HAMSTERS & HEROIN: Not all junkies are purse-snatching grandmother-killing psychos. I'm keeping this blog to bear witness to that fact.


Gledwoods deutscher Blog

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I used to take heroin at every opportunity, for over 10 years, now I just take methadone which supposedly "stabilizes" me though I feel more destabilized than ever before despite having been relatively well behaved since late November/early December 2010... and VERY ANGRY about this when I let it get to me so I try not to.

I was told by a mental health nurse that my heroin addiction was "self medication" for a mood disorder that has recently become severe enough to cause psychotic episodes. As well as methadone I take antipsychotics daily. Despite my problems I consider myself a very sane person. My priority is to attain stability. I go to Narcotics Anonymous because I "want what they have" ~ Serenity.

My old blog used to say "candid confessions of a heroin and crack cocaine addict" how come that one comes up when I google "heroin blog" and not this one. THIS IS MY BLOG. I don't flatter myself that every reader knows everything about me and follows closely every single word every day which is why I repeat myself. Most of that is for your benefit not mine.

This is my own private diary, my journal. It is aimed at impressing no-one. It is kept for my own benefit to show where I have been and hopefully to put off somebody somewhere from ever getting into the awful mess I did and still cannot crawl out of. Despite no drugs. I still drink, I'm currently working on reducing my alcohol intake to zero.

If you have something to say you are welcome to comment. Frankness I can handle. Timewasters should try their own suggestions on themselves before wasting time thinking of ME.

PS After years of waxing and waning "mental" symptoms that made me think I had depression and possibly mild bipolar I now have found out I'm schizoaffective. My mood has been constantly "cycling" since December 2010. Mostly towards mania (an excited non-druggy "high"). For me, schizoaffective means bipolar with (sometimes severe)
mania and flashes of depression (occasionally severe) with bits of schizophrenia chucked on top. You could see it as bipolar manic-depression with sparkly knobs on ... I'm on antipsychotic pills but currently no mood stabilizer. I quite enjoy being a bit manic it gives the feelings of confidence and excitement people say they use cocaine for. But this is natural and it's free, so I don't see my "illness" as a downer. It does, however, make life exceedingly hard to engage with...

PPS The "elevated mood" is long gone. Now I'm depressed. Forget any ideas of "happiness" I have given up heroin and want OFF methadone as quick as humanly possible. I'm fed up of being a drug addict. Sick to death of it. I wanna be CLEAN!!!

Attack of the Furry Entertainers!

Attack of the Furry Entertainers!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Guinea Swines!


PROPERLY KNOWN AS GUINEA PIGS OR CAVIES, these are native to South America ~ where for generations the Andean natives have considered them a source of food. They look like this in the wild:

Like all furries, they have to be quickwitted, because just about everything that's bigger than them considers them food ... including, as I say, some of the local human population ...

They do chill out when they get the chance ... here's a furry cavy-conference on the sands ...

Guinea pigs are of course best known as domestic pets. This is a typical mixed-coloured coat.

They resemble giant hamsters but actually probably make better pets for many children because they are easier to handle, active by day, better-natured and hardly ever bite. See how the kitten fell in love with this one:

They require far more extensive housing than hamsters of any type, but hamster-style high security isn't required as unlike hamsters, guinea-pigs aren't obsessed with running wheels and trying to escape!

Guinea pigs breed as prolifically as rabbits. A female guinea pig can (apparently) hold on to a male's sperm inside her and "use" it several weeks later to get mysteriously and inconveniently pregnant ~ the swine!

... and young guinea swines are of course extremely tiny ...

... look at these tiny trotters ...

and very, very cute!


O, and one thing I forgot to add: they love to make squeaky noises!
Look at Emanuel's glossy coat. They must be feeding him lots of lovely linseeds:


Friday, October 30, 2009

My Very Nice Day Out With My Mum In Windsor Which Could Have Been Nicer

ALL IN ALL it took a bus and five trains to journey from my place to Windsor and Eaton Central Station. When finally I got there I was stressed out of my brains ~ in the 15 mins' leeway before the 1-stop shuttle train from Slough departed, three giant poisonous Caterpillar-style Intercities roared past at extra-high speeds. I was in such a negative mood I actually found myself entertaining the impulse to jump. When I met my Mum and stepDad Branzie I was mentally frazzled and I'm sure they thought it was drugs. Well maybe "it" was, in a round-about way. No drugs at all!

I only had three hot flashes the entire day. Not bad for a day not on heroin. I didn't feel I needed heroin at all. We sat in a very posh konditorei-type place and had high tea with cut-off sandwiches and little cakes on a multi-storey stand.

Of course Mumzy and Branzy wanted to know how I was but I felt red-raw inside. It was a strain to talk about anything in a graceful way. Eventually I did chill out. My Mum gave me some professional cocoa-making equipment (including luxury chocolate flakes you're supposed to melt into milk but she warned me you can indulge direct from the packet so I don't see those lasting long ... they're the sort of thing a luxury place like that would sprinkle on ice-cream ...

Branzie gave me electric hairclippers. So tomorrow night my hair is scheduled for an encounter with these on #8, 7, 6... whichever it takes. I'll let you know how it goes.

It wasn't my birthday or anything. They just seemed really pleased to see me..!

It really was great to see them but I wish I could have been a little more gracious, as I say, and less sour. I didn't want to be like that at all. I wasn't bored by them or upset with them in any way at all. But I was afraid that was the impression I would give out if I wasn't careful... I did make a big effort.

In the end I finally did chill out. But then it was time to go. I happened to get a Poisonous Caterpillar Express from Slough that got me back to London Paddington in less than half the time it took to get out...

Branzie even offered to go Citizens' Advice with me to sort my debts out. I have to sort out my financial tangles sometime otherwise there's no point trying to piece my shattered life back together. Y' have to face your responsibilities in the end.

And that was today. I'm back home and so tired I'm about to go to bed.

Cheery-night all {;->...

Illustrated: Windsor Castle, which we didn't go into today but I've been there loads of times before as a kid because my grandparents used to live in Windsor: exterior and inner quadrangle; Windsor & Eaton Central Station; konditorei stand; the Castle; the "Poisonous Catterpillar Express" ...

National Debtline UK 0808 808 4000

NOBODY seems to think much of the videos I post up these days but here's two that might break the ice:

This from a real Indian film ...

A totally candid bit of film featuring toddler Harry and his baby bro Charlie who "bit my finger and it really hurts" ~ this garnered over 130,000,000 hits!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

English Haiku

THAT HAIKU I posted yesterday, by the way, should have begun ON a withered branch ... bloody computer chopped it off.

are a couple of good ones I know in English. I got them out of an old creative writing manual. (I only ever read two good ones, both by Dianne Doubtfire.)

The delight I feel
goes stamping up the road
in this little boy's coat.

This blank page
glares at me ~
white with rage!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Winter is Nigh!

Here's a haiku by the Japanese master, Matsuo Bashō.


On a withered branch
a crow has alighted ~
nightfall in autumn.

You can read more by clicking here.

WELL WINTER's here and my sleep pattern's all over the place. But thankfully I managed to sleep all night. The chemist (or whoever does the formulation) is putting excessive amounts of green colouring in my methadone. I'm sure my guts look tie-died... All the staff probably think I'm crazy as I sit waiting for it on the old pensioners' chairs, poring over books of mysterious Eastern motifs. They keep walking past to see what I'm reading. Anyway here's some videos ~

i lifted this link from Noah's Heroinitis nodnodnodout.blogspot.com blog
You can see the rest on my other blog here.

I don't know whether or not to get more of these:
(sorry about the loud techno music. I'm old now. Too old for that:)

Or even one of these (a cat, not a plant)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Littlest Old Cockney

I WAS ON THE BUS THIS MORNING minding my own business when a toddler ~ whose mother had the strongest cockney tones I've heard in a long while ~ totally distracted me with his entertaining exclamations.

This baby boy was at that certain toddling age when children's voices, in transition from babyhood, take on a hilariously loud cartoon timbre. This little boy had it full on, plus a cockney accent even stronger ~ as if that were possible ~ than his mother's.

I turned round and he was sitting there like a miniature old man, full of unspoken gesture and a certain stylishness. And I wished I was a talent scout and could have filmed him... and then it was my stop.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Hour Extra Free

THE CLOCKS WENT BACK LAST NIGHT, giving me one hour extra free in bed. An hour, to be honest I could have done without on a dank and stagnant Sunday but there we go. So I stayed up extra late making out intricate Japanese motifs on notepaper to the sounds of NDR North German radio and the all-night interactive casino (how on earth did that ever get allowed?!) on Channel 5. I finally went to bed at 7:30am in the new time and rose at 3pm.

DOES NO-ONE like my axolotls? I'm scrapping Fridays on Saturdays, blobberous, furry, fishy or otherwise if that's how little they're liked: I had just one comment last time I checked!

IT WASN'T RAINING last time I checked ~ but any excuse to bring up my favourite Japanese character. "Ame" ~ it means rain. How poetic!

And now I have to vanish into the wintry night. Cheery-bye all!

Saturday, October 24, 2009



THESE CENTRAL AMERICAN AMPHIBIANS look like kindly space aliens...

Axolotls are actually a weird type of salamander. They live in the murky depths of mysterious Mexican lakes... Their bodies go through several stages and mutations according to whether they are living sub-aqua, on the ground, or wherever ... This is a fairly young one:

They don't mind coming out of the water at all, like this one in natural coloration:

They can even do party tricks. Just like this suspiciously toy-looking one...
I'm not too into animals in "pet shop friendly" colours, but I have to say I do prefer these in pink to sludge green, and I like the 90s style party-ruff:

The colour I prefer most of all is yellow, like this one, which somehow reminds me of Mrs Thatcher ...

See what I mean about axolotl shape-shifting? This one's different again... The most remarkable thing about alolotls is their ability to REGROW CHOPPED OFF LIMBS...! As all animals will be able to do when "the lion lies down with the lamb" in paradise...

Isn't this little guy cute..?!

Baby axolotls are just like tadpoles! Very tiny ... and CUTE..!!

Axolotls in the wild page ...

Keeping axolotls as pets page ...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Not Seeing My Mum

I'M NOT GOING TO SEE MY MUM TODAY because my stepdad has "manflu". He is in their conservatory sneezing with a common cold. In a way I'm pretty relieved as, having blown so much money ~ on books(!) ~ I can barely afford to get to the out-of-town railway station they wanted to meet at, let alone pay for anything else!

So the date has been pushed back to next week. And hopefully man-flu, piggery flu and no other type of flu will have attacked anyone else of us by then!

I find this advert so entertaining!

... and the one I'm looking for isn't there (how typical) ... but this one's arguably even better:

o here we are; here's the ad I find so very entertaining ~~
everything from the ting~ting~ting to the baby's face, the milk pot, everything ~ but especially the laughter and the mother's "you've done us right proud!" cheekgrabbing:~~

PS I'm reading my blog back on Firefox... does anyone else use that?
It makes my pages look like they were composited in 1825!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Dream of Paris

I KEEP DREAMING I'M IN FRANCE ... more specifically in Paris. In these dreams I'm ecstatically happy, the sun is shining, I have a feeling you only ever have when on holiday abroad (a feeling that keeps coming in random flashes more and more these days). Last night I was marvelling at the beauty of the French language as some unseen person babbled away...

... What these dreams mean I have no idea. But I decided if it doesn't work out on German-speaking shores, I would flee to France instead (which just came out with the highest quality of life rating in Europe) ...

Illustrated: Paris as it actually looks when you're there. Probably the "Left Bank"...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ridiculously Self-Deceptional Drug Meeting

MY WORKER WANTED ME TO GO to a "how to survive without drugs" meeting... so I went. I wasn't too happy about going, but I went, and endured a random collection of people's bullenscheiße for over an hour.

A fat black man, who looked just like the one pictured, and appeared to believe he was better than any of us, opined on how he "didn't see himself as a heroin addict" and so had been reluctant to get scripted on methadone... and "just wanted to get into treatment" (ie rehab)... and acted out in the most childish way putting on "I'm bored" and pretending-to-be-asleep faces as the rest of us banged on about drugs. One retired prostitute asked him whether he really thought he was ready for rehab and he insisted yes. Then the invigilator queried at the end how the session had been for him and he said "You know people moaning on and on about drugs ~ does my head in. I just want to be in treatment."

So I interrupted him and said: "In treatment this is all anyone talks about!"

And he did that assertive thing: "I thought it was my time to talk..." and "I have been in treatment."

I shrugged my shoulders and wondered why I bothered trying to point out to a bullshyter the diarrhoea he was spewing...

Which is one reason I've had enough of meetings like that ~ I'm fed up of hearing 1: people talking shyte in general and 2: thick junkies thinking they will somehow impress the rest with tales of the "kilo" of their "100% pure dope" they had to flush when police came knocking. Yawn yawn YAWN!

LATER ON TODAY there was a row in my local shop between a Turk (behind the counter) and some random other foreigner. About a woman (also a foreigner) who the random other foreigner had allegedly shouldered in front of.

The Turkish shopkeeper put the male customer right in direct terms. The customer replied that his language was "too strong". As a native speaker of English I can confirm that the shopkeeper's language was direct but in no way rude, but I just bit my tongue. I'm fed up of hearing one ethnic group despising/riling/slagging off/being offended by the other... and then hearing talking heads on the ten o'clock news telling us (or implying to us) that whites are the most racist group of all ~ which is an absolute crock of bullensheiße!

And on that note I must go before I break something... cheerio folks!

Illustrated: a fat black man; bullenscheiße; an "ethnic" cornershopkeeper ~ allegedly murdered (probably in a racist attack)...

... sorry about yesterday's picture failure. Whoever posted the picture's account went down.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sleep without Drugs*... at Last...

FINALLY LAST NIGHT I got some half-decent sleep... For many days I have found myself totally unable to achieve this... too weary... too cold... too knackered even to sleep. So I stay half-awake for hour after hour, running into day after day. That gritty feeling prevails: you know, when you feel like you've had grit in your eye, only that feeling's all around your body (not to mention the mind) ... on the inside.
My home is still freezing ~ and not a hope of heating on the horizon.
The boiler's still kaputt.
Each morning, when I do come round, I'm buried safely under a self-constructed tent of old duvet covers... it's far too chilly to consider emerging till way into the afternoon...
The language books don't really help me sleep at all. They actually keep me awake. In German I'm thinking "just another page; just one more; just another one; OK just one more then I'll stop... when we get to an even number..." and so I plough on...
Japanese is even worse... I pour over the kanji books and dictionaries I have, pondering: "I wonder what such-&-such thing looks like... e.g. birds, fish and eels... (鳥、魚、 鰻)o! and this... and that..." and I'm obsessively copying them down in my amateurish westernized calligraphy...
And I just cannot stop...

Illustrated: "nightmare" pictures by Spanish artist Goya ...
* not that I was taking sleeping drugs to start with

Monday, October 19, 2009

Japanese Books

FINALLY, AFTER A LONG TIME MESSING AROUND THIS MORNING I actually "alighted" in London's wormlike mass of underground railway tunnels to emerge by Russel Square, where the intellectuals hang out.
There I raided the academic bookshops for irritatingly hard-to-get-hold-of tomes on the Japanese writing system. I didn't buy everything that looked any good, by any means. One particularly tubby hardback ~ priced at $59.99 American they wanted £59.99 in sterling (typical).

Here of course I could actually leaf through, rather than relying on some Amazon customer having posted a descriptive review... It may be 2009 but I'm still pretty technophobic in that way... So, being able to see just what they were like, I immediately I cast aside several "workbooks" full of empty squares for the student supposedly to practise writing for him/herself. How patronizing! Haven't these publishers heard of blank exercise books? I chose my purchases to a formula of usefulness-versus-cost and bought (if you are interested):

Easy Kanji: A Basic Guide to Writing Japanese Characters by Fujihiko Kaneda (McGraw-Hill) £7.99
Kanji and Kana: A Handbook of the Japanese Writing System by Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn (Tuttle) £16.99. Tuttle publish lots of useful books on the Japanese language.

The first of these shows how the characters actually look when written by a Japanese hand, but only covers about 250 of them; the second explains the entire Japanese writing system including the 46 hiragana, 46 katakana (other authors have written entire volumes on each of these, but if you really need two whole books on how to use 92 phonetic symbols I don't think you're going to get far with Japanese very quickly...) The majority of the Hadamitzky-Spahn book covers the 1945 basic kanji, which are Chinese-derived characters. Most have at least two readings. Some have seven or eight or more. Every character is written out large with numbers showing the order of strokes. If you learn these wrong, your writing is never going to look very authentic.

The third book cost £8.50 secondhand and was called A Beginner's Dictionary of Chinese-Japanese Characters and Compounds by A Rose-Innes (Yoshikawa publishing, Yokahama; no copyright date is given but it looks pretty ancient ~ possibly 1920s or earlier...)

So all in all I blew £33.48, but I won't be short of stuff to doodle. Of course I checked the German sections as well but couldn't find the novel I wanted to plough through next: Die Velorene Ehre der Katharina Blum by Heinrich Böll (The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum) ~ a tale of trial by media in iron-curtain times...

And then I bought Stern magazine, and then I was broke. And went home at the beginning of the rush hour, so was shocked to get a seat the entire way...

... by the way, just as I was about to get on the train at St Pancreas, Valium Marilyn phoned me saying the Greek crackhead witch had stolen £20 and her mobile phone off her on Saturday afternoon (what a surprise). She pretended not to know anything about totally ignoring me because she'd got a better offer but that's druggies for you. Marilyn says she's going to sit across the road from the witch's doorstep and pounce as soon as she parks her broomstick...

Illustrated: The Hadamitzky-Spahn book; the Kaneda book; hiragana ~ used mostly for Japanese word-endings; katakana ~ used for onomatapoeic and foreign words and names (Gledwood is グレドヲード ~ Guredowodo); Tokyo by night: Japanese writing at its funkiest...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

No Sleeping Pills: A Non-Drug Tale

VALIUM MARILYN (think Marilyn Monroe with a 40-year drug habit) who is (normally) my friend is in my severe bad books. I don't normally ask her for pills (she takes so many that when she once fell over on the bus she rattled ~ but not having slept at night all week I was tempted enough to call her two days ago and ask. She was incommunicado all day Friday (which means she was off her head) but I got a call at 09:30 hours yesterday (when I was ~ at last ~ asleep!) saying as soon as she gives her over-protective son the slip she will serve up. It took her eight hours to hobble out of her house. Then she rang me again saying she was sat on the doorstep of a Greek crackhead witch I know of old who unfortunately lives round the corner ~ and will I get there NOW. Well I couldn't do NOW because I wasn't round the corner and when I did get to the vicinity of said doorstep, the wobbling Marilyn was nowhere to be seen.

I knew exactly what was going on. Not having bothered to wait TEN MINUTES she was indoors piping with Androulla, the Greek crackhead witch, who would have bought my pills with coke. And of course Marilyn was ignoring her phone.

So five failed calls and a text later I rang Androulla's irritable Russian boyfriend who had been stupid enough to give me the number (must've been high because he doesn't like me very much more than I like Androulla). The witch answered herself. I could hear Marilyn's shrill cockney tones in the background. I said: "Can you tell Mal to stop ignoring her phone."

"How do you know she's here? She's not here!" (Very logical.)

But I'd made my point. So it's no pills for me after I'd disturbed the sanctuary of Marilyn's sacred crack. I don't touch "white" at all nowdays so I wasn't interested in that. (The mere thought of piping fills me with nausea.) But I could have done with some pills. I didn't sleep at all last night. It's now 08:17am and the broad light of day floods in through my thin curtains, torturing the back of my eyes. How am I ever going to reset my sleep pattern? I would do it without pills if I thought I could. That's one reason I keep my place so cold. Low body temp sends you off to bubbies: how many freezing nights have you lain wide awake? See what I mean...

PS: Benzodiazepines are prescribed sleeping aids like Valium/diazepam, temazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, flurazepam, nitrazepam, flunitrazempam... and just about anything else ending in "-azepam"...

PPS: On the subject of drugs, that mysterious nameless "designer" substance I sampled a few weeks ago is called mepherdrone ... not an opiate, apparently vaguely related to the North African chewing-leaf khat ...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Amazing Animals



This has to be seen to be believed...

Yes, it's for real!

... is famous worldwide!

Over 2,100,000 people in Japan find this fascinating ...

I used to have hamsters like these...

This is hilarious..!

Bimbimbie's birdfilled wild cockatoo post just reminded me of this...
... loves Backstreet Boys:

Friday, October 16, 2009



Last summer I turned my radiators off
with a giant iron wrench anyhow, and have yet to reset them. And of course, with the recent dip in temperature, I've been thoroughly enjoying feeling cold.

Every night, when I do go to bed, I sleep the entire time under the duvet. It is far too chilly ever to emerge.

But things came to a head this morning, when I was supposed to be at a counselling session. I woke up so icy, frozen and underslept (why on earth did I ever agree to go to an appointment that early? Wanted to get it over and done with and have the day free, I spose. But it doesn't work that way. Not any more)... I just couldn't move.

And did not move for hours and hours.

And I find it incredibly difficult to get moving in the mornings without "grains in my veins" (you know the type of grains I mean). Methadone ~ except in stonkingly high 150mg+ doses ~ just does not do it. I'm not saying I feel dying sick; I just don't feel very nice at all. And the only way I've cured this for years is with a mahogany-brown shot of heroin.

So I think I had a LONG WAY TO GO until I can call myself even vaguely "recovered" ...


CILLA BLACK was on TV last night, interviewed by Piers Morgan (former red-top newspaper editor). Now in case you come from far-away shores and don't know her, Cilla Black was a shrill (but powerfully) voiced 1960s pop singer ~ the only female star in Brian Epstein's "stable" ... yes, Brian Epstein of Beetles fame.

In the 1970s she did something on TV, but whatever it was passed me by.

In the 1980s she ran a reunion show called Surprise Surprise "you haven't seen him for 50 years ... here he is your longlost brother from Australia!" ~ that shebang.

Later in the 80s she was chosen to host Blind Date, which for maybe 20 years was the top rated programme on British Saturday night telly. Nobody would go out for a night until Blind Date had finished. Interestingly, though they didn't use this last night, she once said she was chosen for the part because she was the "most sexless woman they could find!"

Anyway, what shocked me about her was that, aged 60+, she genuinely believes that "talent will out"... "if you have it you will make it".

Do any of you believe this? I used to live in a house full of talented people ~ actors, artists, singers ... none of whom has hit any sort of "big time". Personally I think Cilla's led a charmed life, sheltered by Epstein and then her manager husband Bobby, who died a few years ago. She herself admitted that when he was first in hospital with cancer she couldn't even walk the dogs by herself...

Take Leona Lewis ~ the ONLY singer I've ever heard who can do an "as good as Whitney" I Will Always Love You ... she floundered for years unrecognized... Eva Cassidy only attained success post mortem. True, you could say "talent did out" ...

... I suppose the person I'm really thinking of is ME. And will I ever distinguish myself in any way whatsoever?

And of course the only person who can answer that is me ...

Watch this if you're foreign and you'll really wish you lived in Britain in the 1980s. Vinnegary fish and chips, strong tea, the Queen ... and Cilla Black! PS People said she was ugly or "not that pretty" but I think on that album cover above she looks really fit...


Since hearing it on the radio last night, this has been going round my head all day...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Can't Sleep...

NOT WHEN I WANT TO (ie not until past 6am).

And my head is swimming with semi-useless things about Japanese, German, words, characters, vocabulary, courses, future, what do and not to do.

And so on.

Too much!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mein Hochschlechtes Deutsch

Goethe: Turning in his grave ...


I woke up this morning. Sorry ~ I couldn't sleep in the night, so I woke up in the afternoon ~
after being bothered by someone on the phone who would have wanted me to score drugs for them, which I didn't want to do at 9am. (Not that I would EVER score for anyone else ~ that is highly illegal.)... Anyway: after all this, I finally slept under a tent-like uncovered duvet for several hours, and woke up around 2pm feeling cold, tired, penniless... and craving heroin.

But I didn't take any. Now I feel less cold, and tired. But little less miserable. But hey ~ that's drugs for you.

And now an illustrated delight: I have scarring like this (full-thickness "burns" from barbiturates ~ from adulterated heroin ~ though more than twice as big) although my skin is not black ...

OK and now the German bit. That headline, knowing my luck is probably spelled incorrectly, and I may even have got the wording totally wrong. But that would be ironic/poetic/thing/whatever because it is meant to read "MY TERRIBLE GERMAN!"

Yesterday I did an online test, very quickly, that is supposed to gauge your level of proficiency. Unfortunately it concentrated on GRAMMAR which is my weakest point. Without going into detail, German grammar is (to me) fiendishly difficult. For which reason I actually found the supposedly arcane Japanese language far easier to grasp. Japanese is a so-called Synthetic or Agglutinative language, which means instead of placing prepositions (which mean something alone: on in upon, etc) you tag on "particles" expressing the same ideas to the end of already-formed words. English does this in that you say one girl, two girls. -S denotes the plural, but means nothing on its own. Likewise, "I want; I wantED" ~ the -ED means nothing alone but we all know it denotes a past action. Well Japanese you might say "Tokyo-e" meaning "to Tokyo" But! The -e, just like English -s or -ed, means nothing alone. That is the difference between a mostly "analytical" language (like English) and an agglutinative one, like Japanese. German is neither of these, it is "inflexional" and these tongues ~ in my opinion ~ are the most fiendishly difficult of all.

You can read a very good account of the absurdities of German grammar by Edgar Allen Poe, who explains them far better than I ever could, by clicking here.

But might I add, upon rereading his rant, I would guess Mr Poe had not studied any other foreign language if he is that confounded by certain other aspects of German... e.g. saying something "rests" somewhere, rather than "is" somewhere ... because that's what foreign languages are ~ FOREIGN!

Anyway, back to this test. Which unfortunately focused on grammar, my weakest point. I have been concentrating on building a passive reading vocabulary. But unfortunately the university prospectuses I read ~ and this test ~ were full of terms I just didn't know. Meaning I didn't really understand a great many of the phrases as I raced through. And I didn't spent much longer than 2 seconds on each question.

I got a B1, which is shockingly poor, considering how much time I slogged away at that fiendish Teutonic tongue in my youth ... even WITH a 19-year gap in between!

The grades go A1 (lowest) A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 (highest) so you see I got 3 out of 6. DREADFUL!!

I would say my level (dreadful grammar aside) is somewhere between B2 and C1. To give an example: I very often grasp close to or exactly what a writer is saying ~ yet would flounder for ages to express such ideas in English. Because the German writer has played to the strengths of his or her own language.

But I couldn't express myself in writing in anything better than a heavily-accented pidgin-language, of the sort one might expect of an uneducated 3rd world peasant. Truly shocking. Although people from Iran, Pakistan etc ~ as well as from "3rd world" countries frequently attend universities (somehow) in the UK. And likewise I shall go to Deutschland ~ hahar!

You can find the Goethe Institut's German test here.

And the meanings of the marks here.




Heroin Shortage: News

If you are looking for the British Heroin Drought post, click here; the latest word is in the comments.

Christiane F

"Wir, Kinder vom Bahnhoff Zoo" by "Christiane F", memoir of a teenage heroin addict and prostitute, was a massive bestseller in Europe and is now a set text in German schools. Bahnhoff Zoo was, until recently, Berlin's central railway station. A kind of equivalent (in more ways than one) to London's King's Cross... Of course my local library doesn't have it. So I'm going to have to order it through a bookshop and plough through the text in German. I asked my druggieworker Maple Syrup, who is Italiana how she learned English and she said reading books is the best way. CHRISTIANE F: TRAILER You can watch the entire 120-min movie in 12 parts at my Random blog. Every section EXCEPT part one is subtitled in English (sorry: but if you skip past you still get the gist) ~ to watch it all click HERE.

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Drugs Videos

Most of these come from my Random blog, which is an electronic scrapbook of stuff I thought I might like to view at some time or other. For those who want to view stuff on drugs I've collected the very best links here. Unless otherwise stated these are full-length features, usually an hour or more.

If you have a slow connexion and are unused to viewing multiscreen films on Youtube here's what to do: click the first one and play on mute, stopping and starting as it does. Then, when it's done, click on Repeat Play and you get the full entertainment without interruption. While you watch screen one, do the same to screens 2, 3 and so on. So as each bit finishes, the next part's ready and waiting.

Mexican Black Tar Heroin: "Dark End"

Khun Sa, whose name meant Prince Prosperous, had been, before his death in the mid 2000s, the world's biggest dealer in China White Heroin: "Lord of the Golden Triangle"

In-depth portrait of the Afghan heroin trade at its very height. Includes heroin-lab bust. "Afghanistan's Fateful Harvest"

Classic miniseries whose title became a catchphrase for the misery of life in East Asian prison. Nicole Kidman plays a privileged middle-class girl set up to mule heroin through Thai customs with the inevitable consequences. This is so long it had to be posted in two parts. "Bangkok Hilton 1" (first 2 hours or so); "Bangkok Hilton 2" (last couple of hours).

Short film: from tapwater-clear H4 in the USA to murky black Afghan brown in Norway: "Heroin Addicts Speak"

Before his untimely death this guy kept a video diary. Here's the hour-long highlights as broadcast on BBC TV: "Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict". Thanks to Noah for the original link.

Some of the most entertaining scenes from Britain's top soap (as much for the poor research as anything else). Not even Phil Mitchell would go from nought to multi-hundred pound binges this fast: "Phil Mitchell on Crack" (just over 5 minutes).

Scientist lady shows us how to cook up gear: "How Much Citric?" Lucky cow: her brown is 70% purity! Oddly we never see her actually do her hit... maybe she got camera shy...

And lastly:

German documentary following a life from teenage addiction to untimely death before the age of 30. The decline in this girl's appearance is truly shocking. "Süchtig: Protokoll einer Hilflosigkeit". Sorry no subtitles; this is here for anyone learning German who's after practice material a little more gripping than Lindenstraße!

Nosey Quiz! Have you ever heard voices when you weren't high on drugs?

Manic Magic

Manic Magic

Gledwood Volume 2: A Heroin Addict's Blog

Copyright 2011 by Gledwood