I am a pot-bellied, bald-headed, cantankerous old man. I have no social life to speak of, but I live vicariously through the lives of my family and people whose blogs I read. This blog is primarily my personal diary; kept as a means of self-reflection, to perhaps keep me more in touch with my own true feelings, emotions, thoughts, motivations, etc.

My blog is therefore mostly of little interest to others, and although I post nearly every day, it is almost all set as ‘private’. The public posts are generally restricted to the upbeat and positive end of the emotional spectrum, dealing with the ‘out there’ world. No one wants to read that other introspective, personal stuff which makes up 90% of what I write. I experience substantial mood swings, and the amount of public blogging varies concomitantly (up=public posts abound; down=private predominates).

The phrase “darkness overcomes you…nobody understands” comes from the picture book The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. It occurs on a page where a small girl is trudging through city streets in the shadow of a huge potato cod fish which floats above her! Shaun Tan writes “A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments…”. The book was given to me by the most precious daiskmeliadorn.

I took the photo of the rat (which is on my blog’s front page) when I was trudging though the streets just near where I work. Maybe one day I’ll end up lying on this street too.


19 Responses to About

  1. Can I tell you how much I try to avert my eyes when I get to your blog, because I simply hate looking at that rat. Ugh. I know it’s an expression of how you feel, but it’s still really gross. You take some really interesting pictures. I’ve liked some of your city scapes. I don’t suppose it might be possible to consider changing that picture at some point? I doubt you’re going to end up on dead on the street. You have a partner and kids, and you seem to have all your mental faculties. So I bet you die, safe and warm, in your bed.

  2. This is my first visit to your blog, so I hope you won’t mind if I add a bit to this discussion. I stared at the rat for perhaps 15 seconds, trying to find meaning or to be sure I was seeing what I thought I saw, before averting my eyes. This is only pertinent because, of my handful of possibly irrational fears, rodents are at the top of the list. (I just cringed tightly as I typed the word.) Yet my memory of the picture is that it was a strangely beautiful photograph. Of course, I’ll take great pains to make sure I don’t look at it again. I suppose the darkness of your photograph has overcome me. But I can’t deny that actually seeing it, and being able to still contemplate dinner — as well as keep my feet on the floor, has added something to my perception of this fear. It’ll take more time for me to figure out precisely what that something is, but I do think it’s at least a millimeter into positive territory. And maybe that’s all that’s needed to keep it from being so irrational. Thank you?

    • oldblack says:

      The Rat has many significant aspects for me, which is why I haven’t changed it despite my respect for Julee’s feelings and your rodent-response.

      I walk through where I took this picture every week day as I arrive for work. I almost always see rats, usually alive, often dead. Sometimes the dead ones are just lying around like this one as if they’ve died of old age (I suppose they’ve actually suffered an internal haemorrhage from consumption of rat poison). Similarly, I see lots of homeless people lying around the streets on my way to work, sometimes lying almost exactly where this rat was, in the heart of Chinatown. I feel an affinity with many homeless people, and I also identify with rats (we have some behaviours in common).

  3. Pingback: down and out | darkness overcomes you . . .

  4. sheriji says:

    Hi Oldblack — I hope you don’t mind the attention, but I have nominated you for a Reader’s Appreciation Award because, well, I read your blog, and I appreciate you. You can see the “rules” here: http://ahmjustsayin.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/its-always-so-nice-to-be-appreciated/

    Hope you’re doing okay. Am thinking of you today.

  5. As a photo – I love the rat. I like the cigarette butt in the background too. I think it’s a very “loud” piece, with lots of things to say. The rat looks pretty well fed and has good fur too, so cause of death is intriguing…
    I’ve had many hamsters as pets over the decades, so perhaps that’s why I feel none of the revulsion it appears to invoke in others. Rats are just large hamsters with city accents and tails with attitude. Or perhaps just ever so modest capybaras.
    In the end – it’s YOUR blog. Do whatever you want. It’s up to the world to accept you as you are. If not… bugger ’em. “In real life” we are much more accommodating of the feelings of others. In blogland, we can be whatever our mood suggests we be. I even know a young lady who writes her blog as a bloke. It’s a kind of social experiment for her, to see if she can get into the mind of men and pass herself off, virtually, as a man.
    Hope the back improves…

    • oldblack says:

      Thanks for your comment, Q.E. Actually your point hadn’t really occurred to me: “…’In real life’ we are much more accommodating of the feelings of others. In blogland, we can be whatever our mood suggests we be”. I guess you’re right in some ways. That is the essential nature of a blog, isn’t it? A statement of where I am, which others may choose to approach, or not. But on the other hand I do take all personal interactions seriously, and would never want a person to feel dismissed after an encounter with me. Nonetheless, the rat stays, and Julee et alia have to accept that it comes with me.

      • How very Baldrick of you! 🙂

      • oldblack says:

        I’m not sure what that means (although Googling “Baldrick” told me it was something to do with TV show Blackadder, and I don’t watch TV…), but I think it’s not a compliment. Maybe I should find out by trying it out on my sons, Who Know About These Things, to see how they react

  6. 🙂 Baldrick is indeed Blackadder’s sidekick. He has dubious personal hygiene and taste, and would occasionally refer to rats. Sometimes in a culinary context.

  7. oldblack says:

    Ahhh…I see! (at last)

  8. LFFL says:

    Interesting blog and pic of the rat.

  9. tripleclicka says:

    I saw your picture and at first glance thought, maybe he is sleeping. Convinced myself of that because it was sad to think otherwise. I love rats. The ones I have known personally have been pets of course. I’ve read the other comments and I disagree that rats have anything in common with hamsters. Rats are intelligent, with way to much personality. Once past accepting that this wasn’t sleep, which I came to by memories of rats I have sat with through the process of death, I love the picture.

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