Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Most Finalest Final Goodbye…Of Doom!

Roughly two years ago—armed with nothing but a second-rate lap top, a hyperactive imagination and an unfulfilled sex-drive, I began this blog. Originally, it was supposed to chronicle my many (mis)adventures as a Nubian nerd living in Kilt-country. But it has turned out to be so much less more. Granted, my lap top remains second-rate and I’m more shag-deprived than ever. But I have been able to e-meet some really cool people (L>T and Warya come to mind), compose a number of morally uplifting posts, and significantly contribute to the overall wellbeing to the human species.

But now I’m finally saying goodbye to Scotland! There is much I am going to miss about Great Britian’s very own third-world country; the short dark days, the long cold nights, the endless rain, the taste-less food. It pains me deeply to leave. On the upside, I will now be living on the same continent as Mist1. (And who knows, perhaps I will one day meet the body that houses the mind that so often made me wet with desire. Mist1, if you’re reading this, you can expect my formal marriage proposal shortly.) But lingering internet crushes aside; I’m going to sorely miss Scotland. So I bid a sorrowful farewell to the land of a myriad sheep, a loch dwelling monster, and the mournful melody of bagpipes; where wild Haggis roam free and Mel Gibson is worshipped as a god. O’ what fleeting dream, what idle fantasy! Alas, my mescaline visions are at an end.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Little Brother's Advice (A Wedding Toast)

On July 6th, 2007, my big brother Andre tied the knot. What follows is a copy of the toast I delivered at the wedding reception:

Statistics show that up to half of the marriages today end in divorce. And I know that sounds bad; but what they don't tell you is that the other half end in death. Kind of a no-win situation. And yet we find ourselves running headlong into the marital union like lemmings off a precipice. My elementary school English teacher taught me that marriage is a word. But now that I’m older, I’ve come to believe that it’s more like a sentence; life without parole! The worse part is that it is completely self-imposed. But some how, some way, some why, we find ourselves seeking, craving, longing for this imprisonment! Driven by some deep rooted masochistic desire for life-long suffering; we vow to never love another again. They say if life gives you lemons make lemonade, but isn’t getting married a bit like growing your own orchard? If you ask me, it all seems a wee bit presumptuous. Like jumping naked into a barrel full of porcupines and expecting not to get pricked.

Nonetheless we pursue this most coveted union, fuelled by a desire to connect with another human being in the most deep and meaningful way possible. Statistics be damned. We will not be dissuaded. We cling to hope like toilet paper to the bottom of a shoe. But one can’t help but ask, is the union of two human beings nothing but a chimera, and idle dream, a quixotic fantasy, an endeavor as futile as trying to take a close-up of the horizon?

Some people fall in love very easily. I heard of one young woman who was quick to declare her devotion to her beloved: “I love you,” she said, “I want to marry you, have your children and spend the rest of my life with you.” To which the man replied, “Mame, can you just pay for the pizza… so that I can go.” I, however, have never been one to fall in love easily, though I have managed to step in it a few times. Naturally, as the least experienced member of the Archer household, I think I'm in best position to give advice on matters of this nature. After all, when it comes to love, there are no real experts. There are only those who have made a few mistakes and those who have made a few less. Since I’ve been on earth for shortest time I have had the least opportunity to make mistakes. (But don't worry, I'm working hard to catch up.) This fact allows me to give advice with the least hypocrisy.

So here is little brother’s advice. My own limited experience has taught me two things. First, that there is a very fine line between true love and a restraining order. Long story. Second, loving is an art, and like any art, loving must be learned. Now this may seem rather counterintuitive. After all, loving seems about as natural as going to the loo. However, even infants need to be potty trained. And so, I charge you with the responsibility of undertaking romantic potty training. (Don’t you just love that metaphor.) I think it is to our culture's great shame that there is no formal education or training in interpersonal relationships. We devote so much time to teaching the young to be good workers; acquiring the skills necessary to be productive little robots on the capitalist assembly line. And this, undeniably, is a good thing since being a fecund worker is important. However, what can be more important than the making of a marriage, more vital than the honing of a home, more fundamental than the founding of a family?

And yet, this remains an area of insufficient instruction; where awareness is absent and guess-work guides. In matters of the heart, like so many others areas, ignorance continues to be our culture’s most cherished vice. Regrettably, the information available often exceeds our curiosity. Some have even suggested that such education may even be harmful. This notion is but the second cousin of the old myth that sex education leads to promiscuity. I did lots of arithmetic in high school, but you don’t see me sneaking around in dark places doing long division. It is never a bad thing to be informed. It all depends on what we do with the information. But what I can guarantee is this: if you want to make a poor decision, then being uninformed is the best way to go about it.

Admittedly, there is a lot of conventional wisdom on matters of this kind; like, “marriage is a fifty-fifty arrangement.” Well, if you believe that you either have a very poor understanding of women or percentages. But when I talk about romantic potty-training I’m not referring to the type of pop-advice you find in tabloid magazines, daytime soaps or on Fox news. Rather, I’m referring to the wealth of information you can find at your local library, Barnes and Noble, church, family planning centre etc. So I encourage you to set aside some time, even if it’s a couple hours a month, to read up on and discuss with each other, issues related to your relationship. Make it a habit, your own personal tradition. And don’t make the mistake of waiting until something goes wrong to begin educating yourself. Here, as elsewhere, prevention is better than cure.

But even a nerd like myself must admit that books can only teach you so much. In theory, theory and practice are always the same, but in practice they often are not. When it comes down to it, the way we learn about life is by simply living. And so, expect to make lots of mistakes. But endeavor to learn from them. Also, take time to observe other couples. Find out what the successful ones are doing right, and what the unsuccessful ones did wrong. Learning from other people’s screw-ups saves you lots of time to make your own fresh new screw-ups.

Love may be blind, but that does not mean that YOU have to be. By reading together and educating yourselves, seeking out advice, and learning from your own mistakes, you will be taking steps to ensuring that your love remains healthy and vibrant. Let your marriage be a union of heart and head, romance and reason, emotion and experience. The statistics may be grim; and yes, probability may be working against you. But I believe the love you share means there is much more working for you! And so don’t be afraid to cling to hope, to seek after the deepest most intimate connection possible, to devote yourself to each other and vow to establish something enduring. With singleness of mind, earnestness of spirit, determination of heart, and an intensity that cannot be placated, let the steps you take today be your public declaration: we will take a close-up of the horizon!

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Easter Bill

Remember that without capital punishment there would be no Easter. So this Easter, go to the ballet box and show your support for the new binding referendum for the reinstatement of crucifixion. Let's face it, lethal injections and the electric chair are for pussies. What we need is capital punishment with testicles!

Peter was crucified upside down for his lord and when the martyrs were burned at the stake, legend has it that they sang until their voices were no more. Sure, their songs were somewhat high pitched and along the lines of “oh Gawd, oh gawd make it stop!” But at least they sang, dammit!

But take a look at the sorry state of capital punishment today. “Will you like to have a pedicure with that lethal injection?” Give me a break! Back in the day, criminals would often die just from the scourging that served as the warm-up for the main event. And once the nailing began all you had to look forward to was hours, sometimes days, of insane amounts of pain, asphyxiation, dehydration, pulmonary embolism, and if you were really lucky, an ischemic stroke. Now that's the way a REAL MAN dies!

Let your nation's leaders know that you're tired of the girlie booster shot that people today call capital punishment. Vote yes on Referendum ER 33: Crucify Them!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Was Just Rushing Out...

I've been growing more agitated than a dog at a flea convention. A friend gave me a self-help book: "How to Become a Patient Person". I read the first three lines and then skipped to the last chapter. No time for inessentials. I have things to go, places to see, people to do...or something like that.

Anyway, I would love to chit-chat, but like I said, I have sh*t to do...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mike and Jamie: A Valentine's Day Lament

This post is about two people that I find so annoying that the very thought of them makes me want to pay someone a large sum of money to beat my head in with the nearest blunt object. Mike and Jamie (who happen to share the study cubicle right next to mine) are best friends, just short of having matching tattoos and BFF bracelets. But what makes me feel compelled to perform bodily harm on myself each time I hear their names is the fact that Jamie is positively in love with Mike. I realise I'm not making any sense so let me put things into perspective. Here is the crucial tid-bit you need to know about Jamie: She's HOT!! And I don't mean, oops, I burnt my finger on the toaster, hot. I mean janitor in chemistry lab mistakes bucket of nitroglycerine for industrial cleaner and then, once he's finished mopping the floor, proceeds to light his cigarette, hot!

Anyway, like I said, Jamie is totally head over heals in love with Mike. In fact, she is regularly dropping hints that she would like to take things to the next level. For example, last week I was sitting in my cubicle minding my own business when I accidentally pressed my ears against the wall and overhead the following conversation in the adjacent cubicle:
JAMIE: Hey Mike. {giggles} You wouldn’t believe the silly prediction my horoscope made this morning. {more giggles} It said that I shouldn’t be afraid to cast aside my sexual inhibitions because the friend that currently fulfils my mental needs may be the ultimate fulfilment of my bodily needs as well! Can you believe that?

MIKE: {In a somewhat distracted tone} Actually, there has never been any conclusive scientific evidence in support of astrology.
This is where I pause to hand all my male readers a box of tissue. I swear, I could kill this guy repeatedly until he dies to death! The poor bloke doesn't seem to have a clue! After being forced to listen to the above conversational equivalent to a crime against humanity (I'm sure there must be a Geneva convention against this sort of thing), I have drawn the conclusion that Mike is either gay, mentally deficient, or Canadian.

Anyway, this got me thinking: why does love always seem to come to those who don't know what to do with it? Meanwhile, those actively searching for love, at best, only end up with a broken heart or an uncomfortable skin rash on some embarrassing part of their anatomy. The world just isn't fair! In the words of someone wiser than I: “It's worse than dog eats's dog doesn't return other dog's phone calls!”

Hey, I'm not unreasonable. All I want is a woman with the body of a supermodel, the mind of a Mensa member, and whose favourite hobbies include cooking, cleaning and coitus. Oh yeah, and who also happens to have an insane amount of money and would be happy to pay off all my student loans. Now is that really too much to ask? Despite such modest demands, I nevertheless find myself enduring yet another loveless Valentine’s day, while Canadians everywhere squander the love fate has so lavished upon them. (Sigh.) I so wish I was that guy from those Tag body spray commercials.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody (except if you’re Canadian, in which case: bite me!)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Why God Hates Me

My Reply to L>T's Tag

My Christian friends assure me that God loves me. I really want to believe them, but then I look in the mirror. Sigh. So here are the top five reasons I think God hates me.

Number 5: Because I'm black. So I've tried to put the whole “curse of Ham” thing behind me. But now, God has resorted to stealing my socks from the dryer. I didn't think anything of it, until I learned that my white flat-mate still has all of his. Now I'm furious!

Update: Since then God has assured me that He thinks “I’m articulate, bright and clean…heck, I'm like a walking storybook!” I feel much better now.

Number 4: Because my milkshake is better than His. So God and I were at this club and in walks this sonsie sista with the kind of hind quarters that rap videos are made of. (You know the big guy loves the ladies with a little junk in da trunk!) I'll spear you the details of what transpired next, but suffice it to say that at the end of the night I got the girl's phone number and God didn't. In your face Almighty!

Update: I later discovered that the phone number was a fake. But I'm assuming God had something to do with it, the all-powerful bastard!

Number 3: Because I don’t know when to keep my mouth shut. So a number of us were over at God's house watching the game. Jesus had been doing his whole water-to-wine thing all evening, so everyone was pretty liquored up. Inhibitions were low and we were all taking turns recounting some of our past “adventures”. Krishna had just finished talking about the time he hooked up with that sweet little number during a trip to South America, circa 1200 BC. It was God's turn, and the deity was attempting to hold out on us. “Come on Yahweh, give us the dirt!” Moses prodded. “Yeah Big Man, got any virgins pregnant lately?” I added, only then noticing that Mrs God had just walked into the room. She didn't say a word, but from the look on her face it was clear that later that night there would be hell to pay…literally! (She never did forgive him for the whole Mary affair.)

Number 2: Because I didn't let Him copy off my paper during our Freshman year Chemistry finals. Jehovah was like, “man, I totally didn't study for this exam, let me see your answers.” And I was all, “Dude, You're omniscient...and You created everything!” And He was like, “yeah, but last night my room-mate scored the best pot ever and...yo, can I have those chips?”

Update: Really great pot also explains the existence of the duck-billed platypus and the Aurora Borealis.

Number 1: Because of all those times I doubted Him. I believe it first began when we were still in high school. Back then God was still going through his Old Testament phase and was notoriously insecure. One morning He entered the cafeteria, walked over to my table and announced proudly, “Last night I made this new galaxy and it’s the best one I’ve made yet. Tell me honestly Nerd, if I keep getting better at creating planets and stuff, do you think I’ll eventually get my own talk show and become as famous as Oprah?” Always the sceptic, I responded: “well, maybe You shouldn’t get Your hopes up too high Lord.” At which point, God overturned His tray and shouted, “You never believe in me…I hate you!” He then ran out of the cafeteria in tears.

Update: Fifteen years later, and the Most High still hasn’t gotten his own talk show. No Wonder God hates me!

I Tag Mizfit, Lizza and Mist1. (Update: See Mist1's reply to this tag in the comments.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

I'm Afraid There's Someone Else

Okay, I have a confession to make. There is another blog! She's one of those New Blogger blogs. She's sleek, sexy, and she treats me well. That explains why I'm never around anymore. I'm sorry.

Currently, I'm in the process of slowly transferring posts from this blog to the new one, so there isn't anything there yet that you haven't seen. The blog would have a slightly different tone to this one, particularly since it's linked to my academic blog network (yes, there is even a nerdier side to me than what you see here!) However, there are certain "special" needs that only my darling Mescaline could meet. (This is where I can truly be myself, in all of my curmudgeonly, sexually-preoccupied yet coitally-challenged glory!) Consequently, I plan to keep her running as well. However, things will continue to be slow-going here until I fully get the other blog off the ground.

In the mean time, I invite you to check out my Expat Interview, which Lizza so graciously invited me to take part in...I'm not sure she realised just what she was getting herself into, poor girl. Enjoy!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Let's Get Re-acquainted

I do tend to leave a distinct impression on people, mostly because I'm a bit weird. (Unfortunately, I don't belong to the right tax bracket to warrant the appellation 'eccentric'). But since I've been away for a while, I thought this was a good time for us to get re-acquainted. Actually, the truth is that a week ago a 'friend' sent me this bloody tag and kept hounding me to fill it in (its amazing just how annoying the persistence of a single person could be) and so here are my answers to her questions:

1. Your first name? Shut up (or at least that's what I thought the first ten years of my life)

2. Were you named after anyone? 'Avery'. Hmmm, let me think. A brand of stationary?

3. What is the weather like right now? I live in Scotland. Enough said.

4. What are your favourite colours? Purple and Indigo. But my arch nemesis is Orange. I hate Orange!

5. What is your favourite type of food? East Indian (those people taste great!)

6. What was your favourite toy as a child? The microwave and toaster my parents gave me as bath toys.

7. When you were a child, were you very curious? Definitely! I kept trying to figure out why those nice people at social services took my parents away.

8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? According to my IQ test scores I could've been a nuclear physicist, but there were too many good shows on TV.

9. What is your shoe size? Getting cheeky aren't we?

10. What are you listening to right now? I swear, you ask me what I'm wearing and I'm done with this survey.

11. Have you ever told a secret you swore not to tell? Nope. Not even when my old supervisor, Michael Harper (address: 112 JFK Drive, Riverdale, Bronx; social security number: 068-78-9806; wife's name: Colene Harper), told me that he contracted herpes from a prostitute. To this day, I still haven't told a single person about that! (Your secret's safe with me Mike. Prick!)

12. What class in high school do you think was totally useless? In my case, I would have to say sex-ed.

13. If you were another person, would YOU be friends with yourself? No, but I'd totally do me though.

14. What is your least favourite thing you like about yourself? I give too much. sigh

15. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Indigo. And my supreme goal would be to rid the world of all orange crayons. Did I mention I hate orange.

16. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Their personality and political views.

17. Do looks matter? Diane always said she loved me for my mind. Sniff sniff.

18. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Me? Sarcastic?

19. What are your (acceptable) nicknames? 'Oh Great One' and 'My Lord'

20. Does being up high make you anxious? I've never been afraid of heights, but weights totally freak me out!

21. When did you last cry? The day I learned that Pamela Anderson contracted Hepatitis.

22. Last person you talked to on the phone? My therapist. And if you don't know why, re-read this post.

23. Do you like the person who sent this to you? See answer to question 13. (Which, incidentally, is pretty much how I feel about most people I meet.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year! (2007)

Hi Y'all,
This is the Nerd coming to you from Britain's own third-world country, Scotland. (I’ve lived here long enough to get past the initial novelty inspired ‘ooh, ahhh’ phase, and I've finally settled into the calm cynicism that comes from being in any country for a lengthy period of time.) Anyway, as promised I am coming out of reitirement just in time to post my annual New Years greeting (can you believe this is my fourth year carrying out this great tradition?) For all of you first-timers, it goes something like this: the US president has the State of the Union, the Queen mum has her Christmas address, and I have my New Years message. It's that simple. And as always, I have a list of lessons I've learned from the year gone by, which I offer to you now free of charge (though generous donations are encouraged).

But first, I have to announce that Diane and I are over! It was more a difference of opinion really; I thought it was okay to sleep with her best friend, and she didn't agree. I kid, I kid. No one cheated on anyone. In fact, it was a completely mutual and amicable parting (and if you believe that that's even possible, then I have twelve magic stones I'll like to sell to you...only thirty pounds each!) Anyway, when added to Sophia and Bertha, that brings the total number of break-ups last year to three, which if you're keeping track, is a new record for me. But don't worry, I'm not resting on my laurels; this year I'm aiming for six! Which brings me to my first lesson learned:

I've learned that chances are she's just not that into you when you're talking to her on the phone and she says she has to go because there’s a telemarketer on the other line.

I've learned that after a breakup, most women expect from you at least two weeks of depression before you hook up with someone new, though they also consider going into counselling and lifelong celibacy nice gestures.

I've learned that when you’re in a foreign country it is always the little things that get you, like the missing ‘American Standard’ label on the tank of the toilet.

I've learned that when it comes to politics, the facts tends to exceed the American public's curiosity, and while everyone loves a good Armageddon every now and then, the rapture just isn't an exit strategy.

I've learned that Christmas just isn't as Christmasy when you're away from your family. (Though I suppose it couldn't be worse than opening presents on Christmas morning two thousand years ago at Jesus's house: “a pair of socks, thanks…you know I’m dying for your sins right?”)

Last, but not least, I've learned that it is always a good idea to keep your friends and loved ones close by, especially when you foresee needing to burrow money in the near future. It is for this reason that, this year, I aim to be the kind of friend that is always there when he needs you.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2007!!

P.S.: Checks should be made out to the “Give Nubian Nerd money just for the heck of it foundation”.