Offending Muslims

I’m about to transcribe a video because I feel it’s worth it:

Like anyone else who criticizes the religion of peace, I get my share of violent threats from single brain celled organisms masquerading as human beings. Indeed, to call some of my correspondents deranged and moronic would be excessively polite and, well, tantamount to flattery. Some of it, though can be quite amusing, and this week i’ve been accused of singling out a billion Muslims.

Well, You know, I always say, if you’re going to single people out, you might as well do it a billion at a time, or you’ll be there all day. Seriously, If anybody knows how to single out a billion muslims, I’d be interested to hear the technique. It sounds tricky and complicated. If science found a way to achieve it, imagine where that technology might take us. After all, if you can single out a billion, surely you can single out a *trillion*. Imagine that; a trillion Muslims, all nicely singled out and ready to go. It sounds absurd and impossible, doesn’t it? So i’m sure we’ll find the answer somewhere in quantum physics.

Obviously when I say we, I won’t be participating in the search myself, because I’m an ignoramus unfortunately, but I will be keen to use the technology when it becomes available, so I can safely and conveniently single out a billion – or a trillion – Muslims at a time, whenever the need arises.

Another thing that you’re bound to hear if you criticize the religion of permanent offence, is that sooner or later, some pompous arse will grandly accuse you of having offended a billion Muslims, as if anyone is supposed to care. Andy it’s always said with such laughable solemnity as if a kind of sacred line has been crossed – ‘The one *billion* muslim’ line – Yeah, It’s a line, alright.

Let me tell you something; if you’ve never offended a billion Muslims, I recommend it. You can almost feel the shock wave going around the planet as two billion hands are thrown up in horror… well, maybe not quite two billion when you take into account all the convicted shoplifters and other petty criminals, not to mention all the women who are afraid to do anything at all without their husband’s permission, because if they do, they’ll be beaten to a pulp. Especially if they happen to live in the insane asylum we know as Pakistan, where 90% of women suffer from regular domestic violence, and a thousand women a year are murdered by members of their own family.

Yet this doesn’t seem to offend the billion Muslims any more than it offends progressive western feminists, who we know are far too politically correct and self absorbed to give a damn.

One thing I’ve noticed is that these billion Muslims only ever seem to get *really* offended by trivial things like words and pictures, which are usually enough to bring, if not a billion, certainly thousands of them into the streets for an orgy of rioting and killing, for which we in the West have to take full responsibility, and follow up with a round of apologising and appeasing and placating, when really, we should be blaming the Jews.

What do mean, you want evidence? Who needs evidence to blame Jews? Well, alright, if you insist. Thanks to modern technology, much of it Israeli – no coincidence there, I feel – a person today can Blaspheme on one side of the world, and Muslims on the other side can know about it and be rioting and killing each other in seconds.

Those crafty Jews, what will they think of next? Actually, come to think of it, isn’t that rather haraam (forbidden)? Not rioting and killing each other, obviously because that comes straight out of the mosque with the full blessing of the clerics, and that would make *them* haraam… If only.

No, I’m talking about Israeli technology. How haraam is that? It’s got to be double haraam with a cherry on top, minimum surely? Ah, but luckily for the Muslim world, Hypocrisy is *not* haraam, it’s very much halal, indeed,  it’s a veritable staple among the frequently invoked one billion Muslims who are always offended by all the wrong things.

They’re not offended for example, by a religion that sanctions marriage for prepubescent girls or punishes women for being raped – not a whisper of protest there. Everybody’s busy looking at the floor.

Nor are they offended in the slightest, it seems, by the widespread persecution of gay people or religious minorities throughout the Muslim world. And this is because the people who typically invoke a billion Muslims are not offended by these things either, which is why the only response they truly deserve, and I hope the only response they will ever get, is a billion – non-Muslim – middle fingers… With all due respect.

– Pat Condell

The negative effect of travel.

I’ve never been able to say this in a succinct or particularly meaningful way, it just never seems to come out of my mind the way it’s supposed to, the way it feels. 

Whenever I try to voice it to myself it seems petty, common, exaggerated. But since that is specifically the purpose of this blog, I figure I might as well get on with it.

Travelling is not something I really dream about doing, at least anymore. I AM travelling. I live in one place for an extended period of time to work, I finish working and visit various locations for a few months, then I work in a different place and repeat the process. 
I no longer feel like travel is life’s primary goal. Perhaps I never did. When you ask people, what would they do if they won a million pounds, the answer is almost unanimously ‘travel the world’.  

I worry that most people’s definition of travelling the world is seeing different beaches and exploring different shopping centres, visiting all the land marks you see on Google image search from time to time. Check-box vacationing. But whatever, that’s not my issue here.

Ageing is one problem I have, as do we all, but there’s something much more timeless that affects me deeply, and I suspect it affects everyone living the same sort of homeless living lifestyle that I do.

I most felt at home in South Korea. This was the first time I managed to make my own life, for me, by me, specifically tailored to suit me. My friends were ones that I chose, my job and my hours, my spare time was how I designed it. I had money and anything else I can imagine asking for – and I don’t ask for much in life.

I was settled. But the contract was for one year. But when a person settles, it’s kind of hard to just ruffle some feathers and start moving again, like nothing ever happened. I necessarily left something behind, a part of me. My friends, my life. To go back to England.

What was in England? Family, estranged friends who had in their entirety continued their lives unaffected by my absence, and any gap I might have created was very quickly filled with something else, leaving very little, or no room at all for me on my return. I had no permanent home, only able to crash at my Mum’s or my Sister’s. 

My choice was to re-settle in England, where, aside from the aforementioned, there was utterly nothing for me; no job prospects, no money, no fun. Or, return to Korea. For some reason there was no third option. I needed to reclaim that which I had lost in Korea. It was mine and I wanted it back.

Unfortunately that was rather short-sighted of me. Just because I could return to it this time, doesn’t mean I can have it back. Unfortunately, it was settled and it wasn’t about to budge. 
When my second year contract ended in Korea, the same feelings were present, multiplied. 
Most friends had moved on even from Korea, my job was dong and a little personal tragedy happened which, when combined with the rest, left no logical basis on staying in the country anymore.

So I left. Staring back at my friend at the airport, desperately holding back tears – a rare thing for me – I let them out after I got through the gates. Not just because I would miss my friend who helped me for months on end get by, but because everything I had made and held dear to me, I was just throwing in the trash, and I had to start from scratch. Somewhere else. With nothing.

Where was I going? I decided to go to visit my friend in China for 3 months. What happened here? Well, I created a life for my own, I rented an apartment, I met new people, I was home. Then I left. And again, something else was left behind. I’m getting lighter and lighter every time I make a move. I worry that soon, I will be left with the most accurate definition of ‘nothing’ I can conceptualise. 

The next new location I visited was Nepal. A month in the mountains, hiking up 5,000 metres, through jungles, deserts, rivers, tundra. This was the most unbelievable time of my life.
I spent every waking moment (and indeed, every sleeping moment) with two people I met on the internet days before meeting them in a hotel and setting off on our travels: A Russian girl and another British guy, neither of us previously acquainted with one another.

Needless to say, we created quite a strong bond of friendship. But not only this, the land itself affected me easily the strongest, despite a mere month of travelling. To this day, I find myself frequently getting lost in thoughts, wishing I could conjur up the courage to spend the money all over again and return and hope things are the same. But they won’t be.

I left a great chunk of myself behind in Nepal, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to remain my property for long. Soon it gets donated to the Universe, and that’s something I am reluctant to accept.

One location, where we rested for a day to freshen up and wash clothes (ie, a bucket of water), was a small village deep in a desert valley, immediately after crossing the highest peak. From the icy land above, we had entered a kind of desert land, similar to a sort of Utah/Nevada desert, only considerably more beautiful. The village was a little oasis in the shade. 

Far below, I could see the first trees I had seen in a significant distance. Apple trees, orchards. Beautiful. Farther on, yellowing trees were surrounding the village itself. small, adorable and innocent buildings, completely ignorant of our conspiracies, our corruption, our crimes, our politics and media, our hunger for power and our greed. Deep in this valley, all was pure.

The people, especially the kids, had almost definitely never seen a city in their life. The kids probably aren’t even aware of the concept. There was a small school that kids perhaps went to when they felt like it, but mostly they were either playing or helping their parents carry various farming gear or supplies throughout the day and evening.

A small river trickled around the town, in between pathways. The people obviously decided not to interrupt the stream and so build a path innocently around it, meaning you occasionally had to jump over it in order to keep walking on in your desired direction. Horses, Donkeys and Oxen were also hard at work, sometimes completely taking over the only significant bridge to be found (the rest being a couple of planks of wood precariously balanced). 

When reading my Kindle around this centralised bridge area, some of the kids were fascinated. I was also fascinated by the kids. I hadn’t seen hands and faces so thoroughly coated in mud since I was digging around for worms myself as a kid, and I wonder if even I had reached their level of filth. This was obviously a daily occurrence for them. It wasn’t that they didn’t wash, it was that they enjoyed getting their hands dirty. They had never seen a Kindle, and perhaps only vaguely aware of phones and smart phones due to trekkers holding them as they went around the town. 

I visited their temples, I observed and spoke to the farmers – the one that spoke to me in English first – I climbed around their larger rivers which surrounded the distant half of the town, which led into a kind of salty dried up river bed that stretched for a few miles up to the mountainside an hour or so’s walk away. 

These words don’t justify the feelings I acquired from just observing this town for a day, but needless to say, I left a large chunk of myself behind there. And in many more placed around Nepal. 

Eventually I ended up here in Vietnam, and eventually I will leave here. And inevitably I will leave something here that I want, but I can’t have. A part of my being. 

I have become scattered, and that feeling will probably haunt me to my grave. I can’t see a possible way of gathering up my scattered shards and jig-sawing them back together. It’s just not that simple. Those pieces are long gone, but they are annoyingly trapped in my consciousness, in my memories. And I will lose more jigsaw pieces until I stop this. 

So that’s it. That’s my problem with travel. Maybe I should stick to the package holidays after all and just keep everything locked firmly inside. 

I can’t call this loneliness, because there is a certain taste of bliss about it when I start to get into these trains of thought. Loneliness can be cured largely by not being alone, and failing that, keeping busy will mostly suffice. Perhaps this is closer to what people suffering from depression feel like, but it’s not a feeling of nothing, of meaninglessness. There are strong feelings there, It’s just hard to pinpoint. 

Of course, the other major problem with this kind of lifestyle is saying goodbye. That is, unfortunately, worth a separate post of its own. One that I’m not going to write because I hate it, I haven’t learnt to improve upon it, It’s futile to even try to improve on it, and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Nobody should have to say ‘farewell’ to people they are close to, and so I, as well as most others probably do, lie to their friends and themselves that they will meet again, come back to visit etc, before slowly deteriorating the online friendship it had become, into nothing but inane small talk, and eventually nothing at all.

Knowing this inevitability when I’m standing at Incheon Airport, at Beijing Train Station, at Pokhara Bus Station, is perhaps the only thing that can possibly, and does, make me cry. 

Birthday – brainstorming

Closer to 30 than 20 as of today.
I’m no less of a kid than I was yesterday. I’m no less immature and socially undeveloped.
I’m no less skeptical and sarcastic. I’m no less a coward and I’m no less selfish.

I’m still running down a hill, being chased by the boulder of age. A very smooth boulder against my clumsy gait.

We’re all running, we’re all kids running from the same boulder. Some of us find it fun, like a father playing monsters. Others find it terrifying like an actual boulder relentlessly trying to crush you. Others find it a thrill, others a bore. Some feel nothing and stop in their tracks, wondering ‘Why am I even running?’. The great majority, will, eventually land in the ‘terror’ category, as will I. I enjoy living, running, far too much to have it taken away from me.

Unfortunately, nobody ever steps to the side. Nobody can. This is a two-dimensional hill, this is a platform game. You can neither go against the boulder or go off screen.  These result in death.  Sorry, that’s just the rules.

We’re kids, running from a boulder that won’t wear out. How could it? It doesn’t have stamina, it doesn’t have a limit, and the hill is smooth. as long as the path remains downward – which it definitely will – wearing out is not an option. Maybe someone can construct a sling or some kind of net as they run, provided they had the right equipment, but the boulder is big, and much too big for any single person to build anything significantly strong enough.

We all run this race alone, so there is no working together. Sorry, that’s just the rules.

I’m running out of options to stop the boulder. We never had any options, honestly. We get bolder and many of us, balder, but we will eventually fall flat or go off screen too quickly. Perhaps you will give up and sit down, waiting for the inevitable. I don’t know what I plan on doing.

Perhaps I’ll find a tree by a river, bask in its shade. Maybe, if I dream hard enough, as the ripples undulate through my soul, the boulder will hit the trunk and deflect around me, the whole time, green flickers of refracted light glaze my surroundings from the leaves above.

Who am I kidding? this is a two-dimensional existence, there is no deflecting around me. But maybe the tree can stop it once and for all. If I dream hard enough.

No dreaming? Oh yes that’s right. the manual strictly states that we are stuck in the real world. You can delude yourself into escaping it temporarily, but you’re still running for the duration. When you wake up, you find you have mercilessly progressed downhill without you even knowing. You can’t avoid the real world. Sorry, that’s just the rules.

There is one good thing that comes from these rules. We run the race alone. How can we possibly lose? Regardless of how you end it, you win.

Happy Birthday to the reminder that you will always be a winner.*

*Or a loser, depending on how you look at it. 

Annoying #1

Work out how much time you waste. Including the time you spend working it out.

Work out how much time you waste. Including the time you spend working it out.

 

Wasteful and unnecessary phrases and utterances in conversation.

This is mostly because wasting time annoys me. Don’t get me wrong, I love wasting time, but it has to be the right kind of time wasting. For example, lying in bed on the weekend until a shameful hour is great, good for the body, good for the mind. Even if you/I do it for months on end.

I don’t even have a problem with Facebook distracting or YouTube. At least Youtube is informative and Facebook is social. But there are things that we do that have no excuse to be taking my life away. And a lot of this time is lost in utterances that are just not needed.

For example, earlier today I was messaging this guy I’m renting a motorbike from. He has taken my bike away for maintenance and he is now ready for me to pick it up, asking me when I plan on coming. I said ‘Oh, cool I was waiting for you. I’m going into District 1 on Thursday anyway so that would be a great time.’

Why did I type the underlined? there is no justifiable cause, no social benefit, nothing. It’s 100% wasteful. Not only that, but I did it via text on a smart phone. Text on a smart phone is an annoyance worth an article in its own and has basically ruined most telephonic communication for me. There are entire websites – numerous websites – based solely on people’s mistakes on smart phone texting, it’s just that useless and unintuitive. (Why is wordpress telling me ‘texting’ and ‘unintuitive’ aren’t words? there’s another post of annoyances)

Anyway, you waste time via texting mistakes, but at least this is a process of learning. Something you build upon and improve and it probably has various cognitive benefits as you go. But let’s see.

Let’s say I write a mere 5 wasted words in a single stupid phrase, once a day. And let’s say that 5 words, removing time for mistakes, takes about 3 seconds to type. 3 seconds a day – and this is a very conservative estimate – lost. 3 x 1 year = 1095 seconds, or 18 minutes. I’ve lost a little over 18 minutes of my year typing pointless shit. I’m already desperate to get back the life I miss whilst in the midst of blinking.

And this is JUST texting. What about the crap I utter vocally? I admit I’m worse than the average for this because I’m socially inept, but even so, countless people I encounter can babble on for entire minutes without saying a single word that involves any form of information other than the individual words themselves. I can learn or respond or develop none of it.

Yeah I came down later than I thought I would because I was doing some stuff in the office which took a little bit of time, but it was pretty annoying because the printer wasn’t working, but it turned out it was working and I was just pressing the wrong button, but nobody actually told me I had to change the name of the printer you know?‘ Ok I learnt that you just wasted 10 seconds of my life saying that to me I suppose, I’ll give you that.

So let’s say I lose a minimum of 1 minute a day listening to mindless nonsense, and I myself waste a good 30 seconds a day doing it myself. 1:30 x 1 year = 547 minutes, or over 9 hours a year.

between the age of 18 – 60, the most active area, I lose a grand total of 390+ hours, or, rounded up to 400, 16.67 days. I think you can understand how this isn’t a joke now, right? I’ve lost 16.67 days. It’s not like I lost it to restoring energy in sleep, or learning a new skill like texting, or enjoying myself in gaming, or exercising by climbing annoying stairs. I’ve lost 16.67 days to nothing. 

Nothing.

We sleep for 1/3 of our life. We work for 1/3 of our life. I only have 1/3 of my life to live. I can’t afford to be messing around saying ‘Oh yeah I haven’t eaten it. I was going to but I wasn’t hungry enough.’

 

To think this is just one aspect of thousands that we waste. Now you just have to think in perspective. How much time is wasted in your life doing various other things; staring at the wall in the shower, waiting for a website to load instead of doing something else while you wait, cooking, peeing, chewing, making decisions, sneezing, traffic lights. All admittedly serve infinitely more purpose than the aforementioned complaint, but you find that you only actually get to enjoy life for about 1/20th of the time you’re actually alive.

I’ll save that maths for yourself. Different people will have different answers. Don’t forget to show your working.