Monthly Archives: June 2015

Lyricing lyrics.


To me, trying to understand song lyrics feels like when I see text in a dream but it𝔰 hอᵣd t₀ ᵣeₐd aกd 𝒾 canٖt fཱྀcu
Image from Randall Monroe of xkcd who nails it yet again.

Suede are playing Beautiful Ones on tv at the moment. The lead singer just told the crowd they know the words and got them to sing along. I’m sat wondering how the fuck anyone ever worked out the words to that song from hearing it. Mark says he can understand that from the live version but not the studio one. I ask him why are they singing about Enya and he says I’ve probably misheard those lyrics. To me Brett Anderson sings about Enya in this song. That’s what I hear. It’s probably why I think so many songs are really, really nice when they’re about death or abuse or war crimes and other nasty things. Mark get very confused by that. If the music is lovely then the song is usually lovely because the chances of me hearing the lyrics correctly are slim to none. This is why I get annoyed when bands don’t include lyrics in sleeve notes or refuse to put them on their websites. It’s all very well saying you want us to decide for ourselves (Ladytron) but if I did that then Beautiful Ones is about ENYA because it’s the one word I hear clearly!!! And I think some songs about abuse are lovely things and that has a tendency to upset people. Fortunately my real friends understand that I have tinnitus and a brain which turns “mince and pasta” into “mittens past it” at every opportunity but having to explain this gets old really quickly.

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Fairground Attraction – Perfect?

Oh dear. After almost successfully deciding to give the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival​ exhibition a miss this year apart from two small pieces I appear to have been sucked back in. Of course I’m still heavily involved in organising it. That’ll never change. I blame Sally entirely for being sucked back into creating stuff. 😛

It looks like I’m doing a BPD Fairground. (I’ll have to be careful for avoid racist stereotypes but I think it’s doable.) I need your help. My memories of fairgrounds are pretty limited so if you could post rides and things you remember and, if you don’t mind me stealing them, potential ways of subverting them.

Ideas so far include:

1. Ferris/hamster wheel of going round and round and still not getting any services.

2. Haunted House/Ghost Train where the ghosts are paranoid/anxious/depressed/manic thoughts.

3. Mobius Strip rollercoaster with no way off.

4. Rigged hoopla/hook a duck/coconut shy being the welfare system.

5. Dodgems – stigma?

6. Waltzers – Mania/hypomania/dysphoria

7. Octopus –

8. Toxic Candy floss/dodgy food etc – medication.

Thoughts? Comments? Sectioning?

I’m slightly concerned that I’m doing the same thing over and over again. It’s pretty much what I did in my clock then my dolls and then my books but it’s essentially the same stuff again. Same shit, different medium. Is that going to get boring?

Playing games with the Microsoft Technical Support SCAMMERS

Today my boyfriend received a new variant on the Microsoft Technical Support scam. (I say new because we hadn’t come across this one but according to the internet it’s been around a few years.) The person with the rather hard to understand accent asked my boyfriend to turn on his computer. My boyfriend said he had and was looking at the lovely Linux home screen. The scammer asked if there were any Windows computers in the house. By this point I was begging my boyfriend to let me play so he said “My girlfriend has one” and handed the phone to me.

The scammer went through his spiel and told me that they knew it was my computer that was infected because of the identifying licence information they had. I said “oh”. He said he could prove it and asked me to get pen and paper and write down a number that would match my machine’s licence number. At that point I wondered if there was some command you could put into a Windows machine that would always give the same response and I was right. I wrote down the string which took ages as it was very long and he kept using the nato alphabet which slowed it down further and my comments probably didn’t help either nor the fact that I wrote it down as  “cripple 8, d for dog, c for charlie, a for alpha” – I love playing stupid. When done he asked me to switch my computer on. I said the phone didn’t reach to where my computer was (the idiot didn’t check if I had a laptop that could be moved nearer to the phone) so I’d have to put the phone down and go over to the computer to switch it on. He asked if I had a mobile. I said I didn’t. He said “oh dear”. I warned him that my computer was really slow and took ages to start up. I was loving it! So he agreed to wait while I went to talk to my boyfriend who was upstairs in his bedroom.

When I felt sufficient time had passed I went back to the phone to inform the scammer that I’d gotten a Blue Screen Of Death so I’d have to do it all over again. There was a hint of frustration in his voice but he played along. I made him wait a bit longer and then I decided to tell him that whilst he was waiting we’d Googled that really long string  of letters and numbers and found that there was a Windows command that would give that exact response on every single Windows machine. He denied it and tried desperately to reason with me. That’s when I decided to thank him profusely for letting me win the flat competition to see who could keep these scammers on the phone the longest. At close to 20 minutes I’m winning by a mile! I was really enthusiastic in my thanks and the scammer hung up on me. I win!!!

If someone claims this string of characters (888DCA60-FC0A-11CF-8F0F-00C04FD7D062) is your computer’s unique licence number then they’re full of shit. Do not believe them. Hang up. Microsoft have repeatedly said that they do NOT contact people about viruses. This entire thing is a horrible scam.

For more information on this scam click here.

Lauren and the cucumber.

From a comment I posted earlier on a friend’s post about being short. At 5ft 4in I’m not that short but items at the back of the top shelf in a supermarket are out of reach. 

About a month ago I used a cucumber to reach two pack of pre-packaged watermelon from the top shelf of the refridgerated shelves in Sainsburys, my local supermarket. I wanted one and so did another lady who was standing beside me just staring at them. She went off to find a tall employee while I took a cucumber out of my basket. She arrived back with a tall, male employee who did his best not to laugh or say anything at the sight of me having just retrieved two packs of watermelon with a cucumber. He left rather abruptly, possibly due to me saying something along the lines of “I don’t need a man, I have a cucumber!”

Pride and Paranoia and Anxiety

For the past four years I’ve been a steward at the Health and Community Fair at Pride Scotia. For the past three years I’ve also manned the Scotsgay stall where I’ve sold my (mostly rainbow) chainmail jewellery to help raise money for the event. All my profit goes to charity. Pride is on Saturday and unfortunately it looks like I’m going to have to pull out of this one. The problem is I don’t want to. I feel like a failure, a shirker, a faker. I don’t think my health problems warrant pulling out. I’m just getting over a cold which floored me and set off my asthma. That alone should be enough of a reason as colds don’t normally trigger my asthma. It usually takes flu to do that. But it’s not enough. I feel like I’d be exaggerating my condition if I said I couldn’t do Pride. I probably could do it but it would leave me in a seriously messed up state. Right now I’m struggling to climb two flights of stairs. The Health and Community Fair involves lugging chairs and tables up a flight of stairs. And don’t get me started on the fatigue and pain.
This year the Fair is being run by someone new. Someone I don’t know. The previous four years it was run by a good friend which made the whole thing easier. This year is scarier.
Then there’s my Evil Brain Pixies. They’re being extra evil at the moment. Horrible hypnagogic hallucinations (awesome alliteration!) and really racist paranoid thoughts. I mean Daily Mail levels of racism which as I’m a PoC is freaking me out! This isn’t me at all! I know almost immediately that the thoughts are bollocks and just paranoia but the emotions they trigger stay as they do.
I still have insight but I’m worried things are going to get worse. Even if they don’t, I don’t know how much longer I can cope like this. I think I’m doing a fairly good job of faking normality. I delivered 1/3 of a two day training course last week, made it to the cinema, and interacted with people.
I was supposed to see my psychiatrist in Feb/Mar but he never sent out an appointment. I finally plucked up the courage to contact Inchkeith House. He’d forgotten about me. I was told he’d phone to arrange an appointment as I said sending letters was problematic due to Royal Mail’s crapness in my area. That was over a week ago and still nothing. My problem is that I appear to be or get labelled as “high functioning” which is a load of bollocks. I’m not really functioning at all. I appear to manage because I can do some complicated things but I can’t manage the simple basic stuff. I’m too embarrassed to go into those details. My boyfriend and his flatmate are just about keeping me afloat but it’s getting worse and they can’t help forever.
My anxiety is so bad that if I resolve a problem it takes my emotions the best part of two months to catch up and stop freaking out about the solved problem several times a day.
Despite all of the above I still feel I should bloody well make the effect to do Pride. I’ll be letting myself and other people down if I don’t and they’ll think less of me or think I’m faking or being melodramatic. And I’ve no idea how to word the email to the organisers. I just want to run and hide but I appear to have written an essay instead. Now why couldn’t I have just written that bloody email?
Update: Email written and sent and the Pride organiser is being very understanding. Phew. So why do I still feel so bad about it?

A letter to my MP. I don’t know why.

Dear Mr Sheppard,

My name is Lauren. I’m 35 years old and thanks to a severe and enduring mental illness I had to quit medical school in my final year and have been unable to work ever since. I’ve spent the past 11 years on benefits and the past three years being involved with a collective advocacy project that aims to reduce the stigma surrounding my condition and campaign for universal treatment. Right now you need to meet really strict criteria to get treatment. I don’t. That’s the background. This is today.

I’m not sure if you’ve come across this BBC news story. “Benefit recipients ‘living in fear of cuts’, says report”. It’s based on a study done by Napier University.

The final paragraphs are very distressing.
“However, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said the reforms were about giving people peace of mind.

He added: “Reforms to welfare are designed to help people into work,giving more people the peace of mind and security that comes with a steady income . . .”

We all know that what the Tory party means by welfare reform is essentially taking more money away from the poorest and most vulnerable people in society. My thoughts on this are below. They are aimed at our “Evil Tory Overlords” but I wanted you to hear this too.

So depriving me of more money by doing crap like taxing DLA/PIP and making ESA even harder to get will magically make me better? Because I don’t see any other way the proposed welfare reforms will help get the likes of me into work unless mental health funding is drastically increased. I really wish welfare reform was magical enough to cure me as I want to be well enough to work. Damn it, I wish I’d never gotten ill in the first place. My 2002 starting salary would have been £27,000 and I would have had a much more secure future rather than this miserable existence. But I am ill and we all have to accept that. I’m not eligible for treatment because I don’t meet the criteria so I’m stuck on benefits. Current treatments are only 50% effective anyway and that’s after they’ve weeded those they reckon it won’t help. So here I am. Listening to your damaging rhetoric that triggers my condition and then my loved ones have to deal with the fallout. Huge chunks of my energy or will power is spent dealing with the fear and anxiety caused by welfare reform. I’m terrified and it’s getting worse. I honestly don’t know how much longer we can go on like this. It’s exhausting and it’s exacerbating my condition. I thought you wanted me back in work. That is your plan, right? So why, then, do you insist on saying and doing things that leave me feeling suicidal? Do you want me to get better or do you want me to kill myself? I know which one I think is more likely. If you really were aiming to give people like me “peace of mind” let me be the first to tell you, you missed.

I’m not sure what I want to accomplish by telling you, my SNP MP, this. It seemed important 30 minutes ago but now it feels pointless and I don’t know if that’s my “Evil Brain Pixies” talking or a brief glimpse into sanity. Or maybe I shouldn’t type emails at 3.46am when anxiety and the howling wind are keeping me awake.

Kind regards,

Lauren