Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Getting in the bath with your socks on > Magic mushrooms

After sitting at my desk like a robot trying to read Ulysses, I decided to have a break and read some “young adult” books. (I'm hoping it's still acceptable to read them now I'm twenty without seeming like a creep chasing after their fifteen year old youth and willing it to come back...) I’m not though - after reading them I felt filled with relief that I’m twenty now, I can go to bed after 4am without hurriedly turning off my lamp every time I hear my mum get up and I can say 'fuck' and not get in trouble. (Not in front of her, obviously (I'm not that badass), but through the medium of the internet it's acceptable.) I also don’t miss being all angsty and door slamming all the time. I remember after having an argument I would go to my room and slam my door, but it would never have the desired effect as there would be a gust of air that sort of built up mid-swing and then softened the blow, so instead of a massive, rebellious *SLAM!*, it would be more of a *swiiiish, quiet click*. Until, one beautiful day, I discovered that if my window was open, my door would just fly at the frame and smash into it with that satisfying noise I had been waiting my whole life for. Every time after that, when I was angry, I would just storm up to my room, open my window, and slam the door. It was effort, but totally worth it. 
All this thinking about teenagers (again, not creepy...) made me wonder what it would be like if I ever had my own children and I decided that, instead of having to go through the horrendous ordeal of childbirth and consequently end up despising the child for the rest of its life, I would just adopt one. Not adopt in a ‘come and live with me and I’ll be your new mum’ sort of way, more like when you adopt a dolphin or a tiger. It could send me annual pictures of being fed or playing with a ball with its owners or something. Then, when it’s twenty and awesome, it can come and live with me. Just as long as I didn’t have to tell it all the bad things about the world and ward it off drugs and the likes. I don’t know how I’d properly explain the whole phenomena, I’ve never really been drawn to drugs - I’m crazy enough as it is without suddenly eating a mushroom, going for a wee and then pushing on my stomach and pretending I’m a plastic squeeze toy… Although once, I got in the bath with my socks on and, for at least five minutes, I had literally no idea what was going on or why I felt so surreal when I was doing something so immensely mundane as bathing. I imagine that is what it feels like to be on hard drugs. 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Killing Off Nature, Book by Book

So recently, as I have yet to mention, every second of my life has been taken over by a black cloud of dissertation full of tears, tantrums and fruitless hours in the library. I've even started to take nature down with me in the form of suicidal fish, and now, apparently, birds. Staring out of my window pondering what would be the best way of going about faking my own death in order to get away with not finishing my degree, I noticed a bird take one look at the mountain of books in front of me and appear to fall like a ton of bricks from the tree it was in, hurtling towards a more peacful place - one I can only dream of. Anyway, I have since been trying extra hard to do some work, even getting as far to borrow Ulysses from the library and start reading (I know I should have bought it at the beginning of the year, but I didn't, so hold back with your snide remarks, please). Upon opening it, I realised with a sinking heart that the introduction alone was bigger than any book I had ever read, with the exception of the Harry Potter series and, seeing as they are mainly written for children, I didn't think it acceptable to include them. But, such is life, so I added my mark to the 'tick here if you're bored' tally on the library desk and proceeded to read.
As well as powering through epic novels, I've bettered myself as a person by going to all my lectures, despite whether or not I am hungover, asleep or eating. (I don't do much else). I even went to my opticians appointment, which had apparently been overdue since August. I do sort of regret that though, seeing as I accidentally punched myself in the nose when going to push my glasses up, then had an uncontrolable laughing fit when the optician attempted to write with the wrong end of his pen, and then slipped on some ice on the way home and nearly went head first into the canal. The last one was a little bit my own fault though as I saw the gigantic patch of black ice, and then chose to walk over it anyway. I also regret going to yesterday's seminar. It got off to a bad start when my friend said she was ill and wouldn't be going, leaving me to realise when I got to the building that I must follow her every week and, as a result, took a good ten minutes trying to find the room. Then, during his speech about mood alterants and stimulants, my tutor decided to pick up my empty coffee cup as an example. As he was stood proudly in front of my desk, clutching my cup like the Holy Grail, I shrank back in my seat, wishing to God I'd not drawn a huge sheep with a plug coming out of it on the side. (We were doing Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - it seemed fitting at the time). I got my own back when filling in my Module Evaluation form, suggesting that maybe next time there could be less group work and 'audience participation' as it made the misanthropes sad. I should really learn not to write unhelpful, pointless remarks on forms though. Reading through my own notes in an attempt to gather enough information to shove into an essay, I found a page titled Problems With Positivism, which would have been helpful had I not written, 'It's boring and no one likes it'. I made myself feel better by rewarding myself with a piece of advent calendar every time I spelt 'Nietzsche' correctly without looking. That's one.

Fear not though, there have been some fun and games in the past week or so. On Tuesday I ventured out of Cheshire and went to visit Naomi in Manchester. Despite my attempts to make up a fake illness on the way, come Wednesday I still somehow found myself standing next to an ice rink, wobbling in a pair of oversized, and also ridiculous, ice skates. When it came to the actual skating though, I wasn't as bad as anticipated, falling only once when a man, who was trying to show off by skating backwards, came flying towards me and threw me to the ground. Determined not to be the only one humiliated, I dragged him down in what can only be described as a less than graceful rugby tackle and then proceeded to apologise profusely. I skated off in a what would have been dramatic fashion, had I not gone hurtling like a juggernaut straight into a couple stood by the side. Seriously though, who goes ice skating on a date? Unless you want your date to witness you impersonating Bambi learning to walk, it's not the greatest of ideas.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Subserviance... Subway.... Sandwich...

So finally, Chester has caught up with the rest of the country and actually taken it upon itself to snow. After three hours of concentrated wishful thinking last night, the theory that I've been working on since I was three that I have magical powers has been proven after getting an e-mail telling us all that our lecture this morning was cancelled. I was especially happy as the last time I attended that lecture I spent two hours awkwardly avoiding the people I barely knew who I had been insanely dancing with the night before, looking intently at my book whilst the three of us pretended we didn't remember. I decided to make a good morning a better one by not going to my seminar either, given that I was supposed to have read Ulysses and am currently still struggling on.... on page 11. I did go to the library and do some dissertation work instead though, so it's not like I've been totally unproductive. I did want to go home and work, but the library wouldn't let me leave with the books because I owed them too much money, so I was forced to sit with all the pretentious library snobs having in-depth discussions about Ulysses and polishing their monocles. It has dawned on me over the past couple of weeks that, in regards to education, I have made every 'wrong choice' available to me since I was fourteen and am now, in my third and final year at university, in the exact same position I was back then, except now I live away from home and I no longer think it acceptable to wear baggy jeans and chains. Oh, and I'm in thousands of pounds of debt. Well done, self. Still, my mother reassured me that even if I get a third, I will still get a hat and robe. Unfortunately, I have spent the past hour watching J.K. Rowling interviews on YouTube so even a third is looking a bit on the hopeful side. What a vicious little circle. I did try and do some internet related research, but after clicking on a link to what could have been a very useful article and finding out it was a 'fill-in-the-word' exercise for year tens, I gave up. Also, whenever I do have a spur of motivation and sit down to do some reading, within minutes I find I have completely drifted off and am somehow thinking of an entirely unrelated subject, usually inane wonderings such as, 'how do birds have sex?' (Seriously though, has anyone ever seen it happen? It isn't possible.) Today, for example, I read the word subserviance and spent the next ten minutes thinking about Subway sandwiches. Worrying. Very worrying.

Nothing much else has happened as of late, just the standard daily thoughts of, 'oh God. I need to sort my life out,' usually occurring when I am using a facial cleansing wipe as a substitute for deodorant, or something equally as ridiculous. I am going to Manchester later to visit Naomi, although I have been informed that we will be ice skating, which is pushing me towards feigning some sort of hideous illness which rules out any extreme sport in which I could end up in a compromising position. I will think of one on the train. I love going to train stations, I was in Lime St. Station last week and saw a poster for Aladdin at the theatre. I was pretty confused to see Pamela Anderson on the front of it, trying to recall a scene in Aladdin in which there is a blonde haired, enormously breasted woman wearing nipple tassels. (Ok, maybe not nipple tassels, but she definitely didn't seem to be wearing a lot. Pretty sure that would be frowned upon in Arabia, no?) 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Dear Household Fish - Stop Reading Sylvia Plath!

Although my recent attempt at becoming an improved version of myself has actually been working out quite well, I have yet to get round to doing any washing whatsoever. Putting your shoes on takes a lot more time and a lot more effort when the only socks you have left are slipper socks or snow socks from your year thirteen skiing trip. As well as having no luck laundry wise, things have gone spectacularly downhill in regards to household pets. Given that it was bonfire night last week, me and Alex took it upon ourselves to go to the racecourse at the end of our road to watch the fireworks and have a look around the fair. Short story shorter, we won a fish on Hook-a-Duck. Alex, having never been allowed a fish as a child, got rather excited and insisted we went to buy it some food as once. After putting it in the vodka jelly punch bowl we used at the Hallowe'en party we arrived home from the shop only to find the fish had leapt out of its bowl to its untimely death on the kitchen floor. Or so we thought. After a lot of of screaming, the boys from next door ran over and put the fish back in its new home to find it started swimming around again as though nothing had happened. After noticing he was attempting the aquatic equivalent of a run up, we transferred him to a cocktail jug and proceeded to be on suicide watch for the rest of the night. He is now secured in a real tank (with a lid), but the other day I caught him reading The Bell Jar and eyeing up a bottle of sleeping pills from his tank, so I think it's fair to say I'm still a little worried...

As well as having a little fish drama this week I have also encountered a small amount of drama via Facebook. Growing up and going to school in Bradford, I have obviously come across my fair share of idiots, some of whom I, for some reason, am friends with on Facebook. One particular 'friend', I noticed, had joined a group named Muslims Burn Poppys, We Burn Muslims. Fair? in regards to the recent palava with poppy burning being all over the news. Usually, I tend to shy away from conflict, but this really pissed me off and I felt the need to say something about it. (Plus, I was secure in the knowledge that I was miles away from Bradford and wrapped up in my duvet, thus reducing my chances of being beaten up).  Anyway, I posted a little rant about how she was wrong and was generalising the entire Muslim population, most of whom are just as disgusted by certain individuals as anyone else is. Her intelligent reaction was to tell me to fuck off and go 'preach to someone who gives a shit', and then I was called a 'smart ass little cunt' by the daddy of her lucky, lucky baby. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my mum and dad for letting me go to a school that was full of small-minded little shit-heads like this. 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Clinging Onto the Rails, One Drumstick at a Time.

It has now been well over a month since my last blog and I find myself asking, 'Where the fuck did October go?!' I remember very little about it, to be honest, it is mainly just a blur of dissertation titles, drumsticks and zombie-green facepaint, (at one point, all at the same time). I have probably been too caught up in the whirlwind adventure that is third year after being immediately gripped by the excitement of English Literature during my first seminar when it was explained we would be spending the next two weeks looking over a variety of poems, one of which was entitled 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Seriously. It didn't help that I had just walked up a colossal hill to get there and proceeded to choose the only seat next to the World's Hottest Radiator (capital letters, just so you know how hot it was). Obviously, as has always been the case in my life, no one else seemed to be even warm in the slightest, nevermind sweating profusely and wishing they were dead. One girl was even wearing a Parker coat, which seemed to me to just really take the piss. Still, at least I was reassured in my later Sociology lecture that, unless any of us went 'completely off the rails' (I'm sure he looked at me), we should pass. I spent  the next two hours drifting in and out of consciousness, zoning back in just in time to hear my lecturer starting a debate about how an alien would respond to a raisin, talking about the mating habits of a fox and making sure we were all aware that a mole lives in a hole. I'm not sure what exactly that has to do with positivism, but I'm clinging to the rails with both hands, so hey! I should pass!

In regards to my dissertation, I'm not sure clinging on tightly to the metaphorical rails will help me pass that one. Due, I'll admit, to my lack of paying any attention whatsoever to the module homepage, I didn't realise the deadline for the proposal was so soon and spent one morning pacing up and down outside the Sociology building hurriedly inventing a research question. Then, through no fault of my own because I couldn't secure a meeting with my 'dissertation supervisor', I had to fill in a 'request for ethical approval' form without any idea what any of it meant. Not an easy task. Somehow, I don't think that after being given a paragraph and then an extra sheet of paper,  the answer 'possibly' will suffice... 

Starting today, though, (well, not today, because I'm tired and Peter's coming over, and not tomorrow because I'll be getting the train back to Chester and it'll take ages and then I'm going to watch TV), but starting Friday, I will be a new, improved version of myself. I am going to:

  • Stop being a sarcastic bastard (only to an extent though, there's only so much I can change).
  • Not hide in the back of lectures eating drumsticks and making sarcastic notes about how little I am gaining from this 'learning experience'.
  • Resist the urge to escape from lectures during the half time break.
  • Stop spending money on things I don't need.
  • Stop being an annoying housemate (this includes waiting until someone has gone to get their towel and then jumping in their bath fully clothed.)
  • Stop eating drumsticks as a substitute for meals.
  • Wash clothes more often. (And hair).
  • Alternatively, buy new underwear.
  • Be ace.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

I Went To Specsavers And All I Got Was This Crappy Lens Holder

So, term is about to start and my third and final year at university will soon be in full swing. Well, hopefully anyway, at the moment I'm still making feeble attempts to work out the new online enrolment system which keeps taking me back to the same page. Whilst sending an e-mail to the "helpdesk", I had to stop myself from making a snotty remark about how, as well as the new system being shit, they have also failed to send me any reading lists and as a result I have no idea what books I'm meant to own for one of my modules and am going to turn up, as always, unprepared and ready to be looked upon in disdain by a haughty, middle class lecturer. On the plus side, I managed to find a reading list for my ScienceFiction module and am currently in the process of reading all the books on it so I can say something intelligent in the first seminar and then not have to speak again for the rest of the year. 
In a random burst of culinary enthusiasm this week, Megan and I have made a steak pie (except the pastry, which we bought, rolled and then threw at each other), and a chocolate cake. The pie, much to everyone's surprise, went exceptionally well and thus led to the excitement of making a cake which, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not go as well. It was less "chocolate cake" and more "chocolate surprise"... The main downfall was our attempt at making whipped cream, a feat a lot more complex than it initially sounds. It would probably have worked out better had we had some kind of whisk instead of 30 minutes incessant stirring with a fork. And maybe next time I'll buy ingredients that aren't 18p from Aldi... 
Buying more expensive ingredients might be an issue, however, seeing as the wonderful StudentLoansCompany have once again failed to impress and not sent me any indication of how much grant I'll be getting, or, if I'll even be getting one in the first place. My mum realised the other week that she had "miscalculated" and I actually would need a loan for this year, which, thanks to online enrolment, will most likely come around December time. My money is rapidly running out as Specsavers have recently decided to start mercilessly taking all my money. How can they justify charging £15 for a lens check? Especially when they guy conducting it thinks it acceptable to flip my eyelid inside out with a cotton bud. (For future reference - it's not). I stole the contact lens container he had leant me on my way out to make myself feel better. Thankfully, no one ran after me which would have been an ordeal in itself given that I am currently hobbling around at a very slow pace due to spraining my ankle on the first night of Fresher's. I woke up in the morning with an extremely swollen ankle and half a bag of defrosted peas in my bed. (It involved a pair of Megan's very high heels and some ridiculous dancing - a story we were trying to make sound less ridiculous when explaining to the doctor how it happened.) Incidentally, this wasn't the first time I have almost broken my ankle this week after slipping in the bathroom when I accidentally flooded it whilst dying my hair. In an attempt to avoid having a shower, I thought it would be clever to simply lean over the bath and rinse my hair with the shower head. A good plan, which turned bad when I put the shower head face down in the bath and watched in slow motion as it turned itself over and started spiralling out of control like some kind of savaged snake, drenching myself and the entirety of the bathroom in the process. Just an average week then, really. 

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Aw, you're so cute you little monging fuckhead, you.

Why do people have babies if they don't want, or even like, them? A girl I went to school with will soon be popping one out along with the other 94 people in our year and her Facebook status yesterday was as follows (and I shit you not, I have not changed even one word in this for comedic effect):

"sum kids drive me fucking mental little monging fuckheads". 

Since when was 'monging' even a word? I'm not entirely sure what it means, but I'm guessing it doesn't mean anything along the lines of 'delightful'. She can join the 'I hate my child' club, along with a woman who came into work yesterday and asked us in all seriousness if we wanted any of hers (she had about forty). She probably wasn't serious though, she was off her face on crystal meth at the time, bless her. 

Most people would be shocked at getting offered a child at work, but after spending a few weeks behind our counter it would seem relatively commonplace. I was yesterday graced with the presence of a man who had 'Malcom 4 Lynne' tattooed across his bicep. I'm not the most fashionable of people, but I can tell when something looks shit. And that did. I wouldn't be surprised if he had 'Grandma 4eva' in a loveheart across his calf. I am happiest at work when I am by myself behind the counter and there are no customers, leaving me to do whatever I want. Well, within reason. Yesterday's Radio2 playlist appeared to be made up entirely of songs seemingly sung by the Von Trapp children and, just as I was about snap the underwire on my bra and impale myself upon it in a last attempt at escape, the Von Trapps suddenly ceased and were replaced by hits from WestEnd musicals. Not exactly what I'd have ideally chosen, but at least they were slightly better. After half an hour or so I was definitely deemed crazy by my employers as they rounded the corner just as I was bursting into the chorus of 'Don't Cry For Me, Argentina'... That wasn't the worst of it either, after 'Any Dream Will Do' came on, I was stuck with "I close my eyes" on a constant loop in my head for the entire night as that was the only line I knew. I now understand mental torture. I definitely prefer my side job of photographing for Bradford Industrial Museum as the only human contact I have to put up with is occasionally speaking to a mill owner. Although, I'm sure they think I'm crazy also as I found some grasshoppers the other day and was in the process of photographing them when I looked up to see the mill owner watching me. He was probably confused as I told him I would be photographing the mill yet here I was, my face 10 inches from the ground, occasionally prodding a blackberry bush with my the side of my foot...

On a plus note, I went out on Saturday for the first time since I've been home. Not just out of my house (although that is usually an achievement in itself), but actually out with my friends, downing pints of cheap cider and skanking round the bar checking if any drunk rich people have dropped any money (we were in Saltaire, so money value increases and the game is played to a level of intensity you just don't find in Bradford). My night got even better (and cheaper) when my mum rang to say she was going home from a party and would I like a lift home? I obviously jumped at the chance and got in the car only to be greeted by what appeared to be a worryingly intoxicated Lulu. I soon realised it wasn't actually Lulu (disappointing) but one of my mum's friends from work, dressed as Lulu but genuinely drunk, who slurred to the car that I had once stalked her round my work. (In all honesty, it is true, but her mum was my teacher at primary school and I was excited - what's a girl to do?!). One day, I'm going to find someone who doesn't think I'm crazy. Watch this space.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Name the goat competition? You've got to be kid-ding!

Slowly, but surely, full-time work is tearing away at my soul, forcing me to watch as small chunks are gradually ripped away with every 8am start and every 8pm finish with the additional, 'Can I have a cornish pasty, hunnybunny'. (No word of a lie, someone actually said that to me). I've even taking to getting up early on my days off so I don't waste them as they are something of a rarity and in the past five weeks I've only had about four, one of which I accidentally slept through because me and Peter stayed up all night playing chess and MarioKart. The sheer ecstasy I feel at currently being in the lead in our chess tournament simply expresses how little is happening in my life right now. Well, unless you count my continuous run of wins whilst playing Hangman at work (even though one of mine was unfairly dismissed - how is 'k-a-r-m-a  k-a-r-m-a  k-a-r-m-a  k-a-r-m-a  k-a-r-m-a  c-h-a-m-e-l-e-o-n' not a real Hangman?!). Clearly, the days at work have been moving relatively slowly - last week we spent an entire hour discussing Mel C's solo career, and after that topic had worn thin we moved onto celebrity lookalikes. Without trying to sound boastful, I'm pretty sure I won that also with this my Christina Aguilera/Faye from Steps comparison. Uncanny. Highlights of this week have also included my entering a goat naming competition (Juliet for a girl, Sebastian for a boy - if I don't win, someone's going down) and choking on a FruitPolo as I try and talk to a customer whilst simultaneously attempting to disguise the fact that I am eating said FruitPolo. Embarrassing, painful and, had the next customer not been wearing an extremely amusing 'Save The Ring-Tailed Lima' t-shirt, potentially shift-ruining. We've also started a new game which involves monitoring a steadily rotting tomato. I wish there was more to it, but sadly, that is the only aim of the game: see how mouldy the tomato gets before the cleaner notices it and throws it away. I think this somewhat describes the type of establishment I work in, along with the list of rules on the wall, including: Do not lick your fingers whilst working. God help us. 
The trouble with working somewhere within a two mile radius of your house is you're bound to run into someone you know every once in a while. Annoyingly, this person rarely comes in the form of someone you actually like, as was shown by this week's surprise guest: a girl I knew from primary school who once threatened to 'bray' me. I'm not entirely sure how she thought she was going to do that, seeing as she was in year 5 and I was in year 6, obviously making me superior. And bigger. (Plus, my mum was best mates with all the teachers, so they all had my back...). Anyway, her appearance neatly coincided with my mother's uprooting of all our old Famous Five books, leading me to have an entire week of reading them and reverting back to exactly how I was in primary school, give or take a full-time job or two. Reading Famous Five at twenty definitely brings with it a new perspective that I, understandably, overlooked as a child. For example, the notion that George will most likely grow up to be either a) gay, or b) Rizzo from Grease, and that Julian was obviously very anally retentive as a child... It's worrying how, or perhaps why, I have started to pick up on these characteristics, but as I say - life is moving very slowly. 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Welcome To Bradford: No Ticket Required.

Somewhere between having a job, a boyfriend, and a reading list as long as my arm, I seem to have been unable to scrape together enough time to write a substantial and coherent blog. However, I am back and ready to get the ball rolling again. I've been back in Bradford a lot recently and have done little other than work, see bands and play GuitarHero with Peter. Playing GuitarHero has been pretty exciting though, the other day I bust my finger open playing a song on expert and ended up covering the guitar controller in bright red blood. Very rock and roll, if I do say so myself.

July has been a busy month filled with exciting, fun-packed things such as working 10 hour shifts and trying in vain to clean, tidy and de-ant number 53 in the space of one small day. It's amazing the amount of shit five people can accumulate over just a year, especially without realising how and why said shit arrived in your life. Whilst partaking in The Big Clean, we discovered the following:

  • A top hat
  • A cowboy hat
  • A green wig
  • One packet of fake blood
  • Various McDonald's Happy Meal toys
  • A full pack of "Sexy Playing Cards" (basically normal cards, except with pictures of people having sex on them)
  • A tube with a plastic hand attached at one end, complete with painted nails
Obviously, all vital items for university students to own. In attempting to separate these items into things that can be disposed of, and things that will make the cut and live on to next year, Jayne and I discovered we are somewhat disposophobic after debating whether or not to throw out a piece of paper, which was ripped and spilled on in several different places, because it had the rules for Ring of Fire written on it. That's a real phobia, by the way, and is an 'excessive acquisition of possessions, and failure to use or discard them'. Another one to add to my growing list, along with spiders, answering the phone and getting my hair cut. However, we had a sort of excuse for not wanting to throw things out if they carried some kind of sentimental value seeing as Jayne was moving out of 53 for good in order to go galavanting around Europe. What a shitter. Eventually though, we managed to get the house clean by the time our landlord came round. Well, sort of - he did enter the room to find five people trying to shove new covers on the couch in order to cover up the stains from last year's Hallowe'en party... However, I think, overall, we passed our inspection - despite the sexy playing cards being in plain view.

In order to fit in with the 'wrapping things up' theme of July; me, Kezia and our dearest parents travelled down to Swansea on the 18th for Kezia's graduation ceremony. She did extremely well, didn't trip, and managed to keep any mishaps to a minimum (bar my mother stabbing herself on a safety pin and getting blood on Kezia's gown, almost resulting in her getting her degree looking like something from Corpse Bride). It's things like graduation ceremonies that make you realise how little you care about anyone else's kid and what they're graduating with. I mean, when Kezia's name got called and she walked up and got her hand shaken, etc. etc., it was all fun, games and excitement, but when that part isn't happening and you have to sit through 4 million people with the surname Jones and a "graduation poem" that sounded oddly like The Jabberwocky in Welsh, you start to wonder who these ceremonies are written to entertain. Looking around during the mass of Welsh speeches, you can see all the graduates have drifted off and are just eager to get out of the hall and celebrate with their friends and all the parents are completely ignoring whatever's being said at the front, instead craning their necks, camera at the ready, trying to get a sneaky shot of their child as they sit, unaware, a few rows away. When the speeches stopped and a pianist started to play what appeared to be the start of a long, long piece of music, my dad had the genius idea of starting to clap in the middle of it, hoping everyone would join in thinking it was over and the pianist would be forced to stop. I warned him off it though, I think I'd already attracted enough attention to our family by whooping when Kezia's name got called and having a laughing fit when someone tripped getting their degree. 
On the whole, it was an ace weekend, bar a few upsets that were mainly vehicle related, the first being my mother shouting at "Sheila the SatNav" for telling us we were going the wrong way before we had even left the drive. Sheila then proceeded to be in a mood and not speak for thrity minutes. Bitch. The second was a slightly panicked shout of, 'AMY, WHAT THE FRIGGING HELL ARE YOU DOING?!" from my dad when I accidentally pressed a button on his seat in the middle of the motorway and nearly catapulted him out of the car. An easy mistake. However, the rest of the weekend ran smoothly, and we even got to go and collect shells on the beach and take nice photographs. I think my mother went a little overboard on the whole shell collecting thing and we ended up coming home with two plastic bags full... This is what you learn to accept when living with a primary school teacher - the other day I came downstairs to be greeted by half a dozen slices of orange rotating in the microwave which my mother was preparing in order to then stick onto a hat... Very fetching, I don't doubt. 

Given that I have very little money, I am now back in Bradford for the entire summer in order to work and earn some pennies. Or rather, just pay HSBC back what I owe them. My journey home was, as usual, relatively boring, the only excitement coming in the form of humiliation when my arm decided it would involuntarily twitch halfway through feeding me a Wotsit, causing said crisp to be launched into the lap of the girl sat next to me. It wouldn't have been as bad had she seen it happen, but it took her a good ten minutes to notice it was in her lap, by which time I had finished my packet and it was obvious that I had flung it there a while ago and yet failed to bring it to her attention. She moved seats shortly afterwards. Upon arrival in Bradford, it was clear the city had done nothing to better itself since my last visit - the first clue being the sign above the ticket booth at the train station saying, 'Welcome to Bradford. No ticket required.' As I followed two boys muttering bitterly about having to go to the police station when all they'd done was 'have a quick scrap', I let out the breath of hope I hadn't even been aware that I was holding. 

Friday, 25 June 2010

Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and Accidental Child Beatings.

Unlike most "end of year" periods where I sit in my room basking in the fact that, until September, my life has little to no meaning, this year I have already not only left Chester, but actually ventured to Edinburgh - which, in case you didn't realise, is in a whole different country, meaning I get triple points (one for leaving the house, one for leaving Chester, and one for leaving England). Edinburgh consisted of lots of good ol' sisterly fun and a few unintentional mishaps, one being the accidental punching of a small Scottish child in the face whilst walking down the main street. In my defence, it was a busy street, and the mother was paying no attention whatsoever to where she dragged her precious offspring, resulting in its head colliding with my hand. I'll admit, I did see it coming, but what was I meant to do? There was nowhere left to turn and I was simply forced to come to terms with the fact that, in about four seconds, I would be inflicting serious pain on someone too little to do anything about it. Ok, maybe not serious pain, and judging by the child's reaction (a sheer look of glee) there appeared not to be any discomfort, either. The mother, on the other hand, shot me a look of death and continued to storm up the street almost ripping the arm out of her now disfigured child. 
Despite the odd accidental child-beating, the rest of the trip was amazing. My favourite part (of my life in general, not just the trip) was meeting up with my friend Amy and being taken to visit The Elephant House café, made famous by J.K. Rowling as the café where she wrote the first few Harry Potter books. (I know. Kezia and I hyperventilated almost the entire way there. And back. And whilst inside. In fact, I'm feeling a bit short of breath just thinking about it.) Here is a picture of me inside said café:

The look on my face is what can only be described as my 'I'm so happy I could die' face, usually only found in pictures involving either ice cream or famous people. Thankfully, there isn't a picture that involves both. The rest of the trip was filled with shopping, avoiding fundraisers in the street (which, considering she is about to start a job doing just that, Kezia should really have thought twice about), and playing board games after discovering a new found love for Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit. It's annoying how everyone in hostels seem to be unnaturally cool without even trying, and even more so when you realise how uncool you look in comparison by screaming 'NO!!' at a boardgame and questioning whether or not the name of the Asian supermarket in town counts as a word. (For future reference, H-A-Q-S is not allowed).

Upon returning from Edinburgh, I bit the bullet and introduced Peter to my mother (an occasion for cheesecake, wouldn't you know). Thankfully, things ran smoothly and there wasn't a repeat performance of the time she met my first boyfriend when I was fourteen and decided that that was the moment to whip out a hideous pair of sparkly gold shoes she was expecting me to wear for a wedding. There was nothing to do except stand in my kitchen, mortified, and hope that my Linkin Park hoodie would swallow me up whole. Fortunately, Peter's visit was less horrific (I might go as far to say pleasant), and I was even exempt from eating any broccoli with my dinner, a rarity I doubt I can manage to get away with again, even if I am thirty with two children and my own house. 

Although I enjoy doing nothing, and I feel I have "worked" hard enough this year to deserve some time off, my bank account seems to have a different idea and as a result I will soon be starting work again. What joy... Hopefully, though, this will mean I get to stop rationing my money and not have to store my wees up for the public toilets in Tesco to save on toilet roll. I can maybe even afford to treat myself to some more socks as I ran out the other day and was forced to wear slipper socks to town, as a result of which my feet seemed to take on the impression that they belonged to the Hulk rather than myself. I mean, I could just do some laundry, but where would the fun be in that?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

You Know What They Say - It's All Fun and Games Until There's a Giant Showboat Up Your Arse.

Today is my second day of freedom after finishing on Thursday morning anything and everything to do with my placement. (Well, if we exclude the fact that I've somehow been persuaded to agree to continue 'volunteering' next year... insert ToffeeCrisp here). Although I have very much enjoyed my placement, I didn't manage to get out completely free of mental scarring due to some events, or rather one event in particular, last Saturday when myself and the World's Worst Hangover (capital letters to emphasise pain) were ripped from the comfort of our bed to go down to the church and do some photography, a task I was relatively prepared for. What I wasn't prepared for, however, was being greeted by a group of 40 - 60 year olds stood in a circle holding hands, alone apart from me, the sole member of the audience. The leader (who I later found out was actually Jack Straw's sister) appeared to be wearing traditional African dress and seemed unable to stop herself from swaying with every third syllable she spoke. The uniform of the others generally consisted of pants that were too short and colourful Hi-Tek trainers (blue seemed a popular choice). As part of the 'ritual', everyone went round in a circle and said, 'Hi, I'm [name], and I come from [place]'. When it got to my turn (because, of course, I was included), I resisted the urge to say, 'Hi, I'm Amy, and I'm an alcoholic', which took more self-restraint that I would have thought. It was also difficult when someone asked where Bradford was not to reply with, 'the place that's been on the news recently because a load of prostitutes have just been murdered'. I controlled myself and went with 'near Leeds' instead, not wanting to disturb the atmosphere created by the aromatherapy candle they were all gathered around. Things took a horrific turn when "Mindy" put a tape on and the circle slowly started revolving around the candle to something which sounded suspiciously like the Jungle Book theme tune. When this was over, Mindy insisted everyone quietly contemplate what had just taken place. Unfortunately, the tape player had other ideas and decided to change from soothing African drum beats to what I'm pretty sure was Tarantula by Pendulum. I shared a look of despair with the only seemingly sane member of the group - a woman of around 40 who was clearly just fresh out of a divorce and looking to find a new path in life. After ten minutes of sung instructions on how to feel and accept your spirit, it was clear that this was not it. 

Thankfully, my chances of ending up in that situation again are relatively slim, my essay is done, dusted and handed in, summer has officially begun, and Jayne is back in Chester, therefore: life is good. The return of Jayne and the arrival of Megan's newest brother (increasing her sibling count to six - I know) meant there was sufficient reason to go out and celebrate - in short, get ridiculously drunk. Which we did. I woke up to bleeding eyeballs due to having slept in my contact lenses and the familiar sense of fear when trying to piece together events of the night, which usually means it was good. Having Jayne back also means time wasting becomes more fun, and usually in the form of looking through photographs from the start of our university inspired downward spiral and counting how many extra chins we have gained since this time two years ago. Fun, although playing Scrabble would probably have ended in a lesser sense of shame.

I'm back in good ol' Bradders now after a ten hour round road trip to Swansea with my dad to collect Kezia from university. It was a fun trip, broken up in the middle by stopping at a cafe for breakfast where I was tempted to get "The Beast" - I don't know what was in it, but apparently if you ate all of it you got your picture on the wall. I wasn't in the mood for throwing up in the car on the way back though, so I settled for something less of a challenge. I was half tempted to put some of the soothing African drum beats on the mix CD I made for the car, but I didn't want to risk toeing the line of my dad's "you'll be walking home" threat. Still, walking home from Swansea wouldn't seem that bad after nearly being ploughed down by a giant boat on the River Dee with my friend Lauren as we thought it would be fun to rent a pedal boat when she came to visit me in Chester. This seemed to be a good idea until we turned around mid-river and realised the "Lady Diana Showboat" was less than a metre away from us and approaching faster than I can say I was comfortable with. After frantic pedalling and being directed where to go by the boat driver, who appeared annoyingly cavalier to say we were about to die, we managed to escape Lady Di's warpath and make it safely to the other side of the river. You know what they say - it's all fun and games until there's a giant showboat up your arse.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Superstition - It's Not All It's Cracked Up To Be

Have you ever heard the superstition that if you see a magpie on its own you have to salute it to cancel out bad luck? I usually abide by it seeing as I have pretty bad luck anyway and there's no point acting hard and tempting fate, but as of the other week I have decided to cease any participation after nearly taking someone's eye out mid-salute whilst on the train to Liverpool to photograph the cathedrals. It wouldn't have been so bad had the woman not spent the last half hour talking to her new friend about beating someone up in McDonald's the other week. Apparently, someone angered her when they 'went for' her mum and she went mental, grabbing some girls hair and smashing her head to the ground. I thought her new friend might be a little bit shocked, but instead she carried on flicking through her copy of Heat magazine and nonchalantly replied, 'yeah, well, that's what you've gotta do, isn't it?' It came out later that they had made friends because they were both going to visit their boyfriends in the same prison. Figures. Thankfully, she didn't try ripping my hair out after the magpie incident, but nonetheless, I should be more careful with my superstitions. On the whole, Liverpool was lots of fun, although I did get some funny looks when I went into a shop to buy some water because I was laughing at some cat litter called 'SophistCAT'. Seriously though, how sophisticated can shitting in a box of gravel really be? There's no point trying to sugar coat it with a clever pun. 
After the other weeks drama involving the ants (who seem to have moved out now - probably got sick of living in squalor), the residents of No. 53 decided to have a mega clean up of the house, skirting boards included. I got allocated the downstairs bathroom, which we hadn't cleaned in God knows how long, and it took me the good part of about three hours to do. Well, probably only two seeing as I spent the first hour trying to figure out how to get the child safety lock off the bottle of bleach. Still, the house looked very clean and impressive when we were all finished, and it was even more appreciated on Thursday as I snuggled up on the no longer infested sofa with the worst hangover I have ever had and watched Land Before Time V. Spiffing. Thankfully, Saturday's hangover wasn't half as bad and I was just about able to manage the three hour bus journey home to go and see Peter. What I didn't enjoy was getting up at 7am on Monday morning to come back to Chester. Early morning is annoying at the best of times, but when there is a small child on the bus chanting 'It's my birthday! It's my birthday!' for three continuous hours, a line has been crossed. And, as if God was punishing me in some way for sins I had committed in a former life, the tape I was listening to suddenly halfway through turned into The Smurf's Christmas Party album and I was forced to listen to 'All He Wants For Christmas Is A Smurf Hat' for the rest of the journey. I felt a bit better, though, when the bus stopped and I realised that the alarm on my phone had been going off at quite a volume for twenty minutes and I hadn't noticed. Karma's a bitch, kid. Still, despite the traumatic journey home I had an ace weekend with Peter, and I even found some time to squeeze in seeing my mum and dad. Fortunately, I didn't stick around my dad's long enough to eat some of his rabbit pie - apparently, he wasn't joking when he said it was rabbit. Although he did make some rabbit ears out of pastry and stick them on the top of the pie, which I thought was pretty creative. 
Nothing much else that can be considered as 'exciting' has happened recently, except me and Kezia booking train tickets to go to Edinburgh for four days in June, which should be awesome. Kez found us a hostel that only costs £10 a night, which is as worrying as it is fantastic. For a tenner a night they'll probably include rats as part of its 'character'... Still, I'm mega excited.  I'm spending this week making myself a budget and trying to spend less money on stuff I don't need - when Amazon recommends you buy Vicious Animals in Fiction based on what you've already bought, I reckon it's a sure sign to stop consuming.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Placement Description: Photographer, Job Description: ToffeeCrisp Merchant

I'm starting to that think job descriptions provided by employers are almost as full of as much crap as CVs, given that on Thursday I spent the majority of the day stood in a freezing cold church selling coffee, tea and chocolate biscuits. I was already in a bad mood given that the Royal Mail had posted a 'Sorry, You Were Out' leaflet through my door, despite the fact that I was actually in and had they put a bit more umph into the ringing of the doorbell, I might have answered the door. So anyway, I spent a good couple of hours stood there in my seven coats wondering what on Earth I was going to write in a 3,600 word essay on my placement. "Day 1: Three people came into the church. Two were looking for a public toilet, the third bought a ToffeeCrisp." I'll then have to reel off some kind of rubbish about how I used my initiative, learned to deal with the public and then gush about how the experience bettered me as a person... I'm currently undecided as whether or not to include an incident on the way home in which a man, for want of a better phrase, whipped out his cock. Really. In the middle of broad daylight. And I wasn't even in Bradford. "Sorry love, it's just, you sometimes get caught short, know what I mean?" Yes, I do know what you mean. I also know what you do: go use the public toilets at the church. And buy a ToffeeCrisp whilst you're at it. To be fair to him, he was pretty well endowed for a tramp. It's not even like I've got a nice home to go back to after a long day due to the family of ants that have recently taken up residence in our living room. As I watched them crawl around the room looking as though they were having a whale of a time, I wished all good days were as easy to find as rolling around in shit. I almost felt bad when Katie killed them all with half a bottle of Mr. Muscle. 

In other news... There isn't any. But here are some things I've learnt this week:

  • Ducks can fly. I don't know how I've got to twenty years old without knowing this, but given that I nearly wet my pants when one flew over my head yesterday, I can assure you I didn't.
  • The fluffy flowers that have seeds on the top (commonly used as projectile weapons in primary school) are actually what used to be dandelions. I had to ring my dad to confirm this for me when I walked passed a piece of grass that had only one week ago been covered with bright yellow flowers. (This was the same walk as when the duck divebombed me - Thursday was a big day.)
  • If you watch Coronation Street, leave it six months, and then watch it again, Deirdre Rachid's voice will have dropped at least one octave.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

"Mum, I Swear, The Haribo Fell Out!... Into Even Piles..."

Today is my birthday. Well, it's past midnight, so technically yesterday was my birthday. Looking around at my presents, I'm wondering if I'll actually ever grow up (presents include a tube of bubbles, glow-in-the-dark stars, and a TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles t-shirt). I sincerely hope not - nothing would pain me more than going to bed at 10 o'clock with a hot water bottle and a rented DVD of Songs of Praise... (I'm not sure you can get them, but if I was old and boring, I'd find a way). I was talking to my sister the other day about stories from when we were little, most of which revolved around stealing food of some sort; edging the biscuit drawer of the fridge open at 5cm an hour in the hopes of carefully taking out a TimeOut biscuit without my mum noticing... We were successful thieves most of the time, but there was the odd slip-up - for example, the time when we opened a giant bag of Haribo and were in the process of sorting it out into even piles (everyone has to have the same amount of fried eggs and gummy bears, obviously) when my mum sneaked into the kitchen after having padded down the stairs with the swift moves of a jungle cat. I'm not sure she bought the whole 'they fell out of the cupboard and into even piles' lie... Getting myself out of trouble has never really been my forte, unfortunately. We also made the mistake of persuading my dad to buy a cookie jar in the shape of a dinosaur that, when opened, shouted to the entire house: 'Mm-mm! Those sure is some tasty cookies!' - not the best thing to happen in the event of a robbery. I recently noticed how bad the dinosaur's English was as well and I think it's somewhat of a miracle that both me and Kezia turned out to be the well spoken, eloquent young women we are today... Thankfully, now we are both in our twenties, creeping around the house with a Twix and two TimeOuts shoved up our sleeves is a thing of the past. Still, other than that, I'm not really sure I want to grow up anymore. And even if I did want to, it's pretty difficult when you have friends like these...

Overall, I've had a pretty ace birthday weekend, and there have been few awkward 'happy birthday' moments... Kezia and I were discussing how socially awkward birthdays can be. I mean, what is the accepted norm when being sung to by a group of people, all surrounding you and staring at you? Do you look at people? Do you sing along? What do you do with your hands?! Thankfully this year I didn't make the mistake of accidentally answering a 'happy birthday' with, 'oh thanks, you too'... It's happened before. More than once.
On Friday night, me, the twins and Paul had one of our infamous nights in and got drunk, complete with birthday cake and a luminous pink wig. I'm not entirely sure how the wig made its way into our lives, but it was definitely welcome. On Saturday I went to see ASH with Peter and they were pretty amazing and I had an ace night, despite spending about 40 minutes before the gig trying to find Leeds Met student union and seeing near enough the entirety of Leeds city centre in the process, and then not wanting to leave in the middle of 'Burn, Baby, Burn' and consequently missing the last train home... Still, I got to hang out with Peter loads over the weekend and it made me a bit happier after Thursday's traumatic events, i.e. Jayne flying off to tit around in Spain for three months. I cried more then than I did at The Lion King and Homeward Bound combined, and that's really an achievement in itself. I reckon she could give Watership Down a run for it's money as well...

Not much has happened since my last blog, which is quite upsetting as I am apparently in my prime and have not updated for three weeks.... Although, my exams are all finished now, which I suppose is a pretty big event after weeks (days) of stressing. My three hour Literature exam last Thursday was one I was especially glad to see the back of. I ended up only writing about five pages and then leaving after an hour and a half - the invigilator thought I was having a toilet break and tried to accompany me out of the door until I politely informed them that I was actually going home to down a 2 litre bottle of Strongbow... I got the bus back to Bradford shortly afterwards in an attempt to avoid any people coming out of the exam and describing their infuriation when they had to wait a few minutes for their third answer booklet. I was hoping when I was on the bus something amusing would happen at someone else's expense to make me feel better, for example a person standing up from one of the flip seats and then sitting back down, only to find the seat had retracted and as a consequence end up on the floor. It's never happened to me... it happened to a friend of mine... ages ago... she live's in Canada and you don't know her.... *ahem*

Next week I'm starting my WorkBasedLearning placement, which, judging from the meeting I had today, actually seems pretty good. However, the taught element of it is extremely tedious, as I discovered earlier when I was made to fill out a stupid "swot" table. For those of you that are lucky enough not to have experienced the "swot" table, it's basically a grid with four boxes labelled 'StrengthsWeaknessesObjectivesThreats' (S.W.O.T., get it?) that you have to fill out in regards to your performance within school/uni/a workplace. Unfortunately, I can never seem to think of any weaknesses and end up having to sell myself short and put some clichéd sentence like, 'I find it difficult to manage my time...', which is untrue. In fact, I'm rather excellent at time keeping... It's hard being this humble, really.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

I Sometimes Wonder Why Work Pay Me. Oh, Apparently, They Don't.

So the other week, as I stood in Starbucks scrounging money off Paul because my card had been declined, I wondered why it was I had so little money and absolutely nothing to show for it. Well, almost nothing - I was sporting a pretty awesome new "iBlog" t-shirt at the time, but other than that - nada. Turns out, since my work have decided to up their image and cease paying us in dodgy envelopes full of cash and instead pay us into our bank accounts, somewhere down the line I have missed out on £262 worth of wages. £262! That's at least 1,541 Chomps (it would have been 1,746 if it wasn't for a certain raise in price that we won't mention...), so I'm not really sure how I only just noticed seeing as I was meant to be paid in December... Still, it's going into my bank account tomorrow and it nicely coincides with my grant, which should also be going in tomorrow. Exciting times - I might even treat myself to a Chomp...

Now I'm back in Chester, things on the work side of life are definitely in full swing and I seem to be on some kind of academic roll - and today has been no exception. Over the weekend, I've produced an amazing 1,500 words (yes, amazing, it is the most productive I have been all year) so I'm pretty proud of myself at the moment, even though I did spend a lot of the day obsessively saving and e-mailing myself my essay every time I added 100 words... But other than that, very productive. I am, of course, not including a slight blip the other day when I somehow managed to spell 'bread' B-R-E-D... I know people make mistakes, but I don't know how forgivable that one really is. I was also on the verge of giving up when I was so close to reaching my word count and trivial things such as 'and/or' only being counted as one word kept slowing me down. I rose above it though and triumphed by going back and inserting the forename of every theorist I had written about, alongside a short biography of their life. 

Not much else has happened alongside making mix CDs and seeing Lisa from Steps in RBs. (Yes, actual Lisa Scott-Lee, and yes, it was the best moment of my life). Now I've just got to wait until the 22nd of April when all exam and essay stress will be gone for at least five months, even though it will be tainted with the fact that Jayne is flying off to another country for three... I'm going to see Ash with Peter on the 24th though, so that might just ease my wounds a little. Especially if Chomps are involved. 

Friday, 2 April 2010

"50 Things To Do In Bradford." "What Was Number 50, Kill Yourself?"

There are times when I am in Chester when the thought 'I really miss Bradford' actually crosses my mind now and again (usually when next door are playing JLS at earsplitting volumes on a Sunday morning). After being here for nearly two weeks, I cannot for the life of me think why. This morning I was on the bus home, particularly annoyed already because I'd had to pay yet another £4 for a DayRider ticket, when a man of questionable sobriety stumbled on (suspiciously using crutches, despite the fact that he appeared to be walking fine) and plonked himself across from me. After shouting for a few minutes that this bus better go to John St. Market (it didn't), he started glaring at a group of boys at the back of the bus playing music off their phones. When he decided (after about three seconds) that he'd had enough, he decided to take it upon himself to stand (without the crutches) and shout, 'Why do you keep playing Asian music? Don't you know that's just a waste of credit? Fucking knobhead pricks!' Thankfully, and quite surprisingly, it didn't end in a fight and he got off a few stops later muttering swear words under his breath. It's good to be home! On a brighter note, I stopped at Lauren and Kelly's last night and we had a mega oldschool film marathon and watched The Goonies, Fly Away Home, Harriet the Spy, and Hook. I've never wanted to be so many different things in the space of one night. My day was also brightened when their parents gave me a massive Easter egg - hellooooo calories!

I'm back at work now, which is pretty fun on the whole, if you exclude our deli radio being taken away. All workers are now forced to listen to possibly the worst radio station known to mankind as it is played through a tanoy system linked up to the office. What makes it even worse is that the volume on it is so low that you can only hear little bits of the song every few seconds - particularly annoying when it is "Irish Jig Hour". The other day there was a song playing that repeated the lyrics 'bless you child' for about three hours, shortly followed by a jazz version of 'Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush', a personal favourite but not something I want to listen to as I stand there and get splattered in chicken fat because some incompetent member of staff cannot hold the bucket properly. (Ok, so the incompetent member of staff was me, but that's really neither here nor there...)

At the moment I am taking a break for my ever continuing essay writing period as I seem to have hit some kind of a block halfway through. I'm meant to be writing about how the recession is affecting consumerism... Unfortunately, all I know about the economy is that Chomps have gone up to 17p and I am not happy about it. And apparently TK-Maxx have started charging 4p for carrier bags - what is that all about?! I would rather carry my hideous crocodile-skin shoes (seriously, that's what they sell) in my hands than pay 4p for a bag only to watch it later be sabotaged when some stupid pigeon gets its head stuck in the handle. I don't mean to be rude to pigeons, but seriously, all (and I stress all) the pigeons in Bradford seem to have inherited some kind of stupid gene. On average, I see about three a day almost get run over by a bus on Sunbridge Road and yet, when they see it coming at them, instead of flying off they proceed to run down the road in front of it... I don't know if they think they can outrun it or what, but I honestly do not know what they're thinking - YOU'VE GOT WINGS, USE THEM! I'd have thought the Bradford pigeons especially would be more prone to using their wings as about 1 in 3 of them seem to have one, if not two, deformed feet. Maybe they're like, thalidomide pigeons or something.

Still, there are some good things about Bradford. None that I can think of right now, but there must be something. One of my friends was telling us the other day about an article they'd been reading entitled '50 Things To Do In Bradford', to which Sally responded, 'what was number 50? Kill yourself?' There is seriously nothing good about this city, if you stood and turned in a circle, all you'd see is knocked down buildings, junkies and deformed pigeons. The other night me and Taaryn had the pleasure of being subject to a man ranting to us outside Wetherspoons about how cool we were and how he was now 'off the drugs'. He didn't hesitate to tell us he'd been in prison twice, after which we made a sharp exit back inside to make sure Sally hadn't been hit on again by the old man who had earlier sat next to her and attempted some kind of snuggling before he left. After two nights in one week, going out in Bradford isn't really something I particularly want to participate in again anytime soon. Or ever, come to think about it.

Friday, 26 March 2010

"Salem, I Want To Go To Bed - Stop Trying To Leap Over My Shitting Head."

After two and a half weeks of no blogging and complete dedication to my studies (or something), I have decided I deserve a break as I feel I am going slightly mad - the other night I almost cried at an episode of Power Rangers such is the extent of my mental state. Yesterday was very productive, until my laptop blew up (bless it). By the time it had cooled down, I had lost all motivation and spent the rest of the day doing shit all. Today was very productive, but I have just made a list of all the things I need to do before I go back to uni and am feeling in quite the state of despair. 

Despite this, there has been a cause for celebration because, as of last Friday, all my lectures for my second year are OVER! I didn't realise until about a week ago when it dawned on me that after the Easter holidays I would no longer have to sit in a stuffy lecture room, watching my lecturer prance around the front of the hall overly-repeating not funny "jokes" about conservatives and sweating profusely from every pore... Last week he spent thirty minutes telling us a story about how someone supporting the conservative party had knocked on his door with a flyer. Subsequently, he chased them down the street with a ukulele calling them a bastard and telling them to 'get off his land'... He's such a cheery fellow. Also, another cause for celebration, I got a first on my Romantics essay - very exciting. According to my tutor is was 'a truly exceptional piece of work'. My tutor is a bit mental, and she'd spelt truly wrong, but I'm still counting it. (She sent me an e-mail explaining that she had been in an emotional mood when she marked it after reading a particularly harrowing book about Keats, but reassured me it that had been second-marked by someone more mentally stable...) I'm not really sure how I got it anyway, all I can remember from the seminar on Keats is having a slight panic and having to leave after the split second I realised my chewing gum was stuck to the top of the pen I was chewing...

Seeing as exams start in about three weeks, life has been pretty dull as of late, apart from the fact that number 53 appear to have gained a new pet cat which has been Christened 'Salem' by the lads next door. It's a bit of a crafty bastard though, the other night I was putting the bins out and I ended up spending ten minutes trying to get back into my own house without it running past my legs or leaping over my head (which it tried more than once, pretty daring given I am about 20 times the size of it). In the end, I had to trick it into thinking I was walking the other way (sly, I know) and then rush back into the house as quickly as I could, resisting the urge to stand on its tail as I did so. (I wouldn't really do that, he can be pretty cute when he wants to be). I also took part in a Psychology experiment for someone's research - I got 8 quid for watching a video on planets, why can't all jobs be that easy? Well, it was sort of easy - I had to then write a small essay about it, which, if I'm honest, was not my best work; I spent about ten minutes trying to remember what "Dark Matter" was. I resisted the urge to make some kind of crude joke, scrawled some rubbish and legged it out of there clutching onto my £8. 

It was £8 well spent though - I got it changed into Euros and took it with me to Amsterdam, which, other than a teeny hiccup involving me throwing up into the tiniest toilet cubicle known to man, was amazing. I cannot believe that they actually let people into Anne Frank's house - in today's day and age, I'm surprised no one has scrawled 'Daz woz ere chillin Y2K10' on the back of the bookcase... and I almost forgot that they spoke a different language - it was weird to do some 'European' travelling as opposed to sat outside a 7/11 in California eating Cheetos. Nothing else much has happened since my return to the country, I have mainly sat on the sofa writing and watching shit TV. And by that, I mean really shit - yesterday I watched a programme called 'It's Me or the Dog' featuring a duo called 'Lorraine and Peanut' - apparently, they'd come very far since the beginning of the series... I do wonder how some of these shows get funding... I did, however, watch a very good film about Che Guevara the other night with my dad and sister which was pretty good, despite the fact that the guy playing him looked the spitting image of Said from Eastenders...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

"Now, I'm Not Usually Scared of Aliens, But F*cking Hell!"

Why can I never look at anything on the internet without being bombarded with stories of weightloss? I've just spent at least 5 minutes trying to navigate myself away from a page dedicated to 'Julie's Story -"How I lost 5 stone in 4 weeks - and how you could too!" ' - Thanks Julie, but somehow I can't imagine my body being able to handle losing over a stone a week, despite how much it may need to. I'm also curious as to whether a fake tan comes with the weightloss programme due to the subjects in all the "after" pictures looking like they've just come back from a clearly not-inclusive holiday in Hawaii, as opposed to the pale (and for some reason really spotty) looks they were sporting in the "before" photos. Hopefully I will never sink low enough to find out.

This week has been relatively productive, if you include sitting in my bedroom drawing Juno cartoons productive...

My presentation last Tuesday went pretty well; we both wore appropriate footwear and my tutor even went as far to say it was 'exciting' (which, to be honest, I think is a bit too far, but I won't complain.) We had to fill out review sheets for everyone at the end so I went ahead and took the time to fill out one for myself, describing my presentation and overall contribution to the module as 'exemplary'. I hope my tutor reads it and reconsiders me as a worthy member of the seminar group. I attended the student representatives meeting today as well, which should give me a few brownie points, especially taking into consideration that I wasn't late and had even gone to the effort to bring my notepad, clearly showing my commitment to the role as set rep. I wish I could say the same for my ScienceFiction tutor who was sat next to me - he spent the majority of the meeting doodling in his diary and when I looked over at the end I was met with a cigarette smoking alien wearing a giant hat and walking down a road with a sign saying 'To Chester!'... I didn't ask.

Speaking of the devil, or rather, aliens, me and Jayne had quite an eerie xperience involving some kind of extra terrestrials the other night. We were sat on my bed Facebook stalking, a common activity, when a green laser from outside started flickering into my room. We looked out of the window and saw it was coming from one of the gardens down the alleyway, but there was no sign of anyone there leading us to the only possible conclusion - aliens. We spent the rest of the night watching clips of some CBBC show about aliens and the pilot of Are You Afraid of the Dark? I don't know if I was more scared or excited for something to actually be happening in my recently uneventful life. I'll go for exciting.

The conference last week got continually more boring after the first day and a half and I was on the verge of wondering why I was going when it was announced there would be a free buffet. Now, I know for some people excitement comes in the form of bungee jumping in Australia or white water rafting down the Colorado River, and don't get me wrong, those things are very exciting - but a free buffet? That's surely got to be up there! It definitely brightened up my Wednesday.

I worked out earlier that it is now 6 and a half weeks until my twentieth birthday - a little too soon for my liking. Jayne pointed out today that after her birthday (which is in a week and a half), if she happened to die it wouldn't be as upsetting to read in the paper as it would be if she was to die now. The headline 'Young Woman in Early Twenties Dies' would probably have less effect than '19-Year-Old Girl Dies in Prime of Life'. Quite upsetting really. Becoming twenty takes away so many opportunities; for example, I can now never be a teenage mother. Having a baby would now just be a major inconvenience - I would never be able to bring my child up to be amazing and then tell my moving tale of how I was a struggling teenage mother who managed to rise from the ashes. Unless, of course, I unexpectedly pop one out in the next six weeks, which isn't likely (unless the weight I've put on recently is actually a small child growing in my womb). Knowing my luck though, even if I was pregnant I would give birth the day after my twentieth birthday and have my Hollywood story ripped away from me. Oh well, maybe life has something else up it's sleeve which, hopefully, does not involve a child coming out of my body, which, to be honest, sounds to me like a bit too much effort.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

'We're Just Dominating The World At The Moment - That'll Be £3,000 of Tuition Fees!"

As I'm sure previous blogs have made quite clear, I do not have the greatest luck in the world, nor do I make the best decisions, often leaving me in despairing, uncomfortable and/or expensive situations. This week's Bad Decision has proven to be a situation of the despairing kind. For some reason (mainly, I am a tit), my friend Fiona and I have decided to do our English presentation on Lord Byron, despite the fact that neither of us have actually read any of his poems. Nor do we hold any knowledge in relation to his life, which is proving to be a little tricky as the presentation is conveniently titled: Auto-Biographical Elements of Lord Byron's Writings. In our defence, we did spend a few hours in the library on Wednesday trying to gather together some scraps of information but all we learnt was that apparently he was a raving paedophile and, according to Wikipedia, was 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'. Sounds quite attractive, really. Well, you know, minus the paedophile thing. We also found a collection of letters to his mother and half-sister, most of which sounded worryingly like 19th century booty-calls. In the end though, we spent most of the time taking the piss out of each other's accents and listing reasons why Northern people are better than Southern people. (She did attempt a counter argument, but it was shit so I didn't listen.) She has obviously taken the time to put extra effort into the presentation as she turned up to the library today bearing this as a gift:

To be fair, I was extremely pleased as it quite accurately represents Jade Cole, an unforgettable face of America's Next Top Model (not America's Next Top Best Friend, as she so helpfully points out) with whom me and Jayne have recently formed a fondness of, so much so that we have resorted to going back to old episodes on BT Vision to watch her amazing performance of Leftover Lady. (For the record, I hate ANTM and watch if for comedic reasons only... )

I'm going to have to watch what I wear for the actual presentation tomorrow morning as this particular tutor seems unable to grasp the concepts of social etiquette; she once spent ten minutes of seminar time laying into a girl in our class and declaring how much said girl's boots offended her. I'm not entirely sure why, or even how, a pair of shoes can offend a person - I was just glad it directed the attention away from my 'Jesus Told Me The Qur'an Is Bullshit' t-shirt, which probably wouldn't have gone down a treat. The tutor in question is pretty hilarious though, I'd say, despite being picky on footwear, she is probably my favourite. The girl in question didn't seem particularly pleased and I hope for her sake that she is wearing what would be considered 'non-offensive' footwear tomorrow. (I was joking about the t-shirt by the way. He actually told me it was a pretty good read.)

I am currently writing this entry to put off checking my online bank balance, something which I have been avoiding for quite some time now. I often wonder where all my money is going at university, especially so when I go into a seminar to be greeted by my tutor looking slightly manic and informing me that we're 'just dominating the world at the moment'. I then spent the next twenty minutes watching, baffled, as he, along with a bit of input from the computer nerds of the class, built his own civilisation on a computer game magnified on the projector. He was all excited and happy until the leader board came up and showed his country was only ranking number five, resulting in a stream of swear words and leading him to adopt a relatively demonic disposition for the rest of the seminar. Still, it didn't completely lack productivity - whilst pretending to be interested, I taught myself how to use chopsticks with my pen, a goal I've been trying to achieve for at least three years now. I'll admit, it's not as good as a degree, but it's something to write home about nonetheless.

This week marks a very special week in regards to my degree. Yes, that's right - it's conference week! A thrilling experience, I think you'll all agree. This time last year I was forced to sit through three hours of listening to the most mundane lecturer known to man talk about cycling and the environment... In all honesty, this year it seems to actually be quite interesting, and today's speeches even involved a picture of Pete Doherty, which was enough incentive for me to stay there and listen as opposed to sneaking out at the first opportunity. Although, I did spend a fair amount of time trying to see into my bag of FruitPastilles from where I was sat in a vain attempt to avoid the grape flavoured ones... Tomorrow's speech is on Active Audience: Conceptualising The Video Gamer, which I'm sure will be just as gripping. Watch this space...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Who's Good At Telekinesis? Raise My Hand.

After sat staring at my essay for ten minutes straight and concentrating all my energy on trying to use telekinesis in order to summon a cup of tea up the stairs, I have decided it is time for a blog.

Things that are worrying me:
  • My feet appear to be getting smaller at a scarily rapid rate, leading me to question whether or not I will still be in proportion by the end of the year
  • One of my contacts on Facebook just spelt 'which' as 'witch', as well as writing 'tew' instead of 'too', leading me to reconsider why I have them on there
  • I have convinced myself that if I concentrate hard enough, I can succeed in telekinesis, leaving me little time to write essays
  • I have just spent the last five minutes looking up Anna Friel's first lesbian kiss on Brookside so my sister can win the pub quiz
  • When "aimlessly doodling" whilst on the phone, I appear to have accidentally drawn a swastika...
Despite the above concerns, today has not been bad, as far as days go. I went home for the weekend back to Bradford, most of which has either been knocked down or is in the process of being so, and managed to actually enjoy it, even though it is continually raining/snowing/being subject to some form of chav-orientated harassment. I even got a few free meals, and my mum bought me a new pair of Vans when we went shopping in Leeds seeing as my old ones were starting to resemble old dishcloths. I stopped at Lauren and Kelly's on Saturday night which was hilarious, if not slightly disturbing given the subject choice me and Kel chose - how do gay guys decide who goes where? In the end (ha), we decided they must flip a coin for it and made a mental note to ask Paul when he is next too drunk to remember.

Me and my housemates took a brave step out of the house on Thursday and made a little trip to Blackpool, which was both good and bad at the same time. Good because we went out and had an ace night, got to see the sea, and got to meet Katie's cuter than cute dog. Bad because the club we went to had a revolving dancefloor (what was going through the designer's head when he invented that I would love to know), Megan won the game when she saw the sea first, and when we went for fish and chips the menu said barmcake. That is correct. Barm. Cake. Possibly the most ridiculous thing I have ever read, including Bart Simpson's Guide To Life. I felt a little bit more settled when I went to a café in Leeds market with my mum and the menu said 'teacake', but still. Ridiculous.

Other highlights of reading week include being absolutely thrashed at pool by my friend Tom, who I used to be able to beat with my eyes closed, leading me to think that I may have lost all ability to play and must start going to the pub more often and practice. Today's journey back to Chester was relatively stress-free, and particularly exciting as I got to go on the train thanks to my father's generous donation as opposed to the unnaturally cramped National Express bus. The journey got of to an irritating start when the really annoying woman on the tannoy system at Bradford Interchange kept announcing that the Leeds train was late and was due at ten, but due to be later. If it's due to be later, then it clearly is not due at ten... Apparently, it was 'approximately' 28 minutes late. How an exact number is an approximation I do not know, but oh well. I managed to get to Leeds in time for the Manchester train anyway where I had to sit opposite a woman who kept peering over the top of her copy of 'Dreams: Their Healing Power and Purpose in Your Spiritual Life' to stare at me suspiciously. She didn't look particularly spiritual, she was wearing a luminous orange body warmer and blowing her nose on the end of her sleeve when she thought people weren't looking. I am thankfully back in Chester now and attempting to write 2,000 words on the wonder that is Keats. How someone can write three whole pages on a bird baffles me, never mind how I am meant to write 2,000 words about it. I got really proud and excited when I saw I had made notes in my anthology, but on closer inspection they turned out to be uninspiring doodles and personal notes to listen to The Smiths...

Monday, 15 February 2010

My Girl - 'Who Thought To Write This Sick Film?!'

I'm not entirely sure if I should be writing this in my current state given that I have spent the past 2 hours watching My Girl with Jayne and Megan, resulting in at least 30 minutes of spontaneous outbursts of either tears or uncontrollable giggling fits. I think it's safe to say, we are all emotionally drained. Surely the film company made some sort of huge mistake when they certified that film a PG; if I had watched that was I was ten, I'm not entirely sure I would have turned out to be the calm, collected, emotionally stable person I am today - getting over the death of Thomas J was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and here I am, putting myself through the turmoil all over again for the sake of entertainment! In the words of Jayne, 'who thought to write this sick film?!'

On a more positive note, today is Valentine's Day and I have actually received some mail! The fact that it was from my mother and consisted of some new socks, a self-help card, and a picture of an overweight squirrel accompanying some crude joke involving a tennis ball and faeces in no way makes it less exciting. I also got a free Midsummer Night's Dream poster from the English department, which was pretty exciting also. Well, by free, I mean it was on the wall by the lecture halls, and now it is on the wall in my bedroom. I decided that I deserved a treat though after my stressful morning - I'd spent about ten minutes using trial and error to determine which eye my one lasting contact lens belonged in, and whether or not it was inside out, consequently scratching my eyeball in the process. In another effort to de-stress myself, I have made a small life plan and decided that, should I ever have children, I would like them to be exact replicas of the cute Chinese baby that lives in the chip shop on Garden Lane. He gives thumbs up and high fives - how ace is that for someone under the age of three? I refuse to settle for anything less.

I met with the guy who is taking me for my Work Based Learning Placement yesterday afternoon - he rang and asked if I would be able to meet him in fifteen minutes, causing a little bit of a panic as I was still lounging around my room in last night's tights and smelling strongly of Strongbow. Fortunately, I managed to throw on a pair of jeans, brush my teeth and even have a wash before legging it into town where I circled the building at least three times before figuring out how to get inside. I then spent the next two hours being taken around every church in Chester and listening to him explain the entire history of England, occasionally chirping in with, 'yeah... wow!... I see.... yeah'. I have trouble remembering what happened last month, never mind the religious reasons behind a battle four hundred years ago. All I'm doing is taking photographs, I wasn't counting on being completely confused and unsure of what to say for a good portion of my day. Still, he finally let me go after he had cornered a poor couple trying to look around and started reciting the origins of each and every wall painting in the church.

Thankfully, today was much less daunting - me and Megan managed to make an entire roast dinner all by ourselves, just in time for Jayne arriving home from work. We even successfully managed to make cornflake buns for pudding, which, to be honest, probably shouldn't have been such a victory for three nineteen-year-olds, but what can you do?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Blah Blah "Capitalism" Blah Blah "Communism" Blah Blah "Nietsche" Blah Blah ... sleeptalk?

Despite attending all my lectures in the past few weeks, my new motivation appears to have been counter productive judging by today's Sociology lecture when I started sleep talking. I wasn't even aware my eyes were closed until I heard my own voice say, 'I watched this last night...' and then felt my head jerk forwards, giving me a minute case of whiplash and enlightening me to the row of people in front (and the lecturer) staring at me with puzzled looks on their faces. I let out a small, pathetic wince and spent the rest of the lecture feigning interest in my worksheet, which to be honest wasn't all that interesting, so I don't feel I have missed out on much, especially seeing as when I did choose to listen, my lecturer seemed to be having an in-depth rant about turtles and/or tortoises...

In other news, I have gained my ultimate score on Tetris - 643 lines, no less. It was a beautiful moment and I felt inclined to add it to my list of useless talents, one of which is being able to recite the entire of Eminem's 'Slim Shady', albeit in a dodgy Yorkshire accent. And yes, before you ask, I am available for Christenings and BarMitzvahs. Other than playing Tetris (which our entire house is currently addicted to) I have been holed up in my room reading horrible Jane Austen novels and watching Thelma and Louise. I'd forgotten that I'd made a pact with myself not to watch it until I had a less-impressionable personality, given that everytime I see it, I have my heart set on becoming a felon and road tripping to Mexico, robbing convenience stores and locking up policemen on my way. It's just like everytime I see Cool Runnings or The Mighty Ducks - no lifestyle seems better than being a Winter Olympian or a member of an ice hockey team coached by Emilio Estevez...

I finally got my dreaded presentation out of the way and, without jinxing it, I think it went pretty well, especially seeing as one of my slides consisted simply of thumbnails showing offensive and anti-religious t-shirts. I got both my essays back, complete with helpful feedback such as, 'I'm not convinced you understand what you are talking about here', which, although a pretty solid observation, seems slightly unnecessary. Still, I passed them both with fairly good marks, so who's complaining?

What is even more exciting than that is the fact that I am finally being sent some new contact lenses after being refused them since September because I have failed to attend a check up test. However, I attended said check-up on Tuesday (even though we couldn't even do it properly because I didn't have any lenses to wear) and the woman in the shop was ever so rude! She starting having small fits every two minutes because she couldn't find any of my data seeing as my regular opticians in Bradford has, apparently, closed down. What she expected me to do when she looked at me and questioned, 'well?' I do not know, but I am definitely not looking forward to going again next week, especially if my lenses haven't even arrived...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Constantly Checking The University Website For Cancelled Lectures Is No Way For A Girl To Live

Today has been a major breakthrough in regards to my education as I have managed to fully attend both my lectures, despite staying up until about 3am repeatedly checking the university website for cancellations. I even struggled through my fatigue after losing an hour of my life when I accidentally stood on my alarm clock and apparently changed the time to an hour before. However, other than that slight mishap, my body clock is well on its way to reflecting that of a normal person's. Well, apart from the slight slip-up I had the other night when I got sucked in by SuperNanny... Honestly though, the people on that show never cease to amaze me; if you christen your child 'Tiny' then I think we all know it'll grow up to despise you and act like the anti-Christ in revenge for its hideous name.

I went back home for a night on Wednesday, which was pretty fun, with the exception of my new found knowledge that I can no longer stand up unaided on public transport. I discovered this as I went flying headfirst down the 616, landing in a crumpled heap against the windscreen and trying to hold onto what little dignity I had left. I decided later that night that it wasn't much as I drank red wine out of a 99p mug from TescoExpress and watched a lesbian love story film in the basement of a Bradford café with Kieron. It was an ace night though, and I even got to see Paul the next day before I went back to Chester so all in all the trip was a success. I was particularly impressed with the free chicken burritos I managed to get when my mother took me out for tea before my bus left. I clearly did not anticipate how spicy they actually were and spent a good portion of the journey back to Chester with watering eyes and a burning tongue. I was also pretty distraught that the batteries on my cassette walkman had run out and I was forced to spend a fair few hours listening to Savage Garden at reduced speed, which unfortunately did not turn out too great and came out of the headphones sounding more like a Darth Vader megamix than Truly, Madly, Deeply. Still, at least I wasn't listening to Morrisey - then we'd all be in trouble.