Saturday, 30 June 2012

...Absurd Accordings

Evening chaps and chappettes, it's been one hell of a month, hence the lack of blogs BUT that does mean I get to ramble on and on and on because I have loads stored up. So grab a glass of your favourtie liquid, sit back, relax and let me entertain you.

So where to begin? Well race day is tomorrow and I'm bricking it. Mainly because I haven't been able to train as hard as I wanted due to the fact I pulled all the tendons in my ankle trying to kill a mosquito. Needless to say I didn't kill the mosquito, the war still rages on. Damn mossies. So I've had to take it slow, not run as fast as I want to or as fast as I know I can, which is really infuriating. However this will not slow me down! I will prevail! All I need is someone to run next to me playing "Eye of the Tiger" on a portable musical playing device and scream motivational quotes at me - any takers?

I have however raised more money then I expected to thanks to the generosity of my co-workers and family - you guys rock! No certain sum yet, but I'll let you know once I know. I do know theres roughly around 2 grand more to make - which is easily done, well that's what I keep telling myself. Don't be afraid to hit the donate bottom on the top of the page to help me along - every little helps!

I do have that niggling doubt that creeps to the forefront every now and then that tells me I just won't make it. It's a large sum of money to earn but my determination is great. I think more then anything it is the fear of change. Everything is changing and for me it's hard to let go of control. I want so desperately to make it and the idea of failure scares me. The idea of getting out there and not loving it, not being able to enjoy myself or feeling completely overwhelmed really frightens me. So does the epic list of things that must be done before I leave. It's a long list, like a really, really long list. But I guess that's what change is all about right? Not everything is easy, change is difficult and it's the fear of the unknown that drives the niggle onto my shoulder and lets it whisper in my ear.

Now the absurdness of my according comes from my nosiness (eep), right now, whilst writing this I am also watching "Confessions of an Animal hoarder" and all I can say is wow. These people have like 40-50 animals, it is insane and obviously American (sorry guys, but you lot are nuts). I just don't know how they can live with so many animals. I get that it's like a mental sickness but seriously? The smell that must come from their house, their person, must be overwhelming, because none of these pets are house trained (obviously!) and they shit and wee EVERYWHERE! One womans house was crumbling because the ammonia in the animal wee was rotting her floorboards. I do feel for these people, it must be hard not being able to let something go and it's clearly a transference of emotions. They feel they need to love something and animals need love, they don't talk back and they will never leave. It's sad but makes for perfect tv, which in itself is sad.

So not too absurd folks, quite subdued and I'll leave you with a poem by Imtiaz Dharker which is fast becoming one of my favourites. It's called "Carving".

Others can carve out

their space

in tombs and pyramids.

Our time cannot be trapped

in cages.

Nor hope, nor laughter.

We let the moment rise

like birds and planes and angels

to the sky.

Eternity is this.

Your breath on the window pane,

living walls with shining eyes.

The surprise of spires,

uncompromising verticals. Knowing

we have been spared

to lift our faces up

for one more day,

into one more sunrise.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

...The Rachel McKenzie Travel Fund.

In September I will be travelling to Cambodia with Bunac to help teach children and adults to read, write and speak English. This is a voluntary position and I will be in Cambodia for 3 months. For me this is a trip of a life time and in order to get there I need to raise some money. All money raised will go towards flight cost. Now I'm not asking you to just give me money, I'm willing to work for it. How? Well I will be running the Regents Park 10k on the 1st July and for most of you who know me, long distance running isn't one of my strengths. However I am willing to put this aside and run. I appreciate anything that can be spared, I know times are hard but every penny given helps make a pound.

Why my help is needed.

During the time of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodian schools were closed down, teachers were subjected to torture or execution and education of children was almost entirely neglected. When the regime fell in 1979, Cambodia’s educational system had to be built almost from scratch. By this point, huge numbers of the population were illiterate.

The Cambodian educational system is now in the process of redevelopment but it faces huge challenges. Not only is there a lack of skilled English-speaking teachers available but financial restrictions mean that teachers are often paid extremely poorly, leaving schools severely understaffed and classes overcrowded. Adding to this, schools tend to be equipped only with basic facilities. With a rise in tourism in Cambodia, speaking English is a hugely valuable skill but while the national syllabus requires children to learn a foreign language, this is often not possible due to insufficient resources.

Working in underprivileged schools or colleges, or in grass root community projects, volunteers are able to make a genuine contribution on this project by assisting local teachers or taking their own lessons. Though they are primarily required to help equip children and adults with valuable English skills, the role is fairly varied and there are also opportunities for volunteers who wish to organise extra curricular activities to do so. Whether they choose to organise sports days or football matches, or teach arts and crafts, dance or music, volunteers are encouraged to get involved with the school as much as they can in order to help the development of local children.

Cambodia is emerging from a humbling history and although it is beginning to stabilise itself it still faces real tests. This means that volunteers have the opportunity to make a genuine difference to Cambodia on a local level and, in immersing themselves in this unique and lively country, to do something truly rewarding.

So please click on the gaudy donate button to your right and give as much as you can, alternatively you can give through, I appreciate any amount given no matter how small. Please also leave your name in the comment box so I can give you a hearty thank you!

Monday, 4 June 2012

...A Series of Coincidences.

A Series of Coincidences.

She said we're going to die.”
No she didn't”
Yes she did. She said “Jake and Ettal you two are going to die. I am going to be the one who kills you. Unless you can tell me the end of this riddle.”
What? She never said that!”
Yes she did! We couldn't understand her because it was in Finnish.”
But we don't speak Finnish!”
Exactly! Remember when that old dude said we should take Finnish lessons because one day it would save our lives and we said sure, okay and he said he was a teacher and would give us lessons for free and to be at his house for six and he gave us his address and we didn't turn up because we thought he was a perve and wanted to touch our junk and shit and oh man I feel light headed...”

I'm okay, no really I am. Stop looking at me like that Ettal, your eyes have gone all wide again, just like the last time...”
I'm sorry Jake but do you know what this is?”
No, what?”
Oh no, no, no, no, no...”
Okay calm down, stand still, stop waving your arms around Jake you look like a lunatic.”
I can't help it Ett. I don't know if I can handle another coincidence, it's been so long since the last one and that was...that was...I can't do it again Ett.”
Yes you can. All we have to do is find that old dude and we have to learn Finnish, like now!”
Right, your right Ett.”
I know.”
Okay so where did we leave that address?”
Think Ettal!”
Jeans, blue, Tuesday – Tuesday's jeans!”
Let's go, your house, RUN!”

* * *

I...KNOW! Just...stop...talking...and...keep...running...”

* * *

What happened on Tuesday?”
I woke up, stretched, yawned and stretched. I then stood up, stretched, yawned and stretched. After I looked around my room...”
Err sorry, okay, whenever I take my jeans off I throw them over there, in that pile of semi- dirty clothes by the window and so it should be there.”
Dive Ettal!” Am I bleeding?”
No, now dig in, we have to find those jeans!”
Right. These are Mondays, Saturdays, Fridays, Wednesdays...Jake, their not here.”
Their not here. My mum must have been doing a sniff test again and Tuesdays jeans should have been in the really dirty pile but I threw them in the semi-dirty pile because I thought I could get at least one more week out of them.”
Jake, get off your knees. It's not that bad.”
I just don't want to die, you heard what she said.”
Well us flapping our arms about and making noises like a demented whale isn't going to help us not die now is it?”
No. It just feels so hopeless”
Stop sobbing and get up, it's not hopeless. All we have to do is check if my mums gone to her laundrette yet.”
The high street of course.”
Of course!”

* * *


* * *

Can you see her?”
I can't see through the glass, it's all steamy.”
We're going to have to go in. Ready?”
I'm never ready Jake.”
Deep breath.”

Okay, so she usually uses machine number seven, it's her favourite one – look for it.”

There, over there Ett, on the other side of the shop talking to the lady with the blue frizzy hair.”
Mrs Anderson. Time to manoeuvre yourself Jake”

Excuse me, pardon me...sorry I just need, gonna squeeze through here...”
Ettal! Manners!”
Sorry. Guess I got a bit carried away.”

Mrs Blatt!”
Mum, stop the machines!”

“What? Ettal, Jake? What are you both on about?”

Jeans, in the semi- dirty pile...”
But they weren't semi-dirty...”
They were properly dirty...”
And they have a piece of paper in the back left pocket...”
A very important piece of paper...”
That could potentially save our lives!”

“You two aren't making an ounce of sense. I have not picked up any jeans from your room today. Maybe you've misplaced them.”


“Jake get off the floor.”

Yeah Jake get off the floor.”
But you don't understand Ettal, without those jeans, without that piece of paper she's going to...AHHH! There she is! Window! WINDOW!”

“What the hell are you two doing? Ettal Blatt get out of that laundry basket immediately! Jacob Jones if you do not let go of Mrs Anderson I will be forced to call your mother! You two are behaving like wild animals, now out! Out of my shop and go behave like normal children.”

No, Mrs Blatt, please, you don't understand, this is a matter of life and death!”

“I will show you what a matter of life and death looks like Jacob Jones. You have five seconds to extract yourself from around Mrs Andersons waist and out of my shop!”

Mrs Blatt...”
Come on Jake, quick, she's got crazy eyes.”
We're going!”

* * *

You're mums intense Jake.”
Tell me about it.”
How long will it take before I get the feeling back in my ears?”
A couple of hours – tops”
She got a good grip on them though.”
Yeah I call it the iron claw.”
Wait...Ett, where did creepy Finnish woman go?”
Oh man...I don't know...”

“Jake ja Ettal...”

“sinulla on kaksi tuntia. Jos et voi kertoa minulle vuoden arvoitus minä tapan sinut.”

What did she say? Jake? Let go off my legs you weirdo.”
Sorry Ett. Survival instinct. I haven't got a clue what she just said, but I think I need to go home and change my jeans.”

* * *

I'm glad we took the bus this time.”
Yeah, I don't think I could run in my condition.”

* * *

Okay change your jeans and lets get going.”
I'll be fifteen minutes.”
What? Why?”
I need to shower Ett.”

* * *

Just for the record that was not fifteen minutes..”
I know but I was feeling really dirty.”
Wait a sec, those are my jeans!”
No their not!”
Yes, those are my Tuesday jeans!”
No Ettal these are mine.”
Fine but just check the back left pocket.”
Oh wow...”
Yeah these are your jeans Ett and I think I just found what we've been looking for...”
Open it then Jake!”
Okay, okay, hands are too sweaty, you do it.”
It is it Jake, we've found it!”
Sweet mercy, we're saved!”
Call the number Jake.”
No you do it.”
Why me?”
Because your name comes first – alphabetically, duh.”
Fine. You got me on a technicality, you happy?”
Pass me the phone then.”

Come on dial faster.”
Okay, it's ringing...”

I think I may need to change my jeans again...”
Don't you even think about it Jake, I swear I'll...hello? Hi, is this, wait, what's the name again – Jake, come on, what's the name? Well it's your handwriting!”
“Hello? Who is this?”

Sorry sir, my names Ettal Blatt and I don't know if you remember but you told me and my friend Jakob Jones...”
What, why are you telling him my name?”

“Ettal and Jake? I remember the two of you. You were about to be pursued by a tall , blonde Finnish woman who was going to kill you if you didn't tell her the end of the riddle.”

Yes! That's us!”
He remembers us Jake.”
Well what's he going to do about it? He needs to teach us Finnish, tell him he needs to teach us Finnish Ettal.”
Err yeah, so about teaching us Finnish...?”

“Get here in an hour.”

But she said we only had two hours half an hour ago.”

“Then you better get moving. I'm on Elmsfleet Street. Number twelve. I'll be waiting...”

But, hello? Dammit.”
What? What did he say?”
We have to get to him within the hour but he's at least forty five minutes away and that's if we were driving – do you know how to drive Jake? DO YOU?!”
Calm down Ett, we'll make it. Stop tugging at your hair like that. Remember what happened the last time you did that?”
Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me Jake.”
Anytime. So now that we're both calm, lets get to that creepy old dudes house.”
By any means necessary.”

* * *


* * *

Knock harder Ett, he could be deaf.”
How hard do you want me to knock Jake? I'm practically ripping the top coat off the door.”
HELLLLLOOOOO? MR ERRR, MR...what's his name again Ett?”
I don't know Jake and stop shouting, you're drawing attention to us.”

“Whose there?”

It's err Jake and Ettal sir, we spoke on the phone.”

“Oh yes, the two boys being chased by a Finn. Hahahaha.”

I don't think this is a good idea Jake...”
Shut up Ett, you may want to die but I don't.”

“Hold on, let me undo these locks...”

Could you hurry please sir, we only have half an hour to go and I don't know how hard Finnish is to learn but I doubt either of us could...oh!”

“Hello boys.”

I think I need to change my jeans again Ett.”
Stop it Jake.”

“Come in boys. As you said before time is precious, we need to press on.”

Ett, he looks like...”
I know but he may not be...”

“Come on boys, don't dawdle, we have work to do.”

* * *

I'm scared Jake.”
You were the one that said it was fine, now don't start freaking out please.”
I can't help it, it's this room. Why does he have to have so many portraits of himself? I feel like I'm being watched...”

“So, what were her exact words?”

Well sir, that's the problem. We don't know because it was in...Finnish...Ett stop looking at him like that.”

“Hmm. I know this woman well. I also know a lot of Finnish riddles and she wouldn't have giving you one if you hadn't pissed her off.”

You know her?”
How? How do you know her? WHAT IS THIS?”
Ett, calm down...”
No Jake, I want answers, stop laughing you creepy git. I want to go home Jake.”

“You can't leave. If you do she will kill you.”

Shit, shit, shit, shit...”
Sit down Ett. SIT! Now mister...err what exactly is your name?”

“My name is of no concern...”

Yeah like that's not creepy serial killer talk...”
Fine Jake!”
Thank you. Um so err sir, I think the riddle had something to do We were arguing over who could down their can of lemonade faster and Ettal accidentally snorted some of his all over her.”
Technically Jake, technically it wasn't my fault. If you weren't making that face...”

“Ha! Well the most common riddle ends like this...”

* * *

Okay, so do you remember the exact words?”
Yeah I think so Jake. Sorry about what happened back there...I sort of lost my cool...”
Sort of? You were a freaking nut ball in a squirrel house.”
You have an unhealthy attachment to squirrel analogy. But I'm sorry.”
All forgiven. Now we have two minutes. He said she was coming here, so prepare yourself Ett.”
I'm ready Jake.”
Oh monkeys, there she is!”


I think I need a new pair of jeans...Does she have to carry a bazooka? It's not like she'll miss us if we're wrong...”
Calm it Ett...umm...olet kana?”
NO! NO JAKE! That's just making her angry.”
Err what did he say again?”
She's raising the bazooka, I don't want to die like this Jake.”
OK ETT. I've got it...mies etsii vettä, mutta löytää illusio.”

“onnekas arvaus. Te saatte elää sillä nyt.”

She's leaving. You've done it! Yes! Sweet freedom!”
That was so close Ett. Now what did that old dude say about Sunday?...”