Monthly Archives: March 2015

Do I deserve happiness?

My brain’s rebelled.  It just won’t accept nice things happening to me.  It just keeps fantasising… horribleness!
Rimmer, Red Dwarf (S2E2: “Better Than Life”)


I’ve discovered something at work called a mocaccino… oh dear!

I seem to be right where I want to be: doing a job that’s not too hard, has nice hours and a location I can get to on the Tube, with money coming in; while it’s a contract job, and I haaaaate working as a contractor (what Satanic hellspawn came up with the worker-punishing idea of the umbrella company?  A politician, I’m sure!), and the pay’s pretty lousy, the company is good and I’m told there’ll be a chance of longer-term or even permanent work there — the whole reason they needed me in the first place is that they’re setting up a new team, so you never know…

Despite living paycheque to paycheque for the time being, I’m still able to do the things I enjoy — going to yoga, being personally tortured, climbing, hanging out with “best mate”, or just sitting at home playing games.  Yeah, I need to cut back on my social activities and concentrate on studying (I wonder if it’s a record how long I’ve been putting off doing my Server 2008 exam!), but I can certainly do that.  The weather’s also improving, and soon we might not need the heating on at all — spring is always a time of renewal, and this year it’s very welcome.

But am I altogether too lucky to have what I have at the moment, and is it a precarious situation that could end in the wink of an eye?  What have I done to deserve, for example, such an easy journey to work when so many people have to endure longer journeys, possibly by multiple forms of public transport?  (My boss, for example, has to come all the way from the outer reaches of the Metropolitan Line…)  Do I deserve a job I like and can actually perform reasonably well, after my utter failure to commit to the shift-based job in November that led to unemployment?  Why should I be able to afford to eat at Nando’s now and then when people in this country are going to food banks?  Should I resign myself to a miserable “adult” life, put away childish things and suffer along with everyone else?

Stupid, innit?  I’ve got to stop feeling unworthy of a good situation and worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.  I’ve got enough money for now, as well as the support of my mother and grandmother if anything goes wrong, and they haven’t fired me at work yet (indeed, no-one’s complained about me at all so far, which has to be some kind of record).  It’s wrong to tell someone they shouldn’t feel bad because someone else has it worse than them, so it should also be wrong for me to tell myself I shouldn’t feel good about my life!

Don’t worry, though, there’s still conflict: remember the day of work I did in December?  The agency still haven’t paid me, and on the rare occasions I can get an answer out of them, they continue to insist it’s because the council where I worked haven’t paid them yet.  I’ve escalated it to an official complaint, which shouldn’t be necessary for £100 (less tax and fees), and for the first time actually got something in writing; I’ve let them know that it’s not good enough, and depending on what information they give me, I’ll be going to the financial ombudsman… it’s enough to really irk me, but if I can focus all my hatred on this agency (who I’ll name and shame in another blog post if they still won’t pay me), maybe I’ll stop feeling instinctive quasi-racist anxiety against people who don’t deserve it.

What I really hope for is that this year will be a rerun of 2012: it wasn’t the best year of my life, but it enabled me to recover and begin building a new life.  I started climbing, which was a big improvement, and I also started earning more money at work, which meant I could afford that amazing holiday in 2013 that changed my life.  I’d happily go through 2012 again — the highs and lows — just so that next year I could go on another great adventure, but I’ll need some employment-related stability first, as money sadly remains important.  I just have to hope that my fortunes are cyclical, and that I’ll have the chance again… but do I deserve such luck?

(Oh, shut up and stop worrying, Dave-ros!)

Another hero dies


Sadly, I’ve never been able to master that single raised eyebrow, which means my Spock impression remains forever incomplete

It’s happened again: just like Dave Brockie and Robin Williams last year, someone famous whose work I’ve enjoyed has departed from this cruel world.

Yes, in case you missed it on the Internet amongst all the talk of what colour a dress is, Leonard Nimoy, the actor most famous for playing Mr. Spock in various incarnations of Star Trek, writing a book called I Am Not Spock (and another called, er, I Am Spock), recording several albums’ worth of music (including a very strange Tolkien-inspired music video) and lending his voice to cartoons (including appearing as himself), shuffled off this mortal coil on Friday.  I knew something was up the previous week when he went to hospital, and I expressed hope that he’d be able to carry on at least a bit longer, but sadly, his time had come.

Okay, I admit it, I would know nothing of his other work if it hadn’t been for Star Trek, which remains one of my favourite things in all its incarnations (except the new movies, for which I don’t particularly care), and probably deserves a “Cool Things” post in this blog.  Spock, in particular, has always been a hero of mine for his cool, unflappable intellect based on logic and emotional restraint, and the difficulty he has interacting with “normal” people.  Many times I’ve written my diary from his point of view — “It’s Wednesday, Jim, but not as we know it” — and even dressed like him, including ear tips, for Halloween 1998 at UMich and New Year’s Eve 2009 at the home of “other female best friend”.

(And, of course, the fact that he can only get laid once every seven years makes him effectively a sex god to me… but then again, the same applies to Cliff Richard!)

However, unlike the other two aforementioned heroes, I’m not in mourning for Nimoy — and indeed, I haven’t felt a pang of sadness seeing him as Spock in the 1960s when watching old Star Trek episodes on CBS Action (or my old Sky recordings, as I harvest ad breaks for uploading to YouTube).  I think this is simply because he was a very old man, in his eighties, and he died blamelessly of natural causes (though he did wonder if his former smoking habit may have caused his illness).  Plus, of course, I haven’t seen much of his recent work, and instead have been enjoying what he did 50 years ago, when he looked very different from his 21st-century self.

By contrast, Dave Brockie was someone I’d only discovered a year before, and died aged only 50, when he was still performing regularly as Gwar’s lead singer, Oderus Urungus; his music had cheered me up and formed the anthem of a happy time of my life, and the thought that there’d be no more from him — and that I’d never be able to write to him about it — brought me down.  Moreover, Robin Williams’ death was truly a tragedy, as being by his own hand it highlighted the terrible issue of suicidal feelings that we’re all too willing to ignore, and that some perceive as weakness.

It also sucked last year to lose Harold Ramis and Rik Mayall, also both before their time… oh, let’s face it, people we like seem to drop like flies — especially those who rose to prominence in or before the 1960s — and we’re lucky to have recordings so that we can continue to enjoy their work.  My own roll of the dead includes Kenny Everett, Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams, Douglas Adams, Ronnie Barker, Gary Coleman, Bob Monkhouse, Morecambe & Wise, Leslie Nielsen, the first three Doctor Whos (and a number of others from the show, including Nicholas Courtney, Anthony Ainley and Roy Skelton), other Star Trek stars including James Doohan and DeForest Kelley, Eminem’s best friend Big Proof, 2Pac (though I didn’t hear of him until long after he died), Nate Dogg, James Brown, Barry White, two of the Bee Gees, Michael Jackson (despite the controversy that surrounded him in life), Sir Patrick Moore…

(I’m just lucky none of the above have been tainted by Operation Yewtree before they died — it’s bad enough what we learned about Jimmy Saville!)

But let us not cloud the issue: Leonard Nimoy’s gone to the stars, and we’ll all miss him — while at the same time continuing to enjoy his work, and being grateful that he had a good life and a relatively peaceful end… and we’ll go on living, because it’s the only logical thing to do!