HobbyHarri











And what a relief it is! Ahaha, I can’t tell you how good it feels to be free after all that! And what’s even better is knowing what’s coming up. First of which is no more communication module! Brilliant. As nice as some of the topics were and as similar as it was in many ways to my main course, it was in fact everything that I feared my main course could be – an excruciatingly, unnecessarily academic variation on something that should be gloriously fun and interesting to explore – the practical psychology behind media. I mean how much more interesting can you get than a topic that explains how the media, which is everywhere & effects us more than we know, possibly more than anything else, affects our lives – our interests, perspectives, how we interpret the world and people around us, all influenced by this massive machine of media regulated modern culture. All I was afraid of when I started this course was that it would turn out to be too academic and that I’d therefore grow to hate it.  Journalism, Media & Cultural Studies is wonderful. The only troubles I’ve had with it have all been of my own making and will hopefully be gone by the start of next term (procrastination, grr…).

So I’m free!

Ok, I’m not entirely free. I have to come back in August to retake one of my Communication exams, but I’m prepared this time. And anyway, it should be great weather in Cardiff in August. On a side note, look at this awesome:

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{March 29, 2012}   The TARDIS and The Blue Box

Wow. So little has happened over the last month, except the last 4 days when almost too much happened. It really has been incredible. On Saturday, the Doctor Who convention opened its doors to thousands of fans from all around the globe, and then again on Sunday. I’ll blog about my experiences there later when I’ve gathered more photos, but first let me tell you about the little event they had going on the side. Everyone who bought a ticket to the convention had the opportunity to grab a special free ticket. So on Monday, I handed in an essay, went to a lecture, had lunch with friends, and then at 5:15 I got on a bus to visit the TARDIS. Yes, the TARDIS.

Incredible, huh? I really can’t believe I was there. I was hoping to do a nice big blog about the day, but I don’t think there’s anything I could say that could explain it all better than these photos and my inability to expand on the subject. Oh yes, and my video at the end. The pictures are pretty, but the video will show you what it was like to actually be there. And personally the video is the only thing that makes me go, “I really was there, wasn’t I? Ha!”

It really is the most beautiful place. I wish I could sleep in there. Imagine living in a place like that.

Afterwards we all went to the iconic but lesser-known ‘Blue Box Café’, which you may recognise from Doctor Who Confidential (If you’re reading this Mr Moffat, if cost is a problem in producing more DW Confidential, you can get plenty of free labour from Cardiff. Me for starters. Viva Confidencial!).

And – oh, well you can’t quite see it, but all the lamps out there seemed to have the space-time crack in them.

I’m going to go away and design my own TARDIS set. I should be packing to go home or preparing my next blog on the convention itself, but look at this! Ahah, I’m too excited. One day, I’m telling you, I will be working on this show.

Click>> Tour of the TARDIS



There are few things more intimidating. But of all the things that intimidate me, very few force me to eventually undertake them. Which is why exams are wonderful, wonderful things that I hate. Gotta overcome all my fears at some point, and this one’s making me do just that!

 

University exams however (at least for the 1st semester) are a doddle compared to the last ones I took. I guess the trauma of IB exams made me forget what 1st year exams are like. Very relaxed now. Have 1 more exam tomorrow & then I’m free for a whole week. Oh all the things I have planned… as much as I’d like to say how I’m looking forward to catching up on my reading & visiting the Bay regularly & writing & so forth, let’s face it, right now all I want to catch up on is sleeping time.

 

And if you want to be productive, there is one thing you can do, which I recommend above all else: Set an alarm for a set time (say 7:00), leave it somewhere away from your bed & go to sleep. When the alarm wakes you, get up & turn it off immediately, don’t go back to bed, stay active and keep in your mind whatever you wanted to do today, and as soon as you’re awake enough & have had breakfast, go to it. I’m telling you, there is no better way to be productive than waking up with a purpose and not lying in. When I did that yesterday, I did 5 hours revision almost solidly – I even interrupted my break times because I was so impatient to get back to studying! If you need something doing, if you want to be able to pursue any motive wholeheartedly, do this. It will not fail you. Though, if you do all this and then find Youtube, it’s broken, alright? Relax by doing something else, nothing passive – instead of watching the TV, practice juggling or do some stretches or sketches or reading or something – just stay involved, but change the type of activity so you’re switching between work & play.



{January 17, 2012}   Doctor Who Makes Learning Fun!

I love Cardiff.

 

Exams are stupid.

 

I said last time I’d write about the new Sherlock series & movies, but that’s going to have to wait till the weekend – I’ve arrived back in Cardiff & am preparing for the first exams of my University year on Thursday and Friday. I can’t afford to think about anything else. I tried to concentrate on it all really well today – look! I even made a day planner with The Doctor on it;

But yeah, that failed a little – I found it really hard to stick to it because I was feeling ridiculously restless… like I’d had a sip of coffee AND got stumped by a really interesting brainteaser. When I went out to return my books I went on to a nice café I know – a real haven for piece of mind, despite the volume of the music. And there I had the antidote to a restless temperament – tea, with mint ice-cream.

When I came back I was able to do more revision, but without the routine of a day spent  studying I just struggled too much to keep it going. My flatmates don’t really help. I’m an introvert surrounded by extroverts. I wish I could just live & breathe the purpose of revising for the exams for the next 3 days, without people disturbing me. In this kind of headspace, socialisation is a threat. Next year, I’m going to need a place of my own. Either that or just 1 flatmate who understands me enough to deal with my moods. I’m going to go to bed early and get up early when no one else is up. I’ll have the peace all to myself, and I’ll use it well. And if they get up & start being noisy again, I’ll just have to take my revision to the lovely café. And this time I’ll dismantle the pillow fortress that is my current sleeping arrangement. As unbelievably comfortable it was in the morning, it made for awkward, light sleeping filled with heavy dreams. I’ll be ready & focused tomorrow. And next week, I’ll be in utter bliss…

Night-o.

o



{December 15, 2011}   This Blog Is Chocolate Powered

Well it’s nearly 1:00am now. I’ll pulling an accidental all-nighter. All my fault really – I got distracted by an RPG game… Next thing I know it’s 5 hours later and I’ve eaten everything in the house and my work’s still not done. It’s ok though, because I ate the last of the chocolate, so I’d be staying up anyway. Might as well push it a little further and get some things sorted.

 

I’m pretty much packed for home. Just my computer left to pack once I’ve finished all my errands & handed in my work. And then… I’M GOING HOME. Yes, my 1st term at University is finally coming to a close, and, much as I adore Cardiff I FUCKING HATE IT and it’s crazy weather – I got beaten up by a hail storm a couple of days ago and my legs STILL hurt! And all this constant work and quoting too many people because we get lower grades if our work’s all original… I do it injustice. I’m raging because I’m homesick and I just can’t wait to be sitting in the living room with a fire going, with the family, and the cat, brother making s’mores, watching The Simpsons or Boston Legal or the Royal Variety Show which was on yestereve on ITV and featured acts from Penn & Teller and Tim Minchin. It feels weird not being the one to set it up to record. And I want to be able to play my guitar louder and sing without worrying about people hearing me practice, particularly when my voice is a little off. And to be drinking tea all through the day. And Mackies ice cream with chocolate bits. And hugs and silly randomness, and home-cooked food…

 

My only worry about staying up now is that, with no food in the house & me expending energy with all this thinking & plotting (for the work, not for getting home), I’ll be getting hungry earlier. I don’t care if the little Tesco’s open 24/7, I’m not going outside in the freezing cold, crazy weather during the night.

I think I may need to go to bed soon, simply for the sake of hibernation till I can get food. All I have is gum from Lidl, 5 packs of teabags and a bottle of soy sauce… If paracetamol can get rid of aches & pains, can it get rid of hunger pangs?

 

Will forget about it. I’m just going to do whatever I can now without getting any serious mental blocks and then I’m going to lie down until I finally drift off. I may be going home today, but it’s a long day, and I need to be prepared.



{October 5, 2011}   Blood, Money and Magic

Today I earned a fiver. There’s a common cold research clinic at the University which needs volunteers who have just got a cold so that they can test some non-harmful but probably not beneficial medicine on them to see whether or not it is indeed beneficial. All you have to do is get ill and go to them. If your timetable fits when they need to see you, you go to them later for a 5 hour session in which you can’t eat or leave. You then take their meds for however long it is, come back for one more 1 hour session, and then they pay you EIGHTY WHOLE NON-COUNTERFEIT POUNDS. If your timetable doesn’t fit with theirs, then you get a fiver for your time. I may not have earned £80, but considering I was only there for around 10 minutes and all I did was fill out a couple of forms and breathe heavily through my nose for 15 seconds, £5 is pretty kick-ass.

Went off to the shops and promptly spent it and a bit more on a pair of shiny new headphones from David & Goliath, who do plenty of funny and cute and yet cool clothes & accessories. They’re brilliant – so much louder than my weedy, tin-noise earphones, totally immersive when I want to block out annoying noises or just want to really involve myself in a movie, and they look pretty funky too.

The shopping didn’t stop there though. There was a really rubbish box of magic tricks I just had to buy. It’s been really annoying me, seeing it and not having one. Did I mention that Cardiff has a ‘Hawkins’ Bazaar’? Brilliant shop, great for the kid inside. They sell all sorts; toys, joke items, beginners’ juggling equipment, magic tricks, pranks, outdoor games, funny books, and so on forever. In the magic section they only have beginners’/kids’ things – really tacky tricks, plastic magic hats, sponges in rabbit shapes… I only have professional things. Half of magic is tacky rubbish. It’s time I knew the tacky side. It’s great and awful all at the same time! I mean I know it’s meant for kids and all, but I wouldn’t put it past any magician to have once used any of these seriously at some point in their life… ahah… and it’s weird because it has the whole ‘as a magician, you must be mysterious and superior to your audience at all times’ thing going on in the instructions. Here’s a quotation; “Pick up the cards which didn’t get into the hat and make a big noise about how poorly [your volunteer from the audience] did!” Oh dear. Yes that’s the way to impress people and make friends as a kid – humiliate and make fun of them when they volunteer to help your performance, and prove your superiority through your knowledge of how best to drop cards so that they fall straight down instead of fluttering off course.

My favourite is the thumb tip.

I may sound like I’m being mean about this, but I love it. While I don’t know if I’d do any of the tricks here seriously and regularly, I certainly don’t regret buying it. They’re all very gimmick-based, and all the props are very obviously specially made, and therefore obviously gimmicks, which makes the audience’s job a little easier… which now that I think about it sounds like a challenge… to pull off a tacky little trick with tacky props, but still trick a grown-up audience and be entertaining… Maybe later.

While I was there, I thought I’d buy a little tube of fake blood. A couple of reasons:

1. If I leave it in view in my room, I’ll always have it partially in mind, so I might get some inspiration for Halloween. Don’t know exactly what I mean by that, if I’m planning to do a Halloween magic trick or prank or gruesome gift, costume… Just general inspiration so far as I know.

2. To help my blood phobia. I figure that if I occasionally have a look at it or put some on my skin, it might help me get more comfortable with it. Just writing this is making the flap of skin between my thumb and forefinger feel tingly, weak and full of veins. Also, having put some on my left arm earlier, that area’s feeling a little like it’s actually bleeding gently – no pain, just… seepage. Well, I’ve certainly done well to write this! But then I’ve always been good with not visualising what I think and say.

I’m feeling very ill now. Not from the blood talk, it’s the cold. Very sore throat which apparently can’t be soothed by healthy fruits, water, tea or honey & lemon flavour gum. I really hope I don’t get properly ill. My energy’s low enough to start with… ahhrgh. Well I won’t let it get in the way of my plans. If cancer can’t get in the way of someone living life to the full, then why the hell should a cold, eh? Yeah!

I need to go drink tea now. Na-night. o



{October 4, 2011}   Bay II: Return To The Bay

Well today was great. The 1st lectures of my life were on today so I had to set the alarm this morning. I left it on the table again and, because the walls are quite thin here and I care about my flatmates’ sleep, I shot out of bed as soon as I heard it. I managed to shut it off before ‘La Bamba’ got too loud and annoying, but because I was still actually half asleep I had to fall over. Luckily I was awake enough to direct myself to fall on the bed. Very strange experience.

Oh, also I’ve decided that I am most certainly not a clubbing person. If I feel ill to physically be in a certain place… If I’m in a place that has music so loud that it feels like it’s turning my skeleton into jelly, and then shaking the jelly, then I don’t want to be there. So far as I know there was no magician, but even if there was I just did not care. Oo, real downer last night. Apparently, for the clubbing-type the Freshers’ Ball experience was quite mixed, either being ‘Amazing!’ or ‘Crap’. So I guess I’ve even got some of them on my side.

Today fixed that though, as while yesternight was weird and lonely, today I had the company of a friend and a trip to the bay to clear our muddled minds – wow. The clocktower has just donged for midnight. I really need to adjust my body clock, or if not at least to stop starting these blogs just before I plan to go to bed. Back to the story though… There’s not much to say really beyond how great it felt to be sharing that experience and acting as tour guide. I went inside the Millennium Centre for the first time and had a peep in the gift shop. Don’t know why but it was called Portmeirion, which is where classic Brit TV show ‘The Prisoner’ was filmed, so naturally they had a small section of wall devoted to related gifts. I also noted  they sell books on welsh language, Doctor Who notebooks and abnormal playing cards (for example, 1 deck they sell has blank sides). I probably won’t buy any of those things, but nice to know that they’re there.

I’ve really got into the student head-space now, it’s great. I just walk around everywhere looking at amazing goodies and then complaining to my friend or shopkeeper that it’s very expensive and that I have no money (even though as a student I actually have bags at the moment but am playing it safe to last me through the term (even though I’ve probably saved a few small bags already by only going out once during Freshers and then not buying anything there)).

I’m still feeling a bit blue for some reason. It just came back to me. I think it’s because outside of my room the flat corridor smells so strongly of smoke that I’m less keen on hanging out there. I certainly won’t prop my door open anymore – it’ll damage my sanctuary. The kitchen’s pretty darn clear because of the window & all the food that gets made/heated there, but it’s just the threat of inhaling any of that vile stuff on the way there that bugs me. I mean jeez, cig smoke is just the smell of degenerating health, isn’t it? I don’t know if it’s been properly proven that 2nd-hand smoke hurts people but I don’t really care, because I just can’t bear to have to smell daily the smell of gradual hurt, pain and death. I may be exaggerating but I really feel I have the right to be if his mindless self-harm is starting to harm my life too.

Argh. I shouldn’t get myself riled up before bed. I need to relax and tune the world out.

I wish I had some good headphones. Then I could block out the rest of the world’s noise at night, and, if I wanted to, really immerse myself in my music or a film! Had a look around ‘David & Goliath’ today and they had loads of good looking ones. Maybe that’ll be a really worthwhile investment to flush away my midnight blues.

Oh yes, and I’ve learnt a simple rope escape trick. Like a lot of magic tricks it’s more of a brain teaser than a trick really. I mean if you covered my hands so you couldn’t see how I was doing it, I’d say it was magic, but not a trick. But then also if you put someone else in the same situation and left them long enough, they could probably work out the logical solution.

Now I’m in puzzle mode. Damn. No winning this game, is there? Next Aim is to just go to sleep. Go on. Stop typing. THat’s ri-no, stpo…



{September 27, 2011}   Freshers Begins

Set my phone alarm for 8:00. Woke up at 7:40. Decided to wait for the alarm to go off to give me a reason to get up, because on my first day of anything official, getting up early (for a student) after a long-tiring day before, there is nowhere that I would rather be than in my cosy room, in my cosy bed beneath 2 fleeces and a duvet. Go away Steven Moffat, I will write an episode for your show another day. I was trying to enjoy the whole moment whilst trying not to fall asleep, when the phone went, so I pounced out of bed & across the room onto it (so far as I remember it was just 1 immediate bound, but I’m sure it was closer to being a lanky-legged stumble slightly sideways). Was not alarm. Twas Dad texting me. D’oh.

Whatever it was I just did, I’m now far too awake to excuse going back & waiting for the alarm. Time to prepare for the department’s welcome speech & meeting my personal tutor, check my emails and watch that new trailer for Mythbusters and Penn & Teller: Tell A Lie. Apparently the P&T show is like if you mixed together QI with Would I Lie To You? and had Penn & Teller host the resulting mesh. Sounds like TV heaven.

Have to go – it’s already 8:30 and all I’ve done is write, check my email and eat a banana & 5 of those gummy strawberry flavour sweets that look like lips.

—————————————

I’m hoping that what they say about Freshers Flu is a lie, that it is very possible to escape having it if you don’t party-hardy and/or snog everyone and/or drink any alcohol. I’m starting to feel that odd stickiness in the throat which makes you have to cough a little to get rid of it which always precedes horribly phlegmy flu. It’s totally unfair – I’ve been extra careful, wrapped up warm, eaten well and not done any of the aforementioned that are meant to give you freshers flu, but no, apparently that myth is both true and unbreakable.

Well, a good mood means better immune system, so I guess I’ll watch a comedy tonight with a giant mug of tea and some chocolate. And lasagne for supper. Mmmmm.

I met my ‘personal development tutor’ today. She’s the person I go to if I need any help or advice on most things: academic, personal, emotional, etc. I also met the other students who have her as a tutor, who are the people who I’ll be getting support from, giving support to, and generally getting through the course alongside. Again I think I’ve fallen into a good group. I wonder if there’s such a thing as a bad group in Cardiff University? Things start up again tomorrow with us all applying for our additional subjects which is done on a first come, first serve basis… starting at 9am. Because of the competition for places, we’ve been advised to arrive at 8:30. Unfortunately I’ve heard that the 2 subjects I’d like are very popular, so I guess I’m going to have to arrive even earlier. Ah well, nothing really matters because I’ve found a way to have pasta for lunch and supper without getting bored of it and having a balanced diet and without any hassle (All hail M&S for your microwaveable veggie pasta bake, linguine carbonara and lasagnes).

Must eat now. Not sure if I had breakfast. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling flu-y. Ack! Just realised it’s Freshers Societies Fayre today! I’ll eat quick & then go, gotta dash.



{September 26, 2011}   Tired

Well it’s been a long day. We traveled from Malvern to Bromsberrow for Rosie’s funeral, then back again, then after a cuppa and a hurried pack, back we went to Cardiff. By the time I’d unpacked I was feeling quite deliriously tired/hungry/emotionally drained. I went into the kitchen to fetch some water and make supper, but ended up having a very long chat with flatmates, eating ramen very slowly, drinking masses of water and showing off a certain coin sleight in which you make a coin jump from your hand. It’s hard to learn but so satisfying when it finally works.

I was going to watch a film, but all the chatting kept my mind away from how drained I really am. That and I know I have to get up early (for a student) to go for my department’s welcome speech and meet my personal tutor for the 1st time. I really hate being late for official things and I never want to leave my bed in the mornings, so I really ought to sleep now to be absolutely sure. Plus I’m not entirely sure where I have to go tomorrow & how to get there from here. Blessings upon Google Maps.

I’d like to talk about the whole issue of life, death & mortality sometime and mention Rosie a bit more, but now just isn’t the time. Plus it’s a little heavy for a blog that’s currently focused around  my Freshers Week experience.

Good night xox



It’s been 2 nights sleep since I left home and I’m almost out of new things to do. This half week before Freshers starts properly is pretty uneventful, so I’m just filling it up with trips to the shops for essentials, figuring out how to go to get to certain places and of course catching up on my hobbies. Today I thought a day-trip to Cardiff Bay would be a nice way to mix up my currently very flat-based life. I love the Bay.

I scoped out a route using google maps. It’s a long way. I think I walked for ~30 minutes to get there from the flat. I don’t think I could do that trip without my ipod, but then there’s always the bus.

Anyway, Cardiff Bay is one of the most serene, arty, relaxing and generally nice places in the UK. Very satisfying to walk to too, because once you get close you see the great golden dome of the Millennium Centre over the trees, and then finally you get there and the trees aren’t in the way anymore and you can see the centre in all it’s magnificent magnitude and the… giant fountain-thing next to it and the whole of the Roald Dahl plaza and beyond that the glimmering sea…

I really do love this area though, it has such a summer-holdiay vibe to it without being noisy or crowded. I did absolutely nothing besides walking and the one cone of ice-cream, but just being there was really rejuvenating. Loads of restaurants, plus a comedy club… great place to go if you have money or a sugar-daddy. Also, if you’re a fan of Torchwood, well this is where Torchwood actually is so if you want to have a go at the front door, then remember this: 1. The front door is past the plaza, down to the right. 2. The door is covered by fan-decorations. 3. The door is locked. 4. Vandalism is wrong.

So that’s the Bay for you.

———————————–

I decided my whiteboard is best used for To-Do lists and random portraits, so I had a go drawing. I didn’t try to draw anyone in particular, but guess who I ended up drawing? Derren Brown. Seriously, get out of my head man. Must’ve been because I thought about doing another dream-control experiment but didn’t go through with it, so instead of him being in my dream he’s on my whiteboard. The picture’s really annoying me though, I just keep on looking round at it and getting miffed. I don’t know if that’s because he appears to be looking at me when I’m sitting at my desk, or just because I’m such a perfectionist that its imperfection calls to me and says I’m crap. I think I’ll rub it out. That’ll solve whatever it is, but before it goes, here it is:

I do like this picture though. I think this is just the way I am with all pictures I do, particularly of real people, particularly people I admire. His mouth’s too long here – argh crud. I’m so proud and yet so not.

Also, I kinda nervous about Uni now. I’m pretty darn sure that I’m just totally not a party person, at least the typical parties you get at this age  in University. All the typical fuddy-duddy reasons – music too loud, dancing not so fun, crowded = not fun, can’t hear others = how am I supposed to be making friends at these things if all I can do is pretend & nod along?, etc. It’s just not me and I’d be lying to myself & everyone if I just went along with it. But then again this is all about new experiences. Maybe some of them aren’t so bad? I’ll go to Freshers Ball at least, and definitely to other events, but no, clubs & me don’t mix, and I’m very happy doing other – I feel low. I just erased Derren Brown from the whiteboard and now I feel like I’ve betrayed him. Damn those starey eyes. Better draw someone fictional to blot him out. But no, I’m going to take a stand for my individuality – if people try to pressure me into going & I don’t want to, I won’t. Simple as. So weird that that should be such a hard thing for me, but now that I’m starting fresh I can get into the habit of being true to me.

I should go to the Bay again soon. Going to the Bay gets rid of all these thoughts.



et cetera