Monthly Archives: April 2008
During one of my classes today I noticed one of my students going very red in the face and wandering in and out of my classroom where she was supposed to be working on her GCSE exam piece. I followed her outside to find her huddled next to a computer with her head in her hands.
Tissues were proffered; I asked her whether she was upset due to the work, school stuff or personal issues and she told me that she felt overwhelmed with all the exams and revision at the moment and that she was very unhappy with her artwork as it looked like a five year old had done it. She then uttered the phrase that as a teacher strikes fear into my heart- “I’ve got problems at home.”
It’s the phrase that triggers my brain to go scrambling into the brace position… In the moments before the student unburdens I run through the things it could be and what my legal obligations might be. The two things that immediately come to mind are physical abuse – sexual abuse is more likely at Primary school – or pregnancy, both things that are just really not a barrel of laughs and that I wish I did not have to deal with.
To sum up: It’s been just her and her Mum for a very long time (Dad AWOL) and recently they’ve moved into a new house with her Mum’s new partner. Said partner demeans her at every opportunity, calling the poor girl amongst other things a spoilt brat, rude, selfish, useless… the list of derogatory sayings went on. He’s verbally abusive on a daily basis and has grabbed and restrained her to try and get her to do what he wants. Constructively, her Mum says that she’s just jealous of the new relationship and that she’s at fault.
Now this student is without doubt one of the loveliest people I teach. She is kind, open minded, generous, polite, very funny, caring and listens to and considers carefully any advice given. She is also honest, and I have never heard her lie. When I heard from her how her Mum’s partner treats her I was fucking furious; I accept that having a child does not mean you should put your life on hold but I severely doubt that his emotional abuse of my student stops with her.
When she’s at home she has to walk on eggshells, she is constantly criticised and belittled; this child – she is under sixteen – does not feel safe and is unable relax in her own home- the one place she should quite rightly expect to be able to do so. What an utterly pathetic man it is that feels he has to gain power over a gentle teenage girl, destroying her self confidence by resorting to emotional abuse.
Yes, I know that I have heard only her side of the story but as previously mentioned in all my dealings with her I have never been given cause to doubt her nor discipline her.
My burning question is- What the FUCK are you doing, Mum? Your daughter, who is a credit to you every time I encounter her is distressed for fucks sake. DISTRESSED. She is weeping in the middle of her art exam. That is NOT RIGHT.
At the moment in the main it’s “only” emotional abuse; from other details she furnished me with I am concerned that this may progress to more serious bodily harm. As I said to her, as much as I would like to go round and beat the crap out of him, the only thing I can really help her with is her art. Her tutor and Head of Year are aware of the situation; I felt so useless telling her to try and find a safe space, and to let me know if things escalated.
What is deeply troubling is that this is not exactly an isolated incident; many children live in “mixed families” with Mum working long hours to keep things together. Men who are live-in partners are much more likely to physically, emotionally or sexually abuse their non-biological children, and are at greater risk of killing that child.
These damaged kids are the students struggling to keep it together in my classroom and prepare for their future. As I said, being a parent should not mean that you put your personal happiness on hold, but I have to say that I find the behaviour of some parents to be nothing less than selfish. Yeah, if it fucks up for them it’s the end of a relationship; they are adults and are (hopefully) better at coping with the fallout, the kids are just that- kids, and why the fuck should they have to pay the price for the poor decision making of their parents. They should not have to be the collateral damage. The desperately sad case of Shannon Matthews illustrates what can happen.
“Every full double-decker school bus at the end of the day is likely to be taking home around 7 seriously unhappy children. Most of the lower deck would at some time during their childhood have been going home to serious worries. Approximately 10 children may be going home to a ‘double-shift’ of cleaning, laundry, shopping and preparing meals, and 2 or 3 will be in fear of violence between their parents while they were out, or of what might happen that evening.”
NSPCC The prevalence and incidence of abuse and neglect
technart.net – Barnett Newman Life-sized Web Collection
Schopenhauer’s ideas on The Sublime
I was ambushed by this piece of opera whilst listening to late night Radio 3… It’s very very beautiful:
Coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay singing the Bell Song from Lakmé by Delibes
As sung by Joan Sutherland:
Highly, highly recommended:
Sutherland – The Art of the Prima Donna I – 75MB – http://rapidshare.com/files/52126266/Joan1.zip
Sutherland – The Art of the Prima Donna II – 80MB – http://rapidshare.com/files/52130477/Joan_2.zip
Charlie Brooker on getting up early:
“I’m not a natural morning person. Left to my own devices, with no work commitments or sense of purpose, my sleeping pattern tends to drift into student mode, ambling further and further past the horizon until it gets to the point where I’m waking up at 1pm and hitting the sack around six in the morning. I eventually become fully nocturnal – like a vampire, but more of a loser, and with markedly less capacity for transforming into a bat and flapping around a castle scaring virgins.”
Hmmm… this sounds strangely familiar…
Alas, I am into the final weekend of my holiday; I feel like it has been the longest break i’ve had in a very long time and I have enjoyed myself greatly. I’ve had a week at half term and there was Christmas, but that was broken up with travelling to visit family, so these two unbroken weeks have been lovely.
Although i’ve not been able to travel anywhere exotic nor do anything particularly exciting I have spent lots of time luxuriating in the soft cocoon of my duvet and eaten copious amounts of tasty food, and that has been pretty gosh darned good. I wanted to really push the boat out and make a cake however I was stymied due to bastard Tesco lacking the ingredients I required. Grrr. On another positive note I do feel quite pleased that my cervix was inspected without too much drama.
Whilst dressed in skin tight latex I have had a fabulous time on the town with friends and I have spent a very enjoyable super-relaxed evening chez MW#1’s watching some Ultimate Fighting and also American Gangster (was very absorbing). I got to show off the SPANK set with appreciation being duly expressed; although he actually came through on what he said, our meet wasn’t entirely without prompting from myself. Of course, I now have to settle in for the long haul that is waiting for him to make contact. Intensely interesting indeed.
Back to work on Monday and the delightful first week of GCSE art exam. When I last saw them three-quarters of my students had absolutely no idea what they were going to do for their exam. I’m sensing that the next few weeks are going to be stressful… Oh, and the NUT strike on Thursday that is making the kids and their parents lose even more respect for the teaching “profession”… Joy.
XH 558 Vulcan by bouncer1788
I’ve always liked the delta winged Vulcan bomber– I like the shape of it and how ginormous it is. There’s a restored one that is going through testing at the moment; seeing it fly is kinda cool, as it seems too big to get off the ground. I know that liking weapons of destruction is somewhat morally dubious but, you know, I am a child of the 80’s and Top Gun.
Another favourite Cold War messenger of potential doom: The Tu-95 Bear
Russian made, flying since 1952 and still attempting to scare the pants off various air forces around Europe and North America. I like the fact that this big slender shiny thing is still going, attempting to compete with all the jets when it’s got props. A Bear dropped the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated (beautiful yet scary footage at the link).
YouTube – 2007 intercept of a Bear by an F-15C between Russia and Alaska 2007.
This is an Ekranoplan, a sort of plane with clipped wings that was used to deliver huge loads over flat surfaces (like bodies of water) at very high speed. Where a boat might be able to carry the military equipment and troops required that a plane cannot it is comparatively slow, so the Soviet regime invented the ekranoplan as a solution. It would fly very low thus conserving fuel and avoiding radar.
When I watch footage of them in action I get a bit over excited at the coolness of them; the way they whizz over the sea whilst sending huge clouds of spray into the air and firing missiles at the same time is insane. They just look so bizarre. They were known as Caspian Sea Monsters by US spies and I can imagine if you were in a little fishing boat they would indeed scare the bejeesus out of you
Excellent slightly trippy YouTube video of lots of ekranoplans fizzing about
open wide and say aah by McBeth
Today I made a long overdue trip to my doctors to engage in the personal fun fest that is My First Smear Test. I had heard horror stories from most of my female friends about how horrible it can be when the member of medical staff has no idea what they’re doing, but having filled my brain with information and picked friends brains I felt like I would be able to speak up if things weren’t right.
The nurse who did my swab was absolutely lovely, explaining everything beforehand and laughing a lot at my bizarre excitement as I lay ankles together, knees apart. As I explained to her, I meant excitement not in a “getting off” way, but just because it was a new experience. They run a small brush/spatula-type thing across the surface of your cervix to collect a sample of cells that are then dropped in a little pot of fluid and sent off to be analysed for abnormalities.
It was uncomfortable lying there with a (thankfully plastic) speculum up my vajayjay but not overly painful; the weirdest sensation was when she swept my cervix- sort of a deep tingle that I could feel crawl up from my belly and run along my legs. I of course provided a running commentary on what I was feeling and just like my endoscope experience, I found the whole thing kinda fun and very interesting. I laughed a lot too, to the point where I thought I might lose control of the speculum :D.
I’ve got to wait six weeks for the results and I know that quite a lot of the time something other-than-normal is spotted but that this is nothing to worry about. I’m really pleased that I went- looking after myself a little better woo.
Whilst looking for things I didn’t know I needed to look for I stumbled across a designer who uses insects in his work -JW Anderson. He encloses various beetles in what looks like acrylic resin and makes rings, pendants and even clutch bags. His latest collection is called Death of a Naturalist.
Yes, that’s a little yellow-and-black spotty beetle encased within. Interesting. I continued to look at all the pretty jewellery on the boutique’s site and came across the following gorgeous pieces:
They’re made from the iridescent wing cases – elytra – of Green Jewel beetles and are by Pebble London.
Pebble is a shop that is filled with oh-so-pretty (and oh-so-expensive) items (hello matching beetle bangle)… really interesting, unusual stuff that has me wishing I had more money or had a kindly benefactor. All really brightly coloured with lots made of interesting materials that pique my interest- Camel’s teeth? Beans?
There are a few things I could afford, i.e. bracelets, but all the shiny shiny is exactly the sort of stuff I really love looking at even though I only wear jewellery on very infrequent occasions.
You can get hold of packs of the wings off eBay– 200 for under ten quid; they’re a by-product of the food industry in Thailand. Mmm… crunchy high-protein goodness… I could make myself a necklace as they’re so cheap but as the kids at school say, that would be effort.
Beetle wings have been used in Indian and South-East Asian textile pieces for hundreds of years; they were all the rage in Victorian textiles and embroidery. Entire dresses used to be embellished with them and even today there is still great interest in using them in embroidery projects (Bobby Convey take note).
Insects.org – Beetles in Textiles Cultural Entomology example Mughal turban cloth
oakenking Beetle Wing Embroidery
Needle ‘n Thread – Beetle wings for embroidery – All beetle wing related posts
Big beetle bracelets at Kolos Designs
The Salon de Glaces in the Royal Palace, Brussels – image by Carolus.
Decorated by the artist Jan Fabre, who seems to have a bit of a thing for elytra.
Why on earth have I spent over two hours researching and writing about bug jewellery and textiles? Hmmm…
After Caversham Princess was doorstopped by a Green Party rep I have been pondering who I would vote for in the upcoming local elections.
I haven’t voted in years, mainly because I feel like no one party represents my views; I like bits from different party policies, so I feel like I can’t really vote for anyone without compromising on things I think matter.
In my ward my candidates are Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and Green. Personally Labour is a big no-no as they have proved they simply excel in fucking things up at the council level; the Tories are well the Tories, so it’s between the Lib Dems and the Greens.
I realise that the elections are not not for national representatives and that I should go for the person/party that is the best for my local area but I think the policies of the parties are important and affect my opinion. I know that individual candidates may not follow every party line but I get uneasy when I read about party policies that I greatly disagree with.
For instance, the Greens- Oooh, legalising prostitution- Good… Oh, ban animal experimentation– BAD. They seem to be against science… (hello phonemasts) That’s them out the window then. The Lib Dems are just kind of blah, with a perusing of their website leading to no major points they’ve done well on.
I wish they could have a box on the ballot I could tick that says “All these candidates suck”
What the fuck is Real Progress anyway?
I enjoy watching Ultimate Fighting, but the following rather graphic footage of what happens to someone’s mind when they’ve been brutally knocked out is quite distressing.
The fighter gets knocked down and out but his now victorious opponent lands more punches on the side of his head. Defeated he lies flat on his back moaning in agony; when he eventually comes to he has no idea what city he is in or whether or not he was in a fight or a practice. A grade three concussion and a broken jaw.
YouTube – The Ultimate Fighter – Dan Simmler knocked out by Matthew Riddle
Sherdog discussion on the topic
The worst thing though is the reaction of the winner. Yes, dude, you may have won a round that secures your place but for fucks sake, a man is lying there who is in a desperate position and whose future is not certain health-wise. Heard of magnanimous victory you stupid arrogant prick? The owner of UFC is worse too, smug bastard. Ugh.
I had an *excellent* latex-clad time last night with Caversham Princess, Bobby Convey, Swiss Miss and a very croaky McCy…
We successfully navigated around four establishments; I knocked back the rum, lime and tonics and caipirinhas with much gusto- though I was very glad to finish the evening off with a cup of tea.
I am now suffering from a collection of blisters on the soles of my feet; when I do have to move I gingerly shuffle. Although I brought flats for the walk to the bus stop I should have taken off the fuck me/fuck off boots when I was even contemplating a walk of anything over one hundred metres. Argh.
Aside from the footwear issues I was well pleased with my outfit- I actually managed to do a decent job with my eye make up; I did indeed take my coat off (I was hot) and the appearance of my shiny sleek physique caused men’s jaws to drop. It were proper amusing :D
Bouncer – “How you get that on girl? It’s so tight!”
Me – “Pulling”
little green men by nitrofive
So it’s the end of my first week off. My toenails are still Fire red but are now slightly chipped thanks to me stubbing my toes against things when having a big tidy of my room. Yes, I even hoovered, and I also managed to fit in a shake-filled allergic reaction to the dust. Rock on you anti-histamine tablets of joy…
Great excitement was had today as I tried out a recently purchased vacuum bag by stuffing in three pillows and my spare blanket orange. I marvelled as the hoover slowly but surely removed the air from the bag and all my stuff turned into a sort of large crinkly board… oooooo. This is what passes for entertainment for me. I know.
I was thinking that I could put files and documents and the like in a small one instead of having bin bags filled full of paper; working in a “profession” that the government loves interfering in means I get lots of documentation. Yeuch. It seems you can even seal entire motorbikes in the vacuum bags… and um, engines and lawnmowers, and bits of yachts. Fo real.
Actual, proper entertainment is going to be had this weekend when I take out the rubber dress and take it for a spin round town with a proportion of the crew of The Damned Lust. I think i’ll hold back on accessorising the dress with The Shoes as I don’t want to encourage the drunken fucks down town to injure themselves falling over in their scramble to grope me; I think i’ll “soften” the look with a bow around my neck and my fuck me/fuck you boots. Heh… soften…
I am probably going to be wearing my coat all evening, or for at least 95% of the time… apart from the cold this is because although I may be wearing a hot getup I am a bit shy at showing myself off, even though I know it’s all good. Nerves I suppose. Keeping the coat on also cuts down on the number of blokes asking me where my boyfriend is (yeah, your chances are reeeeeaally *not* going to be improved asking *that*) or whether I do burlesque. Before any and all of this I need to embark on some serious depilation :D
Hmmm… On the subject of hoovers my fuckwit neighbours seem to have decided that hoovering their entire house past midnight is an appropriate thing to do. You just don’t do things like that… or at least normal considerate human beings wouldn’t. They hoover at inappropriate hours, their kids (<1 yo, twin boys <5 yo, <10 yo boy, <16 yo girl) squeal, shout and bang things way past midnight into the small hours and the parents are completely unable to conduct a conversation at anything other than screaming level. Yes, that would be seven people living in a two bed house...
The headphones are going on now… Cinnamon Girl awesomeness…
Look how sincerely excellent this creature is.
From the lolvant garde (more art hilarity within)
I’m not really one for the LOLCAT crowd, but this one provided great amusement. I really like Vito Acconci’s works but 1971’s Seedbed has quite rightly become notorious, so it’s funny to see the piss taken with this image that sums up the performance perfectly.
As i’ve been thinking about Supernatural just a bit much recently, I had actually pondered why the majority of the token black characters have to be bad or have to get killed off, and why the female characters in season three just sort of suck.
Seems I am not the only fangirl to have considered this problem: musesfool – Dear Mr. Kripke and Crew & veronamay – SPN 3×12 reaction. kind of.
From the NSFW Reverse Cowgirl’s fascinating NSFW side project Letters From Johns – I Have a Physical Disability
Just as some doctors prescribe vibrators, perhaps the NHS should offer sex workers?
Oh, his olive skin, thick dark hair that would be perfect for running my fingers through and excellent forearms… Oh Dean… You gorgeous fictional construct…
Day Three of the “holiday”- I’ve watched all three Indy films and am on to episode fifteen of Supernatural season two. I have paraded around in my underwear and The Shoes and performed a striptease to the audience I have when all alone in my room. Yes I laughed a lot. I am currently listening to The Crystal Ship again and again – the lyrics are kinda lovely – and although I am high on a nothing more exotic than a cheese sandwich I think it’s pretty great.
On that subject, I can confirm that I have finally found myself a proper celebrity crush. Yes, it’s the amusingly named Jensen Ackles who plays Dean Winchester. I have not had such a love in a l-o-n-g time; the last time I felt so for someone who lives on a different continent and does not know of my existence my chosen victim was Owen Wilson. It’s a glorious, breathtaking, proper spazz-worthy celebucrush…
I find Ackles super Teh Hawt but of course it’s the cocky badass character of Dean that gets me… why do I go for them? He makes me giggle like a schoolgirl that you can actually see blush because she hasn’t caked herself with orange foundation…. He makes me itch for tattoos and a back massage. Hell, I get that with real people I can actually set my eyes upon in the flesh rather on a TV screen, but of course as I can’t run my fingers through his hair i get a little crazier. Eeee. Ahem.
I realise i’m a total fangirl when I find myself getting excited looking at new promo pictures that have been released of Dean-o… and then spending forty-five minutes browsing promo pics… Though at the same time I find myself giggling at his godawful Days Of Our Lives hair. And that’s not even the worst look he’s had going on.
Fucking hell- Ackles is thirty years old. That seems so old, but then that judgement is based on the idea I had when I was young that by the age I am at the moment – twenty-seven – I would be settled in a job and in a relationship, with someone to love other than a handmade toy starfish. One year to go ’til the optimum childbearing period starts… heh….
They’ve renewed the show for another season… I can only hope that Jensen is employed for it. What will I do with my holidays otherwise?
BuddyTV – Does Dean Winchester Need To Die? I say yes. Then come back. As a nice demon.
When eating toast in bed I have found that as well as ending up on my laptop and in my blanket and duvet, crumbs miraculously levitate onto my shoulders. I think this effect is probably new to physics.
Hey, I may be a total fangirl, but at least i’ve managed to avoid heading down town and dropping serious cash money on crap. Well, it is only day three…
I am looking forward to getting the rubber dress out this weekend and spraying myself shiny… eeee….
So i’m off for two weeks. I’ve painted my toenails Chanel Fire red, watched four episodes of Supernatural and also Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’ve also managed to watch all of Wrestlemania 24 courtesy of SurfTheChannel (it was good and I actually teared up when Flair lost).
Productive I think you’ll agree.
Caversham Princess gave me the heads up about the following cool site: StyleShake. It’s a site where you can design tops and dresses that are then made to your measurements in around ten days or so.
You get to choose the material, neckline, sleeves and skirt; the resulting outfits are rather lovely and are very reasonably priced for custom made- £99 for a dress with cotton/lycra material, £149 for silk.
Continuing the theme…
Pin-Up Parade – UK-based shop selling lots of lovely retro outfits. They have an excellent gallery of lovely gals modelling their wares. No, that’s no euphemism, it’s all Safe For Work.
Vivien of Holloway – Super pretty 50’s dresses for under £60.
Mode Merr is again with the retro- Lots of shots of the gorgeous Bernie Dexter– I totally love their Vamp Dress, although I would definitely need to be wearing my waist cincher if I didn’t want to end up looking like an over-stuffed sausage. Hello hilarious exchange rate.
TopRunway – eBay store that sells custom-fitted copies of designer garments. What makes them great is that they do a fab range of styles, from contemporary to 50’s formal suits. An added bonus is the totally ridiculous prices- £60 inclusive of shipping gets you a gorgeous “Galaxy” dress; even if you get hit by customs that is pretty darned good, especially when you consider how much the original dress sold for (hello £900). They’re so cheap that even if it all went tits up (unlikely) there’s not much to lose.
Last but not least- Whirling Turban… American woman in Bali of all places designs THE most gorgeous cocktail dresses in beautiful bold prints. More expensive at around £150 for custom made (or less in their ready-to-wear section) but I would SO love to be able to stop traffic in one of their gorgeous dresses! A pair of heels, seamed stockings and perhaps a petticoat… whoever I was on the town with would be seriously fucking proud…
Yeah… more fantasising… a reason to wear such lovely outfits… le sigh.
This poster for Michael Clayton reminds me of a piece by Ed Ruscha. Sort of.
The film was really rather good- solemn, pretty; it was fast moving yet I enjoyed how it lingered over the landscape- the scene where he climbs a hill to look at three horses was lovely. A kind of clean, sharp, washed out look prevailed which I liked- though not washed out as in Saving Private Ryan washed out. Washed out like The Bourne Supremacy look or The Insider or Miami Vice. Just sort of dark. Or something.
Anyway… Tilda Swinton is an excellent actress and I admire how she presents herself and how she does not seem to compromise in her work, however did she really deserve an Academy Award?
A very good summary from The Flick Philosopher – Michael Clayton
Aside from getting me some George I spent most of the day trying to make Movable Type 4 work… I think I have given up for now. I am unable to see what benefits it has to bring over MT3 and it’s a real pain in the arse to get working with all the template format changes. Grr.
You can now see the last few comments on the left side of the page; I decided to stick that up so that all the millions of readers can see when things have been updates to comments. Yeah, millions… It adds more to my preferred sparse layout but I figure it’s useful for a few people.
untitled by Imagesbyk2 Photography
I’m seriously glad to be done with work for two weeks; I’ve got Indy and Dean and Sammy to ogle, lots of food in the fridge and three bottles of wine to work my way through- Hello Pinot. Le sigh contentment.
I am not going anywhere but am happy to be able to slide under my duvet for l-o-n-g periods of time without having my mind plagued with thoughts about the little shits that make up a proportion of my tutor group.
I’m going spend the majority of my time being a sofa slug, with the small proportion spent when i can be arsed to move listening to music at high volumes, doing some washing and hoovering my room…
… hell, I might even paint my toenails and hack my way through the au naturel look i’ve got going on on my underarms, legs and bikini line. Yeah bush. It’s a jungle down there.
Dancing-in-The-Shoes-and-my-underwear-in-front-of the-mirror track of the moment:
Estelle – American Boy
BTW Shut up Kanye… Dress smart like a London bloke? Fuck off… i’d totally forgotten how great her track 1980 is- for some unknown reason it makes me get a little emotional…
Yeeeeaaaaaah… Off work for two muthacanuckin’ weeks :D
Summer Cherries by Half Chinese
Went round MW#1’s last night for sofa surfing, UFC and lasagne; under two months since he last invited me round, and he’d invited me round before too (I was doing reports) – better.
No Big Gay Cop for me alas, but I was introduced to a bar of Green and Black’s dark chocolate and cherry. This proved to be an interesting experience as where I was expecting to find sweetness in the cherries I was confronted by a bitter tang. Odd but pleasant, though my screwed up face when I reached a bit of cherry did not perhaps indicate enjoyment…
I was über excited to pick up my ticket for TNA in June… Eeeeeeeee… I am WELL excited about it…
I could quite easily have been mean and cutting towards him- I found out recently that he still feels he has to manufacture the most outrageous lies- but I figured there was nothing to be gained in that sort of behaviour, so I just enjoyed myself and did my best impression of being a red-headed sofa slug.
He said that I was welcome to come be a sofa slug “any time”… I pointed out that he has to invite me round (in order for me to be one) and also that i’m off for the next two weeks, so I will be able to stay up late rather than having to drag my severely rumpled self back home to bed. As I did.
He *totally* owes me a night with The Shoes…
Hmmm… Apparently slugs of the land and sea are hermaphrodites that mate with others (to keep their gene pool decent); in some land slugs their genitalia extrude out the sides of their heads when it’s time to get it on… sometimes during all the excitement the corkscrew-shaped penis of whichever animal is playing at being the male gets stuck and the slug has to bite it off. Mmmm… tasty.
Still listening to Marvin… and E,W&F. Oh dear. Bed.