Monday, 24 January 2011

A little something to make you laugh!

Something a little light-hearted. Amanda Palmer is one of my heroes (as you probably know) and this is the video for Map of Tasmania, her latest single, from the new album (which I'm buying tomorrow as it's payday!) Amanda Palmer goes Down Under! Enjoy. (Possibly NSFW, depends on your boss I guess).

Thinking big thoughts

It's not often a television show makes you think about the big questions in life. But I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes over an episode of Glee. Yes, Glee, that frothy song and dance show, like a cheesy movie in weekly installments. Season 2 episode 2 to be precise. (I'm in the UK, we just got the second season). It centres on Kurt, the gay, fashion addict one. His dad has a heart attack, and he has to face questions about mortality, love and God. Yep, the Big Guy gets dragged into all the musical madness. The lighter hearted storyline has Finn, the not very bright football player, sees Jesus in his grilled cheese sandwich and leads to the various glee club members professing their religious affiliations and beliefs. Kurt declares he doesn't believe in God because His followers don't care for him, and that it's a cruel joke to make someone gay and then have other people attack them for it.
I was raised Church of England (Anglican), baptised, sent to church schools, confirmed and then I quit going. I spent a long time in Sunday School classes wondering whether what I was being told, and what was forced down my throat in RE, was remotely true.
A lot of my friends are gay, a lot of them went to the same church schools and spent their Sundays listening to a man in a frock tell them what was what too, there's a certain crossover. A lot of my friends are religious, of different faiths and I respect them for their beliefs.
I fell out with organised religion in my teens, the Church and my beliefs, opinions and politics don't agree.
It's a testy subject. One of the few that's hard to discuss. People get very angry if they feel they're under attack, even when they're not.
I support my friends right to be who they are, not who someone misquoting the Bible thinks they should be. I'm pro-choice, the life of the currently living, breathing woman matters more than a bundle of cells that isn't a baby yet, but I don't think it's something that should ever be a form of contraception, be responsible for your own bodies!
I don't think one religion is more or less valid than any other. All religions argue this point.
I believe in Love. It's the thing that's greater than we are. Interpret that as you will. For me, love for your fellow humans, for the furry (and not so furry) critters we share this planet with, for the planet itself is greater than any god you can imagine. For me that is God. Add an 'o' you get Good. And in the end, isn't that what really matters, that we lead good lives, that we love honestly and openly. That we are true to ourselves and treat others kindly. For me it is. Whatever you believe, whoever you are.

The Earth is Hiring

"There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn't bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: you are brilliant, and the earth is hiring. The earth couldn't afford to send any recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are dating. Take the hint. And here's the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don't be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done." - Paul Hawken (University of Portland, May 3, 2009). Via

Friday, 14 January 2011

In Which I Make a Decision

I started back at uni on Wednesday, you may have read the post about my failure to get my assignments written over the break. Our first class was a session on dissertation prep. I had a few ideas for possible dissertations, this session was for us to discuss our ideas and get these ideas sorted out and feel more prepared. I am not prepared! I know what I'm going to write about, I just don't know how on Earth I'm going to do it. For my previous degree, the dissertation was optional, so I didn't do one. Part of me wishes I had now, at least I'd have some idea of what lies ahead.
Anyway, my topic is the reinterpretation of myths and fairy tales in the work of Neil Gaiman.
I love Neil Gaiman (and his lovely new wife Amanda Palmer!), he's one of my favourite writers. I own most of his books.
I'm also obsessed with mythology and folklore/fairy tales.
This is basically a marriage of some of my obsessions and some of my favourite books. It might stop me from going insane. At least I'm hoping so.
I'm not a great researcher, I get bored easily. But I do love reading and sitting in libraries, so that's hopefully going to balance out my natural inclination towards boredom and getting distracted.
Anyway, I'm hoping to start doing a bit of relevant reading this weekend as The Boy also has studying to do (he's doing a Masters in Criminology and Psychology), so we'll be sat there with our books, model students that we are!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend whatever you get up to.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Mad about the boy...

How I met my lovely Boy.
Last summer I got offered a job, finally, Hallelujah and all that jazz.
I had to go on a training course before starting my job, I work in admin for a charity that works with victims of crime.
He was also on the course, I thought he was funny, charming, intelligent, slightly arrogant, and handsome. I have also discovered he's sweet, nervous, kind, generous, brave, loving and adorable. (sorry if I get a little mushy).
I went out with my GBFs, I told them about him, they teased me about my crush.
We became fast friends, me, him and a lovely American girl who hails from the South and has the cutest accent. This lead to the 3 of us being branded trouble and separated so we couldn't distract each other, it didn't really work.
A couple of evenings I went the long way home, with him. Subconsciously I think I wanted to spend time with him, consciously I knew we were having fun.
On the last day, he asked me to get the bus with him. I did. Of course I did, he was a friend and I'd do anything for my friends.
We got to the bus station where we usually go our separate ways, he asked if I wanted to go to the supermarket with him, I said sure, I'd do that with any friend.
Then he asked if I wanted to walk back to his for a bit, hang out, have a cup of tea. Clearly at this point my brain wasn't processing properly. I didn't think anything of it, just a friendly hang out.
We hung out, pizza was ordered, he got a bit embarrassed, then he asked for a hug. I'm a hugger, my family are huggers, my friends, gay, straight, male, female, are huggers, so I obliged.
He kissed me. I kissed him. There was kissing. There was no hanky panky. We talked.
I walked the hour home at 4am, I think I was floating.
A few days later we had coffee, it was awkward, part of me was wondering if I'd made a mistake. I'm not the most confident of people when it comes to this stuff, I usually bolt at the first sign of interest in me, I don't know why.
He invited me to spend the weekend with him (he has his own place, I currently live at home, regular readers will know it's because I'm broke)
I did. It was nice, we ate and watched films, and talked and cuddled and he was sweet and I realised how much I really did like him.
At some point he became my boyfriend, and I became his girlfriend. That was in September. It's January now. I spend most weekends and the odd weeknight with him. If this is what falling in love feels like, it's wonderful. I don't think I've ever felt happier. When he says "I love you" or sends me a sweet text I melt. I'm tearing up right now. I only wish everyone else could feel as happy as I do.
That's enough mush. I don't really do this sort of thing, so there won't be much more. He makes me feel safe and warm and stops me from plunging back into depression. Everybody should have a somebody who makes them feel special. I wish you all love.

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or How I Traumatised My Boyfriend

I finally got around to watching the first in the dramatised versions of Steig Larsson's bestsellers, all of which I've read. After a day of being grumpy and rained on, The Boy and I curled up on the sofa to watched the Swedish (but dubbed into English) film. We were too tired for subtitles. Little did I know how traumatic he'd find it.
Now as I've read the books I know how violent and graphic they are, but I didn't realise how much of this Swedish films are allowed to show. Yes the rape scene is shocking, so is the case Blomqvist and Salander are investigating, her revenge on her rapist is also graphically shown (though not as graphic as in the book). He was much more discomfited than I was, and wants to read the books before we watch the next film, which has just been released on DVD here, partly to prepare himself.
I did explain that the original title was "Men Who Hate Women" and there are plenty of examples of that present. Still he's quite keen to find out what becomes of Lisbeth and Mikael. So I guess I'm renting the next one soon.
He did ask why I keep showing him distressing films. I don't do it on purpose, I didn't know Grave of the Fireflies wasn't your standard Studio Ghibli film, and was instead deeply tragic and depressing, I hadn't seen it before. I did know Dead Poets' Society was a bit upsetting, I usually cry when the boys find out their friend is dead and when they stand on their desks at the end (sorry if you haven't seen it), and I knew Rent always makes me cry, the funeral scene sets me off, when Collins sings I'll Cover You as a farewell, sobbing like a baby.
This weekend I'm thinking upbeat, happy films, that don't leave anyone feeling traumatised or upset.

Monday, 10 January 2011

I should be writing an essay but...

Sometimes I can't summon the motivation to do things, to do anything. Like today, I have 2 assignments due in on Wednesday, I've been at work all day, I have work tomorrow. I was planning to do at least one yesterday, but I decided to just have a day to myself, to try to get a few chores done, to just have some quiet time. So I thought I'd write one tonight then the other tomorrow. However I just can't find the energy to do anything. I just want to slouch here, reading blog posts, watching TV, maybe even reading a bit more of my book. I've got my notes open beside me, an attempt to prod myself into working, but so far it's not working. Instead, I guess tomorrow night I'll be pulling an allnighter the like of which I haven't done since I was an undergrad and didn't know any better.
Anyway Glee is on in a minute (yes, I'm a bit of a Gleek) and so I'm off to veg out, lie like broccoli as Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman (and Aleks regularly quotes). So night, night.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

New Year, Same Person

Every January, magazine coverlines scream all about the new you, I'm still the same person. Might change my hair, finally lose some weight, get a new job, write a book, go on a trip, fall in love, laugh, cry, dance, get drunk, fall over, eat something delicious, bake a cake, learn something, but essentially I'm still me.
2010 was not a great year to be me, I was unemployed, depressed and fat. I had days where I couldn't stop crying, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't see a way forward. Then towards the end of the year it all seemed to cheer up. I started my Masters degree, met my wonderful Boy, started my new job, reconnected with my best friend, things were falling into place.
 Entering this new year I'm feeling a lot more hopeful. My contract at work may be only 6 months long, but it's working out for now, and who knows where I'll be come May when it ends. My degree is tough, I have to work hard to fit in all my studying around my job but so far I'm doing OK. My friends are wonderful people, and hanging out with them is always great. Having my bestie back is awesome, she'd had a really rough time too, but we're speaking all the time, she's only a humorous text away, and our friendship is better than ever.
 Then there's The Boy. He's just fantastic. Makes me laugh and smile, and definitely deserves a post (or 6) of his own. I used to be this Ice Queen, he's melted me, and is one of the best things in my life. Falling in love is amazing, and I fall a little further every time I see him. Spent my NYE with him and some friends, and having someone to kiss at midnight, for the first time ever, was just perfect. Definitely more on him soon!
So while, it may be a new year, this me will stay almost the same, I don't need to change, I just need to remember who I am and what matters to me.

I'm a million different people from one day to the next...

The only consistent thing about me is my inconsistency.

I've made some decisions, and considering I'm useless at making my mind up, this is impressive.
I miss blogging, it helped keep me sane through the horror that was the first 3/4 of 2010, and was there when it all started to go right. I'm stupidly busy working, doing my Masters, and falling in love (!) but I'm going to try to find some more time to write here.
I won't be posting any book related stuff on my other blog, in fact, once I've archived it, A Book A Day Bookworm will cease to exist. Instead I will from time to time write book reviews and literary articles here, as a Bookworm feature.
I'm also attempting to get more creative writing done, there's a story I've been developing and have had percolating in my brain since I was about 5, it's a lot more sophisticated than 5-year-old or even 15-year-old me was, as someone who's slightly dreading leaving her early 20s, (I'll be 25 this year, eek!) I think it's about time to get to grips with the idea that has dominated my brain for so long. What this means is that any long absences from the blog are probably due to having a deadline for uni very near (I'm with Douglas Adams on this one "I love deadlines, I like the sound they make as they whoosh by") or because I'm attempting to cudgel my brain into handing over another bit of my book.
There may be some more poetry and random snippets of ideas, please comment constructively, it helps and keeps me writing, anything overtly negative really isn't helpful, if you don't like something, just keep schtum.
I will attempt to post regularly, once I'm back at uni next week and settled into a routine again, I'll try to pick a day to blog and keep it consistent.
I'm also trying to keep up with the blogs I follow, some of which are listed down on the right hand side, if yours is one of them, I may not have commented much recently but I am trying to make sure I read your posts, even if I'm a little behind.

So lovely blog readers, Happy New Year!! Hopefully you'll hear a lot more from me soon. :-)