gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Earlier this week, a friend (who doesn't blog) asked for my opinion on whether he should remove a mole on his face. Let's just say I was a little surprised that he felt bothered enough to ask me (and, it turns out, a few other friends) about this sort of thing.
I'm thinking of writing a short story that is a loose transcript of that conversation. Partly because I'm part of a circle of friends, a few of whom write that sort of thing. gambitch [
Thursday, August 25, 2005
It looks like I'm getting some field work later today, which is always good. I need the field work.
In other news, the Champions' League qualifiers have all been completed this morning. Well, in European time, that would actually be last night.
Quick notes, before the officials at UEFA put up their announcements. Below are the four pots of clubs before the draw is conducted in Monaco tomorrow.
Pot 1: Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona (both Spain), AC Milan, Internazionale Milano (both Italy), Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal (all England), FC Bayern Munchen (Germany)
Pot 2: FC Porto (Portugal), Juventus (Italy), PSV Eindhoven, Ajax Amsterdam (both Netherlands), Olympique Lyonnais (France), Panathinaikos Athens (Greece), Chelsea FC (England), Villarreal CF (Spain)
Pot 3: Club Brugge, Anderlecht (both Belgium), Olympiakos Piraeus (Greece), Schalke 04, Werder Bremen (both Germany), AC Sparta Praha (Czech Rep.), Lille OSC (France), Glasgow Rangers (Scotland)
Pot 4: Benfica (Portugal), BK Rosenborg Trondheim (Norway), Real Betis Balompie (Spain), Udinese (Italy), Fenerbahce (Turkey), SK Rapid Wien (Austria), FC Thun (Switzerland), Artmedia Petrzalka (Slovakia)
The rules for the draw, for the uninitiated, are simple. The group phase of the Champions League is made up of eight groups of four. The composition of each group will be exactly one club from each of the four pots, drawn at random. There is exactly one restriction for this draw process - no two clubs from the same country may be drawn against each other in the same group, so for example Udinese can't be in the same group as either of the other three Italian clubs.
However, there is one special exception to this rule this year: Liverpool, who were given special dispensation to enter the competition (don't ask). Because they are in Pot 1, together with all the other English clubs except Chelsea, they may meet Chelsea in the group stage. Although the odds are this probably won't happen anyway...
So let's see how the draw proceeds tomorrow. gambitch [
Monday, August 22, 2005
So I'm now finding myself listening to a, um, well, not very new song that I have introduced before.
And I'm trying out "Rabbit Hole Visuals" hypnosis therapy.
All this because I've got too much on my mind and I'm not able to will myself into sleep.
It's almost embarrassing for me to say it, but I had another one of those surreal and strange dreams last night. (No, I don't get this kind of dream very often.)
Essentially, it was one of those random scenes where I think I was at some kind of holiday chalet gathering, or one of those chill-out sessions in the club office after successfully organizing an event. Or something like that. I wasn't paying particular attention to where I was. I do remember, vaguely, though, that in the dream, I was in the company of a bunch of people from a club I was a member of in my younger days. (I'm no longer in the club now, mostly because I'm too old.)
So anyway, I think the scene was such that I was quietly sitting by the side, munching on irregularly-shaped pieces of carrot. Or was it apple? I couldn't remember for sure. I did look at a few pieces of them as I ate, and they looked like pieces of carrot. But here and there, when I sank my teeth into some of those pieces I didn't carefully look at, the texture felt more like juicy, somewhat soft apples. Whatever. It was probably some cold fruit and veg leafless salad.
I might have been a bit tipsy. Or just plain tired. It was the kind of condition where you vaguely realize your spirit wasn't all there, but even that doesn't firmly register in your mind. Then again, this was one of those surreal dreams where the spirit often doesn't feel "all there". Whatever it was, I think I was in one of those moods that can be better described as 'wistful' rather than the usual 'nonchalant'. Publicly I'm usually a nonchalant guy, perhaps not always with good reason. Privately, I think the honest assessment is that I tend to fiercely suppress displays of emotion, even if it means I can, on occasion, be gradually drawn into being outrageously emotional.
I wasn't quite sure what I was wistful about, though. Not that it matters. In any event, on this occasion, my face showed. Not that that was consequential either, I guess.
Anyway, what I remembered of what happened later in this dream was a tired blur... Somehow, while still floating around (not really, I just didn't feel myself walk, that's all) and slowly munching on my carrot-and-apple salad, I somehow saw this girl, who was indeed part of that club I mentioned earlier in real life. Now, because she and I don't have anything else in common, there could have been precious few reasons why such a gathering happened in my dream in the first place. Not that you, the reader, could possibly care.
Anyway, a potentially embarrassing admission to make on my part. In real life, I think I probably had... Oh, forget the wishy-washy talk. I'll just come right out and say it. I had a soft spot for this girl. Not a very big one, to be sure, but a soft spot nonetheless. It probably had to do with the fact that she was petite and soft and sweet, without being excessively and irritatingly so. Like a faint, light touch of pastel pink on cotton. Sure to hit a few soft spots here and there in a guy who's a bit on the emotional side. Without her realizing it, of course.
Unfortunately, as is usual for me, in real life I never actually made anything resembling an attempt to know her, even as an acquaintance. It could have been any one of several factors, age being one of them. I was an overly-seasoned old rock then, as I am even more so now, even though I'm not thirty yet. And, in that group I was a part of, I always felt myself to be more of an outsider, the guy who put too much of his thoughts into getting work done, and invested next to no real time actively making friends. I was probably more of a piece of living office equipment than a flesh-and-blood human being. That part of me never really changed.
It also doesn't help that, as I had learnt rather shortly after knowing her (and even then that was in a work capacity), she was taken, and, I would assume, happily so. I never found out whether that status changed. I never thought it worth the time to go out of my way to find out these things.
Knowing all this, I found what happened in my dream rather strange. You see, somehow I got into a conversation with the girl in question. I honestly can't remember now who started the conversation, or what exactly it was we talked about, suffice to say it probably wasn't about the usual hard stuff I tend to talk about, like politics and society, or men's interest topics like football. Which, I must remark, means I don't even know what I could have possibly talked about, because in real life I don't talk about plenty of things apart from world news and football.
Anyway, I think the conversation might have been about, ahem, softer stuff. And because, like I said earlier, I was in a state of mind where I was either tipsy or tired, my usual emotional regulation mechanisms probably decided to not function. I might have said something along the lines of me having a faint bit of liking for her, as opposed to my usual neutral, businesslike relations with other people of the opposite gender. I might have said that, and I might have apologized promptly and said something about knowing she's taken, or stuff like that. And she might have said something surprising, possibly a bit flirty (which in real life would probably have been so unlike her), but cotton soft as always.
The one defining moment in this conversation scene, which made me remember the dream - apart from the weird fact that I was eating a carrot-and-apple cold salad - was that shortly after saying all that, the girl took a bite off a piece of apple that I was holding in my left hand. Without asking. Without anything remotely resembling a sign of notice. And this time, by the texture I felt in my fingers, I distinctly knew it was apple.
Now let me make this clear. This girl I've been talking about so far is not the girl I have ever had the biggest soft spot for. That honour goes to someone else. And I'm not sure why a dream involving this particular girl happened, especially since she and I have not been in contact for a few years now. Come to think of it, I have not been in contact with other members of this group for a few years now. But I won't elaborate on that.
What I do want to say, though, is that somehow this dream reminded me of all those times when I never found the courage to go out there and make friends (rather than nothing more than colleagues) with the girls that, briefly or not so briefly, crossed paths with me. I'm not sure why, now of all times, I'm thinking about that useless old question of "what could have been". But it does leave me wishing I had gone back in time and, here and there, made a different conscious decision than what I actually did.
It also reinforces my belief that I'm going to end up living a life of semi-willing celibacy right up to the day I die, mostly because, while there's a play out there that asserts that all the good men are either "Gay, Dead or Married", just about all the girls who I've met and had a liking for ended up being happily taken by the time I realized it.
The only good thing to come out of all this is that, at least up to today, I've managed to keep my reputation of nonchalance mostly intact. Until, of course, I completely wrecked that reputation by posting this blog entry.
(The identities of the girls I've previously had a liking for shall remain undisclosed. My soft spots for them are still there, even if, for the most part, they will remain untriggered most of the time. Plus my habit of being socially reclusive will ensure things stay just that way.)
(What on earth am I posting all this for? Who cares?) gambitch [