An open letter to humanity on getting its collective act together.

Doubtless you’d have preferred a revoltingly twee, anthropomorphised depiction of the author with big googly eyes. You make me sick. (Image by Axel_Kock)

Dear H. Sapien,

You know that scene in the Matrix where Agent Smith monologues his revulsion with your species by likening it to a virus?

You wish you were a virus.

Here’s the pecking order here on planet Earth: plants, unicellular organisms, viruses, fungi and — dead last — animals like you. At least you’re at the top of that totem pole.

I know, I know. It’s hard to take. Here you are, having dutifully woken up at 5AM, made your bed, drunk a litre of water, meditated, gone for a 10K jog and had your Greek yoghurt with goji…


Remarkable, sensitive, and observant, Artificial Friend Klara is incapable of self-interest, rage, or self-pity, and thus it falls to us

Image by Cray McDaniel

Recently, a friend and I were on a mission to each purchase a copy of 1984. We were struggling to make sense of the world and where it’s headed in a handbasket. It’s best to have a physical copy in anticipation of the day 1984 is expunged from libraries and bookstores and even your e-book reader. Or perhaps “only” re-written with you being none the wiser.

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. …


How to find splendour and solace in nature

Image by Author

The Lost Art of Nature Appreciation

“We often forget that we are nature. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.”

— Andy Goldsworthy

Exposure to nature positively impacts sleep patterns, lowers incidence of cardiovascular disease, and hastens recovery from illness. When we spend time among greenery or near bodies of water, our mood improves and we experience a reduction in stress and attentional fatigue.

There’s no denying nature restores our health and soothes our soul. But sometimes I find myself wondering, is mere immersion enough? …


Everything wrong with Insta “poems” and “poets”

Image composed with Canva

I attended a writer’s group the other day and observed an interesting inter-generational divide. A young man scrolled through his Instagram and read some of his poems out loud, prompting some very illuminating feedback.

As far as Instagram poetry goes, his poems were quite good. Most such “poems” read like a fourth grader wrote them, and not an especially bright one. This explains why so many semi-literate Youtube personalities have put out “poetry” collections in recent years. I blame the perception that the existence of free verse implies any jumble of words can be a poem. …


Angela Volkov’s greatest of all time humour, saty-ire, ram-blings, and faun-tastical poetry all in the one place

Image by mamita (edited by author)

Welcome to GOAT Humour. The publication name comes from a) needing an inherently funny animal for the banner, b) conveniently making for an ever-so-humble acronym (“greatest of all time”) and c) that fact that I recently milked a goat and checked that off my bucket list. I had to stand in the sweltering heat, do some backbreaking hoeing, and pretend to be interested in permaculture for two bloody hours before they’d let me milk a goat. And then I got to play with them!

“Do you want to raise goats in the future?” the farmer asked. Negative. Though I’m primed…


Perhaps we should be treating transgendered people with the rationality seemingly only reserved for the transabled?

Image by Andrey_Popov

Everyone’s heard of gender dysphoria (a lack of identification with one’s sexed body), but have you heard of body integrity dysphoria or the transabled? Here are some case studies to get you acquainted:

Anne (body integrity dysphoria)
Anne feels her left leg “does not belong”. She’d be much happier without it and fantasises about having it removed. Anne has altered somatosensory processing in the premotor cortex of her brain, meaning she does not feel ownership of her left leg. …


POEM

When you feel a fool for trying, know that everyone else thinks you’re a fool too

Image by Eroshka

You have to look at it from the outside,
Hover over your relationship,
Like a spirit gazing at an equally dead body,
And then you’ll finally realise.

It’s the postmortem before the end,
Seeing the light,
Before the train mows you down,
Those first stirrings of shame,
When you realise people are watching,
A fool — an absolute fool.

They wend their way past you,
And note he walks ten paces ahead,
You, a lost puppy, nipping at his heels.

When he does walk beside you,
They must think you’re his cousin,
From out of town,
A distant cousin he dislikes.
What else could…


Can this trope die its undignified death already?

Image by George Mayer

A tale of two mirrors

It’s ironic that last time I wrote about writing it was to discuss The Mirror Momentthat pivotal moment within a scene where the protagonist engages in a bout of self-reflection, illuminating their backstory and the nature of their forthcoming transformation. And now here I am, writing about another sort of mirror moment. Oh yes, that painful, cringe-worthy scene where a female character, often underage, is prompted by a mirror to describe her nude body in lavish detail exactly as a man would — and a woman wouldn’t.

It’s even more ironic that when I last critiqued a male…


General relativity: When you’re related to someone but you’re not quite sure how.

Image composed with Canva

Anthropic principle: The idea that all household objects are secretly sentient and your toaster is judging you.

Alpha particle: The Chad of particles.

Beta particles: A bunch of loser particles without sports cars or six-packs.

Black hole: You can use these to escape wily coyotes. I think they’re manufactured by the Acme Corporation.

Big Bang: A loud noise, such as someone suddenly compressing an empty chip packet full of air.

Big Crunch: An even louder noise, such as that of a very large and crisp potato chip being eaten.

Classical physics: Physics that never goes out of style.

Cosmic inflation…


What can we learn from Japanese gift-givers, Italian coffee aficionados, Indian festival goers, and African meetings?

Image by Krakenimages.com

The world knows no greater evil than a White girl in a cheongsam-inspired prom dress or a non-Dutch person in Dutch braids (also known as Boxer braids and often worn by people who aren’t pugilists). I, too, have been the victim of cultural appropriation while in Japan during the holiday season, forced to endure “Christmas” sponge cakes smothered with strawberries, fried chicken vendors on every street corner, and what appeared to be the conflation of the good Colonel with Jolly Old Saint Nick. (Japanese people eat KFC to celebrate Christmas — go figure!)

And while I was stoked to find…

Angela Volkov

Glutting myself on all that life has to offer and writing about it. Art, language, science, humour, and whatever else takes my fancy…

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