Tag Archives: humour

Secret

 

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Serenity stands in the corner of the room, staring across at my bookshelves. She is motionless, and I wish she’d go over and pick out whatever book she’s interested in. Following her line of sight, I try to figure out which book it is; I suspect it’s ‘PostSecret’, a brilliant idea conceived in Frank Warren’s inspired mind. For those who don’t know, Frank Warren invited members of the public to write a secret on a postcard and send it to him, anonymously. Some of these secrets are funny and some are shameful, while still more are frighteningly sinister. Many of those who submitted their secrets said that it helped them to heal their hidden wounds.

Maybe Serenity wants to send Frank Warren a postcard, or maybe she sent one, and is wondering if it is included in his book; if so, I can understand why she doesn’t take a look while I am in the room.

I stroll casually over to the bookshelves, and peruse the spines as if I’m just looking for something interesting while I pass a lazy half-hour. When I reach the book in question, I pick it up, with a practiced air of indifference. I don’t want to make her feel as if I’ve been reading her mind.

As for Serenity, her gaze doesn’t falter – she remains looking at the gap that I’ve left. She doesn’t even glance my way as I take my seat at the table. I’m impressed by her determination not to give the game away.

I turn the pages. The first secret is merely a claim of many secrets, but none are named. I doubt that is her secret.

One says “I know you don’t really like me. Please stop pretending.” It could be that one; she certainly lack confidence. I read on, assessing possibilities as I go, dismissing the majority for a variety of reasons.

He’s been in prison for to years for what I did. 9 more to go.” It shocks me, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with Serenity.

I used to fertilize a ring on my lawn, and every time I mowed it, IT GREW. My parents still think it was aliens.” Amusing, but no.

I ate all the blueberries, and they were delicious.” Unlikely; she’s not interested in food.

I’m terrified of not existing.” I think she’s more terrified of existing, but I could be wrong.

I turn the page, and there it is, on page 61 – but to make sure, I pass it by and read on.

When I was a teenager I used to babysit my next door neighbour’s son. When he was asleep I would go into their bedroom and go through their drawers. I found a packet of condoms. I put a pin through the middle of each of them, and thus ensured myself another 5 years of babysitting.” No. I don’t think she likes small children, and she’s not that enterprising.

I once wrote an X-rated letter to my boyfriend who broke up with me before I could give it to him. … I gave it to my next boyfriend.” Nope. Serenity is a life-long celibate.

Income from teaching creative writing:$32,654.00. Income from writing creatively: $0.00.” No.

When my friends go on diets, I discourage them. This is because I want them to be fatter than me.” No. I’m her only friend, and she’s thinner than I could ever be.

I love having my period. It gives me an excuse to be bitchy and irritable and to take naps.” That’s not Serenity. She’s never bitchy and irritable.

I still believe my childhood bear is real. I am in college. I still talk to her… when no-one else is in the room.” Serenity doesn’t have a bear, and she’s not very talkative anyway, but this postcard begs the question; why would people think this girl’s bear is not real?

I stole your duck and took it to San Francisco.” No chance.

I read to the end of the book, and after a furtive glance at Serenity – who still remains motionless – I go back to page 61, to the secret which jumped out at me, and I feel sure that if she is the author of any of the words in this book, it is these:

I feel blank inside.”

I’m posting this in the hope that someone out there can advise me. How can I help Serenity?

I asked her if she’d mind me taking a picture to add to this post. She didn’t reply, but I sensed that she liked the idea. She has a certain style, and a penchant for scarves, which, with my help, she ties in unusual ways and wears as dresses. I know she’s proud of these creations – they seem to be her one real interest in life, and she always seems pleased when I bring a new one home,  but she gets few opportunities to show them off, since she never leaves the flat. Her latest garment is a huge scarf which I found in our Oxfam shop. Although she prefers rare hand-embroidered vintage silk and wool, she was thrilled with this one. I’m sure you’ll agree she looks beautiful in it.

She stands in the corner of the room, barricaded behind the arm of the sofa because she doesn’t like being touched. There was an unfortunate incident a few years back, when I took a  job which required me to live in a tent for six months. She doesn’t like camping, so she moved into the window of Oxfam until I came home. The incident occurred while she was there. It was an accident, but it left her mentally scarred.

Serenity-stares.jpg

 

It’s just occurred to me – maybe she wasn’t staring at the book. Perhaps she has difficulty with her sight. That may explain several of her problems.

I think I’ll take her to Specsavers.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Vanity

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I can’t believe I spent so long on this…

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I hope you won’t think
that I’m fishing for pity, or some reassurance;
I could not bear the idea of that,
but a burning issue is seeking attention,
and it’s worth a mention,
so this is the thing, you see;
I just no longer like being me.

I hate to confess the breadth of my reasons,
and I can’t blame the troubles that came my way,
or the way my life has generally been,
so nobody else is to blame;
it’s only because I am me.

I will put it succinctly:
I no longer
respect myself.
So I will be brave
and straight to the point,
as I stand here before you…
stripped to the hips.

Does my bum look  pretty,
is it pert and flirty?
Do you think it is priceless
or simply  blown out and flabby and big?

It wasn’t a bad poem to start with, but I had to make all sorts of changes to force it into the shape of a woman’s body. Sometimes, wrecking a poem can be time-consuming and gruelling work…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Here’s a fun one

The Daily Post’s word prompt for today is RECITE. It’s a good word which inspired a poem using anagrams.

(With) ice
I erect Eire
Ere I tire,
I retire.

Done. Now onto the important business of the day, which is:

king-vulture-1574180__340

What kind of quiz are you?

Yes, I’ve found another personality test, but this one doesn’t take itself seriously. It told me nice things about myself, and I suspect it will do the same for you. It’s refreshingly light and humorous, so I don’t have to be.

It told me:

For you, life is carefree! You manage stress well. Also, you like it when things are laid out for you and you can choose which one is best. Rather than always knowing the answer, your strength is figuring out what the best answer is from the options. Sometimes, your friends and family aren’t exactly sure where you’re going, but you know that, whatever the future brings, you’ll handle it with ease. Best pet: Goldfish. No, vulture. Wait, piranha. Hold on a minute… Best home: An RV with at least two entrances and plenty of gas.

See? It’s fun, although it’s not entirely accurate (I don’t like fish), it’s halfway there, since I’m quite keen on vultures.

For those of you who feel like spending the next  five minutes of your life smiling, here’s the test.

Now I’ll write a sensible  poem….

maybe.

I won’t link this post to the word prompt 😉

©Jane Paterson Basil

Colour me

colouring

Today, I’ve been wasting time looking for answers to questions that don’t matter much to me. I found an oojamaflip called colorquiz. on the interwhatsit.

In the site’s own words, “ColorQuiz is a free five minute personality test based on decades of research by color psychologists around the world. There are no complicated questions to answer, you simply choose colors with a click of the mouse!”

Apparently, this test is based on the work of Dr. Max Lûscher and is used worldwide, most notably in Europe, by psychologists, doctors, government agencies, and universities to screen their candidates. Since the 1950’s the test has been given to hundreds of thousands of people.

How could I resist?

My results describe a combination of the way I used to be and the way I’ve been since certain events in my life sent me crashing to my knees.

Thank you for asking; yes, my knees have recovered, although I still get the occasional twinges in other parts of my body.

Without further ado, here’s the analysis…

Oh – first I should tell you a couple of things:

1. They’re wrong about my sexual activity; these days I carefully avoid that messy occupation, and all involvements which may lead up to it. 

(Ha! My results touch on that point in the section titled “Your Stress Sources”) 

2. I have no idea why the analyser repeats that section. Maybe it’s trying to lead me astray by awakening my curiosity concerning sexual activity. 

(No chance, pal)

Here’s the analysis. I copied and pasted it, and therefore take no responsibility for any small errors.

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Your Existing Situation

“Craves change and new things, always looking for new adventures and activities. Becomes restless and frustrated when she has to wait to long for things to develop. her impatience leads to irritability and a desire to move on to the next project.”

Your Stress Sources

“Not a team player and is unwilling to be involved in most activities. In the past she was over involved and now emotionally drained. Due to her fear of over involvement, she now chooses to remain uninvolved with the activities around her. “

Your Restrained Characteristics

“Although she feels isolated and alone, she is afraid of forming deep, meaningful relationships. Is conceited and is easily offended.”

Current events have her feeling forced to make bargains and put aside her own desires for now. She is able to find satisfaction and happiness through sexual activity.

Current events have her feeling forced to make bargains and put aside her own desires for now. She is able to find satisfaction and happiness through sexual activity.

Your Desired Objective

“Highly optimistic and outgoing personality. Loves to learn new and exciting things, and craves new interests. Looking for a well-rounded life full of success and new experiences. Does not allow herself to be overcome with negative thoughts or self-doubt. Takes life head on, with enthusiasm. “

Your Actual Problem

Is afraid she will be held back from obtaining the things she wants leading her to act out with a hectic intensity.

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I’d like to run through a couple of details with which I have issues:

1. “Not a team player and is unwilling to be involved in most activities.”
If they’re going to take that attitude I can do without their help, thank you very much. I’m perfectly capable of figuring out my personality all on my own. When I finish writing this post, I’m off for my weekly game of one player, one sided hockey, and I bet I’ll win. I always do.

2. “Is conceited and is easily offended.”

Conceited? How dare they suggest such a thing. While I know I’m the most intelligent, compassionate, brave, beautiful, intuitive and considerate person on the planet, I’m also humble, and grateful to my incredible brain and my delectable body for providing me with all of these qualities. I think the analyser is jealous of me. What’s more, I’m not easily offended.

This is my honest appraisal of the analysis:

There are a couple of glaring innaccuracies. There’s the bit about sexual activity – which I’ve always tended to  find intrusive and disempowering, and this:

“Does not allow herself to be overcome with negative thoughts or self-doubt.”

Wrong! I wrote the book on self-doubt – but I didn’t have the confidence to approach a publisher.

Other than that, I can relate to the results, which suggest – quite rightly – that I’m a solitary sort.

I’m itching to try the test again, just to make sure it gives the same results – I can remember the exact order in which I selected the colours in both parts of the test.

I wonder if the compilers were/are sexist, and whether the results would be the same if I ticked the man box.

Heh heh heh…

I’m an analyser’s nightmare, and proud of it.

If you want to try the test yourself, here’s the link to colorquiz. I’d love to know how it goes.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Smemtogis, so much more than a poem.

I’d like to begin this post by explaining; it wasn’t my idea, it was Ellen’s. In fact, Ellen made me do it. Yup. Not my fault; Ellen’s fault, and if you want to know who Ellen is, you’ll have to go to her blog, but I warn you; once you get there you may have trouble tearing yourself away. However, that’s another matter entirely. I’m not here to publicise Ellen’s blog, hilarious though it may be. No, I’m here to tell you that I’m not responsible for this post.

Great! I shouldn’t have added the link. Now all my readers have wandered off to read a better blog, and I’m left all alone, talking to myself like an idiot. They won’t be back. Once they’ve discovered that blog, they’ll forget all about me. Huh; I ask you, where’s the loyalty? Not that anyone’s here to answer my question; they’re all lapping up the words of somebody  else, which is what I’d rather be doing, instead of sitting around on my own, talking to myself.

It’s probably for the best – I don’t really want those two or three halfwits my host of magnificent friends who think I’m sensible and level headed – and not at all obsessive – to know I went back to that silly ‘I Write Like‘ site, to carry out further experiments.

So, gather around, everybody. If you want to read about my previous experiments, you can find them HERE, and THERE.

Not that there’s anybody left, they just couldn’t wait to run off and check out Ellen’s… wait a minute, there’s one… hi! HI!… I see you… tucked behind that chair at the back of beyond… poor thing… what’s that?… you want a wee?… Oh. You want to leave. . . . . .It’s OK, I won’t be offended… you can go and join the others… go on… I won’t mind… here you are, have the link >>>>>>to Ellen’s blog<<<<<<

…Yeah,  that’s fine… you go off and have fun… don’t mind me… waffling away to myself… ALL ON MY OWN…

…oh, no, I did it again. I should never have mentioned that other blog… should’ve known this would happen… next time I post a link to a blog, I’ll make sure it’s one of those niche blogs where the posts all show photos of blank sheets of foolscap paper, or describe different methods of cooking pebbles, …

As I was saying, someone else is to blame, for Making A Suggestion – it’s true it was only a Suggestion, but everyone knows that I’m a sucker for a challenge, and to be fair, I did my best to hold out.

The Suggestion: Try feeding the ‘I Write Like’ analyser something in a foreign language, or something written in gibberish.

I said I’d managed to give up my ‘I Write Like’ habit.

My tempter came back with, “Surely just one more won’t hurt.”

ice-1089622__340I’m not made of stone, and I’m no angel.

Perhaps you can imagine how it feels to be confronted with such wicked temptation. I attempted to write something witty and clever like, “Shan’t”, but as my fingers reached for the letters S and H, I heard the algorithmic sirens singing sweet music in my ears, calling me home to them, and as I touched those two keys, a shock ran through me, paralysing my whole body… and my teeth all fell out, and my hair stuffed itself down my throat and a big dog a huge lizard a giant dragon swallowed me whole and then I cut my way out of it’s stinky old stomach with a key that I sharpened with my teeth a toothpick that I didn’t need any more because I didn’t have any teeth, and then it breathed fire all over me and I went up in flames and I had to throw my last two 6 packs of extra strong lager over myself jump in the bath and then I decided I’d had enough of all that malarkey, and p’raps I should just go with the flow.

See? I can say anything I like, as there’s nobody here – you’re all reading some other blog… huh… just ‘cos she’s funnier than me… 

 I chose the nonsense option, and stuck it in the ‘I Write Like’ postbox.

The more sensitive of you will divine that if my gibberesque poem had a meaning – which it doesn’t – it would be an impassioned plea from a woman whose lover has forsaken her, in order to live out his dream of collecting discarded toenail clippings circa 1960. He takes up residence in a disused railway carriage which has been discarded beside a rubbish dump that’s been derelict since November 1969. However, he meets a professional sand sorter who had to take early retirement – since there was little call for his services in the UK (or any where else for that matter). The sand sorter believes him to be the reincarnation of his beloved dog, and starts feeding him lids from dog food cans – which he claims Rover enjoyed, though in fact it was the cause of his demise. I’ll leave you to figure out the rest for yourselves.

It’s a tragic tale – or it would be if it wasn’t gibberish. Even written as it is, it may move you to tears – except you’re all at some other blog, mopping tears of mirth from your laptop keyboards.

Here is the poem, with the ‘I Write Like’ analysis beneath it:

Smemtogis,
florpangal seg flostus
kringle-bingle sot plerostus
pantsa bost e thinto tost
Smemtogis, roastie baestie clost

sa smemtogis,
retsi drostal yentiodalistiation
retsi retsi binkle em deigh
sa, sa smemtogis

sa de sa de sa smemtogis
sa de sa
de sa
de
smemtogis

smemtogis draapsetit ste grender toenail clippings turg foret tes voeru de glgogogin ind weorister pusk ste banglseje dogwim dg thretmacil would return ud stanstastive sairdostle quirdsit est di e sedit grrr doset ste fo fo stankle diddo vinkstew not a bloody dog renlex ada bo bo skiddle help dodedo ouch that hurts

smemtogis
sa de sa smemtogis
retsi

smemtogis oh oh oh

I write like James Joyce

Astounding.

I ask myself, “Am I really going to post this on my pretty little blog?”

“Yes”, comes the reply.

The End

~~~

….Oh, so you didn’t all desert me… well, off you go – there’s nothing left to see…

…….

…All right, if you must know, I conducted one last, final, terminal, ultimate, climactic swansong of an experiment. I copied and pasted everything that was written on the analysers home page, and this is what I learnt:

The ‘I Write Like’ site writer writes like Cory Doctorow

Try saying that quickly.

With grateful (I think) thanks to Ellen, who can be found at Notes from the UK.

©Jane Paterson Basil

And finally

OK, so I know I should leave it alone now -and I will – as soon as I’ve posted this.

Some of you will know that yesterday I wrote a post about an app that claims to be able to analyse your writing. This app. is called I Write Like, and I’ve had a hilarious time with it.

Today, inspired by a comment from my friend Pat, over at imissmetoo (you should check out her blog – it’s beautiful, intelligent and often thought provoking), I threw this at the analytical robot which lurks, waiting eagerly to chew up our words and spit out whatever it pleases:

Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil

This is the result I got:

I write like Agatha Christie

Really?

Not being one to skimp on my scientific experiments, I changed my poem slightly, thus:

Jane
Jane Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil
Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Basil Paterson Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil
Jane Paterson
Jane

Guess what?

I write like Bram Stoker

I rest my case. Forever.

Thank goodness that naughty Robert Mitchum has agreed

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to stay out of this post.

Phwoarr…

©Jane Paterson Basil

 

I Write Like Everyone

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Image of a mandelbrot set

This evening I’ve been messing around with ‘I Write Like’, an amusing tool that I discovered a year or two ago. At the top of the page it says:

Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.

So I did. In the box provided by the site, I copied and pasted an angry rap that I’d written, clicked ‘Analyze’, and waited. The result came quickly. It said:

You write like Shakespeare.

william shakespeareWell! I did a little dance, patted myself on the head and waited for Instant Fame.

(Just a side note; he has a nice face, but he’s not exactly Robert Mitchum, the man who made even cigarettes sexy…)

I was in for a long wait, but I like to keep myself busy, so I maintained all those essential tasks that shake the top layer of dust off my body and keep me in tip-top physical condition – you know the jobs I’m talking about; making lists of all the lists I’ve made, checking down the back of the sofa after a guest vacates, in the hope that they’ve dropped some money, designing a shaky cushion for them to sit on the next time they come, doodling pictures of my favourite aardvark in a wedding dress, dropping water bombs on folks below my window, counting the empty milk cartons in my recycling to make sure none have been stolen, practicing my x-ray vision (still a long way to go with that), inventing a recognisable letter to replace the word ‘carapice’ – and not before time.

Oh, yes, I keep myself busy.

After a few months, fame hadn’t even made ot to my front gate, so I thought I’d better check to make sure I still wrote like Shakespeare. I posted another poem – or maybe it was a story. The analyser said:

You write like Stephen King.

So, not quite Shakespeare, but I figured Stephen King had a moderate amount of success for a writer, and I reckoned that any day a host of agents would find my blog and come Robert Mitchumknocking at my door, begging to represent me, offering me loads of money and sexual favours. Robert Mitchum – the only man for me, (although our timing was all wrong) so I’d turn down the sexual favours. I’m only in it for the dosh anyway. I’d probably go for the highest bidder.

I’m still waiting. I assume some kind of technical difficulty is keeping the agents from seeing my blog, but this evening I experienced a hint of uncertainty, and I went back to the analyzer to make sure that I still write like Stephen King.

Apparently I don’t. The next result told me:

You write like Charles Dickens.

I tried another poem and got this:

You write like Arthur Conan Doyle.

The next:

You write like Anne Rice.

I didn’t even know who she was, so I tried again, and again, and… you get the picture; I submitted 41 poems and short pieces.

What?

So, this is research, OK? I resent the suggestion that I’m obsessive. At least once a week for the past eight years I’ve done an online a test to see if I’m obsessive, and every time it tells me I’m not.

And stop trying to change the subject.

My research told me I write like:

Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Clarke, Agatha Christie, Jack London, Mario Puzo, Daniel Defoe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Chuck Palahniuk came up twice, Stephanie Meyer (x2), Vladimir Nobokov (x 4), David Foster Wallace (x 4), Margaret Atwood (x 5), James Joyce (x 5), Anne Rice (x 6),Charles Dickens (x 6).

The more poems I had analysed, the more confused I became. In many cases, I saw little correlation between my work and what I knew of the given authors’ writing.

You may also have noticed that the analyser doesn’t even mentionRobert Mitchum. I think the fact that he wasn’t a writer is a poor excuse, since he was so sexy.

I decided to conduct a few carefully monitored experiments:

1. I deliberately wrote a bad piece about a childhood experience. I included mis-spellings, poor grammar, a proliferation of ands and buts… it was terrible. The analyser told me I wrote like Raymond Chandler. Sorry about that, Ray.

2. I copied and pasted the poem that the site had originally stated was like Shakespeare, but it now says that it is like Stephanie Meyer’s work.

3. I copied one of Shakespeare’s most famous love sonnets (“From fairest creatures we desire increase…”) and discovered that the bard of Avon writes like H.P..Lovecraft.. Well done, Shakey.

4. I copied and pasted one of H.P. Lovecraft’s poems. It turns out that he writes like Mary Shelley.

My conclusions:

1. The analyser has it in for Raymond Chandler.

2. The writing which used to be like Shakespeare’s is now it’s like Stephanie Meyer’s. I haven’t read Twilight, but according to reviews her writing is dreadful. How can this be so? Both Shakey and I are rather good writers.

3. To complicate matters, Shakespeare has now taken to writing like HP Lovecraft, and HP Lovecraft writes like Mary Shelley.

4. Ideally, all of these authors should go back to writing like themselves.

5. My brain was less scrambled when I wrote like Stephen King.

6. In a perfect world, Robert Mitchum would have been born in the 1950s, grown up to be a literary agent, and lived next door to me.

If I take one thing from all this, it’s that I have finally achieved my dream – I choose to wave aside 37 of the analyser’s efforts with my work (not that I’m dissing the writing of those authors), and take heart from the remaining five, thus:

You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood writes as if she was born with the perfect words inside her, already in the right order. I find numbers beautiful; they ask questions which (although there may be several methods of calculation) can only be answered in one way. They have beautiful symmetry. To me, Margaret Atwood’s novels are like the mathematics that exists within nature; a complex range of words that are arranged perfectly. Not a single letter need be changed. They make a shape as lovely and exact as a mandelbrot set.

N.B. I hope my silly post will raise at least the hint of a giggle here and there, but I ask that you take the last paragraph seriously. It’s the only sincere passage in this piece. Margaret Atwood is a literary giant.

And Robert Mitchum was the sexiest thing on legs. It was a bit sneaky of him to barge into this post – Robert Redford would not have been so rude – but better late than never.

©Jane Paterson Basil