Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shop To Win Part 2

In our last instalment, I suggested that there were broadly speaking two very simple internal states to master in order to ensure perfect fulfilment in all your shopping experiences, and we introduced you to the first tate, The Hunter.  Go there now if you've just tuned in and have not read that part already.

So welcome to Part 2, we'll get straight on with it.

State 2:  The Amble.

In a way, this is the diametric opposite of The Hunter, in that you have no real intended target at all.  No seek-out-and-capture action, no constant focus on the original mission is required.

But why even have another state when The Hunter can surely provide all your needs?

Because of imperfection, that's why.  There will be times when you cannot know ahead of time what it actually is you need and want.  There will also be times when Hunting that suddenly a new off-mission target sparks your Inspiration sensors and you are moved to act.  In order to successfully move within this universe we must know how to act from a space of intention (Hunting) and a space of flow (The Amble)

At first look, the concept of Ambling might seem to imply (as illustrated above) a recipe for hopelessness, a non-method of producing mediocrity and entropy, a way of dimness and incompetence.

Not at all.

Because this is a conscious decision to Amble appropriately.  Sometimes has disastrous consequences crossing busy highways, for example, but amazingly - not usually.

Achieving the State.

Step 1:  What it isn't.
There is an absolute negative that must be in place here, firmly, and without doubt.  If you cannot achieve it, the Amble will most likely not work.  It's very, very simple:

You must be perfectly prepared, and perfectly content, to buy nothing.  To return home with no new thing.

This is because to Amble successfully you must be in a 'needless' state.  certainly, there may be that mental list of things rattling around that you are on the lookout for, or that you know you like to encounter, but that's where it ends.  No consolation spending, not even "well, if I don't find anything I really want then I'll have an extra nice lunch" or somesuch nonsense.

This is not retail therapy.  If there is desperation, or emotional need to part with money, do not - ever - expect to be fulfilled by shopping.

Now we have the negatives squared away, the real secrets to fulfilment in the consumer commerce sector can start to be opened to you.  Here's the first secret:

Shopping is made up of people, not things.  This includes you.  It is an action, a verb, a "doing word" and this only generally happens with inanimate objects when gravity unexpectedly becomes involved or when observed over a long period of time.  We call that entropy.  So although on your Amble you will be - on the surface of things - focussed on product, promotion, produce and all of that, in reality you will be entering the world of people in a particularly conscious way.  You'll see.

Step 2:  Go somewhere.
This is easy, just choose a shopping place (you knew where you were going before you even knew you wanted to go shopping, so go there).

Step 3:  Noticing.
We know what we aren't, we know where we are.  If you've driven a vehicle, halfway from it to the first doorway of your vehicle or at another appropriate moment, stop - turn around - look back - and notice your vehicle.  If you've got there some other way, do the same with the bus stop, taxi rank or whatever.  Look down at your feet - THIS IS IMPORTANT - spend a second seeing your feet and the ground at the same time (look not being unkind, but if you're say really large or can't see your feet for some reason or are in a wheelchair or whatever, then it's important to imagine yourself doing this, or use a shop-window mirror or something) and when you understand your groundedness, continue on with your journey.  You will now remain connected with all you need to be connected to.  This is what makes the Amble fulfilling, what gives it its special manifesting powers.

Now, as you Amble into the shopping zone, Notice yourself constantly.  Self-assess for the Gruen trance.  If it happens, remember your feet.  If you have difficulty coming back, remember where you put your vehicle or how you got there.  Good.  Now carry on.  You enter the wave.

Step 4:  The Wave.
This isn't really a step at all, because it's just a thing that happens now on your Amble.  You'll be Noticing yourself, and stuff, yourself, stuff, yourself, stuff, etc etc.  The inward and outward perspectives ebb and flow back and forth and enable you to see, feel, or otherwise apprehend your relationship with the stuff that comprises product, promotion, and produce.  regardless of how awesome the stuff you see is, it's your reaction to it that drives the process.

Here's the thing though; you'll also find yourself noticing people - individually and as groups.  Occasionally as a species.  These are your 'signpost' moments. 

The people will lead you to where you need to be.  This is the heart of the Amble.  Just head in the direction of 'people energy' that attracts you.  You are grounded, and balanced between detachment and seeking, so all will work out well.  If it suddenly seems like you've dead-ended, no problem - just catch the next attractive 'people energy' wave that comes by and go that way.  Keep noticing.

You will know when it's done.  This is always clear.

So, even if you didn't buy a thing, I'll guarantee you that you had a meaningful outing and learned something new and profound - regardless of whether you understand it right now or not.

Beats 'retail therapy' hands down.  Usually much cheaper also :-)

Tune in again for the third and final instalment, where as advertised we bring it all together.....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Slow learner

For me, learning about slow has been a -  well, a slow road.

It's true to say that as well as the inevitable delays caused by my previously-described propensities toward perfectionism, exacting craftsmanship, and consequent procrastination (meaning a lot of stuff only ever got/gets done slowly), my typical speed of operation seems to have been set in the factory at "not slow".

This is across all sorts of areas of life too.  All these things go way back to early childhood: fast mover, fast talker, fast eater, fast thinker, and so on.  Despite having the marathonners' build I have always been pretty useless running beyond 200 metres, but not bad under 100.  Same in the pool, pretty handy over 100m, and extremely competitive at 50.  Crap at 200 and don't even bother asking about 400.  Because apart from the stamina/pacing myself factor, I just never had the patience.  A pretty genuine sprinter then.

Fast enough learner too, it should be said.

Seems like I'm really talking myself up here, but this is not my intention at all.  I'm exploring the 'down' sides as well as whatever 'ups' there are to this, and looking back at how I've changed - and haven't - over these years.

I do really like speed as a thing in itself, the joy of movement in the body and the whirring of the mind as it does its thing too.  Probably why I was far more attracted to motorcycles than cars early on.  They feel faster, you see, and to ride safely and well you really do have to think (or process) at a far higher rate than in a steel four-wheeler box.  I shall admit to liking fast driving in the past as well.  Speed is cool.

Still, I hardly think it's just me though, eh?  I may have been a bit more speedy than many, but it's the way of our times, is it not?

What is this fascination with speed these days, for so many of us?  Instant this and that (including gratification), and even the real growth in childhood disorders this last 25 years has been varietions on what we used to call hyperactivity, all the way up to the autism spectrum.  Something's going on. Our concept of time has changed dramatically.  You may remember, as I do, an age before the ubiquity of microwaves.  Food preparation took longer, and involved ovens - a previously everyday appliance in most households which now, in many homes, rarely if ever gets used.  You can in fact purchase swanky stainless steel false oven fronts for your designer kitchen, to save cost etc, if you never use one.  Not very long after the microwave oven colonised the western domestic kitchen I found myself standing in front of one, watching something in there revolve in the weird light they always have, tapping my foot and thinking
"Come ON....I haven't got all MINUTE!!"
...and had one of those moments of self-awareness when you see how bought-in you've become to the whole big consumer show.  Which runs on speed.

But why is fast the dominant tempo, and not slow?

I suspect part of the answer may simply lie in our wiring.

The basic principle is that time flies when you're having fun yet a boring day makes the clock really drag.  This seems to be a fairly universal experience, and to be related to how we store and process 'conscious' memory.  Think back to the last excellent party or dinner gathering you were at where you really had a great time.  Put yourself there now and replay that time from start to finish with all the highlights thrown in.  Go.  Didn't take long at all did it?  Have another go, paying attention to how you're feeling bodily, and to the expressions playing across your face.  Really get into it, and come again to the end....Go.  This third time, I'm going to ask you to prepare yourself to be aware of your feelings and sensations again, but - speed up the replay!! Go go go!

Now I'm thinking that this last time, you might have even approached something like a giggle, if you were having a genuine go at it.  At least noticing that with added speed your face crnkled up smiley-wise a bit more, and you felt somehow even a little happier with the memory.  You might even have noticed the colours or lighting being brighter in the pictures you saw, or the sounds louder and cheerier.  (All this is assuming you are not taking alterative substances such as SSRI antidepressants or the like, btw. That's a whole other post right there. This may still work if this is you, have a go!)  The reason for this, simply put, is that our brains associate fast processing, and thus fast replay, with things that make us feel really alive and usually good.  Sort of like adrenaline, maybe.  Part of this is the non-repetitive nature of our stored 'conscious' memories, in that they don't consist of small bits repeated over and over, but tend to move swiftly through time.

Let's contrast that experience with the last time you felt sad, depressed, or otherwise down.  Just go with the very first thing that popped into your head, no need to be strict about it being the most recent.  As you replay this memory, the first thing you'll probably notice is that even though it might represent a smaller actual length of past time than your party one before, the memory takes longer - and importantly seems to take longer - than the happy happy one.  You can imagine (briefly only, let's not get carried away here) what would happen were you to slow..... that..... one..... down.  Because the converse to the above example applies; we associate slow processing and replay with more 'down' emotions like sadness, loneliness, fear etc.  Anger too, despite fear and anger often having adrenaline-like components at times.  The other main differing factor between what we'll just call (for the sake of brevity) 'happy' and 'sad' memories is that the sad ones are often characterised by repetition.  This is the mechanism that makes the bad times drag on.  Depressing thoughts more often than not are relatively small chunks of recall repeated ad nauseam, thoughts you just can't seem to shake.  True depression in a very real sense is characterised by repetition of memory, 'conscious' or otherwise.

Let's reset now.  That down memory I asked you to bring up?  Grab it again, and as you replay it, speed it up, brighten the colours and contrast, and maybe even drop in some happy music like a calliope tune or the Seinfeld theme or something.  Just zips by now, yes?  And weirdly, it has the same content, but not the same feeling?  That's better.

I'll leave the ramifications of this notion for you to have fun with now, I hope I've made my point at least.

Maybe this is somewhere near the core of our need for speed.  That and some notion of competitiveness, as survival-wise we must have some sort of early-bird worm-getting / fastest hunter gets the prey / fastest children evade the predator sort of thing in there.  Thirdly perhaps a desire to be forever young - or to never die - to not accede to the chase of time, to stay a step ahead of the inevitable.......  In any case, it's an evolution thing, for sure.  (Or something God created us with, for those who just joined us a few thousand years ago.  Go for it.  I don't mind.)

Anyway, we also know how as we leave childhood, most of us discover some more mature pleasures in slowness.  Something savoured.  Men have a special time learning this one bodily as they mature sexually.  Ironically though, it seems we can hardly ever wait to get started!  Couldn't really speak for women on this one, not being a woman and all.  But the speedy mind thing generally stays with us, it's our default setting.

I first found the slow delight in music.  Lullabies, possibly, could be that far back.

Music is where I also first discovered something very deep that only now I come back to in a whole and realised way.  That 'down' has a special joy, and is not to be feared.  Slow can be gorgeous, sad can be intensely beautiful.  The trick to it is to get past the repetition thing.  Because depression is really not that great, in truth.

Rediscovery of the joys of slow (indeed the necessity of slow) is a fundamental part of the whole zeitgeist now too.  I'm not saying it's a new notion, far from it.  But I am seeing and feeling it creep through so much of our most powerful responses to our environment.  The newly refurbished and freshened conservatism (by which I simply mean a desire for change to be slow and incrementally built on what has gone before - the true and original definition of conservative) is gently beginning to prevail over its perverted offspring of the last few decades; the neo-liberal neo-conservative ways of governance and dogma (which are neither actually liberal nor conservative, ironically) and indeed we are seeing a concomitant swell in feeling that helps us disengage with radicalism and the foment of conflict.

Love is a slow emotion.  Let's savour it.

I have just reminded myself of something I read only recently.  It was written in September 2001, and is a beautifully wrought short piece on the power of love in the face of hatred.  You can check it out HERE.

Of course the journey will ultimately take us beyond fast and slow and every speed in between.  It's just nice to remember that slow will get us there just as quickly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Easier to read?

Blackberry users, are you rejoicing?  Or are you not?  The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that the blog has changed its look somewhat.  My aim was to make it an easier read on screen and for mobile users also.  I have learned a few things about blogger's funny habits and glitches and attempted to subvert some of it's more annoying features.

Speaking of annoying, yes, I'll do something nice with this beautiful beige background.


Here is some more rhinoceros for your enjoyment.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How To Shop And Win Every Time

Do you ever go shopping?  I bet you do.  Going to the stores ever get you down?  Can't find that one thing you're really looking for?  Hate parking lots?  Always buying things you don't need?  Ever find yourself paralysed by choice? Spending too much money?  Unsure how to cope with difficult checkout situations?  If you have said "OMG yes! You are talking about my whole LIFE this is so FREAKY it's like you're INSIDE MY HEAD!" to any of these questions then you need my win-every-time shopping system!

Years of experience have allowed me to make every mistake imaginable so you don't have to, and have shown me how to successfully navigate the shopfront face-to-face consumer experience to create a winning outcome every time!  Guaranteed!

The best part is that all of this is completely free!  "Why? WTF?"  I hear you ask?  Well, maybe it's because I love youse all, or maybe because I'm incredibly selfish!  Selfish?  Yes, you heard it right - you see, I go to the shops too, and there's nothing I enjoy more, nothing more guaranteed to make my experience even winninger than normal, than to see lots of people having a great time.  Everyone wins!  Just continue reading to discover this incredible system for yourself!

But wait?  How do I know this will work for me?  The only way is to try it and see for yourself.  I can say that clinical results have shown this system to be effective in every type of goods-for-money exchange place ever, from supermarkets to shopping malls, hardware chains, car sales yards, and for all I know it'll even work at a 'house of ill-repute'. There's nothing to lose!

OK, so BS salespeak hyperbole aside, I have in my time discovered a couple of key things to help us not only survive the ills of the rampant consumerist assault found in our shopping establishments, but indeed to thrive therein, with one's sense of self intact, one's wallet only appropriately lightened - if at all - and the goods-seeking experience we require completely fulfilled.  True story.  Even 'failures' can be a success.

Let's get started then.  Broadly speaking, there are just two main ways of internal state you need to master; and then with practice, you may be able to combine them and assume the rank of elite storemaster, and become an unstoppable force invulnerable to the perils of marketing manipulation and parking lot frustration.  In truth, everyone can get there, but as the dedication required to achieve this heightened state is incredibly onerous for some individuals and may not come easily for you, be assured - either of the two basic states can provide perfect experiential shopping fulfillment if chosen wisely and employed well.  It's that simple.

State 1:  The Hunter.

Simply put, this is the best way to go when you know exactly what you want to get, and/or exactly what you want the outcome to be.  It is an ancient and instinctive part of all of us, and the reason we have such unusual dentition and digestive tracts.  We are successful hunters by nature, or we wouldn't have made it this far.

Understanding the habits of they prey is relatively easy for most things.  Likely location, price and specifcation variations from place to place all contribute to your understanding of product, and you can do a lot of this at home; in fact I recommend it wherever possible.  What you really need to navigate is the terrain. Importantly, note that the prey is not the enemy.  The prey here wants you to find it.  The problem often is separating what you really want from the at-times-seemingly-endless parade of targets all wanting you to shoot them with your hard-earneds.  Or worse, with your credit card.

The stalking ground, you understand, is only physical in one small and almost irrelevant sense.  You need to know where to go to find, say, a new toaster.  The really important ground, the truly perilous place for the seeker, is your own mind.  Master a couple of simple memory and self-knowledge skills and you're home free.

First Step:  Always remember your objectives, and keep them in the front of your mind at all times.  If there are more than three things, write a list and do not leave the list at home on the kitchen table.  It is useless to you there unless you are some sort of memory freak.  Take the list with you and refer to it often. But why is this so completely vital?

Digression: The Gruen Transfer.
To quote the Australian ABC TV show of the same name, the Gruen Transfer is:
"Named for Victor Gruen, who designed the very first shopping mall. The term describes that split second when the mall's intentionally confusing layout makes our eyes glaze and our jaws slacken... the moment when we forget what we came for and become impulse buyers."

This presents us with a chilling thought if we follow our technique analogy here....we are either hunting, or the hunted.  In your mind, go back to the mall, the last time you were there.  Remember walking along the concourse.  Now stand still (sit if you can't) for a moment in your memory and look around at the faces you see passing by.  The disorientation apparent behind the surface conviction that everyone is in perfect control of their own decisions.  Is being here making these people happy?  Before you come back, feel the pressure on the soles of your feet as you stand there (or your bum if you're sitting), aware of your groundedness and your inner sense of strength, purpose, and kindness.  Catch someone's eye, and smile a warm and friendly smile at them.  See them 'come to' for that moment.  Share your simple human pleasure at being alive.  Now come back.

Being consciously in charge of your own mind is key, I can't stress it enough. 

A simple thought about happiness and shopping as The Hunter:

You are not here for happiness.  You are here for fulfilment, and these are two different things.  Happiness so often has strings attached in our creepy internal worlds, and usually requires some external thing to happen 'to' us.  Fulfilment can be a flexible thing.  You may find and own the thing you seek, but regardless of how the Hunt turns out, by assiduously being the Hunter, your experience will fulfil the need you truly have on that day.  I find this does tend to move us towards contentment, happiness's grown-up cousin.

Second Step:  Maintain awareness of your mental wave state.  Basically, make sure you stay actually here, and are acting on your own volition.  Sounds like one of those things easier said than done, but it isn't.  It's just as easily done as said.  All you have to do until you get the hang of it is put it on your list.  Near, but not quite at, the top.  I used to use something like "Have My Experience" or "Be Here Now".  At any point you notice you have slipped 'out', then immediately suspend the hunt and on no account shoot anything until you are back in yourself properly.

If you are doubting whether you are here or not, you're not.  Headf**k all you like about definitions and degrees and techniques but the bottom line is you know exactly what I'm talking about and what it feels like to be in this zone.  It's good, isn't it?

Third Step:  Check twice before you shoot.  Twice is enough, no more than that, OK?  If you've looked twice and what you're looking at fits the bill, ticks most of your boxes (it's a rabbit - check, it is big enough - check, I can hit it from here [ie can afford it] - check) then release the arrow.  So if you're still worried about whether that's the right shade of grey or whether a hare might be a better choice now that you think about it then you didn't get the first bit right anyway and you are not here to fulfil a hunt, you are here to learn about how to be cool with making decisions.  Which is fulfilling anyway.  You may find another rabbit elsewhere, it may even be a 'better' rabbit but you will spend time and effort for most probably little reward.  So shoot.  If what you wanted was the cheapest possible rabbit known to mankind, the same applies.  If it seems like you're looking at it, check again quickly, just once, then shoot.  You are checking so as not to accidentally bring home a cat.  You check only once to subvert the mind's tendency towards paralysis through analysis.

So to summarise the hunt;  

DEcide, Remember, FOcus, Check, Shoot.  
Which makes the wonderfully memorable mnemonic 

Or, as I say, "Der Fox!"

to be continued...
tune in next time for State 2, and how to master deeper levels of shopping awesomeness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Wood Thrush, South Dakota.

Funny how things go, isn't it?  I just got the lab results back from a swab taken of my stoma site following last week's flare-up.  Apparently I had one of these things there.  You'd have thought I'd have noticed,  but apparently they can be very small.  Couldn't tell if it was a wood thrush or a mistle thrush or what.  I liked the doc's comment of "no further treatment required".  Nothing wrong with a nice healthy little songbird now is there?  Certainly explains the total lack of insects about my person too.

I didn't expect such a thing, but then again my system is a little unusual these days so I guess I might create the odd special niche for life to grow in new and interesting ways.  BTW, it's all fine now.  The bird and me have made a cordial accord, it seems.

Remember kids, life will always get in wherever it can.....

...so always pack clean, or at least fun, underwear.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Project Reveal!

So, it's done for now.

What?  Oh yes, it's a whole new blog site.  Not that there's anything wrong with this one, or that I don't still love it and such but....

I sort of saw a need for this other one.  It's very topic-specific site focussed on Blenderized Diets, tube feeding and related subjects. If this is somewhere near your alley, you might like it, but more importantly I NEED YOU to make it betterer.  If you are otherwise interested, of course, drop by.  The colours and fonts are nice anyway

Speaking of which,

Don't freak out if you are dropping in here one day and it looks completely different.  I think it might be time for a coat of paint if not a full redecorate in here so stand by.  I just lazily used the first half-decent template Blogger had when I started up but now they have this whole design suite thingy so I'll have a play.  and hope nothing bad happens.  Google's a multinational after all, and nothing bad ever happens to them!  Too big to fail!


So, anyway, the new blog is



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cyborg integration fail

It never ceases to astound me just how fast and radically the body - or its invaders - can react.

Also, how some days you just wake up to find shit has happened.

And then, over the course of the day, you see reflected all around you, in everyone you meet, variations on your theme for the day.

What happened, is that when I woke up this morning, my stoma (the hole through which my g-tube enters my body) was quite sore.  this is unusual, but has happened a few times before.  Usually it means I've yanked it (snigger) or done something odd in my sleep and it's fine after a few hours.  I even remember dreaming I was sleeping on my stomach - which I've not been able to do since well before the tube and certainly not with it - so I though maybe I had managed to roll on it in the corporeal world.

Had my morning feed, noticed it wouldn't rotate like it should.  Forced it a bit, as you do.  Hurt, but worked.  No redness, but a little bit of a bump on the 'uphill' side of the obturator.

I should explain.  Tubes go straight in, but as I 'wear' mine with the feeding end tucked up near my sternum under an elastic band around my chest, and clothes push down on the loose 12 inches of tube, mine has developed a sideways entry point.  Meaning of course, that the bit inside that stops it falling out (the obturator) pushes up a bit on one side. 

So anyway, I wondered if it might be a bit of 'buried bumper' syndrome, where the obturator gets stuck into the stomach wall and starts to migrate out of the body.  But then it did spin around OK so.....

Cut to the next feed, 3 hours or so later.  Meeta has a look.  It's a bit red.  Much sorer too.  Feed.  Flush.  OMG WTF???  There's leakage from the site, like, blood and water!!!!

A tiny moment of all that, before calm descended again.

Meeta looks again after a wee mop-up.  Now, very suddenly, there's swelling and much redness.  Ah, infection, my old friend.  Bacteria come to donate some new DNA and jostle my interesting (some say compromised) immune system about again some more.  Well, OK.  No chance at my GP.  Off to the hospital.

I shall spare you the story of that.  In the end, we're just training the artillery (antibiotics) on it, and have sent some swabs to the lab for fun in petri dishes.  Mm, agar agar.

As comfortable as I am with my tubing, as everyday a part of me it is, I am reminded that in some ways it will always be not me.  Thus, my body from time to time attempts to either digest or reject it.  However, I do have the choice to accept it consciously, I'm sure.  Today it stands as a cipher for those things I cannot change, and perhaps moreso for the things I am changing, but whose outcomes I can never predict - like everything in life.  Healing is a direction, a journey, not a quest for some specific goal.  That sort of quest is called a fight.

I have no quarrel (ungghh, pun) with those who face life's vicissitudes as a fight - after all, the whole of our society phrases it as such.  A battle with cancer.  The war on drugs.  But it's not my way.  I know it to be an untrue way for me now. 

So I shall be gentle, and accept the moment - artillery and all.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shh! Secret Squirrel!

Quick post.

I may appear absentish for a little bit, as I have a new project in development.  I will likely be devoting what screen and typing time I have in me to that until it's ready to go (there's clues in there, arr....) so probably no updates here for a short spell. 

Having said that, I'll probably do one tomorrow :-)

Next step, I will be calling for some help from those who feel so equipped and/or motivated.  

And of course, you'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's taken Alot for me to say this.

Some of you probably suspected, but not many people have been fully let in on this.  I know at the outset I promised that my one blogging rule for myself was complete honesty - and technically I've told no fibs, but - well, it's time to come clean.

I am a recovering addict.

I still struggle sometimes when tempted by an outrageous stimulus or am just having a 'low' day and my reserves of forbearance, strength and stamina are low, but I remain focussed.  I accept that I may always have the sort of thoughts that could lead me into trouble.  But lately, a number of things have helped me really turn over a whole new leaf.

Truly,  I can now say with complete sincerity that I am no longer the appallingly, hopelessly addicted grammar, spelling and punctuation pedant I once was. Srsly.

It's a relief to say it - to admit I had a problem and to know I'm never going back.

No, this is not me. But he looks peeved about some grammatical sin, doesn't he?

My love for the weird and wonderful language that we still like to call English has flowered more richly and abundantly than ever since letting go of this addiction; and not as I might have once feared withered through the taint of impure usage.

True, I still do my best to use English well: To build on the traditions laid down over the centuries, to honour the consensus of users' understandings and the rules of grammar and punctuation.  I also spel goode.  And try to avoid typos, without obsessing.  But this, and the previous sentence, demonstrate amply that I have in fact moved on from the dary days where never, ever, would one be properly allowed in civilised writing to start a sentence with the words 'and' or 'but'.  I have now embraced the full stop (period) as a metering (yes, that's the English/Australian spelling in this usage) device, rather than just a tool of linguistic compliance.  As that last sentence also demonstrates, I now use commas similarly as a metering tool.  Occasionally, I have been known to say something like "none of them are taking notice of the grammar mangling in this sentence" because, well, that's how we do it these days.  If you must know, it should correctly be "none of them is..." because the word 'none' is singular, from the contraction 'not one'.  So there.

It feels good not to be a grammar nazi anymore.

So, what got me over the line?

There have been lots of factors at play, but here are some edited moments:

The apostrophe catastrophe.
Having an apostrophe in my name quite possibly gave me a slightly closer-than-average affinity for the perky little levitating comma chap we use as a possessive or to denote a contraction of words (amongst other legitimate uses).  Since, like, forever I have been spotting him hung out to dry embarrasedly misplaced in public locations - advertising is the worst.  However, the ubiquity of its misuses (no, you don't use an apostrophe in 'its' when it's a possessive as with the first and second usages in this sentence, but do when it's a contraction of 'it is'as in the last two instances) even back in my childhood meant finding some kind of internal calm about it or suffering some form of juvenile chronic hypertension.  Now of course, it's everywhere.  The as-yet-unresolved issue of using an apostrophe when pluralising a number or acronym ("Wow! Two 70's CD's!") will work itself out.  I favour no apostrophe.  I'll explain why L8R.

Txt Msgs, IM, Twitter, Netspeak etc
Well ppl, since u r online now I shall assume that u r across this abbreviation and acronymic thing sometimes called Netspeak.  Lol and all that.  Personally, I don't like it.  Just the other day I heard some one say "O M G!" even though by syllable count it would have been no longer to say "Oh My God!"  But acronyms have long been used as Leetspeak (old Netspeak for "elite" speak, meaning the nerds 'in the know'), intending to denote the user's close familiarity with the subject matter and as a tool for increasing peer bonds and rapport.  It's rarely an effective abbreviation verbally (try saying "WW2", it's far longer and harder than saying "World War Two", but vets or vet wannabes say it a lot).  In that last sentence are two pre-tech explosion examples (along with a more recent one in this sentence) of new abbreviated words that have entered our language: vet, wannabe and tech.  When I got my first mobile phone there was no SMS service, because screens were only one line.  When SMS came in and txt spk developed I resisted and capitalised, punctuated and did not abbreviate.  Then I got a phone with no apostrophe function.  Over time, and through the attrition of use, I have softened somewhat.  I even use emoticons ;-)  Now I have a qwerty keyboard with all the fruit on my iPhone however, it's a snap to write properly again.

They're the things at the end of my arms containing a set of fingers that I use for typing and so forth.  I got rather good at itfor a time back there when I was a phone jockey for Centrelink and had to talk/type/listen (as they say) really fast and accurately.  Since then however I have developed what te medicos like to call peripheral neuropathy (something wrong with your nervous system towards the edges of your body - nstill means nothing really) which in a nutshell means my hands are starved of nerve impulses so the muscles have atrophied and are turning my once beautifully strong and supple guitarist's hands into weak clawlike appendages of the sort usually found on ancient arthritic humans.  (Oh, poor me =( ).  What it means here is that I now only use my right middle finger and left index finger for all typing duties, involving lifting my whole arm from the shoulder to do so.  Kinda slows you down and messes with your accuracy.  Upshot?  A silver lining of forgiveness to myself - and by extension others - about typos.

A Merkinisation
Once upon a time there were certain agreed-upon spellings and rules governing the proximity of consonants and vowels to determine the vowel sound, and these applied across the anglophone world.  Somehow, in America, sometime, these changed.  Centre became center.  Maybe this is a pronunciative driven thing, as the Merkins generally roll their 'r's at the end of words.  Traveller became traveler - which according t the old rules should rightly be pronounced traveeler.  There is quite simply more written literature produced globally in American English now than in other forms, and Microsoft has dipped its mighty oar into the fray too.  American English is the default spellchecker setting.  Medical language has gone that way, with the 'oe' being dropped from diarrhea and esophagous and homeopathy now, even here in Oz.  Medical literature is rather global these days.  When I write on mainly American fora, I generally maintain the English forms of spelling, but I can feel it slipping.  I saw it all the time in the APS (Centrelink) where other workers would write on customer records in American, and of course, lamentably, many were also of borderline literacy levels.

A Merkin - more than a homonym.  If you're not sure, do look it up.

The Alot
Sometimes you can identify a turning point, a precise moment.  Sure, I'd been softening and practising non-judgement of those with what really is just a different way of using the language than I, but there was something missing.  Something yet to be found - the absence of care was not enough for me, there needed to be something positive and new brought into the frame.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Alot.

The Alot may have spontaneously evolved as a response to linguistic pedantry, or perhaps to fill the niche created by bad typing.  Its name comes from the omnipresent error these days of people missing the space bar when trying to type a lot.  It really does happen alot.  Such as the Alot has a human genesis, it is the gifted and entertaining Allie Brosh, via her excellent blog, HYPERBOLE AND A HALF.  I have been trawling about the 'Nets for many a year now, and only actually read about 4 other blogs regularly.  Hers is top of my list.

Allie says that she made up the Alot as an aid to help her overcome her compulsive need to correct other people's grammar and that "it has provided hours of entertainment for me in a situation where I'd normally be left feeling angry and disillusioned with the world."

For example, when reading "I care about this alot" you can imagine this....

And there are many more spiffily drawn examples, go look see. 

So the Alot has helped free me from the tyranny of negativism also.  I can now enjoy an imaginary wonder creature every time I see something realating to the incredibly versatile Alot.  I even go out of my way to do it in my own mind.  Just the other day I made Alot of kindling.  He was a happy but splintery and combustible guy.  People are knitting Alots....and so it goes.

There are many fans of this site, and it's fascinating watching a consciously created word start to become firstly an internet meme, and perhaps become one of the few actually designed words to enter our language through popular acclaim.  I'd like that alot.

I used to be concerned about the future of the English language, and I know I was far from alone in that.  The proponents of other languages (notably the French) have been for a long time now concerned about its rise as the lingua franca (ironically translating as "French Language", from the Norman imposition of French as the official language of Britain) of international trade and commerce, and what effects this might have on the 'purity' of their own language.  The Academie Francaise spent most of the last half century in an ultimately doomed effort to hold back the tide of neologisms, mostly from English.  They renamed things like the Jumbo Jet, Sony Walkman....there were thousands of artificially created 'French' terms coined every year to stem the flow.  They gave up.

Why has English succeeded so well then?  It's not just the luck of colonial power politics, it's something deeper.  Our language is a mongrel creation that has always changed, adapted and assimilated everything it touches.  It is only a very recent phenomenon that a serious attempt has been made to pin it down firmly into a static system.  An unchanging language is a dying one though, yes?  It has been found that in East Asia for example many business people who do not speak the same language use neither of their own languages but a variant of what's been coined as Globish, or 'global English'.  A usable set of 1500 words or so seems to do the trick for pretty much every need.  You know probably 25-30,000 words, and use at least 15,000 very regularly, as a contrast.  If you've travelled to a non-English speaking country, without speaking the local language, you've spoken Globish for sure.

It is the very flexibility, malleability and permeability of the English language tradition that has allowed it to thrive and prosper.

Is Globish the foundation of a true global language?  Probably, yes.  Will it replace English?  Eventually, I guess that's likely.  English will possibly meet Globish in the middle somewhere along the way over the next few centuries (assuming our species makes it that far) and would be taught at schools as a parallel language all over.  Ironically, it will likely make 'native' English speakers the relative losers, not having the benefit of a whole other (soon to be globally said as "a whole nother") way of seeing that a second language gives you.  English as we know it will most likely 'dumb down' and destroy at least some of its archaic and nonsensical pronunciation, spelling and grammatical rules.  Creeping illiteracy in the Anglophone world will assure that spelling becomes more flexible and probably more homonymic.  We may see such things as the death of their/they're/there and compaction into a single spelling  whose meaning is denoted contextually only.  Who knows?

Like everything, there will be chaos, and new order.  Entropy, and light.

In the meantime, I shall just relax about the whole evolution thing, I think.  Change:  It happens alot.