I laugh a lot.

Like, a lot.

When I say “I almost hurt myself laughing”, that’s hyperbole, but only because I am spectacularly prone to overstatement. (As one person in one of my tutes last year put it, “You think everything is awesome, don’t you?” Which is true. I… I tend to find reasons to like things. Sometimes it involves liking things ironically, but I will like the bastards one way or the other. Anyway!) I have actually hurt myself laughing many times, and not just through walking into walls or something. I tend to overdo the laughter.

I’m not one of those guys that’s always laughing loudly and annoyingly (‘always’ being the key word here), but I’m amused by anything even remotely funny. The way this manifests itself the most is with that sort of exhalation through the nose that people do – the one that sounds almost sort of condescending, like you don’t want to deign to laugh any more? Like a snigger, but only the first part, with everything else left off. Yeah, that one.

I’m the guy that does that at everything that even slightly tickles my funny bone.

I’ve never listened to my drunk laugh from a third-person perspective (such as a recording or something), but I’m pretty sure it’s not exactly dulcet tones, if you get my drift. From my end, it sounds like a drunken hyena laugh, but since my perception of my voice has never matched up to what it actually is, well… Look at it this way. From my end, my voice legitimately sounds deep, maybe a little throaty, and confident. Recordings of my voice tell me that it’s actually got that weird nerd-throat-closure thing going on a little (think nerds on The Simpsons), and that I pull my cheeks in on my ‘S’s too much.

Now think about what that means for my drunk laugh, if even I can tell it’s bad.

Yeah.

But in general, I try to be a laughy sort of guy, so when something is actually gutbustingly funny it does send me overboard. This is a lot like other parts of my personality; people who follow my journal can tell you that when I like something, I sort of… manically like it. Like Mickey Rourke’s suits. (I can’t help it, I really do love them. I don’t care about the real reason he’s dressing like that. The fact is that to me, he looks like a guy who’s been to hell and back, is riding the wave, and is determined to make the most out of this while he can – and that includes dressing in the most amazing suits ever.)

In conclusion: go home and watch The Departed.

I have an unfortunate habit of assuming anything I’m aware of – music, movies, technology – other people already know about, or at the very least that it’s ‘mainstream’. I mean, I much prefer having that sort of mindset to thinking/hoping all the pop culture I’m into is underground or indie or alternative or anything, but at the same time it’s somewhat disconcerting when it’s proven wrong.

For example. When it comes to music, I’m sort of a dilettante. My taste has been described as eclectic, but to me that sort of sounds like someone is serious about their music, and has picked and chosen only the best of artists to listen to from the vast panoply available to them. It’s a description that really doesn’t apply to me at all. I just listen to what I enjoy listening to, and if that results in a bunch of different genres appearing in my library, then that’s what happens. It wasn’t a conscious effort to go out and acquire the best from every style, it was a conscious effort to find stuff I like listening to.

This is one of the things that’s contributed to the general mindset of “if I know it, everyone else must too”. With people who specialise in one genre of music, there’s almost always a more in-depth knowledge of the genre and artists involved there – punk listeners can name more punks, blues listeners can listen more bluesmen, etc. So if I only have a surface knowledge of a lot of genres, then it logically follows that the artists I know are the ones that are in the general public consciousness.

Take stuff like Nick Cave or Tom Waits or something. On the Internet, you’re more likely to run into someone that knows them than someone who doesn’t, no problem. But offline, it’s the other way around. They’re not exactly unpopular, by any means, but the size of their fanbase is way smaller proportionally, as well as the amount of people who know them.

This is changing as I get older, mind – probably because the circles I’m moving in are changing slightly, more than anything else, but I guess people are getting more knowledge as they get older, too. It’s just an odd thing that I’ve had to deal with occasionally: the Internet has warped my idea of what’s mainstream and what’s not.

I glanced at her. I spied her. I looked at her. I gazed at her. I watched her. I ogled her. I leered at her. I eyed her. I peeked at her.

I saw her.

This is one of the greatest things about English – one of its best and most useful features, and one that gets taken for granted far too much. The sheer linguistic versatility that we have access to is incredible. Without getting out of our chair, we can sit or laze or relax or recline or slouch or slump. Depending on our mood, we can mutter or murmur or mumble or grumble. We can speak or talk or whisper or yell or coquette. Coquette, for Christ’s sake. Sure, we owe it to the French (who else?), but we have a word for flirting for the sake of flirting.

There are a lot of reasons for this. One of the most prevalent is that English is basically a filthy scumrat of a language. It picks things up from everywhere. In no particular order, we can thank (or blame) the French for ‘beef’, the Italians for ‘carpet’, and the Arabs for ‘candy’. It may be a slightly tired point to those of you out there who know anything at all about linguistics, but English owes a lot to everyone else. (“Everyone else” being the languages that it’s slowly replacing all around the world, obviously.) (more…)

Or not.

Um.

One thing in visual media that I think needs a lot of work is the use of meta-effects – the use of ‘test screens’, ‘game crashes’, whatever. Things of that ilk.

The thing is, there are some really good uses of meta-effects out there. They may not necessarily fool the player/viewer, but they at least take them aback for a few seconds and make them think about what’s going on. For instance, there are points in the Metal Gear Solid series where the game will actually pretend to have a disc error, or full-on require you to take the disc out and put it back in to continue. In one scene, a character knows if you’re using third-party game devices, and screws with your story path accordingly. They’re played well enough that there’s never any real risk of the player getting confused, but they’re effective. They work. The player is taken aback.

But!

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Now, as I’m sure you all remember (and that’s not even sarcasm, because it was all of two days ago), last entry I touched upon what passivisation does to the structure of a sentence. If you clicked on the link (slightly less likely), you would’ve come across a diagram which is only really helpful if you know how to interpret a phrase structure tree.

I’m by no means implying that they’re difficult to work out, or even that the idea of the passive voice is new to any of you, but I said I’d do more on the fun of restructuring sentences – and I am occasionally a man of my word. So, here we go!

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Things what I learnt in university today:

  • Nagamese, a creole spoken in Nagaland, has a language particle ‘ke’ that is only ever used to refer to an individuated animate object of a sentence

That… may not make that much sense to you. So! Brief refresher on sentence structure in English, followed by an explanation of what the above bullet point actually means, after the jump.

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It probably says a lot about my memory that I had to double-check the blog to see what number I was up to.

So over the past three nights, I’ve ended up watching the Dirty Sanchez movie (IMDB page here) twice through. Watching a movie twice in three days is nothing spectacular, mind, but this movie is really one you only need to watch once. Now, I own the DVD, and I first watched the movie sometime last year. The reason I’ve watched it twice in the past few days is a pretty simple one – it’s funny as all hell to show people when you’re drunk. So when I had a minor piss-up at mine on Wednesday, it ended up in the DVD player. It ended up on the DVD player last night because I had an even more minor piss-up, and one of the Wednesday attendees brought his girlfriend along… so he decided she absolutely had to watch it.

It says a lot about their relationship, I think. Click on for perversion and strong language! As in, not family-friendly. At all.

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Today has been one of those days where everything has been slightly to the left of where it should ideally be. Or to the right. I think one thing was actually in the right spot, but it didn’t fit because everything else was off. It has been, to quote a way better writer than yours truly, a broken crockery day.

Things I learnt in university this week:

  • there is a language in the world that, to say “over 70” (as in age), uses the word for ‘seventy’ then the word for ‘face’ (as in the surface of a table)

It has been a good week of university.

I should very much like to learn Welsh. Not over the course of a year or anything; I have neither the commitment nor the interest to learn a language properly within a year. But I think of all the languages in the world right now, it’s the one that I would most like to learn. I couldn’t tell you why, either, since there are no immediate practical benefits to knowing Welsh and I could probably put my time towards any amount of better goals. I think it’d be fun, though. Something to do. Also, it looks cool.

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I’m white. Like, really white. I’m pretty certain that there have actually been zero people of any race other than ‘white’ in my direct ancestry for at least five generations. Hell, there probably haven’t been any since we came down from the trees, I’m that white. Among my 15 aunts and uncles on either side of my family, there is one person who is not white. (He’s Sri Lankan, for the record.) Among the generation above that, it’s white all ’round. (Apart from the Sri Lankan uncle-by-marriage, of course.) I have seen exactly one black family in my quiet Australian suburb (I think they’re Sudanese). So when I talk about race, it’s probably pretty obvious that I am talking from a position that has no right to talk about it at all.

Still, that’s what makes me so special, right? …anyway, click on if that hasn’t turned you away from the rest of the post yet.

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Things what I would like this blog to contain:

  • Me talking about whatever crosses my mind.

I am a simple man.

I think one of the hardest things will be to keep this up daily – not from the point of view of forming a habit, but just because of the fact that at some point in the future, I’m going to run out of things to write about. I mean, I could just blather on until I hit something I feel like elaborating on, but that’s not part of the plan I have for this blog. For one thing, I already have a place to prattle on about nothing in particular. For another, I want this to be a place that I can read over later and actually be interested in, which I guess is a rather self-centred way of saying that I want to write this with the audience in mind.

Sadly, that’s a fairly alien concept to me.

With that in mind, I’m just going to put up something I wrote up about a month ago for the other place, just to help set the voice for this place and also give a quick introduction to the sort of guy I am. It’s also because I feel like having more than one introductory entry is extremely poor form (one and a half is bad enough, two is far more than necessary), so… indeed. Not going to spoil that, is what I’m saying.

Click through! You know you want to. Although I should probably give the warning that it’s longer than an ideal blog post.

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