HobbyHarri











{October 6, 2011}   Tag, You’re It!

Freshers flu has finally caught up with and crippled me. That sounds like the summary of an old german fairy tale…

“But the Freshers Goblin always knows when naughty little girls and boys are trying to be independent, so eventually he caught up with Princess Patty and ate her legs for tea.”

In our culture lecture they were telling us about how media evolves in different ways as a result of different cultures. As an example we were shown a book that was (and I think still is) very popular in Germany for reading to young kids. This was DerStruwwelpeter, and it was illustrating, essentially, how while our fairytales in the UK are generally quite tame, many of those created in Germany are often much more shocking and violent, to scare kids into behaving well rather than gently advising. Here you can see what happened to the kid who just kept sucking his thumb after his Mum warned him not to:

http://www.bobstaake.com/struwwelpeter/index2.shtml

What was I… right. I’m ill, so today and likely tomorrow will be uneventful Also vaguely grumpy because my logic cannot understand how on a windy night my window can make a loud noise like a guy whistling on one note, when it’s sealed tightly shut. I can only assume that this is one of those things that modern science can’t yet explain but one day will, like those ‘spirit spheres’ that you see on photographs and some people assume are spirits for some reason, or how Robin Williams is constantly high as a kite without being a druggy. Either that or there is a very dedicated prankster-whistling man who’s chosen my window as his haunt of the week.

Whatever, I’m off to bed now. With tea & Beechams. I don’t like Beechams much but the ingredients list looks good. Ug.

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{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…



{October 2, 2011}   I’m Not Quite Cinderella

Well today’s the day of the Freshers’ Ball. I have no chores to do, I’m not mistreated or downtrodden and fairy-godmothers don’t exist, but I am undertaking a small transformation tonight. I quite like doing formal on the odd occasion, but skirts, dresses and gowns just aren’t my thing. It just feels odd and impractical… But a ball really suggests some degree of masculine-feminine divide, so I’m going to make a little compromise – black trousers, a floral dress-top and a waistcoat over the top. Lovely – stylish & kinda feminine without being impractical. Normally I’d be quite happy to flounce that tradition entirely, but I am feeling quite nervous and, dare I say, vulnerable tonight.

And also unlike Cindy, I haven’t been wishing to go to the ball either. My main reason for going is that I bought the access wristband ages ago and it was pretty expensive, so I may as well go and see if I like any of it. That and they mentioned a “magician” on the website, but I’m pretty sure they meant that metaphorically (magicians and crowded student clubs aren’t usually a popular mix). I’ve got this horrible feeling that I’ll go there, I’ll wait 1/2 an hour to get in, there’ll be no one I know, it’ll be too noisy to make friends, creepy guys with googly eyes will try to dance with me, it’ll be too crowded and the music too loud and there’ll be no magician and I’ll head home and cry for no apparent reason.

 

I suppose then, my Cinderella moment wouldn’t be “You SHALL go to the ball!”

but rather “When you go to the ball, you SHALL enjoy yourself and maybe chat with a magician!”

 

 

Well. I don’t believe in luck, but if I did I’d say that since arriving in University I’ve been on a pretty good lucky streak. And if I happened to believe in some form of social-outings-karma, I’d say that I’m due a good time out. And as an unbeliever in pretty much all thing supernatural, I only wish I had someone to stay with me this evening, to help me get through the nerves and still enjoy myself even if the ball is shite :}

We’ll see.



{September 29, 2011}   Uni Is Heaven

I feels like today was a very long day. Normally, as someone who’s used to a lot less input from the rest of the world, that’s a bad thing. But not today. You see, typically a day that felt long when I was back in college would have meant a day filled with lessons, or coursework, or homework, or forced social outings in which people who didn’t really care about my answers would ask me questions in order to make small talk. Here, it’s different. Here, a day that feels long is one with lectures (which while long are also actually useful and/or interesting), shopping trips for food and other necessities, various events, trips and pastimes that I actually chose to take part in and meeting new people, all of whom actually care about what you say and may even be interested or even impressed by you as a person.

This makes me feel very strange. I’ve moved from people who only ask me where I went on holiday so that they can brag about their various rich-kid escapades (but otherwise ignore me), to people who are impressed just by my say so that I juggle. I’m not just a friend here either – I’m someone to look up to.

Woh.

I don’t go out clubbing ever, I hardly do parties, I don’t dance, I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs, and yet somehow all of these now make me a cool character.

Freshers is heaven for everyone. If you’re one of the crowd who just loves constant clubbing, getting pissed and sing-shouting all the way home, then yes, you’ll find many people who will be your friend and you’ll have many, many happy nights out. If you never go out, you don’t drink and you’re not one for socialising in general, you’ll find at the very least 1 great friend who truly cares about you, your views and being in your company. Whoever you are, life really goes your way when you go to University.

The weirdest part of it all is that all of my paranoid teenagerness… it wasn’t just because I was a teenager with the typical mood-swings and rebellion-drive. I was actually right. I really had grown out of the school system a long, long time ago. I really did only need a change of scenery and circumstance to start truly enjoying myself. I really did need to be free of all that before I could start exploring my hobbies and creating real output like this blog. And it really wasn’t my fault that I felt like I couldn’t belong and that being me wasn’t actually ok. I really did need to get out of there. I was a teenager, raging against the unfairness of my life… and I actually was right. I mean come on, that must be a first for humanity – a teenager’s paranoia & moodiness being entirely justified. Ha!

I’m free! Freedom is Heaven.

xoo



{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



{September 25, 2011}   Dying Hard & Living Easy

Watched Die Hard last night for the 1st time. Wa-ha-how. This must be one of those films-you-gotta-see-before-you-croak films. I don’t quite understand why people think it’s such a guys’ film though. I mean is it all really so simple as girls only like romantic comedies and guys only like action and quick quips? Maybe it’s just me being mentally androgenous, but I like ’em both. With rom-coms you get classic romance & sweetness, charming men and all – fluff. In action films you get all giddy from the thrill & suspense & close-shaves. My blood-phobia kicked in in a strange way towards the end. There’s a scene involving Bruce’s feet which made me very squirmy, my right hand on my head (for comfort? Not sure, compulsive action), and convinced that I could feel everything in my neck. The weird part was that it had me questioning whether or not I had a crush on anyone who appeared onscreen within 3 minutes of seeing blood. “Oh, do I have a crush on Alan? Have I got a crush on Bruce? Have I got a crush on the scary sweaty, long-blonde-haired german who’s intent on killing – no I can’t that’s not… or do I? NO…?.” Plus when the end credits started I could have sworn it was Alan singing ‘Let It Snow!’, so that gave me a good laugh before I went to sleep.

Dreamt that someone was throwing up in our restroom. Apparently I wasn’t dreaming though as the toilet’s blocked. I’m off to the shopping centre to find a loo & look for soy sauce. Must avoid the DVD shop and their massive discounts, I have more than enough already.

…I wonder if they do student discounts?

—————————————————–

Trying out Cravendale milk – you know, the one that genetically modifies cats just through the want of it. It’s quite nice. Very cheap. Review over.

My body clock seems to be adjusting to better fit that of my flatmates – I’ve been getting energy boosts that carry me futher through the night, which is great because in the evenings everyone leaves & I get the impulse to practice my juggling, which at the moment is quite poor & therefore quite noisy.

Now I’m packing to go home today so that it’s not so much of a rush to get to the funeral tomorrow. It’s going to be so nice to see everyone again. Come to think of it, this is the last day of proper-total relaxation. Tomorrow I have the funeral, on Tuesday University admin begins (school welcome & additional subject choices), and the whole week has societies trying to get people to join. Then of course the work starts. Point is this is my last day of absolutely zero commitments… That’s a lot of pressure on me to relax a lot today.



{September 21, 2011}   Leaving and Arriving

I’m finally going to University today. It really doesn’t feel like it’s happening, like I’m just going on holiday with friends again. I’m hurriedly packing and choosing my favourite, most useful books & clothes while the computer uploads the last of my parents’ CDs into iTunes. I know I’m packing far too much but then again, I am packing up my life. How are you supposed to do that? It’s not quite as simple as only taking what you need. It’s like I have to choose what stays a part of me. What books do i take? What I haven’t read, what I’ll definitely read again, what inspires me… And then clothes – should I be packing for every eventuality? Surely no shorts for Autumn/Winter? How many jackets/hoodies/jumpers? What about my poncho?

Anyway, time’s flying so I ought to just concentrate on getting it done.

———————————-

Well here I am. Cardiff.

I’m sitting in my room with a mug of tea brewed with a new travel kettle, a complementary teabag and soya milk from home, all together in my favourite mug. It’s bizarre. This is my room. I mean really, it’s mine. It’s not the same as having your own bedroom at home, or your own studyroom at school. This really is my room. The walls are tacky and bare, and the grand but ugly-looking noticeboard on the opposite me has a large, quite blank ‘student wallplanner’ (courtesy of the Students’ Union) stuck across the centre. I’m listening to Elbow (‘An Audience With The Pope’ is incredible) while I write and occasionally get hypnotised by the world outside my window (you know, where you look out for some reason and then 30 seconds later you snap out of it). I’ve adorned one wall with a bed cover to make it look a little warmer, the bed is made and my 4 chosen toys are at their perches. My guitar in it’s embarassing case is opposite & I keep wondering if I should play it, which is always followed by a ‘No, if I’m going to do anything it should be unpacking’, which is promptly followed by my ignoring both previous thoughts and disappearing on a random topic.

When I arrived I had a nice easy registration at the halls of residence and was greeted by 2 enthusiastic helpers, offering to help with our bags. Naturally we took advantage. Naturally I felt a little bad about it. A long story short, ~4 hours later, Ma & Bro had left and the happy helpers and I are buds. Neat-o. Particularly great considering how quiet it is in the flat at the moment. 2 others have arrived, but both have disappeared shortly after. That and the weather’s going a little gloomier.

Well, it may be quiet around here but it’s given me the chance to get used to this whole phenomenal change. I’ve worked towards it for so long that now I’m here, it feels like everything else that went before was just some dream or a story. I only continued at school so that I could have the University life in Cardiff, and for that I suffered a fair amount. Now that I’m here, I almost can’t remember it at all. It’s all been leading to this.

Now that I’m here I’m wondering if I made the right choice leaving certain things behind. Like the new Derren Brown book, ‘Confessions of a Conjuror’. He’s one of those rare people who can write about the tiniest moments and explode them up in fantastic detail – it’s incredibly engaging. Then again I shouldn’t be surprised by his style. After all this is someone who picks up on minute details to speed-read people for a profession and hobby. It makes sense that his book would be full of minute details laid entirely bare. I’m obviously thinking too much about this – it’s only 1 book and I have many more. I didn’t even think of it till I sat here to write & reflect. Anyway, with less distractions like that I’ll be able to work more on my hobbies and actually producing results. After all, that is what I’m here for really. I can always read at home. I guess this is just the way homesickness is manifesting at this early period.

I was planning to go to a ‘First To Arrive’ Freshers party, but I’m really not in the mood anymore – I’m totally zonked & emotionally low. I’m very happy to be here, being totally independent in a city that I love, but my god am I tired. I was going to have tea but it sounds like we have non-roommate company & I’m not in the mood for introductions, so I’ll just have some chocolate & go to bed. Will be happier tomorrow :}

G’night xoo

p.s. Apparently it’s illegal to purchase CUTLERY if you’re under 21. Yup, 21. Cutlery.

They must’ve got scared after watching Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Sometimes I wish I was Alan Rickman. If I was Alan Rickman, I could buy cutlery.



{September 19, 2011}   2 Days To Go & The 3 Day Panic

The last couple of days have been pretty draining (hence no post yesterday). I’ve been up & down the random-worries-roller-coaster a couple of times, and now that I’m more familiar with the bumps & turns it’s not so scary.

It seems that all my fears revolve around the idea that it’ll somehow end up the way it was back in school (lots of cliques and none that are both awesome and not arrogant – scratch that last, I just mean none that are awesome. Only Iron Man can be arrogant and awesome)… which is a fair assumption considering that the school way is almost the only way I’ve ever known. Of course it’s completely untrue here – for me University means starting over the way you always wanted to be but felt too ‘stuck’ to change. It’s a fresh start, where you can be who you want, say what you want, and the only cliques left are organised into societies and/or are actually avoidable. Even if there are people that you have issues with, the new you can confront them, or have a whole city to hide from them in. It’s win-win!

Rounded off nicely today with toasted marshmallows, a pub quiz and ‘Galaxy Quest’ (watch it, Alan Rickman’s in it, everybody loves Alan). I swear this family’s trying to make me homesick as soon as possible, but there’s no way I can refuse such extravagant kindness.

Crud, got so much packing to do. Worst bit is choosing which books to bring & which to leave behind. Still, one more full day tomorrow… It’ll work out.

Night :} x



{September 18, 2011}   4, A Musical Overload And A Doctor

With just a few days till I leave, I decided to raid the house of all its music. The recently added playlist in my iTunes now boasts a total of 1050 items, making a grand total of 2634, most of the new being from my parents’ collection. This way I’ll have all the music I could possibly want and more, and if I don’t want anything I can just delete it from the computer. Sure it’ll mean there’ll be a few moments when a song comes on with shuffle that I & all of my flatmates are plain weirded by, but being a fan of Phil Collins I’m sure I’ll be impervious to musical-taste-slagging-off soon enough.

   …

 Most importantly there was Doctor Who today. You can mess me about, forget my birthday, or steal my food and I’ll be understanding, but interrupt my watching of Doctor who and it’ll be… ooo entire DAYS before I forgive you. Anyway, today’s show was fantastic as usual – I’m loving the dark, psychological tone of episodes for this new Doc, very me. Had to leave watching Confidential (the behind-the-scenes) till tomorrow though. Shame. Anyway I don’t think I should review it – Doctor Who’s a marmite product, you love or hate it, and marmite products are meant to be tested first hand. It’s no good saying marmite’s yummy if it’s yummy for some and dog-lick for others. For the record, I think marmite’s alright, and I’m not alone in that. Now that I think of it, I know some who think Doctor Who’s just ‘alright’… I’ve ruined my argument haven’t I?

Well, the episode did have a couple of unexpected impacts of my life:

1. It ruined my 2nd experiment of the week. I was testing to see whether the fingernail strengthening & cuticle controlling products I was recommended actually worked by using it on just 1 hand. After 3 days of a smooth operation, I bit off 3 of my nails and maimed a 4th.

2. It gave me an idea to make a small difference at Uni. I’m planning on joining Cardiff’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy society, but thought I may not appreciate it or be appreciated so much being mostly only interested in Doctor Who. Now I figure – the society didn’t seem to have that many big events, and Cardiff is the home of Dr W – perhaps I could find a way to liase with or plead to BBC Wales to organise a visit to a Doctor Who set or something along those lines? I don’t know, perhaps I’m being hopelessly naïve, or perhaps they actually do this already. Either way it’s worth a shot.

Blah blah oox



et cetera