HobbyHarri











{February 2, 2012}   -EEEOOOUUUREEEOOOUUUR-

I don’t know about other Universities, or even other campuses, but our campus has a sneaky way of encouraging students to leave the Uni residences, both on a temporary and permanent basis. Fire alarms are constants. Even after a whole semester here, people are still occasionally forgetting to cook properly. I hope it’s because of alcohol. Drinking is the only excuse for burning your food after a whole semester, and there’s no excuse for drinking, really… That doesn’t make sense on paper, but it does in my head. I should think that through.

Anyway, despite all this, every week an official visits each house and turns on the alarm for a couple of seconds to make sure it works all right. When you’re sitting inside, quite content and lazy, and you start to hear the loud, 2 second klaxons going off around the courtyard, getting slowly closer… personally, it makes me suddenly want to get out. It’ll only be 2 seconds when it finally comes round, but that doesn’t matter. Even if I’m in the building when the alarm goes off, I’ll still be urging myself to just get out. It’s a primal impulse. If it wasn’t so cold I’d be quite glad for it actually – I’d’ve gone for a nice long walk to the Bay, had ice cream & tea & done some doodles & sketches, and walked back again. It’s good that I got out today anyway, even if it was just to the same café to make notes about what I’d like to do over the weekend. But even if this stuff is good for me, I don’t want these weekly alarms. Not even for 2 seconds. Next year, it’ll be quiet.

 

Spent most of the day watching old Disney films. It’s very strange watching them after so long – all the bits that I remember vividly, and the bits that I don’t remember at all but now seem so important – if other people didn’t go on about it I definitely wouldn’t have remembered Bambi’s Ma dying. It’s not that sad, people. Anyway, I’m going to be watching plenty more, so I’ll say more in a later blog. Going to curl up with a thermos of tea & play my Attorney game. Sounds boring to you, but ha ha to you who dismisses the Ace Attorney series, because they are some of the best games I’ve ever played.

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{January 31, 2012}   University, 2nd Semester

As is always the way, it’s all flown by, but at the same time it feels like I’ve been going to Uni for at least a year now. If it carries on at this rate, by the time I’ve completed my degree I’ll feel like nearly a decade’s past. Despite all this, I still walk into lectures and wonder if I’ve gone to the wrong room. You’d think after 3 months I’d feel some kind of vague familiarity with the mass of unnamed but regularly seen fellow students of journalism, but no. Instead I get the strange, solitary but strongly independent feeling I always get when first joining a group of total strangers. The only difference between now and the first semester is that there’s no first day nerves and no one’s awkwardly trying to befriend their seat-neighbours. Besides all that, it’s just like how I left it.

 

I’m worn out already, mostly from the cold, so I’ve spent a lot of time tucked up warm at home with earl grey, thinking about all the things I want to do. I’ve made lists. And deadlines. I’m working on a spare-time-timetable. Is that strange? It’s probably the effect of the New Year & my resolutions. Also a lot down to the fact that I’m a student living in a vibrant city that I love. Now if only there was a kind of high-paid job I could work towards that involved playing guitar, juggling, drawing and/or any of my other hobbies… I’d be over-loaded with motivation & productivity. I don’t want to be behind a counter.

 

I’m thinking about jobs a bit now because I’ve been looking for my accommodation for next year. I’ve been advised that 1-person flats are the most expensive, closely followed by 2-person flats. It’s only when you get to 3 or higher that you really start to see savings. That and small, not too expensive flats are few, if not non-existent between the Bay & city centre. Basically, I’ve been advised to share with 3 or more people & look for houses further north. But I’m still hoping. Maybe someone in the family will win the lottery or find buried treasure (if anyone, I’m betting it’s my brother – he has the Indiana Jones Factor), or maybe an amazing job will come along that’ll pay well & be creatively stimulating, or maybe I’ll find a perfect flatmate with loads of dosh who’d be willing to split the rent unevenly. And who’s lovely of course. If you’re reading this Mr/Miss Perfect Flatmate, I’d only share if you were interesting and/or lovely & our lives complemented each other enough – I wouldn’t use you for the money. Though we would need some.

 

It’s a bit of a waiting & staying informed game. *Sigh* Still, at least I’m not out “on the lash” every night, wasting money on cute clothes or lying in bed all day. Who knows, maybe if I save enough on my spending I’ll be able to afford a good place? It’ll all work out somehow. Eventually.

 

Off to watch Disney.

 

Sleep tight.



{November 29, 2011}   Problems Sleeping & Je Ne Sais Quoi

I handed in an essay last Tuesday and it’s had repercussions. For the last 3 nights I’ve had trouble sleeping, and last nights I dreamt that I was worrying about the essay, but that it had been chosen as a prime example of all that is good about an essay and was read to the whole University. Can you get more wish-fufilling than that? Anyway, it’s been giving me problems with thinking and remembering and typing, so this blog is quite late. Not sure how late. Should have blogged, but kept forgetting. Still very committed, but don’t know how to deal with this state of mind in which all I really can do is allow myself to be hypnotised by the world outside my window or Youtube or absent-mindedly eating 3 bananas and half a bag of mint imperials. I was going to write something else in this paragraph, but I got hypnotised again and now I think I should microwave the pasta and go to bed.

 

Tomorrow’s going to be good though. The 2 hour lecture of the day was moved to Monday, so we have the day off. Apparently tomorrow is the day that many people including lecturers at Universities around the UK are going on strike against some pension changes that’ll mean they’ll have to work harder and longer for less. Something along those lines. I’m guessing that’s the reason for the re-scheduling. Good for our lecture man. I do need to go sleep now. You can probably tell that my linguistic and story-telling ability has degraded to a 9 year old kid, thumbing through the dictionary to help with their ‘What I did in my holidays’ essay. Unless you’re interested in the psychosis of sleep-deprived students, I think yoou’ve just wasted your time with me 😀

 

Oh yeah, I also set myself a goal of learning a new magic trick everyday, but that’s not happening at all right now. It will though, I swear! Once I’m back to normal functioning and my next essay’s done. Going to play ‘Phoenix Wright’ while I eat spaghetti.

 

Goodnight. o



{October 13, 2011}   3 Day Weekend!

With my special timetabling skills and luck, I now have a permanently academics free Friday, giving me a 3 day weekend. Praise be to Metatron. Wow, poor Metatron… not even spell-check knows who you are.

 

Anyway, given that I have this time available and I’m finally entirely settled into life at University, I won’t be blogging till Monday – this way I can funnel my (almost) daily writing habit into my story writing and start at some of the projects that I’ve got planned. I think tomorrow I’ll start with some writing exercises (offset with physical exercises), and then get down to the project of my choice in the early evening (I would have said afternoon, but being a student with a day off, my morning will be starting at 12:00). If I get tired of writing, I’ll do my best to keep productive and work on my other hobbies. Perhaps I’ll have something to show on Monday…

 

Right, that’s enough explaining – I’m off to eat cheap chocolate, drink fruity tea and watch ‘Spaceballs’. Night-o!

 

 

Oh yes, and I have an Outnumbered episode to watch on iPlayer.



I feel very strange. I want to tidy my room and organise my folders. I want to research the topics I need to and read through my course guide. I want to practice my guitar, juggling and magic, and I want to do some creative writing outside of my blog. I want to get my shopping done and go to society meetings. But I can’t. I’m not entirely sure why. Time just seems to fly by.

I arrived back at my flat at around half 5, and now it’s half 10, and I have no idea how I let that happen. I watched an episode of Merlin while I ate my supper. I made my sandwich supper. I tried on the lovely fuzzy dress I bought on discount earlier… Yeah, that’s all. Just writing this far seems to somehow have taken twice as long as it normally does.

It’s probably just the whole situation getting on top of me. I’ve got a long to-do list, and even though it’s all down on paper, my head still struggles to get around it. It’s making me feel very strange. Like, even though I’m so stuffed that it hurts a little, I keep wanting to eat my snacks. I know I should go to sleep, but as soon as I look towards my bed, my head turns back round towards my desk, the thought disappears and I get a physical impulse to do something, but I never get any idea as to what.

I have work that needs doing. But it’s only Tuesday. It’s ok. The only thing that stops me from resting with that idea is the fact that I need to do that work in a group, the idea that others are depending on me to start working now. But I can’t. And I mustn’t think that. They don’t depend on me. I’m not their leader, or mother-goose. I’m their equal. We’re all in the same situation, and I’ve done all that I can do so far (& considering my state). I just need to relax properly, so that I can get some rest. Then I’ll be more revived tomorrow and I’ll be able to do some research, and when we meet (which is not my responsibility, so I mustn’t be concerned with that either), I’ll be able to give my fair share. I need to get over this whole mustn’t-let-anyone-down thing. I just need to sleep.

——

Final note: After all my complaining this week about the flat smelling of smoke, I was pleasantly surprised this morning. Well I wasn’t at first – at first I was confused and gently annoyed that one of my flatmates had for some reason decided to get up fairly early to do some hoovering and to be very clumsy with the nozzle (why you damn banging against my door?!! Smooth by it, don’t bloody burrow under!!). Anyway, when I decided to get breakfast, not only was the landing clean, but the smell was entirely gone. Wow. How? Then I noticed all the cleaning equipment – the hoover, dishcloths, sprays in nameless containers, etc.

It seems we have a cleaner.



{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 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 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?

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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.



Do I go out for food or eat what I’ve got?

I have Miso soup – should I buy noodles to eat with it? And veggies?

I have peanut butter & bread – but I’ve had that twice in the past 3 days – is that healthy?

If I go out how far will I have to go to find what I want? I want to eat now.

What do I want anyway?

I have to go out sometime to buy the Die Hard Trilogy that the store set aside for me.

I have chocolate.

I could eat chocolate.

Then I’d have an energy boost and stave off the hunger a little while longer, so I could buy the movie & a proper meal.

If I go out now I’ll need to buy for supper as well. That’ll take longer.

I want to keep the chocolate till I need an emotional pick-me-up or general comforting.

I could have some peanut butter. I could have a half sandwich.

I kind of want pasta bolognese but I don’t have plate. Would a bowl work just as well?

My feet are kind of sore. If I go I should wear trainers, not boots. How far is it to the dvd shop?

 

F*** it, I’m having soup.



et cetera