Friday, 29 January 2010

He fell from heaven,
From the greatest dizzying height.
His master was omnipotent,
Does that make it right?

He fell to the depths,
Of darkness down below
His sorrow was his own
His pride had nothing to show.

He will remain there
Till the reckoning of time
He was chosen to be the Devil
That was his only crime.

He will not buy your soul,
For with it he has no use.
He waits only for his judgement
His hangman, and his noose.

Pity him, and fear him,
He was the brightest of them all.
Let him serve as a lesson,
How hard the mighty doth fall.
bewilderment. to become wilder? that seems the most obvious interpretation. it's not being puzzled, it's not being shocked. bewilderment is simply being so blindsided by recent events that all one can to is stand and stare and wonder 'what the fuck just happened? no, really. what the fuck?'. It is an interesting expression, especially on a drunk man's face, which lacks the coordination that a sober man would. bewilderment is a sort of psychedelic pink and green. It isn't meant to last, but those few moments in which it is is so totally weird, so out of any other experience that one really can't categorise it.

It's a sort of WTF moment without the anger. The best way of putting it, really, is that expression you got on your face the first time your eighth class physics teacher tried, in a fit of madness, to teach you relativity. Heh? Whaaaaaat? You remember that feeling? That's bewilderment.

It's a really interesting emotion. By the time you recognise it it's gone. And if you've felt it sometime while you were reading this post, I've succeeded.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

A soliloquy

(A court. A judge, middle-aged, tired from overwork. A policeman, fat and bored because he is not paid to care. Clerks whizzing about doing clerky things. The defendant, well-dressed, but bruised.)

The defendant is brought to the stand. He does not sit, but remains upright, and starts speaking

The defendant: Your Honour, as I am sure you know by now, I am a thief. But I wouldn’t like you to get caught up in everything that that word implies. I am not a burglar, who forces his way into a stranger’s house in the middle of the night, and steals the family silver. I am not a pickpocket, whose light, nimble fingers ease the passing traveler of their burdensome wallets. I do not steal the materialistic goods that appeal to these people, who I’m sure have a very good reason for doing so. Not for me, your honour, the pocketbook and wristwatch, the gold ring and diamond necklace. I deal, your honour, in those that have been deemed priceless since the beginning of time, and as such are worthless to the common pilferer. My domain is immaterial; it is the sphere of stolen kisses, of unsure smiles, of red, tear-stained cheeks. My currency does not contain miniatures of Gandhi, or Lincoln, or Mandela. It is far more basic than that. My currency is that of trust, love, joy, and sorrow. I do not deal, your honor, in things. I deal in thoughts, which are far, far more important.

Let me tell you, your honour, that in fact, there is indeed a going rate for love. It is rather easy to find out what the average man is willing to pay for a wife, as long as you go about it the right way. All one needs to do is find out the current amount paid, on average, as alimony in a divorce. Let us first discount, you honour, those millionaires whom we know to be nothing more than thieves such as I. Then one must estimate how much is paid in closed settlements, the results of which are not given out to the public. From there, you honour, it is easy to extrapolate the amount paid by one spouse to another, in the event, the terrible, tragic event, that their love has disappeared like the first snow in winter, gone, but remembered to be far more than it ever really was. But then there is very little, your honour, which one can do to sell one’s love.

Trust, on the other hand, is far more difficult to quantify. Who can say, your honour, how much a friendship is worth? This is, after all, what I am being charged with. The betrayal of trust. I wonder, your honour, how one sets bail on such a matter. Who can say that someone’s trust is worth five, not ten, not three, but five thousand dollars? Surely trust is priceless! But we, as a nation, break that trust every day, do we not? We send spies to infiltrate foreign nations, spies who are us in different clothes, to lie, to cheat, to steal if that is what needs to be done, to safeguard our nation. But in doing so, do they not break the trust of the nation they are in? But they are sanctioned by the government, you honour, to break the trust of not one individual, or three, or ten, but the trust given to them by an entire nation, in the belief, justified or not, that this will help their country. Who are these spies, your honour? Men and women who believe that in some way, they are being James Bond? James Bond is dead, your honour, I know it, and now you do, too. The age of the intrepid secret agent who did things his way are over. Now, spies are carefully told what to do by their superiors, lest they make a mistake, and let slip years of work. There is nothing romantic in spying, your honour, and there is not much in life, either.

We talk of trust, your honour, and the breaking of trust, but the biggest perpetrators of that crime are running this country. Your honour, politicians abuse their people’s trust on a daily basis. We have come to expect it of them. Any politician who doesn’t act like a backstabbing rattlesnake is treated with more suspicion than any other ten politicians combined. Corruption is now a part of the system; there is no point in trying to change it. The people have simply learned to work with it. They decry it at every opportunity, but the truth, your honour, the truth is that there is not one person in this country willing to take the trouble to change it. That is a fact, and there are no two ways about it. While I certainly do not know how I came to be here, I can be certain of one thing: I am not here because of the law. I pay the law well to look the other way, it is one of the first things those in my line of business learn.

All this talk of why I’m standing here leads us to the reason I was arrested, your honour. I was arrested because I happened to have on my person pictures of a certain lady kissing a certain man. This lady, as you undoubtedly know, your honour, happens to be the wife of one of the senior most ministers of the state. She happened to be kissing, not two hours after she professed her love to me, the head gardener. I would ask you not to doubt me on this, you honour, but simply believe me when I say I was witness to that fact. You will remember, you honour, that I said there is very little one can do to sell one’s love. I happen to be an expert on those rare methods. I have done in many, many times in my life, and I have never felt proud of it. But it is the truth, your honour, and I shall not shy away from it.

I do not pretend to be innocent, your honour. I am who I am, and that is who I am. But before you sentence me, your honour, I would ask you to consider one thing. Am I here because the law was doing its job? Or am I here because the politicians decided it didn’t need to be done unless it affected them personally?

Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Grand Theory of Slackerism

The top physicists in the world, the ones who've won nobel prizes, and work at centres of nuclear research, work, in their spare time (of which there is not much) on their own personal version of the Grand Unified Theory, which attempts to explain all four fundamental forces in terms of each other when there's a heck of a lot of energy around.

The top slackers in the world, in their spare time (of which there is a lot) do as much as possible trying to do as little as possible, and stay as far away as possible from anything even remotely linked to research of any kind.

And from the joining of two completely opposite things comes the Grand Theory of Slackerism.

The GTS (as it will be called from now on) explains a very basic fact of life, one that all slackers and indeed, most human beings know.

The productivity of a person increases exponentially in time, i.e the closer you get to a deadline, the more work you do on it.


Here, the productivity of a person x is given by the product of his base level of productivity n, the pressure being applied on the person to do that piece of work p, and the difficulty factor of the piece of work k raised to the power t, which is the amount of time left.


-The productivity of a person n can theoretically never be greater than one, though in practice it is highly improbable to see a productivity of 0.6 or more. Productivity can be measured in all sorts of different units, depending on what work is being done. Broadly, the amount of 'work', whatever it may be, divided by the average time that person usually takes to do that work is the productivity of that person.

University students, on the other hand, tend to measure amount of work not done, by dividing pints of beer downed per minute (Harder alcohol can be converted into pints of beer via conversion tables, see J. Daniel, A.P. Smirnov et al.)

-The pressure being applied depends both on the importance of the work and the amount of nagging that goes on about it. Much work was done about this by Antoinette Pascal, mother of the famous mathematician philosopher Blaise Pascal

-The difficulty factor is the most tricky term in the entire equation, and generations of slacker-physicists have been unable to solve the problem of how to define it. In 1995, however a prodigy by the name of Ander Wile proposed a genius solution; he postulated that the solving of this problem have a factor of one thousand 'wiles', and all other tasks are simply designated as easier or harder than this task. For example, climbing Mount Everest has been assigned a value of roughly fifteen thousand wiles, or a 'long wile', while encountering yet another immigrant in London trying to hawk you a free newspaper is roughly 0.25345 wiles, or a 'short wile'. Trying to get the number of that one pretty girl at the party you were at last night will take a very very long wile, and as such everyone has pretty much given up on it.

It is interesting to note that this theorem does not seem to work at three thirty in the morning of the day that any piece of work is due. The abrupt increase in productivity caused in this time remains an inexplicable anomaly to this day.

Monday, 18 January 2010

I am perhaps the best liar in creation. I do not lie, though you may not believe me. I do not even exaggerate. For once in my life, I simply state the pure, unembellished truth. And what an experience it is. My life, admittedly, is not very exciting in itself, but I am able to spin the wildest of tales for the silliest of reasons, and put on elaborate costumes for random encounters. If you were to meet me on the road somewhere, you would not know me. But if you were to take the time and the effort, you would soon find out that I am the assistant of several popular authors, or that the reason Her Majesty's government does not throw me in jail is because I keep myself very well hidden. You may even discover that actually, while you may think I work at a bakery, the truth is that I am a full time inventor, and have patented many things that if revealed to the world, could break a small nation's economy.

I am a liar, though I look quiet, and unassuming. You cannot know me, for like an onion, I have many layers, but unlike an onion, none of them actually belong to me. My core is spent in creating my layers, and in denying them reality. I love being alone, for that gives me time to construct even more exciting incidents that could never have happened to anyone, if you stopped to think about it.

I tell the truth, sometimes. To ease my conscience, though I've almost forgotten it exists. To persuade myself that what I truly am is not the result of a deranged psychopath. 

Not surprisingly, no one believes me when I tell them this. Perhaps you doubt me even now. But the fact of the matter is that I do lie, because telling the truth is much too difficult, and not any fun at all.