Monthly Archives: February 2011

My Genes are Apparently a Bit of a Fail

I myself am a bit of a fail, because I don’t know how to embed videos, and it’s too late at night for me to bother thinking about trying.

What I will instead do is tell you that you simply must click this link here. It’ll take you to Martin’s blog, where there is a video, which I think you absolutely and utterly ought to watch, because there is a man on it with a fantastic beard saying all the things I always want to say to people, and far better than I have ever managed to say them myself.

As Martin warns you, the video is an nearly an hour long. Please don’t let that put you off, though. It’s compelling, comprehensive, comprehensible, witty, and charming. I clicked on it simply to see what it was all about, planning on coming back to it tomorrow, earlier in the day, something to watch over supper if no-one’s around to eat with. Fifty-two minutes later I looked up and realised it was gone midnight and my ‘quick glance’ idea had completely failed. It’s a lecture, done without notes, powerpoint, simply a guy and his whiteboard, talking – so I’m not asking you to sit down and do nothing else for an hour, you don’t have to glue your eyes to the screen if you don’t want. I knitted, because it’s last thing at night and that’s what I do when I’m in for the night; but as long as you listen, you can do anything. Paint your ceiling, do some yoga, shampoo the cat. I don’t mind. Just listen.

Inevitable Disclaimer: For any of you who got here through Facebook and are new to this blog and perhaps don’t know me quite so well, yes, that’s right. I have been depressed – or, to use the proper terminology, had one or more episodes of major depression. I have also been well now for almost eighteen months, and for assorted reasons I really don’t foresee it happening again.



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Primarily Marmalade (Although Not, Not Really)

This week I have thought of a lot of things to say here. I have also completely failed to write any of them down, which is a shame, because I thought of one quite funny idea for a post, and one quite serious thought-provoking idea, but I don’t have a clue now what those ideas where about. Could have been anything. Funny and thought-provoking is all I know.

This is probably because this week has been pleasantly insane. On Sunday, as usual, church, coffee, and loafing around, helping the sopranos with their secret Valentine’s presents for each other, and then home, where I finally found the time to wash all my clothes and tidy and clean everything post-revision (please tell me it isn’t just me that, come the end of any given exam season, lives in some kind of morass of random bits of paper and arbitrarily discarded special-shabby-warm-revision-clothing). The rest of the week skittered past in a mad rush, fourteen hour days, hours and horus spent in the library, punctured by lots of Things. Rehearsals, lectures, labs, coffee (of course), beer, and Lagavulin (specifically. This week’s new discovery. Despite all the other fairly amazing things that happened, Lagavulin is probably the highlight of the week. Oh my god).

A’s birthday involved apple cake, a tea-cosy which I knitted (and, sorry, forgot to photograph), the most amazing dessert wine to go with said cake, and a pub quiz, which my team won. I never thought, in my wildest dreams, that I’d be on a winning quiz team. I was pretty sure until yesterday that I was basically a sort of pub quiz lurgy, the vast black hole of my ignorance swallowing all possible traces of Quite Interesting knowledge that my friends might possess. Apparently, though, not only do my friends know Lots of Things, but so do I. So it goes.

And then I accidentally went into town, accidentally found myself at a funk/soul night, and accidentally found myself doing rounds, and deliberately got two guys thrown out for hassling me (the usual drunk lad thing, not only invading but laying waste to any sense of personal space I might have), and then accidentally ended up in a staff lock-in.

Deservedly, very hungover today.

In other news I made marmalade a few weeks ago. There are photos. They are in the gallery. They are primarily of fruit, but they’re quite pretty.


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Draft: Keeping Warm

This one’s from when it was actually snowy and stuff, i.e. before Christmas.

Our house is pretty chilly, and has a bit of a damp problem. So, started by my housemate H and I, here’s a list of things we could do to stay warm.

  1. Wrapping ourselves in blankets and drinking a lot of gin, thus wearing the alcoholic garb of our choice whilst also staying above freezing.
  2. Huddling around appliances when they’re switched on – even the washing machine gives off a little heat, and there’s at least five minutes’ joy to be had from standing over the oven, door open, after you’ve finished cooking. And whilst you’re cooking, of course, you can sit on the floor in front of the oven with your back against the oven door. The tumble dryer is pretty cosy too, but it is at the top of the stairs to the cellar so there’s no light to speak of and obviously you have to weigh up the benefit of the heat given off by the tumble dryer against the cold draught blowing up from the cellar.
  3. If we take up smoking we might get some heat off our cigarettes. Possibly. Ditto candles.
  4. A full gym membership would mean we could just stay in the sauna until ten at night. And probably sleep over there. I bet they turn the heating on at night too.
  5. Ludicrous layering – thermals, pyjamas, onesie, jumper, bedsocks, sleeping bag, duvet, blanket. Or in my case an electric blanket. These are our current solutions. Also I somehow acquired a massive cloak/pashmina thing, like you imagine really posh ladies wearing to the opera. It’s very warm *and* you can get your hands out and use them, which is harder with a blanket.
  6. Be ill. Encourage fever. Running a temperature has to mean I’ll get vaguely hot. I seem to be accomplishing this one quite effectively too.
  7. Illicit drugs. They may not make you warmer, but if you pick the right drugs and the right quantities you’ll probably be tripping so hard you don’t notice when frostbite kicks in.

Alternatively I suppose we could just be a bit less stingy/environmentally smug about turning the heating on, but come on, that would be ridiculous.


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Draft: Self Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Posting another random draft for you all. At some point I’m going to have to think about my Obligatory Valentines’ Post (have you noticed? I always seem to write a Valentine’s Day post around about this time, usually because I’m moping and sloping about and relish the chance to bitch about being poor and single. This year I’m still poor and single but I don’t particularly mind, so I don’t know if or what I’ll say about this momentous day, except that it’s silly). So in the meantime, here’s a whole blog entry about my face. You know you love it.

The thing is, you see, my face. And for that matter the rest of me. I think we’ve got to the point now, me and my body, where the only things that are going to change are going to be my haircut, my glasses, and, gradually, an increase in freckles and wrinkles and (let’s face it) body fat.

Photos from a year or more back look somehow younger. The face-shape is different, the skin looks more translucent, somehow. I just look young. And photos of me now, well, they look almost unfamiliar, because the person I see there is not quite how I imagine myself. The person I see there frightens me, because she is my whole future. I can’t see how I look different now to how I will look in five, ten, twenty years, except, as I say, freckles and lines.

Time, confronting me like this in this layered way – I recognise her, I see the child she was, but  that is not who looks out at me now, what looks out at me is me both today and in ten or twenty years – it frightens me, simply because, suddenly, it seems so much shorter, more truncated, broader, and more immediate than it used to.

And photos in which I am tired, or the light is poor and I am slightly more tanned than usual – in those photos I look lined and jowly already. Shop in the odd grey hair and, there we have it, fifty.

No wonder I look at photos of my mother at university and still can’t quite imagine her actually being twenty-one, like me – I can’t help thinking that she looks like a middle-aged woman dressing up as a student from a different decade, even though I know that’s not the case at all. If I’m already seeing those layers of time over my own face, and those are future layers, they haven’t yet happened, then what chance do I have of erasing time that I already know has elapsed, and ceasing to see in those photos my own mother, essentially as I see her now, but in a long denim skirt and ankle socks, or sitting in the bath fully dressed? Not a hope.

Which is going to be bloody weird for my children, when they find those photos of me from Towersey 2009 wearing a miniscule lacy negligee and clearly somewhat the worse for wear…


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Boys & Clothes

I just found this in my ‘Notes’ folder in my email (thanks to my phone, again). I wrote it a couple of months back, but found it today when looking for a note which contained some genuinely useful information. Since it actually made me laugh out loud, on the train (I should probably be embarrassed about that for a whole host of reasons), I thought I’d put it out here. Low-effort blogging is the way forward.

Here is something I don’t understand. Ask a friend, male or female, what they think of these trousers, or should you wear this dress or that dress, and you will probably get an opinion, expressed in complete sentences, and if you’re lucky it’ll be with reference to colours and lengths and cuts that suit your figure, and if you’ve chosen a less well-informed friend it’ll at least be something like ‘you look more grown-up in that’ or ‘perhaps it’d look better with your other shoes’. It doesn’t seem to affect the validity, informedness or accuracy of the verdict reached (if there’s an objective standard for these things) whether who you ask is a man or a woman; you’re equally likely or unlikely to get something reasonable out of either gender.

And then you go and make the mistake of sleeping with one of them. Men, that is; I can’t speak for women – and suddenly questions about clothing choices are met with staggering, pre-verbal nonsense. It’s as if the moment a bloke has seen you in your knickers he’s no longer capable of formulating a sentence longer than three monosyllabic words or, at worst, merely ‘boobs’.

And yet were you, say, his housemate, it’d be all ‘oh isn’t that a bit Lanvin circa 1995’ or ‘that would look great with the leather jacket you were wearing the other day’. Furthermore said men seem still able to have conversations with one about, say, Afghanistan, or Harry Potter, or cookery – so it’s not as if I’m some mythical monster who lobotomises her victims in their sleep or, worse, during sex, so that they turn into gibbering, sex-crazed pubescent imbeciles. If I was I’d either have sex a lot more often (assuming that if I was such a mythical creature I would have a completely different/nonexistent moral code) or never (assuming that, being me, a reasonably normal human being, I don’t actually want to lobotomise the men I sleep with).

So I have to conclude it’s partly a show. Men a) wish to flatter their woman by being attracted to her, b) wish to make it known that she should be either naked or dressed like a Bond girl at all times, and c) can’t possibly appear so unmanly as to have Opinions About Clothes in front of the girl they fancy.

In all fairness, it is kind of flattering for the question ‘what should I wear?’ to be met with a cheeky boyish grin and a hesitant ‘that one… Because… Tighter?’ But equally, you’re seeing me get dressed. You’re best placed to have an actually useful opinion. And you have put clothes on before. Would, say, conjunctions, nouns like ‘shoes’ or words for colours really be pushing it that much?!


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I’ve put a bunch of pictures up on this site. If you click on the tab labelled ‘Gallery’, above, there you’ll see them.

More probably to follow.


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It would be great if…

…I could have a selection of header images that changed every time you refreshed or clicked on to a new page in my blog or indeed visited my blog in the first place. Do you know what I mean? And is that a Thing I Can Do? Without redesigning my blog from scratch (as you might have gathered, that’s just not a Thing I Can Do).


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I’ll take your coat, and would you like a cup of tea? Yeah, take a seat, sorry, they’re all covered in newspapers and cats and textbooks. Standard.

Welcome back to the new-old-new On The Brink.

New look!

A lot of the links were out of date or whatever. If you’re not in the blogroll anywhere in those sidebars, and you’d like to be – or you are, and you don’t want to be – please let me know.

Now. Are you sitting comfortably? Then let me begin.


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