Bajillion year interval update

Yucca Flat
Yucca Flat

OH HAI.

So I finally got a new car – another Polo haha – this time returning to my VW roots and going back to metallic navy. It’s got TWO cupholders and FIVE doors (these are firsts for me in car owning) and seems so far, reliable, yet I do not trust it. I miss the more boxy shape of the Polos of old, particularly as they were so much easier to judge distance with; it also seems flimsy, and squeaks in places it should not, which can only mean repairs already. Sigh.

I’ve had the car for a couple of months now and after eight months of walking to work, I have found that as an aged crone I have started to get a bit podgy for my liking due to the driving, which has horrified me, and led me to look more closely at what i’m shoving in my face.

Not doing any exercise at the mo because, HA, exercise, but I know i’ve been filling myself up with carbs and even a small amount of weight gain shows around my middle, which is definitely not something that I want to continue with, given the risks associated with middle fat. I usually maintain my weight, fluctuating within a couple of kilos, and given my short torso, what weight I do put on is super visible to me. I don’t like it at all, so active podge watch begins.

The Great Drought is now Learning to Garden in a Xerophytic Environment: my online dating account has been deactivated, because what, really, is the point, when it’s the same ten dudes on there, and i’m very much not what they’re looking for. For or all the shit women get about their appearance, these similarly aged men do not appear magically rugged, and none have any appeal, be that aesthetically or interest-wise.

It feels like giving up, and I feel sad about it, I suppose, as it was the only way I was actively “out there” – aside from my every day existence – but then it’s an acknowledgement of how my life is, and how my priorities have to lie elsewhere.

Chance could of course intervene, but given my experiences so far, and the longer i’m around on this planet, the more cynical I find myself becoming. Christ. Get off my lawn you fucks etc. etc.

I had my chance, it didn’t work out, and this is where I find myself – imagining doing hot, filthy things to imagined people in the imagined holidays I take in my head, and feeling a bit glum now-and-then when i’d like to be held. Yay…?

So, other shit – this year at work has been much less awful than last year. I still find it very weird to be invited out to social events, after years at my previous school where no-one ever went to the pub, or socialised outside of work. It’s like I have friends…? :D

It’s still pressured and very stressful at various points, and the upcoming year is going to be particularly hard going as, to support my (unhelpful, uninspiring) colleague, I am teaching a subject other than my specialism. The subject is fine, but all the assessment is a nightmare, and the exact thing I despised from my previous school – the thing that made me feel deeply disheartened and fed up. Anyway, it’s only a year… :/

The artmaking continues well, with work currently on show and future plans for exhibition. I’m currently thoroughly immersed in military culture and nuclear weaponry – ICBMs are very much my jam right now, and i’ve put myself on a year-ahead waiting list for a tour of a weapons testing ground in Nevada; if I get onto a tour, seeing the world’s second largest man-made crater is going to make me lose my shit. Oh the excite!

Due to the masters essay horror, there’s no holiday for me this year. Just staying at home and trying to write and organise my solo mini-exhibition, with the occasional foray out, and probably inappropriate amounts of Twitch watching and staring at sunsets in GTAV.

Sigh.
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Trip to the Moon

Luna Mesa

Near Luna Mesa driving Route 24 from Capitol Reef to Canyonlands National Parks. Taken on my Grand Circle trip back in August – Nevada, Utah and Arizona. It’s the photo that I am most drawn to when I look back over the hundreds from my two weeks away. Seems like a very long time ago now.

So it’s been the longest break from nopoke i’ve ever taken. Sorry about that. There’ve been many times i’ve wanted to write – those conversations I have with myself in my late-night showers – but then life gets in the way. Or I let it get in the way.

But, it’s not like a huge amount has been going on – pretty much the trip?

Then it’s work, which is stressful in some ways, and less so in others. Supportive colleagues but feel like I don’t accomplish anything as there’s too much to do and not enough time. Impostor syndrome writ large.

Hours spent watching Twitch streams of fake poh-leece, barbarians and survivors on islands filled with dinosaurs. Not even gaming that much, just absorbing and typing to people. Did try Minecraft for the first time and it was frustrating but fun *cough*nerd*cough*

Still no car. I’m getting exercise by walking, which is good, but the exhaust fumes I breathe in on my way to work perhaps less so.

Still solo. I’m very happy being captain of my own ship, doing what I want, when I want. There are odd times when I feel sad, and long for companionship, to be “seen” in that way that another recognises and celebrates the ordinary you. I miss being held. I daydream of falling asleep curled up with someone. I’ve still got an active online dating profile, but I get few visitors – last date 2015; most men appear to be looking for someone younger and more reproduction-friendly, so my “niche” appeal further dwindles.

Celebrity crushes and hugs from the hot water bottle FTW.

General anguish over final year stuff for the masters – questioning what i’m doing and whether i’m capable of – or want to – get my shit together and finish it. Needing help but as usual finding it difficult to ask for it. A constant undercurrent of anxiety. But, I can make artwork more readily now, so some progress? I’ve got work up at the moment, and there’s more upcoming.

A general sense of slight decline, personally, physically. Tired all the time. Wake up on Monday and wish it was Friday. Lots of long hot showers and sessions in bed hugging my hot water bottle because I find it comforting when i’m feeling a bit glum.

Hmm. There we go. Exciting, amirite?

Sigh.
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Car murder through negligence

Sad times

:( :( :(

Yesterday: Two x-rays and an EKG say i’m fine, other than bumped knees, sore arms and very sore neck muscles, and a deeply bruised sternum. It hurts when I laugh, move around and oh, breathe. My breast bone is very tender and there’s a livid stripe under one boob – this was from the seat-belt restraining me when I got hit. Police and NHS were great – got through the system in under 4 hours woohoo #ilovemynhs. Met a nice doctor named Simon :)

MR T on the other hand, is probably a write-off. The damage doesn’t look too bad, but the passenger-side door is out of alignment, so the chassis is probably bent and it will cost more than the car is worth to fix. And i’d just got it MOT’d and renewed its insurance too grrr.

On my way back from the supermarket, a woman in a 4×4 who was driving whilst wearing flip-flops – with her five year-old twins in the back (WTF???) – decided to pull out of the petrol station forecourt and into oncoming traffic i.e. me doing 35mph on the main road. Had enough time to take a horrified sharp intake of breath, bang the anchors in and steer right in an attempt to avoid hitting her much bigger taller car, but wasn’t successful.

Luckily, hitting her car stopped me going into oncoming traffic – very generous of her. All in her car were fine, other than a cut the driver received from her fucking flip-flop straps…!

“I’m sorry, my foot slipped”.

She admitted full liability which was good, and as I had a car full of food, I was able to have a picnic whilst I waited for recovery to come and collect my car; conveniently I was nearby a bus stop so I could drag the contents of the car and myself onto the bus. Could have been a lot more annoying in terms of getting myself home, and A&E is within walking distance.

I loved my little car and although I did my best to look after it, it was old, so the amount I will get offered by my insurance will not be very much if it’s written off. I’m going on holiday next week, so financially losing a car has not come at the best of times, but I have enough saved to replace it and it’s not like I have to rush to do so – I don’t start back at work until September, and I can walk or cycle to work. Still, it’s money I wish I didn’t have to spend, and I have no car. And I feel like i’ve been sat on.

But, Olympics, Mr Moon and ibuprofen to the rescue!
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BEHOLD:

HELLO!!!

MY FAVOURITE SHIRT RETURNS yayyyyyyyyyy!

That dude who I went on a couple of dates with, ghosted on me and, I thought, stole my favourite shirt? Yeah, still an utter tool I am SO much better without, but not turns out he’s guilty of the shirt theft.

As i’m now free from the whiteboardface, I paid a visit to the new Ikea that’s opened down the road from me; all very exciting and quite weird to have one ten minutes down the motorway instead of the hour it used to be. In the process of putting up some new shelves for all my uni and art books and making use of my new purchases to organise my living space a little better, I found my shirt in a crumbled ball in between my sofa and my bed. I’d looked down the back of the sofa, under my bed, everywhere – or so I thought.

I am so happy to have it back!! And just in time for great gallivant to the States woo.
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Mooning over the improbable internet crush du jour

Warning: this is a spectacularly geeky fangirl post for niche audiences only…

Mooooon Knackered before my day has even started today; slept lightly and very poorly, before waking an hour early.

Essay deadline stress perhaps? Was I lying awake worrying about getting it done though?

Not exactly.

Yes, i’m undoubtedly under a bit of stress what with the end of term, and the essay/other uni commitments, but I’ve got a bit of an internet crush on my favourite game streamer.

Yes, I will always love the team at Funhaus – much as Kovic is aesthetically pleasing I know that in real life the nerdy misanthropic rage puppy that is Lawrence would be more my jam – but I’ve been taken by the Mr Moon love rather swiftly.

I suppose he’s not that improbable, as i’m a sucker for non-conformist, outgoing guys whom are good with their words and can make me laugh my drink through my nose. Or, he’s an engaging broadcaster good at connecting with viewers, and it’s been years since i’ve had any sort of proper intimate connection with a man, and so i’ll take the odd crumb of comfort now-and-then? Christ.

Embrace the spinsterhood.

When combined with a poor night’s sleep, spending hours listening to someone talk shit whilst they make digital avatars slay dinosaurs, or run around desolate post-apocalyptic wastelands led me to actually having a dream about this person I will never meet. Oh dear:

Mooooon I was the form tutor to a class of pre-teens, Moon a tutor in the classroom adjoining mine. He was late, and when I stuck my head around the door of his room to check whether he’d turned up, I caught his gaze with a smirk and a “Moooon… You’re *here*!” which he returned with a comedic death stare then a laugh.

As he was mid-paper shuffle at his desk, I walked in and for some reason decided to sit in his lap. He was wearing a bad jumper. The chair creaked in protest. My skirt suddenly felt indecently tight.

He looked down at me (he’s pretty tall and I have a short torso) with an amused, curious expression that seemed like he was analysing every atom of me. I noted the manfur just visible at the neck of his shirt and thought he smelt pretty damned appealing. Suddenly embarrassed I said, “Oh, let’s see if I can start my morning even more awkwardly…” squirmed up, blushing, and legged it round the corner.

Fin.

I think that’s enough fanfic for the day. In other news i’m 550/900 words and my nails are slowly reducing in length.
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BREXIT

E17 So. Not the best of days today to put it mildly courtesy of the Tory party.

Lots of glum kids today at work who were at a loss to understand why on Earth people voted to leave, along with many openly despairing staff.

I could rage on and on and on, but this comment on the Guardian article Grieve now if you must – but prepare for the great challenges ahead sums it up well; I don’t agree with the author that trying to fight against the results of the vote is the way, but it is succinct about what the vote was really about:
“‘Many of the nearly half of the British people who voted remain now feel scared and angry.’

It goes far deeper than that Owen. I’m fairly sure that in your heart you know the overt debate on Europe was largely a chimera. We haven’t ever lost sovereignty, we are better off economically in a single market, the EU has been an important stabilising force in Europe, and leaving will not tackle immigration. Almost all of the issues that have driven deeply ill informed, marginalised working class people to vote “leave” have little to do with Europe and everything to do with a 35 year right wing project to dismantle the post WW2 liberal democratic settlement.

I don’t hesitate to describe the main political players in the leave campaign as “extreme right”. more importantly I have no doubt their prime motivation for leaving is to pave the way to a neo-liberal capitalist, UK, modelled on the wildest wet dream ambitions of US style libertarian capitalism. The US right has long complained that Europe is “too liberal”, code for: “we want all cash flows in public services as investment vehicles for the vast amount of capital we’ve stolen from the world at large”. Strip the UK of EU rules that uphold the European liberal democratic consensus and see how much worse things will get for working class outers, and all the rest of us too.

Almost all the ills the working classes are experiencing spring from Thatcher’s neo-liberal capitalist project. Globalisation has exported their jobs to low wage economies, ideological austerity has stripped quality of life to the bone, especially in the north. Thatcher’s project tacitly recognises that consumerist growth based capitalism has run its course and in many way the agenda of the very rich has been to asset strip their own countries in order to consolidate their own relative wealth as insulation against the inevitable catastrophic crash. Deflecting the blame for the consequences of these policies on to the EU is well executed distraction…

…sheer genius to to use the same trick to shoe horn in a far right wing Tory administration led by Johnson. Working class people have been duped – again.

I agree that some remainers have been arrogant – but it is difficult for anyone with a decent grasp of the issues surrounding Europe to not feel a degree of frustration. Watching a large group of people who’ve been crapped on for decades being duped into voting for something that almost entirely in the interests of the people doing the crapping is not easy, especially when they are “your people”, and, that for many, the prime motivater is anger directed at immigrants who are in exactly the same boat as they are.

Then there’s the position of millions of individuals who committed their future to a life in other EU countries, (I’ve always been too poor to own a house in the UK but we bought a ruin in France and rebuilt it – its everything we own – it’s probably worthless right now) – who knows what’s going to happen to them? One thing is for sure – most will have woken up with gut churning anxiety this morning.

You are right -Cameron is culpable, he took a course that’s putting the UK and Europe in real danger. If he has any decency he will acknowledge this farce of a referendum is not legally binding and do everything in his power to prevent Article 50 from being invoked, Corbyn must do the same.

I’m not angry with the working class revolt because it’s not any such thing – this is a right wing coup – the window the working classes had on the issues has been owned by the right for 30 years. Their fury and resentment is justified – but it’s directed in the wrong places. On the other hand, I’m more than afraid, I’m sick with anxiety and slightly terrified.

This is a nightmare. We’re already seeing the “it’s our turn next” comments from Marine Le Pen. This is a moment when the left need to turn around and fight. Populist votes are the tools of demagogues, referenda are deeply anti democratic. We have to fight to not allow uninformed choices to be empowered by informed choices – you are pinning your hopes on left wing victories in Europe – I’m pinning mine on fighting to resist Brexit with every fibre of my being”
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Big Country – Twitch Absorb – The Essay – Work – Personal Shopping

Big Country

Screencap from the impressively homoerotic fight scene between Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston from one of my favourite Westerns, The Big Country. It’s full of astonishing landscapery which gives rise to feelings of longing within… Also, abhor his politics, but boy does Heston’s physique outclass in this film. Anyway…

I’ve thought about writing a lot, but as is quite clear, I haven’t done anything about it until now, the Sunday evening of a weekend filled with naps, gaming and absorbing others playing online on Twitch, which was not filled with the flat tidying I needed to do, or the 150 reports I needed to craft (AKA cut and paste to save my sanity). Reports have to be done by Wednesday. OH WELL.

The Essay: I got one mark less than I did last year, so I didn’t fail; feedback from my tutors was appropriate and helpful. Fucking awful time of it, writing-wise, but I was reasonably pleased with how I did – a merit – considering I know that there were many problems with parts of it. It’s done, and I don’t need to worry about writing so much again this year thank Christ.

Work: continues to be shite. It is what it is – a big paycheck that means I can save for a big holiday every now-and-then – but I daily question what i’m doing there. There’s so little satisfaction – behaviour is still bad, school still stuck in the stone age, many colleagues seem to be unable to do their fucking jobs.

There is the possibility that things might improve slightly in the future, but I don’t think it’s going to be the wholesale reform that needs to happen – i’m not a good fit for the place I think. I expected to teach hard-working, smart, switched-on kids, but my God are those a rarity. Ability – and crucially the amount of willingness and effort put in – is far below my last non-selective school, and I can’t teach to the best of my ability because of the behaviour and management systems – or lack of them.

Can’t wait for the end of term, but it’s over a month away at this point, and I know that i’ll probably have to go in over the break to make more of an impact on the shite that I have not had time to sort out – over ten years’ worth of junk from my predecessor. There’s also so much to do before I get to “freedom”.

I feel like I get so little done, as I have zero support in my department – my colleague is super part-time, and she comes in, does her job uninspiringly, and goes home. She doesn’t do what we previously agreed upon, and causes more problems than she contributes in terms of any help; I have support from other heads of other departments, but it would be so great to have the admin support that many other schools have, so that my working life might be made simpler and easier.

SIGH.

Other than that… got some artwork on show in town over a weekend coming up as part of a town-wide event, which will be a bit weird, as it’s going to be very personal work in a tailoring shop. It’s something different I suppose, and more experience is always a good thing… I think? I’ve been making a bit of new work recently which has been enjoyable, but of course there’s always room for more. Much more.

What else… I’ve spent megabucks on what will be two weeks driving myself about Utah, Nevada and Arizona over the Summer break, so I have something exciting to look forward to, and day dreaming of things of the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” variety goes some small way to brightening up my days. Two years from my last trip to a desert I still think of it often, so it’s an investment for the future, or at least this is what i tell myself as I see my budget dwindle…

Also, i’m tired. Bed.
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Submission success (at last!)

Submitted!

The deadline was 4pm.

I ended up going sick from work (i’m a professional) and working solidly from 8am onwards – if I hadn’t done so i’d be totally fucked. It was right to the wire too – as the clock headed past 3.30pm I was genuinely afraid I wasn’t going to get it all put together in time.

It turned out okay – not great, disorganised in places, and not including all the data I wanted to, as I ran down the clock putting together the appendices. Oh God how I hate appendices and tables of contents… they take so long to organise. OH WELL.

Felt pretty fucked up by the end of it due to anxiety, fear and lack of sleep. It feels great to not have it hanging over me now I must say.

Thanks to the ever amazing RescueTime tracking of my PC activities (hello lots of data for my essay!) i’m able to tell you how long I spent writing it – just over 19 hours. This seems bonkers for 4389 words, but there was a lot of dicking about and trying to work out what the fuck I actually wanted and needed to say.

BED.
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“Sick Day” Essay Disaster

So this is awful: I am actually going to bunk off work today so that I can finish my essay. I’ve got some right fuckers of classes too, so I doubt we’ll miss each other, but I do feel bad for things to have come to this. Ridiculously stressful, and my essay is going to be crap.

I don’t think i’ve ever struggled quite as much as I have done with this essay; WHY OH WHY didn’t I apply for an extension…?

My life is officially a shambles.

FML.
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Sunshine and Magnolia

Cambridge Church It’s 9.45pm and i’m heading to bed. TIRED.

The Essay deadline is Tuesday and i’ve written 1700 words out of 4000.

OH DEAR.









P.S. Yes, i’m still alive. Sorry about the lack of communication. I would like to say there have been exciting things going on, but, well, you know.

Oh, I do have a new camera.


In the gardens of the Church of St Mary the Less, Cambridge on my trip to visit Favourite Aunt.
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Slog

Birmingham
Birmingham Town Hall taken on my way home after a shitty conference day.

Counting the days ’til I get a break from work; it’s exam and reporting this week and next, so things are a bit on the stressful side. I think i’m anaemic again, or at least the heart weirdness, perma-tiredness and general feeling of my body falling apart has returned. More self-medication experimentation. Perhaps I need some regular steak action. OR A VISIT TO THE FUCKING DOCTOR.

Thoughts of The Essay, artmaking, procrastination, the end-of-term, Summer and what to do, where to go. Nowhere? Fantasies of deserts, baking stillness, a gentle hand on the small of my back.

Sigh.

So, a week to go.

———————-

Edited to add: This security camera footage of a Minions balloon falling to Earth after eight months nestling up in the domed ceilings of the Birmingham Museum of Art

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Freedom – Joys of Reading – Cherry and Slime

ARK

Week of temporary freedom: Mostly glorious fuck all happened.

Spent my Valentines day in the romantic embrace of ARK – I tamed a Raptor and a Sarco (giant crocodile) yayyy! It wasn’t too hard, but I get so nervous about tackling dinosaurs that could potentially kill me – or more importantly my mount – that it takes me ages to work up the guts to do so. This is my exciting life :D I will have to explain my naming system for my dino pets in another post – My Raptor as you can see is named Jam, my Sarco Tube :)

Other than that – McCy birthday dinner where I was pleasingly anaesthetised by the time I was on the bus home; uni for two days where I felt slightly better about the ominous essay lurking ahead of me. Slightly, mind. Also there was some behaviour from one of my course peers that was mindbogglingly poor, which I will permanently store in the back of my mind. Moving on…

Most important event was something not involving me – Bobby Convey gave birth to a small healthy human and just about survived the process (I think an emergency c-section may have been involved). That makes two-for-two labouring friends having had one – fun! I think she’s okay, but, birth, what a shitshow. Doesn’t encourage me in any way whatsoever.

Also, got my hair streaked neon cherry and (s)lime green :)

For the first time in – oh, years? – I blitzed my way through a piece of fiction. Yes, actually got away from the internet, into my blanket and hot water bottle cocoon early so I could spend time reading. It was hugely enjoyable – finally giving in to tiredness and putting the light out because I didn’t want to put the book down, eagerly ploughing though the book the next morning so I could finish it over the weekend.

Miller It was the first in a space opera series called The Expanse – I was inspired to read it because of my appreciation of the TV series and the to me hugely appealing character the delightfully rough-hewn Thomas Jane plays – he has spectacularly bad (read: excellent) hair, dresses like a sort of Forties gumshoe and gets increasingly beaten up as the series progresses. Glorious.

Anyway, I often find it hard to read through papers for uni, indeed books in general as I am convinced that my attention span is dwindling as exposure to the internet rots my brain. I’m getting old too.

I suppose being engrossed in a book is another way to shirk what I could or should be doing, but it feels a bit more valuable even if I can’t really say i’ve learnt much. Have ordered the next in the series nonetheless.


Anyway, back to the work grindstone this week. SIGH.
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When Is Friday Now?

Oh why is it not Friday already?

The exhibition installation efforts and spending a weekend in a cold warehouse has not helped encourage my sinuses to throw off their mucal shackles; it’s just past 9pm and i’m thinking about heading to bed. Under a three-layer quilt/blanket combo. With a hot water bottle. Washed down with a dose of ibuprofen.

The exhibition: A resounding success i’d say. We estimated about 200 people were at the private view, then around 60 a day over Saturday and Sunday. My headteacher attended (yikes!) as well as other colleagues from work which was nice, and there were a multitude of useful what-are-we-doing-here-type conversations with my friends from the course.

Thankfully, everything was a lot easier to take down than it was to put up; it’s all still sat in my kitchen space as I try to motivate myself to tidy the flat detritus. I need to put the work up on my walls but am putting things off to hibernate a bit. Once my sinuses are better I know i’ll feel less under the weather about things.

Shower. Book. Bed.
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Rainstorm

Rainstorm Over The Sea

John Constable
Rainstorm Over The Sea
1824-28

Been thinking about Petrichor quite a lot over the last week or so; I was very surprised to see him pop up on my OKCupid feed as it notified me that he’d visited my profile and announced he was back on the market.

I am sad to say he still looks hugely appealing; in one of his photos he wore an awesomely hideous/beautifully lurid blazer that is exactly the sort of thing I would take great joy in wearing. Sigh.

A while back he sent a reply to my thanks but no thanks message i’d sent turning him down for Facebook friends; it was an interesting somewhat odd message that seemed to be full of longing, discontent and sadness. I ran it past Caversham Princess to see what she thought – was it just me? – and she agreed, saying that when he turns 45 he’ll be probably be struck by what a fucking moron he was to not give things a go.

If two people miss being around each other, and think of each other often, why is one of them not on a plane already?

I will happily invest in a plane ticket for him if that means that, after having spent some time sorting himself out, we can spend some quality time laughing our socks (and clothes) off together (I would like to point out that I appreciated both his brain and his body). New job = new salary = new possibilities.

Better not hold my breath, eh.

Shower, then bed.
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Wow.

Private View

This was the scene just after the private view opened; beforehand, me and many of my peers thought that there’d maybe be a few family and friends turn up, not the mixture of approx. 200 friends, family and random people of Oxford that it turned out to be.

Good reception from people with many positive comments from people whose opinion I value, as well as strangers.

Today and tomorrow i’m in the space to invigilate and be a guide, and then it’s all coming down. Very tired!
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IT IS DONE

It took several hours over two days, but finally my work is installed.

It looks fucking ace!

I am actually rather proud :)

[blushes]

Aside from one piece that keeps slipping free of its glue and boinging out every now and then, all looks professional. I made a little shelf out of foamboard for my business cards :)

Private view this evening… as much as I am looking forward to it – lots of friends are coming hooray! – I am also very much looking forward to a very long sleeeeep. Also, the flat is a total bomb site of piles of clothes and dishes to be washed, drifts of discarded foamboard cutoffs, general chaos. I could do with a thorough clean up.

Come Sunday I have to take all my work down :(
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Drinks with The Dream Team

Oh man. The Weekend. Hooray.

Amid the work and exhibition prep stress, I am looking forward to a day at Caversham Princess’s marking the impending reproduction of Bobby Convey. M is going to be there too – it’s as I cheesily call us, The Dream Team – the oldest bunch of friends – met at school, seen each other at our best and worst, still going strong. The sort where you can pick up conversation no matter how long you’ve been apart. Booze and fine foods are going to be consumed, along with a shit tonne of ice cream. Yay!

Exhibition: our exhibition website is now live, the flyers have been delivered to hundreds of people and venues in Oxford, the business cards have arrived and the work is almost done. I say almost, in that I need to trim and mount it, which I know is going to be tricky, and i’d really like to put up another piece, but I know that it’s pretty unlikely i’ll get it done in time. At least I have something to show!

The fabulous dress I ordered is indeed fabulous, however it’s silk and creased to fuck, so i’m not looking forward to sorting that shit out. A sojourn in my bathroom whilst I showered dropped a few creases out but a very very careful ironing awaits. It’s a great example of my priorities – have the cards, done the website, got my outfit planned – and it’s going to be really chilly at the private view and I haven’t even got all the work done yet.

Sleeeeeeeep.
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Novcemberuary

Mercury

Sorry for the lack of updates. There’s been many a time where I wanted to write, but work, or gaming, or TV, or wine, or sleep took priority. I often compose posts in my head – i’m a big one for running speeches in my head whilst in the shower – but then following through is not always a strongpoint of mine. Oh well.

Things are okay. It’s the time of year where I am even more reflective than normal, and so i’ve felt a bit glum at times over the break – Star Wars was bad, lots of work to do, lots of societal expectations to reject.

I felt my lack of male companionship rather more keenly than is usual, thought of Petrichor (for someone so smart he is a blind fucking idiot) and despaired over the desert that is online dating. I suppose you could say I did brilliantly in 2015 as I exceeded my previous record and had three, yes THREE dates over the year, but somehow I don’t feel very positive about this. This message I received is fairly typical:

WTF

:(

Christmas – I survived four days with my family, just about. As per usual my Dad was a total prick about a range of things, and I was terribly glad to escape back home to my den. Aside from the family time, I saw Nitram, Leia Ewok Village, McCy, Caversham Princess and Bobby Convey, as well as catching up with my old mentor who headhunted me to my new position – she’s having a shit time in Cologne at her new school, so we commiserated together.

Saw The Force Awakens – what a disappointment it was. I wept, raged, and was left feeling glum and emotionally flat. It could have been Star Trek, but it was Star Trek: Into Darkness. I need to see it again to be sure, but, although there were enjoyable moments, there were SO many problems with the film that I can’t say I enjoyed the experience. Ugh :(

Work – Perhaps when I retire there will be a Christmas where I don’t have to work? Only another 33 years to go… :/ I got around 35 reports done (out of 90), planned and resourced a new project and PowerPointed 200 slides for presentations. I reflected on my first term, the issues I am having with behaviour, organisation etc. and thought about what if anything I could do to sort things.

After talking to my mentor, I also pondered what comes next – will I succeed with the MA – stay in teaching full-time be that at Head of Department level or regular pleb teacher level – try to move into university teaching – go part-time to make artwork – do something completely different – leave the country…?

I feel like I am learning less in my new workplace as they are so behind-the-times in so many areas, or at least I am not able to put my skills and knowledge to best use due to a lack of resourcing, low status of Art within the school/to the kids/parents. It’s all very unsatisfying. I’ve only been there a term however, so I need to persevere and make it to July – i’ve got the MA to work on, so it’s not like i’ve got nothing to do…

exhibition space

I did some artwork that took me in a new direction, and met up with my uni peers to visit the exhibition space. Yes, it is actually happening! Last weekend of this month in a proper art space in Oxford; we need to do everything ourselves, for example signage, private view, flyers, installation, etc. but what’s great is that we’re sharing the risk which helps me feel a lot more comfortable. This month is going to be a busy one… just need to make the work to go up now…! I have ordered what I hope will be a fabulous dress for the private view however hurrah.

The image at the start of this post is that of the planet closest to the Sun, Mercury. I spent some of a Christening hanging out with a four-year-old, teaching her (as best I could remember after two glasses of champagne) the order of the planets in our solar system and the various conditions of their surfaces. She drew me a pleasingly scribbly diagram to illustrate and, when she was saying goodbye – clad in a disco-fabulous metallic cape and hat made from surplus wrapping paper – forgetting my name, she called me Mercury.

Celestial body with an insanely hot atmosphere capable of melting metal? TOTALLY me :D

Anyway, back to work tomorrow. SIGH.
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Cake Overload

Got back from (an AMAZING) school concert just after 10pm, then I had to get started on two cakes for my sixth formers; it’s my turn on the cake rota and i’ve decided to do my favourite lemon drizzle. Woo.

All cakes are judged and an average score is given; i’m a bit nervous about this, but I know that one of the cakes was inedible (student forgot sugar and added too much baking powder) so it can’t go *that* wrong. I’m baking with gluten-free flour for the first time, and so I decided to make one regular and one GF cake. Regular was done and in the oven so I got going on the GF… and tipped the regular flour into the butter/sugar mix. It was just before midnight. Cakes take an hour to cook. FML.

Decided to keep going and make an additional cake, so much as it’s a ballache, and i’m really fucking tired, at least I will have my own cake to feast upon this weekend.
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Woe Is Wednesday

Days where there’s nothing really wrong but you feel like crawling back under your duvet and pulling the covers up over your head. Ug.
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Rejoice! Rejoice!

YES
Brandi Chastain winning the World Cup

At long last I have finally found bras that actually fit!!!!!

It’s been quite a drawn-out process; the definite low-point was when I trawled through twenty-one in one hour without success, but this time it took just three. Good Lord.

This is after I was super happy – and super surprised – to find that the r/ABraThatFits calculator was dead on – accepting my new mind-boggling size really helped things. One admittedly long trip to Bravissimo later and I have four, yes FOUR bras that actually fit. Neutral/Black/Bright Red/Burgundy Polka Dots :)

The calculator said I needed to go down two back sizes and up three cup sizes; I scoffed at this: “An E CUP?!?! You’ve got to be fucking kidding…” but, following the advice from ABraThatFits about boob shape, fullness/shallowness and projection I was able to come up with a shortlist of brands/styles to look at. I had no fucking idea that breasts and bras were such a complex issue; I learnt a lot in the process, and now I can go on eBay and look for reductions :D

I’m now getting slightly drunk in celebration; as fireworks pop in the park outside I am warm and fuzzy and overdoing it on some high quality disco from Chic.

Good Times.

Or, to be precise, My Forbidden Lover.
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Washed Out

grey blood cells Not feeling the greatest over the last few days. Today during a meeting at work I had very weird spells of feeling light-headed accompanied by a pounding heartbeat, and the stairs to my flat made me feel short-of-breath.

I’ve had random palpitations for I don’t know how long (maybe you should do something about this), but this was very new and odd.

I thought it might be my usual issue of drinking too much coffee and not enough water, but after a couple of bottles-full of hydration I didn’t feel much difference. Felt almost winded even sat at my desk. Oh dear. Mortality.

The Internet tells me it could be low iron, so self-experimentation will begin tomorrow after a trawl of the vitamins aisle.

Or maybe i’m just tired.
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I’ve just had a week away from work…

The North

…but I feel like I need a holiday :(

Half Term: Up North to visit family, two days at uni for my course and a full day of gaming. Didn’t do the work I should have but at the same time I feel like I didn’t get enough time to veg out, though, this is what I do most weekends so i’m not entirely sure why i’m complaining. I’m tired.

Stoke-on-Trent and the old Spode pottery factory for the British Ceramics Biennial:

plates

Spode wall

sun splash

Some great work yet-again, however I wasn’t as taken with the work selected… I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but the ideas weren’t as interesting, the pieces not as visually intriguing? Don’t get me wrong, there was some fabulous stuff, but, I dunno, it just didn’t excite me quite as much as last time.


Whitworth I paid my first visit to the new Whitworth Gallery, which was interesting in that the building has a brand-new extension (pictured) that works very well with the old building, and the use of natural light was rather lovely.

Getting there meant taking a bus ride through the mind-boggling student ghetto and medical hub that is the Oxford Road – for about a mile it’s nothing but multiple universities and hospitals… a weird mix and super busy.

The Whitworth had a intriguing array of temporary exhibitions that played with ideas really well – for example on the colour green and also including one on art textiles – useful! What wasn’t so good was the kids running everywhere – they had an outreach thing going on for boys/young men and dance, which meant that the usual haven of gallery peace was absolutely nowhere to be found. I couldn’t see the artwork because there were bloody kids hanging off stairs, striking a pose or writhing around on the floor. FML.

I mentioned this to the woman serving in the gift shop and she said she agreed that she didn’t think it was the most appropriate, and told me that they’d had lots of complaints. Outreach is super important, as is getting young people into museums and galleries, but there’s a right and wrong place and time for everything, and quite what value the kids were going to get out of it I was very unsure.

SicarioSicario

I saw, loved, and absorbed through my pores the wonderful Sicario – best film i’ve seen in a long time – beautiful, brutal, and full of ambiguity and hideous tension that was well-amped up by a great score. I think it was better than Mad Max (my previous best) and I enjoyed it more – I connected with it a bit more perhaps? I know they’re horses-for-courses, and yes, I celebrate the feminist reading of Max, so maybe it was the stillness, aesthetics and general sadness I liked more. It was a deeply sad story.

I also Spectre, which was, okay.
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WHUMP

Poor Danno

Whilst trawing through what’s coming up in terms of US TV, I checked in on what’s going on with Hawaii Five-0 these days; I used to be proper into it, but I got a bit fed up with the crime-of-the-week stuff and fell off the surfboard many seasons back. Anyway, my favourite Danny/Scott Caan has apparently had a time of it recently, and had gotten stabbed by an abusive ex-boyfriend of his current partner.

Stabbed…? Hmmm. Given my particular interest in such things I went straight onto Google images, and after a bit of searching discovered WHUMPING. It appears that there are thousands of “sick fucks” just like me – women and men who have an appreciation of vulnerable or hurt fictional characters.

I mean, I know humanity is a fabulous broad and diverse thing when it comes to what turns us on, but I had no idea that there were communities out there – if you look up traumaphilia there’s not much, aside from definitions and me writing about it (haha), but type in whump, and lo and behold:

whump

It appears that all this whumping directly originated from Stargate SG1, but was informed by the earlier Muldertorture (exactly what it sounds like) where bulletin boards started to fill with fanfic stories of Mulder not being in the best shape. Hurt/comfort is a very big thing online it would seem, which has been quite the revelation for someone who has thought for over a decade that my interest was very very niche indeed.

Whilst gleefully digging into the subject, and triggering off artwork ideas aplenty, I came across this amazing video that is a great summation of the what behind my particular kink: On The Prowl NSFW



[takes notes and scribbles furiously]
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Luxe Life

splurge

First pay packet from the new place and i’ve splurged on a takeaway and a new pair of work shoes. Decadent!

This weekend it’s university references for the kids in my form which means that, as befitting a grammar school, the majority are applying for medcine, PPE (SIGH), bioscience etc. at Oxbridge or other high flying institutions. I’ve got to combine together all their subject references and fit them all into 4000 characters; apparently each one should take around an hour. I have eight. Yay!

Also, I know I have a life-long commitment to Pitta bread, but I think I could cheat on it for Naan. Fuck me I could eat that ’til the cows come home (and obese me is rolled through the front gate).
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Moab
Moab, 2014.

After doing that whole “Oh, stressed/anxious/upset/low mood/brainswirl-thing” and waking up at 4.45am this morning, I am glad for a calmer evening, and hopefully, a solid night’s sleep.
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I Rejected You But Be My Digital Friend…?

Petrichor

Feeling really bummed out today, thanks to a Facebook friend request of all things.

Why would anyone think that, after dumping me, what i’d be *totally* up for is taking in the glorious digital vista that is him in a new relationship. WTF?

I remember having a conversation with Petrichor where he asked what would happen if I found someone else whilst we were apart; I guffawed and told him that i’d spent years doing the online dating thing and that I averaged out at two dates a year, so, given the lack of interest I think it would be rather unlikely that I would be tempted by anyone quite as awesome as he.

Oh the irony.

Perhaps he thought that as time has passed I would be up for being digital friends? Why is email not okay but Facebook somehow is? No real connection, but digital grazing and rubbernecking. I’ve worked hard at staying away from anything to do with him online, and so it was a *huge* surprise to see him in my friend request list today. He is the only ex I still care about, and I have an enormous soft spot for him, but he’s in a relationship, I am not, and I have zero desire to see what I cannot have.

The memory of him is still vivid even after all this time, as there has been no-one to be intimate with, share new experiences and make new positive memories with. I work on finding creative fulfilment, try to inspire and help kids, do my course, go to pottery, make piles of washing up, get sucked into gaming and, a couple of times a year, get to go on a date; there are no fireworks or particular high points but most of the time i’m happy, even as I carry around both my affection for him and my sense of loss at his decision to exit my life.

It’s a quiet life, and as much as I am in the present and I look to the future, he lives on in my memories, daydreams and fantasy-life. Thinking about him is comforting when I am feeling lonely and small.

I declined his request.

Oh, and he still looked terribly handsome :(
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Week

Brighton
Brighton by me by moonlight.

Made it through one week at my new job. Yayyyyyy!

It’s glum city at the nopoke nest this weekend; tired from a long week of long days, then back to work Saturday morning to help invigilate exams. I have a sketchbook i’ve been putting off completing for over a fucking month which I know I need to get completed today, when I feel I need to sort out what the fuck i’m doing work-wise. Ugh.

Work: My new workplace has been totally shite at giving me what I need to do my job – most schools do an induction before you start, giving you all the log ons, data, door codes, ordering info etc. that you need to do the basics; i’m still finding out how to do everything, and it gets a bit tiring to keep being bouncy and positive meeting new people.

On the plus side, my colleagues have been incredibly helpful – other teachers, admin staff, my line manager; everyone seems very friendly, and it’s an adult workplace – plenty of swearing and colourful complaining about children and parents. Yes, of course, we had that at my last place, but straightforwardly and openly describing rude, annoying kids as “shits” would never, ever happen. It’s a refreshing change! Also, people seem to socialise – much as I usually turn such things down, I actually went to the pub after school on Friday. Didn’t do that once in eight years at my last workplace.

The department needs a huge amount of work in terms of sorting shit out – it’s full to bursting with boxes and jars of this-and-that with gadgets everywhere. It’s awesome that we have a 3D printer, but what I really want to know is where the fuck the paintbrushes live? Christ. Anyway, I feel like I have very little handle on what’s going on – I need to spend time thinking deeply about what changes I want to make, but it’s so full-on that I think surviving for the first year will be achievement enough, not to mention that the department is expected to get ridiculously high grades :/

Things have gotten slightly easier as the week has gone by, but there’s a parents evening this week, after-school meetings, and university statements to sort out. I also have to teach haha. I’m not used to such long days – get in at 7.45am, leave at 5.30pm when I get chucked out, then another couple of hours at home. I know it won’t be like this forever but boy, I will be glad when it’s half term.

Also, I need a fucking haircut.

Oh and my uni presentation went well – much as I thought I rushed it and found it very difficult to talk, I got really positive feedback and didn’t fail – quite the opposite in fact :)

And I went to Brighton for Leia Ewok Village’s birthday, got ill and came home early.

And went on a date with a guy where there were uncomfortable silences as I struggled to know what to talk about. Thanks but no thanks.

And me and OKCupid recently celebrated our five-year anniversary together. Seven dates in five years.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
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Presentation Frenzy

Finally finished my end-of-course presentation at 3am this morning… Feels very thrown together, but I hope it covers all I need to cover. Worried that i’ll get questions I can’t clearly respond to as i’ll be nervous.

OH GOD.

However things go, that will be me done for the year.

Wow.
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Re/Discovery

Things I have discovered/re-discovered after ten hours in the studio space today.

  • Standing up for hours is hard work.
  • Painting on a large scale is physically taxing.
  • The right trouser choice is important – jeans are too constricting, jogging bottoms too loose, leggings are just right. Oh for my army surplus combats of yore.
  • Hydrogen buses are exceptionally noisy (is this the aircon?) – the space is next to multiple bus stops.
  • Some people are interested in what you’re doing and will take the time to stop and look.
  • The “special” inhabitants of town – wearing the team hat, sunglasses on at 11pm, granny trolley in tow – will knock on the window and tell you “It’s a nice picture that.”
I really am not sure what i’m doing. But that’s okay.
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