Like fine wine...

... turned into vinegar

Well, yes, if couldn't have figured it out from the title and it's snide conterpart comment, we're (well, I'm) talking about ageing today. No point beating about the bush, it happens to everybody, so, might as well deal with it.

Well, yes, if you couldn't figure it out from the tone of the previous paragraph, this isn't going to be a list of "you know you're getting old when..." (starting with "1. You write two identical paragraphs consecutively, because you forget you wrote the first one as soon as you did").

So you might think I'm just going to spew a bunch of cliché platitudes regarding growing up, and then growing mature, and getting to the hill, and then worry that your time is running out until it becomes an obcession you overcome just in time to enjoy the "golden years" of elderdom. News flash, all that (what some of us would call "ageing") and it's older sister, Death, happen (/will happen) to each and every one of us, so, again, a bit useless to dwell on that. Better do something a bit new with the time I have left (I don't think it's so shot I should worry, but, then again, depending on the scale you measure it, it can't be very long).

Sorry, before I move on to my next paragraph, which was supposed to come in lieu of this paragraph, I'd just like to comment on the last parenthesis, specifically the phrase "I should worry". And thus I fall down the gaping maw of the very cliché I had sought to banish. Why would I worry? there really isn't/hasn't been/wouldn't be/insert another tense of your liking for the verb to be anything I (or anyone esle, for that matter) could do to prevent the rather definitive finale Mr. Grim Reaper has in stock for each of us. Postpone it perhaps, but worry about that someday, somehow, under some conditions I will die is flat out silly. I have enough concerns without that, as well as any of us. I'd just like to point out that I don't believe in Fate either. Because she's a lying bitch.

Let's instead ponder the social implications of growing old. The reduced muscle strength comes with a rather comfortable side of "what I say goes". Of course any literal interpretation of my little hyperbole would soon drive to the question "Then why is Obama president instead of his grandmother?" The obvious answer is "Because Americans don't want a woman president", as Mrs. Clinton would tell you, whilst the serious answer is "You're being silly". What I mean, lest you ask it, is that it seems sociably unaccpetable, or at least impolite, not to gobble up every last word coming out of a senior citizen (forget senior, anyone over the age of 50, it seems). Now, while a great many 50+ year olds should, indeed, have that kind of respect and admiration lavished upon them (I know a few myself) and could indeed be said to be at their prime (again, I know more than a couple of those), this sort of status should, by no means, be granted by age alone. I mean, a Private, or whatever the entry rank is in any given military force, won't become a Marshal, or, again, whatever the highest ranking is in any given military force (you must realise by now, military rankings don't concern me half as much as the correct way to pronounce "Lieutenent" does. I advocate that it should be "lef-TEN-unt", as they say in the UK, not "loo-TEN-unt", as they say where what Obama says goes) just by not leaving the military. An altar boy doesn't just become pope in time by polishing the saints on the shrine (or whatever it is that altar boys, bless their gullible hearts, do). Likewise, the way I see it, just because you managed to make it to 65 - or 75, for that matter - you shouldn't get an automatic "I know best badge".

Right about now I might look like a bit of elderly basher. Allow me to address that (lest I bash you as well): I have nothing against the elderly, and I have no shame in admitting that ever member of my family of the generation prior to my parents' who's still alive is an elder person to prove it. In their defense, someone with 50 years worth of living under their belt ought to have quite a bit of experience, and thus insight, younder fellows might lack (for the time being). I respect that, sure. However (there must always be a "however". It's in the books. And some old guy told me), even the oldest among us should understand that this world we live in and which many would have you believe to be about 6000 years old and made by some improbable and unprovable omnipotent entity is ever-changing. If I, in under 30 meagre years of existence can appreciate it, how can someone with three times as much not?

Sure, somethings would seem no to change, and what better example to illustrate this point than something straight out to TV? About seven years abou, give or take, I was watching an episode of "Freaks and Geeks" on (an old, CRT, bowled-screen) TV. It seemed alright, as it dealt cheifly with the everyday lives of several high-school students, spread across several cliques, I could identify with in some way or another. It seemed just like any other teen show, nut unlike "Popular" or "Clueless", for which I never really cared, but somehow better. I liked it, in spite of some eerie sense of "something is a bit off here". Was it the clothes? The decoration? The cultural references (i.e., "Dallas", "Ker Plunk", "Mousetrap")? It didn't become clear until a makeshift grave for a pet came on screen, setting the storyline-wise recent date of death in the 80's. There it was, I had been assuming the show was set in actuality, because the idle chatter and the common quarrels and boggles of the characters seem current enough, in spite of the odd setting. So, there, some things appear no to change (much), but at age 40, the latest, you should know that not all that glimmers is gold (plenty of pyrite to 'round).

My point seems to have become a bit lost, I'll get straight back on it. Fortunately (though you can't read it), I just took some 15 minutes out to reminesce about "Freaks and Geeks" (I really liked that show), and it's mellowed me out a bit. My point is that no amount of age ever gives you the right to claim to know better and merely dismiss other, younger people's opinions with as little as a condescending head shake and a "No..". And if you ever do, that should automatically invalidate your right to ask that person for an opinion, help or a favour you can't do yourself because you don't know how, as your overinflated experience can't help you there, let alone accuse said person of ill-intent upon failure to comply, despit one's best efforts (too specific? Go figure...). And no amount of age ever ever ever puts you beyond reproach on any matter whatsoever. Get that through your senior skull!

So, in short... I used to be good at the "in short" bit, but these days... In short, know your bloody place. And I don't suppose that only applies to the elderly, but it just seemed to me the elderly needed a refresher course on that. So there...

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark would like to remind you all that Epicurism isn't just some decrepit doctrine, but actually makes sense. And, if, for some reason, you're dying any faster than the rest of us or due any sooner than most, for the sake of all that you hold dear, don't just sit in a corner dying and bringing us all down over it, bloody get out there (metaphorically, of course, you might as well stay indoors, if you'd like) and bloody LIVE!!!

If you can read this, then you're reading past the end of the entry. You can stop now. Really, there's nothing more to read here. Oi, I mean it! Go away!!!


So here I am, back from my yearly trip to Lovely Lady London! And, with my trip, come a few contemplations I'd like to submit to you.

Sometime in 2008 (I believe. I might be wrong here) Regent Street saw an Apple Store joining the myriad shops lining its gentle curve, and I, needing a power charger for my (sadly 2.5G) iPhone, ventured in. I asked a very friendly sales assistant for the charger and, since I was there, if there were any unlocked 3G iPhones for sale. Turns out there weren't, but the kind man went as far as adding "legally". He wouldn't advise me on how to obtain one, but ha mentioned it. SO off I went to Tottenham Court Road, one of my favourite places in London, to inquire about the possibility of having a 3G iPhone, legaly purchased and locked to O2 (for example) unlocked. As it turns out, it was cheaper to just buy the thing unlocked at the same place where they'd unlock it (with Turbo SIM included and all), but that's hardly may point. As I strolled down Tottenham Court road, past Goodge Street Tube Station and to Warren Street Tube Station, I remebered how only two years before there were quite a few video stores, and I'm not just talking about "Ma and Pa Stores", as it were, but large places, three stories high, each larger tham some so-called supermarkets I've been to. And now, they were all gone. Curiously, the smaller stores remain, trading in pre-owned DVDs, especially box-sets and doing a little something on the side in cell phones, but the large stores are now all luxury and design furniture stores. I have to wonder: with the much heralded crisis upon us, is this really the time to set aside the low-cost, small goods most households manage to be able to afford on a regular basis and instead invest in expensive goods, set in a niche market and which one shouldn't be looking to buy more often than once every few years? Perhaps my views of economy are twisted. I hope they are. At any rate, never in my many trips to London had I ran into so many Masserattis, Jaguars, Bentleys and even Aston Martins in the streets (although this was a bit of a slow year for Porsches). So it would seem that eevn in a most miserable economy, these ideas I'd so swiftly regard as hare-brained lead to an abundance of luxury sports cars. All the better, if you ask me.

Setting the vile issue of finance aside for a moment, one of my most favourite places in London closed down last November. I shall always remember the premisses of Coffee, Cake and Kink in Endell Street (or, at least, until they find a new venue, as they are still anactive company, even though they are now a dot com company). For those who don't know, CCK was a coffee house, erotic art gallery and somewhat of an upscale sex shop, in the way that they sold BDSM and fettish supplies and resources. I miss them. In their absence, I, seeking some new BDSM supplies, was forced to resort to common sex shops, where the walls are rank with cheap porn, the stands rife with poor novelty erotic items and the kinky supplies are, more often than not, inadequate to my standards. Alright, perhaps I'm being a bit stuck up here, but... Hold on...

DISCLAIMER: The following section, as well as the previous, contains references to and descriptions of adult oriented materials and should not be read by minors. Shark Nibbles, its employees and associates take no responsability for any damages incurred in reading those, even if they don't believe any damages might be incurred by reading those at all. At any rate, by reading this disclaimer you agree to proceed at your own risk and waive any right to prossecute. Parental guidance is advised.

Right, where were we? So, I might be a bit stuck up about this, but most of you know that porn isn't all alike. We've all ran into high-quality porn as well as into some crappy scenes where male models keep to swinging their hips mechanically, thinking of something else entirely just so they can last for the duration of the scene and the female models either can't even be bothered to work up a half decent moan or, instead, scream in impossible ecstasy from the first awkward touch to the bitter end, and most of what you'd see on the video racks of sex shops looking for a quick profit would have to fall into the latter category. Also, regarding their fetish supplies, I might again come out as a bit arrogant, but most of their so-called restraints seemed quite poor, although I, as a rope enthusiast, am biased. However, some canes and floggers I found could not be honestly described as anything better than "crap". And I took the care to find the upscale sex-shops, the likes of Harmony (not a bad place, really. Still, they couldn't hold a candle to CCK, if you ask me). Now, my point (yes, I'm about to make one) is that London, with its rich mélange of cultures, subcultures, trends and styles, always struck me as a bastion of tolerance, very much a place where you can be as outrageous as you'd like and not be stared at (except by the tourists). Now, going to a sex shop isn't really something I'm accostumed to. CCK was a different thing altogether, because they were much more of a coffee shop and an art gallery, and this was a bit of a plunge for me. Of course, once you're inside, none of the other patrons are in a position to judge you, because, lest we (and they) forget, they're in a sex shop as well, but, more importantely, it seems to me that the people outside will pass no more judgement either. However, a rather remarkable thought crossed my mind: are the staff just as open minded, as one would think, seeing as they work in a sex shop, or are they more the type to secretely think "sick bastard, taking home this sort of filth" of each customer? The nagging sensation remained for a bit, until a buxom blonde, dressed in a provocative black dress, was so warm to ask me if I needed any help. Still...

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark will know knuckle down and abide by the intransigent laws of his condition, but before I do, I'll leave you this much advice: Don't stay at the Park Lane Hotel in London. It might be part of the prestigious Sheraton chain of Hotels, but it's still utter crap, although their "Sweet Sleeper" beds are rather nice.