Monthly Archives: January 2012

Monday 27th

What a week. My attention deficit just put me through one of the most mentally demanding 48 hours of my life and, fortunately enough, I lived to tell the tale. Barely.

You see, when I headed home for Christmas last year, I knew there were a couple of deadlines at Uni that I had to meet in January: a flash video game and a 2000-word proposal for my final project due on Jan 23rd, and a blog, a 2000-word essay on copyrights, and a website plus its 2000-word critical report due on January 27th. Obviously, in the middle of all those family gatherings, parties and afternoons spent laying in the garden for a bit of caribbean sun, I totally neglected my academic duties and decided to deal with them once I was back in London.

The idea seemed reasonable and actually worked perfectly for the purposes of my first deadline; on Monday 23rd, I delivered both assignments and actually was quite satisfied with my proposal, which by the way, I plan to document here just in case I forget how did all happen. Anyway, things were going great and the challenges ahead looked absolutely accomplishable, so much that I decided to relax a bit and watch a movie, go for a walk in the park, buy a mirror, do some drawings, power nap for 2 hours a day, go to work, air drum in my room, do some laundry and try to sort out my hard drive (which is always a pain the arse), all because I knew that my next deadline was next monday, on January 27th. I had a full week to get my head around all this stuff so there was no reason to panic as most of my classmates were, all of them weeping about how much work they still had pending and how little time they had to get it done. I actually remember looking at their conversations on Facebook and thinking: why don’t you all just chill-the-fuck-out? I thought it was all a nonsense overreaction.

By Tuesday, it seemed to me like a good idea to pick up the studying and spent the day fact-finding about Trent Reznor and the way he managed to sell 250,000 copies of “The Slip” even though he released the album online for free, reading an interview with David Bowie in which he predicted – back in 1992 – the end of the copyrights as we know it, and watching this sweet documentary called PressPausePlay, which is pretty good-looking and quite interesting, particularly for all of us who see the Internet as a creative  playground. I won’t give away too much, instead I will put it here for you to enjoy it in all its glory. Give it a try, it’s worth watching.

Just before going to bed that day, at 1am, for some miraculous reason I decided to log in on my Uni calendar to check the guidelines for this essay I had to write, just to make sure I had fully understood everything I needed to convey in those 2000 words. So, I log in to the site and first thing I see, in big red typography:

DEADLINE

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27TH

Friday? Wait a minute, January 27th is NOT Friday, it’s Monday. I mean, if my first deadline was on Monday 23rd, the next deadline has to be next monday, it’s just simple logic. As I told this to myself, I kept staring at the screen and almost could feel how everything around me vanished; the lights slowly faded away, the quietness of my house got even louder and for a moment, time stood still, only to give me the chance to realize in peace what an extraordinary fucktard I am. Seriously, I couldn’t fuckin’ believe had confused the days in such stupid manner. And you know what’s even worse? This is…

How on earth did I mess up the dates for that deadline when I actually do have A GODDAMN CALENDAR IN FRONT OF ME?

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Anyway, there I was, on wednesday January 25th at 1:30am, having just 48 hours to write and craft all that stuff I was planning to hand in next monday. No wonder why everyone was “overreacting”. By the time I realized how screwed up I was, I couldn’t keep going much longer, I was falling asleep and my back hurted. I jumped into bed only to spend the next 2 hours wide awake, thinking how the hell I was going to make it for that deadline. Eventually, I rationalized there was nothing much I could do at 4am so I gave up, set my alarm and got some sleep.

Four hours later I was up, big cup of coffee sitting next to me as I typed away on my laptop the first lines of that copyrights essay I had pending. By 4pm I was pretty much finished so I took a break to cook some lunch, washed the dishes and came back to my cave to give that essay its final touches. When I was done, I checked how many words I had… I was 1100 words above the intended lenght. Great, now I needed to cut the bloody thing down. An hour later I was on 2600 words and decided to leave it like that. Fuck you, intended lenght. Went down to grab a cup of tea and came back to write down 5 blog posts on copyrights I had to deliver as part of my assignment. A couple of hours later I was done with that too and moved onto that stupid critical report. It was 7pm and I had spent almost 12 hours straight seated in front of my computer, writing homework and giving quick glances at that stupid number 27 in front of me. I hated it.

At this stage, my procastination habits couldn’t be restrained any longer so I proceeded to check my e-mail, my Facebook, my Twitter account, a few blogs, a couple of Tumblrs, Ross’ Facebook page, my e-mail again, my whatsapp, Amazon, Play.com, The Guardian, my Instagram, a couple of porn sites (as you do), Ross’ Facebook page again, my e-mail just in case something last minute came through, and finally went back to work. By midnight I was done with the report and somehow, in a day, I had managed to get rid of half the things I had pending. Not bad for a fucktard, not bad at all.

Next day I woke up early again, went to Uni to find a working Dreamweaver because mine wouldn’t cooperate and at 1pm I got that css code I had to tweak out of my way. Had lunch and went to the Royal Festival Hall to work on my website. The place has a friendly atmosphere I quite like, it’s warm, lively, full of nice people and although it’s always busy, it never gets too loud. Found a table, got my laptop running and started putting this website together. In the middle of it all, someone texted me, so I took my phone out of my pocket, replied and got back to my screen leaving the phone on the table, behind my laptop. An hour later, an pakistani guy came to me with Royal Festival Hall leaflets and stood in front of my table without saying a word, just handed me the leaflet with a shy smile. Now, I really don’t like prejudice and try my best not to be a narrow-minded arsehole but there was something odd about this guy; maybe it was the fact he looked like a retard or that he approached me in silence, I really don’t know, but I remember taking the leaflet, having a quick look, then giving it back to him and trying to figure out what the hell was going on as he just glanced back at me blankly. However, having slept barely 8 hours during the last couple of days, stressed out, overtired, hungry, distracted and with half of my mind in a waiting room at 16,259 km. from London, I was definitely not in the headspace for decoding anyone’s intentions. In the end, I just said: “no, thank you” and kept working. He took the leaflet and walked away, calmly, as if nothing happened, and for some reason, I kept following him with my eyes as he made his way to the exit. I sensed something but didn’t know what it was.

Five minutes later, I remembered I had to make this important call and when I looked for my phone, it was gone. You miserable indian motherfucker, that’s what you wanted from me! I should have seen it coming but to be honest, I was too exhausted and busy to realize I was being hunted by this maggot. When I did, it was too late, he was out of the building. At the time I didn’t have the energy to get pissed off but a couple of hours later I completely lost it and spent the entire evening cursing at the dirty son of a bitch. I was absolutely annoyed.

Eventually, at 10:30pm, I finished the website and took the Tube back home, being harsh on myself and my self-defense instincts during the whole journey. Once I was back at my place, I took a minute to reflect and to be honest, there was no reason to be that angry; after all, the phone was insured and, most important, I had managed to succesfully scratch every item of my to-do list in less than 2 days. There was nothing to be worried about, really. I hit the kitchen, cooked some salmon with potatoes, munched some chocolate fingers and by midnight I was in bed, thinking how all that rush could have been avoided if only I had looked at the massive calendar on the wall. Oh well, sometimes shit do happens, I guess.

Next day I woke up late, had a massive breakfast, went to Uni and handed in the 4 assignments before noon. It felt good. Later that day, went to the pub with some of my classmates, poured some beer down my neck and by midnight I was making my way back home, half drunk and very tired, feeling like Jack Bauer at the end of a full season of 24.

Now, a few days after the killer week, I write these lines as I pack my little suitcase with recently washed clothes. Yes, I’m off to Madrid, fellas.

I need a holiday.

Advertisements

Don’t lose hope

Came across this a couple of days ago and it almost brought tears to my eyes. Made me think about how certain people seem to have a supernatural sense of survival, a fierce desire to overcome adversity. To fight back. To come back.

Maybe we all do.

As Eddie Vedder would say: “No matter how cold the winter, there’s spring time ahead”.

Hang in there.

Wishlist

I rarely wish things were any different to how they’ve been in my life. Seriously, so far, I’ve had a great life: I have a loving family, I’ve travelled the world (well, not all of it but some), my penis works, I’m usually surrounded by talented and inspiring people, I live in a kick arse city, I don’t have man boobs, I’ve never been a vegetarian and I don’t own a single Bon Jovi record. I can’t complain, really. Even though, people who know me personally might argue that, deep down, I probably wish with all my heart that I was taller and it seems reasonable, I suppose, but let me tell you something: I don’t give a shit about height. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is some sort of heavenly damage control; I mean, being taller would be to have way too much advantage so I hold nothing against nature and its funny ways to make things fair to everybody. I do get it.

However, I must admit that lately I’ve been hanckering for something I don’t have; a trenchant incomformity that music has seeded in my head has been growing stronger over the last year or so. For the first time, I’ve really been wishing certain aspects of my life, of myself, were different. You know, it’s quite hard to accept I do have a dissatisfaction after all. Two of them, to make things worse. I put the blame, partly, on the EELS…

Do I want to wear sunglasses and look cool? No. Do I crave for world recognition and stardom? Nope. Do I want to have a band so I can wear fancy clothes onstage? Not really. Do I want to travel the world and play in front of millions of people and shag girls every night after each show? Well, maybe, but to be honest that’s not what’s really bothering me now.

“Then what the hell is that they have, you wish you had?” – I can hear you all say.

Well, I tell you what: I WANT A FUCKIN’ BEARD.

That’s it, seriously, I wish I could grow a goddamn beard like the one E has, it looks fuckin’ ace. And I wish I had been at that particular gig, too. In fact, if I was asked to pick a single video that somehow embodied the whole concept of human happiness, this would be it. Just look at all those people enjoying themselves, dancing and singing along, making funny moves, banging their heads, smiling… it’s just beautiful, particularly when you realize the kind of life the guy generating all that amazing energy has had. I’ve been watching this video repeatedly for like 3 months now and every time I do, a feeling of cheerfulness takes over, which made think about how powerful music is and how important it has become in my life. Moreover, it reminded me of this paper I was just a couple of nights ago: “Music, cognition, culture and evolution”, written by a guy named Ian Cross at the Faculty of Music in the University of Cambridge. The document is quite interesting, not only because it introduced me to some unknown concepts and ideas worth considering, but also because it made me sit down and reflect for a moment after reading the conclusions of three authors (Pinker, Sperber and Barrow) mentioned by Cross, all of them apparently suggesting that music is just an evolutionary by-product that’s purely hedonic and that “compared with language, vision, social reasoning, and physical know-how, music could vanish from our species and the rest of our lifestyle would be virtually unchanged”. From a purely scientific, biological, evolutionary point of view that statement might hold some truth to it but even though, I really can’t help to disagree, and luckly, so does Cross. I won’t spoil the whole discussion for you, check out the paper here, it’s worth reading.

The other thing that music has made me wish for is a proper photographic recollection of my life. Everytime I watch a documentary like Foo Fighters’ “Back and Forth” or Pearl Jam’s “Twenty”, I always wish I had more pictures of me, of my friends and family, of the things I’ve done, of the silly moments I’ve been part of, of the places I’ve been, of the people I’ve met, of the parties I’ve got drunk at… you know, greater photographic evidence of my journey so far. I have a quite decent amount of pictures of my childhood, most of them featuring a very tiny me wearing embarrasing costumes (thank you, mum!), but after I turned 14 or so, the numbers decreased dramatically. Even today, I rarely take any pictures of my happenings and to be honest, I have no idea why. There are no excuses: every single phone on earth has a camera now, I work with a photographer, I bought a proper camera last year, I live in a city that it’s pretty photogenic and yet, not many pictures under my belt. I’m gonna try to change that. From now on, I will try to keep record of my life as much as I can, just in case someone wants to make a documentary about me in the future.

Hey, you never know…

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE: I have just found this and for only 4$ it could be mine! I think I’m buying it.

If only

Do you know at what time did I actually fall asleep last night? No, you don’t and neither do I. It would be very difficult to know exactly because there’s no way to fall asleep and look at the clock at the same time but I reckon it was like 3:30am, maybe 4am. I was in bed flipping like a burger on a grill, not being quite able to find a comfortable position to rest and feeling a bit cold even though the heating was on and I was fully wrapped in wool and duck feathers. I guess I was just too tired.

Eventually, I managed to shut my eyes for 7 good hours and contrary to what you would expect, I woke up feeling like a was ran over by the whole cast of “The Biggest Loser” while I slept. Fucking hell, every inch of my body ached and I had no food to ease the pain. Our fridge is empty as all of us went away for the holidays so all I had for breakfast this morning was a cup of coffee I borrowed from one of my housemates and a couple of slices of bread we had in the freezer.

Despite the hopeless forenoon, I found energy to do some laundry, met up with Mr. Ross Halfin afterwards for a coffee and then went to Wellcome Collection, one of my favourite museums in London, to have a look at the “Miracles and Charms” exhibition they’re holding at the moment. I was particularly delighted by the collection of votive paintings on display as part of the show “Infinitas Gracias: Mexican Miracle Paintings”; some of them quite bizarre, others very very touching. There were hundreds of retablos and I got there quite late so I didn’t have enough time to go through them bit by bit so I’m gonna have to come back some other time to make it right.

There was also a wide range of amulets from Edward Lovett’s collection and some very nice small-scale works in wax by Felicity Powell, which I found fascinating. They have a very nice video showing the making of these very intricated pieces of art but for some reason there’s no way to embed it here so you will need to click on this link to watch it.

All in all, a nice first Saturday of the year. My body still hurts and I have a ridiculously long list of things to do but besides that, I think it would be fair to say it feels good to be back in London again. If only it was warm and sunny…

I need some sleep

After 26 hours travelling, whatever is left of me is finally back in London. I’m tired, a bit nostalgic and of course, jetlagged. I hate jetlag. There’s not much difference really, just four and a half hours, but that’s good enough to keep me awake at 2:30am even though my body is begging for mercy. Can’t blame it, I haven’t got any sleep in almost 2 days. Why, you ask? Well, I can’t sleep on planes, that’s why. I take off my shoes, place the little pillow behind my head, put the blanket on, recline the seat, close my eyes and wish with all my heart I get some sleep but I always, always, always fail. I have even tried listening to Coldplay and I must say, it almost got me there once, but in the end it was useless. I can’t sleep on planes no matter how hard I try and that inability has unchained a nasty aversion towards people who can, particularly those who pass out just minutes after take-off. I don’t know how those bastards do it but it makes me terribly uneasy. I look at them while they sleep and I swear to God sometimes I wish they snored themselves to death. Well, not really, but you get the idea. I just think it’s very unfair some people can sleep on planes while I can’t. Maybe they take sleeping pills. Yeah, it makes sense, maybe that’s why the pass out so quick. I could easily enjoy the benefits of chemically-induced sleep too, you know? I could sleep the whole flight without worrying about crying babies, fat snoring men and restless kids singing christmas songs to their proud parents, who probably should tell them to shut the fuck up because a) no one cares about their stupid carols anyway and b) there’s people on the plane who might want to get some sleep without the help of any fucking pills!

Fuck it, I’m going to bed.