Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day #21: First 'Experience' on the Tube

The man opposite me on the tube was most unnerved by the amount of people coughing on the tube. I was most unnerved by him. He was swigging out of a bottle of what I discovered later was amber-coloured liquid in a glass bottle, inside a plastic bag. It was admittedly most amusing as he was threatening to kill the next person who did not cover their mouth whilst coughing. I managed to keep a straight face, however, as I did not wish to incur his alcohol-fuelled wrath. 

The man nearby apparently could not contain his mirth, however, and ended up being sworn at very loudly and aggressively for laughing so - the other tube goers looked away, at the roof - wise, really. The intolerant gentleman then claimed that there were 'too many ladies present' to really cause any trouble. Of course that's why he didn't kill anyone.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day #20: My First Monday in an Office

So, this every-day posting is not going well without a computer as I have to cheat and write some posts on the same day. Still, must grab any opportunity when I can. I'm on my lunch break now, after my first Monday morning (meetings in Starbucks with my colleagues, like real business people you see in Starbucks, writing about... erm, builders and generally being very busy and important, a la Bridget Jones). 

As it is often the case of being the new girl, I am still trying to settle in but in a couple of weeks, I should be fully part of the team. Being slightly quieter than the average person, I have not yet shown much of my personality, but in time they shall know the extent of my ahem, quirks and HILAROUSNESS. Still, they have all made me feel welcome and are a lovely, friendly, cool office. I am looking forward to getting to know them. 

Reckon that's enough brown-nosing?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day #15: Be a Man

I am currently wearing a moustache, to get into the man mindset. I'll be honest, I missed it when I took it off (bit sweaty though). Research was minimal: I asked a few people and the responses were 'Jesus', 'Gary Glitter', 'the perfect man' and 'what I'd fancy' amongst others. No... So the brief is, what would you be like if you were a boy? Two people answered sufficiently: one said that she would basically be like her brother looks-wise, and very caring and quite effeminate; the other said that she was thinking about being a boy the other day: "not cos I fancy having a wanger or getting with girls or ought just because it'd be SO MUCH EASIER". Well, quite.
In truth, I wouldn't have that far of a leap. I mean, I retain a certain amount of femininity: I wear dresses (occasionally), make-up, that sort of thing. But I drink pints (much to my big brother's disgust), call my friends foul names and hurl general abuse at them and in my university days, pretty much lived in a pit. So, I reckon I could quite easily adjust (mostly; I don't know if I could quite bring myself to sit around with my hands down my pants as so many men seem to be so fond).

If I were a man, I think that I'd be one of those 'indie twats' (for use of a better phrase), I mean, I could be called such a thing now but it's more difficult to tell - I would be the owner of many a checked shirt, I expect, and skinny jeans (just being realistic). Maybe I'd be a bit of an idiot if I was a boy. My hair would be shaved up the sides and ridiculously feathery on top. And I'd probably be quite disgusting, just, you know, because I could be. I would sport fair amount of stubble, but not a beard, and, well, probably be the lad that uses all the crap chat-up lines on girls because it's funny. Most importantly, I would relish standing up to wee.

Man by girlscoutuplate

NB: These sunglasses were the manliest ones I could find, ok?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day #14: Sink to a new low

IMG01642-20110321-1621.jpg by girlscoutuplate

'Sink' to a new low... That's a plughole in a sink... Ahem. Yeh, the bad puns just keep on coming.
No use crying over spilt milk. Actually, that's milk and coffee. 

I was going to post something else today but I decided I needed to do more field research. Not in a field. On, y'know, facebook and that.

On a musical related note (because it feels like there hasn't been one for ages), I've decided I quite like the new Strokes song, despite the album 'Angles' being  ridiculously hyped (I haven't listened to the whole thing yet). They're not exactly breaking new ground, I mean, this sounds like a cross between interchangeable songs from their first and second albums, but it's still working for them, and it's certainly made many Strokes fans feel nostalgic and warm and fuzzy inside. Which is good...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day #13: Have a Bad Day

... So I had a frankfurter sandwich (with lots of Ketchup, of course) and listened to Jamie Cullum (why I thought that would work I have no clue). I am currently trying to work out whether I should listen to really depressing music and feel really sorry for myself or whether I should listen to something upbeat and snap out of it. Anyway, I still feel like shit so I'm not even going to attempt to write anything else until this metaphorical cloud has passed (number of pieces started today: 4. Number of pieces angrily discarded: 4).

I bet that frog was gutted... by girlscoutuplate
I also tried to cheer myself with by looking at pictures but then found this one of a frog I took last month. I bet it was gutted (Geddit? It was sad and its guts were hanging... Never mind. I'll get my coat). I was cheered slightly by my amazing wit. So it's not all bad. At least I'm not in the same position as that frog.

BREAKING NEWS: Y'know those people who did 'Brim Full of Asha' about a million years ago (well, some time in the 90s)? Cornershop are back with a new album, which I will be reviewing tomorrow. Go on, check back in a day. You know you want to. I already feel better. Thank you Cornershop. To preview the album on HypeMachine, click here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day #12: Watch new Skins (Finally)

So, I finally got round to watching Skins this afternoon (yes, it is three days after Thursday but I had to wait until I could watch it with my sister. It's our thing). The big season finale. Was it a success? I am not sure.

I am totally enamoured with the latest cast, after being distinctly unimpressed with the cast of the second generation, bar a few exceptions. Franky, our hero, is the only professional actor in the main cast (Dakota Blue Richards) and she is just delightful: quirky, awkward and cool. So, like me really. Ahem. One out of three ain't bad, anyway. The rest of the cast are endearing in one way or another: Alo the farmer's son and Rich the metalhead are my favourite duo (though the music in Rich's episode was a tad too much for me: yeh, we get it, he's 'metal', does every song have to be so obnoxious?!). The styling team have really excelled themselves, the outfits this season have been really special and almost magical, especially some of Franky's boyish creations, and her hair is so cool (don't really get the boxers though). 

The problem that I have had with the last three seasons is the ultimate focus on the centric character of the episode. They are too self-contained, there is only a glimpse of the world outside that character and compared to the well-balanced first two series, it is a slight disappointment. Having said that, this series has been thoroughly enjoyable, with really nice music (they played my new loves Dog is Dead tonight) and a general aura of cool. I seem to be in the minority with this opinion, as everyone I have spoken to about this has muttered 'it's shit' - no reasons though. Funny, that.

This week's ep was the wedding, or not, as it transpired. It was a placid journey through Somerset, nice music and fairly well balanced in terms of character screen time - then again, it was an 'everyone' episode. The journey did drag slightly at times, but then Spaced's Jessica Stevenson cameo did sweeten the deal. All in all, this week's episode did not set me on fire but I feel I cannot condone this episode for being crap when the rest of the series was so good, especially Rich's and Franky's episodes. I am excited about the next series, as there are several storylines which look promising, a few loose ends to tie up and hopefully the introduction of new characters. Skins is finally back on form! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day #11: Get Down on Friday

So I have been resisting listening to new viral sensation Rebecca Black's video: 'Friday', and I finally caved. Poor Rebecca Black. She only wanted to record a song to be heard by her friends and family, and maybe a few other people. Inexplicably, the video went viral in a matter of days, now having received over 14,000,000 views. 

The eighth-grade singer's name began trending on twitter after receiving hundreds of thousands of views, because of her 'unique' voice, unimaginative lyrics and bland nature (which according to NME, has a "standard, substandard chorus" Interesting word choice, NME). I think she's dealing with it rather well though, considering the unexpected fame, hatred and the decision to sing a terrible song. (Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday / Today i-is Friday, Friday... / Tomorrow is Saturday / And Sunday comes after... wards) . The record company, Ark, even gave her the opportunity to take the video off YouTube, but she decided to leave it up, as a 'middle finger up' to the haterz. You go, girlfriend.

Many, many internet memes have already been made, including Rosa Parks, Pedobear and Black Plague-inspired ones. She is being touted as the new Justin Beiber (well, they look similar) (Yeh, I made a terrible Justin Beiber's-a-girl joke) and whilst having received much hate, also made the iTunes top 100 chart. Well, all publicity is good publicity...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day #10: Go to the ballet

Well, I think I'm back on track for expanding my creative horizons. Amazingly, there was a ballet performance on near me: Coppelia. I, of course, jumped at the chance. It is a ballet that is close to my heart, as it's a bit weird, and something that I have seen several times growing up, having danced for ten years . The basic story is, mad doctor is lonely, he makes a doll for company, boy fancies doll, doll seemingly comes to life (but is girl pretending to be doll), doctor goes mad and boy marries girl. And some other stuff...

My memories of this ballet are extremely hazy in some parts, as it may have been as much as ten years since the last time I saw it, from a great distance. However, my enjoyment was not as I expected: yes, I had a whale of a time, but I felt cheated, in some way.

Shouldn't this experience be richer as a result of my advancing years? I did not enjoy the fact that I could see every sequin on the dancers' dresses, and every expression (their smiles were virtually painted on, why are they all so happy?!).

Having said that, it was really lovely. The costumes were not as, well, grimy or as dark as I would have liked: the ballet having some serious dark potential, I felt a tad disappointed that they did not utilise this side of the production. Some of the dresses were lovely, but the Coppelia that I remember is much simpler and more elegant in dress. And as for Coppelia/Swanilda's dress, it looked like a reject from goth Ann Summers...

Moreover, the set strangely reminded me of the Lloyds TSB ad. Overall, however, the experience was as I had hoped. The professor danced his role as he should, comic timing perfect and looked the part too. Both the leads were suited to their roles, whilst perhaps being too smug, but perhaps such is the way with leads. I mean, you could see everything in those tights.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day #9: Work with kids

I've never really been that great with kids, but over the last few months I've been helping out with a kid's after-school art group here. Some of them are patience testing, but they are all lovely kids and all so creative, despite being so young (ages ranging from 5-11). See talent in picture over yonder. Look at those colours.
Marbling by girlscoutuplate
Today we did marbling and origami. Origami is unsurprisingly not messy, yet surprisingly embarrassing when I, the helper, have trouble working out how you fold a bit of paper when there are clear instructions in front of me.

Marbling was, well... less complicated (involving water in bowl, paint in water and putting paper over water) although things did get a little sticky when a particularly young'un got a little overenthusiastic with said paint, and water went everywhere. Considering this was in the middle of an art gallery, it was a little embarrassing. I think said young'un's mother saw the funny side, however, despite the fact that she may not have noticed that her tiny jogging bottoms were spattered in water and paint...

Day #8: Find somewhere to stay

So the fact that I am going to London has not only sunk in, but I am currently trying to find accommodation. It's not difficult to find a flat to rent in London. This gets slightly more difficult if one is trying to find a place for little to well, no money, as I have no, well, minus amounts of money and am trying to find a solution. I am convinced it can be done (without selling my body). So I'm looking at every ad for lettings, part-time au pairing, but no such luck so far.

Trawling through the ads on sites such as Gumtree is slightly disheartening as there are so many, and most of them are far much more than I can afford. Worse than that, however, is the amount of weirdos that post there: one advert I saw raised my spirits momentarily: "Do you need short term Free accomodation?" On second glance, I realised that 'accommodation' was spelt incorrectly and that there is no such thing as a free lunch. On reading the actual advert, I rolled my eyes and cringed... "I OFFER : ONE DBL BEDROOM FOR FREE FOR SINGLE ATTRACTIVE GIRL / FEMALE....... ;););).. (SHORT TERM) ........ ;););)" Oh, and he's a 30-year old male. Rapiest. Ad. Ever. I wonder what replies he recieved... I mean, was he actually successful? Considering this ad has popped up four times since I started yesterday, probably not yet...

Back to the drawing board it is, then...

Also, if you hadn't heard, Nate Dogg died yesterday. RIP.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day #7: Get an internship

For the last few weeks, I have been increasingly uninspired and disheartened, because I haven't actually been anywhere further than a 20-mile radius in... about two months. Now, if I had been working a full-time job with far fewer money worries and not mostly bored out of my SKULL, I would have not noticed this fact too much. However, apart from sporadic volunteering I have been largely stuck at home looking for a job. 

Times are a-changing, however. I have been offered an internship, in London, for sixteen weeks, at a magazine, with some lovely people. THE most exciting thing that has happened to me in about six months. Or more. I feel alive again! I will see the city lights again, I will be living the dream! Oh, and it starts next week. Just a few minor details to sort out - living, when to get there, you know, nothing major....!

The important thing is, I AM GETTING AWAY for a bit! Besides, I already have an Oyster Card. What else could I need!?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day #6: Listen to copious amounts of pop music*

If you don't want to read about Girls Aloud and Lady GaGa, I suggest that you stop reading now. 

Just the two of us, then...? Anyway. I was listening to my 'super pumped up jams' hiphop playlist and suddenly got the craving for something sugary (like you do sometimes) and popped some Girls Aloud on. Lifted my mood infinitely! Pop music is underrated. Yes, I realise the irony of what I just said. What I mean to say is, with those types. You know.

I used to be one of those types. When I was about sixteen, I thought I had the best taste in music in the world (Enter Shikari was my favourite band, and 'all pop music is shit, man', clearly I didn't). But there is a simple joy to pop music. Manufactured, yes. Overly peppy, perhaps. But terrible, a lot of the time, no! And pretentious? Definitely not. 

Pop music is a common, uniting factor, whether it inspires deep hate in hipsters or whether it pulls total strangers together on a sweaty dancefloor at any given point during a night. I am not suggesting that I live on a diet of sugary goodness, that's bad for anyone, but as part of a balanced diet, including large chunks of math rock and other such delights, can bring the right amount of happiness into many peoples lives.

Rihanna, Lady GaGa, The Saturdays? They may not be groundbreaking but sometimes that is not necessary. I have an entire playlist dedicated to this decade's cheese, and 90s pop delights. I am not ashamed.

*You may have lost some respect for this blog. Shame on you.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day #5: Sandwiches

It is ten to eleven at night and I still haven't written a post today. Largely because I am recovering from a bout of drinking and am in a pit of shame. I may have drank too much and may have made a bit of an idiot out of myself. However, I am hoping to distract myself from that thought by writing about sandwiches and listen to Born Ruffians.

Sandwiches (or a McDonalds) are the perfect hangover cure. Sausage sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, a well-made sandwich just takes the edge off that feeling of both sickness and intense head pain.

This week's meat shop by girlscoutuplateIt's safe to say that I have a little bit of a sandwich obsession. Especially ham ones, with a bit of sweet chilli sauce, or some mustard, or my current love, which is beetroot, ready salted crisps, mayo and ham. Which sounds absolutely disgusting, but all I'm saying is, don't knock it until you have tried it. Unless you don't like beetroot, in which case you probably won't. I think my mother has finally got the hint that I quite like ham, because she bought seven different packets of cooked meat this weekend (That's not really normal for a four-person household, is it?). Aldi do really great ham, who'da thought it? Currently I am favouring the Italian and German cuts. The French are... average.

My sandwich making is a great source of mirth to my family, as I am extremely slow at making one, meticulously arranging the slices of cucumber and tomato and ensuring an even mustard or mayonnaise covering. They may laugh, but at least I know that my sandwich is perfect. My life-long quest: to find the perfect sandwich. A paltry ambition, some may say, but one of many weird ambitions of mine: it's the small pleasures.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day #4: Watch Friday Night Dinner all the way through?

I couldn't sleep last night, and surfing the 'comedy' pages of 4od, I came across 'Friday Night Dinner'.  I had watched it the first week and found it terrible. In the interest of fairness, however, I decided to give it a second watch. Sitcom about a Jewish couple whose two sons come around for dinner on a Friday night. Funny potential, right?

Sadly, I only got half-way through the episode, as I still could not fathom why Channel 4 had given it top billing on a Friday night. Having seen the adverts and Tamsin Greig's last project (Episodes, reviewed here, which wasn't bad plot-wise, but not that funny), I wasn't that excited about this programme. Still, I duly watched the second episode and if anything, my opinion went down even further.
I very much enjoy The Royle Family, Black Books and similar sitcoms that concentrate not on the plot but (I will use this word only for ease of speech) 'banter', jokes and characters as they are strong enough humour-wise. This appears to be what creator Popper is doing: however, the jokes fall flat and the character 'quirks' appear forced. There also appears to be a running 'salt-in-each-other's-water' gag. Which is not funny.

Greig portrays the mother well, but doesn't seem to have much of an opportunity to be funny. The father is tedious, the brother played by Simon Bird IS basically Will from The Inbetweeners and the other brother looks curiously like Simon from The Inbetweeners, I can't really remember much else. Oh, and Mark Heap is the cursory 'annoying neighbour.' Like, er, in Spaced. 

Overall, I remain unimpressed. And failed this task. Oh well, I think my creative horizons will survive. Just...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day #3: Expanding my lungs

Today I decided to go for a walk around Glyn Ceriog, which is a beautiful rural area nearish where I live. The aim of today is to feel the wind on my face, to expand my lungs, to see nature. It being a fair distance away, was a perfect opportunity for driving practice. However, I did shred both my mother's nerves when driving on the edge of very narrow (well, quite) roads with very steep drops (my brother seemed to find the whole incident extremely amusing). But I am alive, and that is the most important fact (except my hands still have a slightly claw-like quality as if they are still gripping the steering wheel for dear life).

Anyway, we decided to go up a massive hill (which, I might add, was one of those never-ending ones with 'false crests' - we got to the 'top' no less than four times. I may have been several hundred feet behind my Army Captain brother, but the important thing is not that I finished, not when I finished, right!? My only saving grace is that there were no other keen walkers around to see my red face and ungainly stagger on ascent of the hill. 

I took a few photos on my crappy phone camera, the far above being my mother's truly amazing walking outfit (on her head is a big woollen headband on which is a flower, if you were wondering), replete with massive socks tucked into her walking boots. And just above, well, that's a tree.

This blog post is courtesy of several lemon and ginger teas and this song:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day #2: 4 photos of the mundane

Basically, I forgot about this challenge today until quite late on, so I took some photos (that's creative, right?). This post, for want of any other ideas, is about the supposed mundane. It can be beautiful. for instance, paint on a road. I once saw a whole book full of them. It was incredible (mostly the fact that someone actually published a book composed entirely of cracked yellow paint and old tarmac). Anyway, the moral of this story is that you can make something of nothing. A shitty old garden, egg and beans on toast and more shitty shots of my garden.

It does not bode well that I have already nearly lapsed on day two of this experiment. Never mind, 38 more days...

And so concludes the list of mundaneness (I prefer mundanity, but apparently it is not a word).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day #1: Watch The Human Centipede

Yes, I am aware that most of the human population that wants to see/review this has, but it was on SYFY channel the other night... I wasn't actually going to watch it but the allure of a three-person-long digestive system... was too much.

Basic plot:
Surgeon expert in separating siamese twins becomes obsessed with the idea of conjoining several people (mouth to anus) and succeeds, trains them like pets, police become suspicious, everyone but the middle part of the centipede somehow end up dead.

I can honestly say that I have never spent so much of a film with my hand over my mouth in horror. Having made that casual statement, however, it wasn't as disgusting as I'd (expected? hoped to satisfy my grim fascination?) and as the film progressed, found myself becoming desensitized to the grotesque scenes of a Japanese tourist defecating through an American woman's mouth. However, the relentless whimpering of the two American women (the back two bits of the centipede), I did not. 

The soundtrack (usual ominous score for a horror film) was barely audible due to their constant, muffled shrieks. This was probably the reason I was on edge for the entire film. The language barriers were a constant theme of the film, really. The scientist being German, the front end of the centipede being Japanese and the two girls unable to speak as they were literally eating his shit meant that there was very little common ground, the exception being torture. 

The gore was not so bad - it was more the power of suggestion that would really make the viewers heave. The bout of almost simultaneous deaths at the end was really rather spectacular: the image of the two policemen floating in the basement swimming pool, bleeding; the last, stunned look of the scientist imprinted onto his face as he sits against the wall with a hole in his head; the look of terror and revulsion on the surviving part of the centipede: the middle girl, unable to speak or move.

Now to wait for the second part in grim anticipation.

Lent: Expand Creative Horizons Challenge

This Lent, I am not giving up something, but taking something on: to expand my creative horizons by doing, watching or reading something new every day in Lent.

All suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A three-day hangover... REALLY!?

I write this from a pit of self-pity (not a literal pit, but a pathetic metaphorical one) and to make things worse, my 'e' key is broken and I have eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwdddddd (that was me fixing it). I still don't know what was behind it.

Anyway, went out on Saturday and got moderately drunk (that's right, moderatly) and on the third day, I am still a snivelling throaty wreck. Twenty three, I am. Acting young, I ain't.

Surely this is the behaviour of a much older person. I couldn't be a student any more. A diet of 9p noodles (Morrisons), shit wine (anything under £4.50) and going out five times a week? The concept of breakfast being a pint and a packet of nuts, laundry only considered when one is down to swimwear for underwear? My idea of a nightmare. Life can only get less boring, surely...

Actually, they're alpacas by girlscoutuplate

My only hope for a friend with the same interests is this alpaca. And he doesn't even like me much.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Milano's by girlscoutuplate

When I have a spare hour or two, I tend to wander into Costa Coffee and write. The average ramble will be two pages long and consist mainly of clutching at straws for inspiration, usually my surroundings (largely the same as I always go to Costa and it is always empty).

However, this time I decided to break with tradition and go to Caffe Milano down the road and have a coffee and a pastry. The coffee was... ok, but the pastry was sublime: a custard danish. I cannot eat much of sweet stuff but I could easily develop a custard obsession. Just sweet enough, yellow, creamy and inviting... I could drink it straight out of the carton. I would slather it on my chips (it would probably be less repulsive than it sounds, have you ever HAD chips and ice cream?) I could write reams about it.

Actually, I can't. But here are some pictures of custard and custard-related articles.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Attempt at a post about London Fashion Week

Maybe I should comment on what is happening at the moment more, instead of this blog being completely self-contained, and thus I should really write a post about LFW, which was last week (well, I have to start somewhere).

And so I sat at my computer and thought about what I could write about. Then I realised what I know about fashion I could write on my smallest fingernail (which is easily discernible by looking at my daily attire). Unfortunate. Note to self: read stuff about LFW. And er, fashion.


(After reading this week's Look) Nicola Roberts has really come into her own, hasn't she? Perhaps even the most stylish and individual member of Girls Aloud (are they still together? I don't think they are) beautiful coiffed, softer-toned hair and a many classic outfits with a quirky twist.

And she's ginger. Which is fine by me.

On another musical note, I found a delightful band on my ipod the other day: Dog Is Dead, reminiscent of Mystery Jets and other delightful bands who focus on harmonies and pleasant sounds.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm in the mood for dancing...

There is nothing funnier than to watch people dancing in public. I imagine it is equally, if not more, funny to watch me dancing in public, but that's another story (I'd rather not imagine that, far too embarrassing). There are several different tribes, of course, and several different stages of inebriation in ratio do dancing. For instance, some people will dance like fools no matter what; and others' dancing style will deteriorate significantly with each drink sipped / downed. Which is the lesser of two evils, however? To be observed, madly flailing and looking like you are having the time of your life, or controlled, non-ironic robotics?

Dubstep is possibly the funniest style of music to witness dancing to. The scene: in a club, centre dance floor. The music: something by... skream?! A familiar cheer goes up, and backsides are stuck out, hands are contorted and flung out, bodies are crouched and heads are bowed... Something like this, but a little less blurry:

Not that I am completely adverse to all dubstep. I am not even a complete 'hater', it just looks... well, really stupid, yet entirely self-conscious. Oh, and the best bit is if you witness this in a club, when the dancers form a complete circle, kind of like moshing, but with more arms and less heads.

Personally, I favour 'ironic dancing' (the upshot is much the same, but I claim that I look like a twat on purpose).


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