30 April 2008

27 - all down hill from here

Today is my birthday, and in exactly 1 hour 31 minutes I will have reached the grand old age of 27. How depressing... When you are 24-26, you can still say you are very firmly mid-twenties, but 27 is the start of that slippery slope down to 30 and is distinctly late-twenties. I remember being terribly amused when my brother turned 27 because I would have been 23 at the time and I made extensive fun of him, but now the tables have been turned! Well, not turned exactly because he is now 30 (ha ha), but you know what I mean.

Saying that though, my only problem is with the number 27 sounding rather high and well over the quarter of a century mark. I actually really like where I am at the moment in life and don't think I'd want to change it. I've got money, a nice flat, a car, the first job I've actually liked in 4 years, I still look fairly young, and I'm still able to go out dancing quite often, so I can't really complain. And as a further bonus, almost all of my friends are a bit older than me, so I'm doing quite well comparatively.

So far my birthday has been as exciting as it can be when it's a work day, and I've had loads of birthday wishes in the form of text messages and cards. It is marred by the fact that I feel like I'm a bit ill today, which is annoying, but I just crammed a piece of chocolate cake down my face and that perked me up a bit. I can't really afford to get ill as we were planning on going out for a (short) drink tonight, I've got a conference all day tomorrow, a works night out on Friday, and then friends coming to stay at the weekend. So there simply isn't time to be ill! I shall attempt to shrug it off and/or drown the germs in alcohol. Alcohol is a basic disinfectant isn't it, isn't that why they put whiskey on your leg before they hack it off on the telly? So surely if you increase your alcohol content it would eradicate some germs... Yes that'll work, that sounds very plausible, and we don't need to focus on the effect it also has on your immune system.
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28 April 2008

Wot chip? And a cute boy in speedos

After several months of not knowing who Hot Chip are and hearing them mentioned by other people, I have found that I in fact do know who they are and have said many a time "oh I really like this song" when Are You Ready For The Floor comes on at Boogaloo.

And during the course of trying to find out what the song is called so I can download it, I came across this video on YouTube that I'm now rather fond of. Not only do you get to enjoy the song, but you also get to watch a rather nice young man from the Oxford University Swim Team dance around in tiny speedos. I think Hot Chip should seriously consider using this as the official video for the song instead of whatever silly one they spent time making.

And yes there are a couple of wrong'uns accompanying him, but I think you'll agree they are more than offset by his muscly body and tiny shorts.
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23 April 2008

Back to the gym and down with buses

I managed to go to the gym yesterday after not having been for two whole weeks, due to my flu and then general laziness. It wasn't too bad, I'd obviously lost some of the progress I'd made already, but I'm pleased that I made myself go again.

I've been thinking about my increasing reluctance to go, and have decided that it's partly because I have to get up at 6.30am (which isn't too bad, I'm sometimes awake then anyway), but mostly due to me not liking the weights room there. If I only used the room with the running and rowing machines I think I'd be fine because I feel comfortable in there, but I always feel like I want to get in and out of the weights rooms as quickly as possible. I think I don't like it because the men in there are so serious about it, and often look really, really angry. I suppose it's because they're all pumped up and exerting themselves, but it's still a bit off-putting. Unfortunately it's the weights that are going to make a difference to my musculature, so I can't really cut that bit out, so I guess I'll just have to live with it. At least I go early in the morning when there aren't many people there.

I have also decided that I really, REALLY hate the bus now after having had two ridiculous days of waiting for 20 minutes at the bus stop for a service that's meant to be every 6 minutes, and then enduring horrible crowded journeys that take forever. And it's so expensive, it's no wonder people still want to drive everywhere, why would you want to pay loads for a really crappy experience? What's all the more galling is that while waiting at my bus stop for the elusive 25 to turn up, you have to watch three or four empty 49s sail past with annoying slogans daubed on the back saying things like "We'll be shopping while you're stuck in traffic". Er no, I think that should be "You'll be stood at a bus stop not having travelled further than 500 metres from your house for 20 minutes, and THEN you'll have to pay through the nose for the privilege."

So that got me thinking about all the reasons why going by car remains infinitely preferable to the stupid bus:
  • you don't have to walk for 10 minutes either side of your journey in the rain
  • you get to decide when you leave and not be dictated to by arbitrary timetables and electronic signs that are only there to taunt you rather than display the actual time your bus will arrive
  • you don't have to sit with your feet in the remains of someone else's kebab
  • you don't have to endure pikey chavs playing hip hop on the tinny speakers of their mobile phone
  • you can control the temperature and not either be roasted alive from the ankles up by overactive fan heaters, frozen by howling gales blowing through impossibly small windows, or slowly choked by the gathering humidity that runs down the windows containing everyone's exhaled saliva and germs.
  • you don't have to watch your chosen mode of transport sail past full without stopping, and then have to wait another 20 minutes for the next bus that very well may do the same thing.
  • you don't get verbally abused by angry drivers who decide they don't like the denomination of legal tender that you're offering to pay their wages with.
  • you don't spend the journey pressed up against a sweaty fat man's armpit.
  • you don't have to endure people saying "excuse me please" when there's clearly nowhere you can move to because the bus is overfull.
  • you don't have to listen to an annoying child saying "mummy I want it now, now mummy I want it now, mummy mummy mummy, I want it now".
  • you don't have to feel like you're being the unreasonable one when you ask someone to move their bag off the only remaining seat.
  • you don't feel compelled to thank the driver regardless of how delayed, slow or generally god awful the journey was.
  • half the time you get stuck in exactly the same traffic jam you would if you were in a car, except that your progress is much slower because you keep pulling over every 20 yards.
  • you don't have to spend 45 minutes on a journey that would take 10 minutes in a car or 30 minutes on foot.
  • you don't have to endure grinding pain in your knees because the seats are too close together and the fat person in front of you is leaning back and slowly compacting your femurs.
  • you don't have to risk certain death walking down slippery, wet, narrow stairs on a moving vehicle in order to be ready to get off when you reach the bus stop, because if you DON'T get up and move to the front before the stop you'll miss your chance and have to walk back from the next one. And although the stops are 20 metres apart for most of the journey, this is bound to be the section where it's 2 miles to the next stop and the driver won't let you off anywhere else because of health and safety.
  • you don't arrive at your destination haggard, disheveled, wet, in a foul temper, limping, and possibly having caught scabies or some other close-contact affliction.
In conclusion, I hate the bus. I'm sure there are plenty of other reasons to hate it, I might come back and add more as I think of them.
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21 April 2008


I had such a busy weekend doing various wedding chores, the most fun of which was going to Moss Bros to be fitted for our wedding suits by the cute (and clearly gay) young man who works there. He spent ages measuring us up and making sure our nice outfits fitted correctly, and then was even kind enough to give me a 25% student discount on my suit despite the fact that I'm not a student! Having a university email address clearly pays dividends, as that's what made him ask if I was a student, and then he just gave me the discount anyway when I said I only work here. I'm going to assume he either fancied me or was just in a very good mood, but the former is obviously far more likely (have you seen me?)

We also did the seating plan for the reception which was a nightmare and took HOURS because you always end up with people sitting on their own or people sitting too close to other people they can't sit near, or one weird table full of randoms who don't fit anywhere else. But I think the way we've done it looks good, I'm just hoping no-one upsets the apple cart by developing sudden feuds or too many acquiring new partners.

I'm getting a bit nervous about the actual day now, and making sure everything goes according to plan. I keep thinking if it were just a party it would be so simple, because you just book a room with a bar and some music in it. But for weddings there's a million other things like decorating the room, table favours, cake mountains, photographs, outfits, speeches, accommodation, parking, weather contingencies,  etc etc etc. Thank god we booked it 18 months in advance, I think I would have had a breakdown if we'd done it in less time.

Today I am enjoying the nice view of an attractive young dark-haired boy trying to look interested during a PowerPoint presentation on traction and hypertension. There haven't been any seminars going on for a while, I was getting rather sick of my view of an empty room with a plastic skeleton in it. It's a shame there probably won't be any classes during the summer, as I always find people look much cuter in tight summer t-shirts than they do in chunky winter jumpers. I suppose I shall just have to venture outside at lunchtimes for my eye candy.
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16 April 2008

Facebook justice

I had a weird group invitation on Facebook this morning, similar to a few I've had recently. It was inviting me to join "Karen Matthews - Unfit Mother". I did a quick search for groups just now, and it's not the only one, there is a whole plethora to choose from:

Keep Karen Matthews in Jail for a Long Time
Karen Matthews is gutter trash
Karen Matthews sad excuse for a mother
Karen Matthews is a fucking discrace!!! (I think this one should be more concerned about their spelling)
Throw Karen Matthews in Prison and he pedo boyfriend too...!!!!!!! (excessive exclamation marks in my opinion)
Karen Matthews and all that knew where she was are arseholes in my opinion (er, grammar anyone?)
I think Karen Matthews is an evil bitch and should be hung (it's hanged, dear)
Karen Matthews is scum
Someone should tell Karen Matthews that marcus nash is a cheat (I think this might be a different karen matthews)

See? Many many options for expressing your hatred via Facebook, and I find it really weird! Yes, clearly something very peculiar went on in the Shannon Matthews case involving her mother and some other family members, but that is pretty much all the information that has been released. And yet everyone is already baying for blood and would most likely lapidate Karen Matthews if they saw her in street. It's based on practically no information, why are people rushing straight on to condemnation and punishment when they don't actually know what they are condemning yet?

And, even more weirdly, why would you start a Facebook group about it?? Are they hoping to find like-minded people so they can sit around going "yeah she's a bitch, she clearly stuffed her into that bed herself, she's probably a devil worshipper n'all"? It's like an odd form of e-lynch mob. Facebook groups are a bit strange at the best of times as most of them are just a statement of opinion and then people join in order to say "yes I agree", but this is just bizarre.

So anyway, no I won't be joining any of the above groups because they are ridiculous and I would rather wait for the criminal justice system to take its course, or at the very least for someone to tell us what she actually did or is alleged to have done before I start polishing up my pitchfork and lighting my flaming torch.
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14 April 2008

Negative campaigning

Oh and the OTHER thing that annoyed me this weekend was the stupid unsolicited newsletter I got from my local Labour party knobhead. (braces for wrath of staunch labour supporters)

The whole thing, and almost all Labour publicity I've had in the post, focused entirely on the message "you have to vote for us so the evil Tories won't win". Er hello, what about YOUR policies? All it talked about was what the Conservatives were doing and how they opposed it, or why it was ridiculous and evil. I can't believe that they base their campaigning on the fact that they're NOT the Tory party. When I vote I make a point of finding out the policies of the main parties and then deciding which one I most agree with; with Labour it's really hard to find out what theirs are!

And there was that stupid minister who said at a conference recently that "the Tories are still the nasty party". Oh grow up and stop treating the voting public like children who you can make afraid of the Tory Boogeyman.

So anyway, Labour won't be getting my vote unless they do some serious work on publicising how they can make the country better. If anything they've so far succeeded in making me more likely to vote Conservative at the next council elections, so maybe the Tories ought to be paying for their mailouts in future.
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So many little jobs

Well the weekend whizzed by and left me thoroughly depressed and now I'm back at work. The only time I got at home was a few hours on Sunday night, just enough time to be annoyed by an episode of Skins (Cassie was being a whiney twat, god get over it love and have a doughnut) and then watch the first bit of Shipwrecked 2008. There were a couple of cute boys, quite posh and country-types but I don't mind that, so I can look forward to several weeks of them wandering around topless and tanned on T4.

As always with trips home, lots of the talk revolved around our wedding and Stuart and Helen's wedding this summer, and it made me realise quite how many things we've still got to do! I thought we were well on top of everything, but now there are only 3.5 months left and we've got to:

invite evening guests, book music equipment, book balloons, sort out table favours, get measured for suit hire, get my Dad and brother measured for suit hire, do the seating plan, get the bridesmaids dresses, do our music playlist, and meet up with our photographer again for a 2-months-before briefing. Ack so much to do. Hopefully Chris will get a few bits done while he's off this week, and I suppose 3 months is quite a lot of time to sort all those things out.

Honestly though, arranging a wedding is SUCH a faff. If it were just a party you'd only need to hire a room and get some music and invite people. Weddings have a million other things you're supposed to do or are traditional, and they all seem to cost several hundred pounds! And there's still the honeymoon trip afterwards to plan and pack for. At least the flights and hotels are booked.

So anyway, I guess I'd better get on with some of these things! Or rather, email Chris and tell him to do them, that's a much better idea.
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11 April 2008

Mentally challenged

As in "I am not". I don't mean that I'm not retarded, although this morning I feel like I am a bit as I'm really tired and keeping knocking things over. I mean that I haven't felt stretched for ages, probably not since I finished uni and that was coming up for five years ago.

So I've started to think about whether I want to do a course or something. I don't do a lot in the evenings, and although I like learning my languages from the books I've got I always find I lose interest after a while because of the lack of structure and motivation to continue. That's why I've learnt bits of so many languages but not got that far with many of them.

I was having a look at the stuff you can do with the Open University and some of it is really interesting. I'd quite like to do some maths courses maybe, to get my maths back up to how it was when I did A Level. They also do some classics courses and I always thought that would be interesting, and you can actually combine really disparate courses into an open degree so you end up with a BA or BSc at the end.

I did think about whether I'd want to do a masters, I've always been a bit jealous of friends of mine who have done them, but I'm yet to find something I'm interested in enough to want to put the effort into a whole masters.

Oh but there's too much choice and I don't really know what I want to do. The Open University is really flexible, you don't even have to say what qualification you want to work towards, you just pick a starting course you want and start doing it. Then when you get enough credits you can cash it in as a qualification, or if you get bored I suppose you can just stop. Or I could just learn something on my own, like trying to get my Swedish up to a good level before we go to Stockholm, but I don't know how to stop myself trailing off after a couple of weeks. I think I also like having someone mark my work and put a nice red tick on it, which you don't get when you're studying on your own!

So anyway, those are my ramblings. I'm all alone in the office for a bit today, everyone else has done on a jolly. Sorry, I mean staff development activity. So I might put my feet up for a bit and catch a crafty snooze...
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07 April 2008

Illness leading to missed freakshow

Now there's a set of words I never thought I'd type together.

I've been ill since last Thursday with a horrible flu thing that left me lying on the sofa in a fever for a day and a half. I kept nearly passing out whenever I tried to get up, it was horrible. But anyway, I'm feeling mostly better now and am back at work (what joy) . I'm feeling a bit lightheaded, but that may be due to the overwhelming smell of solvents on this floor at the moment, you can actually taste it in the air when you walk along.

Unfortunately, being ill meant I missed seeing Anthony Hannah perform at Revenge on Friday. Actually that's the wrong word, it should be "FORTUNATELY, being ill blah blah..." For those of you who don't know, Anthony Hannah is the gay one with the neckscarves from Eton Road, who featured on the X-Factor last year. A while afterwards, Anthony chose to ditch the rest of the group and 'go solo'.

So anyway, this was the first time I'd heard of him since leaving the band, and he was featured in 3Sixty magazine having been restyled (so he didn't look like such a freak) and describing him as pop's new gay star. So we thought we'd go to Revenge and see.

Oh holy Jesus, I am so glad I didn't bother. Apparently he was AWFUL. Chris said "it's just as well you didn't make yourself more ill by coming, you would have been so cross that you bothered". Yes he can sing well, but in the videos Chris took you could see he was completely in a little world of his own coolness, and the entire audience was looking vaguely terrified and bemused.

The best part though was his outfit. Chris tried to describe it by saying he was wearing some sort of smock or something, but nothing could fully convey my horror when I saw a photo of it. Behold:

What the hell is that?? He's got CYCLING shorts on! And bizarre shoes. And a Robin Hood belt that's too big for him.

So anyway, although I felt left out when they went out without me, with hindsight I am not sorry at all that I missed it and I'm keeping my allegiance firmly with The Road.

Anthony has a single coming out at some point - Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Relax'. Hang on, what's that sound I can hear? Oh yes, the unmistakable thud-sizzle-suicideattempt of the solo career crash-and-burn.

02 April 2008

Role reversal - depressing post, you have been warned

I heard yesterday that my grandad might have another cancer. He's had it before, I think somewhere else in his body, and was treated and got better, but it's possible he's got another one now which is not good news for man in his 80s.

Luckily, during this week when he has to go to hospital appointments and things (he's always hated hospitals), my aunt from Canada happens to be over and staying with him, so he's got someone to go with him and look after him a bit. Mum's disabled and can't do very much, and she lives an hour from my grandad, so wouldn't be able to do that for him.

But my aunt goes back on Saturday, and has started putting pressure on my Mum that he needs to be 'looked after', especially if he needs proper treatment and not just quick op of some sort. But she can't do it (or feels she can't do it, I make no comment on which as it doesn't actually make any difference to the situation).

So yesterday I had her on the phone to me saying "he needs looking after, I can't look after him, he wouldn't want a home help even if I had the energy to arrange one, Helen's making me feel awful for not taking care of him myself, etc etc", and I was just left thinking what can I possibly do about this? I can't fix this for her. I've given her loads of support since she got ill, I'm always the one she talks to about stuff (no-one else understands apparently, lucky me), and she really looks to me for answers now. But I'm 26 and I haven't got a clue what you do about an elderly relative who's fiercely independent and may or may not have cancer. I can't give up my job and go and look after him, he wouldn't want me even if I offered, but I almost felt like that's what she wanted me to say because then she'd be absolved of responsibility and guilt. I really feel like I'm the parent sometimes and she expects me to tell her what to do and fix everything.

ARRGH and now I've just had her on the phone to me at work too! She's waiting to hear what happened at his hospital appointment this morning, and fidgeting and getting anxious by the phone. So just like last night I'm plunged into depression as I worry about my grandad the same as everyone else but also have to worry about sorting out my Mum. I don't know what to do. I'm sure a great big vodka and tonic would be a good place to start, even if it is only 10.20am.
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01 April 2008

I am the April Fool

Yes, for about 20 seconds this morning I was fooled by the fake story on BBC Breakfast. They said "if you enjoy programmes like Blue Planet, take a look at this startling footage from the new BBC nature series being filmed. On a remote island of Antarctica, our crew has captured the first recording of a species of penguin that can fly".

And then there was some really good footage of penguins taking off from a bit of ice and soaring around and I thought "wow! so people will start saying 'actually penguins CAN fly, and we've been wrong all these years'". But after a minute I realised that the penguins were far too fat and their wings far too stubby for them to be flying around like that, they weren't even just fluttering from rock to rock, they were really going for it.

And then I realised what day it was and felt stupid. Clearly the footage is of them swimming, and they've just superimposed them over a landscape.

No, penguins cannot fly, and I shall have to cancel the "actually penguins CAN fly so there" t-shirt I had rushed to order. Damn.
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