Sunday, April 29, 2007

When Hottie Comes

This coming week is pretty much like all of my other recent weeks - busy, but with a slight difference. Monday the Norwich Chant Collective celebrates Beltane. Yay! Like all good festivals it encorporates wine, friends and song. Fabulous. It's a festival dedicated to fertility, mayhem and fun. Tomorrow we meet round the bonfire for storytelling, chant, dance and frolicks round a maypole. What's even better is that it happens the day before my birthday.

One of the best parts of the week happened yesterday, when Hottie was waiting for me when I came home from work. After Hottie had her fix of Dr Who, we trotted out to get KFC. When we were going in for our portions of heart attack and stroke, an interesting thing happened. A fire truck parked up and out jumped a fireman. Now friends of mine will know, I do have a weakness for men in uniform (how pleased am I that I have my own now?), and as he queued behind us, he seemed to be a friendly sort. So much so that when we headed out to the car park, he invited Hottie to sit in his (very large) fire truck. I confess, I too had a go when Hottie had tired of sitting in the front seat with these very buff firemen. What an amazing view.

No, not them, you filthy minded individuals. The view from up high. Given that I am a short arse, I quite like checking out the view from upon high. The fire truck cab is a bit lower than a double decker bus and the chasis seemed to move about more. The driver, who sat there as if strange women climbing into the cab, clutching their KFC dinners was an everyday experience, did admit that there was a large cool factor driving at speed in this monster with the sirens going. I can imagine.

By the way. I've decided I'm going to be 36 + 1. I like 36 as a number, and I like even numbers. It's special to me. Good things have happened this year and I'm reluctant to leave it behind. Therefore, I will add numbers on to it rather than lose it all together. It's my own special Roses logic, you don't have to understand it, just accept it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Three Part Post

Part One:

This image and about 90 others like it, is basically how I've been spending my time on the buses. It's a bit scary to think that in four weeks time, I will have completed my installation for my degree show, and so endeth my work at the College. Eeek! I'm still thinking seriously about the MA in Digital Art as a potential way forward for me as it will mean more self-generated projects like Journeying. Plus, at the end of my time I'll be able to go for better jobs than I can at the moment, specifically in the creative industries (whatever that means, I am merely repeating what the very kind careers officer told me). If I do decide to do the MA, I'll do it part-time as it will give me more breathing space to work and to grow creatively. Having said all of that, I'm not making any decisions that are set in concrete. I'm determined that I will take my time and see what opportunities present themselves. I've also been looking every week at the Guardian's Media page to see what's floating about. This indecision is unusual for me, I'm more the 'push-past-the-angels-and-bugger-the-consequences' type of girl, which has been fun, it must be said. At the moment, I'm very aware of the effect of my pending decision and I want to make the best possible one.

Part Two:

This is my Proud Mum Moment. This evening Boy and I met The Teachers at his school, to discuss his progress in the first year of high school. Our meetings with said teachers were brief. They pretty much all ran along the lines of: he's a keen student, he participates in class, he's pleasant to teach, he works hard, he's doing really well. In some cases, exceptionally well. Boy wants to be a vet, like his uncle Atlas. He's taken on board that he's going to have to be completely committed and motivated to do it and he's walking the talk. How proud am I? We went out to dinner to celebrate. He rocks!

Part Three:

This is a Big-Up for Gertie. If you have been clicking on my link, you will no doubt know that Gertie has been having a bit of a rough time lately. We first met working with NHSD, where she wasn't only working silly shifts, but also doing supply teaching around Norfolk. She had just qualified and thanks to a surplus of teachers in Norfolk, was without a permanent teaching position. So, she would finish at NHSD at 2am, go to bed for a few hours and then be up in time to teach a bunch of reception year kids numeracy and literacy at 8am. She had to move to Kent to a less-than-ideal temporary job and has had to deal with unruly kids (and I'm being kind in my description) as well as piss poor management.

I'm asking you to give Gertie a Big-Up because although life is being generally shite to her at the moment, she is still committed 100% to teaching. I'm just amazed by her fortitude and strength of purpose. Teaching is her dream job and as hard as it is now, I just know that she'll land that fab teaching job. In my skewed view of reality, success is The Outcome for that much determination and hard work. I'm so chuffed she's my friend. Go Gertie. Go Gertie.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Still Standing (just)

My weekend did not have a particularly good start. I'd bought tickets to visit the Viking's longboat and I'd managed to drag myself out of my sickbed having progressed to the dry hack, sore throat and concrete sinuses of the cold, get myself ready and packed. I was actually at the bus stop in plenty of time. And I waited. And waited. And then a small spark went off in the corner of my brain. There was a bus strike. Needless to say I missed my train. Fortunately, I'd purchased an open ticket and it meant that the Viking could grab another hour in bed as he'd just come off nights.

By the time I got to him, I was hacking like a 60-a-day veteran and feeling like three shades of shite. I briefly considered doing the 'stiff upper lip', but I felt so dreadful, I went straight into 'dying swan'. I got taken home, tucked into bed with a cup of tea and two paracetmols. Bliss. I got all the tea and sympathy I could handle. Made being sick almost worth it.

Unfortunately, I'm now even further behind in my work since I was busy dying last week and this week, I have 4 days paid employment, which means I'll be writing well into the night to catch up. College have been putting on 'after you graduate' sessions, which has brought home the reality that in three months time, I will be donning cap and gown and leaving behind my title of 'full-time student'.

What am I going to do? I'm supposed to be a grown-up for goodness sake. I don't feel robust enough for London. It may be something I'd consider in the future, but at the moment I need the familar around me. I have been thinking about doing the MA in Digital Practice at the college, the appeal of that course being that it would enable me to continue to work in a digital forum, which would mean more projects like Journeying.

I am quite amazed that it's nearly been a year since I started on the project. So much has changed for me and the work itself has fed into other aspects of my life in the most spectacular ways. It's not really surprising that I feel reluctant to close this chapter, but the book continues...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Stupid Questions

People who know me will confirm that I have a short patience span with complete idiots. It has led me into all kinds of trouble, but it's not a personality trait I'm willing to give up lightly. I had a conversation in the bank which went a bit like this:

me: I'd like to transfer some money out of my savings account *puts down relevant card*

the clerk (young, male, spotty): from your savings account?

me: yes

the clerk *waves my card*: are you sure this is your savings account?

At this point the sarky voice in my head is asking: who's else would it be? why would I give you a card wasn't my savings account? does it look like a Tesco clubcard?

This afternoon after taking more pictures en route, I had a bit of a shopping splurge at Poundland. One of the best places for a broke student to be. I bought myself a spanky new grater. When I got it home I had a bloody good laugh at the label.

Now you might be wondering what has set me off with that innocent lable. It's a multi-purpose grater. Yeah? What else are you going to use a grater for?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Avril Lavigne-Girlfriend

I really want to like this, and don't get me wrong, it's a catchy, poppy tune; but I can't help but think that Avril's sold out. The dodgy fishnets and long socks, and Britney style dancing. Not to mention boyfriend-nabbing is just wrong. I'm sure the lads will disagree.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Reality Bites ~ ouch!

Today is the start of the last term of my degree.

I type that and then I sigh and stare at it. I long for it to be done and I'd do anything for it to be September 2006 again. This year has not quite gone according to plan and today, I'm struggling. The Easter break certainly has been a break as the pile of dishes, laundry and forlorn pots will attest to. But my energy levels are still poor. We've been given key dates to work towards, and my first deadline is the 17th of May. I suspect that part of the reason I'm feeling so ropey is down to my not having written anything for quite some time. If I let my writing slip, I notice I start to get really twitchy. And I am certainly twitchy at the moment.

I have a short story to finish up and another 6 poems to write, plus finish up my Creative Practice and get that ready for the Degree Show. By the way, if you're passing through the show this year starts on the 27th of June until the 4th of July. There's a Do on the evening of the 27th of June if you fancy some free wine and munchies. I'll be the one with a glass of red in one hand, olive in another, propping myself up on a spare plinth, as Boy looks on patiently. Do come, it'll be good to see you.

On a more personal note. Some girlfriends get flowers, sparkley things, chocolates. Me? I have the most romantic boyfriend ever. He being generosity itself, gave me his cold. I bet you're jealous, you too wish you had a Viking like mine. To be fair he did warn me he was poorly, fool that I am, I ignored his warning. Hah. That'll learn me. Whereas I was able to make him cups of tea and hand him drugs, he's now buggered off to work. Humpf.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Alanis Morissette

Check it out!

An interesting take of the Black Eyed Peas track in an ironic indie-stylie. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dressing to Kill

This conversation happened on the way back from town with Britswitch, and for some reason it has stayed with me. I'm in my mid(ish) 30s and Britswitch is late 20s and we were bemoaning the state of women's dress, or rather the lack thereof. After awhile I realised that I had turned into my grandmother.

My grandmother was born in the last century. She lived through two world wars, a poorly husband and four children. She lived by herself until she decided she'd had enough and in two weeks said her farewells, then died peacefully in her early 90s. She was a woman with impecable manners, amazing compassion and very clear views on the roles of men and women. That both my niece and I bear her name is a testament to the affection in which our family holds her.

She believed that women should dress modestly to the point where she could just about put up with my wearing shorts. She did not approve of nakedness, as she called it, in men or women. My brother or father going about without shirts was cause for tutting, though she did understand that it was necessary for doing manual labour in the hot tropical sun.

And this is where I am suffering from theory inconsistency. See, I believe that the human body is a beautiful thing, whether female or male. I am very much hetrosexual, but I do enjoy the sight of a beautiful woman walking by. But I really don't want to see all of it. At once. Groups of women wearing bikini tops and belts tottering around on chopstick heels, makes me channel my grandmother. At her best/worst she would tut and say 'they are asking for it'.

At the time, fired up by teenage rebellion and feminism I used to argue with her. 'Asking for what?' Women should be able to wear what they want, have a good time with their friends without fear of rape. My grandmother would look at me from the wisdom of her years and change the subject. I still believe this. Absolutely.

But I'm also beginning to believe she was right. There was a report issued by the police recently, I can't remember when or what it was called, but basically it looked into the phenomena of date rape. Contrary to popular belief, the most common drug used in date rape, is alcohol. A shocking percentage of women were so off their heads, they couldn't remember having sex, much less giving consent.

I find this shocking. So much so that Boy has had to put up with me lecturing him: a 'yes' from a drunk woman means 'no', put her down and take her home. He looks across at me, nods and points out he doesn't have a girlfriend. I believe in being a realistic parent. My job is to prepare him for the life that is to come, not the life I wish it would be.

And therein lies the problem that I have with this debate. Rape and sexual abuse are heinious crimes that are impossible to bring to justice (that's another rant for another day), I believe the effects never really wear off. I do wish we lived in a world where women could walk the streets wearing nothing but sparkles, drinking as much as they liked, without fear, but I would rather they were sober and safe.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Heretic Halo

This is Boy's first outing to YouTube, using Windows Movie Maker.

I'm such a dopey mum aren't I? awwww....

Friday, April 06, 2007

Nights in Blue Pyjamas

I needed some time off, some time away. Some space from Home and Responsibilities.

It's tough sometimes. Not helped by recent bereavements, financial concerns and the stress of getting this degree done. I just needed some time out. So I led Hottie astray at the weekend and then got to meet Viking's tribe for the first time. Of course, the thought of it was much worse than the reality, which included good food, good wine and brilliant company. I was made very welcome. After a couple of days hanging out with the cool cats, I got to relax in the Viking's longboat; when he went out about his daily business dealing with pillaging in the community, I was there to provide light amusement at the end of the day. Bless him, he was very good about me invading his space.

I've decided that my favourite thing about getting away from it all, is coming home again. At an indecent hour I shed my outdoor clothing and hit the pjs. I've been reading trash and watching dire telly, while Boy has been on my pc making Halo videos. I am one happy bunny. A little indulgence has gone a long way in bringing my shoulders down from my ears. I have a To Do list waiting for me. But it can wait a bit longer.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Happy Wednesday

Just to let you know I haven't fallen off the ends of the Earth, although it does feel like I've been there and back. I went to see Hottie for the weekend in Liverpool. She's just great and bless her, spoilt me rotten. We had a quiet time of it really, my system not being up for major sessions at the moment. But I did manage to lead her astray which is always good fun. Having recently been a convert to all things completely girlie, when we went shopping I twisted her arm into having a lovely make-up girl from MAC give her a new look.

Thinking about it, if Alix wouldn't have got me the job in the department store, I would not have ever dreamt of sitting down at a cosmetic house and ask for a new 'look'. I always thought that these orange, made-up to the 9s women, were bitchy and would look down on any attempt on my part to access their world. Actually, a bunch of nicer, more gorgeous women I have yet to meet. They are so enthusiastic about their work, and while it is part sales pitch, they genuinely seem to get pleasure from making other women feel good about themselves.

Hottie and I were talking about it at length over a bottle of red velvet, she was commenting on my new joy in being a girlie. I possess more make-up now, than I have ever owned in my entire life. Most of it being the sparkley type. I pamper myself now within an inch of my life. It doesn't actually have anything to do with how I look. I still have a list of things that I'd love to magically change (doesn't everyone?), but it is about how I feel about myself. These things are fun to do, it makes me feel good. When I was doing my diss...I confess I had sparkley eyeshadow and lip gloss on at 2 in the morning, as well as fabulous perfume. And yes, the cat did think I was a bit nuts. Boy withheld comment (he is going to make some woman a very good husband).

I suppose I've come to believe that Life is difficult enough: jobs are hard work, maintaining family relationships, friendships, partnerships can be tough, money is a never ending cause for concern. Therefore, rather than join in with the grind anything that can give a knackered person a lift, whether its the glass of good red at the end of the day, a shared meal with a loved one, a good book, a bit of a pamper...should be indulged.

I really like that word, I'll say it again Indulge. It sounds so decadent, and more than a bit selfish. I mean really, how can a person justify taking a few moments to please themselves, when there's so much else to be getting on with. Hmmm....well because a life without pleasure is called existence. True pleasure is never selfish. When you feel good, everything relaxes and this thing happens with your's called a smile. Be honest, you have to have a heart of stone not to respond when someone smiles at you, just because you can (no, I'm not talking about the weirdo on the train/bus/at work).

Why don't we be really naughty together? Tell me what you are going to do to indulge yourself?

Waiting for Paint to Dry

Yesterday evening, I thought I'd finished the triptych. I kicked back, drank a glass of raspberry beer and contemplated my work. As I co...