Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Photo of anonymous model stolen from Zombie Research Society.

While lounging in the toxic fog of online social networking, I chanced upon this photo of somebody modeling a little knitted wonder. You cannot imagine my delight. THIS is what I want for Christmas. 

You can find instructions and photos of another individual wearing a similar creation here, because I'm going to need one in a few weeks' time. I will be landing in a massive pile of greasy Canadian snow, whimpering in the cold as I wait for my date in the OR at the end of January. This toque is the only thing that will keep me warm, that will keep me alive. Somebody's got to save my life. Somebody must knit me this brain. Somebody must give me the option of an auxiliary brain, or even a replacement brain. Just in case.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Aware of Nightmares

Two weeks ago, the holy month of October began once more, meaning that the time for Halloween is near and that the knives must be drawn for the carving of pumpkins and heads. October is Brain Tumour Awareness month in Canada and my awareness has been astute to the point that I haven’t felt like sitting down and writing about it all to the ether. The only thing that seems to be going on is Info Days, but it costs money and I don’t really feel like Info-ing myself about myself around plates of bad sandwiches and lukewarm cups of coffee.

See, I had my own info day last month when my MRI showed that the bubblegum dustbunny has been cultivating itself again, albeit only by a miniscule amount and without any increase in aggressiveness. Growing, more or less, according to plan. It is consistent, displaying extraordinary obedience and an enviable sense of decorum, precisely the sort of goody-goody that is bound to rebel in the most hideous way as soon as puberty sets in and the glories of sex, drugs, and rock n roll descend upon it. It can’t be killed, of course – it will always grow back, a perpetual zombie. But it can be somewhat sterilized, so to speak, mutilated before it reaches the age of reproduction and goes out and gets itself knocked up and squeezes out further versions of itself, polluting our planet with inferior beings. My inner eugenicist leapt out as I made the decision to subject the thing to a second surgery in several months’ time. Sure, I could keep watching and waiting, but I’d rather be cut open and get another round of fantastic photos of my inner gore than to have to deal with a growth that – suddenly and unpredictably – might show itself to be inoperable. I have no interest in the otherwise inevitable course of zaps and drugs: the prospect of these options actually terrifies me and I have been unbelievably fortunate to avoid the threat of them thus far (touch wood). Surgery, on the other hand, is annoying but safer, and the only thing that scares me about it is that the morphine guarantees intensely unpleasant constipation for an extended period of time. Friends and family need only fear my temporary Roid Rage for a couple of weeks.

See? Confident. Now I just need to notice that summer lazy time is well over and I should actually use my running shoes instead of admiring how they gather dust in the corner. In a few months I’ll have plenty of time to truly vegetate during recovery.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

We Are All Chthonic

Virgin Media's London Underground WiFi has arrived at last!*

Now you can "Keep up with the world above ground even when you're Underground."

What this really means is that, prior to the completion of his plans for Virgin's commercial space travel, deep sea adventures, and whatever other why-not business ideas, Richard "Swimming with dolphins is always high up on wishlists of things to do before you die" Branson has opened communication channels between us and the dead. Persephone is delighted to report that the fast-approaching Winter of 2012 is sure to be an unprecedentedly happy one.

"Hanging out in Hades half the year is shit," she states, twirling a wiry strand of shimmering pure gold hair around her finger. "I've spent, like, too many millenia unable to talk with my mum during the holidays 'cause there was no phone or internet connection in the Underground. Now we'll be able to chat and Skype and share photos on Facebook anytime I feel lonely or bored. This will be The Best Christmas Ever!"

Thanks to the new deal between Virgin and TfL, whenever Demeter steps onto the platform of a designated WiFi Tube station, she'll be able to connect with her daughter and experience momentary bursts of happiness that, to the rest of us, will be experienced as small floral farts, reminding us of the springtime that will eventually occur when Persephone returns in the new year.

There have been some safety concerns regarding the implementation of this new hi-tech system, however. In response to speculation that distracted passengers may be less likely to mind the gap, and more likely to not stand behind the yellow line as trains approach, Branson throws back his brittle mane of hair and chuckles.

"I don't see any problem whatsoever. Our super-fast Underground WiFi service lets you update your status even after you've been lacerated and burnt to a crisp on the third rail. You're not really dead, you're just taking a little trip away from the land of the living. Go on, make your Facebook Friends jealous."

The service is provided free for everyone until the end of the Olympics. After that, users will have to pay.            


*This has nothing to do with my concerns over the ever-increasing saturation of my surroundings by radiation-emitting wireless devices.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Boredom, Tedium, Difficultatem

Four months since my last post and decompression still hasn't really occurred. My spine is still coiled too tightly around itself. By banging my head against the keyboard I eventually typed out something meant to resemble a thesis (it has gold letters on the spine and I paid for it: isn't that enough? Say what? The chapters are supposed to be "finished"? Oh. I forgot that part). In a week's time I'll pretend to defend it and then pretend that I'm happy to resubmit the whole thing as I know I must, and pretend to be happy that I enjoy the whole field and the institution with its campus that has no decent coffee and is inundated with incompetent admin staff, when really, I just can't. I'm quite beyond feeling sorry for myself: most of what I am doing right now isn't myself, so what's to feel bad about? It's not my fault I forget things. I am wasting time, talent, life, all those things that shot to the top of my ludicrous list of so-called priorities after the cerebral blob was discovered several years ago. Somehow life has slipped down on that list and disappeared around a corner again, like, Look! real life (including Real Life: Normalcy of Job and Team Werk zealotry and Assets and H=A=P=P=I=N=E=S=S during two weeks' vacation time in economically exploited tropical countries, &c.,) is over there and it is waiting. It's peeping out from behind those McDonald's grease bins. Like, hey Listen! You're not living now...but you're about to. 

Christ. Am I wallowing in my alienation again? Everything is now, so what am I doing grinding my face against the inside of my face. 

I suppose I'm a bit deflated following a recent "mass lobby" of Parliament that I attended alongside scores of various brain tumour charity people, patients, carers, some political navigators, and an unfortunate but inevitable rash of self-important rich bastards who were pleased with themselves for pretending to care about people with brain rot.You! I call. You in the pearls. With the Tory hair! I think you flushed part of your heart down the toilet when you had that horribly painful shit that one time...

Here I am with my tiny blue head, right at the centre of the action, a bit clueless as to what I was trying to accomplish. Mostly trying to not return the anti-blue head glares from those few particular posh fuckwits. It's a good thing that the folk who actually work for the charities are decent: their hospitable and encouraging presence, alongside patients and some scientists and researchers doing the heavy work, is what made the day alright. Indeed, I do exaggerate about the poshos: there were only a handful of people whose eyes I was prepared to spike with my respectable-looking high-heels. I really did meet some good people, people with similar brain rot and similar experiences; people with severe brain rot and fifteen years' worth of incredible still-alive-fuck-you-tumour experiences. Those were bright points in the day. Thanks especially to Basia and to David.

The purpose of the day was to try to garner MPs' support and signature on an Early Day Motion calling for a little attention for brain rottees. The closing parts of the EDM refer to The Brain Tumour Consortium's Manifesto, and the most important point in that manifesto is that greater efforts must be taken to ensure prompt diagnosis of brain tumours in the UK. That means medical professionals need to be a little more on top of things: recognition of symptoms, fast placement of heads into diagnostic imaging machines, etc. I, for one, would not have received a diagnosis for several months after my first generalized seizure in the UK. Being dumped in the hospital by an ambulance made no difference - they took blood and asked if I was epileptic and I said no and they offered me a cup to vomit in then sent me home on my own. I was extremely fortunate that I already had a trip to Canada planned two weeks later, where they did things quickly and properly (and at no cost, it should be noted). Seizure? Immediate CT. Abnormality spotted! Take these drugs for now. MRI arranged... None of this sending the patient home to wait for weeks before a consultation about seizures (not even a scan) is arranged. Therefore: Dear MPs, please take note and tell the doctors and get some more protocols and machines and and time and money.

But wait! What's this? Has the NHS been stripped down to a pile of bare bones by the very vultures to whom we lobbyists did genuflect? Oh dear me. And that's precisely what made the day and the proposed actions feel incredibly futile.  

I hear the guffaws and I know, I know. I do. Why go, why lobby, why play the game. Parliamentary politics - bah blah bah blah, etc., etc.  But, other options, then?
I suppose that, Come the Revolution, brain tumours will cease to exist.  
We won't even need efficient, free, top-quality healthcare because ALL cancers will be immediately blasted into the hearts of the counterrevolutionaries lined up against the wall. 

I propose that the next attempt to "mass lobby" Parliament should be led by a qualified team of epileptic brain rottees who will march into the House without having taken their anti-convulsant medication and proceed to have a mass seizure on the hallowed Floor. And then we can also perform a seizure of power before they've had a chance to figure out what's going on. Yes. That is how a brain tumour invades this country's government. Unfortunately, I'm still somewhat short of energy for any or all of this. I'm still where I was at the start of this post: In a week's time I'll pretend to defend my "thesis" and then pretend that I'm happy to resubmit the whole thing as I know I must, and pretend to be happy that I enjoy the whole field and the institution. And then I'm going to have to figure out a way of being that is not Real Life, but life that I like and that is free of all the rubbish I've been spinning and shaking in for too long - all the stuff that would feed the wrong kind of growth. Don't need it.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

New Growth

If you're hip to the down-to-earth-for-loads-of-money home deco, you might be familiar with them. The twig balls. No one knows why, but they are often found in large bowls or on decorative plates. Tall floor-vase things containing bundles of very long scraggly sticks might be in a corner or against a wall close by. Primitive. Rustic. Twiggy. Is that a piece of not-so-old furniture over there that has been beaten-up, stripped of paint, re-painted, then partially stripped/sanded again so it looks like it came from a 19th century farmhouse? And a very expensive leather sofa beside it? Perhaps a delicate but cozy blanket casually draped across it? And - what's this? Are there some tiny sticks in a tiny delicate glass flute or jar, soaking up scented oils that diffuse an overpowering aroma across the room in the way that potpourri used to, before potpourri became passé?

I've got twig balls. And I've just written a classic blog entry: artificial cleverness about nothing.

What I wanted to say was that today is the beginning of Brain Tumour Awareness Month 2012. I haven't had the time to prepare anything special: I can't run, I refuse to stand in a shopping centre with a coin bucket, I will not sell horrific charity xmas cards. I'd make some of my own, perhaps, but there's too much work to do with finishing skool. So close to completeion! I thought perhaps I would present a month's worth of ridiculous photos of new growths on the outside of my skull as my own little online awareness campaign because it seemed easy and I'm excessively vain, so I started by snapping loads of pictures of myself out in the garden with about 10 different objects pinned into or perched upon my hair. But then I loaded the images onto the computer and discovered what I look like in daylight. Seeing myself in the mirror of the windowless bathroom every day has fooled me into thinking that I was holding up well despite eating crap and being under-slept. The rings under my eyes. The state of my complexion. Maybe I'll feel better about it all tomorrow. Or maybe after a few months when I can be free of skool forever. Because when hundreds of shots produce only a handful of images that are only somewhat alright it means maybe I shouldn't worry so much about skool, or about spreading awareness about brains, and maybe trying to be more aware of taking care of my own brain and my own tumour. I can't finish skool without the brain (even though skool is also killing it). And I'd like to keep the tumour at bay for as long as possible (it loves when I eat crap, don't sleep, panic myself into whorls of vomit about my thesis, and otherwise generally convalesce).

So I guess that's what Brain Tumour Awareness Month will have to be for me. Me me me. Eating the stupid kale rather than buying it and letting it rot in the fridge while I gobble pastry and instant noodles. It's taken a full afternoon of pouting for me to come to this conclusion. This banal post isn't even a report of the conclusion; the conclusion has come to me in the process of writing the whole thing out. Oh blog, your handiness. Your therapeutic qualities, your useful provision of spiritual exercises. Me me me. Is this why everybody blogs? You write your diary to the ether, someone might read it, find it insipid. It's alright. A little click will take you away again.

Off you go! Awareness of brain tumours. Don't grow one: use a hands-free set. Eat your greens. Mushrooms absorb toxins. Sport a grey ribbon! Watch some films about severed heads.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Relay GB

(this is not my xray but might as well be)

If I wasn't hobbling (mentally and physically), I would be in this.

The object is to run around the perimeter of Britain in stretches of 26 miles. So, one marathon at a time. It can be done in teams, so snails like me could run a quarter - or maybe a half - and someone else would take over the rest. Or a team of 26 people could run a mile each. Not a bad idea if you never run and your friends will shell out cash just to see you in a pair of shorts and trainers, nevermind shuffling along at faster-than-walking pace for a few minutes. 

My thesis and my hurt toe are in my way, or I'd have been harassing people for donations long ago. Who knows - it might work out yet. I need some power healing.

If you can't run, simply Give them (Brain Tumour UK) your money. Give them your money. Give them your money.

Or give something via my page. You know. The one in the side bar.

Or just give me money. I need to eat if I want to power heal. I need to pay the electricity and gas bills too. Patrons, please.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Today has Returned

I thought it might be a nice day to go out and slither around the city in a menacing way. I caked a lot of makeup on my eyes and adjusted my hair to a corresponding super-sleekness which would have looked completely normal were it not a fading turquoise. I'll show them, I thought. I pulled out an elegant skirt. I couldn't be bothered. Instead I put on comfy stretchy tights and a longish shirt because I have fleshed-out slightly this season from not running or anything due to over-stressing, insomnia and busting up my toe, well, any way I still look okay enough. It's too cold to not have a coat covering it all up anyway. Out I go to glare at the world. I didn't want to. I bumbled about. Made some soup. Pressed some keys on the piano and then on the computer and then thought about going out and talked to my sister who didn't even want to hear about how today is the fourth anniversary of my surgery, It's in the past, and whatever and &c. Well, I don't know how to feel about it, is all. Some of the makeup ran a little. I found a number of things funny. Then I dreamed of bubble baths and had some chocolate-covered biscuits. I decided I didn't need to be menacing and what about something nice that I never get to do like seeing the exhibitions I can never afford. It was too late - rush hour and places of interest were shutting by then and I didn't really want to gift myself with anything else to make myself feel better about being alive after all and why bother with ludicrous glares at people who have nothing to do with me. There's nothing to celebrate and there's nothing to grieve over. It's another day, it's almost done now, and that's all. I was fed spaghetti and it was very nice indeed.