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» My Arch-nemesis

Nemesis for one day of the year. Warning: Long
For most days out of the full 365, I normally count myself as my own enemy, undermining my esteem and trying to find misery in any joyful event. This has caused me no real end of trouble, and only rarely do I enjoy brief flirtations with confidence, grins and productivity.

However, for the one day, my nemesis takes another form, and each time it has snuck up on me even though I anticipate its presence, and carefully try to avoid it.

Thus we set the scene. It is the university beer festival and, as ever, the weather is grim and grey, occasionally given to bestowing small quantities of rain to the revellers beneath, slightly diluting their various beverages, but ultimately damping no spirits. Many are the ales and ciders on offer, and the mood is generally good.

Typically, there are close to thirty beverages on sale at any given time, most of these skirting around the 3,4 or 5% ABV mark (ciders normally kick in at 6 or 7). However, there are always token big hitters, ales which weigh in at a considerable 10-13% ABV. Naturally, man (and woman) likes a challenge, so these are often drained quick enough. How could I resist?

Well, it just so happens that one of these cruiserweights of the ale world is, to my often abused tastebuds, one of the foulest concoctions ever imbibed. However, as a festival of beer expects (or even demands), I normally end up very far gone after a hard days drinking, which summarily erases all knowledge of my shadowy nemesis save its odour and taste.

By now, I'm sure the few of you who are still reading this are thinking (or mentally screaming in the vague hope i'm psychically sensitive enough to detect it) 'Why doesn't he have little tasters before plunging in?' I would like to say I believe in the spirit of adventure and plunging face first into the unknown, but it's mostly because I'm foolish.

Anyway, I have quaffed and rated a fair few minor ambrosias and so the time has come to tackle the big guns. There were 2 this time, one golden and deceptively light, the other darker than the abyss. The golden wonder bids farwell to the light in good order, and all is well. As I pick up the dark menace and hold it under my nose, something is amiss. The smell is... familiar, but not the friendly familiar, oh no. This is the vapourous equivalent of, "Gotcha!"

I cannot believe I have fallen for this again. Before me was the liquid embodiment of mankinds sins, staring malevolently up at me with a thousand bubbly eyes, belittling this foolish mortal who can never escape its grasp.

"Are you not a man?!" declared my comrade in youthful exuberance, "Will you be forever intimidated by a half-pint hater?" Not keen to let this slur against my pride go unchallenged, I took the first sip.

It is as horrible as I remember, just the wrong kind of fruity that occasionally makes me retch, and it's more than my tongue can bear. I pull through this first assault, but only just.

My friend is not pleased. He summarily demands I down this hateful fluid with the appropriate gusto, lest my rights to my manhood be forever revoked.

My nemesis, whilst lacking a face, muscles or even a form to call its own, is surely smiling, that special kind of triumphant smile which is assured of victory. I wondered how many damned souls were trapped within its murky being. I feel a cold dread within me. It had been, quite literally, years since I have downed any substantial amount of alcoholic beverage, due to a stomach largely fed up with such abuse requiring that I reign myself in. Feeling better now did little comfort me, for my nemesis has triumphed on every occasion we have met.

It was then I decided that today would be my day. You may have been brewed from the corrupted waters of the River Styx, with whole swathes of the damned sacrificed to imbue you with the precise qualities to defeat me, but today I mark you, and I best you.

Rolling up my sleeves, this is serious business after all, I grab the plastic vessel which holds my antithesis before me, and I smell again the contempt it has for me. And so it begins...

The first gulp goes without much issue, although already my body is protesting this invasion.

A couple more and I see the bottom of the cup, the light at the end of this tunnel of horror, my face wants to crease up in revulsion, but this must be finished!

It's getting to the point where the angle of the cup must increase to maintain flow, my nemesis is not looking so smug now, victory is in sight.

And at last it is done. My furious opponent rages against the walls of my stomach, determined that I do not keep it down. I feel a movement up my oesophagus, a fallen soul trying to escape? Or the final counterattack of a determined foe? Ultimately, just a small belch, leaving me with a passing taste of malice completely overshadowed by a feeling of achievement.

This time I did note its name, and, almost appropriately, it lived by the title Paradox. Now I know it, it may never haunt me again.

Tl;dr. Nemesis was an unliked drink that I always somehow ended up drinking at a beer festival. This time, I managed to finish it. Almost certainly embellished for dramatic effect. The end.
(Mon 3rd May 2010, 1:17, More)

» Letters they'll never read

Dear campaigners for positions in the student union,

No, I will not be voting for any of you. These are some of the reasons:

1. Catchy slogans and bright colours do not make for a good campaign (this applies to real world politicians too).
2. You all have the exact same ideas which won't be implemented anyway, because they're stupid.
3. You push the boundaries of irritation to almost superhuman levels.
4. You may be able to spend time on this because your arts degree takes up only 5 hours a week or so, but I have not that luxury, and I am rather determined to not fail.

Is that all clear?

(Mon 8th Mar 2010, 0:38, More)

» Sexism

On the contrary...
I confess I used to be very wary of the fairer sex (fairer in what terms, i always did wonder) and so naturally took to the stereotypes to soothe my ills against them (and probably to mask my own personal feelings of inadequacy). After all, if being silly and good only for housestuff is in their nature, I can't really hold them against it, right?

Well, fortunately, I met this wonderful young lady (who decided I was pleasent too, despite my faults) who turned it all on it's head. Honestly, the girl is a walking advertisement for all the best parts of the XX brigade and more besides. Freed thus from the shackles of ignorance, I resolved to see how far the tables could turn.

For example, it had long been a belief of mine that the female voice and metal music aren't really the best mix (probably due to the more prominent examples being of a more operatic persuasion, which sometimes bores me). Of course, recently I managed to overturn this belief after listening to Hellions Ann Boleyn, who impressed me sufficiently with their cover of Exciter.

As for comediennes, well... I dunno. Women can be funny, and often are, but I've not found a current stand up who raised titters from me (mind you, i can say that about a lot of comedians too. All too often I find they really on the shock factor of what they say or are just simply annoying)

So yea, I consider men and women largely equally (by that I mean I'm a miserable misanthrope and quite happy to stay that way)

And now the obligatory joke

q. Why did the woman cross the road?

a. Never mind that, what was she doing out of the kitchen?!

And thus I finally post. I hope it wasn't too painful to read.
(Sun 27th Dec 2009, 18:41, More)

» Sexism

Not sure how much this occurs across the country...
At the university I attend there exists a post called the 'Women's Officer' whose job is to ensure the midnight 'safety bus' (a free taxi service for the assorted drunken double X 'delights') and that's it as far as I can see (apart from putting forward the needs of the lasses at whatever utterly pointless meeting the utterly pointless student council declares, i would imagine). Even if the post wasn't completely and utterly pointless, the sheer sexism of it just grates significantly. Because I'm a male I'm not an easy target (not just for rape mind) when inebriated to certain degrees? What makes their existences worth protecting more than mine?

I'm not too bitter, but I'm not sorry to be finishing this year.

Am I missing any apostrophes?
(Mon 28th Dec 2009, 2:29, More)