Below Average Mean

I wish I could write meaningless lyrics.

Most of my favourite songs have words that mean absolutely nothing - though they sound like they ought to mean something allusive and poetic.

Stuff like this:
Lawnchairs are everywhere.
They're everywhere,
my mind describes them to me
Only to me.

Verse 1:
As you screen out the light that colors your skin
Can you dress for protection?
Are you having some fun?
Some fun.

And are you sleeping with someone special tonight?
Does she drink tall drinks,
Just to make it feel right?
Feel right.

And it's a holiday in the middle of the week
As you leave from your job,
Just like a holiday.

And it's a holiday in the middle of the week
As you leave from your job
For only two weeks.

Verse 2 (sort of):
She's a boy that we like and gonna go far.
She's a boy that we like.
And he's gonna go far.

Well, she's go to and he's got to and we got to.

She's a boy that we like and gonna go far.
She's a boy that we like.
And he's gonna go far.

Here's the song on youtube.

I first heard it on vinyl, playing on the creaky old record player of a man who was about to become my boyfriend...and later the only one of my ex-boyfriends I'd move town to avoid.

But he did have a great record collection. It's strange, the reasons you stay with people.

But anyway, SongFight have a new challenge up, with 10 days to write and record a new song. And seeing as it's almost five years (my god is it really that long?) since I last played, I'm setting myself the challenge to enter.

And to write something that doesn't have to mean anything at all - but hopefully sounds like it does, even though you don't know what it could possibly be. The David Lynch school of songwriting.

Mailinator - Get a disposable email account.

Deadfake - Send an email from a fake account.

Futureme - Send an email to your future self.


The day after Thanksgiving is...Unthanksgiving. The day when you give...whatever the opposite of thanks all the things that make you wish the great studio executive in the sky would just cancel the sitcom called "Humanity".

Here's my list of things that make me want to punch the human race in its stupid, smug face:

1) The NHS offers homeopathy.

Tax money is being used to treat patients with serious diseases with Magic Water.

2) George W Bush has a new job: Motivational Speaker.

Yes, the man who couldn't string together two sentences without mangling the grammar and saying something mindblowingly dumb, is a professional public speaker.

The billionaire moron gets paid more than you or I will ever see to spend the occasional 90 minutes telling other billionaire morons how they deserve to be billionaires.

The man whose picture is next to the word "Fail" in the dictionary will tell you how to be a success - where success is defined as "rich" and you can't get to hear him speak unless you're already rich. And dumb enough to want to hear him speak.

3) Reported homophobic attacks are up 35% in British schools. That's "reported" as opposed to "actual", and "physical attacks" as opposed to "name calling".

Ah, but which schools? It's a very specific set. Faith schools!

4) Barak Obama is sending 34,000 extra troops into Afghanistan. He admitted that he wasn't happy with any of the options given him by advisors, so eventually selected...the one he hated least.

So the candidate who made all those vague not-quite-promises about ending the wars in the middle east, is now the president ramping up a war with no clear purpose and shrinking chance of victory.

It's 8 years in, and there's talk of another 10. It was meant to take 2 weeks to "pacify" the country before installing a client government, and that hasn't happened yet. Some soldiers are now on their 5th tour of duty there.

It also means America is now so short of troops at home, that if there should be another Katrina or some other major domestic disaster, there just isn't the military manpower to cope with it.

5) Climate change denialists are crowing over reports that one university's climatic research department exaggerated figures.

The evidence of fraud is, shall we say, selectively edited, but we're being told it proves all climate scientists everywhere are faking the data for no reason, somehow.

One Time

A song I wrote a month ago, and then completely forgot about. You could say it's sort-of autobiographical.

Verse 1:
One time, just fun
It doesn't really count, when you are drunk

Next night, door ring
We're only playing games, it don't mean any-

Chorus 1:
That was just a one time thing right mate, i
Like you as a friend but i'm just not that way, o-
-Kay it happened twice but i mean it this time, this
Time it's really final and i'm just not gonna change my

Verse 2:
Once more, then stop
It doesn't really count, when you're on top

Beep phone, look see
Just wanted to explain, this stuff it's just not for

Chorus 2:
That was just a one time thing right mate, i
Like you as a friend but i'll always be straight, o-
-Kay i'm back again but i mean it this time, this
Time it's really final and i'm never gonna change my

Looks like I'll have to put the spam filter up again. I've been getting comments advising me that

"As such there are no side effects of using klonopin. You must look into that. You can observe the change within a short period of time."

...which is nice. And offers of "Dating picture pantyhose" and "Deadly Russian Mail Order Brides".

It's good to know the KGB are still training their sex agents in multiple killing techniques - and their translations are as good as ever.

A Good Day

Pleasure, contentment, joy. Three very different things.

I had some pleasure today - it didn't being me contentment, but it wasn't supposed to. An old friend dropped round for some...oh you can guess what he dropped round for. It was nice, but what I really wanted was for the pain in my back to go away - why does sex have to get you into such awkward positions?

After that I had some contentment, getting drunk on rum and pepsi in the morning, watching back to back episodes of an utterly preposterous sci-fi serial. "Fringe", featuring the badboy heartthroob, the blond female investigator who manages to be both overemotional and hyperefficient, the mad scientist working for the good guys, the spooky elder femme fatale who represents the untrustworthy not-quite-good-guys...and the bald black guy.

Black guys on TV tend to be bald. Just like attractive women have light hair and troubled family histories, and cute white guys have stubbles. Sometimes evil geniuses have British accents, which I always enjoy. It might be nice if the science were even slightly realistic.

And then there's joy. Which I don't think I've experienced since ago 20. The sensation of being completely and utterly blown away by something, whether it's an awesome guitar solo, an alien way of looking at the world by a German philosopher, or a medical breakthrough. Though the breakthroughs usually turn out to be misreported, the philosopher usually forgot something obvious, and the guitarist overdoses a year later.

Of the three, I think I prefer contentment. Because it lasts longer, is easier to achieve, can be had twice in one day, and most times doesn't need a shower afterwards.

Tubular Hells

What happens when a basically decent but dimwitted person falls under the spell of people who are neither? Put it another way, what happens when someone who doesn't want to hate anyone is under peer pressure to hate you?

They compromise. They find ways to fudge and fit their temperament around their beliefs.

And then they send me messages like this:

i know you dont believe in god because you are homosexual but just because god doesnt approve of your homosexuality doesnt mean he doesnt have unconditional love for you. i could see god welcoming you into heaven even if you are homosexual if you pray hard and read up on him instead of going on all these christian videos trying to discourage christians of their faiths. you still have a chance and although you really dont believe in him, maybe try to go to church. god loves you and even though you are the way you are, i dont hate you, i care about you too even though i dont know you. i just want the best for everyone. please just try to imagine a man, with nails in his hands and feet, a crown of thorns, hanging on a hot wooden cross with his gashes infecting. he could have ended that all but he loves you. just imagine

Help and Support

Thank you for calling. You have reached Kapitano's IT helpline.

Press #1 if you're too fucking lazy to read the help file.

Press #2 if you didn't realise there was a help file, thought the menu item "Help" was there for decoration, wouldn't bother to read it anyway, and wouldn't make the effort to understand it even if you did.

Press #3 if you want me to explain everything about computers to you in five minutes flat without introducing you to any new concepts or strange words. Because they scare you.

Press #4 if your problem is "It won't work".

Press #5 if your problems is "The little box stopped flashing".

Press #6 if you don't really want a solution - you just want someone to blame, because that's how you deal with problems.

Press #7 if you've decided the internet's gone down.

Press #8 if you're not sure what the message saying "Your device is now ready to use" means.

Press #9 if you want to know what an "X006104793-d" error is, and you think I must know.

Press #A if you want to know how to count in hexadecimal.

Press #B if you've got a virus from visiting porn sites but you don't want me to know you've got a virus because I might work out you've been visiting porn sites.

Press #C if you want me to tell you how to stop your wife finding out you've been visiting porn sites.

Press #D if you want to become a L33T H4KR.

Press #E if I've already explained to you several times that a CDR is not a hard disk just because it's round and inflexible.

Press #F if your 10-year old computer won't work after your 15-year old son installed 20 cracked games that it can't possibly run.

Press #G if you think hexadecimal is for wooses.

Press #H if MS Office 2007 doesn't look like MS Office 97 and you're confused. I don't know how to use Office 2007 either - I use '97 because it does everything I need and doesn't crash.

Press #I if Norton has crashed your system after I explicitly told you not to install it because it would crash your system.

Press #J if you think I'm intimately familiar with every single type of mobile phone ever made.

Press #K if you want to try Linux but keep all your Windows programs the same.

Press #L if you think I know anything about Linux because all computer stuff's the same, right?

Press #M if you think you want to do a mailmerge on your CPU.

Press #N if you think your computer is "too defragmented".

Press #O if you're absolutely convinced that your operating system is Windows 97.

Press #P if you've checked out all the operating systems and want to use "Windows Me". Not "Windows M.E", "Windows Me", 'cos it's for "me".

Press #Q if you just want to ask me a lot of questions so you can pretend you've consulted an expert on what you've already decided to do.

Press #R if you think "it might be a driver problem" but you've no idea what a codec or a DLL is.

Press #S if you want me to install telepathy and precognition on your computer so I'll just know what you want.

Press #T if a website has just offered you a free laptop and you're too thick to work out whether it's a scam.

Press #U if you use your computer to host a creationist website, and think it might be possessed by the devil.

Press #V if you think I don't know you call me a pathetic nerd behind my back.

Press #W if you rely completely on your computer, but refuse to learn how to use it because you're above that kind of thing.

Press #X if you're such a brainless douchebag you think it's funny to phone up tech support with a nonsensical problem and put the result on youtube.

Press #Y if you called me to solve a problem that's just solved itself.

Press #Z if you work in tech support yourself but can't figure out what's wrong with the computer you own. Welcome brother.

Left, Right, Left

I've got difficulty with left and right. Not politics - hands, or rather directions.

If you ask me to point to the right, I'll probably point left - unless I've spent a confusing few seconds reminding myself which hand is which. I've always been like that, and it's never been a big problem.

Well, apart from a failed driving test and a habit of getting lost in corridors.

I'm not left handed, in fact I'm extremely right handed. For what it's worth, my father is ambidextrous, and my favourite teacher at college described himself as right handed even though his right arm had been paralysed for decade - he had the neatest whiteboard writing I've ever seen, all with a retrained left hand.

Actually the main problem is when other people, knowing I tend to transpose directions, saying right when they mean left, hoping I'll retranspose. That can get quite confusing.

"Where's the pen?"
"It's to your right."
"Do you mean right-right or Kapitano-right?"
"Um, I mean it's on the left."
"Ah. Do you mean my left or your left?"

I used to try to break the pattern...but then I discovered there's a perfect place for mirror-universe people like me - the classroom!

I'm a teacher - at least I am when there's any work - and I'm quite expressive with my hands when I'm explaining stuff, always drawing diagrams in the air. My last head teacher said it made me an unauthoritative teacher - but then, he was a prize twat and really boring teacher.

But if I'm facing the class, and tend to use spatial metaphors when explaining things, and tend to count things off on my fingers right-to-left...then our left and right match. It's surprisingly helpful.

Unless of course any of them have trouble with left and right in which case...Gaaah!

Totally Tubular

I have an alter-ego on youtube. If you're really bored you can find out who it is, but rather than regale you with snippets of my shining brilliance in the comments, I thought I'd share some of the responses to my brilliance.

Which are, in their own way, sometimes brilliant:

"If i didnt here the word of Lord how who i have faith in him you silly man you must be a none believer." - isaiahact

"You have snubbed your nose at God" - bornagain001

"If saying it's so and presenting a verifiable reference doesn't make it so, then saying it isn't so without presenting one, as you've done, has even less credibility. You're self negating." - Bandershot, homeopath and purveyor of word salads.

"The Bible ultimately described a sophisticated pharmacological means to make gold into a medicine." - HomeopathicDana

"Yeshua the meaning of the hebrew name of jesus. Messiah's personal name means Salvation" - isaiahact, master etymologist

"The knee-jerk shunning of contemporary Homeopathy doesn't make faith-based ancient Allopathy medicine any more powerful or provable in the correct treatment and cure of chronic diseases." - mohanaturo, more homeopathy and a second helping of word salad.

"WHAT IS PROOF? Everything I show as proof will be rejected by those who are CONSUMED by their own SIN." - bornagain001

"There's more nazis in Islam than the rest of the world put together." - hetrodoxly

"You wouldn't believe the results of my tests. If I videoed the leaf curling from what I claimed was ammonium carbonicum 12C, how do you know I wasn't just using am. carb 1X?" - Bandershot again, this time explaining why (a) making a leaf curl with water would prove homeopathy and (b) why he won't do the test.

"here we go again with the conspiracy theories. The Church was never under constantince" - kiddo500

"Darwin was reportedly cured of a mysterius long standing ailment by homeopathy.", Bandershot neglecting to mention that (a) Darwin wrote that he wasn't cured, (b) the same homeopathist was later responsible for the death of Darwin's daughter.

"You are assuming that a religion can change." - MartinJWillett

"why do you keep coming back check it yourself jesus means yeshua in hebrew and Emmanuel is a title name meaning God with us check it yourself and you seem to ignore the scriptures i sent concerning the divinity of jesus stop cherry picking yes jesus had a human nature was born of a virgin raised from the dead he was with God from the beginning making him to be the son of God read the whole of chaper 1 dont you believe God has sons" - isaiahact, showing marginally more grasp of punctuation than theology.

"Fuck you stupid ass cocksucker. Your one of the gays Bill is talkin about. You like it in your ass" - EW8S93, in comments about an anti-homophobia routine by Bill Hicks.

"If you thinkn brown actually was able to predict the lotto numbers then your head is stuck up your arse" - EagleEyeSC, in response to an explanation of a magic trick to "predict" lottery numbers.

"A crack is what was used to get a car going [...] You're not even 30 years old" - HomeopathicDana, who has difficulty with basic arithmetic, and ironically doesn't know what a "crank" is.

"repent, sinner! believe in Jesus Christ and be saved!!" - personal message from want2rock247, fundamentalist and paranoid conspiracy theorist. Double the trouble.

"God is the Author of marriage, as ordained from the beginning [...] you can pretend to be like us, but in the eyes of God, your "marriage" means nothing." [...]
"where's my prejudice? you're the one who falsely charged me. i think what you do is wrong" - want2rock247 again, demonstrating his grasp of joined up thinking.

"The only argument "skeptics" (atheist in your case, maybe big pharma shill, too) can come up with is to cry "fraud" when confronted with the unpalatable facts." - den151redbank, who suspects GlaxoSmithKline are paying me to comment on his videos.

"fuck u bitch. plus why the fuck u Messeging me faggot!!!" - Acelera1500, who doesn't know the difference between a comment and a private, and wants me to be his bitch, I think.

What can I say? Stupid turns me on.

Baddest Rap?

This is a rap. I wrote it tonight after a post-sex chat with my sometime fuckbud - it's about his dreams and aspirations. It's meant to be ironic, but it's not meant to be funny. The thing is, I'm not sure whether it reads like a joke.

What do you think?

Got to get some money 'cos I
Got to get away, to
Find another kind of life I've
Got to find another place, I'm
Gonna get a better job to
Pay the rent on better digs, and
Buy some clothes that don't look bad and
Give up on the funny cigs.

Get new friends who treat me right, don't
Lie to me or rip me off, re-
-spectable and decent 'cos I'm
Feeding from a richer trough, so
Now that I'm a catch I'll date a
Girl who wants to marry me, we'll
Move into a bigger house and
Plan to start a family.

Weekend breaks in Paris, winter
Holidays in Rome,
Growing old together with our
Children in our sweet home, I'm
Mapping out my future I'm de-
-termined to succeed, the
Dreaming stops tomorrow yeah but
First of all I just need

Cash to start it up...

...I'm fucked.

In Stereo

Why do we expect disabled people to be nice?

Why do we expect fat people to be stupid, young people to be rebellious, and old people to be complacent?

How many smart fat people and dumb thin people do you have to meet before you realise there's no correlation?

Or doesn't it even work like that? It's quite possible - even common - for a white person to show no racism at all to actual black people they know...but to be casually racist about black people in the abstract.

Why do we expect "crazy" people to be bigots...but expect people with "mental health problems" to be tolerant - even wise and serene? Sometimes a name change really does make all the difference - between a negative stereotype and a positive one.

All the christians I know are fairly decent people - they just believe an invisible magic man in the sky will change the laws of nature for their convenience if they ask him hard enough. All the atheists I know are fairly decent people - they just have different delusions, sometimes about vitamin pills or the dignity of manual labour.

But all the batshit insane, hate spewing, deeply ignorant and fuckwitted people I meet on the themselves christians. And the ones who take them down with evidence and logic call themselves atheists.

Now, two thoughts:

(1) It's quite possible to hold an image of a group of people in your head, know it's not accurate, not treat the people as though the image were true, but still have the image.

(2) Some stereotypes are personal and idiosyncratic, stemming from individual experience.

For instance, there's an absurdly (wonderfully) large number of curry houses in this town, and the staff are almost all Bangladeshi - often from the same family.

There's a particular way they tend to behave to customers - smiling and welcoming, but somehow timid, almost camp. Result: that's how part of me expects everyone from Bangladesh to behave, though it's not a shock when they don't.

Of course, there are always people who like to tell you they're much too advanced to have national stereotype in their heads, and anyone who does must be a racist, and one step away from being a fascist sympathiser.

Leaving aside the illogic of that reasoning...I don't think I believe them. If they've lived for a year in Bangladesh and met lots of different kinds of people there, maybe they don't have a cartoon in their heads for that country. But what about Pakistan? Or Afghanistan? Or Iran?

Finally, sometimes I like the stereotypes people have of me. And sometimes I play up to them.

I'm European, so I'm sophisticated (but only if you're American). I'm British, so I've got the accent of a thousand supervillans from a lot of really corny films. I'm English, so I'm eccentric. And gay.

Though if I were disabled it seems I couldn't be gay anymore - but I might be nice.

About one second in the mind of Kapitano:

I should put something on the blog. Oh I know, I'll go on a date and write it up.

That's not why people go on dates.

Oh yeah.

And I don't like going on dates.

Oh yeah.

And I'm happily single.

Oh right, yeah. I forgot that.

My Eden

It's more fun to figure out how to do something than to do it.

I just spent fifteen minutes working out how to watch 53 episodes of I dream of Jeanie for free - if you're in America you can do that anyway on, but over here you need to get past their stupid location restrictions.

Not that I have the slightest interested in watching I dream of Jeanie. It manages to be lightweight even by the standards of other supernatural sitcoms with inexplicable gay followings.

Last night I got to watch two free scenes from a porn movie (Oral Exams 3, I think) for some promotion or other. Figured out a way to record the stream, set it going, and went for a cup of tea while the somewhat above college-age college class were sucking off the noisy janitor. Might watch it later, if I don't get some of the real thing.

Some day I'm going to figure out how to bring down the corrupt governments of the world and end poverty forever. But not if it takes more than an hour to do.

Truths to be Self Evident

Ten things which I think are screamingly obvious, but which other people think are outrageous.

1) Science is a reliable guide to reality and action. Authority, tradition and habit are not.

2) The claims of religion are mostly meaningless or empirically false. Believing them does not make you a better person.

3) If you have a word for something, that doesn't mean it exists. And giving a name to something you haven't defined doesn't qualify as a definition.

4) Reductionism misses the point. "Explaining" behavior in terms of brain states or genetics is useless for the same reason
explaining poverty in terms of string theory is useless.

5) Psychoactive drugs, sensibly used, add value to life and are not dangerous. This includes alcohol. There is nothing inevitable about addiction.

6) Sexuality is not a moral issue. Almost no sexuality has anything to do with breeding or genital pleasure. It pervades thought and culture.

7) Race is a fiction. Like any falsehood commonly believed, it gains a kind of reality.

8) "Common Sense" is a self-contradictory mish-mash of beliefs which the ruling class found it useful to propagandise at some point. The beliefs can endure and mutate unpredictably for centuries.

9) Competition produces cheating, inevitably. Co-operation produces better results.

10) There are no limits to hypocrisy, hand waving, double standards, willful blindness and rationalisation. All beliefs are possible, in all combinations.

Good news: There's six schools newly desperate for teachers.
Bad news: They're all in Saudi Arabia.

No I'm not going.