I've invented a new game.*

I find songs on Spotify, then google the lyrics, thus creating my own private karaoke bar. Where I get to hog the mike all night long.

Try it, it's fun.

*OK, it's no Pasty Pursuit, but it keeps me entertained.

EURASIA!

In September Marta came to visit and see Muse at Wembley. If she hadn't wanted to go I would never have got tickets, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I had forgotten how many classics they have in their repertoire. OK, the new album is silly (references to leaping over sea creatures would be unnecessary but appropriate at this point) but the atmosphere was amazing and, as you can see, it looked incredible:



The next day we went to the Tate Britain, where we saw this installation:

And Marta took photos:

P.S. Thank you for your patience re: my excessive photo dumping.

Something fishy's going on...

...or at least it was, when I finally dragged Gavin to the SeaLife Centre in Brighton. Unfortuatley, the visit ended with Italian Boy trying to kidnap a turtle, but here are the less dangerous moments (sorry for the crappy quality!)
Yes, that is a massive turtle humping a tiny turtle.

There was a boy...

Yummers.

Yummy stuff I made: roasted vegetables, dauphinoise potatoes and chocolate brownies. This is exactly why I will never be skinny. And exactly why I don't want to be.

A Walk in (St James's) Park






In May (yes, yes it's taken me seven months to post a few pictures) I went to St James's Park.
That's what I saw.




There's snow business, like snow business...

Today is a snow day! In fact, today is my school's first snow day for 10/18/33 years (depending on who's telling the story.) This is bad news for you because, while uploading the snow photos from my phone, I realised that I had neglected to upload anything since August. I am therefore going to subject you to a whole week of photo dumping. Ha. Snow days mean that I have time to schedule these things.

Starting with...
My aforementioned haircut. You know, the one that didn't emotionally cripple me.

One day, I will contribute...

...but until then, you should read what other (less lazy) people have written at

www.youtuneblog.com

It's my little brother's brainchild.

Why I Hate: Going to the Hairdresser

Yesterday, something miraculous occurred. Yes, miraculous. Are you ready?

I went to the hairdresser, enjoyed the experience and was happy with the end result.

Here's why that's a miracle:
  • When I was a small child, my Grandma used to cut my hair. This was actually not as traumatic as it could have been, although it did mean that my experience of visiting an actual hairdresser was somewhat delayed.
  • As a teenager, my Mum decided it was time for me to visit a 'proper' hairdresser. Unfortunately this turned out to be her friend, who cut hair in her kitchen. If my memory serves me correctly, it was £2.50 for a cut and blow dry. That should have been a clue. All went well until I decided to get a bob. It ended in tears (mine) of laughter (my brother's).
  • As a student I finally decided to visit an actual salon. I got a decent haircut very cheap (by a trainee hairdresser). All was ok...
  • ...until my then-boyfriend (now-husband) accidentally cut my hair off. Yes, you read right. That's a whole other blog post, but basically it ended with me having to get another bob. A better one this time, but still not an entirely positive hair experience.
  • As you probably know, I hate awkward social situations. I can pretty much put up with meeting new people if it might possibly result in an actual, less awkward, friendship. Making stilted conversation with a hairdresser is never going to end in a friendship. It is therefore not only awkward and horrible, but utterly futile.
  • I have no desire to pay someone to bitch about my hair.
  • It really hurts my neck when I have to lean backwards into the sink.

So that's why yesterday was miraculous. See? Even with all that hatred, there's a silver lining. I'm like the little ray of sunshine in your life.

Damn you, tricky North Korean entry system!

1.Go to Google maps.
2. Go to "Get Directions."
3. Type Japan as the start location.
4. Type China as the end location.
5. Go to direction......#43.
6. Laugh.

Why I Hate: Rachel Green

No real logic here, just pure, unadulterated bile.

1. Monica is right - Rachel does steal her thunder, with alarming regularity. Stealing Monica's baby name is the one that sticks in my mind... Could Rachel not think of any other names?!

2. She doesn't know her 'you're' from her 'your' (The One With The Jellyfish). I get irrationally annoyed by that kind of thing.

3. They WERE on a fricking break. Now, if that happened to me, I would of course be upset that Ross had slept with someone else, but I really don't think it's a deal breaker... Technically he WAS in the right!

4. The whole London thing? Just another example of how she acts in a completely selfish and arrogant way, AND expects people to feel sorry for her in the process. Grr.

5. She gets me this annoyed, and she's only a ficitional character.

Yes, I watch too much Friends, what of it?


P.S. Got time to hang around a little longer? You might like these posts: When is it OK to Bitch? , Why I Hate: Ikea and Four Terri-brill TV Programmes...

Possibly the only episode of Jeremy Kyle worth watching.

Some bloke called Kev gets fed up of beng taunted by ITV's favourite smug bastard.

Awesome.

Top 5 Tuesday...

...let's face it, this won't take off. It's no Beer Tuesday, after all.
However, let's do one anyway.

My Top 5 Blogs I Like To Read:

The Sassy Curmudgeon - Just flipping brilliant, really. Oh, and very funny. I would like to BE her.

The F Word - Lots of feminist discussion/comment/reviews. Very readable and always interesting.

James Ward: I Like Boring Things - I stumbled upon this a couple of weeks ago (I think I actually googled 'I like being boring' or something.) There's an amusing Argos pens saga that entertained me. But the main reason I follow is that the guy is a co-founder of STATIONARY CLUB. The next meeting cannot come fast enough.

To Miss With Love - Well written, amusing and realistic account of life as a secondary school teacher (and now, deputy head.)

Cheryl and Matt's Wedding Blog - Bit shameful this one. Basically, the girl who writes this is a friend of a friend. She blogs about planning her wedding, and my friend linked me to it because I was also planning. Now I stalk follow mercilessly.

Chilling out, maxing, and relaxing all cool.

This weekend, I did a big fat load of nothing. It was awesome.

Well, I say nothing. Obviously there was an epic Mario Party battle (which, upsettingly, I lost even though two of the other players were Boo and Luigi, both of whom were set to 'weak'.) Dammit. It's like a comma party in those brackets. I apologise.

At least I got the question mark star.

My shallow response to the Labour leadership contest.

Wow, Ed Miliband's nasal. Could his voice become more annoying than Michael Howard's? Does David have the same voice?

Oh God, his voice is going right through me...

My Latest Televisual Love...

Mongrels. It pretty much encapsualtes my sense of humour. It's my new favourite thing.

Wedding Anxiety Dream #2

The ceremony has just finished, and it all went well. Our walking out music begins to play, and our guests leave. I'm about to go when Gav stops me and says he wants to have a drink (inexplicably, there's a bar in the ceremony room). It doesn't actually sound like a bad idea, so I have a shot with him. The shot looks like wheatgrass. I'm very careful not to drip any on my dress. Gavin, however, is not so careful. He drinks another two shots, spilling progressively more green gunk (and this is pre-photos!) I can feel the rage bubbling up inside me, and I can't persuade him to come outside. People are staring and I'm caught between not wanting to look like Bridezilla, and wanting to punch my new husband in the head.

What I've learned from this:

1. Do not drink wheatgrass shots when wearing formal attire.

See, it's not just me!

I can soooo relate to this at the moment. And this. Well, apart from the lesbianiam.

And just for good measure, this was my humble attempt if you missed it first time around.

Cringe Party II: In Which I Get All Mark Corrigan On Your Ass


I think the title tells you all you need to know. Here goes:


1st January 'Got up about nine, tided my room...'
It's NEW YEAR'S DAY, for God's sake.

8th January 'Been making brainstorms for characters- had some OK ideas but all a bit 'Officey' and not funny. So not exactly OK- but it could have been worse... I could have died during the creation process.'
What a heart-warming mix of pessimism and failed ambition.

11th January 'Read The Observer (£1.40.) (I'm not actually obsessed with prices, just thought it might be interesting if I re-read this in a few years time.)
I'm honestly not making this up! It's now 'a few years time'. It's not interesting.

14th January 'Had a perky executive assembly this morning- oh how joyful it made me feel!'
I stand by that. I'm still irritated by most people. Especially 'peppy' ones.

23rd January 'Spent last lesson with [a friend] - broken through the 'running out of conversation' barrier!'
Still love that feeling, when the horrible, spirit-crushing awkwardness starts to fade.

30th January 'Wednesday should be good- hope I don't have a 'conversation block.'
Oh God, now I'm crowning phrases to describe my social ineptitude.

7th February 'Also, actually managed to make conversation! (Not sure why I find it amazing that I can do what every other human being manages on a daily basis.)'
Maybe I am Mark Corrigan?!

1st March 'A rather exciting (!) assembly- someone giving a talk encouraging us to go to a TA recruitment day. Sound like too much pep and physical activity too me, but a surprisingly large amount of gullible people signed up.'
At least I knew my limits.

What's the worst that could happen?

Well, this would be pretty bad.

Cringe Party I: Hopes and Fears

Gav and I went to our old flat today to collect the stuff we'd (or rather, I'd) left behind. In a pile of stuff in one of the drawers was my 2004 diary. Being a bit of a crap writer, the entries become somewhat sporadic around the beginning of March, and cease altogether on 21st April. Which is a shame, really, because things got more interesting after July.

The first thing that struck me is that it in some ways doesn't really sound like the diary of a 17 year old. I was really quite reclusive. The second thing was how much anxiety seems to seep from every page. Looking back, I think it's great that I worked hard for my A Levels but, really, it feels like I would have benefited from just relaxing a bit more.

Anyway, here's the first installment. Warning: I did not (and in fact, do not) have the comedy stylings of Sue Townsend, so you'll have to bear with me. I've entitled this entry 'Hopes and Fears' (yes, it's a Keane reference, it's 2004 innit?) so here's my hopes, predictions and fears circa 2004 (and the reality):

1st January 'I know I'll never stick to them, but I should probably make some resolutions: work bloody hard (3As????); stick at things which seem difficult or scary (unis!!!); take more risks (esp. regarding blokes) I know that one really won't happen but at least I can kid myself for now.........
Well, it's good to see that my love of brackets and ellipses began from an early age. I did work hard, I did stick at uni, and I did take more risks with men, eventually. And no, 'that one' didn't happen. But it all worked out OK in the end.

2nd January 'No more offers yet- just waiting to hear from Durham and York... Why are the 2 places I want to go to making me wait the longest??? Probably so they can reject me good and proper... Ah well.'
They did reject me good and proper. I'm over it. I mean, it wasn't my fault that I went to a state school that didn't force me to do 6 A Levels in various ancient languages. OK, I'm sort of over it.

3rd January 'Ordered some jeans but I bet none of them will go over my huge ass.'
They probably did cover my relatively small ass. I just wouldn't have been able to see that at the time.

6th January 'Was thinking about career aspirations etc- I'd LOVE to write TV comedy. Prob is, of course, that I'm not funny.'
I do not currently write TV comedy. Partly because I gave up on that plan around 12th January. And partly because I'm really not that funny.

11th January 'Starting to really look forward to going to uni now- should be exciting, want to get involved in stuff, be part of a BIG world that isn't just Watchet.'
Finally, some well placed optimism!

28th January 'Still nothing from York, although I'm thinking it's going to be a 'no'!'
It was. See comment for 2nd January.

4th February 'Open day [in Cardiff] really good...think I'd be happy going there!'
I was.

21st April 'Seriously thinking about journalism after my degree.'
Nah. Amazingly, when considering career options. I seem to completely ignore the fact that every Wednesday I write about how much I enjoyed working in a primary school. Duh.

Stay tuned for the next entertaining, angst-filled installment...

Title anxiety.

The title of this blog doesn't really fit the content. That bothers me, and basically gives me two options.

1. Change what I blog about, and therefore what I do with my time, which was pretty much the point of the title, and indeed the blog, in the first place.

2. Change the title. I'm sure my 6 followers will manage to keep track of what's going on. But what to?

I don't know what to do (Ken).

Just to put your mind at rest, this is a dilemma that occasionally flits through my head, rather than one that keeps me awake at night. Honestly.

And another issue...

Reading this made me laugh to start with but, seriously, how am I going to wee?!

Wedding Plannning + Internet =

Reading copious amounts of wedding blogs, apparently. I have so far refrained form hitting the forums. The 'Freak Outs' section of the Glamour wedding blog is particularly brilliant. By 'brilliant' I mean 'vaguely informative and sort of funny but mostly it just makes me feel better about my own, relatively minor freak outs'.

My current freak outs are, if you're interested (and let's face it, who wouldn't be?):

Make up. Specifically, doing mine. I don't normally wear much, but I don't want to look pale in pictures, so I guess I'll have to wear some. But I'll probably do a lot of crying. And obviously I'll wake up with some sort of disfiguring spot. Urgh.

Tan lines. Where the hell has the sun gone?! It doesn't take a genius to work out that fake tan will not work out well for me.

Fatness. The constant trailers for 'Bulging Brides' are not easing my anxiety. Why did I buy a dress that's slightly too tight? Why? I'm currently eating a lot of meal replacement products and researching spanx.

Other people. Even if (and it seems unlikely right now) all of the above work out, what if other people don't enjoy themselves? I will kill them if this happens.

You're probably thinking I'm a bit mental. I suggest you head over to your nearest wedding forum for a slice of bridal party fighting, favour buying, florist sacking perspective. And get me a 100 calorie snack while you're up.

Comedy Baby Napping

Simple Pleasures I

Things I have enjoyed during the past week:

- Realising that I want to be fucking awesome at my job.
- Having fun in the stocks (not as sexual as it sounds. Not sexual at all, in fact.)
- Singing at work, out of work, in the bath, whenever really.
- Good craic at Thursday's pub quiz.
- Being in the Cool Crew. And therefore finding my long-lost father. Ish.

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight: An Update



Thomas The Tank HENgine. Awesome. By the time these pictures were taken, I'd lost my funnel-shaped hat and gained a feather boa, but you get the idea. And yes, I am dancing alone in the first picture. I am that cool.

BTW, the stag stole my shot glass headband.

Bad Science

Is something that does my head in. Even though, as an English Lit graduate, I know very little about good science.

I just saw an advert for a new, water soluble shampoo. Seeing as the definition of water soluble is 'capable of dissolving in water', I challenge you to think of a time that you have used a shampoo that is not water soluble. Think about it, you would never be able to wash it out of your hair. Surely water solubility is an essential pre-requisite of a shampoo, rather than something to brag about.

Other 'favourites' of mine are company bosses superficially posing as dentists to recommend toothpaste, anything containing 'bifidus digestivium' and the claim that those new plastic pouches of Kenco are environmentally friendly because they contain 97% less packaging than before. It's done BY WEIGHT. The old packaging was a GLASS JAR. Urgh.

The only conclusion I can come to is that beauty product manufacturers think that people are stupid. Who knows? Maybe they're right.

I feel like Chicken Tonight...

Time is running out. I need to think of a hen night costume that is funny, vaguely attractive (or just REALLY funny) and that adheres to the hen/chicken-based pun theme.

Ideas so far:
Unfortuately this dude is taken:
Suggestions please!

Symptom Checker Suspicions

Has anyone ever used the NHS Direct Symptom Checker and got a result other than:

a) Call 999 immediately;

b) It is safe to treat this problem at home?

Thought not.

Anyone would think the site was designed purely to stop people clogging up their GP's waiting room...

Good weekend...

...in Cardiff, as usual.

Crying with laughter, Sunday roast, so much drama, comedy dancing of the office genre (seriously, you haven't lived until you've broken out the Watercooler), rowing in the park, lots of catching up, crapbutbrilliant magazines, no emergency doctors needed this time, discovering Beth's dog, getting a bit sunburnt, laughing a bit more, drinking some tea.

You knows I loves it.

Election Reaction (one week on)

(Written for MPower magazine.) Here 'tis:

I must be getting old. This is the first time I’ve ever felt resigned to our two-party system. I can feel all the teenage idealism draining away. Just two weeks ago I was holding back tears (I cry when I get angry…or sad…or happy…or tired) arguing about why exercising one’s democratic right should be taken seriously. And I stand by what I said then, I do, but it all just seems a bit, well, pointless.

I think it was the sense of anticlimax and slight confusion that last Friday brought with it; I quickly realised I would have to stand up, be brave and admit it: I had (correction, have) no idea what this election result really means. For me, or for anyone else. I feel like I’m reviewing a gig just after the second support act has left the stage. Anything I write now will undoubtedly come across as hideously irrelevant and ill-informed before this piece has even been proofread, or even before I’ve finished writing it. (Edit - this prediction will come true. Fact.)

I voted Lib Dem (twentysomething teacher has left wing leanings. Shocking, huh?) So I guess I should be happy. This is the biggest opportunity the party has had in recent history to actually influence policy making; in that sense the hung parliament is a good thing. So why do I feel like it’s all about to end in reputation-destroying disaster?

I didn’t vote Tory, and I probably never will, but I’m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that, at this stage, someone other than David Cameron might end up as PM. How can he get the most votes, but still not get to lead? The voting system might be (sorry, is) unfair, but surely it’s wrong that we could all turn up and vote, only for the politicians to re-make our decisions for us, behind closed doors. The undisputable fact is that Nick Clegg has got to play this very carefully. If he’s seen to be propping up the Labour party and potentially keeping him in office it’ll be political suicide. But then getting into bed with the Tories isn’t exactly going to win over the party faithful, or help to achieve the electoral reform that might actually start to create a fair system. At least it’s not my decision.

Speaking of closed doors (and we were, remember) I’m sick of 24 hour news coverage. I watched (glanced at occasionally while drinking tea and feeling hungover) BBC News 24 for a couple of hours on Sunday morning. Let’s just say: three doors, three hours, no news. Well, David Cameron returned from his morning jog and chatted to a neighbour, but nothing newsworthy enough to prevent me from turning over to Something for the Weekend.

Argh, the repeat of Coast has just been interrupted by a Breaking News piece! A lectern has just been set up outside Number 10. ‘Something is extremely imminent indeed.’ But what? David Dimbleby is about to take over the coverage, it must be important. 24 hour news, this is why you are pointless: every time something actually happens, it’s forced upon us whether or not we were wasting our lives watching the news channel. DD is now telling us about the gates on Downing St. News, you’re killing me. This is probably the least exciting important political moment ever. DD starting to talk even more slowly to fill time… He’s obviously running out of gate-related trivia. I wish I was still watching Coast. Shut up, David, Gordon’s talking! He looks pale. Sarah is hanging around behind him, looking slightly awkward, like she doesn’t know what to do with her hands. Blah, blah. Awkward eye contact and well-practised cracking voice when thanking wife for love and support. ‘Thank you, and goodbye.’ Oh god, now he’s bringing the kids out. Good thing no-one cares enough to try an assassination attempt. Kids look cute but confused. They’ve packed light, anyway. A Daimler. In a recession. Typical. DD keeps talking about executing prime ministers. Am a bit worried about him.

So it looks like ConLib. Shame really, I enjoyed the alliteration of LabLib, but sometimes democracy has to come first. Cameron’s PM. He’s driving to the palace and everything. Just because I think it’s fair, doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it. Cuts, cuts, cuts. Probably from education budgets. The Tory pre-election vagueness about where the cuts will come from suggests (and you don’t have to be a fully qualified political analyst to figure this out) that they will be painful. More sitting on the fence over Europe. Unfair tax breaks. Throwing money at nuclear missiles. My faith in Mr Clegg’s ability to influence policy is already waning…

I am, however, not one to ruin your day with doom, gloom and indecision, so let’s take a moment to remember the silver comedy lining of the 2010 General Election: the forty year old black man who had served in the Navy for 30 years. Sir, I salute you.

Digger? Oi! Dagger? Oi!





Two shocks:

It was geuinely enjoyable.

£6.90 for a hot dog and a drink. I settled for a £3 bucket of diet coke instead.

Is it wrong to hate a child?

One of the Junior Apprentice candidates is doing my head in. Watching the series back-to-back on iplayer has probably made my feelings more intense than they should be.

I hate her.

I want to write a full account of exactly why, but what if lots of people do this and she becomes obsessed with googling herself and the whole thing drives her to suicide? I don't want to be in any way responsible for the death of a child.

Although if she pulls one more stupid face, I will be writing an uncompromising account of her flaws. If only to stop me throwing my TV/laptop out of the window.

From bad to worse.

From the Beckenham Times:

"A police sergeant accused of simulating sex with a dead fox, before cutting his head off and putting it on a patrol car bonnet, was caught speeding down the A2 on the same day."

Call me Moses*

*He had something to do with the ten commandments, right?

The problem with rapid technological advances is that things that were completely unacceptable a few years (or months) ago are now the norm. Channel 4 news informed me this evening that it's ok for people to tweet 'live' from the House of Commons. Hmmpf.

The point is, that I think it's time for me to make a commitment so that I can stand by my curmudgeonly principles in the future.


My Ten Facebook Commandments:

1. Thou shallt not post overly emotional status updates.

2. Thou shallt not update thy relationship status every time thou hast an argument/make up again/hast another argument.

3. Thou shallt stalk away, yet...

4. ...thou shallt not go so far as to create a 'fakebook' account, in order to stalk people in a different network. However, I will admit to being a slight hypocrite on this one, because I once recommended this plan to a friend. As it turned out, her suspicions were confirmed.

5. Thou shallt not post/tag photos of thyself in any kind of state of undress.

6. Thou shallt not join Farmville. EVER.

7. Thou shallt not 'like' any pages not written by someone you personally know.

8. Thou shallt not create an 'amusing' middle name for thyself.

9. Thou shallt not tell the world how much you love your boyfriend. The world doth not give a shit.

10. Thou shallt make every effort to ensure thy spelling and grammar is at least vaguely accurate.

Turns out that thinking of things that annoy me on facebook was surprisingly easy. I should probably just delete my account. Oh yes, that's right: you can't. Jesus might not have given me eternal life but, thanks to my facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg has.

All grown-up?

Two things happened this weekend that made me realise that, in some small way, I have become a grown-up.

1. Yesterday, my ex-boyfriend got married.

2. Today, I sorted through my clothes and, for the first time ever, 'it might come in useful for fancy dress' was not a valid reason for keeping an otherwise unwearable item of clothing. That, my friends, is maturity.

And I will throwwwwwwwwwwwww them in the lake...

We saw The Futureheads last night. They were awesome.

I wrote this last week as an introduction to a post, but (even though the gig was only a week ago) I can't remember enough to add much detail.

I do remember, however, that it was ace. I love the feeling of escapism that accompanies good, loud music and bad, but enthusiastic, dancing.

Just like Mamma used to make!

I can finally claim a pizza base(d) victory.

It was an unadulterated success. Well, apart from the moment where I set the baking paper on fire. Luckily I dealt with this calmly, and definitely did not scream 'Help! Fire! Eeee!' so that my boyfriend would feel the need to run in and laugh at me, sorry, rescue me.

Just like Mamma used to make?

Later this evening I shall be embarking upon a pizza-making odyssey. Last time I made pizza the top got charred and the bottom was still raw (no, I didn't turn the grill on by accident). I managed to blame that on the dodgy old Norwegian oven, but if this one turns out badly, I'll have to admit defeat. Soggy, cheesy, defeat. Wish me luck.

Captial Ring 1 (haha...ring)


Immature? Yes. Funny? Well, it was to me.

Anyway. Thursday brought with it our first outing on the Capital Ring (a walk that goes around the whole of London, in 4-6 mile stints). We did two stints, so walked all the way from Streatham Common to Richmond. My legs hurt, but it was worth it. Here's the highlights:



















Things that caught my eye at the V&A...

Painting
Breakfast dress

Rhino

Digital picture

Paper mache necklace

Neck piece

Twirly railings

Piano dress

Teapot

Roman column cast

Vase

Glass thingy