In need of a redesign since 2011.

Monday, 20 December 2010

The man on the bridge

Christmas is, of course, a time for celebration, family, and the observation of custom. But one way or another, it always seems to be about loss as well. Our minds go back to Christmases past, either with regret or nostalgia. It's the time when we remember those lost to us through death (RIP, Nana) or circumstance (single at Christmas again...). And, for me personally, it's the time I grieve my biggest loss.

Being home with my family and going back to my church always stirs up the subject of my faith again. It did last year; and this year, once again, I'm looking back on my faith and wondering what happened, and what happens next. It's not as simple as being an Atheist now, despite everything, because occasionally very specific messages seem to get through to me.

I mean, it's probably just coincidence. It MUST be superstition. It must be that I want to believe so much that I see links where none exist. I mean how could it POSSIBLY - but - oh, I don't know. Here's what happened; you decide.

When I was in my late teens, and passionate about my faith, I had a story I used to tell myself to explain forgiveness. It's extremely personal, and I don't want to go into details here, but I will explain the setting: a river by a willow tree, where Jesus stands on a stone arch bridge. As I began to lose my sense of connection with God, I'd try to picture this place, but it would be cold and empty, deserted.

I was going through a rough patch a couple of months ago, and I actually started talking to Ben (my housemate) about all this stuff. I was in tears as I told him that the important thing, the thing that really matters, is whether there's a man on the bridge. Or whether I am alone. I told him about this picture's huge importance and significance in my life, and bless him, he didn't make me feel like a crazy person for it.

A couple of days later, Ben and I are wandering around the shops, and I start to feel stressed and freaked out by the crowds. "Can we go get a drink? Chai, or something..." He'd introduced me to chai tea recently, and I found it to be very soothing. There are five or six coffee shops on Albany road alone, but I chose coffee #1. "Upstairs or downstairs?"
"Upstairs," I replied, already heading for the comfy chairs.

There was only one table free up there, and while Ben got our order, I sat in the only place available to me and stared at the wall.

Painted onto the wall was a tree. By a river. Over the river, a stone arch bridge. And on the bridge... a shepherd.

So, what that means, if anything, I don't know. But it's one of the reasons I don't call myself an Atheist. I may have been hurt by the loss of my certainty, I may not know what or who is in charge of this mess, but maybe there's something.

So, I'll be going to church on the morning of Christmas day. Because it's traditional, and because my friends and family will be there, and because maybe if I'm very lucky, another clue will get through.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Eye-twitch-inducing meme

At first,

"Star Trek quote of the day"
and next
"Stargate quote of the day"
so then
"Babylon Galactica quote of the day"
but now
And I thought I was nerd-baiting by claiming Jar Jar was my favourite character... This is the major leagues, guys. For more and other such silliness, anger your inner geek by checking out the Daily What.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Wandering away from the wreckage, whistling


It turns out I have a remarkable talent for saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. It's happened before, sure, but never quite this spectacularly...

One of my housemates (T) has been increasingly difficult to live with lately. Yesterday she stormed in, once again demanded to know "Who's going to do the washing up, then?" (There was hardly anything there, and it had been there a couple of hours at most) and I said "We thought we'd all hold hands and close our eyes and maybe it would do itself." Well. I'm sure you're all thinking the exact same thing I am: "That was very silly, Anna." Yes. Yes it was.

She yelled at me - she yelled at all of us - and I instantly felt guilty. So I went into the kitchen to apologise, but she just wasn't having it. Someone else decided to have a "house discussion" in the hope of airing some of our grudges in a sensible, mature fashion - but T wasn't having that either. Then, the shouting.

I have never heard my housemates so angry, and they're all pretty fiery. Not being great with confrontation, I just sat on the sofa hiding my face and crying while they yelled and stormed and slammed doors and threatened to move out.

Luckily, when everyone had left and I was still shaking and crying on the sofa (what can I say, I'm kind of a wuss), Arthur came in and gave me a hug and talked to me about stuff. That kept me sane. Then, when Ali came downstairs, clearly shocked and upset at what she'd overheard, he did the same for her.

I would have forgiven her, you know. I would. But T has a way of talking herself out of forgiveness. Have you ever heard of a nonpology? In this case, it took the form of "I'm sorry I shouted, I shouldn't have, but you guys REALLY need to start showing more respect and pulling your weight and I won't stand for being treated this way" - with no gap in the interim for me to say a) All is forgiven or b) Kindly attempt cranio-rectal insertion.

I could not be more relieved that I'm going home tomorrow. Sweet, undramatic Isle of Wight - you're always there for me. Happy Christmas, dramahouse.

Today's interesting thing is the BBC interview with Jody McIntyre, the guy I mentioned in this post.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Day x3

Yesterday, the government voted through a rise in tuition fees by a majority of 21 - 302 votes against 323. Meanwhile, the streets of London were overrun with a protest that became nothing short of a battle between the police and the public.

There are dozens of breathtaking photos from Boston's The Big Picture - I've linked to that site before. They're incredible. This is my favourite, but I really do recommend clicking the above link to see the others:

We are living in interesting times, no doubt about that.

I have to say that I was extremely disappointed by the BBC's live coverage on BBC News 24. Their reporter was behind police lines, unable to see anything but projectiles lobbed at the coppers, and certainly unable to see any violence against protesters (which photos, videos and tweets from protesters tell us certainly occurred). Their studio voiceover reflected this, and their emphasis was very much on police injuries sustained, barely mentioning the other side of the story. There were also a lot of leading questions when they interviewed protesters, along the lines of "How can you defend this violence?", never asking the same question of the offices taking batons to the public they're meant to protect.

I'm reluctant to be too opinionated on the violence, as I wasn't there, but it seems clear that there was a lot from both sides. Several police officers were injured, including one who was thrown from his horse, and several students were taken to hospital (or, in some cases, left in the kettle despite urgently needing medical attention). Jody McIntyre was dragged from his wheelchair (read his account of events here), Guardian journalist Shiv Malik was beaten until his head was bleeding, and one girl had her collarbone broken although I haven't found her name or the circumstances yet (I think it was a cavalry charge). These are the stories I've heard because, I confess, there's a political bias to the left in the people I follow on twitter, but I will say it again: there was violence on both sides. Too much violence.

Callous and horrible though it sounds, this direction this war takes depends entirely on who dies first. I know, I know! I'm an awful person for even thinking it, but it's true: if an officer dies first, the witch-hunt to find and prosecute anyone involved in the protests will reach unheard-of levels. If a protester is killed by an officer, the public opinion will swing back towards the students. Or there's a third possibility, in many ways the most horrible: a protester will die as a result of another protestor's stupidity.

If this happens, the whole movement will fall apart. Peaceful students will refuse to march with the Socialist Workers; unionists won't want to march with students; and absolutely everybody will scatter as soon as possible anarchists turn up. I would say that this is quite probable, but the police are proving so enthusiastic in their violence that they will most likely, pun unintended, beat us to it.

Every protest displays more violence, more public disorder, and more condemnation from the government and police forces. I'm sorry to say that a death is only a matter of time, because this hasn't ended with the vote. This isn't going to melt into the background; these students are not going to shrug their shoulders, say "Fair enough then, it's the law, what can we do?" because we know what we can do now.

This. Right or wrong, there'll be more of this in coming weeks.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Nick Helm - He makes you look fat

Right, my oft-mentioned comedy addiction has led me, once again, to find an incredibly talented performer. Nick Helm, while initially a little abrasive (he's the shouty type), is very funny and musically great! This is the song that won me over to him, from his performance on Russell Howard's Good News:

So, me being me, I decided to try and play it on my ukulele. Turns out, it's a pretty simple song! Lyrics and chords below, because I couldn't find them anywhere else. Chords the same throughout.

I’ve seen your new boyfriend, he’s really good-looking
If he was a rent boy I’d probably book him
Not that I’m really into that stuff
I’m just saying, your boyfriend’s incredibly buff.

He’s got a really nice face, and really nice hair,
He’s really polite and he’s really aware
He’s got really nice teeth and a really nice tan
And he’s really relaxed when the shit hits the fan.

But he makes you look fat
He makes you look ugly like a man
He makes you look old just like his nan
Yeah he makes you look fat

He makes you look fat
He makes you look lardy round the arse
Don’t you know that he’s in a different class
Yeah he makes you look fat.

You two together, what’s wrong with this picture?
You need a man whose waistline will eclipse ya
You need a man who’s a little more shoddy
A gap in his teeth, and an imperfect body.

It’s nothing you’ve done, you just shot far too high
You get ignored while they give him the eye
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’re fat,
It’s just anyone would look fat when they’re sat next to that.

He makes you look fat,
He makes you look ugly in the face
Don’t you know that you’re looking out of place?
Yeah he makes you look fat.

He makes you look fat
He makes you look fat, oh yes indeed
Don’t you know that he’s well out of your league?
He makes you look fat.

I’ve got a solution, you might like to try it
You won’t have to jog and you won’t have to diet
I’m sure you will see, to a certain degree,
How good-looking you’d be if you stood next to me.

I can make you look fit
I can make you look much fitter than him
Take a look at my saggy double chin
I can make you look fit.

I can make you look fit
I can make you look fit oh yes I can
Don’t you know that I am your ideal man?
I can make you look fit, fit, fit!
(Copyright Nick Helm, of course.)

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Hurty face

There are no words for how enraged I am at my own face today, but the world traditionally abhors violence against one's visage re: cutting noses off, etc., so instead all my grump is externalising.

It manifests as an extremely short temper, much like a bear with a sore tooth, which is actually what I have. Sort of. Well it's not the tooth, it's my gums. For about four years my wisdom teeth have been performing a horrible inny-outy-in again dance that leaves my gums intensely hurty, and leaves me clutching my jaw / cheek and howling every few months.

If only I had money. If I had money, you see, I could go and see a dentist. Don't think I haven't tried to find an NHS one because I have; waiting lists are insane things. Why do we even have separate doctors of the teeth? Why can't I just claim an emergency appointment off a GP and be seen this week? Why have teeth, alone of all the body parts, been outsourced to a separate medical practitioner?

Damn you, face.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cardiff protests, part 2

I've always considered myself a law-abiding person. My daddy is a lawyer, so I've known other lawyers and police officers my whole life as dad's friends. The side of good, here to keep us safe.

Which in many ways made it scarier to be surrounded by police officers and vans yesterday. To see them grab my friend by the arm and throw him back into the crowd. To hear that an officer threatened to tear my friend, pushed into him by somebody, "a new arsehole" if he touched him again.

One of my friends got arrested. This article phrases it "South Wales Police has confirmed one male was arrested today for a public order offence." Don't think for a second that this means he was violent - he's a cheeky bugger, but it's infinitely more likely that he'd try to get a policewoman's number than take a swing at someone!

The strangest thing, by far, was being part of a crowd with nobody in charge. There was never a plan, but occasionally a consensus decision would be reached and dozens of people would surge - into a bank, into a shopping centre, into a vodaphone store - anywhere that has been dodging taxes, the crowd wanted to storm. I got pulled into Lloyds TSB by a friend moments after I arrived, and stood in the lobby as policemen chased after 30 or so students who'd gone upstairs. The officers locked the door to prevent more people getting in - locked me in.

The mood was on a knife-edge. I think that's one of the reasons the police didn't get more threatening - if they'd pushed too hard, things would have gone bad and stayed bad. As it was, however, a strange sense of humour emerged that I couldn't help but smile at. Our anti-Tory chants had accordion accompaniment; the section of the crowd that invaded St David's shopping centre sang "We're only going shopping, we're only going shopping!"; two friends of mine started a conga-line that gained some serious momentum; some guy was playing a Bob Dylan song and forgetting the words (even the policemen were smiling and chatting with that section of the crowd) - unfortunately that was interspersed with moments of fear and anger that swept across the mob. Those two emotions are separated by such a thin line; I don't think I knew how thin until now.

One woman, clearly angry / frightened (frangry?), started shouting at us - telling us we were scaring children, I think, although it was hard to hear. The crowd started chanting "She votes Tory" and "Tory scum" while an officer pulled her away from us, and I was honestly disgusted. One thing I will never, ever accept is demonising opponents - and especially not members of the public, who we just can't afford to alienate. I won't draw the battle lines between the students and the public. We're all in this together. This affects all of us.

Ben made this point loudly and dramatically as only he knows how; he broke out of the crowd and declared to the surrounding police, "It'll be your jobs next! You'll be where we are." That was around the time it looked like we were going to be kettled. We were given the choice: return to the student's union, or get kettled - which, for those who don't know, means being penned in by the police, not allowed to go home, sometimes for hours, sometimes being denied access to food, water, toilets. I'll be honest, I was not up for that. I was terrified, cold, losing feeling in my fingers. I would have gone home as soon as they started to storm the bank, but I still believe in what we're doing.

Luckily, the overall result has been a good one. During the protest, we received news that Welsh students won't have their tuition fees raised, or EMAs cancelled, which is an excellent start and reflects extremely well on the Welsh government. My friend wasn't charged with anything, so I hear, and South Wales police have acknowledged the protest as having "passed relatively peacefully", which I'd say is accurate.

Well. I know this is a fairly muddled version of events, so here's the summary of events from the Guardian; and here's a link to the rest of my photos. Check my twitter feed for twitpics etc from last night.

Also, this is the video I've been making all my friends watch lately. They love it, you might too.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Cardiff student protest

I've just run home to pick up blankets and charge mobile phones, so now seems like a good time to bring you up to speed.

If you follow my twitter feed, you'll likely have seen that I joined a peaceful protest outside Cardiff university at 12 noon today. The protest moved inside the building, and a small portion of us held down a lecture hall while the rest marched around the city centre. The police have acknowledged this as a peaceful protest. No windows broken, no punches thrown, to my knowledge.

While they were gone, discussions began with Cardiff uni security regarding the intended aims of our protest.

On their return, the lecture or "teach-in" began. It was utterly inspirational. I'm going to look up the details shared and pass them along to you.

As things stand now, it's looking like the protesters intend to stay overnight and bring more attention to our cause. I have to head back out as it's going to be a cold night and my friends will need blankets! This is just a placeholder post, I'll update in more detail as soon as I get the chance! As it is, things are very much in progress!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Making it verse

I'm hammering a poem into shape.

Last month, my university started a creative writing open mic night. I performed, and I'm going to say here what I haven't had the courage to say elsewhere: I'm actually really disappointed with how I did.

I hadn't known in advance that it was going to be competitive; I don't think many people did. I've never been a particularly competitive person, but once I knew that's how things were, I accepted it. I've been writing poetry since I was 14 or so, and I thought they were pretty good. What I hadn't thought about, however, is the huge difference between the verse you find in poetry collections, and the incredible passion and power of spoken word poetry.

I didn't expect to win, not once I'd seen Leeum perform. It was obvious to all of us, I think, that he is incredibly experienced at this; an extremely talented performance poet. From the beginning, when he spoke of "the rocks He told me not to throw," I was alert and listening more attentively than in any lecture. Anyway, my writer-crush aside, I didn't expect to win after that.

What sucked, and again this isn't something I'd happily talk about in person, is that I failed to come in the top four. Ben did. Ben, my housemate, came fourth with a poem I had helped him refine. It's a good poem, but Ben's a novelist now and poetry - well, poetry was always my thing. I was jealous. And disappointed. And when he confided in me, on leaving the cafeteria where the event took place, that he was disappointed he hadn't placed higher, I selfishly replied "Shut up, Ben. I can just about pretend that I don't mind not placing, but you have to pretend too." I'm not proud of this side of myself. Lately his success has been highlighting my insecurities, and through no fault of his own I've become a little bitter.

Since then, I've been working on one poem. Just one. Ordinarily I'd write two or three a day in one of my creative phases, but I'm trying so hard to get this one just right that I keep coming back to it and chiselling, refining, reshaping  and rewording it. And next time - on the 25th of November - Leeum's going to be compering, not competing, and I'll hopefully be in with a chance. And Ben - well, if I'm not better than him at something, I'm going to cut his dreads off while he sleeps.

(Just kidding. I would never do that.)


I've been compiling this youtube playlist of my favourite spoken poems. By all means check it out! You might be surprised.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Education is a riot, not a privilege

Yesterday at university, we studied Thomas De Quincey's 1827 paper "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts."

Everything in this world has two handles. Murder, for instance, may be laid hold of by its moral handle (as it generally is in the pulpit and at the Old Bailey), and that, I confess, is its weak side; or it may also be treated aesthetically, as the Germans call it — that is, in relation to good taste.
His point here (whether satirical or serious I am unsure) is that we can ask whether something is beautiful, and we can ask whether something is right, and that they are not the same question. This is quite a tricky concept at first, but if you find it truly impossible to accept the 'beauty of murder,' you probably haven't seen Dexter.

Dexter is a programme about a homicidal sociopath, and yet if you watch a few episodes, that stops being the focus. You start to appreciate his craft; to acknowledge the conscientious planning and the skillful execution. You become, as my housemate terms it, a "murder snob."

We can do that, as humans. We can separate the morality of a thing from the beauty of it. It's similar to Orwell's doublethink, and it's something that I've learned to do happily as part of my Higher Education.

I got home from university to find that HE was the subject of inevitable controversy. A peaceful protest in London had turned - er - less peaceful, as an estimated fifty-two thousand students protested the huge hike in the university fee cap (from the current £3,290 a year to £9,000).

They got angry. Some of them got very angry, and while I was too late to see how it started, I sat on the sofa and watched in amazement as students smashed windows and started fires at Millbank tower, which serves as the HQ for the Conservative party.

Our in-house punk was delighted, and it's not hard to see why. For years I thought that our generation had been placated by endless amusement; that youtube had given us all three-minute attention spans, and that I'd never see people my age care about anything as much as teenagers did in the 80s. They didn't particularly look like punks, as I remarked to Ben. He replied "Some of them are wearing jeggings, Anna. JEGGINGS." His point was that these are normal students. They're not a fringe group who identify themselves with rebellion, they are just normal people. At that moment, they were just normal people who had taken over Tory HQ, but still - normal people.

My heart goes out to the police officers who clearly wanted to be anywhere but there. They have a very tough job to do, and it does them credit (and gives me hope) to see that they responded without undue force. That's what separates us from dystopic fiction. (By the way, now's the perfect time to remind you about Little Brother. I bought a paperback copy and I'm lending it to people obsessively.)

On the one hand, it's destructive and morally wrong. I don't hesitate to say that. I can't imagine how frightening it must have been for the people just doing their jobs in the building. My heart also goes out to the police officers who were injured on the job; and as for the twat who threw a fire-extinguisher from the roof - well, he's incredibly lucky nobody died. On the other hand... I'm part of a generation that cares enough to riot.

There were anarchist flags flying from the roof of Tory HQ yesterday, and while that may not be right, isn't it beautiful?

Recommended pictures:
Spanish journalists were on the scene, and got these incredible photos of the occupied building's lobby.
Funny banners and protest signs reflect the mood.

Friday, 5 November 2010


I am extremely stressed today. I don't usually get angry, but a combination of factors have led to me being ready to snap at someone. I don't want to get snappy, I want to be happy and relaxed. That would be nice.

I've lit candles, I'm burning incense, and the living room is atmospherically lit. I put some reggae on and tried to work out why I'm in such an awful mood.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine about those vague, non-specific but utterly soul-crushing moments of gloom and despondency that seem to come out of nowhere. I talked about how you try to work out when it started, and usually it's one sentence or one look or one event that sets you on a negative path and your mood just gets worse from there. That's what happened today.

I've been having a lot of dreams all focussed around the same theme lately (I won't go into specifics, but suffice it to say that it's broadly superego vs. id). This morning's dream consisted of someone I like berating me for my behaviour; clearly a guilt dream, and one that had me feeling like the Worst Person (tm) for my first few waking moments. This is probably why I'm feeling all cross. Great! So, I understand it... but it still isn't going away.

This is worse than I thought. Send kitties.

Monday, 25 October 2010

In which doing the right thing is infinitely less fun, again

For the past few days, Cardiff has again had the (all too rare) pleasure of Rob's company. Rob is a fascinating, enthusiastic person who happens to work in the glamorous profession of film colouring. He colours films. Makes them pretty. The first time I met him, I launched into the only thing I know about film colouring: that a lot of people are doing it wrong, resulting in floods of teal and orange.

Tonight, Rob was reading a copy of Heat magazine (more because it was there, I think, than because he dislikes his braincells). He mentioned a 'weird crushes' list, and I peeked to see if there were any on there I could relate to. There, at number one, was Benedict Cumberbatch. (I've already written a post about him; you can read it here, for the curious, but it summarises to "A+, would ogle again.")

"Ooh, yes, Benedict Cumberbatch," I said. "I feel a bit wrong for liking him now. There's a new Weebl's stuff cartoon about him. It basically says 'Dirty, dirty girls like Benedict Cumberbatch,' over and over until I feel bad about myself."
Rob laughed. "He's filth in real life, as well."
I paused, a little bit surprised but not stunned. Rob has a tendency to do this. It's that glamorous career thing - whenever we mention someone we admire, there's a one in three chance that Rob's met them.
"You've met him?"
"Do you have his number on your phone?" (Joking, of course. Probably.)
"...Oh." (Was I joking? Should I...? No. That would be creepy. I was definitely joking. Do not ask for his number do not do NOT do that, it would be creepy.)

I'm not sure whether I should be congratulated or berated for taking the high road. A mistake you don't make looks much the same as a missed opportunity from behind. Anyway, I'm sure Rob wouldn't have shared as he is far too much of a gent.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to Weebl's song until the message sinks in. (Dirty, dirty girl.)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Silly girl

Shortly before my seventeenth birthday, I went on a week-long camping trip with YFC (the charity I ended up doing a gap year with). I met hundreds of new people; Christians, my age, and they were wonderful and exciting. A new chapter of my life started that week.

Part of that chapter (a not inconsequential part) was my discovery of hugs. On the last night, after a waterfight and a bedtime story (a Mister Men book, though I forget which one), I ended up in the arms of a young man called Matthew. I'd never met him before that week - odd, considering the vast crossover between any two lives on the Isle of Wight. We cuddled into the early hours, just stood up in the middle of the campsite enjoying holding each other. At an age when many of my peers had lost the big V, I was still astonished that anyone would willingly touch me. Yes, my self-esteem was that low. I found a spot on the back of his neck that made him shiver, and for me that was a breakthrough - the beginning of the realisation that I, too, could be desirable.

I remember him telling me then that this didn't mean anything special, and that some girls got the wrong idea.

"I think I can manage not to fall for you," I said, possibly raising one eyebrow sardonically in what turned out to be utterly misplaced confidence. It took me a good two years to get over him properly; two years wasted obsessing over a guy I could never really have been happy with. Eventually, I met Gavin and realised that stupid unrequited crushes are best left in high school.

All that was over six years ago now, and a lot can change in six years. I grew up. I  left high school, did my gap year, found myself, lost myself, moved away from home, started university, found love, had a three-year relationship, moved to Cardiff, made new friends... and yet...

"You know I'm no good, right?"

"Yeah. You can join the rest of the world on that one."

I have learned exactly nothing. History, it seems, is doomed to repeat itself. I am a moron.

Friday, 17 September 2010


I have very vague memories of a night, must have been a year or so ago; details of the nightmare are lost in the time that has passed since. I only remember that I couldn't scream. I was terrified, and I needed help, but I couldn't scream.

Eventually I managed a squeak; a small sound of distress, all I was capable of at the time; and he was there. We so rarely spent the night together, but he was there that night. He comforted me, and told me everything was going to be ok. A tiny noise, heard and recognised by the only person who could save me from whatever terrors I was facing.

It could be that this never actually happened. Am I remembering his nightmares as my own? I know I woke him from bad dreams once. Did I concoct it in last night's half-sleeping daze? An invented fiction that brought tears to my eyes, because part of me believes I need to feel guilty? A dream of a memory, brought on by watching Ink and sleeping in an unfamiliar place? I'm not sure. But regardless of the facts, of the history, the truth remains this:

I miss him. And I'm still not used to this new kind of aloneness.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sex pirates

Sorry I haven't posted much lately; my life has divided into boring things, and things I can't tell you. So to summarise: My housemates are mental, my friends are geeky and awesome, my ukulele playing is coming along well (I've written a song!) and my self-esteem is fluctuating wildly. I'd also like it noted for posterity that I coined the term 'sex pirate.'

Here's a video for you, if geeky ladies are your type! The link is, as always, going up on the left.

Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos

OH! Also,an awesome thing has happened. If you watch Felicia Day's web series "The Guild," you might be interested to know that I emailed Cheesybeard's restaurant and got a response! The conversation is included below.

date  15 September 2010 00:55
subject  Hello!

Hi! I'm expecting auto-reply, but if there's a real person dealing with these: nice work. I do love an effective social media presence (and ARGs, for that matter). All the best!


from  CheesyBeards Restaurant
date  15 September 2010 16:51
subject  Re: Hello!


CheesyBeards Management

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Emo is a verb now

In a bit of an odd mood, if I'm honest. After a pretty awesome and sociable day, I seem to have plunged into the post-midnight blues. I was having fun with my friends, talking and eating and watching silly videos on youtube, when I realised that whatever it is I'm looking for wasn't in the room.

Once you've realised that, trying to be funny or score hugs off people seems a bit irrelevant, really; so instead I just emoed off home and now here I am.

By myself.

In my room.

Still not entirely sure what I was looking for in the first place.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Ducks, rabbits, and ukuleles.

I have a new ukulele!

Yesterday was good, if a little odd. I met up with my ex for sushi, and we went for a bit of a wander around the lake. It was beautifully sunny, with a touch of fog in the distance, and I took a second to count my blessings as we ate ice-creams and laughed at the ducks wearing dog masks.

(Nightmare warning: this is why they wear dog masks.)

Back at my house, I finally introduced him to Colin the Rabbit, who had a very happy half hour wandering around the garden before utterly refusing to return to his hutch. If you've ever wanted to know what complete loss of dignity looks like, I imagine it's me running around a small paved garden after a bunny who is outwitting me at every turn.

Later on, after a brief pubwards excursion with the girls I live with, we met up with a mutual friend who mentioned he was selling a ukulele. Now, the uke I've been learning on since my birthday last year is pretty much the cheapest model you can get - a red mahalo soprano - and I've been intending for a while to upgrade if I stuck with it (which I have). So, far be it from me to pass up on such a serendipitous happenstance just because I really, really shouldn't be spending money right now. The new uke is BEAUTIFUL. I'm not sure if it's a soprano or a concert; I suspect the latter but the guy I bought it from didn't know anything about ukuleles. Like, anything at all. It was tuned wrong.

Some friends came over and we sat in the garden. I could see the stars. I love that about our garden; I didn't expect to see stars in the city like this, but there they are, whenever the sky's clear. After disappearing inside the house to play with my new instrument a couple of times, my lovely friends and housemates badgered me into performing for them, which I duly did. Long story short: I have to play at an open mic night in two weeks. Aaaaah *flail!*

I apologise for the lack of updates recently; this particular post was prompted by the lovely SufficeBlog.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Recent dreams

Some people keep a regular record of their dreams, and good on them for doing so, but a recent conversation with a friend has inspired me to try a little dream analysis.

Dream one.

In the first, I was wandering around a school / office type building, trying to get Marmalade (the ginger cat that, until recently, lived with us). I met somebody who was doing a diabolical bad-guy speech into the PA system. They were definitely evil, because they pinned down a butterfly - a big, beautiful, bright, multicoloured one - and killed it. Then somebody (me? Not from my perspective, though) split their head in half with an axe. This was not even vaguely concerning to me; as I said, they pinned down a butterfly, so... they deserved it (dream logic. I do not advocate death for butterfly killers).

Friend's interpretation of this: The butterfly represents some kind of potential within myself; something that's being stifled by an outside force.

My interpretation: Not sure the force is external. Tempted to conclude that the butterfly, the maniac and the axe wielder are all aspects of myself. If anyone's inhibiting me, it's me! Nice to think that my subconscious thinks that I have the means within myself to overcome this, though. But was the axe part a liberation? Felt more like an act of vengeance for something that's been lost.

Dream two.

A group of bad people did something bad to the giant, ugly, terrifying rabbits. Therefore, I was utterly in support of the rabbits getting revenge, and they did. However, my perspective switched and now I WAS one of the people getting drooled on by these monstrous lagomorphs. We ran, but the drool made me slip back. We ran away again, as fast as my little legs could go, terrified and not looking behind me. A man, holding a kid's hand, strolled out ahead of me, so I grabbed him to try and give me a speed boost.

My interpretation: never read this article again.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Experiment: fan

This is an experiment. It may well not make sense to anybody other than me, so I apologise for that!

First it was boh3m3; carelessly-crafted rants inspiring legions; we expected him to be careful with us. Inevitable disappointment, disillusionment; a fall from gracelessness, so much pride having gone before. And I, needing more, turned to the Sons of Admirals, boys demonstrating skill and immaturity and thus fuelling my fantasy. Talent is such a beautiful thing to waste. And this is what I do; watch others be wonderful, always wondering when it will be my turn, my turn to be special.

The fantasy always runs the same, no matter whom the subject: What if, what if, I met him? What if, what if I spoke? I am witty and erudite, observant and charming, and he listens. That is more or less all. To be listened to; to be respected and liked by those I like and respect; this is the stuff of dreams. And it whiles away a while for a while, while I walk or try to sleep: I think about what I would say to prove my worth.

To prove I wasn't just a fan. Which I am. I am a fan.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Single again

One day, when I'm old, I'll look back and say "Ah yes, 2010, what a beautiful summer that was" and I'll have forgotten (or, not forgotten, but ceased to mind) everything that came with it.

Gavin and I broke up this summer after three years together. If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you'll know that he was my first love. First boyfriend, even; first kiss come to that. So the past 7ish weeks have been extremely difficult for me. I've been trying to sort it all out in my head, you know. Where I went wrong. Whether breaking up was the right choice. I only feel able to talk about it now because I met up with Gavin today, and we talked for the first time in over a month.

We still love each other, that's the kicker. But things must be the way they are, and fighting it because it hurts won't help matters. We're apart now. That's the bottom line.

A few guys have been expressing an interest since they found out I was single. Usually when I complain about this, I preface it with "I know it sounds ungrateful, but..." But not here. No, here, I'm going to be completely honest: I feel hunted. I wish they would take no for an answer; I wish they would pick up on my clues (hint: baggy jumper + no makeup = I do not want to be found attractive today thank you); and crucially - CRUCIALLY - I wish I could just forget all about that sort of thing for a while. I mean it; I am really not looking for anyone. At all. Whatsoever.

Aaaanyway... so, yes, we returned to me, didn't we. Sorry about that. At least I can stop saying "there's something I want to write about" now, because this was it.

ANYWAY, to compensate in some small way for this negative post, have a Cracked article! (Spoiler: it's even more depressing.) 6 scientific reasons breakups suck worse than you think.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Reviews: miscellaneous comedy stylings

You wouldn't think it would happen, least of all to me, but I may have finally hit my tolerance point for talking about myself. I know, I know! I thought my love for myself would last forever; I was wrong. Maybe it's time to start reviewing things in more earnest. If that's the direction I go in, I really hope you like British comedy. Really like it. Like it as much as I do. Which is a lot. To the extent that the actual quality of the programme is all but irrelevant.

I've been watching a lot of Mongrels lately ('a lot' here meaning 8 episodes, as that is in fact all there has been). It's like a slightly more charming, class-conscious version of South Park, with equal parts puppets and Mighty Boosh thrown in for good measure.

I recommend it if you like comedy that pushes the boundaries of what is acceptable without actually tearing the boundaries down. You see, while it's perfectly happy to address paedophilia, cross-species love, date rape etc. (often through song), you won't come away from watching it with your life changed (other than there being half an hour less of it before your inevitable death).

If, however, you fancy yourself as a member of the intelligentsia (as of course I do; I'm an English and Creative Writing student, superiority comes with the territory), you could do a lot worse than to check out That Mitchell and Webb Look.

It's a sketch show, so of course it's character driven, but rather than create charicatured monstrosities that make you want to scratch "Little Britain sucks" on your own eyeball just so that you remember to never, EVER watch it again, TMAWL reminds me with every sketch of myself. Me trying to fit in at parties. Me getting irate at the grammar failings of others. Me cowering underground after a non-specific Event destroys civilisation as we know it (with the apparent exception of game-shows). Even the beautifully simple "Get Me Hennimore!" sketches play on my assumed nostalgia for classic sitcoms like Dad's Army, and Are You Being Served.

I also watched some of the Armstrong and Miller show, but I'm annoyed with them because of their Enlightenment sketches, so I won't talk about them tonight.

Don't worry, I'm sure we'll be back on me soon (rejoice, peasants!); but in the meantime let me know if there's something you'd like me to review. Even if it's something you just can't be bothered to watch yourself, but feel like you should. By all means outsource that unpleasant duty to me, because I have nothing but time these days and I need to keep myself busy. Otherwise I start thinking about the Event.

Talk to you soon, and stay indoors,

PS If you do set me homework, I might not do it. Things might come up. I might get interesting again. Barring that, though, go nuts.

PPS Do not go nuts. Recommend me things to watch, by all means, but please remain as sane as you can.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Dear anyone in particular:

Hello! Hi! How d'you do! Sorry, sorry, I'm over-excitable, I know; I'm just so excited to meet you! I know, I know; it isn't technically the first time we've met. But, you see, I don't think I gave you due attention last time. You know how it is, I was busy, or tired, or a little self-involved. I apologise. The thing is, I've since realised - I've been thinking, you see, and you're actually rather fascinating.

Don't feel fascinating today? That's okay, we all have our off days, but there's a lot more to you than people realise, isn't there. Other people might say that the things you come out with are 'random', but I am drawn in, curious about what and how you think. Sometimes I watch the cogs turning when you think nobody's watching you. It amazes me, the things you notice! Things nobody else sees, things I could have missed.

Is it any surprise, then, that I want to know more about you? Sorry, I don't mean to make you uncomfortable. I realise I didn't give much warning. And it's hardly common for people to... well, express such an interest. But all this was necessary, you see; absolutely necessary; because I'm after something very specific. I'm after an honest answer. They're not easy to provoke at the best of times, and the question I'm about to ask probably elicits more lies than any other. But now that you know I'm in earnest, how about trying to lower the defenses when I ask you?

So... how are you doing?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sherlock: a review

I've been really enjoying Sherlock on BBC1. Actually, to be pedantic, I've been enjoying it on iPlayer; the future is here and I am no longer shackled to one time and channel (a fact that's led me to bid a tearful farewell to the Radio Times, despite its obvious worth as a media magazine). In fact, our television doesn’t receive any channels, so instead I wait until a convenient moment and watch it online. SCIENCE!

It’s a testament to the show’s excellence that the ‘convenient moment’ is never too long after its airing time. I confess to not being one of the first on board the bandwagon; I only watched it because everyone was talking about it on Twitter, and because @Steven_Moffat (who co-created it with @MarkGatiss) had just signed up himself. That’s the wonderful thing about peer pressure; sometimes everybody’s telling you to try something because it’s actually really rather good.

Really rather good. Also: nom.

I haven’t yet seen the inevitable “if you like X, you’ll love Y” review, so I’ll be the unimaginative chump who says it: Sherlock is in much the same vein as Doctor Who. You’ve got the brilliant, wild, unpredictable lead character legging it around the place, with his faithful companion in tow (who’s picking it up as he goes along, and learning a lot about Life, the Universe, and Everything). It’s only through Benedict Cumberbatch’s enthralling performance that this never feels old. There’s a wonderful moment in the second episode (out of three, mind, so you don’t have long to get on board) when Holmes does an impression of a ‘normal person’ in order to get his way. The social skills and charm are switched on, and Cumberbatch transforms himself again. I’ve not seen him in anything else, I don’t think, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see incredible character range from him in coming years. As for Martin Freeman: he is exactly what Doctor Watson (or, for that matter, a TARDIS-travelling companion) should be. Interesting, active (as opposed to passive), and learning about Holmes as the audience’s eyes and ears. My only criticism would be that we haven’t seen much emotional intensity from him, not even at times that would have demanded it; but his character’s time spent in Afghanistan probably mitigates that accusation.

There's always an awful lot of running to do!

Another thing I’ve loved about this miniseries is the accompanying web presence. The first episode mentioned John Watson’s blog and Holmes’ site “The Science of Deduction.” In addition to these, Molly Hooper’s blog and Connie Prince's website fill out the universe; giving me things to read and puzzle over in the time between episodes. Sites like this really help to bring characters to life for someone as web-obsessed as me, and although I would have preferred in-character twitter accounts, I understand the problems that would present regarding timing, interaction etc.

The plots themselves are convoluted, well-structured, and cleverly untangled by the dynamic duo. The use of text overlay is sheer genius; it’s 2010, yet most programmes are content to narrate every text they receive and letter they read. Leave unwieldy exposition to lesser mortals; with Holmes, it’s all internal. As it should be. So, in conclusion: I’m very much looking forward to the finale; and not just so that I can stare at Benedict and Martin’s lovely lovely faces.

The third episode will air Sunday, 9pm, BBC1; or watch it at for a week after. There's a good interview with Cumberbatch here if you're interested, but you can't have him.

P.S. my lovely friend Katie has updated her blog with her own Sherlock review! Do check it out.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Mind the gap

I tried to write a blog post, and it came out all nonsensical and disjointed. That's mainly because there's something I really, really need to write about, but I can't do so until September. A lot of you know what it is, to be fair, but I made a promise and I intend to stick by it. I hope to be writing to you all soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the wonderfulness of The Bloggess, who's more entertaining than me anyway!

Saturday, 24 July 2010


I sit. Pen in hand, notebook balanced on my lap. I have created a space in which to exist, to think, to be. Outside, my family talk and watch TV and carry on their lives; but here, in my space, I am alone.

Inspiration strikes like a ray of sunlight through the trees, and I cannot contain it. My mind and my hand race, each striving for the finish, my hand falling behind and my mind leaping ahead. The page fills with my handwriting.

Who knows how long I might stay like that? Maybe minutes; perhaps hours. I write until both my thoughts and myself are exhausted. I collapse into bed.

The next day, memories of my inspiration already dimmed by sleep, I revisit the notebook. I open it to the right page. "OMG I should totally rewrite Twilight!! This HAS to happen."

Screw you, Anna last night. Screw you.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


Did you miss me? Did you? Oh. Well I missed you, my lovely blog and my lovely blog people! The radio silence is due to me moving house, and then having no internet for a couple of weeks. I'm going home to the Isle of Wight for a long weekend, but hopefully I'll be able to write something a bit more substantial from there!

Monday, 28 June 2010

In the immortal words of Will Smith

"The weather is hot and girls are dressing less." I'm not sold on the grammar of that, actually, but who am I to question the Fresh Prince?

I can't think straight, it's too hot! I've got a couple of posts drafted that are awaiting the time my brain decides to play ball again. The way this summer has been going (and going, and going), that may be some time!

Twitter seems to be full of people who can't sleep tonight. All complaining about being sticky and uncomfortable and restless. It's the first 'proper' summer we've had since, oh I don't know, 2006? How strange to think that my blog goes back that far! In fact, tomorrow is my FIVE YEAR blogaversary. Crazy. Every now and then I go through the archives and reread old posts. It's like catching up with a girl that I'm not any more. We exchange stories, me and 17-year-old me, and I try not to let her see that I'm laughing at her a little bit. I'm sure she's extending me the same courtesy.

As first posts go, it's not at all representative of myself at that age. It's entirely school-focused - and, well, Big Brother? Dear me. Now if you want to see a post that really does represent me, check this one out! Me, leaving my work till the last minute? Heaven forfend!

Me in 2004, aged 16. My semi-goth phase. Throttling the lovely Becky.
Anyway, I could waffle all night, since sleep is apparently not an option, but I'll spare you that. Instead, here's an awesome game called Doodle God, in which you have to combine four starting elements in new and interesting ways until you have created, among other things, milk, zombies, and assassins. As always, the link will be going on the left.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Kilt and céilidh

I spent the last week in Edinburgh, attending my sister's wedding and seeing the sights. I'm pleased to announce that, at the request of some very kind ladies and gents, I did indeed dance at the céilidh (pronounced kayley, it's a Scottish knees-up), at the expense of my ankle but not my enjoyment.

I'm sure photos will be going up, so you'll get to see my already-stunning seester looking radiant in her wedding dress. If that's your sort of thing. There will also be photos of my father and brother in kilts; if you're reading this, Mike, discretion will cost you.

I'm back in Cardiff now (after a pig-awful journey that was 7 or 8 hours, and 2 hours longer than it needed to be). I'm moving house in one week, so I've got to get on with packing and such, all while trying super-hard not to think of anything, because thinking makes me feel all confused and worried and I don't want that right now.

I really hope I get a dentist appointment soon... I'm so sick of this wisdom tooth being 'partially ruptured'; it's had at least 3 years to get its act together and has utterly failed to do so.

In other news, I'm going to be posting some short stories to Idle Scribe. I submitted them as university work and got pretty good feedback, so do have a read if you're interested.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


I wanted to curl up on the soft sofa, but the yurt is always packed. People shuffle up and perch on armchairs, always room for one more the merrier.

I sat in the tent with my hazelnut milkshake, and listened to the girls sing. It was an Irish song; close vocal harmonies, flowing up and out of them in cyan and green.

The stories were sublime tonight. A man and woman from Bristol sat or stood at the front. Him, reciting stories about Old Tom, his grandfather; her, playing vivid violet violin or her acoustic guitar, which sang in a deep sonorous blue. And the man from Bristol, oh, he built pictures so carefully, neatly alliterating the pictures in our minds. I wish, I wish, I could do that.

I am not a storyteller; I am a writer. The difference is tangible and harsh. I want to be a storyteller; I want to have the stage presence to take a roomful of adults on a journey; but I have seen my face when I speak and it is still and lifeless. I have seen my body when I move and it is awkward and girly. I have heard my voice when I talk and it is unclear and lazy; my once-sharp-cut vowels atrophied through years of misuse. I no longer talk to myself. That's where I lay the blame.

Spoken-word poetry is an art form. I have watched enough online in the past couple of days to stir up a longing in me. I want to be a performer. I am a poet, but not a performance poet. So what's it to be? Well, Anna? Are you going to sit behind your screen and write dead words for others to read? Are you going to spend your time alone? Or are you going to learn to eNUNciate! DRAmatise! emphasise! Are you going to learn to speak?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Life is a mystery, everyone

Not sure what to say, really. That's never a good sign with me. Usually I either have something to say, or simply go without blogging for a few weeks, but these are special circumstances.

I'm feeling pretty down lately, for numerous and complicated reasons. If you're of a praying persuasion, I suppose you could pray for me? although I'm in two minds as to whether that actually works

Nothing is ever simple, is it.

Hope you're all well, I promise to think of something interesting to say once the blues have passed.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Where are the women?

Is it so hard to have interesting, complicated female characters? Women who think for themselves? Is it so implausible that we might discuss something other than men in our free time? Ugh.

I've recently discovered something called The Bechdel Test. To pass, a movie has to fulfill these three requirements:
1) It must have at least two women in it,
2) Who talk to each other,
3) About something other than men.

Humble aspirations, you'd think. Half the world are women, surely most movies pass this test without even thinking?

Well, this video contains a list of movies that fail, I think you'll be surprised.

Yeah. They're not all pure testosterone movies. Ghostbusters? Wall-E? Toy Story, the Princess Bride, the Wedding Singer for goodness' sake! Are we that uninteresting?

Interestingly, one of the movies that passes this test is Legally Blonde. If you haven't seen it, it's about a beauty- and shopping-obsessed sorority girl who adores the colour pink. So far so blah, right? Especially given my feelings about pink. But this movie is possibly one of the most feminist mainstream movies I've ever seen. If you haven't seen it yet, UK types can watch it on iPlayer until Sunday. If you can overlook the fact that the main character has every advantage in the world (being insanely popular, pretty, and rich), it's actually pretty empowering (yes I just used that word) to see her surpass everyone's expectations and defy stereotypes. The sequel is more fluffy, but still passes the Bechdel test with flying colours.

Anyway, enough ranting from me. Todays interesting thing, although I give no guarantee that you will find it so, is the latest Nexus - an online magazine for creative writing. I've got one story and one poem in there, and I'm very pleased with it!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The peasants are revolting!

Today, in Cardiff, there is an awful lot of protesting going on. The Welsh Defense League are protesting against Muslims, and Unite Against Fascism are protesting against the WDL. Taxi drivers are considering striking over the whole situation, possibly because they feel left out.

I was sat in the park reading my book, and I phoned my friend Ben to see if he was free. He wasn't. He was at "Well, sort of a riot I suppose" - said in the surprised tones of one who never expected to find himself at a riot, today of all days. I was not surprised. Ben has Political Opinions, and isn't afraid of voicing them. "The Nazis are in town," he continued, "and we don't like them." Well, quite.

I wished him luck, and went back to reading my book. Not because I don't care, you understand; I do, very much. In fact that's precisely why I wasn't there. You see, while other protesters may feel free to shout and throw things, I wouldn't. I'd be very quiet and polite about it all. In many ways, I concluded, that would be worse than not showing up at all. So I didn't.

So instead, I'm going to read up on the history of the two groups, go through the news coverage of the event, and formulate an opinion. One silly little opinion among thousands, of course, but mine nevertheless. I already know where I stand on the big issues (hint: racism is bad, mmkay?) but it doesn't hurt to do your research.

I love that Cardiff is full of people who care about these things. In fact, for the past couple of months the political graffiti artists have been out in force. Rather than the usual type of graf that gets hidden away in alleys and corners, this stuff is springing up alongside main roads; usually stencilled (quick and neat) or scrawled (angry red pen). Some of it's been up for a couple of months, but I've only just got around to sharing them, because... uh... I'm quite crap.

Tories tell stories
Loads of these are around; they were pre-election.

Let hope rage
Also a few months old, quite poetic

Brand new, and accompanied by lots of anger and swearing. Worthy of inclusion for referencing 1984, which I only read the other week.

Don't $ell
Similar style to "let hope rage", but different lettering.

Concrete monsters
Referring to the shops? The city?

Love everyone
Ending on a positive note. I know this graffiti artist has been in Cardiff for some time, but I can't quite place his characters.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

No spoilers: LOST

There will be reviews of the finale springing up all over the internet in the coming days. They will range from "It was AWFUL" to "it was AWESOME," but that's not what I want to cover here. I want to talk about the part it's played in my life.

One of the main reasons I'm sorry to see Lost go is that it has served as a very effective, if transparent, excuse for hanging out with people I like for many years now. My family got me into it, having decided after the first three episodes that they liked it. I'm sure that, for them, the novelty wore off several seasons ago; and perhaps I'd have lost interest too, if it weren't for Stephen.

Stephen Wills is my honorary big brother. I've known him for my whole life, and craved his approval for about as long; in fact I'd say he was pretty instrumental in inspiring my lifelong love of geeks. I knew him when he was a blond-haired little boy playing with marbles, when he discovered Sonic the Hedgehog, when he was learning to drum and getting girlfriends... I'm a couple of years younger than him, so there was quite a while when we didn't really talk, but then we found out we had Lost in common. For a couple of seasons, my brother and sister and I would go to his flat to watch it with him. Then when he moved back to Newport, and I started doing my gap year work there, I'd watch it alone with him (and believe me, if I'd known how to hit on guys when I was 19, I would have done).

I grew up and moved away, although possibly not in that order; first to Plymouth, where I was alone, and then to Cardiff. In Cardiff I met Dan X. I picked up more or less where I'd left off with Stephen; going round to see him on a weekly basis and watching the latest episode. That's continued, sometimes with more people and sometimes not, right up until tonight. It's one of the things that helped me get to know a few people in Cardiff, so I guess it's one of the reasons this feels like home now.

This obsession has fuelled many discussions with my friends, ranging from vapid soap-opera style drama conversations through to philosophy and metaphysics. I'm helping to indoctrinate my friend Ben into the world of Lost, through which he's getting to know Dan as well. It's good to know that it's still doing that.

So I suppose it's time I found something new to obsess over. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Today I woke up. Today I bought a new skirt, from a charity shop: drapey and interesting, £2.99.
Today I went to the park and sat in the sun with friends.
Today I read some more of American Gods.
Today I had dinner and drank cider with friends, and played a Cardiff-based game of Monopoly that I lost and enjoyed.
Today, on my way home at midnight, I didn't so much as shiver. Barelegged and still warm in the middle of the night.

Summer days really do last longer. That's not nostalgia, that's the light. Today, there was so much light.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Copyright and the future

Information wants to be free. Copyrighted information, government information, my information.
I can't locate the quote, frustratingly, but someone once said that computer memory will never get more expensive, slower, or less convenient. The world is opening up for people to share ideas, books, movies, and personal data across the world almost instantly.

To do so in the case of movies, for example, is definitely illegal; arguably immoral; but still very easy. And likely to get easier.

Did you know that copyright law, when first invented in 1709, applied for 14 years? By contrast, Paul McCartney (and thousands of other artists) hold the view that 50 years of royalty cheques aren't enough. (Please discount my opinion, but if you're not currently earning, maybe you don't need to live a life of luxury.) Most performers around today are aware that customers have the option to pirate their songs, and their responses range from the overzealous ('let's sue them into the ground as an example') to the cool ('I make this awesome stuff you might like, oh and also I need to eat.').

This blog is licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Creative Commons license. Click on the CC license at the bottom of the page for more info.

I bring this all up because I'm trying to picture the future. It seems to me that, whether the privacy activists and lawyers like it or not, our society is tending towards total freedom of information. Everything about us will be available to anybody who cares enough to look. It will fundamentally change the nature of our society. It will change how we treat others (because we'll know we're being 'reviewed' online); it will change why we create things (because anything we write or film or draw will instantly be available to everyone); and it will change how we keep secrets (if we even have them at all).

I'm not trying to present some horrendous dystopia here; nor am I condoning illegal downloading or the abolition of copyright law. I'm only trying to sort out, in my own head, where I think the human race is going, and (accidentally, in the process) who's stopping us from getting there. If I knew no other life, would I really mind living in a world like that? I think my answer is no.

What do you think? Where are we heading?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


I feel oddly restless when I come online. There was a time I'd go to a forum, but I've more or less abandoned those. Or I'd log in to IRC, but I don't do that any more. And since I restarted my twitter account (foolish, foolish me), there aren't many people to talk to there either. So I fire up my laptop, open firefox, and feel...

Unsettled. Unhomed.

My dissertation is going to be about home, and what that means. As a student, I move from house to house every year, so that's not home. My parents' house isn't home, not any more. Home has become something a bit more elusive, a bit less defined.

So, I suppose part of me is looking for something to get obsessed about. A website or event or group of people I can relate to, connect with, belong with. Likeminded people. Ah well, I can keep dreaming. There may well be thousands of people with minds a lot like mine, but I wouldn't know where to find them.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Who am I and what have I done with me?

I have a rad dress!

My boyfriend, Gavin, had been keeping a secret from me for weeks. He insisted that I keep last Saturday free, and it wasn't until the morning that he told me why: he was paying for me to go on a shopping trip! His sister-in-law, Leonie, is an awesome lady and she was my style guru for the day. I got lots of lovely things, but I was most excited about the dress. Here is a picture of it on someone who isn't me:

It looks better on me. Sorry for the tiny pictures, these are literally the only pictures of it online as far as I can tell! I guess it's new. Makes sense, one of the girls who works at River Island asked me how it looked on. So: yay! Rad new dress!

I'm now looking for shoes to go with it (sorry guys, I'll talk about something a bit less fashion-based next time), and I'm getting hugely excited by a range Leonie introduced me to called Irregular Choice. They're very unusual. Some of them are just plain bizarre, but I am getting unfamiliar twinges of shoe-lust for some of their designs. Looky:
The best kind of weird, in my opinion. I know some of you may be thinking "Wow, she says how much she hates fashion disasters, and then says she likes these?" in which case I would formulate my reply thusly: LOOK! Look at the pretties!

So anyway I'm just going to hold my head in a bucket of ice water until I clearly see what I've become.

Ooh, I nearly forgot. Links.
River Island
Irregular Choice

Monday, 3 May 2010

Nellie the Elephant

I'm rereading Unseen Academicals at the moment, by Terry Pratchett. The main character, Nutt, is obsessed with having Worth. He creates things, and he learns, and he helps, because he needs to be worthy. I understand how he feels.

I restarted my twitter account today. It was complicated - I had to change my username and details and delete that account, then start a new one with my original information. It was a bit of a snap decision, but I decided that I've let it matter to me far too much. Twitter doesn't matter, not really.

I'm relieved that I've been able to let go of that obsession with rank. I no longer care how many people read my blog, to be honest, since the only important thing for me was to write it. I wanted to prove that I could keep it up, and I've done that, by my standards.

I'm hoping that, once I've finished uni for the summer, I'll be able to spend the summer doing worthwhile things. Not spending all day on twitter; not reading dozens of blogs; but learning things, and doing things, and meeting people. That's what really matters to me. I want to practice playing the ukulele more, and I want to get better at calligraphy, and I want to read and write more. I know I say these things fairly often, but that's because it's good to remind yourself where you want to be heading once in a while.

And above all, I want to be ready for the adventures when they happen. A couple of weeks ago (I intended to write more about this, but the time has passed), I went to the beach. My friends asked if I fancied going. I was at Gav's, but dressed for adventure: jeans, trainers, everything I need in my rucksack; so I said yes, and we went.

I splashed about in rock pools, went paddling, sat on rocks, climbed into a cave, found spiral fossils embedded in the rock floor, and had maybe the best day I've had for many years. Because I was ready for adventure.
It's all very well to wait for these things to happen, but I think it's time I started doing random scary things again. Goodbye to the circus of internet drama, hello to making the most of my free time. Fingers crossed.