Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Home again

OK, so here's the thing. I've been doing a full time job for 2 months, and now I'm back to being at home, pretending to be a useful member of society and all that.

And, as ever, I've ended up doing stuff on my laptop with the TV on next to me. And it never fails to disappoint. Already I'd enjoyed a Kate Nash video, and her excuse for singing. And then one of those lovely Dulux adverts, which somehow seeks to show that their paint colours match by depicting Exotic Spice's underwear strewn along the floor alongside Red Stallion's tie.

Hmmm, nice one, Dulux.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Monday Melee'ing for once

Turns out I really can't do this 9 til 5 thing without sleeping 5 til 9 afterwards, hence the lack of blogging. Sigh.

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
That Stone Age tendency to form tribes and excommunicate anyone who doesn't fit.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
The myth that chocolate in large quantities might not be that good for you. Don't be ridiculous.

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
Feeling incompetent at work. It's not that I dislike the job, but I'm sort of used to being alright at everything I try, so it's a bit hard to get used to simply not getting it.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
The kind of friend who sends you a message after you've seen each other to say how nice it was. (I thought of it and then...didn't.)

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
I'm gradually learning that not everyone thinks sarcasm is an appropriate form of communication. Astonishing, I know, but there you go...

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
A nice hot bath...

* * * * *

Listening to: Our Earthly Pleasure - Maximo Park

Love it.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

So...I am now employed in pensions and investments for the summer, which has been a bit of a culture shock for the last few days. It involves being awake, fed, dressed and groomed by 8am (rather than the usual 9/10/11am etc) and such things. I'm not gonna go into what exactly I do or where, as I have signed an alarming number of forms and they basically mean, as far as I can work out, that no one is liable if the company decide they don't want me, and there's a whole bunch of reasons why I could upset them. So not that I am exactly in a position of huge importance, but I'm leaving it out anyway.

What I have learned, at least, is that the Financial Services Authority own everyone's backsides in the pensions world, and that investment types aren't happy unless every other word used in a report or conversation is an acronym. Everyone I work with is lovely, or I would probably enquire whether they'd feel happier calling me by my initials.

I may have a few posts planned, so hopefully I'll post a bit more regularly when I've got more used to waking up and going to sleep at more regular times. I have beautiful new wireless internet which I will no doubt pay homage to later as well.

Oh, and did I mention how much I am in love with The Goo Goo Dolls' Dizzy Up The Girl? Well...I am.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Teapots

I have a moan, I'm afraid. I would merely like to comment on cafés that, when you ask for a cup of tea, bring you a little metal teapot all to yourself. What is with this? It's not quaint, because it's a metal teapot. It's not like we're talking fine bone china here. And frankly, the fact that it arrives in a teapot does nothing to disguise the fact that by the time it's been poured and brought outside and you've paid the bill and put some milk into your cup in preparation, the tea is actually very stewed. And any tea that only tastes ok when it's got a tonne of milk and a sachet of sugar in it is not really worthy to be called tea, in my book.

Anyway, moan over. I can already feel the 'get over yourself and your tea obsession' eyes rolling at the screen.

Ironically, I'm logging off now to make a cup of tea.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Random wanderings through Exeter

I started my day totally confused in Waterstones. I can only assume that this sign is some kind of literary reference, but Google doesn't come up with anything. Who is this Eugene and what is going on with their lamp? Any suggestions would be most appreciated.


In a small shop tucked away in an arcade, I discovered some pretty cool vintage clothing. Sadly I decided to abstain as I am still unemployed for the summer, but I did have to take a photo of these hats, knowing that they're the kind of thing my twin would probably try to get away with. (All in the excuse of 'fancy dress', of course.)


Just down the road, in 'Kitsch U Like' there was also a lot of fun stuff, including handbags made to look like boom boxes. It was only walking back past later on that I saw this refurbished dentist chair in the window. Words fail me, frankly. But it's yours for £250. If I was rich and flippant I'd be tempted to send it to my old orthodontist as a token of my straight-toothed gratitude.


Quite possibly the quaintest cup of coffee I've had in a long time, served to me at the very originally named Riverside Café.


Sitting being thoughtful by the riverside I found myself wondering if you've got to be English to find this sort of view inspiring. But no matter - I enjoyed it, anyway.


Saving the rainforest, one biscuit at a time. It's gratifying to find even pubs on riversides serving fairtrade coffee and accompaniments.


This has got to be one of the shortest ferry journeys ever! It just goes to show how your perception of the world changes as you grow up...I remember that foot ferry crossing a huge distance.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Perfect girls, starving daughters

I've just seen an advert online for a book called Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body by Courtney Martin.

So it's not JUST me that finds that frightening, then? I am glad...I've expressed my confusion time and time again that surely it's not right that I end up feeling big-headed simply because I don't hate how I look.

I think that book's going on my reading list!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Hello, this is your cat speaking.

I get the 'Vimrod Daily Dose' cartoon email sent to me every day, and it makes me laugh every time!! I would love to meet the people that create them - I'm so sure sometimes that that humour exists somewhere in a dark corner of my head!

And imagine if your cat really could do that? Now that's an awkward neighbour situation.

Well, just thought I'd post today's 'Dose' as it amused me so much. And sign up at Vimrod.com! You won't be disappointed!

Monday, 4 June 2007

No milk for Monday

Right, so I forget the Monday Melee for the billionth week. But I did like doing it before, so I'm gonna try and cheat and submit this blog entry as if it were yesterday. Sneaky stuff!



1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
Students in halls who make a ridiculous amount of noice when they get in at 2 in the morning...and then don't stop for over an hour! 'Nuff said. I'm in a bad mood.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
Revision is clearly phony. It would much better for me to go and nap in the park with a thermos and a picnic. (But I won't.)

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
The milk had vanished from our fridge this morning so I'm drinking black coffee with sugar, which was the only viable alternative to tea without milk. And it just doesn't taste as enjoyable. It tastes like something you'd drink if you were pulling an all nighter to work and had to keep awake. Which isn't the case as I am in need of sleeping better at the moment.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
One of my friends has taken to texting me most nights to check I'm alright and not working too hard, which is nice. My last exam is on Saturday and I'm living and breathing language revision 24/7 right now!

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
I reckon I'm learning to control my bad moods better. Sure, I still vent to people sometimes, but I think I've got better at not inflicting my sporadic grumpiness on whoever is nearest.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
For the job interview I'm going to be in at this time next week to go well and for me to actually have a job for the summer.

* * * * *

Listening to: Come What(ever) May - Stone Sour
Last ate: Toasted bread roll with marmite. No milk for my cereal.
Thinking: My chest muscles hurt from the gym last night. Didn't even know my chest muscles existed!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Happiness formula?

The BBC report that the government in Bhutan must consider how every policy will affect not only Gross Domestic Product but also 'Gross National Happiness'.

The article outlines some of the ways this is carried out - for instance, banning plastic bags, tobacco and MTV because they don't bring happiness.

I think I'm emigrating ASAP!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

My week...in flowers

I have a soft spot for gerberas. I also have a soft spot for my mum (obviously). And she gave me these so that's double special-ness. Mmhmm. I didn't even edit the colours here at all:



Au naturel:



I was sitting under this blossom just hours ago, eating lunch in the shade. My dad presented me with this 'bouquet'. Impressively, it looks brighter after the train journey in my suitcase than I do (though I wasn't in the suitcase, of course).


I'm not going to rant about the train journey now. It would spoil the pretty flowery vibe.

Friday, 1 June 2007

Get it away!

You know it's not good when you get up and turn on the TV and even the Big Brother housemates are asleep.

I should add very swiftly that I didn't watch them intentionally! - I turned on the TV and it simply came up with the the last Freeview channel that I'd watched. My thumb has never moved so fast to switch channel! I don't think I'll say any more about the horror that is BB, lest I end up contributing to what is no doubt already a huge area of internet debate. All I can say is that I didn't need even my local paper to have the launch in it. Also, I've lived for the past 9 months or so as part of a group that is mostly made up of 10 girls. And, good as uni's been so far, I am slightly amazed that the producers of the show think that 11 women living together is going to be all fun and frolics. It ain't.

As I type this, I do have another TV-related observation to make. (Yes I've had it on a lot but no one's around so I need the company!) My oh-so-clever observation is that it is simply too early in the morning by my standards for the music channels to be playing Rihanna's 'Umbrella'. Oh, wait, no...there is never a time of day when seeing her dance suggestively down an umbrella could be a good thing, tepid romantic lyrics or not.

One music video that I did get excited about when I first saw it the other day was the new Maroon 5 song. I quite liked them last time they were around, so I had high hopes. But I'm not sure about this one. I liked the song and the lead guy's voice, but I wasn't convinced. Not that I know much about putting songs together, but I really felt that his voice was too weak against the music. You don't listen to it and pick up the words, really. In fact, I have no idea what the song's about. Not a great way to get people to sing along to your new song!

Right, time to turn the TV off and do some work, I reckon. Well, maybe after I've eaten. I have been up for 2 hours, after all.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Pseudonyms

So. I'm watching Indian School on BBC 4. It's quite interesting actually - this episode is about the boom in the Indian IT industry and how that's affecting schools and kids. A lot of it is good stuff although there's also cases of children and teenagers already becoming addicted to computer games. Nice one.

I already knew about the huge IT industry there, but one little fact did stop me in my tracks. An Indian guy who works in a call centre was being interviewed at work and answered the phone as 'Derek'. He then explained that they get a lot of American callers so it's been decided that workers there should be given pseudonyms like David and Derek to make it easier for their names to be understood. I do get the logic of this - I can't pretend that I wouldn't find David easier to pronounce - but to actually be given a fake name to use at work? A little harsh, methinks.

On a side note, the narrator has just informed me that 200 new motorcycle licenses are issued in Pune every day. Blimey.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Stereotyping?

Is it too much of a stereotype to assume that the reason the club I went to last night seemed to have a different, more chavvy (yes, I know, very un-PC of me, tut tut...) atmosphere was because there had been the Liverpool football match on and loads of people had come straight from watching it? I guess so, but my friend and I couldn't help wondering. the funny thing was that the music seemed to change to reflect it - less of the usual cheese/indie/alternative and more unrecognisable stuff that only facilitates dancing like a very repetitive drunk robot. Which, you know, I'm clearly not. But there you go.

I was mostly dropping by here to express my excitement about going to see the third Pirates of the Caribbean film tonight! I really didn't like the second as much as the first, but I still have high hopes. Though I hadn't realised that it's nearly 3 hours long, so I won't be leaving the cinema til after midnight, which'll be a bit weird.

I'll try to sit down and say a few words afterwards though...

* Update: It turns out that the Student Union nights are mostly not happening at the moment because of exams, which explains why the entire student population was trying to fit into the same one or two clubs last night. Which explains the music and the impression we got of the clientele - the union nights by and large subscribe to the idea that everyone present is hideously drunk and therefore won't notice the rubbish music that they're playing.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Off you go, kids

Something about Lord of the Flies going live for reality TV weirds me out. I studied the book during my GCSEs, as many people did, and I have mixed feelings towards it. I think it is a very impressive and powerful book, but it really does have a dark side. And I always found that dark side to be quite believeable, to be honest. You can imagine how things could just go crazy.

Now I know that it's going to be filmed and all that, and I can't find out whether there's going to be any level of intervention if anything goes wrong. But really, 40 kids aged 8 to 15, abandoned in a ghost town for 40 days? Maybe I just got taken in by the original book, but the idea scares me. A lot. Who knows what could happen?!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Put your red dress on

So, what, to get women to take up the opportunity of health screenings it is necessary to entice them with the chance to see pretty dresses? Apparently so.

Riiight.

But on a different note, the Fratellis album is good. I do love a good bit of indie. And kudos goes to Amazon as the CD arrived 4 days after I ordered it, which is unprecedented to my mind, especially considering our mediocre postal service in halls. Nice one.

On another random note - man, I need to work on my coherence! - I watched The Queen last night and was really impressed. I don't know that I would've understood all of the context and background stuff without one of my housemates commentating, but I guess inserting any more info into the actual film would've made it too documentary-like. I thought it portrayed Blair very well, and it got me thinking that 10 years is a very long time to keep working hard at that job. It was quite sad at points, though we were all debating the hype from the public over Diana's death. It's a hard one because she clearly did have a huge impact on the British people, but behind all her stoicism the Queen rightly pointed out that they were grieving for someone they didn't know, not someone that was the mother of their grandchildren. Some interesting points were raised, and I'd like to watch it again!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Told you so

It made me smile in a rather big-headed fashion that over at the f-word they've also talked about Patrick Moore's comments about the BBC.

Though this feeling of gratification is marred somewhat by the embarrassing experience of finding out that I really should have known who he is. Ah well. From the sound of it, he wouldn't like me anyway.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

So...it's OUR fault?

You have got to be kidding me.

Reuters seems happy to report Patrick Moore's opinions on TV today: "The trouble is that the BBC now is run by women and it shows: soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn't have had that in the golden days." He adds that "I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC -- making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching."

I've got to admit that I don't know who he is. But, to be honest, I don't think I want to. Who comes out with stuff like that these days?! I agree that there is a fair amount of rubbish around on TV, but I hardly believe that that is the fault of women. And there are more educational and intelligent programmes around, because of the increase in sheer number of channels and all that. I say we start a revolution in better TV by getting rid of him and his incredibly sexist views.

Pfffft.

Headlines

Arts students 'less keen on work': Thanks for that. Apparently we're less "pro-active". I grant you that at the moment I don't know what exactly I want to do after uni. But what is supposed to be surprising about "The UK Graduate Careers Survey [...] found a much more confident, work-focused, approach from students on work-related courses." Apart from the argument that all degrees are 'work-related', people on supposedly more work-related courses are blatantly going to be more work-focused. I mean, one of my friends studies Optometry. Except for the private vs. NHS decision, her focus is pretty much sorted - she's gonna be an optician. That's the reason why you study the course. And yes of course arts students expect to end up in low-paid jobs. We spend 3 years drinking cofee and reading news headlines about how unmotivated we are. What were you expecting?

Germans stay home for eco-holiday: Not much to say - good on the Germans, sounds cool that many people there are becoming more aware of the environment and the impact of holidays. What made me laugh about the article was this description... "Giggling by the sea - and lying topless in the sun - are Martina and her three environmentally friendly colleague [...] "I think it's better for the climate to stay here in Germany," Martina told me, once she'd put her bikini back on." Did you even need to ask whether the writer of that article was a man or a woman? Thought not.

Nurse sexually assaulted at work: Obviously nothing fun about the assault - bit horribly, really. I only wanted to question the news that detectives are looking simply for a "white man with a London accent." That, er, won't be difficult then.

Of course, one could consider the linguistic side of the article, in that the headline uses the unmarked term 'nurse' to refer to a woman, knowing full well that you will assume the nurse/woman link without thinking. But perhaps that's a consideration I should keep confined to my language seminars! Sadly I can no longer read the news and stuff without thinking of the theories from my course. D'oh.

Well, I better be off to do some work. Wouldn't want to not be hard-working and confident now, would I?

* * * * *

Listening to: Hot Fuss - The Killers
Drinking: The special selection Cafédirect coffee. Bliss.
Reading: An email from my dad, aww.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Holiday reads?

Very excitingly, I actually got round to starting a new book last night! It's The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif. I bought it ages ago when I had some Waterstones vouchers - it's one of the Bloomsbury 21 Great Reads. Haven't got far into yet as I was only reading a few chapters to take my mind off coursework before I went to sleep. It seems good though! The introduction talks of it being many things; it's a love story about crossing the cultural boundary between England and Egypt, but also covers history and the boundaries of past and present, and east and west. Seems good so far, anyway.

It amused me that the back cover of the book has the usual reviews, including one from the Daily Telegraph. They claim that the book is "A page-turning holiday read." Fair enough, it is a love story and everything, but I feel that they're missing a vital fact. Namely that the book is about 2 inches thick. That doesn't really strike me as a 'lazing around on your sunlounger' sort of dimension.

But I'm making assumptions. I read Anna Karenina on a balcony in Italy, so I'm all for tackling these books on holiday. Funnily enough, Soueif herself lists that as one of her favourite classics. So there you go.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Zzyzx

There is something way too beautiful about the song Zzyzx Rd by Stone Sour. Google it...you won't look back.

And that is all I have to say for today. It's been a long one and I'm ready for a new week.

Friday, 4 May 2007

I still don't get it

This story just came back around, which I mentioned before. The one about the teenager who shot a 22 yr old man and later claimed that he didn't know that the gun was real? Well he got a life sentence, to be fair, as the court said that it was deliberate, rather than adequately provoked.

But what I still don't get is this idea that he didn't know that the gun was real. I mean, he acquired it by whatever means, carried it around with him, and then aimed it at someone and pulled the trigger. At one point would you think "oh, it's ok, this gun couldn't possibly be real?" I don't understand at all.

But there you go. End of rant. I'm feeling fairly happy other than that as I just participated in a psychology experiment. Was really interesting as I studied it at A level and always wanted to see what it was like to be in an actual study. I had sensors on me and everything! After 2 years of laughing at people that do stupid things in studies, I thought it was about time! Lots of my own work to get on with now though...sigh...

* * * * *

Listening to: Grown - Kendall Payne
Feeling: Mellow
Happy because: I've just been given a box of maltesers

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Very important lesson

If you should happen to be living somewhere which doesn't offer decent lighting in the bathroom for putting makeup on, I have some crucial advice. If you have a double sided mirror which has a magnified side, remember your science lessons from school. The magnified side can and will reflect the suns rays and magnify them on a small point, should the sun be in a suitable position. And as it turns out, laptop keyboards are not particularly appreciative of sun being magnified onto them.

Yes, you guessed it. Picture the scene: it's about half 7 last night and I'm getting ready to go out. I'm sat at my desk with my mirror propped on my laptop, straightening my hair and doing my makeup. A great arrangement because it gives me natural light and I can distract myself with social networking sites as I sit there. And I can also admire the sun gradually going down.

I did realise that the sun was being reflected onto my keyboard, and moved the mirror, but didn't think any more of it. I was in a rush so when I was done I really quickly removed the mirror and shut my laptop lid. It was only just now that I looked at my keyboard and thought "hmm". I feel very very stupid and also kind of upset - the keys still work but I've sort of defaced my laptop a bit, and I love the thing. That and I can't afford a new one, really. Look:


:(

Monday, 30 April 2007

Just passing through

I can't decide if my philosophy on life (for today, at least) is good or simply just lazy. I was going to go to the gym this morning and then I thought "nah, I'll go later" purely because I fancied hanging around drinking tea, admiring the blue sky and picturesque hills, and reading the news.

Let's face it. I'm one of these people that will retire to France and while away her days drinking coffee and red wine in little cafés and bars on dusty side streets. Yeah.

Can you tell that I went to church last night and am now infinitely happier/more content than I was before I left? Three nights out in a row didn't make me this happy! (And plus, I now ache from so much dancing).

Good stuff.

* * * * *

Drinking: Lukewarm tea
Just ate: Berry Special K with yogurt
Excited because: The language essay is being handed in today - good riddance!!

Monday, 23 April 2007

Yawns...



The Monday Melee

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
Men and women using language differently. Because I have to write an essay on it.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
Tesco 'Green Clubcard points'. What do they ACTUALLY do?

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
The fact that I'm sleepy despite not doing anything of note today.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.

Just had a text from a friend to say she's back home, having travelled from Lampeter to Swansea (and then back) simply to go to the cinema. I am both impressed by her effort and am pleased because now I can phone her.

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
I remembered to actually join in the Melee this week.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
A hug.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

WWJD

So there I am, wandering through blogs, like you do if it's a Wednesday night and you're a few hundred miles from a decent night at the Welsh Club. And I came across this post which asks "What Would Judith Do?" about a particular feminist issue.

And I experienced a mix of laughter and sadness. Laughter because I knew exactly which Judith was being referred to. Sadness because I recently spent the best part of 2 days working my way through a rather complex extract of her Gender Trouble book and it's a slightly traumatic memory.

I wasn't sure I entirely appreciated the use of WWJD but hey, it's late and I'm sleepy, so it's off to bed for me.

Pretty in pink

In a superb moment of grown-up-ness yesterday, my flatmate and I found ourselves wandering through Next, looking at homeware. Not that we can technically afford Next, but we're excited about our house next year and, well, furnishing it somehow seems rather exciting.

However, the thought occurs that I really will need a summer job if I am to get in the habit of desiring things like this £20 bread bin:



Ha.


Nothing much else to say today as my essays beckon. Sigh.

Monday, 16 April 2007

D is for Dangerous

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
The seeming inability to have clever academic theories AND write about them in a clear and concise manner. I've just made my way through a Judith Butler reading which just makes the mind boggle. She's got some interesting ideas but they would be so much more powerful if she used the occasional everyday word to talk about them.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
The facility to listen to previous Radio 1 shows online - it's telling me that I'm listening to Jo Whiley's show from this morning, but it can't be it because I already listened to it and it doesn't sound the same at all. Yeah, I am such a cool person that I feel the need to listen to the Arctic Monkeys' Live Lounge performance twice in one day.

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
It's all sunny outside and I've just been offered a trip to Borders in Southampton which would combine my joint love of books and coffee, but instead I am staying home to continue my essay on sex and gender for Cultural Criticism. Hmmph.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
Edith on Radio 1 has literally just started playing the Arctic Monkeys cover of that Amy Winehouse song that they did this morning. Result!! Good woman.

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
I intelligently figured out that working my way through my entire bag of dark chocolate covered espresso beans from Whittard would not end well (i.e. with a rather hyped up Lucy) so I let my mum eat some.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
Haha, Alex Turner. 'Nuff said. For his voice and the fact that he isn't yet confident enough to not sound nervous on the radio.

* * * * *

Listening to: Favourite Worst Nightmare - Arctic Monkeys (YouTube has spoilt the surprise there)
Drinking: Redbush tea with lemon
Feeling: Fuzzy headed from too many hours working. Wimp!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Can I just mention...

...how much it amuses me that Prince William's split from his girlfriend is in the headlines of my news feeds for the second day in a row. I don't think I've ever had this happen to my headlines, except for cases like political crises where the situation has developed overnight.

What exactly is being updated here? They haven't turned round and said that they've made a terrible mistake and want an imminent engagement, right? So basically all I'm being updated with is more quotes on why they might have split up. Excuse me, but they were together for 4 years and were just about to experience the joy that is the long-distance relationship. Do we really need to ask why they might've decided to call it a day? And if it wasn't for those reasons, do we really need to analyse them til we figure it out? Thought not. And if anyone can explain why the BBC quoted someone from Hello magazine I'd appreciate it.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Adventures in eating

I just remembered that I tried calamari last night. Well, it was called that on the menu. It's supposed to be squid apparently, but my parents insisted that what was actually on the plate was octopus. And no I do not want to know how you can tell the difference.

I don't know what came over me. I had a reckless moment. Or maybe it was the drinking red wine on a stomach of pineapple and maltesers. But as I sat there picking my way through my caesar salad starter, I found myself uttering those words..."Dad, can I try a bit?"

(In case you hadn't figured it out yet, I am not a fan of anything much that has ever been underwater. Or anything that is blue cheesey, spicy, hot etc etc)

So, my verdict is: alright taste - I'm not big on fishy sorta stuff but it was quite nice. The batter stuff that was on the outside was good. But the texture? Not so good. It just didn't feel right when I chewed it. The image of an innocent octopus that I had in my head probably didn't help, but I just didn't like how it felt to actually eat it. But hey, I tried. I'm the kind of person that doesn't like jelly on the basis that it tastes slippery, so weirdly textured foods are never going to be my favourite choice. I've come round to mashed potato though...
I must be growing up.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

AI (Animal Intelligence)

I couldn't help but think today, as I glared at the seagulls that were disturbing my peaceful lying in the sun, that they must get a bit confused sometimes. I mean, in the winter they see those human types driving past in their cars and huddling up in raincoats and big jumpers, always hurrying somewhere. And then the sun comes out and all the humans are suddenly lying prone on the ground. It must seem a bit weird.

Then again, my younger brother figured out that simply gesturing as if you were throwing bread makes the seagulls fly in that direction, even if you are in fact not holding any bread. Bless, I don't think they're particularly intelligent.

Sadly my other animal experience today involved a certain amount of death. One of my brother's 3 and a half year old gerbils died, which kind of wasn't a surprise as they're old, but still. The thing that got me was how the other gerbil reacted when it (sorry, she) got out of bed and discovered her sister (?) was dead. She nudged her a few times with her nose and then put both front paws on her side and did what remarkably resembled the presses you do in CPR. It seemed like such an intelligent reaction somehow. Poor thing - it's hard to tell how much they understand. But that could turn into a big philosophical debate and it's late. Maybe later.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

I don't get it

What exactly is the Sarah's Law trial supposed to achieve? Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but what good does it do to know that there might be a paedophile living in your general area? Considering the number of stories in the news about kids and teenagers being attacked or raped or abducted, surely it's better for parents to assume that they always need to keep a close eye on their kids. It seems to me that the best you can do as a parent is be aware of where your kids are, what they get up to, and make sure they know how to look after themselves. Whether or not a paedophile might live a few blocks away from you doesn't rule out anything else that could happen to your kid. The thing is, I'm the first to say that of all the crimes a person can commit, paedophilia really makes me sick. But a part of me still wants to believe in second chances, even when it's hard to be convinced that anyone can reform from that.

Of course, I'm saying this from the point of view of not being a parent, and I guess there are parents out there who really want this law. I get that if you've got kids you're not going to want to take any chances with them at all. Sadly I can only find the story on Reuters so I haven't found many opinions on it.

On a lighter child-related note, I was sent a photo of a friend's baby niece this morning, and she's gorgeous! I was almost jealous, in a don't-want-one-of-those-for-a-long-time-yet sort of way.

* * * * *

On in the background: TMF (Avril Lavigne playing at the moment. No comment.)
Eating: Incredibly dark chocolate, mmm.
Waiting for: My parents to get home and admire my hoovering.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Ever so slightly single-minded

Just enough time left in my area of the world to do The Monday Melee...

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
Teenage girls that deicde to bring their mum to an Arctic Monkeys gig and let them dance wildly in front of particularly small members of the audience. Brownie points for mother-daughter bonding, but minus several hundred for totally blocking my view of the Sheffield lads and also getting me hit in the arm a few times.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
The people selling knockoff band t-shirts outside the venue. Much as I'd like to get a cheaper one, I'd feel bad if my money was ending up nowhere near the actual band. Though the bands could do with bringing the price down a bit - the face value of my ticket was £19.50 and the official t-shirts cost £17.

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
The fact that I am home alone and very hyper still, but with no one to express this fact to.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
The Arctic Monkeys!!! Because tonight was a fantastic night and they put on a really good gig. And Alex said nice things to the audience. And happens to have a very gorgeous voice.

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
I remembered to buy bread, milk and juice today, so that my parents don't come back from Spring Harvest to an entirely empty fridge.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
For my videos of the gig to play on my laptop so that I could share them online, despite the understandably dodgy sound quality.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Hmm

It is only now that I'm getting round to some contemplation. The folks down at Minehead started today with a 7am service on the beach. Me? I started the day at 8.30am, sleepily shoving coffee and croissants in my mouth before jumping in the shower to be ready for church on time.

This is the first time in 8 years that I have been at home on Easter Sunday. I spent the previous 7 at
Spring Harvest. Which by my maths also means that I have been a Christian for 7 years. It's funny to think of my tiny blonde self making that commitment all those years ago with no idea what was ahead, just knowing that it was the right thing for me at the time.

In many ways I feel like this should be some kind of birthday celebration. Of course, sat here with my cup of tea and easter egg remains, it is not exactly that.

But I still reckon that it's good to have done something with my life that, 7 years later, still seems like a good thing.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Whatever you say

According to an advert for L'Oreal collagen filler, the product contains "collagen biospheres", along with many other scientific-sounding things.

Call me naive, but until now I thought biospheres were those things at the Eden Project that contain the rainforest plants and everything.

Pffft.

"Shake it!"

So, I've had the house to myself quite a lot over the last few days. I've got into the habit of having all my stuff - phone, coursework etc - in the lounge, with the TV music channels on in the background for most of the time. I like having them on for background noise and to catch good songs that I haven't heard yet. But after quite a lot of hours with them on, the visual aspect is starting to get to me. They're all scantily clad women gyrating and men in baggy jeans grabbing their own crotches. The one thing that both genders have in common is the fact that they're all very very toned.

It's sort of tiring to watch while you're eating breakfast in your pyjamas.

* * * * *

Drinking: Instant coffee
Eating: A banana
About to: Make more notes on gender and language...yeah!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Hangin' around

Answering a few days of Question of the Day.

What color will we never ever ever see in your wardrobe?
Yellow. I don't think I have ever possessed anything in yellow, and I don't intend to start now. In fact, I think the only yellow clothing I own is my grey and yellow striped knee socks. Which are sort of retro so it works. But yellow is just never going to look good on me - I am incredibly pale and, well, it wouldn't be pretty.

What is one item that you own that has minimal monetary value, but has such sentimental value that you wouldn’t sell it for any amount of money?
I have a little koala soft toy that was in my incubator with me after I was born. It even has one of those hospital wristbands around its neck, saying who it belongs to. I like the fact that it was in there with me even when I was basically in a hi-tech plastic box. And it's gratifying to see that I am now a lot bigger than it.

Does killing time damage eternity? What do you do to kill time?
I don't know about damaging eternity. I mean, what does that entail? But I do think it can be a bit rubbish from the point of view that there's often way more productive things that you could be doing! Which is hugely hypocritical coming from a student who is very good at killing time, I realise. I do often think that I should pick up the phone and call a friend instead of staring blankly at *just one more* episode of ER. But there you go. My killing time usually involves the Internet - wandering through blogs, checking the news headlines...and, that student staple, going on MySpace. No, I know, I'm not proud of it. But it keeps me in touch with people, alright? (As you can tell, I'm slightly sensitive about being called part of the MySpace generation as if I don't have an IQ.)

* * * * *

Thursday Thirteen - #87

13 things, constructive or otherwise, that I could do this week while my family are all busy:

  1. Watch rubbish daytime TV
  2. Do my Language essay
  3. Do my two Cultural Criticism essays
  4. Bake things
  5. Watch old Disney movies and reminsce
  6. Get up to date with paperwork stuff like my mobile phone contract
  7. Take lots of baths
  8. Attempt some form of exercise
  9. Drink the bottle of wine that my parents bought me
  10. Back up my laptop files
  11. Invite my friends over and watch endless amounts of DVDs
  12. Spend my student loan online
  13. Drink lots of real coffee from the coffee machine

* * * * *

Listening to: E4 Music
Drinking: Spanish orange juice
About to: Use a facial steamer thing to try to ease my very attractive hacking cough

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Loadad Questions

Hypotheticals: If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
Sophie, from Sophie's World. What a cool way to learn philosophy, and you even get trapped in a philosophical game yourself.

Anything Goes: What outdoor activity do you consider the most dangerous?
Skinny dipping. Freezing cold, could injure yourself when you dive in, and - of course - huge embarassment factor. Why why why would you do this.

No-Brainers: What is your favorite genre of movies?
I'm never sure. I like ones that make me think or that teach me stuff, but in reality I end up watching romantic comedies most of the time, for sociability purposes.

Personals: How good is your long-term memory, on a scale of one to ten?
8, though I tend to remember the pointless stuff!

Friday, 30 March 2007

Wise words

I've heard some intelligent things recently.

  1. I just came across the best book title I've seen in a while. (The last best was 'Love and other near death experiences'.) So, the latest winner is: Life Doesn't Begin 5 Pounds From Now. I want to read it just to show my appreciation for the title.
  2. Our taxi driver last night drove us right into our student village, as one of the girls is on crutches, and he looked quite surprised when we arrived. I quote: "It's like a whole other city." So true. All the blurb about university integrating young people into adult life isn't so much the case for our generation, as far as I can make out. The mentality is more like it's one last party before you get chucked into fully fledged adulthood.

Sadly, it would be misleading to imply that I've said anything wise recently. The friend who phoned me last night for relationship advice probably wasn't very impressed at my sleep-deprived efforts. But I got 10 hours sleep or more last night, so I'm raring to go now! So maybe I should actually go pack now. It's funny - somehow the last day of term, with students carrying cases everywhere, makes me think about Hogwarts. I keep looking out for the Gryffindor Quidditch captain but no luck yet.

* * * * *

As I'm in a rather upbeat and happy mood, I'm participating in a 'foolish' themed meme from Five on Friday:

1. When was the last time you felt at least a little foolish?
Dancing to 'Everybody Wants To Be A Cat' in a friend's room at half 2 in the morning. I suspect that other people might consider this a foolish way to behave though actually I don't think so. It was fun!

2. What is the most zany thing you've done in the name of fun?
Well I had to check what 'zany' meant (bizarre, clownish, or ludicrously comical, according to Wiktionary). And I think the above answer would probably be the most recent example that fits that definition.

3. How well do you receive practical jokes?
Um, I don't think I've had one played on me in years. But, truthfully, probably not very well. Too much pride I suppose - I much prefer word play where I can easily fit in my own joke back.

4. Which topics or aspects of life do you feel should be off-limits from jokes?
Much as I think that political correctness can become too anally retentive in some areas of life, I really believe that off-colour jokes about stuff like sexual orientation and ethnicity don't need to be shared. I also feel uncomfortable with xenophobic or 'dead baby' jokes. I'm all for having a laugh but I have often heard the (predominantly male, it seems) argument that dodgy jokes are ok if you're just hanging around with your mates. This doesn't convince me - the act of sharing those jokes embeds them into the culture you surround yourself with and on some level must surely make you think that homophobia and the like are ok in everyday life. It puts you and your mates into a opposing category to gay people, or whoever the joke concerns. And that makes me annoyed.

5. What's the funniest practical joke or prank you've heard about or thought up?
I'll get back to you on that one, I can't remember right now...

* * * * *

Listening to: By The Way - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Drinking: Cold tea. Not so fun.
Need to: GO AND PACK!!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Not impressed

Why my body thinks it's a fantastic idea to wake me up at some unearthly hour after a night out is beyond me. I woke up at 7am. Which brings my total sleep count to 2 and a half hours.

And right after waking up, my phone turned off by itself and now appears to have lost most of the 200 messages in my inbox - I only have the texts stored on my sim card left.

I don't think that this is the best start to my day.

Having said that, I danced to this song last night, and am still smiling. I used to love that film.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Launderettes and such things

I have always approached the university launderette with some trepidation. A few weeks into the university experience I had an encounter where, in the very busy launderette, I was knelt on the floor taking my washing out of the dryer. And stood right behind me was some guy who was obviously staking his claim to be the next user of that particular dryer. These days, I'd make a smart remark to move him back a few paces. I mean, I was struggling to unload all my underwear into my bag, and he's stood about a foot away looking over my shoulder. But I didn't. I was young and innocent and was only just beginning to understand all the unspoken rules of uni launderettes.

The weird thing is that it's been fairly empty in there for months now. I think everyone else has stopped washing. Or has cottoned on to going home every few weeks and having their mum do it. Sneaky.

But anyway, I just got back from transferring my washing to the dryer, and was quite amazed at what goes on in the washing machine. You think the clothes just go round, right? Well my pyjama trousers and my gym trousers had actually got knotted together. My sheets had twined round each other. And a pair of trousers, a t-shirt and 2 socks had all managed to climb into my duvet cover. Whatever happened to just spinning around?? I was hoping to just move everything over, not spend 5 minutes sat untangling my washing like it had had an argument with itself.

My washing had also inexplicably taken 10 minutes longer than it was supposed to, which gave me time to read a copy of the Cardiff student newspaper that was lying around. Get this: Charlotte Church is allegedly planning to marry in 'Castell Coch' in Cardiff. Which is very sweet and all but maybe someone should tell her that, last I saw it, it was partly covered in bright green netting and scaffolding. I went there with my family about a month or two ago. It was nice actually, though a bit on the small side for a castle. On the plus side, the press probably won't be able to find it...the route to it is up a hill and through some small and complicated villages.

I also discovered that The Feeling are definitely playing at our summer ball. The Fratellis and Girls Aloud are also rumoured, but they may just be rumours. Never mind the expensive shoes and dresses, I'd go just for the music. (Not if the Girls are playing though.) Alas, I'm not gonna be there. But it's outside so maybe I'll just stroll past and listen out, eh?

* * * * *

Just unearthed a pic from the castle. Here we go, Charlotte.

* * * * *

Listening to: Who The F*** Are Arctic Monkeys? - Arctic Monkeys
Munching: Reduced fat Maryland cookies. Not as good as the original for obvious reasons.
Next on the To Do list: Seminar prep for tomorrow. Fun.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Late again

Oops, I'm late for The Monday Melee again...

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
The people that design stuff over at Accessorize. How dare they design such pretty rings with abalone in, knowing that I will end up spending my (OK, not that hard earned) money on one! They could at least do a size small enough for my ring finger.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
All the people that were strolling round the city centre this afternoon, looking all tanned in their sunglasses and flip flops. It was surprisingly sunny today, I grant you, but we're still in Wales. There's been about 3 warm days so far this year. So if they were expecting me to believe that their glowing tans were real, well...

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
My hamster is pretty much dying, by the sound of it. And although I know he's a hamster and relatively small in the scheme of things, part of me wants to rush home to give him a cuddle as I'm not home for Easter til Saturday evening. I never tamed him as much as I should have, but he recognises me when I walk in and is generally great.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
Upon realising that the bottle she'd put in the fridge last night was in fact rosé champagne, rather than rosé wine, my flatmate decided that a night in with me, a rom-com and Chinese dim sum was as good a special occasion as any, so we went ahead and drank it. It was good.

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
I'm staying in to read library books instead of going out tonight, so I can be all prepared when it comes to writing essays over Easter. Zero cool points but hopefully a decent essay at the end of it.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
Some fresh flowers. My daffodils are positively wilting.

* * * * *

Aww, here we go, a photo of aforementioned hamster. His name is Deuteronomy. Isn't he cute?

Not much else to say, really. I read an article on the f-word blog about a supposed equation that has been produced by some economists to explain prostitution. I couldn't quite believe it but the article is informative and also amusing in a twisted sort of way, so have a look. I was shocked in a more scared way by the BBC article about the 18 year old that shot a 22 year old man and claimed in court that he didn't, according to the Reuters article, think that the gun was real. What I don't understand is that the BBC quote him describing how he was on the phone and saw the 22 year old coming towards him angrily, so he "pulled out the gun and started shooting". Why was the gun in his pocket? Where did it come from? Why would he think it wasn't real? As I often feel when reading the news, I wish I could ask more questions. On the surface it sounds like he's covering up, but how do I know?

On a lighter note, I did laugh at the story in the Guardian about the two schoolgirls who discovered that there's almost no vitamin C in Ribena, and have landed GlaxoSmithKline in court. Why did they advertise the high vitamin C content when there wasn't any? In this day and age, you just know that someone's going to catch you out on it later. And I'm glad that it was those two girls - it amuses me somehow. I can sort of imagine my younger brother making some such discovery one day.

However, I do have to share an amusing story here. He recently switched secondary schools, and the other day he wandered off to school in his jumper, as you do. But our wonderful mother discovered his school jumper still in the house after he'd gone. It turned out that he'd managed to walk off wearing the jumper with his old school logo on it. And the two local secondary schools have been rivals for years!! Thankfully mum caught up with him before he got to school. I can't help but think that his limbs would not been in such good working order now if she hadn't! What makes it funnier is that he happens to have a brain the size of a planet. It's nice for the rest of us if he has a blonde moment once in a while.

And yes, I did fit in a sneaky Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference there.

* * * * *

Listening to: Audioslave (self-titled album)
Drinking: Tea

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Shoe throwing

I am currently reading Words in Ads by Greg Myers, for my Communication lectures on advertising. It's relatively interesting as I obviously see adverts all the time, and also the author happens to be quite funny at points.

In the chapter I'm currently on, Myers uses the example of a US television advertisement for a company that sells bonds, with the slogan 'Nuveen. The Human Bond.' On this, he comments:

"A viewer may either come to see the financial instrument in terms of their familial links, or throw a shoe at the television to express their disgust that all human relatioships were being reduced to a financial investment. (I threw a shoe.)"

The slogan was an example of a polysemic pun, by the way.

It made me smile to imagine this highly intelligent lecturer throwing a shoe at his TV in disgust :)

And I also had to smile at the thought that I am not the only one that occasionally gets that particular urge. On one particular occasion, when I was at the cinema waiting for a film to start, I witness one of the Remington adverts that contains the slogan It's what's on the outside that counts. Someone on LiveJournal describes the adverts well here. I actually did want to throw things. But as I was wearing boots and have appalling over-arm technique, I decided against it.

Of course, the film I was waiting to see was The Devil Wears Prada so if I wanted to be presented with a message that wasn't "You don't have to be beautiful but it sure helps" then I was admittedly in the wrong place.



Well, on with my reading...
* * * * *

Listening to: Come What(ever) May - Stone Sour
Wearing: Pyjamas and a hoodie...yeah!
Daydreaming about: Johnny Depp in Chocolat - was on TV last night.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

This time last week


Home, originally uploaded by lucylemon.

I was there...

Tom: Israel's new friend

Ah, reading the news in the morning is often a bit of a despondent activity. But today, in amongst the death and corruption and legal arguments, was something that made me smile. According to the Guardian, Israeli officials have set up a MySpace page to represent the entire state of Israel. Their MySpace page is here.

I think that's fantastic! "Excuse me, I'm off to go add Israel to my friends." How much can we bet they start a worldwide trend among governments now?

Actually I really am going to add them now. See you later.

* * * * *

Drinking: Coffee. The CaféDirect one. Yum.
Listening to: Half Light/Tourist - Athlete
Mood: Content

Friday, 23 March 2007

Encounters of the debatable kind

I was in the gym just now and while on the cross-trainer I was recalling a conversation I had with a friend last night, and I suddenly saw a different side to it. I got so distracted thinking about it that I then managed to knock myself across the knees on the rowing machine. Twice. You can't say I don't take this stuff seriously!

So the other night we were in an 'alternative' club which I hadn't been to before. The fact that it's 'alternative' basically means that the music is more Fall Out Boy than Five, there's more black clothing, it's darker and dingier than your average club, and there's less lipgloss when you look around. I feel at home! The alternative nature tends to also mean, for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, that it's a bit less touchy-feely. Which can only be a good thing. So I was there, after we'd been there a while, dancing with this guy. And I'm aware of my mate dancing near us, and she's obviously looking over to check I'm alright or whether I want her to interrupt. We were joking about this last night, saying we should work out a secret signal to say "yes I'm ok" or "no, come and drag me away". I mean, I'm perfectly capable of walking away from someone when I want to go back to dancing with my friends (and as a rule this takes about 2 minutes to happen) but it doesn't mean that you don't meet guys - usually at the bar, bless 'em - that are a bit persistent.

The thing which occurred to me earlier was that I can't imagine your average bloke going through the same process. Sure, I've seen girls drunkenly throwing themselves around, and it isn't pretty. But the impression you get is that power on the dancefloor is the male prerogative. To take a more extreme example, there certainly are some men that will go up to two women at the bar, or whatever, and offer them money to kiss. But I have never ever seen or heard of a woman going up to two men and offering them money for the same reason. Because that's not what we do in society, is it? In prostitution, where money is offered for sexual favours, 'prostitute' is an unmarked term for a female. 'Male prostitute' is the marked term for a man. This is significant in linguistics, because it's one way that inequality is embedded in language without us realising - if someone says something about a prostitute, you will tend to assume it's a woman that's being referred to. Granted, I believe there are more females in prostitution overall. And, whether they come to prostitution through trafficking or not, I can only assume that the reason there are more women involved than men is because there is more demand for them. Indeed, to take a current example about the 2012 Olympics, the BBC paraphrase the Home Office in this article as saying that "An influx of young male sports fans, such as happened during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, could see a rise in demand for prostitutes".

I know it's a bit of a stretch of imagination to compare clubbing culture to prostitution, and obviously I'm aware that plenty of couples meet in clubs and it's all happily ever after. And my night out never gets spoiled by a bloke...I'm hardly suggesting that I can personally relate to the pressure or environment that prostitutes face! It's just that I've never really thought about it so much before. I mean, a guy coming onto a girl in a club isn't noticeable. But a girl making a move on a guy is a lot more likely to get comments about it.

Pffft, I just thought I'd have my little debate with myself on this one! I should probably add that student culture is always a bit of a world of its own. And I'm not protesting at people being able to openly admit that they're attracted to each other. It didn't work for the Victorians so I'm not suggesting it will now. But, you know, it just feels a bit one sided these days. And, to be honest, a bit more grace and respect all round wouldn't go amiss. It feels a bit trite to moan about guys making moves on girls, and I know that not all of them are hoping to get sex out of it. But I feel that it's a relatively harmless level in a bigger scale of things. Abusive relationships. Date rape. Prostitution. Trafficking women. Trafficking children, for that matter. One blog that I read recently, which I sadly can't find the link to, talked about the problems that come up in date rape cases because the (typically female) victim may have consented to one sexual act but not another. There is controversy over this, with the courts often seeming to imply that consenting to one act means that the other must have also been consented to. Or, put differently, that saying 'yes' to one act means that the woman is expected to be happy with another. The feminist blogging circuit understandably argues that this is simply not how relationships work, and a woman should not have her rape case thrown out because she consented to some level of foreplay and then wanted to stop there.

Of course, there is a flip side to everything. Women manipulate men into things too. Women domestically abuse their husbands too. We know that. But, as far as I'm aware, the stats say that it is women that bear the brunt of these kinds of problems. And anyway, it shouldn't be happening to anyone, regardless of gender, age etc. This inequality business makes me want to change things, but until I figure out how to I can at least articulate my feelings, right? Good good.

* * * * *

Listening to: Ta-Dah - Scissor Sisters
About to: Cook chicken with chopped tomatoes, red pepper, peas and rice
Next task after that: Find my Charmander on Pokemon Yellow

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Tea and...transexuals

Yeah, look at my daffodils!

Sadly that has to be the worst flower arranging ever - I couldn't find a suitable vase in Tesco, so I went for a mug instead. Their bright yellow-ness makes me smile though.

It's funny how when you get to uni you suddenly realise all the things you just assume will be there when you need it. There aren't vases hanging around, there's not random stuff left in the freezer that you can use on a lazy night, there aren't packets of flour around if you fancy baking, there's no landline... It turns out that all these things I thought magically resided in cupboards permanently are actually put there! By my mum! So there you go.

It's been a bit of a bizarre day as I didn't surface til about 11 and since then have had a lecture, made notes on sociolinguistics reading, eaten, phone a friend, etc. I had to go to a Cultural Criticism screening of Paris is Burning, which was a bit eye opening. You can look at the IMDB summary I just linked to, but basically it's about the 'drag' circuit in New York in the 80s. I can only assume that this links to the stuff we're doing on gender next week! The strange thing was that in one of the scenes one of the women was talking into the camera. So I'm happily watching away and then she says "one of the things I really want to achieve by 1988 is to get my sex operation done so I'll be a total woman". That totally got me because I just assumed she was a woman. Funny what you take for granted. Or perhaps I was just being a bit naive - I hadn't really cottoned on at this point! I did actually miss the first 25 minutes of the film, which probably didn't help. It wasn't the kind of film I'd usually watch, but it was certainly interesting, and I thought that the producers got some very honest and thought-provoking images and words from the people involved.

Must go, talking to a friend on MSN Messenger after she made me. I feel 13 again. I'm simultaneously talking to one friend about her break up with her boyfriend, and with another about our night out last night and her attempts to convince every emo in the place that he was Adam Lazzara. Dear me.

* * * * *

Listening to: This New Day - Embrace
Feeling: Slightly pained - I overenthusiastically ate my chips really fast last night and burned my mouth
Hoping (randomly): That I will get to go to Greenbelt again this year.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Tea and daffodils

Ah, the sun is shining. The seagulls are cawing away happily. The clouds are white and suitably fluffy. It's funny how a bit of sunshine cheers everything up. The last 2 days in Cardiff it's been so cold that the skin on my knuckles was starting to crack. In fact, the skin on my hands still hurts slightly. I naively thought that as it had been getting warmer recently I wouldn't need my fleece-lined mittens. Wrong again, obviously. Of course, my happiness may also be due to my newly bought daffodils or the apple and cinnamon hot cross bun that I just ate. Yes, kids, money won't make you happy but what you buy with it in Tesco just might!

Anyways, I thought I'd update about the last few weeks as I keep meaning to do it and I've got half an hour until I need to collect my washing from the tumble drier. It's my fortnightly session of 'what will the university washing facilities do to my clothes this time'. I shrank 3 pairs of trousers before I realise that you should never tumble dry jeans there.

So...I went to be in the audience of Trisha Goddard the other week. It won't be shown for another few weeks yet but I'm hoping I'll be home to see it, as I don't have a TV here. The trip was organised by our Language and Communication society, and about 20 of us went. It's quite nice as the Trisha people put on a free coach from Bristol to Kent, where it's filmed. It was interesting to see who else was on the coach - there were people of all different ages, including couples, groups of girls, and even a family. You get a sheet when you arrive, telling you the stories that are appearing on the show. Then some guy that would have been perfectly suited to being a Red Coat at Butlins (very overenthusiastic and had obviously given the same spiel ten billion times) told us all about what was going on, and gave us strict instructions on the need to clap at any given opportunity and ask any question we could think of. What cracked me up was that during filming, there's a load of the filming crew stood at the side with their hands waving in the air, to politely remind you to ask a question. Having listened to dire threats on the subject of trying to take photos inside the studio, we went on in. My friend and I were directed to seats in the middle of the studio, on the front row. Cue slight panic. Trisha later spent most of the show stood either behind or in front of me. I suddenly became very much aware of the amount of times that I flick my hair back or shift the position I'm sitting in! Ah well.


It was great seeing all the set up and stuff that goes on, and how they move the cameras around and all that. I doubt I'd ever go into filming or something like that, but it's still enjoyable to watch how it works. I should probably mention that I don't think I've ever watched a whole episode of Trisha in my life. I've watched it while eating my breakfast a few times at home, and have always tended to ridicule it. I can't help wondering why, if your problem is that intense and personal, you would go on a public TV programme to bitch about it. In retrospect, I do still hold that view to some extent. But watching it up close does make you see it on a more personal level. I've done counselling training before, albeit at a low level, and much of what Trisha said to the couples was in keeping with the sort of stuff I was taught: encouraging people to state their arguments clearly, to consider their own behaviour, to think about how past events might have influenced their current behaviour. Of course, it's still often a case of taking sides and letting their audience chuck their opinions in. But for 2 of the 3 couples, at least, I felt that maybe they'll go on to get counselling and any other professional help that they need, and the experience will benefit them. Someone I was with said they'd heard that participants are offered free counselling after the show, and suggested that some probably make an appearance for that. And, well, counselling can be very expensive. Sure, there are ways to get it free, but it might just be that some people don't know how to go about it. That ain't so bad!

Having said this, I'm not going to become an avid Trisha fan. Even if I had a TV, I still get the unsettling feeling that some people that go on there are doing it for attention and to give their argument maximum impact. Sure, I'm glad they're gonna get help, but it doesn't mean it doesn't irritate me to watch it.

That's all for now - my washing's done and I want to go to the gym after I've collected it. More updating later.

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Hypotheticals: If you were any animal, what would you be?
A black cat. Looking sleek, curling up by the fire, being cuddled all the time...I'd be great at it.

Anything Goes: What animal do you enjoy seeing most at the zoo?
I always love the lemurs. Absolutely no idea why.

No-Brainers: What store is represented most in your wardrobe?
It's probably a tie between H&M and Primark. Affordable, and their clothes don't tend to be cut to favour uber-skinny, flat-chested women.

Personals: What is it about you that people find irresistible?
Pffft, I've never thought about it. In people that know me, maybe the fact that I'm quite WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get, for the non-geeks). Those that don't know me don't tend to get past the stage of figuring out what they're seeing.

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Listening to: The Life You Always Wanted - the Bittersweets
Drinking: Green tea and lemon
Eating:Tesco reduced fat rich tea biscuits. I used to brush them off as the fodder of middle aged christians, but now I love them. I must be growing up. (Meant in the nicest possible way...middle aged christians make up at least half of the people I respect most :)

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Not much to see here

So, here's this week's version of The Monday Melee. It's a little late as I forgot yesterday!

1. The Misanthtropic: Name something (about humanity) you absolutely hate.
The fact that all the textbooks go on about natural selection and survival of the fittest, yet we still haven't mastered natural immunity to the common cold. I don't know what I've got but it doesn't feel nice.

2. The Meretricious: Expose something or someone that’s phony, fraudulent or bogus.
The whole debacle with Flintoff falling out his pedalo at 4 in the morning. As far as I'm concerned, if you've got a career that demands that much devotion and is that much in the public spotlight, you have to be a little bit sensible about it. I know plenty of people get drunk and do stupid things, but I think his position forfeits him the right to do that. His choice.

3. The Malcontent: Name something you’re unhappy with.
I am currently playing Pokemon Yellow (I looked out my old Game Boy Color, yeah!) and I am totally lost. I seem to still be getting somewhere, but I have no sense of direction at all. Which is a little demeaning - somehow I believe that I should have improved with age.

4. The Meritorious: Give someone credit for something and name it if you can.
I think that credit should go to the woman who was supervising my giving blood last December. She had to sit fiddling with the needle thing to keep the blood flow going, and after 12 minutes I was still 100ml away from the fully pint. I then felt faint and ended up lying around for a while, before sitting quietly in a corner eating biscuits for a while longer. She was lovely throughout the whole process, despite the fact that they couldn't even use my donation as I didn't reach the required amount.

5. The Mirror: See something good about yourself and name it.
For some unknown reason my muscles ache and my head is killing me and I keep feeling randomly sick, yet I have been nice to everyone around me all day. Anyone that knows me will surely appreciate this feat.

6. The Make-Believe: Name something you wish for.
Lasagne. I had it yesterday and I'm craving it again - anything that isn't chicken or penne pasta! I may just go and buy another one. Comfort food, much?

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Listening to: White Ladder - David Gray
Last text message sent: "Ha, i'm never gonna complete it, i'm totally lost. oops, gotta go, cultural criticism lecture on race :s xx"
Last thing spoken out loud: "Right, I'm going to go put another layer on. It's too cold!"

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Good to be home

Today I have had real coffee from my parents' coffee machine, instead of my usual instant. I have finished the new Alexander McCall Smith book, as borrowed from my mum. I have strolled along the beach, had cinnamon dolce latte in Starbucks, and discovered the wonder that is 'manga Shakespeare'. I also bought some silver Rocketdog shoes. I have napped in my favourite armchair and showered under a proper shower. I am just finishing my second pint of Guinness as a nod to the Irish and their genius, and have just ordered my tickets for the Southampton Arctic Monkeys gig. I am now retiring to my normal sized bed and feather duvet.

Doesn't get much bettter than this!

Friday, 16 March 2007

What rubbish?!

According to the BBC government research has shown that it is viable to collect people's rubbish less often than once week, so this is now being encouraged. I get that this will hopefully increase recycling, but it just seems pretty unpleasant to be honest. When our rubbish wasn't collected over Christmas, it ended up taking up a lot of room and didn't smell that great. And yes all the wrapping paper was recycled!

Haven't got much time to write right now - stuff to do and all that - but thought I'd share. Also, I just discovered that the Killers are playing on Comic Relief tonight, and the Mighty Boosh are also making an appearance. Now I realise I don't have a TV to see the adverts or whatever, but how did I miss this? That's actually something worth watching! My memories of previous programmes conjure up hazy images of slightly sketchy celebrities trying to be funny, and not much else. Now to find someone with a TV that will let me watch it, hmm.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Tired Thursday

3x Thursday

1. Are you a morning person? What's your ideal time to get out of bed? Why?
Haha, no I'm not. As is often typical, I was before I hit my teens and now the idea of getting up at 7am is not a pretty one. As I have frequently tried to explain to my medic friends (who regularly see 7am!) my sleeping patterns have changed at uni. My ideal time to go to sleep is between about 1am and 2am, so waking up around 9am and 10am is perfect. I will wake up refreshed and knowing that I achieved a lot of work the night before because I concentrate best around midnight. Strange but true. No doubt I will have to alter this when I am out in the *real world* but that's ok with me - I could get up earlier if I went to bed earlier!

2. What is your morning schedule like?
It varies depending on the day. On a Monday, I'll get up about 9/9.30am. After breakfast I go food shopping at Tesco, which is my big weekly shopping trip. After that, I go to the gym for about an hour and a half. It's only a minute or two from my halls so then it's back to my room to shower and grab some lunch. Then it's off to my first lecture of the day at 1.10pm. Yeah, I know. I'm an arts student, alright?

3. Do you like the sun being out and the birds chirping when you wake up, or do you prefer the opposite? Why?
Given the time I just said I like to get out of bed, I'd be alarmed if the sun wasn't out! I really enjoy it being sunny when I get up, and knowing that there's stuff going on outside. It's sometimes atmospheric to get up really early but other than that if it's still dim then it doesn't make me feel like it's time to get up and go!

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Feeling: Slightly dazed from staring at this essay for so long, hence my reluctance to blog anything much today
Currently reading: Double Fault - Lionel Shriver
Currently craving: M&Ms