Monday, 31 January 2011

Going Mad Is Definitely Not As Glamorous As It Sounds

As of today, I am letting go of all my stress and refusing to let it control my life like some kind of heinous disease. Earlier this morning, I nearly threw a coffee flask at the computer screen so much was my frustration. That incident was sort of understandable though - seriously, why do definitions include the word they are defining as a means of explanation? "Ethnographic - of or relating to ethnography." Oh! Now I get it, thanks a lot... To be fair, I was already frustrated before I'd even started my work as I'd just found my lost bank card under a pile of crap on my desk. 'Isn't that a good thing?' I hear you ask, but no. It is not. You see, I "lost" my bank card on Friday night after not being able to find it on Saturday morning and assuming I'd left it in the cash machine in the SU. I rang up to try and cancel it and ended up locking myself out of my account before I'd even started talking to a real human, and when I finally did get through to someone that wasn't a robot, they spoke with such a strong accent they may as well have been. After just saying, 'yes, that's fine' every time there was a pause in their speech, my new card will apparently be arriving in 5 working days. At my mum's house. In Bradford. 60 miles away. Cherry on top of the cake, isn't it? I really wish I had gone to Tesco on Friday like I told myself I would as now I have very little food to last until my new card arrives. I've managed to scrounge enough money for a loaf of bread, some reduced cheese, some malted milk biscuits and a bottle of milk. Maybe this is God's way of telling me to stop eating so much...
The card misfortune was only a small element of the humongous stress I have been having this week - I've even gained two self-help enthusiast followers on my Twitter page due the amount of times I have typed the word 'stress'. It doesn't even seem like a real word anymore, it just feels like... You know when people lose a limb and they can apparently still feel it after its gone? They can feel it itching and stuff, but there isn't an actual limb to scratch so they're just left in this horrible abyss of dissatisfaction? That is what stress is to me now. I stress so much about getting all my work done that when I sit down to do it I am too stressed to concentrate and I am left screaming 'WRITE SOMETHING!' at myself whilst people walk past my door and confirm everyone's worst fears - I have gone mad. Every night I go to bed, hug my ceramic cat close to my chest and then spend hours staring at the ceiling thinking about everything I need to do, every so often leaping out of bed and switching my computer on to look up research/attempt to write my entire dissertation/look up what happens if I fail my degree etc. etc. etc. None of these things have been very productive, and mostly have just resulted in me being extremely tired and grumpy the next day, thus making it even harder to do any work. However, as of now, right this minute, I am not letting myself be stressed. Do I want my degree? Yes. Am I going to kill myself trying to get it? No. (Will my parents kill me if I don't get it? Yes). I am obviously still going to try my hardest - this isn't a "I can't do it so I'm giving up" post, this is a "If I get it, I get it - stressing will not help me get it" post.
I am also going to try and improve my attention span somewhat. Earlier today, I stopped writing mid-sentence to go and wash my face, and then I decided that it was the right moment in time to arrange my CDs in order of when I bought them. (A bad idea, I could only remember three occasions, and they were all last week).

I apologise for the negativity of this post, I will be back on happy form come June time and this horrendous ordeal is over. Oh, and if you have children, give them this advice from me: Do not go to university unless it is something you really want. It will make you hate the world, hate everyone else, and all you will get out of it is a three-year-headache and a ceramic domesticated animal. (And maybe, maybe, a degree).

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Shit Life? Come and Share With Someone More Successful!

In terms of excitement, I can safely say that third year is climbing the charts of most unexciting year ever. Despite this, I woke up on Saturday morning lying next to a 4ft ceramic cat that was previously owned by Chester Student's Union. Why, or more importantly how, I smuggled a giant ornamental feline out of the SU bar on Friday night I will never comprehend, but it has now taken pride of place in our living room and has replaced the fish as the favourite house pet.
Other than the cat burglary (ha), not much has really happened this week apart from a small trip to the opticians. Given my abominable eyesight (again, cheers God), I've been steadily building up a collection of lens cloths since I was about three. However, the first time I've ever needed one in the entire seventeen years I've been wearing glasses, I obviously didn't have one on me. (I wasn't actually cleaning them, I needed to clean my camera lens. Don't worry, I'm not one of those people). Thinking they might be nice to one of their most loyal customers, I called into the opticians in town to try and persuade them to give me a free one, or at least let me borrow one. But no. People are mean these days, and I was forced to buy one as the woman behind the desk watched me with beady eyes. I don't know if she thought I was going to steal it or what, but she didn't take her eyes off me, which made it impossible to look at the price, reel in shock, and carefully place the cloth back on the shelf. No, instead, I used my best poker face as I discovered that one individual cloth cost three English pounds, let the woman take it out of my hand, scan it, and then rob me. Three pounds. I felt sick. It's not as though there's even anything special about it - the only difference between this one and the free ones you get with a pair of glasses is that this has little finger grips, just in case you do not posses the ability to properly grasp an object.
Maybe once I'm done with university I can do another course that will teach me how to act in certain social situations (and by that, I mean any interaction with another human). Basic interaction would be the first step, then the teachings of how to act in actual situations (i.e. parties), and then, if progress has been made, how to act in a relationship. I'm guessing they would probably frown upon letting yourself into your boyfriends house whilst he is at work and his parents on holiday to eat his food and play his xbox... (Which I have never done... obviously.)
Despite recent lecture cancellations etc., the stress of Dissertation (I don't even like saying the word) has continued to loom over me. In search of some direction on the university website, I noticed a little section advising students that there is always 'help and support' available from the university counsellors. Unless they are going to do my dissertation for me (a service, I noted, they do not offer), I really do not comprehend how going to speak to someone about how stressed I am could in anyway lessen my stress. Especially when the person I am speaking to is a woman in a business suit, already well settled in a stable career. Whenever something is going wrong, the last person I want to speak to is someone successful. I want to speak to a person who has not started their dissertation, has recently failed an essay, or is in any way, shape or form in a worse position than myself. If I was the head of the university (I had to stop myself from typing 'universe' and getting all power hungry there), I would employ failing undergraduates as my counselling staff. Or maybe unemployed thirty-somethings who still live with their parents. It would probably help if they were massively fat, too.

p.s. If you like my photography (or just if you like me), you can go here and vote for my photographs! Exciting, isn't it? And, you can do it once a day - a perfect task to fit into your routine :)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

This One's For You, Guadeloupe.

After over two years of using this site, I've just this week discovered that I can actually observe how many people are visiting my blog and the countries they live in. According to these startling statistics, the more mortifying my life is, the more hits I get that week. I'm not sure what that says about human nature, but I think you should all take a long hard look at yourselves in the mirror. I seem to be a big hit in Guadeloupe though, who knew? This one's for you, Guadeloupe. 

I'm actually rather proud of myself this week due to my doing everything so far on my weekly to-do list. Granted, I am aware, that it is only Tuesday and the list was made marginally easier by one of my lectures being cancelled and my essay deadline extended, but still, I am proud. I even got up early and went to the doctor's, which I applauded myself for as I completely despise going. Naturally, as God is still punishing me every single thing I have ever done wrong, I ran into someone I knew. The doctor's is probably one of the worst places to run into someone. No matter who it is, how well they know me, or whether they even see me or not, I am always overcome with paranoia that, even if I'm stood there with my arm in a sling, they are sat thinking, 'Oh my God, she has chlamydia/gonorrhea/syphilis/some other embarrassing ailment' and I consequently start going red at the first sign of eye contact. Just for the record, I have none of the aforementioned diseases, although the doctor has planted thoughts of alcohol dependency in my mind and encouraged me to think about my alcohol intake. After asking me how many units I drank and my replying 'Oh, about ten' (pints), she chirped, 'Oh, well that's good! That's actually less than average for the week!' I then had to explain that I thought she had meant per night and had to then sit there in a disapproving silence as she scribbled on her clipboard. I couldn't see what she was writing, but I'm sure it was not nice. After more disapproving looks and leaflets about alcoholics anonymous (ok, not really), she let me leave. In a bid to exit as fast as I could, I got confused as to which door let me out and ended up opening one, only to be met with the wall it had been wedged against. After a bit of awkward fumbling and accidentally knocking into an old woman with my backpack, I finally got out and ran all the way home. 
Unfortunately, that is not the only thing that has made me want to crawl underneath my duvet and watch crap television for the rest of time this week. The house listings went up at the start of January, meaning people would be viewing (i.e. snooping) around number 53 and, more importantly, my bedroom. It wasn't until three groups had already visited that I realised there was a naked picture of Louie Spence on my bedroom door. Not only that, he had a pineapple covering his penis, was flanked by two slags and had a picture of my housemate's face tacked over his own. I wish I was making this up, but here it is in all its glory:

Just when I thought things could not possibly get more embarrassing, the last group came into the living room and, low and behold, I realised that one of the girls was in my Modernism seminar. I will probably now be forever remember me as the girl with this monstrosity on her bedroom door. Excellent work, self, excellent work.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

New Year's Resolutions (so far...)

I'm aware that in my last blog I stated that I hadn't made any New Year's Resolutions - and when I wrote that, it was entirely true. However, I've recently realised that I had secretly made some to myself (who knew my mind could work on so many levels?) and I didn't realise what they were until I had broken them. The first to go out of the window was probably the most important during this stage of my degree - Attend All Lectures and Seminars to the Best of One's Ability. It didn't take long for this one to shatter around me. In fact, I actually missed the first seminar of the year as I was snuggled up in bed, fast asleep. This wasn't really my fault though as I had caught some hideous disease from my sister just before I left Bradford and was therefore forced to sleep it off whilst the rest of my class came to their academic climaxes delving deep into discussions about Virginia Woolf. (Seriously, I like her and everything, but the enthusiasm of some of my classmates is a little too much. The other day I even saw someone sporting a 'Who's Afraid of the Woolf?' badge... Next thing, they'll be throwing themselves into the river Dee in a homage to good ol' Ginny.) The next resolution I made without realising and then broke mercilessly regarded money (as, I'm sure, comes into everyone's Top Five Desert Island Resolutions, along with food, sex, exercise and general self-control). I was walking past HMV, and before I knew it I had gone in, bought a new pair of headphones, insisted that I did not want a points card, and was walking out again before I'd even had chance to comprehend what had happened. So there went £15. I'm not entirely sure what the rest of my subconscious resolutions are, so I'm just going to have to make a few more mistakes before I can really get stuck in with being a better human. If you could all just bear with me for the rest of my twenties, it would be appreciated.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Swimming Costume Underwear - Inventive, or Just Another Low Point?

I'm not entirely sure how it's now almost a month since my last blog (that thing happened where my life flies by again), but here we are, over a week into January and I still haven't even had time to figure out what my New Year's Resolutions are. Well, actually, I have had the time, I have just avoided the annual 'how shit am I and what can I do about it?' self-evaluation process. I have, however, somehow had the time to play RockBand for over two hours until I got a 100% score on a song (an excellent way to bring in the new year, I thought), go to the pub with my dad so we can people watch, get drunk and compare the similarities of our hands, and also (the main product of all my effort), figure out that if I stare at my dad's new dog and constantly blink for ten minutes, he will fall asleep. Maybe I should give up on university and go into pet hypnosis. People would buy into that, wouldn't they? I could charge people money to watch their animals act like other animals. 'Watch your dog cluck like a chicken! Watch your chicken bark like a dog!' etc. etc.

Christmas has been pretty uneventful this year, apart from a minor fire during Christmas dinner (which, I still maintain, was not my fault. If there are napkins and candles on the table at the same time, shit is going to go down). I got a pretty good haul of presents (cheers, Santa) and, as happens every year, had lots of fun popping bubble wrap on Christmas morning. My mother wasn't best pleased when I had used a newspaper to wrap my presents and hers was wrapped in the obituaries, but you know, it's what's inside that counts. I got an 'Addictaball' from the twins, which is basically just a ball with a maze and a smaller ball inside. We spent about three hours, if not more, attempting to complete it the other day and after much swearing, throwing and a few (almost) tears, we gave up. Only to pick it up again five minutes later. Work has been, as always, outrageously busy. I think the general public have difficulty drawing the line between buying food for Christmas, and buying food to go into hibernation. Is there any need to buy ten loaves of bread when we are going to be open two days after? How much food can one family possibly consume in such a short time? By Christmas Eve I was definitely ready to snap - there's only so many times you can hear Frosty the Snowman and not wish the person in charge of the music was Jewish. I did sort of enjoy what Natalie calls The Annual Clean, though. Every year just before Christmas, we take all the counter tops off and clean out everything underneath. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you might find 50p or a pen that you lost mid-June. Thinking about it, this is probably the sort of thing we should do every week and the big, bad ass bullies from environmental health would more than likely have something to say about it...

Christmas Eve got slightly better after I'd finished work, however, as I was lucky enough to accompany my mother to church (another of my annual events). Usually, I get ridiculously bored/hungry/in desperate need of a wee when I am in church, but there was a lot to keep me amused in this service, mainly the man two rows behind who started singing the hymn off-time. Doesn't sound that funny, but when you're in the middle of church you're clutching at comical straws, really. And comical it was. I spent the next ten minutes in uncontrollable shakes trying to avoid the eye rolls from the copious amounts of pensioners surrounding me. After I had sufficiently recovered, I was soon scolded by my mother for putting my contact lenses in. Apparently God's house is not an 'appropriate' place to enhance my eyesight. Although really, it's his fault I have bad eye sight in the first place so I think letting me improve it is really the least he could do.

Joy of joys, Chester and dissertation work beckons me once again and I will be heading back to books and bedlam tomorrow. Hopefully, anyway, unless the snow decides to reek havoc with my plans again. I had to lower myself to getting the train home in December as my dad was snowed in and couldn't come and collect me. Usually, I wouldn't have been that fussed, but I had planned on bringing an entire bag of washing home for Christmas, which I obviously couldn't take on the train, so for the past three weeks clothes have been somewhat scarce. Not scarce as in I haven't worn any, although I'm sure that would be a nice treat for everyone, just scarce as in I've had to do more washing. Or, alternatively, wear a swimming costume as a substitute for underwear.

Public Transport... It's Not For Everyone.

There’s nothing worse than an awkward situation except an awkward situation that takes place on public transport. 
  • The bus. The lesser of four evils. Something horrible has happened? Pretend it is your stop, get off, and walk the next mile to your house as you inwardly cringe.
  • The taxi. The third most upsetting. The silent taxi drive is relatively awkward, but the worst case is when the taxi driver starts to talk to you, and after ‘are you getting the train to anywhere nice?’ (I don’t know about anyone else, but the train station is the only place I ever get a taxi to), there is nothing left to say and you are left with that heavy silence where both feel compelled to say something, and yet neither knows what. 
  • The car. Not at all awkward if you are with friends and/or family, but incredibly so if you’re with say, your boss, who is giving you a ride home. OR, as has happened before, you are being dropped off but arrive early at your destination and are consequently forced to sit there and listen (with no background engine noise/radio) as your mother explains to you the joy of childbirth until it is time to leave.
  • The plane. The worst of all awkward social situations. Especially if said awkward situation occurs right at the beginning of a twelve hour flight. Or, for instance, say the man in the aisle seat has fallen asleep and you need to get out to use the bathroom. Say he looks in such a deep sleep that you feel confident enough to take the risk. You start to climb over him. He wakes up. It is in this moment that you suddenly start to evaluate your life, 32,000 ft. in the air and straddling a complete stranger.