Before I get onto that, though, discussions in the second pub of the night turned into what on earth I want to do with my life, and the possibility that I'd quite like to get back into some form of academia. My memory is getting worse and worse - not for long-term stuff, but short-term stuff like what I did two days ago or something I said - and it's because I'm stuck in a job which is easy but not particularly mentallly challenging. Legal is better than Ladywood, but only marginally. The memory problems are, I'm sure, down to brain cells shrivelling from underuse.
I just don't know what I'd want to do, how I could afford it, or anything. I want to learn about six different languages, I'm interested in psychology, or media studies, I've considered teaching but got as far as the first page of teach.gov.uk before realising it wanted me to make too many decisions... I haven't looked at OU, but I don't think I'd find the time to do it even if there was anything I was interested in. I'm not that good at home learning, really - I prefer classroom-based stuff, otherwise I know I won't bother.
It all comes back to wanting to write, and working full-time slowly killing that dream due to a lack of time. Perhaps it's childish to keep on wanting it so much. All my life I've had it drilled into me that it's not a viable career option and that I need to Do Something Useful. All of which has basically resulted in a failed attempt at Occupational Therapy and an English degree being wasted in this limbo of word processing.
I should really get off my fat arse and look at things properly. So continues the story of my life. You get one chance at this sort of stuff from the age of 14 onwards - one chance to pick your GCSEs, your A-Levels, your university course. If you have a brain the size of a planet you can get a scholarship and don't have to worry about fees and such. If you're about average, that's it.
I've done this angst so many times before - give me a list of career choices and I'll pick one. Don't make me find my own path, because I'll just get lost, give up, and not bother...
I could go on and on, but I won't. It's boring.
Anyway, when we go back in, we watched Keith Allen Is Going To Hell. He visited the religious crazies at the Westboro Baptist Church (the group behind www.godhatesamerica.com, amongst others) to make a documentary, in much the same way as Louis Theroux did, except with a lot more confrontation. It is, of course, more free publicity for them to spread their horrible message, but at the same time it's an interesting, if terrifying, insight into religious extremism that makes you wonder how these people can be so stupid... They are notoriously immune to facts and will quote the bible endlessly. At one point Keith lost it completely and threw back the "Don't believe everything you read!" which was countered at him when he called them 'bandwagon jumpers' after reading some facts on wikipedia... most of his arguments devolved into shouting matches which weren't productive but were at least fun to watch.
Whatever it was I said about Catholicism being the scariest branch of Christianity? I take it back. All my fear is saved for Westboro. We can only hope 'Preacher Phelps' dies at some point and the whole clan will slowly die out. As I said to Paul, the only practical way to stop these people is to ignore them and stop giving them attention - but it's easy to say in theory, and entirely impossible in practice, when they picket the funerals of dead soldiers and jump on 'popular' issues. (Apparently they were all over abortion a few years ago; now they're all about the 'fags'. What happened to the Bible saying "hate the sin, not the sinner"...?)
It begs the question: if God hates America, doesn't he/she/it also hate the Westboro clan, who are Americans? Or are they and their insular little commune protected from all this apparent hate? Clearly, they are. We can only hope that God smites them for being bigoted, hateful blemishes on the world.
The show resulted in Paul and I having something of a religious debate. It's intriguing how different the views of two athiests can be. I ended up repeating a similar debate I had with winter_jasmine several years ago on whether or not Christ existed. I'm not going into it again because it made my brain hurt enough the first time.
The debate went on until about 11.45 and then turned into a debate about morality and personal moral stances, at which point I gave up and went to bed. Paul attempted to continue the conversation until about 12.30 but I wasn't having it. Today I am exhausted and a little irritated as a result. I have no work to do and I want to go home, and I really, really don't want to go to bloody Tewkesbury tomorrow, especially given the trains are all at ridiculous times.
Edit, 7.30pm: I've fixed the dodgy HTML. Would have done it at work except the connection went down immediately after posting...
I left work at 4.00 today, got in, lay down, went to sleep, only woke up about 15 minutes ago and feel like shit. I need to get everything sorted for tomorrow's concert tonight if I can, including straightening my hair, but the way things are going I'm more likely to forget something now than tomorrow morning...
Hopefully I'll feel a bit better after tea. One of these days I'll learn that afternoon naps are never a good idea.