Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dear Grandma

I miss you already. 
I am glad I got to say goodbye to you; you smiled at me through tired eyes which still sparkled as brightly as always.  I said I would see you tomorrow and I kissed you on the head and as you smiled back I knew you wanted to say that you wouldn't.  I did see you again Grandma.  I hope you heard me by your bedside comforting Grandad as we watched you sleep and slip away from us.  This all happened far too fast and none of us were ready for you to leave so soon. 
I have never wanted to imagine how this would feel.  It hurts.  It hurts to wake up and realise that I won't see you anymore.  It hurts to see Grandad so sad and lost without you.  It hurts to see Mum so heartbroken.  I will try my best to look after them for you.  Your house feels different and the world does not seem the same, but it will go on. 
Thank you for being such a lovely, gentle, kindhearted woman; always laughing.  You were still telling Grandad off for getting your age wrong right til your last day.  I hope you are at peace.  You did not deserve this.  

We miss you.


Grandma. Passed away 18th October 2015. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tying Knots.

After a lovely holiday in Devon with the family with sea breezes, sunshine and lots of puppy time with my furry nephew Milo, our smiles were turned upside down by the news that my Grandma has been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

I went to see her in hospital on Sunday and she was still smiling and laughing but it was just heart-breaking to hear her say she had "too much to see before she goes".  I've been thinking.  It's made me so aware of everything she is going to miss.  She said she wanted to see people get married- yet I fear she may miss my little sister getting married in the next year or two.  It breaks my heart.

I've cried.  I know how lucky I am to have four Grandparents still at the age of 32 but I am not used to having to deal with death as a result of that.  I have been dreading this... and now it is before me... somewhere in the near future I will be losing my Grandma.  I also hate seeing my Mum so upset.  She has fought cancer, along with her sister.  It robbed her of her time, energy and femininity five years ago and now yet again, she is faced with it taking away her mother.  And as if that isn't cruel enough, if my Grandma lives past Christmas, she could pass away the same year that my Mother get's the all clear.  Fucking cruel.

I've been angry.  I deal with such evil and awful people day in and day out in my job, and yet this sweet, kind, quiet old lady gets this awful disease.  It infuriates me.  It's just not fair. 

I know I have to be strong and face this, but it is hard.

I'm trying to support a friend in need at the moment and also trying to keep in contact with M while he is offshore for his next tour of duty.  I miss him far more than I thought... but have managed to talk to him daily which helps.  He has also sent me an amazing wood print of Birth Machine by HR Giger as a lasting memory of our first holiday together.  It's the most amazing thing and it's made me more sure that I have to make this person happy and keep them close. 

I know I can look at this situation two ways.  My first thought was that just when I thought everything was falling into place and I find someone I love, this awful thing has happened and I am faced with losing someone I love.  I am trying to think of this on it's head and say that I have found someone at a time when I will need them most. 

Chin up. Keep smiling.




Saturday, August 01, 2015

Ticking Boxes.

It's been a while!

I've met someone.

I'd given up on meeting anyone to share my life with and was starting to accept that my life could be just as fulfilled and happy whilst on my own... and then I met M.

He has turned my life upside down.  There are so many things about him that are perfect for me.  I don't especially buy in to the whole- there is one perfect person for people, or that there are people out there made for each other... however, with M so much feels right.

For a start, he is a Pirate.  Well, not quite, but he works as a navigator at sea for five weeks at a time and he manages a crew of staff on board.

He works out.  He used to play rugby.  He has amazing shoulders and has the nicest, kindest eyes I have ever seen.  He likes rock music; he knows Eddies (my rock club).  He is caring and treats me like I actually mean something. He is intelligent, successful and grounded.  He is a gentleman, and he is the first real man I have met who is willing to actually earn my affections.

After our first proper date, he went out to sea.  We spoke every day for five weeks while he was away and we just find things to talk about.  It just falls into place.  When he came home, we had a day at the zoo (we both love animals); he took me to an amazing Michelin star restaurant in Birmingham which is just the best, most incredible meal I have ever had in my life.  He took me to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for an amazing performance of Otherllo and he also crossed off one of my bucket list items by organizing a trip to Gruyere in Switzerland where the HR Giger museum is.  It was MIND-BLOWING.  Such a place of beauty being up in the mountains; fresh, crisp air, chocolate, cheese and just the best company I could have asked for.  It was just a perfect weekend.  We even had a huge storm on the first night for which we donned our rain macs and went and sat up in the castle grounds of Gruyere and watched the lightening lighting up the whole sky, mountains and valleys.  We were both in awe of it.  Gruyere was home to these amazing, rare little humming bird moths which I had great fun trying to photograph.  I managed to get an awesome photo of one too, which I am chuffed with.  We spent an afternoon in the perfectly decorated Giger Bar drinking cocktails, Absynthe and hot chocolate with meringues and cream ( a Swiss special) and loved every minute.  It feels right.  Finally.


After an amazing weekend, we spent Tuesday in Lincoln where M's new boat is moored.  It was great to see him so happy and smiling... and we're using the Marina as a neutral place for him to meet my folks next weekend before he heads back off-shore for his next five week tour of duty.

For the first time in a long long time- I may have finally found someone worthy of my heart and trust and love.

Happy :-)


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bucket List.

I've had sketches of a bucket list for some time but I'm publishing it so that I might actually start ticking more of them off before I pop my clogs.  Time is running out!
My bucket list is in three parts:

Places:

Visit New York at Christmas
Australia
Thailand
Canada
America tour
Northern Lights
The Giger museum and bar in Switzerland
Visit a Bamboo forest
Visit a Hot Air Balloon festival
Visit a lantern festival


Bands to see:

Puscifer/ A Perfect Circle
Hozier
The Prodigy
Incubus
Nine Inch Nails
Deftones
Radiohead
System of a Down


Things to do:

Walk up a mountain
Absail
Sing in public
See a rugby match
Learn more Japanese
Fire a gun
Find a dark zone to look at the night sky
Go to Wimbledon
Visit a Tim Burton exhibition
Watch an outdoor movie
Wear a pair of Louboutins


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Flop.

Last year was a good year for Feminism... it felt energised and focussed and seemed to be raising some really interesting and good debates.  This year however, I feel it is losing that focus and along with it a great big heap of respect.

I think the turn around came with the campaigners getting duped by the Sun.  Since then, they seem to have gone on silly rampages which are damaging their reputation and also damaging any meaningful work they may have already done.

The first of these silly attacks came on the film Fifty Shades of Grey.  I'd have appreciated a campaign here on repetitive, poorly written books with slightly dodgy storylines... however some feminists decided to launch an attach on this film saying it advocated Domestic Violence.  Now, working in the department dealing with this topic for a year now I can honestly say this does NOT equate to Domestic Violence.  I'm partially hoping that SOME of them have actually read the book and have hugely misinterpreted the book due to it being so SHIT, but you have to be slightly stupid to miss the key word in the whole thing... being CONSENT.  The woman in the book/film CONSENTS to being hit. Sadism is not the same as domestic violence and never will be.  Get it right.  ANY feminist having an issue with this has got it wrong and would be far better campaigning against REAL, GENUINE domestic violence occurring daily with men and women as victims and perpetrators; there is enough of it going on.  Leave the shoddy house-wife porn alone and focus on an actual problem.

Last week I saw a tweet by Danny Wallace who I find absolutely hilarious, being lambasted by another misguided feminist who took offence to one of his posts.  The post itself was sarcastic and if you know his humour, you know exactly how it was intended, however this person jumped all over it for all the wrong reasons and just made a total mockery of everything she probably stood for, most of which people like Danny Wallace probably bloody AGREE with!

Now they've jumped on the Beach Body campaign... which yes... is tiresome and boring and old... a woman's body has been used for advertising... yes. Don't the company have plenty of male bodies used in adverts too? Highly likely... because it IS a body product about weight loss... just like any gym is also focussed on body image.  Forget the ad, and focus on campaigns like the "This Girl Can" campaign... PROMOTE the good ones. ENDORSE positive body image campaigns instead of an ever-so slightly misjudged targeting of any naked flesh. 

It's frustrating.  It's annoying.  Because there will now be a huge backlash every time there is an intent to raise what is probably a valid point and decent debate.  It's infuriating because of how long it has been for there to be ANY serious feminists making any changes.  Last year saw huge progress and the good kind of waves that were needed to bring down shit like NUTS and ZOO.  And now, I feel like it's all been wasted and the energy is less focused and is spiraling in the wrong directions. It's causing a nasty backlash which I know is part of the fight, but on the above two situations, I haven't been able to defend the cause AT ALL because by and large, I just don't think they're an issue. Or rather, there are FAR FAR greater things that could be being achieved.

I hope every feminist group out there takes some time to move passed the bad PR, re-group and start addressing some genuine concerns and make some good, positive changes to turn this around before it becomes borderline difficult for women (and men) to declare they are feminists once again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Every Cloud...

So after three years, gathering dust in a drawer, I finally decided to take the plunge and sell my old engagement ring.  The only sentiment it had to me after that time was that I suspect it will be my only engagement ring, however I see no point holding on to an empty memory of 10 years wasting my life with someone who gave so little.  I sold it two weeks ago to a jeweller friend at work and I have to say... it was a big, positive step.  I felt released.  It made me realise that after heartbreak, comes rebirth. 
 
In true Slinky style, I obviously put the money towards something altogether more meaningful and special... something that embodies a philosophy I believe in, and looks fucking awesome- Alexander McQueen. I could not be more chuffed with my new goodies.  This beautiful silk scarf and bracelet symbolise moving forward and away from 10 years of wasted time and energy on someone unworthy. 
 
A colleague asked me if I felt emotional about selling it, but no... no I didn't.  I felt relieved and liberated from something bad.  And the big wad of cash in my hand helped too. :)  I only had one person who tried to make me feel guilty for my decision but I refuse.  It's not me who gave in ultimately.  It's not me who threw it away.  So I can hold my head up high and move forward knowing I lost nothing and gained some better things that I love and which hold far more value to me.
 
 
They couldn't have arrived at a better time either - at a time when I've just got rid of two other toxic rats.  No more toxicity.  No more negative people.  From now on- I only have room in my life for people worthy of my trust, respect and time.  If you can't hack it- close the door on your way out.
 
And another one bites the dust
Oh why can I not conquer love?
And I might have thought that we were one
Wanted to fight this war without weapons

And I wanted it, I wanted it so bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
Yeah, let's be clear, I'll trust no one

You did not break me
I'm still fighting for peace

Well, I've got thick skin and an elastic heart,
But your blade—it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won't see me fall apart
'Cause I've got an elastic heart

And I will stay up through the night
Let's be clear, won't close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I'll walk through fire to save my life

And I want it, I want my life so bad
I'm doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It's hard to lose a chosen one

You did not break me
 I'm still fighting for peace

 Well, I've got thick skin and an elastic heart,
But your blade—it might be too sharp
I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won't see me fall apart
'Cause I've got an elastic heart

I've got an elastic heart
 
 
 
Slinky is back.
 
:) 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rat.

 
My gut instinct deserves a medal.  My heart, not so much.
 
Liars always get caught out by their own games and lies eventually... but you've not seen the depths of evil manipulation and desperation until you've seen someone fake a whole friendship in order to get laid for a few weeks while it waits for it's soulmate to leave someone so they can settle into a pitiful little life of shallow, emotionally-dead existence.  
 
I welcomed you back; I offered you more care, love, respect and trust than you ever will deserve and you laughed behind my back, insulted my intelligence and padded out the lies, while your pathetic agenda fell into place.
 
You are no man.  You are the ugliest, smallest, weakest, most worthless, cowardly and evil person I have ever met.
 
I hope the guilt eats away at you for the rest of your miserable life.
 
I hope she breaks you. 
 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

It Will Come Back.

I'm sitting here listening to Hozier.  This is most definitely the best album I have heard in some time; bluesy, heartfelt and emotive with beautiful lyrics and an absolutely incredible blues vocal which can haunt you right down to your bones. I love it.  My soul loves it.  I can feel it soar when I listen.

I should be working.  I have two commissions under way with very short deadlines but I just can't concentrate.

My head is full of smog and cobwebs today, only in very small part due to the number of very strong cocktails I consumed last night. I want to curl up and sleep it off but even that is proving difficult.

I have a conversation running through my head.  It was an important one; things needed to be said which provided some much needed clarity and context.  However in doing so, it's left me scarred. Inevitable, and necessary to protect me in the future but also damaging to my heart. It's not a nice thing to ever hear... and it's something I've heard twice now.

It's one thing to be told someone doesn't feel something for you.  It cuts.  But to be told that they never could feel anything for you cuts deeper.  The connection isn't severed; you realise it was never even there to begin with; wasted and empty.  To say it could never happen means I've been analysed, summed up as lacking in some unknown quality which can never be explained or quantified. Strange how you can feel so connected; feel so strongly that there is something undeniably there; something right; and be so very very wrong about it.

It could have worked; You and I. You don't even realise what you've lost.

_________
 
                                                                          
All you have is your fire,
And a place you need to reach.
Don't you ever tame your demons-
But keep them on a leash.  
 
 
__________

Return.

I got back from Japan on Wednesday morning.  I miss it already.  Two days at home and it already feels like an age away.  The long flight emphasizes just how far away my little niece is and how much I am missing out on. It's a sad feeling that my time with her is going to be so sparse and sporadic. I miss her.

I'm not back at work until Tuesday and I've already wasted two days which have slipped through my fingers without me even noticing.  Post holiday blues were made much worse when I discovered that on the day off my return my little gecko Gizmo had passed away that morning.  She had been ill for some weeks so while it wasn't a huge shock, seeing her lifeless little body lay down in the warmth of her vivarium was heart-breaking. She had lay in the warmth knowing she was going to pass away I am sure of this from how she had lay down. She is buried in my parents garden.

In contrast, as one pet passes, my sister has now grown her little family unit to one Rottweiler/Border Collie cross puppy called Milo. He is incredibly cute even if he does just play and sleep at the moment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tanjobi Desu!

Today I celebrated my 32nd birthday in Japan and whilst things didn't quite go to plan, it was certainly a birthday with a difference!

After my brother was called in to work at short notice, we had to amend plans to somewhere more local so the afternoon was spent at a nearby complex called Tamaplaza; followed by a visit to a small local shrine in Miyazakidai.

Whilst at the shrine, an old man who resembled a slightly shabbier Mr Miyagi, was sat in the grounds n a makeshift chair, feeding some pigeons.  He seemed to be watching us closely while I snapped away taking photographs and my fears were confirmed when I saw him gesticulating and calling to us.  He appeared to be making a gesture ushering us out of the shrine, but my brother explained that in Japan this means "come here".  My brother approached and called me over, both of us expecting some sort of telling off... however the little old man said a few words to my brother and disappeared into his house- which was a shed like structure surrounded by pot plants which had long turned into weeds.  He proceeded to approach us again, this time armed with 6 cans of Japanese beer; handing us one each.  He spoke in Japanese with m brother for a little while as we said "Kampai" and downed a glug of beer.  All this in the grounds of a sacred shrine. Things got even odder, as the dishevelled Mr Miyagi then went back into his house, this time coming out with a crate for me to sit on and a big plastic bottle of what looked like petrol for him to sit on while he handed his chair (covered with bits of ducktape) to my brother to sit on.  He then went back inside and came out with a plastic bag; some salt and some soy sauce.  He offered us big plastic tubs of tofu, which he drowned in sauce and salt.  Thankfully my brother explained we had just eaten and we would share one... so he handed us two teaspoons for us to share a tub of Tofu.  Now, people who know me well know that I don't like food that wobbles.... and Tofu would fit into this category.  Not only that, while it doesn't really taste of anything in particular the texture is just cold, slimey and horrible.  More so, it would seem, when it is covered in huge crystals of salt and drowned in soy sauce (which I also detest).  I managed to force down about two mouthfuls before looking at my brother desperately. 

Mr Miyagi, went inside to feed a stray cat which had wandered into the grounds, and at this point my brother and I began searching for somewhere to stash the Tofu.  Embarrassingly a man walking a dog now entered the grounds and was met by my brother and I sat on a crate and a dodgy chair, eating tofu out of a plastic bag with teaspoons. We must have looked a right sight.  There was simply NO WAY of getting rid of the Tofu.  I even contemplated feeding it to the dog but I was worried he wouldn't eat it and make a scene which would attract Mr Miyagi back.  Desperation started to set in as we heard Mr Miyagi making his way back outside albeit he was distracted by feeding the cat for now.  We were too far from the trees to throw it; my brother was unprepared to shove the remaining Tofu in his hat; and the nearest bin was right next to Mr Miyagi's door.  Our only option to not offend this man was to eat it and I was simply unwilling to put that stuff anywhere near my moth ever again.  We ended up having to stash it in the crate I was sitting on. I felt bad, but not as bad as I would have felt after eating that stuff and throwing it up in front of the shrine. 

I decided to go and take some more photographs and give my brother a chance again to make some polite excuses to Mr Miyagi.  They sat chatting for a little while, and eventually my brother called me over to say goodbye and to thank him for our food and beer. He gave my brother another can before leaving and told him to return again soon!

I have to say, eating salted Tofu out of a plastic tub on a crate, in a shrine in Japan with Mr Miyagi is probably one of the weirder birthday activities I have done... but one I am unlikely to forget in a hurry!

On our way home, we picked up my niece from daycare and took her to the park for a bit before some Soba takeaway and a delicious Japanese cake for afters.  It ahs to be said that Japanese birthday cakes beat the shit out of our butter-cream; sickly-sweet-icing birthday cakes in England.  Delicious.  I also got to Skype my Grandad and Grandma who were delighted to see little Nat-chan too. :)

 
Oooh an additional present was the fact that I can finally wear makeup again after two solid weeks without it! Both my eyes seem much better now and free of redness and gunk which is a huge relief. 
This means I can enjoy the rest of my holiday without having to scare the locals too much and maybe take a few selfies along the way!
 
Tomorrow we are hoping to visit the Imperial Gardens.  While it's been sunny, we're still receiving a really icy cold wind here which has been freezing! But hopefully the sunshine will remain and perhaps stay long enough for the Cherry Blossom's to arrive before I leave next Wednesday.
 
Fingers Crossed!
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tokyo.

Konnichiwa!

Well, after a veeerrry long flight in which I got very little sleep, followed by an hour's bus journey; I arrived in Miyazaki last Thursday afternoon.

My trip appears to have coincided with my Niece being quite poorly which has impacted on daily plans a little so I haven't taken all that many photographs yet but I'm hoping this will change as the week goes on.  I had an amazing sleep on Thursday night; much needed after the long flight.  Friday was meant to be a shopping trip day with Yumi (my sister-in-law) but it was unfortunately a right off as my niece was too poorly to go to Daycare, however in the evening my brother took me to Centa Minama to meet his American mate for cocktails, beer and food.

Saturday was spent in Tamaplaza to a Korean restaurant for lunch, then Yumi and I headed out to Omotesando and Harajuku to look round the shops; in particular Takeshita Street which is the most famous street in harajuku.  We looked in one tiny store called "6%DokiDoki" which was like walking into a computer game.  Imagine Mario brothers on speed with a classic 80's Nintendo soundtrack mixed in with some Drum n Bass; a sprinkling of Rainbow Bright and the world's supply of plastic jewellery and you come close to the experience.  We also stopped by the Calbee store where we ordered FRESHLY made; warm Calbee chips. Yummo.
There were so many crazy shops but it was great to see so many small independent designers doing their own thing and selling their wares alongside the regular bland stalls in every other department store.  You wouldn't get Selfridges selling hardcore gothic/punk clothing and blasting out thrash metal on one floot; then a stall selling necklaces made out of real pop-corn and biscuits or tights that look like baguettes; and then the floor above housing Dior; Chanel and Calvin Klein.  Amazing. Yumi bought me my birthday present too- some lippy from Dior in Omotesando.
Unfortunately this same day; my right eye finally caught the infection that's been plaguing my left eye for the last ten days.  This has mostly cleared up; but whilst walking around the shops on Saturday I could feel it itching and getting really gunky; and lo and behold- my eye went red over the next few hours.  Sunday morning it was swollen and sore so again; our plans to head to a bbq were put on hold in favour of going to Grandberry Mall to take my Niece to her favourite shop and on some rides.  Unfortunately on the way home; my niece was sick all over the floor of the supermarket so again, my brother and I have had to put our plans to go to Shinjuku on hold in order to look after Nat.  She's no better bless her and has been sleeping most of the day. I've been given a tour guide tomorrow should she be poorly again. And tonight one of my brother's friends is taking me into Yokohama for some food and drinks. 

Despite plans being somewhat stunted; it's still been precious spending time with my niece at long last.  She actually knows my name now and knows who I am so if nothing else it's been worth it just for that. 

I have a shopping list I need to complete by the end of the week.  I'm hoping I get chance to go to Shubuya, Shinjuku, The Alice in Wonderland CafĂ©, Odaiba and maybe the Tokyo Skytree before my time here comes to an end.  I need to take more photographs too as I've not had many opportunities yet.

Fingers crossed that little Nat-chan gets better soon so that I can explore a bit more.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

GOO.

After the countdown to my Tokyo trip started in earnest yesterday, by 3.30am I hit upon my first hitch.  I seem to have contracted conjunctivitis.   Shit.  A colleague at work has had it and against better advice attended work on Monday.  Two days later, I have it.  Trouble is, my colleague has a particularly nasty case and has had it for two weeks now.  I have 6 days til a longhaul flight. Already I'm panicking.  An internet search informed me, that some airlines reserve the right to refuse passengers with contagious diseases such as flu and conjunctivitis.  SHIT.
 
So first thing this morning I phoned the doctors to get an appointment and beg for antibiotic drops in the hope that they will help it to heal up in just 6 days time. 
 
I've cleaned my whole desk, phones and office-pens in the office with antibacterial wipes and have two hand sanitisers on my desk also.  However, by lunchtime I could barely see and I got sent home looking like Quasimodo.
 
My friend tried to cheer me up by saying I had Rainbow Tears which was a rather beautifully romantic and naively inaccurate way of saying that my tears are no longer watery, clear but thick green glue.  Imagine someone mixing sand in with superglue and rubbing it in your eye and that comes close to how this feels... oh and then send you wandering around outside looking like THIS....
 
 
... and being unable to wear any makeup which I haven't done since I was about 13.  Leaving the house without makeup is one of my fears. :(
 
I just really REALLY need this to go asap.  Even if I get let on the plane, I don't particularly want to endure a 17 hour flight with air conditioning exaggerating an already extremely uncomfortable condition.  I don't especially want to be attempting to put drops in on board.  And I don't particularly want to spend the first week of my trip not being able to see anything and kept away from my neice.  :(  I honestly just cannot believe this has happened... I've never even HAD this flippin' thing before and I had no idea just how horrible it was.
 
If ever any advertising types out there want a perfect way to advertise conjunctivitis products, I would say reach for the obvious choice; which just about summarises and epitomises just how this infection feels....
.... The Eye of Sauron.
 
 
 
Please.  PLEASE conjunctivitis.... PLEASE leave soon.  YOU SHALL NOT PASS! 



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SEVEN.

Seven days to go...

until... cherry blossoms, photographs, time with my niece, good food and hopefully a little bit of sunshine. 

Tokyo... here I come!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

So...... ny.


For some unknown reason, my Cowon stopped working today.  It won't switch on, it won't charge up - it's simply passed away quietly whilst in sleep-mode.  It was a bit of a shock as it's only a couple of years old and I searched high and low for something to replace my previous mp3 player which was perfect, just too small for my needs.  Sony also let me down mobile-wise a few years ago, and when they stopped making my previous mp3 player I was heartbroken.  The Cowon matched for sound quality but the user interface just wasn't as friendly and easy to navigate as my Sony.  I can't really function normally without an MP3 player, and with my impending long haul flights to Tokyo just 10 days away, I embarked on a research mission this morning to find a suitable replacement.  I found it right away... albeit actually getting hold of THE ONLY ONE IN THE WEST MIDLANDS was a bit of a mission.  *** Note to shops- do NOT advertise as selling a product that a customer has to order in.  Why say that you sell it, when I have to wait up to three days for you to order it in..? That's what Amazon is for... ***
 
So, after a few years away, I have reignited my tumultuous love affair with Sony.  I purchased a Sony A series and also a fairly cheap pair of headphones (though these won't be replacing my Shure in-earphones).  I'm currently sat in my lounge, testing out all the sound controls and features to optimize them for my strict tastes and high standards.  It's like returning home to an old lover after a pointless and unsatisfactory affair; it feels good to be back in bed with a familiar companion now that the passion is back.
 
I've lost nothing on sound quality and as expected with Sony products I've not actually had to fiddle much with the sound equalisation as the natural Sony sound is tuned in with my preferred tastes- slightly bass-y and meaty with clear spangly overtones.  It's already passed the Nine Inch Nails and Tool test, so I'm just running through the Tron soundtrack.  My Shure earphones compliment it perfectly, and despite the average Sony headphones I bought, they're also actually pretty decent quality too. Now... the only thing I haven't tested is compatibility with Franko.  
 
 
Chuffed to bits.  I could have done without the expense so near to my trip... however I think this is a match made in heaven and I'm glad I'll be travelling with Sony in my bag and ears again.  :-)

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Babadook-dook-dook

Ages ago, when I went to see The Riot Club, I saw a trailer for The Babadook.  I immediately felt torn because I badly wanted to see it but suspected it would mess with my head.  I've been very wary of horror films since I've been quite badly affected by them in the past though I highly suspect that similar to taking narcotics, it depends on your mental state at the time of exposure, as to the consequences.  I'm a very visual and sensitive person, and when I say that I think I have heightened senses, so imagery and sounds can really affect me.  Years ago, I was quite badly disturbed by The Grudge (which I am WELL aware is a shit film) due to one scene where a young boys mouth opens really wide and a cat noise comes out.  I have NEVER forgotten that.  I struggled sleeping... but then I have a feeling this was at a time when I was struggling to sleep anyway.
 
I digress.  So, I have slowly been getting back into watching scary movies... and to be honest I've actually been disappointed.  They just aren't scary.  I think also when you've studied film basics you kind of distance yourself somewhat and are able to predict the jumpy parts.  I watched Paranormal activity 1 and 2 (hate ghosts/poltergeist stuff) and it failed to frighten me or disturb me to the extent I imagined.  In part, scary films have got far, far too unrealistic to scare me. They become unbelievable and you're able to distance yourself further.
 
The Babadook, on first glance at the trailer, seemed scary... but not only that, it being underpinned by illustrations from a children's book, and the potential for this theme to infiltrate the rest of the cinematography intrigued me.  The thing that really sealed the deal was the only film critic whose opinion I actually trust and respect, Mark Kermode, actually said that it was fantastically executed.
 
On this basis I pre-ordered it.  It arrived last week and I've been putting off watching it since then... scared that this could be the film that stops me sleeping for weeks and plunges me into some sort of mental episode (my fear).
 
Tonight, I took the plunge. Alone. At night. But I kept the lamp on.
 
 
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
 
 
 
 
******* There now follows a post about the film, so PLEASE if you intend on watching it do NOT read any further.  *******
 
 
 
 
 
********** Seriously....  Massive spoiler ahead.... ************
 
 
 
 
 
It became apparent quite early on in the film, that this was the type of film I like, with depth; composed, intelligently structured mise-en-scene, and good narrative with layers.
 
It also became apparent, that this was different to run-of-the-mill horror films with the standard gratuitous mystery, ambiguous evil presence, pregnant pauses and tingly music.  This film, had a clear message.  It wasn't hidden, or hard to pick up on... it was obvious early on that this film is about a REAL monster- Depression and unresolved trauma. It becomes clear that the young boy's behaviour is echoing his Mother's unresolved resentment and stress brought on by grief and insomnia. The Babadook is the manifestation of his Mother's mental breakdown and the boy becomes her protector.  It's compelling, particularly now I work in Child Protection and see mental health issues becoming increasingly responsible for provoking Child Protection conferences where children are being neglected and affected by their parent's behaviours.  In fact, social services make an appearance, albeit they do as shit a job in the film as they do in real life at protecting the child.  It's a good one for people who work in Mental Health or Child Protection actually... call it an educational film! Less terrifying, more creepingly, chilling, I can safely say I don't feel like there are any images that are going to haunt me when I try sleep tonight. 
 
The words in the book will resonate deeply with anyone who has experienced deep depression.  This gave this film depth for me that allowed me to enjoy it without being scared out of my wits, though there were definite moments of anxiety, tension and "tingly skin" moments... you know the ones where you get that little burst of adrenalin from the fear of it which you can feel flood through your veins for about a second. Brilliantly done, excellently acted, well composed and beautifully filmed in a way which echoes the old film noir horrors, which are referenced perfectly.
 
I appreciate most films created by true artists... and this is one.  Expertly done and money well spent.
 

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bad Night.

Some thoughts:
B. You're a prick but you've actually listened to me. Been there. It means nothing but something too on the most superficial basis possible.
You offer me nothing. Too much hassle. Too much shit. I see you. Weak. Everything about you contradicts. Lies. Red flags. Frustration. Go.
BE. You've ignored me. Why?
K, A, M. You have no idea. Clueless. Ignorance in bliss.
I. Wtf. Why didn't you just say it?
N. I hate you.
C. You mean well but it's all shit and I've heard it a hundred times.
S. Replaceable. Pointless. Useable. Temporary. Disposable.
Hello insomnia.
I'm not entirely convinced I even belong here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Platonic.

Due to my choice of University and subsequently my choice of career, I've always had many male friends.  Even in school I had a nice mixed group of friends in sixth form.  I actually find male company less intense, and up until my current job, a lot less complicated without the usual and stereotypical cattiness that comes with being around lots of women.  There have been complications previously, when the boundaries of friendship have blurred on one side and not the other, but generally my male friends have had just a bigger influence on my life as my female ones.

However, now I'm getting older, my circle of friends has decreased naturally, as it does when you start to understand who is meant to stay and who isn't.  In the last week, I've had two good male friends say that meeting up with me would make their partner uncomfortable.  To pad this out, both these friends of mine have never ever been anything more than friends. Both have long-term partners - one a fiancĂ©, the other a wife.  I've been told that both these women would be uncomfortable with their partner meeting me for a drink or coffee which I find to be a massive judgment on my character based on nothing other than the fact that I am female and single, which clearly means I must be desperate to steal other women's men.  Even when you're happily married, it would appear I am still a threat.  It's ridiculous.  I can partly understand the unknown being a source of anxiety for women in this situation, but there are ways around it; getting to know me for a start!

I guess this is going to get more and more common.  With my female friends getting married and settling down, and my male friends being banned from seeing me... it's set to be a pretty lonely decent into my thirties.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Narcissist

Last year I met a guy.  We will call him B.  He is a Narcissist.

Now when I say this, I'm not saying it lightly or in jest.  I actually, GENUINELY mean he is one. I've used this to describe just generally self-serving assholes before... but this guy is on a whole other level.

I have rarely, if ever actually, met someone who is actually the stereotype, text book being of a psychological profile, but my god, he is one. 

He has just about every trait. For a long time he made absolutely no sense to me, but after a long time of careful observation and some careful handling, he is the very epitome of narcissism.  His behaviours, words, language... all of it, oozes narcissism.  This goes beyond vanity, far deeper rooted and I can even pick this up from how he talks about his mother.  He takes no responsibility, he is superficial but has massive insecurities.  He papers up the gaping cracks in his life with empty ambition and this ridiculous notion that he is some sort of hero but underneath he is a weak, lost little boy begging to be accepted.  He is vague, plays cards close to his chest (his words) and NEVER actually states what he wants so that he can keep many people (mainly women) on tenterhooks and guessing as to what he's thinking.  Now I've seen it for what it is, I'm no longer frustrated by this person's actions and I'm no longer confused as to where I stand; I was a pawn.  He still describes me as a friend, but I feel my purpose fading as he realises the control is gone and he's no longer able to manipulate... though I let him think he does sometimes because I find it somewhat fascinating.  It's like having a walking, talking case study in psychology. 

I was doing some reading up on Narcissists and there is literally no way of breaking down the strange, delusional worlds they build for themselves.  There is however, a degree of transcendence for me in understanding how B works and knowing that he is caught in a never ending cycle of frustration and disappointment; far below the high standards and delusional success he claims he has and wants. He will never break this, and probably never achieve happiness, although apparently Narcissism lessens with age so now he is nearing 40 he may gradually naturally decrease his ingrained narcissistic behaviours. I actually take some pride in being able to observe such a perfect psychological profile, so close up, without being at all emotionally affected by their behaviour, keeping them at arms length and being able to almost play him at his own game. 

Fascinating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chillaxxxx...

Ah. Two days off mid-week. Loving it.  I actually get to go to the gym when it's not full of kids or posing twats and I don't have to wait around for someone to get off their phone and vacate a machine. Score!

I've booked the remainder of my leave up until March now... so I think I have just one full week between now and my trip to Japan.  I can't wait.  Whilst I'm apprehensive about the flights... or more the airports, I'm actually so excited about travelling and seeing my niece again who I haven't seen since she was 6 months old.  :)

Tomorrow I'm hoping to go shopping with one of my best buds so I might pick up some new pumps for Japan.  It will keep my mind off the impending SHITENESS of Valentines Day with all it's tatty pink and red hearts of SHITE.

Gizmo is still not eating.  I'm on my last bit of Vet instructions before I have to take her back and probably spend all my savings on more tests to get her better.  She still looks bright eyed, but she also still hasn't eaten and it's now getting on for four weeks.  I've even started BEGGING her to eat something but she is simply not interested... at all. Pleeeeease get better Gizmo!



Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Sickness.

So, I can finally swallow without having to physically build up to dealing with the pain! Woohoo! My tonsillitis is finally on the way out! ... which consequently means I am back to work tomorrow.  Well, for two days at least, and those two days are spent on two training courses so it's not too taxing. 

Last week was full of headaches (which seem to also be easing although the odd twinge remains and I'm relying less on ibuprofen and Panadol); swollen glands; razorblade throats and white tonsils... but it's also been tinged with a bit of maternal stress.

My beautiful leopard gecko Gizmo has stopped eating.  She's had NO food for well over three weeks now and has lost weight. I took her to a reptile vet on Friday where she was X-Rayed and given a once over but nothing no explanation could be found.  The vet said she looks otherwise healthy and to her she didn't look underweight yet but I'm still so worried about her.  The vet gave me a course of antibiotics which has been a bit of a mission administering to her via syringe but I haven't seen any improvements.  I've tried changing the food type- no interest in locusts, crickets, morio's or mealworms.  I've tried cutting the legs off the hoppers to make it easier for her to catch- still no interest.  I've got to take her back to the vet in a few more days if she's still not eaten and I'm panicking as to how much the next steps could cost since she'll require intensive tests and a stay at the vets. I've even begged with her... but she just blinked at me.  As well as all this, I get the impression she no longer trusts me since I've had to handle her every day and each time I have it's been to put foul tasting stuff in her mouth - causing her more stress.  So not only do I feel like a bad mum because she's ill; I feel like she hates me for it too.

Being a Mum sucks. 

Other things that suck:
- Weddings everywhere
- Valentines fucking day
- Loads of films being out at the cinema and having no one to go with.
- Not being able to go to my friends wedding party because of my dickhead ex being there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Head.

It's been a whole month since I posted and lots of shit has happened but for today I am going to talk about my head.  For a change though, I'm not talking emotionally... my head, it would seem is PHYSICALLY broken.

I've started getting migraines again... after YEARS of not getting them and I haven't the faintest idea why. Since my last migraine which was a week last Saturday (9 days ago) I've had a permanent headache. 9 days of headache. Not full days, by about the evening it's worn of or lessened, but pretty much it's always there.  It starts the second I wake... I open my eyes and can count maybe three seconds before I feel a pain build in the left side of the back of my skull... which then gradually seeps round the sides and front of my skull throughout the morning; getting worse when I move quick.  9 days of this is somewhat tiring. I finally went to see a doctor today... this doctor looked about 12 years old and was smaller than I am... however I can only presume she did her degree in the womb because I'm pretty sure you need a degree to be a GP.  She said that it is most likely down to stress and that other than reducing work stress (not likely), taking ibuprofen and resting, then there isn't much additional she can recommend.  Fab.

I've got home to find a big white mark on my tonsil.  Woohoo. Back to the docs I go.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Tidings.

So Christmas has been and gone. 

I can't quite believe that tomorrow will be my last day of annual leave before returning to work on Monday.  It hasn't felt like two weeks- but I have enjoyed my time off and I'm really glad I didn't cancel it.

It's been a nice Christmas and better than I anticipated. 

I've spent today nursing the usual sleepiness of post-New Years Eve celebrations.  Its usually at this point that I make some resolutions however I'm not going to bother: They are always the same and the only thing I need to change this year is to waste no time on twats and to not overthink things.

I have much to look forward to in 2015:  I have a trip to Japan and possibly a trip to Australia later in the year with a view to looking into job prospects there. 

Lots to see, projects to do and no one holding me back anymore.  Here's hoping it's a good one.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Holly.

A small red cheery berry and a dark green spikey leaf that hurts.

It's Christmas. 

Despite the normal grumbles about commuting in potential snow... December is usually my favourite time of the year. This year however it feels somewhat muted.  I'm trying so hard to stay positive and enjoy it but I can't help feeling that I'm simply not as jolly this year.  Perhaps it's just because of the events of the last six months, or just a general fatigue from being overworked ... I'm not sure... but I've struggled to maintain the usual excitement and this has affected my ability to plan and prepare for the holiday season too. 

I've normally done all my shopping and got it wrapped under a strictly colour-co ordinated Christmas tree. I haven't. I only just finished my shopping this morning and have yet to have things delivered, wrapped and ready.  My presents seem a bit hap-hazard and the ones I've made I'm not incredibly pleased with either; I've scrapped one handmade one, and have three more to complete.  I've wrapped what I do have... a mishmash of Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons from previous years which are usually perfectly planned and co ordinated. I've just had to make do, unwilling to put the full effort and money into the usual standards I achieve.  This is pretty much a summary of where I am in my life.  Caught in between lots of things and not really completely together. But that's ok.  

Despite all this... it's not all gloom.  I've had some lovely festive outings already with some tasty cocktails and good company; a trip to the German market and sampling some Brum pubs; and have a few more before the end of the year.  I've not spent a ridiculous amount of money and needing to save for Christmas has meant I've had some cosy weekends in sculpting instead of spending money on alcohol.  I'm also back in touch with a friend I thought I lost this Christmas. You've got to be grateful for small things.

I'm sure the December reflections will be there, niggling, in the back of my mind for some time... but I'm trying to keep my focus on what is important.  Whatever happens next year is next year, for now, sit back, enjoy the family, friends and Christmas cheeriness in people's eyes... and try to relax. If nothing else, two weeks off will be much needed to replenish and kick back.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Ring of Fire.

I have been deliberating for a while about selling my engagement ring. I was torn and found the idea of it just too upsetting but tonight... part of me just wants rid of it. It is and always was meaningless. It will be the only one I ever recieve, of that I am certain, but I no longer need it nor what it symbolizes.

Getting rid of it would be saying good riddance to a person who:

Destroyed my confidence.
Lied to my face.
Cheated on me.
Watched pornography.
Was selfish.
Took away my home and left me with nothing.
Was happy to mislead me in order for him to achieve the above.
Jumped into another girls bed in a matter of weeks after telling me it was over.
Frequently told me what a bad person I was.
Couldn't be arsed to support me when my mum got cancer.
Put his work before everything else.
Who is blind to his toxic family.
Who told me he loved me and continued sleeping with me while he lined up his next relationship.
Made me feel I was never enough.
Caused me to have to go through the lowest times in my life.
Continues to speak bullshit to protect his reputation.
Didn't allow me room to be sad.
Hated to be challenged.
Was elitist and politically right wing.
Was happy to destroy other peoples relationships.

And I'm hanging on to it why?

I'd rather have never had one at all and not have wasted 10 years on that fuck up.

Good riddance.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Test.

 The day has come to test these two Ice Cream Behemoths...
 
 
 
It was with great trepidation that I picked up that spoon.  This was the moment.  Some 8/9 years since had passed before Minter Wonderland had entered my mouth on it's shiney, silver steed. I've been used to Haagen Dazs for the last few years, it stepping in to fill the void left behind Minter Wonderlands epic wake.  I know the taste of Haagen Dazs now, as if it is part of my own body.  And yet, here, armed with my weapon-like spoon, I plunged back into the past to see if the lasting memory of this frozen creamy-dream lived up to the reality.
 
I have to say, I was surprised with the results. 
 
I can officially announce that Minter Wonderland... is NOT tastier than it's rival. 
 
Mint Leaves... the Ice Cream is creamier, tastier with more depth of mintiness flavour, and there is more chocolate per spoonful.  It also seems to melt quicker in the mouth. 
 
Minter Wonderland lacked that punch.  It's Ice Cream tastes blander in comparison, and although the chocolate chunks are "meatier" there are fewer of them in the tub it would appear.  It's not as minty or as refreshing to the pallet.
 
It looks like Haagen Dasz has surpassed Minter Wonderland... had it not been for Minter Wonderland's initial demise prior to Mint Leaves being marketed, I feel I would have made the switch regardless.  It would appear that Minter Wonderland only retained it's mantle in my heart and mind due to it's unavailability, a lost treasure, the memory of which appears to have been greater than truth. 
 
And now, Mint Leaves can take it's rightful place... the consistent provider who didn't abandon me can now bathe in it's glorious defeat of the old ruler of the minty dessert Kingdom.  All hail... the worlds best Ice Cream... Mint Leaves and Chocolate!