the grapevine, some just stay away from those Big Three. but why just those three? just because they're common? why doesn't SxE doctrine ban fried food, standing right in front the speakers, skinny dipping, high heels or not taking your insulin on time? i believe people have a right to fuck themselves up, and to make their own judgements in what's acceptable levels of fucked-up. it's called bodily autonomy.

there's another thing. i see no reason to make an entire militant philosophy out of not doing something nobody is making you do. you don't smoke? well, i quit too. now i'm more stressed, less broke and no lung cancer. grats. you don't drink? welcome to the United Arab Emirates. i just don't get it why it needs a symbol and vigilantes and a movement.

third, i reject the idea that drug use is always bad and the only reasons people have for taking are peer pressure and thinking it's cool. i don't know a single fucker who's ever used because they wanted to be with the cool kids; the cool kids don't do that shit, they don't need to. people i used to hang with had the same problems as i and the rest of the City did: some were in pain, some had survived awful shit in their lives, some were addicts, some wanted the rush. using was just one solution. all of us did some stupid things, but we sure as hell weren't doing it for acceptance in the goddamn playground. to reject drugs on that precept is over-simplifying to a ridiculous degree.

the lifetime commitment thing bothers me, too. i respect people trying to make a commitment to something, but i worry when i see them trying to make a promise for life. like a marriage, you can't enter into a contract like that knowing for sure that you're never going to feel any other way, even if you really don't think you will; so when you've got an X tattooed on the back of your hand and you find that, shit son, you can't pay the NHS for your pain pills and you've got nothing to keep that tide of hurt away, i don't think you can honour a lifetime promise never to do drugs without putting yourself through pain for no real reason.

last up, the militancy. i don't have a problem with SxE kiddies who just don't drink, smoke or do drugs themselves; they wanna protect their meat, and we disagree purely on the best way to do that and the acceptable tradeoff between protection and other benefits. i have a problem with those like Will, people who look down on friends having a drink together, people who decide to make you pick between them and relief from the screaming abyss of agony where your guts used to be. my personal choices are mine alone; if you think they're wrong, we'll have a debate, but sneering straight-edgers with a squeaky superiority complex ain't good at that sort of debate. if you think my choices should be restricted because people around me are emotionally hurt by them, you can think again. everyone has the right to do legal things without fear that they'll hurt or offend others and be thrown in jail; what i don't have the right to do is physically hurt someone.

if my pain control makes me go off the rails and kill someone, it's my fault and i deserve to go down for it, because i shoulda been more responsible in choosing better drugs and locking my ass away while i was on them. if i take acid because i wanna know more about myself and i freak out and gouge out one of my eyes, i don't get to the top of the waiting list for a new one any time soon, and that's fair. but if i'm not hurting anyone, i don't need a lecture from some sanctimonious, cleaner-than-thou punk.

L


* Kupkakes are called that because they say KAP|AKE on the pill, as well as because when you're feverish, your muscles are screaming and you can't sleep, four of them are the sweetest thing in the Universe save the white angel.

31.5.09

on squeamies

squeamie, noun: peep who doesn't want anything to do with implanted technology because of the eeew factor. take the guy who saw me submitting a paper at the CSD offices a couple weeks ago, sorting through the pages with the massive paperclip i was gonna need stuck to the back of my hand on a nodule. gross factor triggered when he realised what the deal was, and eeew guy was out of there, making the squeamie face.

it's not a good thing to be afflicted with, the squeam. i remember my first back-of-the-hand cannula - they leave an impression for about a day after you remove them, and i was fucking horrified. i couldn't look at it, kept the whole thing hidden under a dressing and threw up the first time i touched it. see, i used to have this problem with subdermal critters - still do - and it fucked me up.

what gets rid of the problem is exposure. after that first cannula, the others didn't seem so bad - that kid i used to be, who screamed bloody murder when there were blowflies in the yard bin, is now me; i've cut out stitches with a penknife and forced metallic bits of crap inside my own flesh and tolerated all kinds of medical bullshit. you can be an ex-squeamie.

so get out there, ladies. show off your subderms, frighten some normals. you're helping in the long run.

L

14.5.09

side-effects may vary

i get a lot of admiration and kudos for my pissabouts with H+ technology, most of it undeserved. frequently, people will say that they wouldn't do it, but it's a cool thing to be doing, or something along those lines; less frequently, people get into it right along with me. two people in the city have since i been here. both now have a black-market implant installed by yours truly, and one reacted very differently to the other.

that got me thinking. when i first jumped into the field with my little RFID ampoule, i just had one aim: to satisfy my own curiosity. i honestly wasn't thinking of anything else, neither of puerile cool-factor addition or of higher goals; transhumanism wasn't a word i knew at that point. i just wanted to hack the meat and see what would happen, both socially and technologically.

i got my answer, sort of, but i also got a whole barrel of side-effects, good and bad. viz:

good:
- it stimulates discussion and interest in H+. this is the major pro.
- there are functions of the devices i didn't expect: i use the Nd-60 nodules on my right hand as placeholders for magnetic objects, which helps while soldering and when using styluses, for instance.
- it gets people to build on what i have, like one buddy who's working on improving the RFID setup.

bad:
- it's the biggest blackmail incitement i've ever had. someone i used to work back-to-back with underground now holds the power to send me to jail, someone who doesn't like my sorry ass at all no more. now i've got a sword of Damocles over my head that i can't forget about, and i've lost the ability to tell you guys about my procedures for fear that it'll fall.
- the infections, and with the Nd-60s, the poisoning. it's a risk we run, and it's gone badly wrong for me in the past. it also makes me feel like an asshole every time i have to go get State surgery for things i did to myself.
- socially, it tends to isolate me once people find out who i am. for every one who thinks RFID is cool and they might try it themselves cause they could do a damn sight better than junkie-ass here, there's another one who thinks monsters check under the bed to make sure Lepht's not there, or that i'm some exotic flavour of self-harmer. it's weird, but i guess it's part of our society; ask TV: cyborgs are emotionless at best and psychotic on average.
- pain. you got a pain problem, homebrewing'll make it that much worse; you didn't have one before and you're sure as shit gonna.
- not that this one bothers me, but people comment; scars. my hands look pretty fucked up now. personally, i like them.

the worst thing is what's happened with my onetime partner. he was abusive, a total mindfuck to be with, and i don't miss the guy - on a pretty deep level, i hate that he controlled me for as long as he did - but i got a lot of regrets about what went down. it keeps me awake at night that he could dump my ass back in prison any time he wanted. that's not somewhere i wanna go again, ever. the best, i think, has to be the knowledge of exactly how little i've already done, how much there still is to play with and how much room my crapped-out body still has for experimentation. it's exhilarating.

i think even if i'd known this shit would go down, i wouldn't have been able to resist the implants. they're like crack for me. i guess that makes this post the patient information leaflet for cocaine.

L

28.2.09

cheer up emo kid

woke up this morning been dreaming that i'd never broke up with w3dyt, never had anything wrong with my head, never got punched, never had a fight, never got my trust broken, never got ratted out and cut off by the suppliers and had to change my hair and tell my guineapig to fuck off and all that shit, dreaming that we were just chilling on the couch with a couple sodas and some junk, playing the 360 and talking bullshit and it was all like it used to be.

then i woke up, and it don't happen often, but for a few seconds my slice of the world looked like a steaming heap of freshly-dumped crap.

so this a list of some of the shit i do when i'm feeling like ass, stuff i picked up in the hospital, at university and just living in the city all my life - shit i know works for me, maybe it'll work for other people too.

0000. cook stuff. last time it went kinda wrong and what i ended up with was snickerdoodles that were better off being put to use as blunt weapons, and the image of your favourite crippled junkie wetware hacker baking cookies is probably fucking hilarious (it sure as hell amused my meatspace peeps), but seriously, cook, make a fucking turkey dinner or whatever. it takes your mind off the bullshit and it gives you a sense of achievement at the end, even if you're as shit at it as i am.

0001. hot bath. enough said.

0010. write novels, paint your room, get a sketchbook, do something creative. program something new, work out some bugs in your favourite open source app. update your monochromatic technology-and-life-related blog that nobody reads. doesn't matter if all you end up producing is a meg-and-a-half of Marty Stu's Adventures in I Am So Great Land, or an IDEful of code that does precisely bupkis, or sixteen pages of scribbled-out monstrosities that not only don't look like the woman you were trying to sketch but would probably make her hit you; it's the effort that does it, you put all the bad that's drifting around your head into what you're doing instead of leaving it there to stew. there's also less conventional creative outlets - my implant jam sessions, for instance, or tattoo design, or planning piercings. make a topiary out of your drunken friend's hair if it makes you feel better.

0011. actually, just do things. chores, laundry, jogging, work, it's all good, cause occupying your brain rather than sitting there is useful.

0100. talk to somebody about what's going on. got a crew, a best buddy? if not, you've got a counsellor, or a GP who can get you to one for free.

0101. make sure you've taken all the shit you're supposed to take. i used to get pretty down sometimes when i was really sick, and believe me, not taking the pills they want you to doesn't help. of course, if you're a normal healthy person, you don't need to worry. get out and do some exercise, you healthy fuck.

0110. if you've got access to a fuckbuddy, sex will shoot you up with dopamine and endorphines good and proper. if you've got a proper partner with all that hug-me, support-me, hold-me-as-i-fall-asleep jazz, you don't need advice from the likes of my loveless ass.

0111. comfort. i personally don't know what to do for this one, but i'm told by lots of professionals that it's necessary for neurotypicals. maybe you've got a soft blanket or a comfy couch you like to lie on; maybe you've got a bull terrier puppy to hug or something, or a giant sweater, whatever comforts you best. some of us with broken heads might think that acting on the problem is itself a comfort.

1000. acting on the problem, then: you got bills, start budgeting. you're ill, start planning how to manage it. you got unresolved conflicts in your past that have led to your chronic manic depressive disorder in the present, get to a shrink.

1001. don't do any of the following: hire whores; get wasted (it's a depressant, it's not gonna fucking help); get high if you get stupid, depressed, caught or murderous when you're high; talk to the person who caused all your emotional problems if that's what happened (trust me); go shopping; comfort eat or stop eating at all; paint your room black and decide that Ville Valo is your new idol; start wearing guyliner; put any fiction you've written on the Wired; drop out of university / quit your job. i warned you.

so that's what i do, anyway. anyone got any better suggestions? - L