Archive | January, 2011

I always cry at endings.

30 Jan

I watched Never Let Me Go yesterday, despite the firm warning I was given against doing so due to my fragile constitution. I read the book over summer and sobbed throughout, but the film, predictably, destroyed me even more.  I really enjoyed it, both aesthetically and plot-wise, although maybe it is more moving and thought provoking than ‘enjoyable.’  There were a few perplexing diversions from the novel, but it is quite hard to care when you are trying to hold your shit together enough to actually see the screen.   However, I am sure at least 50% of my tears were directed towards the fact I will never own such amazing clothes or have Carey Mulligan’s/Keira Knightley’s face, so maybe those less superficial than me will cope better.  Then again, I cried at a Youtube video of an American Idol audition yesterday too, so maybe ANYONE, EVER will cope better as I need to grow a pair.

Today has been spent mostly making soup and cleaning the house with Mike.  Proper mum-style cleaning too, ie. lifting things up and cleaning under them, rather than dusting around them.  It was tiring but rewarding, particularly with a bottle of fine red wine as an incentive.  Yesterday was such a write off, not only because I apparently spent most of it in tears, but also because I was so exhausted from writing essays for a month, and then on my first free day, contending with the sheer terror of attending an academic forum for the first time.  I’m so glad no one decided to shake my hand; clammy palm central. I felt half like I was the best student ever, and half like I was in Mean Girls, due to my numerous, and very obvious, intellectual inadequacies:



Thought of the Day

24 Jan

The eternal question: ‘Why didn’t I make notes on these books when I read them the first time?’


Light Relief

22 Jan


Self portrait:

Reading: The Portable Dorothy Parker – AMAZING.  Even the cover design is wonderful.

Here is a sample poem:

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Should Heaven send me any son,
I hope he’s not like Tennyson.
I’d rather have him play a fiddle
Than rise and bow and speak an idyll.

Watching: Four episodes of Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals.  I love food programmes, and I think Jamie’s so nice and enthusiastic that I can’t help but get sucked in.  I’m not really too interested in all the Daily Mail style, ‘they just don’t take 30 minutes!’ furore.  They clearly do if you’re Jamie Oliver and own the most amazing food processor in the world, so he’s not exactly lying.  The recipes and set-piece dinners are all pretty simple yet impressive and I think people need to focus on that rather than timing their cooking.  The meals, from experience, are certainly a lot simpler and easier than other cookbooks I own.  And anyway, chopping things by hand may take a lot longer when preparing the meal, but it means you have to wash a knife and a chopping board, rather than every minute crevice of your blender, saving you time at the other end.  I just think there may be bigger issues in life than whether your dinner takes 30 or 45 minutes.

Embarrassing moment: getting accused of being a terrible bourgeois for shopping at Sainsbury’s today instead of Morrisons by my taxi driver.  I just couldn’t face a notoriously dreadful Saturday afternoon shop at the latter! Critique of my snobbery and low tolerance for fat people shopping in packs, shuffling around and blocking isles has no place in the back of a car, from a stranger.

Another long Winter

21 Jan

Last week there was a brief period where our thermometer went out of the ‘hypothermia’ zone and blissfully loitered  between ‘comfortable’ and ‘warm’.  I went to the shop without a coat on.  I even moaned that it was too hot for my winter pyjamas (which are amazingly luxurious tartan ones that I got from my Gran for Christmas; I really need a photo).  I regret this whining now the bin lid is frozen shut and I can’t feel my toes indoors again.   I read in the paper over New Year that being a bit cold was really good for you – something, probably bullshit, about brown and white fat and how we are all so wimpy and warm that one of them stays around when it shouldn’t – so maybe I am going to live forever since I am always perishingly cold.  Rather than following any ‘underwear as outerwear’ trend that seems to be mostly prevalent in Newcastle on Friday and Saturday nights, I have started my own that I like to call ‘outdoorwear as indoorwear’ which mostly just involves not removing your scarf and gloves when you come in the house.

I don’t really have anything exciting to write about as my life is wholly unexciting at the moment.  I have my third and final deadline on Thursday and then I will be basking in my relatively free time until seminars begin the following week.  This semester promises to be far better than the last as I will not have to dedicate a month to things I’m not at all interested in, namely postcolonialism and diasporas.  HATE.  Except I am sure people are going to start asking difficult questions about my dissertation soon, and other than mumbling ‘Dorothy Wordsworth and….’ at them, I have no idea what to say. I will get thinking as soon as I have my final essay out of the way.  Speaking of which, I had this unpleasant exchange yesterday:

other student: have you started your next essay yet?
me: no… I think I am taking tomorrow off then starting it at the weekend.
her: hurrr hurrr it’s nice to hear from the NORMAL PEOPLE.
me: …. ha…

And this is why I often feel really, really inadequate.

Sunrise, Sunset

16 Jan

My high hopes for today being super duper productive were thoroughly quashed when I stayed up until 4am last night to finish the book I was reading, then cried for an hour over the ending of it, and then woke up at 12:30pm with swollen eyes and a headache. There is nothing like waking up in the afternoon to make you feel useless for the rest of the day. Especially when it gets dark by 4pm, and all you have achieved at that point is leaving the house with wet hair to buy the paper.  But never mind.  The book in question was A. S. Byatt’s Possession, which is absolutely nothing to do with any of my university work, but Mike bought me it for Christmas, and I am incapable of showing any restraint when it comes to books I actually want to read.  Cue Harry Potter style manias involving reading when I should be sleeping/eating/washing (Bath reading = the very worst sort.  You run the risk of dropping AND your arms get cold).  Why this always happens when I have very pressing work to do, I don’t know.  I am fairly sure I could have done a lot better in my last ever undergrad exam if I hadn’t re-watched all of season three of Ashes to Ashes in time for the final episode the week before, which I maybe wouldn’t regret so much if the ending hadn’t been the biggest disappointment ever (except maybe that exam result…).

Anyway, Possession is absolutely brilliant and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have an essay to do, and who likes crying almost as much as when Dumbledore died (If that is a spoiler for you then you are in the wrong place) at the end of novels.  I need Harry Potter to stop being my go-to reference for everything.  But while I’m on the subject, I have a couple of Dumbledore death anecdotes that I may as well share.  The first was when Mike came to my house during the summer holidays, but I happened to be in the middle of my 7 days 7 books challenge, so wasn’t doing much in the way of social interaction.  My mum happened to come home from work just as I was howling with grief (for about the 8th time) over Dumby and instantly shot Mike a rather cross look for upsetting me, before realising my tears were fiction based and shooting that look firmly my way for being so pathetic and such a poor host.  The second story also involves my mum, but this time the Half Blood Prince film, which I went to see at the cinema with her and my friend Steph.  My mother, being a proper grown up, remained strong, as Steph and I made little piggy snuffly noises for about 40 minutes, changing to all out sobs at the ‘wands in the air’ moment. I am pretty sure mums are supposed to embarrass their children in public, not the other way round.

Speaking of embarrassment (I am going off on a huge tangent here, that was the best link I could make), I have to go to see my doctor about a mole, and not the good sort.

As a pale and ginger person with more moles than unblemished skin, I knew this day would come.  But I had always embraced my mole-y ways, and bought into my friend and former housemate Aimee’s notion that a mole-less person was not to be trusted (we were both possibly trying to compensate for our prominent facial moles), so I feel this mole attack is very undeserved.  Plus, out of the probably nearing 200 moles that could have gone weird, it had to be one that looms large in what can only be described as the ‘groin’ region.  Typical.  This is going to be the mole version of that bloody Dorothy Wordsworth book, I just know it.

Wise Owl

14 Jan

Good friends are excellent, if only for the fact that they are obliged to buy you presents at Christmas.  Even if you exchange them ridiculously late due to essay hell taking over your lives.  Thank you George.


Spent a week in a dusty library

13 Jan

My life for the foreseeable future.  Having staggered deadlines seems like a dream when you read it on paper, but not so much when you realise that you basically have a sense of imminent doom for an entire month.  Put it this way, in case of emergency, I’m glad I’ve still got the Valium left over from the last time I flew and demonstrated admirable tranquillity. (Top Tip: take a travel sickness tablet and you will be so drowsy you will not notice that four hours have passed. I don’t even get travel sick.). I’ve set up camp in the lounge (we have a lounge desk) which is pretty much the most ideal workspace ever; lots of light, a radiator to put your feet on, and only a few paces from the kettle.  When I say workspace, obviously I mean ‘place to do work in 20 minute stints between looking at pictures on Cute Overload to cheer myself up.’ That’s another Top Tip – no one can be sad whilst looking at a picture of a kitten/puppy/duckling.