Dear… This Is Me

Inspired by this, I thought I’d join in. Why not? Once I work out how to put the button up, I will.

Week 1: 10 things you would tell 16 year old you.

1) Apply for Cambridge – you probably won’t get in but you will regret it forever if you don’t try.

2) Really think about what you want to do a degree in and where and make that decision yourself. That means on your own. Yes, you can.

3) Don’t give up German at AS Level, or the piano and take up the saxophone now. And get singing lessons too. And tap dancing. Basically, don’t let “them” stop you doing what you want to do.

4) Ask that guy out. And that one. And the other one. Especially the other one. The more you do the easier it is to take a “no thanks”.

5) Your mum means well. Try to understand her.

6) Let people in. The more open you can be the better you connect with other humans. Really, they don’t actually care because everyone is stuck in their own little heads so what does it matter if you tell them stuff if it makes you an ally or two.

7) Stop obsessing. It will get you into embarrassing situations you can avoid if you control it now. Move on!

8) Stop being so quiet and modest. You are awesome and capable and independent and intelligent. Learn to tell people this. If they don’t like it, it is their problem, not yours.

9) The fact that you have not conquered the above things yet and that nothing seems to turn out the way you want it to really doesn’t matter because you are a survivor. You will survive the next 13 eventful years (and a lot of bad stuff will happen) and become stronger.

10) Sorry, no, it doesn’t get easier but, when in doubt, refer to point 9 above.

 

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Dreams

So, I don’t usually write personal posts. Not since my last blog. But I use writing as therapy so I’m blogging my experience last night. Or morning. It was at least post 6am.

I had a dream.

It was not a nice dream. I have had few nightmares since my dad died. But since I moved to live on my own I find that certain nightmares return or new ones appear.

It has been a while since a new dream has appeared (and I am already censoring myself – maybe in the book I am writing, one of my characters will have uncensored bad dreams).

Last night, I dreamt that I was talking to an imaginary boss at work. That boss told me that I was underperforming. That I wasn’t working up to the band that I am being paid for let alone being up for promotion. I tried to respond. But there was drilling. Really loud drilling. So loud I couldn’t be heard. So loud that I could feel my lips going numb with the vibration. No one could hear my response. So I ran. I ran out of the building (which was my current office). I ran into the street and ended up in some random streets, running, running with a random person, trying to get them to safety. I was afraid. They were afraid. I ended up at a dead-end. Big iron gates that would not let anyone through. I turned and walked back. That is when I woke.

And had to endure a job interview.

There’s no hidden meaning. It’s pretty clear. And it felt damn real.

I just had to tell someone about it.

God, I hate job interviews.

 

 

Sort of a Book Review: Dodger (Pratchett)

I think the most unusual thing is this post is that I am actually writing a blog post and I have read another book.

Another book about real live people and a made up story. Pratchett is, of course, brilliant. This is very good YA fiction with an excellent in joke that is only (partly) revealed at the end.

There is a theme developing that will soon be crushed by one of the next books that I am considering reading.

It’s probably time for a classic. It may well be Dickens. It might not be.

Very busy with life (real and otherwise). I’m swimming a lot. A lot. This is fantastic news for me and very boring for you. I will soon also be cross-training a lot. Ditto.

I have hit on a writing idea that, at the moment, I am throughly enjoying spending time playing with. I mean, properly enjoying, not occasionally dabbling with and then forgetting about. This is good therapy. It really is.

For completely different reasons, I need to spend time on my interview answers and examples.

And cleaning. And getting fresh air. Once it stops snowing. If it ever stops snowing*…

Oh! Also, I am stupidly happy that PJ and Duncan AKA Ant and Dec are all set for a Number 1. Just a childhood thing. No biggie.

*Want to read a good SF book about snow? Read Adam Roberts’ aptly titled Snow.

Tell me what you’ve been doing busy little bee…

It’s been so long I was actually shocked to see that the format has changed.

I’ve been trying to read a load of really awful books (some of which I really didn’t think would be awful…) and not getting through them.  I am half tempted to do another poll. The last one worked out OK. Why not? You have until I decide to try to read a book again. Probably this weekend. The options have changed since last time. Here:

 

Also, I have been working. And I went to Covent Garden. I do love Covent Garden. I’d like it more without all the French school children. I bought tea and, in a huge change from tradition, coffee.

Listening to something on Radio Four Extra that sounds like a cross between Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Hitchhiker’s Guide – it’s called World of Pub. Interesting. Turned over to Radio 2. There’s a history of comedy programme on.

Bon nuit!

Black Carrots

Yesterday at work I got everything done that I needed to do which included reading an article on how your online presence can negatively affect your chance of getting a new job. Did I mention that I did all my work that day? All of it.

Also, we had a wonderful conversation which veered from our usual philosophical and law related debate and onto old game shows (Blankety Blank – why a cheque book and pen?) and black carrots.

Black carrots? Yes! I had a drink from the M&S van (M&S delivered straight to the door – pure luxury) which was meant to be a  treat but which, sadly, tasted exactly like Calpol. So I looked at the ingredients which included black carrot concentrate. The drink was diet pink lemonade!

Well, I had to (after work) google this weird unheard of vegetable and apparently it *is* a thing. And look! There is a carrot museum! I have had hours of fun perusing. Look at the recipes! Carrots in art, carrots in literature, carrots in history but my favourite is carrot musical instruments. Watch this space….

Do you know any other black vegetable*? Why not leave details in the comments below for further discussion?

*not dark purple

At the Final Count

Right, I have decided what my (public) New Years Resolutions are. Hold on to your hats!

1) 20 book reviews 13 short stories – already explained.

2) Play the saxophone regularly – every week, preferably more so. I read somewhere that if you start a saxophone diary you can keep track of what you have learned whether that be a trick or just a length of time without wobbling on a note. So, that will be a new blog.

3) Learn a German sentence every day. Whether that be 7 on a Sunday or one a day. This may be tough to remember to do let alone actually remember the sentences. Either way I’ll blog about that here.

4) Read the news everyday and formulate some opinions. Again, prepare yourself for news-y blog posts.

5) Remember to look after my health.

6) Already mentioned, write a list of books that I want to read and maintain this here.

I thought about spending less time online but then I realised if I did that my main form of social interaction (even if it is via social media) would be curtailed and there’s no guarantee that a real live person or people would fill the gap. So will just have to play that one by ear.

I think I’m done boring you with resolutions. We shall see how long they last. Can you tell I’m trying to fill my MSc time? Maybe this will all go to pot in February if I decide to start a PhD? We shall see.

Usually, I do a round-up of what I have achieved in the previous 12 months at this time of year but I am loath to do that here as it is a bit more personal and private. I might do it. It might be good therapy. It might not. I’ll think about it. I will say that I am generally feeling more positive so that is a very good thing.

Have a good week people!

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Apparently English

I’ve been thinking about the New Year again. As you will have already read (no one reads this blog) I have decided that in 2013 I will read and review 20 assorted novels and write 13 short stories. That one still stands.

Then, I was sent a link to this: The Plain English Campaign (for the record I think this is a very good idea)and thought why not use it to increase my vocabulary too? Well, I read their A to Z of Alternative Words for those pompous moments and I use most of them regularly. The only words I have not used before (out of 35 pages full) were:

  • ameliorate (improve, help)
  • axiomatic (obvious)
  • evince (prove)
  • ex officio (because of his or her position)*
  • hold in abeyance (postpone)
  • profusion of (plenty)
  • promulgate (advertise)
  • pursuant to (under)

* singing in carols doesn’t count

I guess I’ll have to find a different way to learn some words. Any ideas? I should probably concentrate on German really. I shall look into appropriate ways to make this happen.

Also, I have decided it’s a sensible thing to write a list of the books I want to read. I hear lots of people do this.

And finally, not just cleaning up your home…

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“Coincidence?!” (Agrajag)

An author (a horsey letter one) whose blog I follow like a wet Monday after Sunday sun, made a weird almost-symul-post last night when I was mentioning Stevyn’s book on linked facts (of course, really, you can link anything to everything if you try hard enough) and lying about bothering to learn facts to swap  in the pub. We talk about philosophy like everybody else. And sex.

He linked to this article which I am grateful for because it is very interesting.

Interesting but not ground breaking. Human error plays a part in science as much as it does in picking the right colour tie to match your undies. I did know that spinach doesn’t have as much iron in it as people think and Popeye didn’t really help to put the record straight. But I still eat spinach “for the iron” because I enjoy it. Like the dubious facts, we keep on masticating because the facts are so fantastic or cool or easier to say than Apatosaurus that we love chewing the cud again and again.

I didn’t know the “meso-fact” (or that there was such a word) that Mount Everest’s height changes every so often with the tectonic plate movement. I guess every girl needs her heals on a Saturday night in the Himalayas. But would not the scientific fact be that the height of Mount Everest is “xyz” with an associated margin of error to cover the change? A step too far? Of course, we are talking about pub facts and not a Nobel prize entry here.

The article finishes with: “In other words: In a world of information flux, it isn’t what you know that counts—it is how efficiently you can refresh.” That’s the beauty of science – always question, always doubt, always test, test, test. Roll with the changes. Pluto was a God, then a planet and now a dwarf planet – just can’t catch a break, eh?

All this is easy to say when you’re no longer a scientist but a faux lawyer.

Anyway, I need to go for a swim (hopefully not through the flood that stranded me in my flat last Wednesday…).

Oh, and in other news, at 28 yrs old, I am now a Great Aunt (great-aunt?). I shit you not.

Lucky Dip

My morning can be summed up in the eponymous hero Mark from Peep Show’s words:

“Eugh, Kettering.”

But then a lovely man told me I have a nice smile  without trying to sell me anything and that made me feel better.

The brilliant shop with all the books has obviously realised that Kettering do not read books and gotten rid of them all (shame) so I went to The Works instead. Almost bought 4 books for £5 but, as I was picking them at random anyway, I thought I’d have a go at their book lucky dip.

One bag containing three books costing £2 chosen from a box full of the blue bags. How exciting. I couldn’t wait until coming home so opened them on Zek in my gym car park. These are the books I ended up with:

Am actually quite excited about reading the Gatiss. You will notice that the Flying Scotsman not only has a skull and cross-bones on the front but blood coming out of the chimney – might be a laugh. And the other looks silly enough to make me chuckle too. Still, a bloody good idea in my opinion. Well done The Works.