Interview relief – The Essay result – course engrossment

So the interview went well but I wasn’t offered the position. I was pretty glad of this.

Really friendly staff, free coffee, biscuits and lunch (pie was great!), well-resourced department and there was nothing I could not answer in the two interviews with the head of department, deputies and headteacher. Lovely looking place, great location. I was feeling pretty comfortable with the idea of working at the school, that is until I was given a tour of the actual art department.

The photography work was poor, the A Level work was poor and the lower school stuff seemed very prescriptive. I asked the head of department whether the appointee would have the freedom to teach what they wanted, whilst ensuring they covered necessary skills and the answer was not very positive – it seemed I would be expected to follow exactly what she wanted me to teach. Fuck that, particularly when the kids were being so let down through this woman’s teaching.

The four other candidates were from a mix of state and private schools, some heads of department, some not (the position was regular pleb); at the end of the day we looked through each others’ portfolios and shared our disbelief at the poor standard of work in the department and prescriptive nature of it all. Will be very interesting to see who they appointed, given that two of the others were as horrified as I was about the place.

Anyway. Good to have another bout of interview experience; feedback was that I interviewed well. Had one of the best pizzas of my life in Clifton with M and spent a few hours catching up which was ace! I stayed at a lovely boutique B&B that had a faaaabulous bathroom (free-standing bath and big rose-headed shower) and a massive spread for breakfast – I got to start the day with scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and sour dough toast woohoo. Shame I had to leave so fucking early grrr.

I found out that I didn’t fail The Essay – no-one did – coming out with a merit woop. Pleased with the result. The course is now onto the practical side of things – no more essays this year yayyyyy. I’m really enjoying things now – the sewing machine is getting a lot of use. I had to write my first ever artist statement which was an interesting challenge – we were limited to under one-hundred words, which, when you’re not entirely sure what the hell you’re doing anyway, was quite tricky to word.

What’s really great is how supportive everyone is – I think I have actually made some new friends hurrah – I know this sounds like i’m a five-year-old, but it’s hard to meet people you get on with outside of your youth, so it’s nice when it happens.

Lots of short sentences here. What can I say. It’s Sunday and I should be asleep.
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Hemming success

As i’ve got use of a school sewing machine for my week off, today I attempted to hem a pair of jeans, and I was actually successful. They actually don’t look like the expected clusterfuck (if you don’t look too closely!). Wonders.

The Life of Riley – Tutorial: How to Hem Jeans Like a Pro
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Busy times…

Weekend: Evening out in Lahndahn tahn with Caversham Princess, then several hours on Sunday writing reports. Ughhhhhh. Then, I have an interview on Wednesday! I have to stay overnight for it as it’s that little bit too far to reliably get to in the morning, so this means spending a hundred quid on a hotel thanks to mid-week prices. Am actually looking forward to my stay though, as it looks like a beautiful little hotel, and comes with free buffet breakfast wooooooo.

The school is private, and it would mean moving home if appointed, which is an intimidating prospect what with arranging somewhere new to live. The position does not advance my career in any way, but i’m giving it a go as I think that there are more creative and cultural opportunities than in my home town. I think the main thing will be if I am a good fit with what could potentially be a very conservative school – it might be that I have too many issues with how they do things. Anyway, it’ll be a day out of school at the very least.
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In Bed…

… and I’m watching Colt Cabana matches.

I know how to show myself a good time :D
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Post-The Essay TV Binge – Fantasy Men – Not Looking – Lonesomeness

Oh, the glory of not having The Essay hanging over me! Wonderful vegging-out weekend spent catching up on all the TV i’ve missed – Arrow, Flash, Elementary, Wolf Hall and Spiral (Christ what a twist ending).

Applied for another job – a new record in terms of speed of form filling and letter writing: under two hours. Wonders.

Also have a new crush on Rob Delaney (I realise i’m probably last to this) thanks to the highly enjoyable Catastrophe: hilarious, swears a lot, smart-as-a-whip and no-nonsense, with an excellent head of hair (and manfur!) and tall, dark and extroverted. Hello fantasy man!

On the subject of which.

Back to not-really-looking. My profile’s still active on OKCupid but i’m trying not to check it very often, as I know that a) years of experience has taught me that it’s highly unlikely there’ll be anyone of interest b) I find looking at what there isn’t makes me feel down so it’s probably best not to look.

It’s been quite eye-opening when i’ve logged in out-of-town – sixty visitors a day as opposed to the sixty visitors I usually get in three weeks. When you consider that the things I like to do are women-centric, I have an aversion to novel group social settings (i’m less nervous at a job interview than I am a Meetup event) and i’m ageing out of the most popular – read desirable – demographic on dating sites then my chances of success are minu-fucking-scule. Two dates in nearly a year-and-a-half. Whoop-di-fucking-doo.

Recently i’ve been feeling quite lonely for companionship, in terms of that beyond friends. I love my friends, know that they’re supportive, and know that I can discuss all sorts of shit with them. But there are some things that I feel I can’t talk to them about. Fears I have. Stuff I feel stupid sharing. Insecurities. I think I’m looking to be understood. Looking back at my relationships, only one partner has, I think, truly understood and accepted me; almost immediately I felt like, “Where’ve you been all my life???”

Sadsack monky: When I curl up for the night I often like to imagine getting a goodnight kiss on my nose, and when I fantasise it’s not only the usual wild sex in out-of-the-way places but also about being spooned, of a hand on the small of my back, of falling asleep squished together on the sofa. Small intimacies.

Which I miss terribly at times.

I think this all ties in with my dissatisfaction in my job, and frustrations at not being able to find anything new; I think my recent lonesomeness also has to do with my questioning “Is this all there is?” – get up, go to work, come home. Rinse and repeat. My course is helping me a bit, but how to find satisfaction in life with low familial warmth, no partner, low job satisfaction, and no chance of getting a pet to help me out…? Someone/something to love.

:(

CABANA
Colt Cabana. With hammer.

Perhaps some Colt Cabana will cheer me up. Tall, burly, kind-of-a-dork and funny? Yay for new wrestler crush!
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Essay Away Hoorayyyyyyy!

I HAVE SENT IT
IT IS DONE
GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Three-thousand words exactly, thirty-five pages with appendices. Emailed to tutor, 11% similar on my first go at Turnitin. I think this okay? But then my essay is titled Epic Fail :D

Feel like I could sleep for a week (roll on the end of Friday)
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Oxford – Essay – Sensitive Ice Creams – WRESTLING!!!

Hooray!

So The Essay is fiiiinally nearing completion huzzah! I now have well over the 3000-word limit, and have sort-of not-really worked out what-the-fuck-the-point-is. So, some clarification required!

Trip to meet with my course-mates was productive and interesting – I find the discussion very stimulating (not in that way) and I always come up with new areas to explore in actual art I might actually make. Plus nearly everyone else was going through the same “OH FUUUUCK” mental gymnastics with the essay, so it was comforting to hear that I am far from alone. We got a guided tour of the small exhibition of Hiroshige prints by the curator and got to go into the print study room to look at some out-from-under glass and also the tools used to make the insanely detailed woodblocks. This was cool.

I must admit that i’ve not wandered thoroughly through the Ashmolean, but somewhere I always head for is the usually empty sanctuary of a small room filled with Dutch Golden-era still life paintings. There wasn’t anyone in there – perhaps people find the multitude of floral arrangements boring – so it was wonderful to have some quiet alone time surrounded by lovely art. Yes, I can like pretty. I am really into the lemons that the artists show in their seafood images – I like to hunt for them and compare how juicy they look. Simple pleasures. Willem Kalf is the undefeated champion to date.

Important news!

Whilst reading an end-of-2014 list of best podcasts for things to listen to on the drive to work, one that was recommended for the sheer enthusiasm of the hosts was the Attitude Era Podcast. I thought, oh, a wrestling-themed podcast? My old love of wrestling has decidedly been lost, but it might be worth a listen. Anyway, I’ve been loving it. So much so, that when one of the hosts recommended a current wrestling promotion I hadn’t heard of – Chikara – I looked it up on YouTube, and fell in love…

Look at these brilliant ring names:

Blaster McMassive
Missile Assault Ant
Max Smashmaster
Proletariat Boar of Moldova
Flex Rumblecrunch
Estonian Thunderfrog

They had Dragon Dragon – who wrestled in a dinosaur suit – but alas, he was decapitated mid-match (totally SFW) and a dude whose moves could be started and stopped by poking the giant NES button on his tights. Oh God. It’s all so wonderfully theatrical and bizarre.



Anyway, my undoubted favourites are the rudo Los Ice Creams. Just look at these creepy fuckers. They cry when they’re hit and jump in each others’ arms when scared. When they’re not being underhand, obviously.

Their killer move is pouring a bag of sugar sprinkles all over the ring and dropping opponents in it, whereupon said opponents act like they’ve been dropped in a pile of thumb-tacks. BRILLIANT.

Oh yes. I’ve just spent a fucking hour writing about this. The wrestle-love is BACK.
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Choose Your Own Adventure!

Monkey Island

You are sat in front of The Essay. It is overcast outside and runners in the park are wearing both gloves and hats.

On the table beside you sits a glass of wine and a hot cup of coffee.
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Sad Kids

One of the smartest, kindest and most personable kids I teach found out yesterday that, at the ripe old age of seventeen, she has thyroid cancer.

I’ve taught her for three years, and have answered many a late-night email full of angst, providing advice and a non-judgemental ear on relationship woes, orientation issues, and what-the-fuck-is-the-point conundrums. A lovely alternative kid too – so many girls I teach have the bouffant hair and fake tan, whereas she works the thick black eye liner, nineties indie t-shirts and chipped nail varnish. Hurrah.

Anyway, she’s going to lose her thyroid and the lumps around her neck and get zapped with radioactive iodine – apparently iodine only affects the thyroid so it’s safe to use (you learn something new every day). Statistics are good in terms of success and survival rates and she seemed pretty positive when she spoke to me today; understandably she is still grappling with her new reality of “Oh fuck. I have cancer…”

(╥_╥)

After this, whilst on my way to debate club, I saw one of The Vulnerables (the one with the social age of about six) sat on her own outside a classroom. She looked a bit sad, so I went over to have a chat – she was sad, she explained, because she was ashamed of what she’d written on the paper in front of her. I had a read.

In her large trying-my-bestest-to-join-my-letters scrawl, she wrote about how she felt sad because it was her fault she was a fat twelve-year-old who people didn’t want to talk to, that she was ugly and stupid, so it wasn’t others’ fault when they ignored her.

:(

I told her that she did not have to be ashamed about her feelings or what she had written – feelings are not bad. I told her how much I enjoy being her form tutor, how much she contributes to her friends – her reply “You’re the greatest form tutor Miss! You are fantastic. I love having you as my tutor” – and that I thought she was being very hard on herself – she should think carefully about whether what she had written was true, because I didn’t think it was. We need to love ourselves not criticise ourselves unnecessarily. She perked up a bit at this.

I asked her to go and have a chat with her SEN tutor and I saw her happily akimbo on her chair a few minutes later. All was re-right in her world. Sigh.

My heart aches for both these poor kids, the challenges they’re going through and what awaits. Gah.
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Break – New Year – Work

So Christmas was as expected. Days passed getting increasingly fed up of being asked if I was okay, would I like a cup of tea every hour, conversations with my Dad complaining about blah blah the gays, the foreigners. Very teenage feelings of “Leeeeave meee a-loooone!!” resulted. Oh, and just when I was going to escape, my car wouldn’t start, so had to wait around for a few extra hours on one of the busiest days of the breakdown call-out year until the dude in orange turned up. At least the car was fixed, it didn’t cost an arm-or-a-leg, and I was warm.

All milk creamers, all the time

Visited a great local history museum in Stoke-On-Trent and saw a shitload (that’s a technical term) of Anglo-Saxon gold; the pieces were incredibly intricate, and it was amazing that the garnets included in some of the sword hilts were traded all the way from India. The pieces were part of a hoard found in a farmers field by a detectorist; apparently, when a tribe was conquered, the (often named) swords were taken and broken into small pieces, with the bits of hilt and pommel kept by the victors, like they were forever owning and wiping out the family.

Bonkers collection of ceramics from all the potteries that used to fill the town (there are some still holding on/doing well); I always say that probably the only time I am filled with anything approaching national pride is when I see a piece of Staffordshire pottery when i’m in a museum abroad.

Towards Derbyshire

The highpoint was the afternoon I spent with my brother up on a hill above the town; it had snowed quite heavily on the hills running up from the edge of town over to Derbyshire, and it was great to slip-slide-crunch around a county park ten minutes from the parentals. A world away. Lots of people sledging at quite frankly alarming rates of speed down the hill at the top, dogs whizzing about all excite with the people and the powdery stuff fighting back at them. Beautiful clear day burning down to the haze of a Winter sunset.

Towards Derbyshire

What else.

New Year’s Eve was spent by delighting in stuffing my face with multiple batches of prawn dumplings i’d bought by the tray-full; I LOVE the little slimy savoury parcels of delicious gooey joy. Gahhh so good. Chocolate Fudge Brownie followed along with a liberal application of wine and Westerns. I didn’t feel too sad, though my mind definitely wandered to happier times… when I reflexively smiled through kisses and never felt more content than when someone held my hand… Ug :(

Binge-watched about a bajillion different series such as Outlander (OH GOOD LORD THE SEX) and Elementary (new crush on Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu), and read an actual whole book (Burial Rites by Hannah Kent). Took great enjoyment in using my new microwave steamer to cook rice – lots of stir fries – yes I have simple pleasures.

Met up with my old school mentor for coffee and complaining (I used to want to work at her place of work but i’m not sure at this point but maybe that’s just education entirely :/), Flambé and McCy and tried out a weird wine vending machine at a bar in town – top a card up, stick it in and select different measures of around twelve or so different wines. Enjoyed going out on the bike. Redid my teaching portfolio so it was better organised and has my CV more prominently displayed, along with some writing about my course.

Got rejected for that job I applied for :(

Oh, the course. The Essay. Well, I found that writing 1500 words for one subsection was a bit of a problem when I have a 3000-word limit and about twelve subsections! So, stripped everything back to an outline plan and emailed it to my tutor, who was really helpful in pointing out where I need to slim down and tighten things up. Now actually need to write it haha.

As i’ve been getting deeper into my reading I am more convinced than ever that education is fucked, or at least art teaching is in the department where I work. So, i’ve signed up with an interesting (slightly scary) sketchbook exchange thing where you make work and post it to a stranger who then works in your book and posts theirs to you. Repeat for a year, working into their work and responding to it: Something to do *for me* that’s not anything to do with work, and will hopefully improve my confidence at art making.

The next stage of my uni course involves practical work, so next weekend i’m off to the Ashmolean which i’m really looking forward to even if the idea of art making with a critical element is uggh a bit worrying.

Embrace The Fear and all that.
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Break – The Essay – Festive Introspection

So i’m off work for the Christmas break AT LAST. I’ve done fuck all so far, and have nothing planned other than the yearly trip Oop North to visit the family for a week or so. Then it’s back home to my space, my rules (or lack of them) and zero family strife to tackle The Essay.

The Essay is the one piece of writing I have to do for the first year (only year if I don’t want to/can’t continue to MA level); in theory it shouldn’t be too intimidating, but having zero clue as to what to write is giving me The Fear. I’ve done research, collected data, read papers and books etc. but I feel I have achieved little, but then perhaps this is the point – “further research needed”. Also, i’ve not written an academic essay in nearly ten years. Yikes.

I know I can write well, and have been given pointers on how I should approach the essay, but where to start – even when it’s been set out for me – is daunting. How to make an argument? What is the point of what i’ve actually been doing? Anyway, I have that to at least get started on – it’s due in towards the end of January, so a week off work seems like a good time to start.

I know what i’m like though. I’m really poorly motivated when it comes to most things, but have found (thanks Reddit!) that making lists of things I need to do and giving myself options – even doing one thing from the list per day – is better than nothing, and does help ease my perma-inaction-anxiety a teeeeny bit. Have to break it down into small sections I think.

Other than that, this is definitely the time of year where I can particularly easily drive myself to tears through reminiscing or pondering upon things, mainly what I perceive as a lack of progress in my life. An active imagination is great to have is all I can say, or at least it’s great when the fantasizing doesn’t result in my wanting to curl up in a ball and perma-meld with my pillow. Yay!
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Final Cut – Quiz Domination

Neon Nightmare

Me and McCy went to see Blade Runner: Final Cut last week when it was re-released nationally for the weekend. Knowing it was a highly-rated, ground-breaking film, years back I watched it on the small screen and was left feeling very underwhelmed; after watching it on the big screen I have changed my opinion – it’s still a film of suffering, endless grind and emotional distance, but there are small flickers of humanity that I hadn’t noticed before – maybe I just didn’t get it before.

As to the musings on the nature of being human-front, i’m not so sure that there’s much of a difference – it’s a wonderfully complex film to look at and contains shots of great beauty and design, but the emotional connection is still mostly absent. Maybe I need to watch it another five times.

Something that struck me as very strange – the love story between Deckard and Rachael, or more specifically the scene where they first get together. I found it quite uncomfortable when he orders her to say that she wants him and manhandles her around his apartment. I loves me some manhandling when I get the opportunity, but the scene didn’t sit right with me. How much is personal autonomy, how much is wanting to please, how much is replicant programming? Perhaps that was the point.

Final Cut vs. Director’s Cut comparison

Tangentially related…

For the first time in, oh, I can’t even remember the last time, I took part in a pub quiz, or to be more specific McCy invited me to a charity quiz in a local bar. There was a good mixture of general knowledge, celebrity, film, literature and “guess the Tube stop” picture rounds and a variety of teams of different sizes, probably thirty or so people in total. Booze was consumed and a very good time was had – it was nice to revel in being nerdy and have my endless knowledge put to some (good?) use.

Naturally we had to come up with a suitably witty, knowing team name, so given the Blade Runner viewing, “Daryl Hannah’s Disembodied Finger” popped into my head and so we were thusly named. Haha.

Anyway, our team of two ended up trouncing the field by nearly fifteen motherfucking points. Oh yes. I couldn’t believe it when the results were announced – I thought we came fourth – as we were a small team up against groups of six and eight. A bottle of rum was won, which I have taken custody of, which will almost certainly live out its days untouched in a kitchen cupboard. Yeah!
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LoopLoopLoopLoopLoopLoopLoopLoop

I’ve a new book about a subject i’m actually interested in yet I can’t make much headway on it as i’m getting distracted so easily ugghhhh… I am merrily reading away and my concentration starts to wander, so I end up re-reading the same paragraph over-and-over, and nothing goes in.

Then, I start thinking about the essay I need to write for my course and how none of the kids are helping me with my research, how something i’m doing to help me escape work is being sabotaged by work, and how I miss romantic companionship – I concoct imaginary conversations with people that usually go something along the lines of:
“Seeing anyone? Hahahahahaha – You must be joking. Mankind doesn’t give one shit about me. The only expression of interest I get takes the form of some mild sexual assault whilst out clubbing”
then I start feeling sad and then get stuck in a loop exploring my thoughts and feelings instead of focusing on the text. And i’m interested in my topic.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why I like binge watching various TV series, as I can put my brain into neutral and be thoroughly absorbed with no room for dwelling?

:(
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Not a problem. At. All.

Lying awake attempting to sleep but thoughts of work ridiculousness run around my brain, and my heart begins to race.

Oh.
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Nobody’s Fault But My Own

OOOOOOOOOOOO

Thank Christ for the weekend. A week ending with shitty parents and children being accusatory and demanding – but not lifting a fucking finger themselves in terms of personal responsibility or doing actual work of course – and i’m very glad to have zero commitments this weekend, other than another fun ride on the bike to get my M&S San Fransisco-style sourdough fix: £1.90 of happiness that lasts an entire weekend. Yayyyyy!

After the parents’ evening last night (10/11 parents supportive and thankful for “all that you do for my daughter”) I didn’t sleep very well, despite turning in relatively early as I was emotionally wrung out. This morning in that weird limbo when the traffic outside my window is sporadic and the alarm is a couple of hours away I had an unsettling, unpleasant dream about an old person-of-interest getting married; I felt quite distressed and woke up feeling confused and sad. So the rest of Friday was a bit of a mixed bag.

Until the trailer for the new Star Wars popped up online, and then much happy geeking-out did occur – I welled up with excite and happy :) :) :)
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Six hours

Researching international posts and too deep a trawl through r/infp has resulted in bedtime sadness, of the sort where I lie awake feeling a bit small, wishing someone was curled up with me.

Coming from a family where emotional and physical displays of warmth were rare, I take enormous comfort and pleasure in the tactile (when I’ve access to it), and so when I’m feeling sad or tired I often find myself recalling times when my partner was affectionate towards me.

[hugs pillow tighter]
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Progress (of sorts)

First job application of the academic year, completed in under four hours. Quelle shock! Admittedly it was more of a customising previous letters and CVs situation, but still, it usually takes me a fucking age to craft what I want to put across, and then question myself if what i’m writing is in any way what they’ll be looking for. Sigh. Anyway.

Jobs seem to have been particularly sparse so far this year which is worrying; teaching is seasonal, as most staff have to give half a terms notice, for example resigning by October 31st to start a new job in January. I wish I lived in the world of six weeks’ notice! Usually after the resignation points there are more positions as people move around, but this year the expected bump hasn’t happened in the state or independent sector.

The international school hiring season has commenced, and it’s that time of year where I apply for that school i’ve applied to twice already without success haha. Anyway, this time it’s just a plain old art teacher role, without the usual technology add-on, and i’ve gone to town selling myself on a shorter, more “look what I can offer YOU” focused covering letter. I’m not in possession of much hope, but I give every application my best is all I can say.
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Happy Unbirthday

rainbow hair MKIISo a day after my birthday I actually feel happy, courtesy of new rainbow hair and a takeaway.

Apparently the hole in me can at least be partially filled.




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Unhappy Birthday

Felt increasingly down as the day progressed today. Escaped work, booked car in for fixing as it’s rattling (FFS), opened cards and presents, called the family, thanked people via text, email and chat. Did washing. Listened to some hiphop and jazz. Pasty and pitta and wine for birthday tea. Had a small weep over a Hamsters eating tiny Thanksgiving video.

Can’t quite work out why I feel fed up – a proper gathering is going to happen in a few weeks, so it’s not like the date will pass unnoticed, and i’m really looking forward to seeing so many friends.

I’m all right most of the time, alone and not lonely, but there are not infrequent occasions where I feel like there’s a hole in me that seems to be very hard to fill.

Maybe i’m just tired. Which I am, but. Probably need to be a bit kinder to myself.

Anyway, haircut and blue and pink hair slices tomorrow wooooooo! And nearer to the weekend hurrah!
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WIN (or stubborn refusal to spend a tenner)

negative mudguards It took multiple days to do it, but I finally managed to install my new mudguards without too much grief, in the process saving myself a £10 installation fee and giving myself a sense of achievement. Hurrah!

It took multiple days, in that I had to trim the stays for the guards with a hacksaw so they got anywhere near the attachment points on my bike frame, and so I brought them into work to use the vices we have in the department.

I have a slightly unusual bike in that it folds but is mountain bike size – it’s a Tern Joe D24 – and so finding guards that fit its weird geometry and don’t get in the way has been a process of trial and error – the clip on set I bought did not work at all.

They don’t seem to interfere with my bike fold and look pretty good in their shiny blackness. If anyone else needs the info, I ordered the following from Wiggle:

SKS Bluemels
MTB Mudguard Set Black
26×1.0-1.5 – Trekkin

Once the stays were trimmed it took me a couple of hours to install and adjust the fuckers so they didn’t rub against the tyres – this is the part that took the longest ugggh. I will admit I need to get a cable tie to attach the rear to the bottom of the seat stay bit, as for the life of me I can’t manage to get the required bolt through – it’s such a fiddly job. Other than that – success. Or at least it looks that way in the kitchen… test ride comes tomorrow whoop.

Hmmm… I think I need to give my bike a name – something more personal than Joe. I seem to bestow feminine names on plants and masculine names on mechanical objects; Monty is what pops into my head but I probably need to sleep on it.

Sleeeeeeeep…
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Le Weekend

cell swarm TIRED.

The weekend brings a most welcome trip to Bath and a visit with M; i’m greatly looking forward to whiling away many an hour talking about the same old shit we happily witter on about.

Sign of a great friend: you can always pick up the conversation where you left off, no matter how long it’s been.

Bike update: I have discovered hills. And I do not like them. ALSO: The mudguards didn’t fit, so I ordered fancier ones (hooray for payday) but they seem to be adrift in the post, or at work, as they haven’t appeared in the office yet. Hmmph. Anyway, if it isn’t too wet I hope to go for another spin on my lovely grey chariot woooooo.

Other than that, trying to be a snug bug as economically as possible.

Why is human hibernation not a thing?

Image: Work stuff I was doing – Kids are looking at microscopic worlds, so I got them to draw cells on themselves with eyeliner. As I do.
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Transformation Day

image

Off to Cowfield’s for an afternoon of being Not Me; my bag is full of stuff that in a different context would be perfect for a dirty weekend – wig, stripper shoes, constrictive underwear, makeup bag stuffed to the seams… It’s quite the surreal experience, and I’ve not even got there yet.

I’m looking forward to it, including the discomfort stemming from going orange and having my photo repeatedly taken. Good times!
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Yaaaaaayyyyy!

Collected my bike and managed to ride it home without

A. Falling off (there were some moments however)
B. Getting knocked off.

Woooooo!

I was slow and wobbly and found it hard to stay upright when bumping off curbs (there were some I didn’t even try, choosing to stop and manhandle the bike) as well as when slowing down. Gears… oh gears are weird. I need to work on those too haha. I went quite a way, hilariously quickly compared to walking (this was genuinely amazing to me), and I really enjoyed my ride home. No mudguards or lock yet as I am budgeting and storing the bike in the flat, but at least I have lights and a helmet.

I went through town and meandered around the university after dark on a mixture of roads and pavements; quite a lot of the ride was accompanied by a goofy grin of enjoyment, with the occasional laugh at myself as I wobbled to a stop or nearly lost my balance. Oh dear. Simple pleasures and all that.
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Boooooom (I Am Not A Doctor) – Bike fuckwittery

Booooooooom!
“A VIEW of the FIRE-WORKES and ILLUMINATIONS at his GRACE the Duke of RICHMOND’S at WHITEHALL and on the River Thames on Monday 15 May 1749.” Wikipedia
Gosh darn you (i’m guessing) ovaries… You’re making my back and innards very sore with your micro-explosioning. A backrub would be appreciated, so it’s Hot Water Bottle City instead. Bizarre how something so small can have such an effect.

Wikipedia – Mittelschmerz

So. The bike I was all excited about? Didn’t exist apparently, despite me ordering and paying for it.

SIGH.

So that got cancelled, but I watched the website and ended up ordering a larger folding bike the next day (full-size hybrid), when I noticed what I think must have been a fuckup by the seller, as they don’t entirely seem to know what they’re doing with their online presence.

Got the dude on the phone to knock the price down fifty quid by pointing out the contradicting prices on the page wooop. Mind you, if I actually get a bike I paid for this time it will be a novelty.
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Too Damn High – Invisible Holiday – Review Downer – Spinsterhood – Bike

Despite the bird lice and the twelve days without hot water without compensation, my landlords have seen fit to let me know they want to raise my rent by nearly ten percent if I renew my contract in December; so far I have negotiated down to seven and a two-year freeze, but i’m pissed off that they’ve heard from someone that they could get more and are trying to take the piss, because if I don’t pay for such a hike, then I can leave and some other fool will.

The fact that a bigger, furnished one-bed flat in the same building recently went for the same amount that they want to try and rent my much smaller, unfurnished studio for, seems not to matter, as they live in the world where they can charge whatever the fuck they want. Fuck this fucking bullshit.

What else. Oh, finally felt some sort of motivation with regards going through my photos of the holiday at this point I feel I never went on. I have around three-hundred of Arches NP alone, so I figure i’m not doing too badly in having edited Pagosa Springs, Durango, Boulder, Denver, Mounts Evans and Princeton and Rocky Mountain NP. Just Arches, Fruita, Colorado National Monument, Mesa Verde and Indian Peaks to go. Woot.

Having to do my review for my performance management is not helping how I feel about my job, as I think back to the lack of progress, or even backwards progress I “achieved” over the past year. Above all, it reinforces how much I want to leave. I’ve never felt so fed up, so early in the school year. Bodes well.

And, whoop-di-fuckin’-doo, it’s just about that time of year where I am unhappily reminded just how little mankind gives a shit about me in romantic terms. At least, I suppose, I managed to achieve my seemingly mandatory two shitty first dates a year. Oh yes, I am a WINNER.

Is there any area of my life I find enjoyment? Well, there’s my ceramics class I guess. So that would be two hours out of 168 each week. Yay?

OH YOU CAN JUST BITE ME WORLD. GO ON. ALSO. GO FUCK YOURSELF.

What else. Ordered a bike. Have a helmet. Will hopefully be able to pick it up in a week or so. Will need to ride it around the park to improve my balance, as when I last cycled (Boulder over the Summer – for the first time in around fifteen years) I was distinctly wobbly.

It’s quarter past midnight on a Monday morning. Is this week over yet??
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Syria’s Cost

Syria and coverage casualties Image taken from:

Committee to Project Journalists – Journalist beheadings in Syria reignite debate over risk and safety for freelancers – “Once you are kidnapped in Syria it’s a completely black hole you’re never going to come out of,”

Guardian – Freelances like James Foley are all we have to face the horror – “With major news organisations in financial retreat, dangerous international reporting is being left to the young and unprotected”

Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues – “We train and equip freelance journalists in all media to treat life-threatening injuries on the battlefield. Freelancers comprise the vast majority of those who cover wars, and consequently make up the vast majority of deaths and injuries…” “It is our hope to make first aid training the industry norm – like having a flak jacket or sat phone – and to prevent unnecessary deaths in a job that is so vital to human dignity and human rights.”

Frontline Club – “…exists to promote freedom of expression and support journalists, cameramen and photographers who risk their lives in the course of their work.”
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John Cantlie

John Cantlie / Getty Images from NBC – Patrols in Afghanistan proceed as pullout begins
“After 1st Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines make a routine patrol in the upper Gereshk Valley, a Marine’s helmet has a picture of his daughter, Angelina, inside on June 26 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.”
Guardian – Press photographer held by Islamic State for almost two years, says: ‘I’ve been abandoned by my government’

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No.

Non-Union Flag

BBC – What would the union jack look like if the Scottish bit were removed?

So, I could be living through the last couple of days of the Union. If Scotland decides to separate, i’ll be shocked, and how things will go in the future I am very unsure; Salmond has been very unconvincing in his appeals – the naked nationalism makes me feel quite uncomfortable – and if Gordon Brown is making a good argument, you know you’re in trouble.

I’m a Scot who can’t vote as I don’t live there, and I also get no say as a member of the United Kingdom of which Scotland is a member. This pisses me off – the land of my birth wants to fuck off and I get no say in it? WTF.

Personally, I don’t think “they” should vote Yes, as much as I understand the sentiment; I think that much of the reasoning to leave rests upon the idea that Westminster/the English/The Fucking Tories are to blame for all Scotland’s ills, and that to leave is therefore reactionary – leaving rather than trying to stay and make a difference, or looking at it the other way, jumping rather than deciding to be proactive to make a more just society.

A bit of research I heard about on Radio 4 said that although Scots see themselves as more left-leaning and more interested in social justice, they are in fact very similarly aligned with the rest of the UK in their beliefs. Devo Max i’d vote for, but I see the independence vote as a symptom of a greater problem, that of the political system being broken.

We vote them in, we get the politicians we deserve. Which is a tiiiiny bit of a downer.

I’m not convinced independence is the answer.

But I will apply for a passport if they’re offered.
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Peaks, Troughs

Totes Meer

Totes Meer (Dead Sea)
Paul Nash
1940–1

Very enjoyable Friday evening with McCy in Lahndahn tahn for Cowfields open studios at the Bermondsey Project. SO awesome to wander about an entire building filled with artists – three floors’ worth – 160 or thereabouts. I love looking at how people organise their spaces, what stuff they use, so, aside from seeing some great work, it was very satisfying to wander about being nosy and chat with artists in their studios.

I wish I had a space nearby where I could do art proper. It’s a very common problem where I live – no where that’s appropriate or affordable; I have The Art Table which is usually covered in ceramics junk, but it would be lovely to be able to make work that was larger in scale, where I didn’t have to worry about making a mess.

Anyway, got pretty drunk on plastic tumblers full of the cheapest red wine I could find in the local shop (actually tasty) as I had a chocolate bar for dinner prior to heading out. Balanced! Ended the night at around 4.30am after an evening of burritos, more wine, aciiiiiid techno, kittens, and drug taking avoidance. I’ll stick with what I know is pure thanks – alcohol it is then. I am square in some odd ways.

Today – Get home from work early as I try to make the most of the light workload (before it hits next week), still no enrolment stuff for my course (it’s been three fucking weeks now) which means I can’t access the library to read the articles I need to for my upcoming project. WTF.

Decide to cook a giant batch of pasta sauce to freeze later (thanks Leia Ewok Village for the cost-cutting reminder), eat dinner to Doctor Who (FINALLY a Doctor I actually like – Ecclestone was the last), watch a bit of the wonderful Andrew Graham-Dixon on War Art – Paul Nash – accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate (I seem to be having a thing for it of late) before admitting defeat at around eight motherfucking thirty.

Sort of pass out in front of Graham-Dixon, come to, pack my shit up head into bed. EXHAUSTED.

Can I get to sleep? NO. Of course not.

Fuuuuck,
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Colorado Course Whiteboardface

Yeah, I know, still not posted any photos or description of my experiences in Colorado. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, give me a break.

Finished my last day on my course for the mo, got the car fixed (it finally passed its MOT hurrah!) returned to work, did some yoga (more on that later sometime this decade), had a recycling blitz and actually tidied.

I met with Flambé for coffee, DIY foiled my washed-out hair blue and pink, binge-watched The West Wing and The Knick (this is recommended – I like that it makes you follow closely and doesn’t telegraph plot) and drove 45mins to pick up a little Chromebook – I thought I could do with something cheap-ish that’s actually portable and reliable for my course (as opposed to my laptop that randomly switches off all the goddamned time and doesn’t work if it’s not plugged in). The Chromebook is grand, although i’ve just this minute noticed that its got a slight screen flicker. Oh.

Super concise summary of my time Stateside: A holiday of two unequal halves. Some wonderful experiences combined with stressful ones, a smattering of deep sadness and a lot of time spent sat alone in my room at my Aunts. So fabulous, and reeeaally notsomuch. Yay?
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