Thursday, May 17, 2007

Way Across Some Cold Neurotic Sea

Tomorrow morning is the beginning of a twenty hour journey to Malawi, and the start of a fortnight trying to put into practice a whole semester of preparation on women's rights and their disproportionate suffering of HIV. So I will be out of the loop, to say the least.

I am having trouble articulating my feelings on the trip, simply because I do not really know them myself. I suppose I can hazard a few guesses, the obvious ones - nervous, excited, so forth - but I really am just tired. Uncertain. I have never been to Africa before, and the thought of a whole new continent, whole new levels of poverty, rural life, isolation... and the realisation that I should never underestimate the resourcefulness and strength of women, or think I fully understand their lives and their choices. And I should learn as much as possible, and get as much perspective as I can, given that when I come back, I'll be working for a corporate law firm. Somewhat different. I believe the term will be "culture shock."

It's going to be an adventure. And I am NOT going to get malaria. NOT. Despite what the mosquitoes have in store for me. Little sods.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Only Pool in which I'd Happily Drown

Unfortunately for a guest at the glorious dinner I went to last night, he mentioned he'd been listening to LCD Soundsystem just before heading to dinner. The poor guy was then backed into a corner and forced to listen to just why I thought they were so great and why the concert I went to on Monday night was in my top five of all time. And that was before the drinking had really begun. Ahem.

But, seriously, it was extraordinary. I know I'm supposed to blog elsewhere for music-related fun, and I will do about just why it was so so so good. However, I (along with others) had a real sense of feeling at home in NYC this week, which was overwhelming in the finale to LCD Soundsystem - predictably, but still beautifully, New York I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down. What I particularly loved was there was only one person who got out a lighter, that I could see, and they soon put it away. New Yorkers weren't going to stand for that. And that's why I love them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How Green is Your Valley?

Peaks and troughs over the last few days, really - the glory of LCD Soundsystem last night at Webster Hall, the lows of boshing a ton of money on malaria drugs, doing the washing and finding NOWHERE in NYC that will sell me hydration salts or 30% deet insect repellent (Boots, how do I miss thee?). But more on those later.

Jerry Falwell died today, you see. Just to remind you of the charming nature of the man, post-September 11th, 2001:

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'

Friday, May 11, 2007


So, exams are officially over for me. I've already realised all the things I did wrong, of course, in my last one. But it's done.

Which means that now I am in that strange post-exam limbo. Feeling like I have something to do, but not sure what. Mind racing but to nothing in particular. Trying to ignore the gnawing feelings of guilt for doing nothing. Knowing I should feel happy, even relieved at a minimum, but really just experiencing exhaustion.

There's only one thing to do. Clearly. And yes, that is watch a lot of television.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Here Comes The Fear

My top fears about this summer (in no particular order):
  1. Addiction to the crackberry - I am already an obsessive email checker
  2. Not being able to read GFY at work.
  3. Business Casual - I can do business. I can do casual. Business Casual - not so much. Plus the whole switching from heat to aircon to sweltering heat... that requires another of my weaknesses.... layering.
  4. Disappointing people. Seriously - I will have responsibility. Not just to myself to do a good job, or to my employers, but to my school so that other students will be wanted; to my F&F to be around to talk and hang out; to my paper that needs to get re-written.
  5. I will melt with the heat.
  6. The FRIZZ (see 5 above). Is there a product strong enough to prevent it?
  7. That I will stop going to work for two days in July--or, at least, I will get no sleep--because I will be too busy reading the new Harry Potter
That's it. For now.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Groover. Vancouver. Hoover?

Those who know me know of my great love for Go Fug Yourself. It is, without question, the greatest website on earth. Yes, even better than kittenwar or stuffonmycat.

Today, however, it surpassed its own incredibly high standards. When I was an early teen, I had a big big big thing for Bryan Adams. Not a sexual attraction thing, but an all-encompassing love. My first ever concert was Bryan himself, supported by Extreme. Yes, "morethanwords" Extreme. It was at Wembley Arena; I got a t-shirt. I went with my best friend and my mum's best friend, who took us. It was great, I think. I can't really remember, but it didn't quell my love for BA until I suddenly became utterly obsessed with the Beatles at the age of fourteen and refused to listen to anything else, for a while - other than Blur - but those are two different stories for a different post.

At the time of the Adams obsession I may have also been a bit of a teenybopper but, for me, loving the Adams meant that I was a bit harder-edged than the other take that lovers. Please pick yourself up from the floor, stitch back together those sides that have split from guffawing at me. Fortunately I got into indie & dance music. But my nostalgia for Bryan remains. Hence my great pleasure at GFY today. Any post that manages to slate this horrible outfit while concentrating entirely on the back catalogue of the GFV is awesome.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


...what you really need is a seventeen-pound cat slumped on you to make everything better.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I Can't Stands No More

Paper in. Only take-home exam to do.

I wish I could say that I was going out raging, getting myself ratted for celebratory drinks. However, tragically, there is only one thing that I can do right now, which is head for the sofa, a glass of wine and (despite its immense annoyance AND the fact that I read the recaplets on Television Without Pity) Grey's Anatomy.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


My friends all seem to run, some with more damage than others. I have not been so much of a runner recently, if ever. Although I'm not supposed to think that way. You see, the other half gave me a fabulous book a few years ago, called Running for Women. Although it had lots of useful tips & info, the best thing it told me was to think of yourself as a runner. No matter how graceful you are, no matter what speed you go at, YOU ARE A RUNNER. Apparently.

The thing is, that mental re-training worked on me. I did indeed at least consider that I might be a runner, not just that I went jogging. However, that came to a sharp finish after I developed serious knee troubles Christmas 2002, when I was (honestly!) training for the marathon. Just like that, I lost a lot of the confidence in my body strength and power that I hadn't even realised running had given me.

Since then, I've run in periods, off and on, going through good and bad patches. I don't tend to enjoy it as much these days, simply because "enjoyment" comes from being able to think, process, and enjoy the physical activity, which comes from fitness, which you can only get from putting in the miles week after week. I hadn't run this semester because the only way I could think of fitting in gym visits with the mountain of reading and horrible schedule I'd inflicted upon myself was to bike and read my cases then. However, I pulled my hamstring a couple of weeks ago, and needed to test my hamstring this morning to check I could play football.

I was only going to jog for five minutes, try out a couple of sprints, and then bike, safely.

I couldn't stop. Well, I had to after half an hour because we were getting chucked out for the "cleaning" that takes place in our gym (where they apparently feel the need to remove the straps from the pedals on all the exercise bikes), and because I had a stitch and was exhausted. My knee is twinging a little. But I feel happy. I'd forgotten just how much lower and looser my shoulders feel from running. THREE MILES! In just over twenty eight minutes.

I may do it again. Soon.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Today has been filled with my "Query - what is the normative theory of causation" studying for Anti-Discrimination Law, so I couldn't think of anything exciting, witty or vaguely interesting for my blog.

Fortunately, Xopo came to the rescue.
You Are a Caramel Crunch Donut

You're a complex creature, and you're guilty of complicating things for fun.
You've been known to sit around pondering the meaning of life...
Or at times, pondering the meaning of your doughnut.
To frost or not to frost? To fill or not to fill? These are your eternal questions.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Rose

It is a long-standing, firmly held opinion of mine that any daughter I have will have a woman's name. And by that, I mean a name that is not derived from a man's name - at least not quite so obviously as Nigella, despite her loveliness. I have a standalone name, to which it took me a great deal of time to become accustomed. I did not particularly like it - when I was growing up, only old ladies had my name. Now, it seems, every time I go to the doctor's surgery there is at least one child with my name who is roaring around and being yelled at; I think--no, I know--that I preferred the rarity of my moniker. I liked being the only one. And while I do not want my child to have a name along the lines of Ptolemy or Peaches, I would like her to feel special in the way I often did.

Anyway, it's moot now. As it turns out, I should avoid vowels and "feminine" names if I want her to be any good at science. So Nigel it is. That's bloody well rare.