Thursday, 26 December 2013


No idea if anyone still exists on this thing, but if you do, or if you're just an internet nomad, I've finally gotten over my existential crisis and shifted to Facebook. You can find me heeeeeeeeeeere if you so choose :).


Friday, 26 April 2013

Going cold turkey

Yes that is a completely sincere, unironic and expositional title. For once. I really am going cold turkey.

Back in 2011 I wrote a post about my unintentional break from Coke. No, no one slept with the Xerox girl, it was just one of those things. Evidently, despite all my moxy, it didn't stick, because here I am yet again two years later in the same predicament. (Actually, that's kind of freaky; the original post was written on the 27th April 2011, which is ... tomorrow... *X-Files music*)

See, I got scared off Coke (as well as all other fizzy juice, duh) for a while because my mother kept going DIABETES. Then paranoia took me to Google where I discovered I didn't have any of the symptoms and that fizzy juice leads to diabetes is a myth (which is itself, in fact, a myth) (because it totally totally can give you diabetes). Thing is, exam season was coming around, final essays were due in, I had driving tests and applications and life purposes to find, all in the space of about 3 seconds. So I was Stressed. And when I am Stressed, I turn to Coke. Also, Vanilla Coke has been reintroduced to the wild, so obviously I had to go remind myself what that was like with a 1.5 litre bottle. My point is, when the Stress rolled into town and I thought I wasn't in danger of becoming diabetic, my intake of fizzy juice increased. By quite a lot. To the point where I might go for 3 days without drinking anything else.

Today followed the same pattern. I had a horrible Lit Theory exam and rewarded myself by indulging in the 2-for-1 deal on 1.5 litre Coke in the shop. Then my dad came in with a congratulatory / conciliatory 2 litre 50% extra bottle. My eyes lit up. My pupils turned into little mini Coke bottles. All I had to do to get the gift was listen to my dad tell me that scientists have just discovered that yadda yadda something something basically Coke = Diabetes.

I looked it up; apparently they've found that people who drink diet fizzy juice are 60% more likely to develop diabetes than those who drink 'full fat', as I do, because diet is ew. While on my little internet jaunt, I also discovered that in fact fizzy juice definitely can lead to diabetes, and then there were some horrible statistics that I've already repressed. After this, I wasn't so happy about the present.

Now, apparently I'm still at low risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms of which manifest gradually over a period of years. Low risk = 1 in 200 chance of having it now, and a 1 in 20 chance of getting it in ten years. Or something. And knowing my luck, I'd be that one in 200. Also, apparently the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes can come on really suddenly, over a period of just a few weeks.

So, I'm kind of flipped out.

I'm probably a little more flipped out than I would be otherwise, because of the way I found out I have epilepsy. When I was about 12 or 13, I started playing the Sims, and I always remember that at the start of the installation manuals there was a warning for people with epilepsy, and at that time I didn't know what that was, and for some reason, I didn't care enough to ask. But every time I got a new expansion pack or had to uninstall and reinstall that damn game, I was weirdly drawn to that section at the front about epilepsy. And then, when I was fourteen, I found out I had it. And it was like KABLAM - in retrospect it seemed totally signposted.

Call me irrational or superstitious or whatever, I probably am, but I feel like the same thing might be happening with the Coke / diabetes thing. Except this time I'm aware of the signs. So I should like heed them, and whatnot.

Which means that, after I've drunk this 1.5 litre bottle hiding behind my bed where I have been hiding bottles from my mother for months, like a true addict, I am going to stop drinking Coke and all its cousins, like, forever. Because my sight, and my limbs, and my life, are waaaaaaay more precious to me than a glass of Coke at the end of a stressful day.

And okay, that takes care of the drinking Coke part, but the damage might already have been done. That freaks me out. But even kind of more than that is why I feel I need the Coke in the first place. That's why I'm reluctant to stop drinking it, because it stands in for something I feel I'm lacking, and that lack is going to be even more obvious when the Coke ain't there to fill it up. And, although I am very fond of peppermint tea, I really can't see it replacing Coke, which is already a replacement for something else.

Substitutes for Coke I've come up with so far are: water, soda water, soda water and lemon / lime, tea, and um... soya milk? I guess? The last time I attempted to kick the habit I started drinking flavoured water, but I reckon that's probably almost as bad as Coke, so I'm going to stay away from anything processed. If anyone has any tips for beating the cravings, I would be extremely grateful!

Also, I know not that many people will read this, and I haven't been posting much lately at all, but I think it will help me to stay focused and motivated if I do regular check-in posts about this. It'll be like a visual measurement of my success (or failure).

Oh, and I'm going to keep that 3 litre beast in the kitchen cupboard because I feel much less antsy and more able to resist when I can see the thing I am resisting. Does Coke ever go off?

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

On the time I won the lottery, put iron maidens on my feet, and took a trip to the moon.

You know you're tired and have to stop writing essays when you write down the lottery results on a post-it to check against the screenshot of your mother's work-pool lottery ticket, realise she matched 3 numbers, and then when she asks you to show her, you see that the winning numbers and the ones you've written down on the post-it are the same and for about ten minutes you are a) convinced you have just won the £110,000,000 jackpot and the millionaire raffle, b) that the British Intelligence have infiltrated the lottery website and somehow know the numbers on that lottery ticket screenshot because now they are everywhere, and c) that you might be at that moment surrounded by silent helicopters and guys with guns and camouflage about to pound on your front door, haul you away and interrogate you about ESP.

And that totally, totally did not happen to me.

So, moving swiftly on -- to apologies for continually committing the blogging equivalent of a hit and run. It's not that I didn't want to comment, I reeeeeeeeally did. It's more like, I commented in my head, and then vowed to come back later and actually post the comment, but invariably secondary reading about the Gothic novel/voice in post-45 literature (WTF?) consumed my manners, and my brain, and turned me into a zombie. My coping mechanisms included watching two episodes of Daria per day, dancing to the 10 Things I Hate About You soundtrack when creatively frustrated, and drinking way too much Coke.

I know, I make it sound like a John Carpenter movie, but really I enjoyed this semester a lot. Third year was the first year that I felt actually really settled and established in uni, and like I wanted to integrate myself more, because by this time next year I'll be done, and I won't see any of the amazing people (most of the Yahs seem to have died out, thank God), or be able to use the amazing library, or walk around the quad in the snow, and I'll have to actually get a real job and pay bills, and stuff. One of the highlights of the semester was Glasgow author Louise Welsh coming to talk to us about crime fiction and where she gets her ideas and stuff. She was awesome, and by the end of the hour I kind of wanted to run away and marry her, but sadly Zoe Strachan's already beaten me to that.

I do have upcoming exams, but the nice thing about my uni is they time everything perfectly with people's birthdays, so that the end of the semester/start of study period starts with a birthday, and ends with a birthday. Or two. Or three. Thing is, most of them are going to be twenty-firsts because my lot are getting old now. They realised they were no longer little girls, but little women etc. Which is quite apt because none of us are any taller than five foot four. Which is why we wear heels. I say 'we' because last night I became part of that group of masochists, and I can say with almost absolute certainty, that I am getting the damn hell out and that anyone who voluntarily subjects themselves to binding death-spikes to their feet on a regular basis needs their head examined. I admit that part of my dislike of high heels has always had a kind of quasi-feminist element to it, and I stand by that because NOTHING IS WORTH THAT PAIN, and I could go on, but I won't. But I also have to admit that the dress I was wearing did look better with the added four inches of height, and the shoes are gorgeous and kind of steampunk, if I can apply that to shoes. However, the night that ends up with me walking around the West End at half one in the morning in naught but my invisible tights on the frozen frozen frozen ass ground, dangling the foot version of Iron Maidens from my fingers, and looking quite destitute, is not a night I want to repeat. I was promised, over and over, not only by my 'friends' but by Lorelai Gilmore, that the pain would eventually turn to numbness. But that was a dirty rotten lie. Every step I took produced vivid images in my mind of the balls of my feet exploding in tidal waves of blood. And before you ask, no, the vanilla coke float, although the most amazing drink I've ever had in my puff, did not make up for it.

Maybe you (yeah, YOU, reading this), were expecting some kind of fantastic conclusion, some pearl of wisdom, some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but honestly, the traumatised state of my brain and the amount of spelling mistakes flagged up in this post are telling me to go do something brainless, until I like, regrow my brain. I said brain a lot there. Braiiiiiiiiin.

And goodbye.

OH NO WAIT. I did have this super-awesome dream last night that me and my parents went on one of the first chartered flights to the moon, and we stayed there in an old white-washed ramshackle cowboy type house, with a young cowboy, in the middle of a kind of moon-desert, and everything was dusty with moon-dust, and there was no daylight but there was oxygen and I saw Jupiter, like spinning around with its eye and its many little moons and I woke up thinking I HAVE BEEN TO THE MOON. It was pretty great.

Friday, 25 January 2013

In conclusion, my life is not meaningless, thanks for asking.

So on Tuesday I opted for sleep over my 10am lecture due to unshakable tiredness...which didn’t however prevent me from watching early morning cooking shows, and then America’s Next Top Model. Go figure.

Anyhow, probably around the ten-twenty mark there’s a knock at the door. I answer it, still dressed in my dressing gown, and find two women on the other side. One has Scary Blue Insistent Eyes and the other has a Black Jacket and Monosyllabicitis. As far as I can tell, her whole job throughout the following story was to nod enthusiastically with Scary Eyes at significant moments, and to generally be a wingman. woman. person. thing.

When I open the door, Scary Eyes is visibly discomfited at finding what looks to be a slacker, and not, say, a submissive old person, or someone she gathers she might actually be able to have an intelligent conversation with. Cause, you know, all youth are scum with zero brain cells and absolutely no interest in anything not associated with Michael Bay, or talcum-powder looking substances. Right.

But she plows on nonetheless, because I might be dumb and uninterested, but I will definitely notice if she turns around and leaves without saying anything, and will overcome my inbred laziness to complain vociferously about her failed game of chappy.

There’s some preamble which I can’t remember and then she cuts to the crux:
SE: What are your beliefs on God and the Bible?
Not even a perfunctory May I ask, just straight in there with the personal private question. And a pretty big question at that when I’m still in my pj’s and the sun ain’t even warm yet. But because I need to give her an answer,

Me: Uhh, well I was brought up Catholic...? It might be a thin answer on the surface, and not really an answer at all, but you may be able to gather from that ellipsis (if you want to get technical, it’s actually an ‘aposiopesis’, apparently) that I am experiencing Religious/Spiritual Ambivalence.

SE: Mhm, and do you believe in Creation?
I like to think it was partly to do with the earliness of the hour and the Unshakable Sleepiness and the lack of an audible capital at the start of Creation that I didn’t immediately twig she meant the whole ‘In the beginning...’ stuff at the start of the Bible. Anyways, I guess I kind of gawped at her, because she clarified,

SE: Do you believe in the Creationist point of view?
Again, a kind of a big question that can’t really be answered on the spot when you have the aforementioned Existential Ambivalence. So she backlit it for me:

SE: Let me put it this way - do you believe in Evolution?
This was something I knew the answer to pretty much right away.

Me: Yes, yes I definitely believe in Evolution.
This seemed to be what she’d been expecting, which I initially thought was a good thing and was all yay! until she continued,

SE: Well did you know that people who don’t believe in Creation, and who do believe in Evolution, also believe that life has no meaning?
And there were so many things wrong with that sentence I was bulldozed into quietude. Aghast. Flummoxed. Flabbergasted. 

SE: I mean, you know, because all life is just a biological progression...?
And at this point, slightly flustered by my silent non-reaction, she did this weird hand gesture, as if she was surreptitiously pushing all the Evolutionists off a cliff. I guess it was supposed to show the ‘biological progression’ but it looked all wrong to me. But lo, she was not done,

SE: Would you like to believe your life has no meaning?
The thing is, her eyes were scary because they were kind of magnetic, not because of any charm she had, but because of her sheer dogmatic determination to make me pay attention. They weren’t hypnotic, just insistent, like I said. But she had this really kindly sweet voice, and between that and her eyes like holding me to her, for a moment I couldn’t untangle the meaning from the words. And then it hit me: she was saying that because I believe in Evolution, my life has no meaning. I was not just damnable, but damned, and worthless and meaningless as long as I believed that a long, long time ago a fish crawled out of the ocean and grew legs and eventually a conscience. A total stranger was standing on my doorstep, judging me. Which is very unChristian. I don’t think I’ve ever been so affronted, or insulted, in my life. Simply writing this out won’t convey any of the import that actually went on, like when you tell someone about a really terrifying nightmare and it just sounds really silly in the light of day, but trust me, that is what she meant, and that is how I felt.
So I like knit my brows together and said,

Me: No, of course not.
You know that part in You’ve Got Mail when Meg Ryan’s character is typing away to the Tom Hanks character about how she can never think of the right thing to say exactly when she needs to say it, but can think of it perfectly fine a couple of days later? Yes. That. Here.

Anyway. Then she blabbered on about this little Creationist booklet they’d put together, pointing out merits such as bright colourful pictures of turtles and coral reefs and short paragraphs (you know, cause I’m five and have the attention span of a goldfish), totally overlooking the brainwashing content. At least I assume that’s what it is. I haven’t looked at it; I slapped it down on the kitchen table so anyone who passed through the house would see and I could rant. There’s a small part of me that’s anxious if I do read the booklet, that I will be brainwashed (maybe this is because I’ve just read A Clockwork Orange??), and if I’m going to start believing in something I want it to be on my own terms and not because some bitch posing as a Christian came to my door and told me my life was meaningless unless I started believing the parable at the beginning of the Bible which was never supposed to be taken literally anyway.

Then she turned to the back page of the booklet and highlighted an interview with a SCIENTIST, you know, a SCIENTIST, who by dint of being a SCIENTIST believes in evil evil "Evolution" and is therefore bound for the heathen home of fire and brimstone, except for the fact that in this interview she, this SCIENTIST, asks what does it all matter what you believe because ultimately you’re coming home to God, and for that she will be spared an endless existence in the lake of fiery non-death, maybe getting off with a light millennium or two. SCIENTIST.

And then,
SE: Now is it a fluke we’ve caught you at this time (ha, nice one), or are you usually in just now?

Me: Given the positive connotations of the word ‘fluke’ I’m gonna have to say, fuck no.
Actually, I said,


SE: Well is there any time we could come back to hear what you think about it all, having read the booklet?

Me: Ugh, sure, whatever.

SE: Well, we’ll be back around some time soon, then. Goodbye!

So I’m going to try to unpick this because it’s two days later and I’m still angry about it and I want to set my record straight.

I’ll start by saying this, to show that I’m not coming at this from a defensive non-religious point of view. Until I went to uni, being around religion and religious people was normal for me. I went to Catholic schools, and up until I was 16 I went to church every Sunday. I even went on a pilgrimage to Bosnia Herzegovina. My mother’s side of the family is pretty devout, while my dad’s is not, and this is epitomized in the two of them. So I like to think I’ve been exposed to two different outlooks on religion and spirituality and therefore have a more balanced and less angsty view than I might otherwise have done. But I was very much conditioned into the Catholic way of thinking, like all my friends were, and when that happens I think it’s only natural that you eventually break away from it in order to form your own opinions on the philosophy you’ve taken for granted up till then. I guess that’s what I’m doing now. I don’t know what I believe, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be certain, but I do know that during the periods of anger and resentment when I’ve told myself I don’t believe in God in one way or another, I’ve felt extremely lonely. It’s obviously true that religion is a comfort, but that shouldn’t trivialize it.

Even though I’ve become kind of estranged from my religion, I’ve felt the urge to defend it in the past few months. I never expected to feel quite so protective of it, as though it were a living infant or something, but when you’re being openly judged by people simply because of your religion I think that’s bullshit. Like it’s this thing that suddenly transforms you in the eyes of other people, when actually it’s their own prejudices. I might not be a strong ‘believer,’ but that in no way means I disagree with religion. I might have a natural disinclination toward being preached at, being told I’m sinning, being told that women are inferior to men, that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong, and all the other stupid fucking short-sighted old-fashioned disgusting hypocrisies all wrapped up in religion—I hate all of that, but that is not all of religion, and that is not the way all religious people feel or think.

And those people who aren’t even gracious or decent enough to simply be atheist or agnostic and personally take nothing to do with religion, but have to actively and proudly declare themselves as against religion, and will cite examples of their opposition like shining trophies of peacemaking when really it’s akin to the political dictatorships they also profess to be against? Yeah, I fucking hate those people. And I have personally known them. That attitude is vile and offensive, and worst of all, it’s blindly, obnoxiously hypocritical. I have no time for those people. They don’t deserve an opinion, because they sure as fuck can’t form one.

This type of person’s favourite argument against religion seems to be that it causes too many wars. I’ve always taken this at face value and kind of gone ‘oh’re kinda’ But thinking about it, it almost isolates religion as being the number one instigator of war. Um, religion isn’t a living being, okay? It can’t decide whether it wants to go to war or not. It’s people ‘fighting in the name of religion’, not religion itself, and those people who ‘fight in the name of religion’ are extremists and do not represent the majority of people with faith. Or maybe even in history, the minority. My point is, religion on its own does not promote war; fucked up people using religion as a band-aid for their cracked minds do that.

Secondly, that argument (that religion is bad because it is the root cause of too many wars) has a major flaw: it seems to imply that religion isn’t a good or justifiable reason for war, but that there are good and justifiable reasons for war. Which there aren’t. Nothing is worth that much human destruction. It is a really stupid ignorant horrible argument that doesn’t take into account its own fallacy and also all the wonderful benefits people derive from religion.


Bearing that in mind, I just want to go back to that key thing Scary Eyes said, that people who don’t believe in Creation and who believe in Evolution necessarily believe that life has no meaning. Um, what kind of dumbass generalization is that? And what kind of crack leap of logic? I’m fessing up: I haven’t read the Bible, and I haven’t read Darwin’s stuff on Evolution, so my argument is coming purely from anger and not from academia. But this is exactly the thing (or one of the things) I hate about philosophy. The whole ‘if x is true then it follows that y...’ when it’s just not like that. The world, people, thoughts, ideas, beliefs—all of that stuff does not package down into this like neat little box or system of rules and regulations. If I believe in Evolution, why does that mean I also have to believe that life has no meaning? I don't believe that, so it's blatantly untrue. What right did Scary Eyes have to tell me what I do or do not believe? No one has the right to tell anybody else what they do or do not believe. That, as far as I’m concerned, is a total infringement of your rights as like, a cognizant human being. And you know the really twisted thing that’s just occurred to me? By telling me that I must believe my life has no meaning because I believe in Evolution, whereas it would have meaning if I believed in Creation, she was kind of creating her own ideological Heaven and Hell. Like, she wasn’t even discrediting Evolution, she was treating it as representative of some inherent evil or weakness or sin or ignorance or something in me.

You know what it was? It was scare tactics. It was intimidation. It was degradation. It was bribery, like, obviously her goal is for conversion to the Creationist belief system, and to do that she was trying to scare me into thinking my life, my existence, everything I do or say or think or feel, was meaningless—but that it could all be meaningful, if I just got a totally new belief system. Like it’s not integral to your whole identity as a person. Like it’s something you can just switch, like your brand of coffee, like from caffeinated to decaf. I mean, what the fuck? To trivialise beliefs like that—doesn’t that kind of undermine her whole point? If they’re so trivial, what do they matter anyway? If they don't matter, what the hell's she doing at my door?

So I was ranting to my parents about this all last night, and my dad told me this story of when he was staying in Devon with all the hippies, and two young guys came to the door wanting to sell their religion. Now, my dad might not subscribe to the Catholic ideology, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t highly interested in alternative spiritual ideologies. In fact, that word pretty much sums up my dad: he is alternative. So the two guys say, can we have five minutes of your time to talk to you about our religion? And my dad said, sure, I’ll listen to you for five minutes, if you’ll then listen to me for five minutes. They struck a deal. So the two guys talk about their religion for five minutes and my dad listens patiently and attentively. At the end of the first five minutes, my dad begins his by explaining he still doesn’t subscribe to their views, and here’s why—and the two guys cut him off with expostulations of ‘How—? Why—? Just listen—!’ And my dad responded with, ‘You had your five minutes, now let me have mine.’ Again he tried, and again he was cut off. The third time it happened my dad simply said, ‘Well, that’s it, you won’t let me share my own views [because you’re too busy ramming yours down my throat], so you’ll have to go. That was the deal, and you couldn’t stick to it, so CYA.’ Okay, my dad doesn’t say ‘cya’ but you get the idea. And the moral of the story, kids, is if someone tries to impose their beliefs on you and won’t listen to what you have to say, you the person they want to take on these beliefs, fuck ’em. All they’re interested in is statistics, power, homogenization, brainwashing, whatever you want to call it. If these cold-callers actually want to complete their mission, which is to encourage more people to participate in a religious life, they need to seriously rethink their game plan. Because that right there? That pushed me away from religion, not towards it.

And, in case you are wondering Scary Eyes, my life is meaningful. And I am the only person on the planet who has the authority to say that. 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A Whole Lot of Stuff Plus Some Bond

You can't see this but I'm typing onto a new monitor which is flat and doesn't resemble a space station. Thing is, it's freed up so much room on my desk and is consequently so far away from my face that I'm having to look at it through binoculars. Sigh.

Well this is the classic 'It's The End Of The Year And There Are Multiple Deadlines Looming But Instead Of Meeting Them I'm Procrastinating ... Well, Yeah, Procrastinating' post. Ah, good times. I've now been useless for about a week and a half, although it feels longer. And hey, it IS the end of 2012, so how's everyone dealing with all the crazies in their life who believe that come the new year, the four horses of the apocalypse are gonna charge around earth lassoing us all up like cattle? Also, on a hopefully unrelated note, anyone's atheist father just decided that evolution no longer cuts the mustard as a scientific theory? No? Just mine? Okay, then.

So since I last posted here 2 months ago, a lot has changed here on Walton Mountain, but my habit of starting every new paragraph with either 'Well' or 'So' is still going strong. Let's see,

  • I turned 20, and felt it. Like, my teen years are officially behind me. I will never again get the chance to sneak into an 18 or use a fake ID or be featured on Underage & Pregnant. Unless I'm the kid's mother, of course, cause I'm now in that decade where you have to start thinking about careers and houses and bills and... urgh... contributing to the species *shudder*. You know what was really nasty? Around the same time I had to renew my passport and you know when it's going to expire? The day before I turn 30. THIRTY!!!! i.e., the day my life stops.
  • I passed my theory test first time phew, which means I'm now an official theoretical driver, which I reckon in turn means I could take on the Matrix. Please place your bets.
  • Uni is HARD. For the first few weeks coming out of the zombiefication of summer this was a good thing, but fast forward to week 9 or something and I'm just slacking along cause I've become a slacker. It's Lit Theory that's doing it. I love Victorian Lit and even though I haven't exactly kept up with my reading (hey, Victorian novels are long! It's like a fact and everything!) I feel confident enough in it. Maybe that's just in contrast to Lit Theory, cause man, I'm struggling to remember why I picked the damn course in the first place. I know it had something to do with psychoanalysis and feminism, but after a while you just get sick of everything being compared to the loss of the phallus and angry lesbians ranting about how much they hate men and trying to justify it. And then there's all the isms. Post-colonialism, deconstructionism, new historicism (is an oxymoron), pretentious pointlessism. The thing is, I wish someone had warned me that it's basically the same course they have in the Philosophy department called 'Philosophy of English' except apparently this is less 'esoteric' (dumbdumbdumb). I think on some level I knew this and that's why I picked it, despite the fact I have proven I am pish at the theoretical side of philosophy that involves Descartes and scholars arguing back and forth about God knows what in horribly constructed sentences with words like 'subjectivated' shoved in. There's a part of me that's really interested in philosophy and discussing concepts, but then there's another part that just finds it really frustrating because all it does is go around in circles talking about shit and never actually gets to the bottom of anything. RAAAAA. When I'm in a Lit Theory tutorial I have to periodically look down to remind myself I am on a chair and not in fact floating ten feet above the ground, because it totally feels like we start off tethered to the floor and gradually levitate and drift up toward the ceiling while smoking colourful carcinogenic substances from a hookah and waiting for the enlightening transformation. Except I'm Alice, and everyone else is a caterpillar. Well, except the two girls I was lucky enough to sit next to in the first tutorial and subsequently got grouped with for the rest of the semester. They're great and NORMAL and we all don't get the week's reading together which is hilarious on no breakfast. Alice & the Caterpillars sounds like a good band name too.

  • Life has been weirdly framed by fairy-tales lately. It started with me renting and then buying The Company of Wolves, and then devouring the source material, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, this gorgeously sumptuous delicious anthology of fairy-tales and legends with a twist (kind of like Coke with lemon). You know when a book or a film or a piece of music just seems to describe a piece of your soul or something? (If that sounds totally loopy, sorry, I'm a little tipsy right now.) And then I decided to go as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween, a proper one not a slutty one, and I even ran into my own wolf, who was dressed as nothing and/or James Bond, because the most dangerous wolves are hairy on the inside. And then that seemed the perfect way to teach a kid about concepts and symbols and connotations in literature. And I decided to do my mid-term Victorian Lit essay on 'The Lady of Shalott' because I'm completely enamoured with and haunted by that poem, and this led to me and my mother dissecting it at the kitchen table until the wee hours of the morning. And then I watched Pan's Labyrinth (I know, a thousand miles behind as usual) and Freeway in which Reese Witherspoon knows how to say motherfucker. A lot. Tangled up somewhere in the beginning of this is a European English-dubbed version of Snow White my dad recorded off the tv when I was little and once I remembered it I had to find it. You know how vague things from childhood that resurface all of a sudden have this urgency because you think you have a limited time to remember before it submerges again and is lost forever? Youtube sorted me out, and I rediscovered the least annoying and most endearing version of Snow White I've seen yet. The relationship between Snow White and the Jester is really sweet, and the dwarves wear these little suits reminiscent of E.T.'s neck. Let me know if you've seen it! Apparently when I was little my favourite Disney movie was Snow White & the Seven Dwarves which I don't really get because MAN is her voice irritating. And the Kristen Stewart version was just...dissatisfying. I swear you could have shaken twenty minutes out of that thing just by deleting shots of her pulling her patented angsty face over and over again. (Can I just note here that I'm actually a fan of K-Stew, just not of that film and the subsequent adultery that came out of it?) I think part of my coolness toward Snow White is the fact that I don't really get it. Like, this is my understanding: the evil stepmother wants to be the most beautiful woman in the land, and when her mirror tells her that Snow White is the fairest, she wants her dead. So far, cool. But what redeeming features does Snow White have in order not to be killed? I'm not saying she should be killed just because she's beautiful, but she has lips red as blood, skin white as snow, and hair black as night. That's her whole shtick. Therefore her redemption is her beauty... WHAT? How can her redemption be the same thing that the queen's being condemned for? Fair enough the queen's sinning through extreme vanity and jealousy blah, but her vanity is kind of pitiful and desperate because she's clinging onto her beauty whereas Snow White is just this stupid naive little TWIT who sails through purely on her looks and befriending furry animals and baking pies. I don't. Get. It. Can anyone explain the merits of the story to me? I'm sure there are some. Personally I think the story would work better if Snow White was actually Mousy Brown or Sarah Plain & Tall, but whatever.
  • After an unwelcome dearth in the cinematic aspect of my life, me and Maz, Maz and I, decided enough was enough, our friends suck, and so we took ourselves off to see James Bond. Different as we are in our tastes, we seem to have a mutual interest in Smart Action Thrillers. P.S., spoilers ahoy! So Bond is Amazing and Scottish and Albert Finney Bourne Connection YAY! And Bond girls are impossibly gorgeous. And death by komodo dragon ouch. This sequence disturbed me because aside from the fact I have a pathological problem with sympathizing with Bad Guys, and that my imagination runs away with me, I have also seen documentaries on these large scaly beasts and recalled that their jaws are so crawling in gross bacteria that one bite apparently paralyses prey so that dude was ALIVE when he was EATEN by a KOMODO DRAGON in a CASINO. Bad bad bad way to go. The cinematography was STUNNING. Javier Bardem is SCARY. Glen Coe is GORGEOUS and NEAR. And the whole Jason Bourne/James Bond debate is STUPID because they exist in two totally different universes. Don't lie, you know it's true. Also, I think I initially wanted to see this because Sam Mendes was directing and I've been in love with him ever since American Beauty. Such a good choice. Also-also, I now do this thing in movies where I like cruise the credits to see if Thomas Newman's scoring, and to my surprise and delight, he scored this. That man gets around. Since I haven't seen much of the Bond oeuvre I can't really comment, but I thought the whole Oedipal theme between M, Bond and Silva was fantastically messed up. And the homoeroticism just made total sense because I've always thought of Daniel Craig's interpretation of Bond as bringing that element to the table. Like, for me Bond is so closed off he's almost asexual, but finds more emotional comfort in homosexual activity and uses women as distracting instruments of release. And then there was that shot in the last third of Bond's parents' gravestones and his mother's name is very pointedly foreign (was it French? I can't remember) and I took this as suggesting that Bond's predilection for impossibly gorgeous European women is bound up in the loss of his mother at such a young age...which again ties in with the Oedipal theme...and Silva laughs when he notices the graves, as if he knows. My mother on the other hand took this to mean that Bond and Silva were long-lost brothers, so. Anyone have any thoughts? And do people think Daniel Craig is in fact the best Bond? I know a lot of...ahem...middle-aged people think he has nothing on Sean Connery because that guy is the epitome of 60's cool, or in the case of my mother they also thought Daniel Craig looks like a pug or a monkey or something. I can't say whether he's the best Bond or not because I haven't seen all of the films and I've never read any of the books, but I do think he is the best Bond for our time. I think the key thing about the character is that he evolves with culture, he isn't still stuck in the 60's. He absorbs cinematic and social movements and reflects them back out to us. I don't think people would embrace the character as much nowadays if--and I'm sorry to harp on about this, but it's true--Bourne hadn't come along and set new standards for the action genre. I actually saw Casino Royale before I was ever aware of Bourne and the most vivid thing I remember is feeling in the cinema like I was the one being beat up because the violence was so gritty and visceral, in a totally amazing way. In the post-Bourne phase, Bond was actually allowed to get hurt, and when physical injury appears, it opens up a window for emotional injury. I think that's what our time needed, a hero who was also human. Now people are talking about how we've moved onto the post-Christopher Nolan Bond and maaaaaaan, am I excited for where the story goes next!
  • I was out with the other two thirds tonight, and we were sitting in Wetherspoons sipping our cheap alcohol and wondering...when did our lives get so complicated? It's so nice that we're all going through kind of similar jackhole things at the same time because we can all relate and sympathize and advise, but it's just weird. I feel pretty content in my life right now, I feel like I'm over it, but the line between good and bad seems to be getting blurrier. Or, not even that, but like I'm leaving it behind, because maybe I have to explore the limits of my own character and I want to do a particular something to prove to myself I can do it even though it is wrong. But the thing I'm realizing more and more is that barriers aren't physical, they won't sound alarms if you run up against them, or repel you back like a force field. They are choices, and not foolproof ones; you keep making that choice every day, because there will always be temptations or distractions. I guess what I'm trying to say is that nothing is ever really off limits, and that is weird. Things seem so much simpler when you're a kid.
  • I'm enjoying the hell out of Friday Night Dinner series 2. Every time I watch this show there's an influx in my vocabulary of phrases like 'SHIT ON THE SHITTING THING' and all its merry variants. Also, I fancy Jonny. He actually has such a sweet smile. It's like when Judd Nelson smiles in The Breakfast Club, it's so fleeting and you've been waiting so long to see it that it's astoundingly beautiful and kind of takes your breath away for a minute.
  • I don't mean to sound like an arse here cause I'm genuinely curious and quite out of the loop, but when did M83 become popular, as in, Top 40 Radio 2 popular? I knew it was them (him? I don't know, this always confuses me. Formerly them and now him, I think) a couple of months ago when I heard the 80's tribute music in the background in work, and then I checked the other day and yeah, Midnight City by M83. Like, I remember saying to people three years ago that I liked them and they gave me funny looks like I was saying I had a thing for a chemistry equation or something, and even back then I felt like a doof for not knowing who they were before. I don't think they were ever particularly obscure or niche, but TOP 40?! Blows my mind. And now I feel really old. My favourite song of theirs/his will always be Skin of the Night because oh yum. I was thinking today of how I got into them, and I remembered it was because I was watching Donkey Punch on C4 one night (shut up) and IMing a friend who was also watching it at the same time (seriously, you'll break a rib if you don't quit laughing). I know my friend and I weren't the only losers who did this instead of actually watching things together in the same room. Anyway, during the... scene of a sexual nature, there was this really cool song in the background, like listening to the underground or something, and I HAD TO HAVE IT. Everyone right now is going, seriously, there was a scene in which people are all kinds of naked and a girl gets punched in the back of the neck and DIES and you paid attention to the SOUNDTRACK? Yes, that is correct. The song--a remix of Don't Save Us From the Flames--was unbuyable so I made my friend download and send it to me and thus an M83 fan was born. I guess this is kind of redundant now since everyone probably knows who they are, but if you like John Hughes movies and feel nostalgic about the 80's chances are you'll like M83. 

Speaking of music, my current Playlist of Life is:
Sea of Love by Cat Power which of course being the awkward creature I am I heard first in a gay Belgian film called North Sea Texas (it's adorable) instead of in Juno or whatever else is inevitably more popular than that.
White Horse by Taylor Swift because it's grown on me.
Ho Hey by the Lumineers who my friend in uni just saw and now I'm well jell!
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift which reminds me of the joke Meejin told tonight: Taylor Swift waved at a guy across the street and he didn't wave back. The new album will be out next month. IT'S FUNNY CAUSE IT'S TRUE.
Skyfall by Adele a reason really necessary?
Ride by Lana Del Rey because Simon Mayo is a genius and I love how it's kind of melancholy and how she reminds me a little of Kate Bush near the end with all her high notes.
Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia because I am a thousand miles behind everyone else.
And The Bourne Ultimatum soundtrack <3. John Powell can come score me any day. I don't even know what that means. 

What's everyone else listening tooooooooooo :)? My mother had SmoothXMAS on all day, so I'm in a pretty holly jolly mood!

Hope everyone's well and not succumbing to frostbite/exam stress!