Archive for the ‘Ouch’ Category

Opposition Risen

The swollen scar tissue in my throat has been replaced by a sharp stabbing sensation in my upper palette, just to the (stage) left of my uvula. It hurts, so much so that it almost ruined the slow-roasted lamb and sweet potato curry I spent half the day crafting. I say almost since it would have taken an anaesthetic-less vasectomy to spoil such a culinary tour de force.

Today is the Twentieth anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog. Apart from it being the five-hundredth thing that has made me feel old this month, I accidentally learned that I am the most natural Sonic the Hedgehog Master in the World, ever. I determined this ego-boosting fact (and it is a fact, which I will shortly demonstrate) while reading a thread on Reddit dedicated to SEGA’s blue mascot. I noticed repeated references to a segment of Sonic the Hedgehog 3‘s Carnival Night Zone, more specifically, they rued the bit with the barrel. One poster claimed that it took him days to conquer this devilish cylinder, while another confessed that they stopped playing the game altogether at this point, so difficult it is.

I vaguely recalled a series of barrels that needed to be traversed to progress, but I had to search YouTube to find the section in question. That bit? Really? I pissed that bit, without even a shrug. Instead of assuming that this collection of mewling thumb-bumblers were merely incompetent, I took it as irrefutable evidence that I am the greatest gamer who ever privileged a joypad with the touch of my digits. I feel confident in my assertion right now, though I did find the Mario All-Stars cartridge so may well tumble from my lofty pedestal with shocking precipitation.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved


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During my recent afflicted period I have been assessing my use of time. There’s a term in economics: sunk costs. It refers to retrospective costs incurred that cannot be recovered. Like a failed investment, it has been spent; gone, no recourse. Apply that concept to time, specifically those days, months, and years that on reflection were squandered. How much time do we all pine over? The wrong turns, the miss-steps, the make-dos and the dead-end relationships. Instead of grieving over lost time consider it a speculative gamble. Thinking of my “wasted” time as simply sunk costs has allowed me to contextualise it more constructively. Instead of ruing past investments, I focus on future spending, just so long as I dispense that time wisely.

As the above may suggest, I’m still a tad unwell. I manage to temper that by producing a page of script, which also served to nullify the four hours I spent playing LEGO Batman. I can’t help it: the game keeps taunting me with a completion  percentage after every level, and I’m only on 74.6%. During my recumbent gaming, Hattie the rabbit once again imitated my every move. This time, I took photos. I couldn’t get close, though, as she would leap up every time I stood, hence the wide shots.

This was at 11:00:

Then at 13:00:


And then at 16:00:

I’d quite happily watch her morph into the carpet all day. Another sunk cost? Money in the bank.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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Atop The Gop

I was reminded earlier of a brilliant piece of trivia about Frank Serpico. Who’s Frank Serpico? Firstly, ha ha! You don’t know who Serpico is? Idiot! Secondly, Frank Serpico was a New York police Detective during the Seventies who testified against his own department over allegations of police corruption. The story was adapted as a film – imaginatively named Serpico – starring Al Pacino.

Now you’ve caught up, here’s the trivia: Serpico spent two years in my hometown of Prestatyn (1974 and 1976) as part of the Witness Relocation Program. Not a lot of people know that, and it impresses me far more than being shot in the face and surviving. Recalling that soon made me wonder: surely, as far as Hollywood is concerned, the story isn’t over. I’m usually the first to knock a blatant cash-in sequel, but Serpico: The Prestatyn Years has a certain ring to it. If I was ever going to sell out I couldn’t think of a more appealing prospect.

The scar tissue in my throat – the unfortunate souvenir of my shoddily performed tonsillectomy – is swollen and so very, very painful. It seems to be a seasonal affliction, about every three months, which coincidentally was the frequency of my chronic tonsillitis before I agreed to have the offending tissue removed.

Considering the operation (or, rather, the infection I caught during it) triggered my ME, was it a fair trade? Most certainly not. Do I now regret having the tonsillectomy? Even though I recognise that I could never have been party to any privileged information that could have suggested I would become ill as a result, I do regret it, or maybe I just regret agreeing so nonchalantly, without researching filthy, scummy, dirty Wythenshawe Hospital beforehand. It is neither productive nor healthy to consider it in such terms, but I really can’t help it. I relay this dispassionately, simply externalising, thinking out loud. Regrets are constructive; they are a gift and our most persuasive learning tool, if we can embrace them.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I don’t enjoy starting yet another post with, “I don’t feel too good,” but feel I have justify myself to, well, myself. I feel a bit guilty about, three days in, not having any work to show for the week. Not quite as bad as having Alien Vs. Predator on in the background while I write, though. My excuse for allowing one of the biggest travesties committed to celluloid to play on the TV is that it provides me with some white noise without threatening to interrupt my writing.

I draw comfort from the fact that Hattie the rabbit has done as little as me, if not less. Actually, our laziness became synchronised: every time I would surrender my attempts to sit upright and instead gradually recline into the sofa, Hattie would drop her legs under her body and coalesce with the carpet like a furry T-1000, then close her eyes. Seems she’s picking up all my best habits. I wanted to take a photo, but every time I stood she hopped up, too.  She just ate some cecotropes out of her bum – she certainly didn’t get that one from me.

I usually enjoy the rain – like this afternoon when I went into the garden to stand in the torrential downpour – but not when it prevents me from watching a lunar eclipse. This is the second time in a row. Boo! Rain, stop conspiring against me you tempestuous yet alluring whore!

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I’m poorly rough today. I think I’m being punished for having the audacity to walk around some charity shops last week. Plus, it appears that my teeth-clenching may be due to wisdom tooth growth, which has only served to compound my ouchness. I did receive two belated Birthday cards and a present, though, which was most lovely. With the promise of another present to follow, I wonder how much longer I can string my Birthday out for?

It occurred to me today that I invented the LOLcat. A tall boast, to be sure, but absolutely true. During the late Nineties, my friend James and I invented a cartoon character called Stupid Cat. I fleshed out the environment and supporting characters, but then (as with most silly ideas) forgot about it. That is until I went to University. At some point between 2003 and 2004, some friends of mine were planning to launch their own magazine and wanted submissions for potential comic strips. I suggested resurrecting Stupid Cat which, after a brief explanation, was well-received. I drew and submitted two three-panel comic strips – showing Stupid Cat communicating with his pals in a child-like form of broken English – but by that time the magazine idea (as with most silly ideas) had receded.

Note that the first recorded use of the LOLcat meme was 2006. I don’t know why it took me so long to notice the similarities, but my work on Stupid Cat definitely pre-dated the most notorious of the 4chan crazes by at least two years. I realise only four or five people ever saw the three-panel pages of Stupid Cat talking, but it only takes one person to steal an idea, the intellectual property-infringing bastards. If I wasn’t feeling so rough I’d go out to the garage to hunt out the proof. Maybe soon I will.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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On second viewing, A Good Man Goes to War was more satisfying, on the whole, I think because it had shaken off the expectations that the (anti-)climax had promised. I also watched Castrovalva – the Fifth Doctor‘s début story – for the first time. It’s awful, and not just because Adric features heavily. As annoying as he might be, at least he provokes some kind of emotional reaction, unlike the the terminally bland Tegan and Nyssa. If ever there were a pair of companions designed to be, a) cyphers, and b) female, it’s those two. I intend to persist with Peter Davison’s run, but unless there is a marked improvement I’m beginning to doubt I’ll make it all the way to The Caves of Androzani.

Watching such tripe, though, inspired me to reconsider something that has been in the back of my mind for a number of years: writing a Doctor Who script on spec. The last time I thought about it I was angling towards combining the Atlantis myth – tackled before in The Time Monster, but very poorly according to reports – with a predestination paradox I had designed. I was stuck on it for nearly two years before deciding that it was a non-starter; dead, barring a great epiphany. Until earlier, when I hit upon such an obvious topic – one I’ve been fascinated with since my early teens – that I could retrofit into a great Doctor Who historical. I won’t name the central figure in question, but will say that he was an English  playwright (one of my favourites) who died in mysterious circumstances. And, best of all, is a gem as yet unmined by the show.

I’ve had another debilitating headache and a series of mini-bouts of fatigue today, so I have been slightly less than myself today, although the more often it happens the more that becomes the norm. I hoping that, much like homeopathy, the weaker I am the more effective I become.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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I had a rather odd experience when looking upon my visage in the mirror this morning. I noticed that I have a spot below my lip almost at the very same moment that I spotted a coarse grey hair sprouting from my beard. One represents the transition from youth to adulthood, and the other represents the slow decline into incapacity (well, nearly there anyway), incontinence, and death. How can that be possible? It feels like I am stuck in a form of limbo, between being both a teenager and an old man; is it possible, like some kind of Schrödinger’s Chap**, to be both young and old at the same time?

I’m still not well, but since it would be distasteful of me to describe the ongoings in my lower torso I shall leave it at that, my secret hope being that you are now imagining the ongoings in my lower torso and as such are responsible for disgusting yourself, making me both a blameless patsy and and a Machiavellian puppetmaster and making you feel as uncomfortable as I feel right now.

* While thinking of a title, I Googled the term young and old. As per Rule 34, I should have guessed what the first result would be.

** As in man, not member.

© 2011 Ashley J. Allen, All Rights Reserved

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