Monthly Archives: September 2009

Is It Because I’m Ill?

I’ve just installed Firefox (yeah, I know, a million years behind the entire rest of the planet, all of whom by this point are probably using Chrome, or something, but bear with me) and I swear that everything – everything! – is moving faster. This could just be because I’m ill and therefore finding the world to be a Very Confusing Place right now.

Also I’ve got a hideous feeling that when I backed up my computer to my external hard drive in preparation for sending it off to PC World (yeah, I know, I know a million friends who would have fixed it quicker and probably could have been fobbed off with a tenner or the promise of many pints or something without feeling the need to delete everything I own and send my computer back to me ten days after I first let it out of my hot and sweaty paws) not everything made it onto the external hard drive. I’ve yet to  check out the situation fully but I can’t believe that everything will have safely made it onto and then off of the hard drive without some of it being lost along hte way. For one thing I’ve a sinking feeling that I actually had more stuff than would reasonably fit on that drive. Hopefully what I’ve lost is music (which is all on my iPod and therefore hopefully I can rip back onto my computer with a certain amount of geekery – any volunteers?) rather than photos, especially as my photos carry more value to me since they document all the good times and the bad times that I’m stupidly terrified I’ll somehow forget, ignoring for a minute my theory that if something is important enough you remember it, and if you forget it it clearly wasn’t a memory you really needed all that much. Anyway, like I say, we have yet to find out.

Now I must climb back onto that sofa downstairs, drink more tea, and watch Miss Marple please, whilst knitting. If it wasn’t for the headache and the fact that somehow I’m meant to be able to sing tonight I’d almost enjoy being ill…!

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Fresher’s Flu

Yes, already. Just when I want to be going to lectures and searching for a job and auditioning for choirs and making a really good decent new start to the year, and here I am stuck at home with a brain shrunk to the size of a pea and my head all stuffed up and dopey and my throat killing me. I am not impressed.

Meanwhile the last few days – since this is my first entry in ‘real’ time for a while – have been fun. All jobhunting and organising and box-ticking and form-filling, and last Saturday our first ever night out as a house, which was great fun. But all of this has obviously been stressful, that, and settling back into an old town, in a new house, with people I haven’t seen in months and not the people with whom I spent the summer. Change and things, and unsurety, and not being able to move into my room for a few days because for a few days we didn’t know which room it was going to be. So yes, stress and unsureness and change and new things. You can see what’s coming. A total crash in confidence which had me eating even less than I had been all summer and somehow my eating became (has become?) a big deal. And now I’m aware just how illogical I’m being, I’m trying to be more sensible, it’s working. And I’m all signed up for counselling and I’m going to the doctor’s regularly and it’s all going to be fine.

Meanwhile I’m watching something called The Real Housewives of New Jersey which is a hilarious show about all these insanely rich housewives who dress and act and wear their hair like they’re still seventeen. It shocks me. All shopping and ‘I’m going to get breast implants even though my hubby is more of an ass man…’ – their husbands clearly being the ones controlling the purse strings. And their relationships with their children – they seem like children themselves, these super-rich housewives, and selfish with it. Every relationship they have is all about them, until it’s all about how their children are hurting them by being a bit unthinking in their manners, the whole thing is about image, and about themselves as central characters, not as mothers overseeing the growth of whole new adults. Protected, selfish, insulated from a world that is changing and in which they cannot responsibly continue to live the lives they are living, buying their children cars in exchange for good grades, but then denying them those self-same cars because they get a little tetchy at a mother-and-daughter photoshoot. Women with perfect limbs and perfect boobs and completely vapid brains, still gossiping about the tedious ins and outs of some completely adolescent relationship of one of their single friends and I can’t believe that at the age of, what, forty at the outside? they can still be happy with this life in which they are honestly still seemingly about seventeen albeit with a lot more ready cash.

More than that I can’t believe I’m still watching this. Goodnight all.

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I Never Really Borrowed Her Dresses or Make-Up But I Did Once Wear Her Gold Earrings…

…and as I remember, I got in a lot of trouble for it too mainly because I’d only just got my ears pierced and could easily have got a horrible ear infection. Probably did, in fact. I don’t recall.

Anyway, my mother. When I was younger – in fact, no, even now – I always wanted to be like her when I was older. I do still want to be like her when I am older. Strong, independent, interesting, practical, not fussy or pernickety. The kind of parent who tells you off by explaining why you shouldn’t do this or that, or why you ought to have said that not the other. Understand why something is wrong and you never do it again, partly because you’re wracked by guilt (perhaps) but mainly because it makes sense and you’re being treated with a degree of respect, trusted with the understanding to judge for yourself what is right and what is wrong.

She’s a strong woman and a role model, exactly the right degree of feminist, a woman whose home is where her toothbrush is and around whom everyone feels at home. Kind and friendly and interesting, the kind of mother my friends always have liked and got on with (almost better than they have with me on occasion!). A friend as well as being a parent, not instead of being a parent, who understands me, supports me,  and sometimes gets it wrong – and isn’t afraid to say so if she does.

I told her all this at the bus stop the other day and she said afterwards how flattered she was. In our reserved way, though, it was just another chat, another silly conversation, and we joked about it as much as we were serious. And apparently I’m not necessarily a million miles away from some time being like that – I just have to live, first. And isn’t that exciting?

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By No Means Alone

This is a conundrum. I am as you know looking for a job (well, this is going up a few days after it’s been written so finger’s crossed, perhaps I’m already employed). And (sorry if you’re not a woman/someday-medic/reasonably unsqueamish man) as you know when Aunt Penelope comes to call (sorry, that phrase still gives me an unreasonable amount of joy) I tend to end up in an unreasonable amount of pain (P half-seriously (I believe) offered to carry me into the house last time he dropped me home as I clenched my teeth and prepared to hobble from the car up my (very short) front path). A has been known to laugh hysterically seeing me practically crawl around last year’s flat. This is no laughing matter (well, maybe it is, but not if you’re me).

(Today I like brackets).

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is as follows.I’ve yet to find a decent prescription or non-prescription painkiller, and I am slightly loth to go on the Pill, not because I’m not the world’s biggest supporter of legal and pharmaceutically necessary drugs – I throw back paracetamol, mefenamic acid and ibuprofen like some people breathe – but because I’m worried that it’ll somehow make me infertile (yeah, I know, it’s vanishingly likely). So, yes, pain. And then I go and interview for a job, and, let’s hope, I get that job, and the likelihood is, I’ll be taking one if not two sick days every month because I simply won’t be able to so much as leave my house, let alone get to work and do my job. Who the hell takes two sick days every month? Who the hell takes 1/15th of the time off work – which is like a half day in every seven, or perhaps as much as three hours a week – and still expects to keep their job and get decent references? And what if on top of that I were to contract some other kind of illness/migraine/other which prevented me from going in? It’s a serious worry. But what can you do?

(I’m getting bored of brackets. But have one more, next paragraph).

(As you’ll have noticed I’m posting less often at the moment, basically because it’s probably high time I got a life and spent less time writing here and thinking about what to write here and checking my readership and so on. And possibly it might mean that more of what I do write is actually worth reading, perhaps? And anyway, I’m a busy woman and a grown-up, didn’t you know?)

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A Few Facts

Did you know you can get WordPress to proofread your blog for such gems as bias language, cliche and double negatives, as well as hidden verbs and a multitude of other sins of poor writing? Being arrogant and clearly a brilliant writer I am sort of of the opinion that anyone who needs these tools should probably not be keeping a blog, but there we go.

Meanwhile, slowly, thanks to my brilliant friend M from Brain Detour I am slowly getting myself set up at the brand new On The Brink. I’m keeping the name because I think it’s a good one and I still feel like I’m in some kind of watershed zone between adulthood and childhood and total idiocy, and I’m not sure that’s due for change any time soon! Anyway, from now on in you can check that and slowly it’ll acquire all the posts I’ve written here (I hope) and obviously brand spanking new posts of the genius and wit that you’ve all come to expect from me…!

This place will still be where I’m at for a little while because there’s a few things scheduled to go up over the next few days and I’ve yet to find a theme I’m completely happy with – I still want some day to design it myself and I’ve got some ideas about what it would look like if I could do anything particularly clever, but for now that’s not going to change. The moment I get my laptop back, however, I’ll be zipping straight up to my new blog and start hanging pictures on the walls and making my presence felt and it will be a thing of great beauty.

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You Lot Are Ridiculous

Facebook is getting ridiculous. I know I have a lot of applications; I use about three of them, if you count ‘Video’ as an application rather than just another aspect of Facebook Proper these days. I also use Lexulous and have just got Farmville just to see what all the hype is about. I’m not sure yet why it’s so popular, to be honest. Perhaps if I were, what, eight? We’ll see.

Other applications are just downright annoying. ‘What kind of character from history would you be?’ ‘What DC Superhero would you be?’. Stupid questions with no relevance to the ideas and descriptions they come out with defining you for utterly spurious reasons as this or that. What Disney Princess would you be? What Psychological Disorder Should You Have? Yes, that’s a real one. IQ tests, grammar tests, the whole lot. Yes, I do them, with the same healthy dose of scepticism as I expect most people who answer these quizzes actually have. Or rather, I did. I’m getting bored of large swathes of the internet, I really am. It’s a pretty stupid addiction. I read fewer comics these days, keep up with fewer blogs. Although you should definitely read The Daily Kitten. Everyone needs a regular dose of Insanely Cute.

Anyway I just wanted to drop by and say, I really hate Causes. Yes, we all don’t like Child Abuse, Animal Neglect, Rape, or Torture. Most people don’t approve of these things. But there’s no point in standing up and saying so by joining whatever Cause it is. Don’t go thinking you’re doing something about Saving The Donkeys just because you’ve joined a cause. Don’t think it’s an active step saying I Don’t Support Child Abuse. It’s not helpful to think of joining a Cause as an active step, as a way of Doing Something About whatever-it-is because then whatever you could really do to help – which probably involves a little more effort, or money, or signing a petition, or whatever – will seem like just a bridge too far, and does, to many people. If you really want to do something about something in this world, don’t just meekly sit and be counted with all the other six million twenty-somethings, think what you could actively do. Joining a Cause doesn’t make you a better person, it doesn’t make you look like a better person, not to anyone with half a brain. If you have no money, give time. If you have no time, give money. If you have no time or money, feel guilty, like me, or find some time or money (I know I’m no saint). But don’t just sit about telling us what a giving, sharing and kind person you are, because you’re not, seriously.

There we go. Rant over.

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Hello world!

New blog will be along shortly. In the meanwhile, I’m still blogging here.

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Just a Quick Notice

I will hopefully soon be moving to www.standingonthebrink.co.uk which a friend just found for me. There are some Complicated Things I have to do (or rather, get said friend to do) first in order to organise the move, but yes, I has a piece of the internets and it’s All Mine. I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, meanwhile, this diagram was found by the same friend on a blog that he reads. I don’t like the blog but the diagram is wonderful. Slightly XKCD, methinks.

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Hello

Hello, and sorry about recent absence. Thanks to the brilliant scheduling tool I feel like I’ve been away longer than I have.

Anyway, my laptop is currently getting fixed and I won’t have it for a few days, possibly upwards of a week. Very inconvenient, but that is the way it is. Furthermore I’ll not necessarily be in Uni Town because I may be going to visit P (I hope). This all depends on the successfulness of the jobhunt and possible ensuing chaos.

I seem to have a million things to do and very little time in which to do them, and despite the brilliance of my Filofax I still can’t seem to get my head around everything that may or may not have to happen, how my stuff is going to make its way back to Uni Town, or when I’m meant to be where. Today I am going up to Uni Town with the cello and minimal other stuff and possibly my mother; with the hope that heavy stuff will follow in the car within the next few weeks.

There, an exciting entry for all of yers. Now…packing. Oh, hell.

Incidentally I am nervous about going back. This is ridiculous. I am going back to a city I love, to a house filled with people I love, to friends and places familiar and wonderful. I am still doing the same course, I am looking forward to getting a job and joining the orchestra and the choir and getting out in the Peaks and so many millions of things, but as ever I’m a nervous wreck. I hate packing, I’m convinced it’s all going to go hideously wrong, and yes, I’m nervous. Wish me luck.

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England & The Collapse

Reading Marcus’s recent blog entry, which you can find here, I had a few thoughts, which are actually not really any different from wot ‘e said, but nonetheless I’m going to shout them at you all because I am truly wonderful like that. Or not.

So, England. In reference to various local shows and such, or the whole folk festival thing, and as usual the fact that it’s summer turning to autumn and everything is just beautiful – I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot of late. Not, as Marcus said, the whole ‘bloody forriners and immigrants stealing all our jobs’ flag-waving BNP false nostalgia politicised insanity thing, but literally, an appreciation for a time when most of us lived in the countryside rather than the city, a love for how bloody beautiful this country is, honestly, look out of your window, drive out of your city, get into the Peaks or the South Downs or Dorset or Devon or the Fens and tell me this isn’t heartbreakingly beautiful, rain or shine, dark or light.

And the whole thing. The traditions, the Sunday roast thing, the fairs and the markets and the regional accents and the superstitions and the characteristics which define us as a group of people (not always necessarily positive but ours nonetheless), the strange regional surnames and foods and things, the weather, terribly English manners, all of it. The kinds of women that still run the fete, man the choir stalls, do the flowers at Church, set up choirs and orchestras and amateur dramatics and local music festivals in town halls, that invite underpriveleged city children to their country piles because everyone needs a holiday from time to time. Plums and damsons and oh! Jam! made from all these things. Blackberries. The smallest, newest allotment potatoes. It’s all still there, England, the way we idealise it, at least in bits: the carol service I go to every year (and no I am not going to tell you about it, it’s too special, I don’t want all of you showing up and ruining it for me). Get on a train or a bus to anywhere and just look out the window, seriously. I love this country, always have, and yes, I’m a dirty Guardian-reading liberal, but I want my flag back, I want to be able to call myself a patriot, and mean only good things by that.

And The Collapse. In other words, what happens when the world ends? Some kind of environmental crisis. All the bees die, the world heats up too much, we run out of oil, and suddenly, that’s it, civilisation is over, and only a smattering of survivors pick through the ruins. This idea terrifies me. I partly want to be there to see how I’d cope, but in the main I am terrified, and I want no part in it except to try and stop that from happening. And stop it won’t. Here is George Monbiot debating with Paul Kingsnorth on the matter. One way or another, things are going to change, and it will be change for the worse.

What really, really scares me, and what makes me feel pre-emptively pretty guilty, is actually the idea that one day I’ll have children, and first of all, I’m bringing them into a world that is ending, and secondly, what if they live to see that end? Either way it’s not much to give them, is it – a world in chaos, or a world that has collapsed altogether? How can I possibly live with myself bringing children into such a world? But of course I’m a human being, it’s the genetic imperative, and the idea that the world might end in their lifetime somehow makes that even stronger – I want to have children who, as adults, will make it through, will start to build a new civilisation, and who will hopefully do it far better than our ancestors managed.

Better still I’d rather that they didn’t have to do any of those things, that they would grow up to go to nice schools ,wear nice clothes, have nice bicycles, eat tea and teacakes, play football, do ballet, ride horses, learn to grow things they can eat, and cook the things they grow, and bring their own children up in time playing cricket and listening to the songs you only really hear now in village halls on a Monday evening lisped out by six-year-olds, ancient songs of love and longing and journeys and deaths and lives, I imagine them singing those songs at parties at dusk with a bonfire and good ale, a simpler, more sustainable life; I want the world to be somehow sorted out for them so that they live in a way that can be kept going for centuries, that is beautiful. 

Oh hell, I’m emotional today. Apologies.

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