Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The going be going!

Well from starting off so enthusiastically the whole blogging thing has fallen off the wagon hasn't it? Well, not so much as you would think. Through the end of April and most of May I've had a really bad downwards swing (I knew the absence of winter blues this year would come back to haunt me!) and poor Ben must be at his wits end with me. A mix of lack of funds and an anti social funk has had me pretty much house bound and I've had no physical or face to face human contact except with Ben and the people in ASDA. Which at the time didn't seem like a bad thing so much but now I'm looking back and realising that except for when I had to go to fetch my pills and my mother in law's birthday present (a quick, mad dash into town and back) and the weekly treck up to ASDA (which Ben has made me do by conveniently leaving the bank card at home so I have to go out!) I've pretty much not left the flat for a month, and I will go for a week or so at a time without so much as crossing the threshold. I know, it's really pathetic. It's something I have to break before it becomes a real problem.

As you can imagine, this leaves little to blog about. It's not that I've forgotten, it's not that "I have no life" because when I'm not in a funk I have a fine life indeed (in my opinion, given the circumstances and what not). It's just I don't want to bore you with blog updates such as "My sim gave birth today, I'm quite chuffed as this is the fifth generation and thus the oldest sim family I have ever created" or "Still waiting on a phonecall from x person/got another rejection/there's nothing to apply for wtf?" or "The TV/Internet/Xbox is becoming so boring" or "Cleaned the kitchen. Again. This time tomorrow it will require cleaning, again. The bathroom too. I'm just a paragon of domesticity."

However, today is different, I do indeed have something to say ^_^

Haha how bad does that sound? But anyhow. I wish to mention that despite me having practically been a recluse since my birthday, and having whinged about my weight and how fat I am near constantly on here, I've actually begun to loose weight again, so much so that I've started to show on my own scales! So just goes to show, my big rant last time about the dietician? Yeah I was so right :p Take your beans on toast and stuff them up your arse.

Of course I'm now facing the "Can I be a good girl while I'm away" dilema. Yes, once again we're jet setting off (we're such avid travellers) but this time to the sunny south for (as you may have guessed from the above mention of gift buying) my lovely mother in law's birthday. It's a big one but if I mention how big on the internet she may just skin me alive. Anyhow, being a big one there's going to be a party and, well let's face it my sister in law is possibly the most wonderous baker of cakes, muffins, biscuits etc etc that even if there wasn't a party...

I'm not too worried though. I'm taking some of the tools I've found so helpful and whilst I'm not intending to be on a strict diet whilst away I'll be able to keep up my good habits and come back and slide into normality without too much of a hiccup (it took me two weeks after I got back from my birthday to get back into the groove properly).

In other news, I've heard back from two of the three places I applied to volunteer with, one was just an acknowlegement letter, the other was a nice proper application form. A bit gutted about the other one that hasn't gotten back as it was a small, local thing that was relevant to me and quite appealing, but as it is indeed a local venture I'm going to try getting back in touch once we're home again if they haven't gotten back to me by then. It might be that they have all the volunteers they need but since I took the time to research it and write a lovely letter ( it would have made a very lovely letter) it would have been nice just to have an acknowlegment of reciept or something. If nothing comes good of it I'll head to the volunteer centre (which I discovered via the interwebs during my self imposed house arrest) and see what else here abouts may be requiring a willing pair of paws to help out.

That's all for now, I know it's pretty much 'yet another self centred rant' but hey, when there's some proper news I'll tell it! For now I'd better go and start my packing for tomorrow and possibly make some yummy noodles for lunch. Hope you're all safe and sound wherever it may be that you are :)


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Finding solutions to problems

Good afternoon all, I hope you're feeling well today :)

I've been having a bit of a huff because none too many of my regular favourite bloggers have been updating too frequently, today I have only one new blog entry to peruse! But then I have to (wo)man up and say you know what Bex, you haven't exactly been bombing the blogosphere with posts here is my solution to the problem, I post to you all my own entry and perhaps you all will post some back!

I've been attempting to be more proactive in problem solving this week in general. My motivation to do anything at all of any use is probably at an all time low after a couple more rejections. I'm under no delusions that for every job I apply for there are probably hundreds just like me, and hundreds who are much better qualified than me, also applying for said job.

Going off on a tangent here, it pisses me off when politicians say "oh, there's always jobs available" because actually when you look in detail, all those jobs available are looking specifically for those with x ammount and type of experience. I don't begrudge them that at all because it's their business, but when ignorant upper class tory toffs who've never wanted for anything make such sweeping statements and then flood the market with yet more job seekers with their idiotic cuts, putting pressure on us who are maybe a little rusty in the workplace and already desperately seeking some kind of work, it just makes me so bloody angry! Even a basic 5 hours a week part time cleaning job seeks someone with experience and a frigging drivers liscence! It's so very very frustrating!

Back off of said tangent...I know I can't just sit around on my arse all day and expect a job to come to me, but after applying for fuck knows how many jobs of all different kinds (I'm not proud, I will lick your toilet bowl if you'll pay me for it. Ok maybe not.) I must be doing something wrong.

 So I'm looking into volunteering again. I've sent off a few applications at this point and am just waiting back on responses. I can only think that taking on a couple of different roles might give me the experience that employers want and make me look considerably less rusty. Also less lazy. And also will allow me to prove what I've been doing all this time (I got rejected from one lucrative looking job, a job that didn't require any experience at all, because I couldn't provide references for the past two years to prove I hadn't been, I dunno, running a fraud ring or something, though I do say that even had I been in work I could have been partaking in such activity so I fail to see how this is a safeguard at all.).

This isn't just the only problem in my life I'm seeking solutions to, though it would indeed be a mega huge boost to my energy and motivation levels just to see something happen in this sector. I'm also trying to jumpstart my weightloss (again, I hear you cry!). I've been scrutinising myself very closely here. I've stopped going to see my dietician because despite her one little tidbit of information about insulin peaks and troughs (hence explaining some of my dizzy spells and evening binges) she's actually done nothing to help me. She asked me at one point to stop worrying about calories and concentrate on eating healthily. I did this, and in a month I gained six kilo's, which I have struggled most terribly in loosing again even after going back to jotting down and tracking everything I eat.

Our meetings consisted of her trying to think of healthy meal idea's based upon her diet and lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, she's so skinny...but she's not me. And she (obviously!) doesn't have my lifestyle. Cook some garlic chicken up and slam it in a pitta bread, now that's a fantastic idea but I can't afford to cook up fresh meat twice a day. I tell her this and she looks at me blandly before saying "well, how about beans on toast?". You mean to tell me your advice is to live on a diet of beans on toast? Oh no not just that, you also need to partake in healthy cooking practices! Listen lady, I've already cut my portions in half and dry fry everything that isn't either dry roasted, grilled or boiled or steamed. There is no fat in my food cupboard, no cooking oil except that "1 cal per spray" shit (actually I say shit, but it's very good).

Before I turn into one of these women who proclaim I do everything right and yet only put stones and stones of weight on, don't worry I'm under no such delusions. I'm just saying that when my GP sent me off to see a dietician I was expecting/hoping for firmer help. Actually the GP herself gave me more relevant information. The dietician regurgitated a lot of secondary school biology fact everything she ever told me I could find for you on the NHS website. There's nothing new that she ever told me that I didn't already know. I mean her super duper fatty scales were great but meh. I was sent to her by my GP because I have weight related fertility problems and I was told that the dietician would have an understanding of the effects of PCOS on the body and the way in which this itself effects weight loss and how a particular diet may be issued to help ease the effects since it is closely linked to diabetes and insulin resistance. No no no. Just eat frigging beans on toast and garlic chicken and your problems will be solved.

Then she wanted to stop our one to one sessions and get me to go to some group ones like an NHS based weight watchers I guess but after some thought I decided not to go. In conjunction with one another it's not a problem but as the one and only solution? If she can't even help me one to one, on something that's supposed to be tailor made and focussed on me and my lifestyle, what does she think a weekly group weigh in and talk about "healthy fats and good cooking practise" is going to do? I'm not stupid, I don't need to be taught not to smother my roast in goose fat. I don't need to be told it is unhealthy to eliminate all fat from my diet. I don't need to be told the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates or how they are broken down and used by the body.

And no, I didn't learn this from the frigging internet.

I decided to take it upon myself to look at what I'm doing wrong without her guidance. and this involved doing something she didn't do and look at my diet over the long term and it turns out that the snacks and going over board that I would do maybe one or two days a week is actually enough to scupper all the hard work I do the rest of the time. Maybe if it's once or twice a month, or strictly only one day a week it'd be cool, but not the frequency I'm at now. Also, being stuck in job hunting with no money to actually go out and about and be a bit more active (sorry but solitary neighbourhood walks around here are not something I'd willingly participate in.) doesn't help. So I'm trying to build a routine of activity up.

It is difficult, not least of all because of my asthma, and I'm affraid my own laziness will sabotage me but what can I do? There's no one keeping me this way but myself at the end of the day. I'm wasting no more time on idiotic dieticians who regurgitate the same old shit but mixed up with the enthusiasm of one who is paid to say "Eat beans on toast!" every day. I can go to my mother, ask how I should loose weight, and hear the same from her.

Honestly, I'm a bit frustrated that until I develop a life threatening condition I don't seem to be eligible for any help besides being told to eat beans on toast once a month, and I'd really rather not develop such a condition first. But the only person whose going to help me is me, not dome ditzy so called health professional who spouts off the same crap I can watch on Channel Four once a week.

Actually I think my relationship with food is much less about my willingness to eat a healthy, balanced diet (which I do, on the whole) or my difficulty in being active, but is on the whole much more psychological. Still, I can't afford to fork out for therapy and the NHS doesn't seem to have cottoned on to the fact that many people don't binge because subliminal messaging in adverts tells them to or because they would rather eat chocolate than beans on toast. Once again, until I put my life in danger through purging or starving it seems that I won't get any psychological help and will just have to carry on regardless trying to manage my mood swings on my own and not just self medicate with chocolate.

Anyhow. Yes. Solutions to problems. I be masterminding them yet again. Ahem. Sorry about the rant there I didn't intend it to get as such but hey, why not leave it up there for posterity (and Ben's amusement). I'm sure everything will eventually come to me, I just have to work at it in the meantime :)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Eurovision 2011: Bex's highly informed opinions of it.

I'm not the hugest fan of the usual cheese that Eurovision peddles, but I can't help myself but love it. The light hearted family fun feel of it never ceases to perk me up. Sure, I can only handle it once a year and I never bother keeping up with the run ups, but that once a year I await with the greatest of anticipation. This year, held in Dusseldorf, Germany, wasn't quite as breathtaking or eyecatching in its stunts or acts as former years, although that might well be the cynicism of my age creeping up on me more than anything else. At any rate, I enjoyed it no less than other years and am already planning for a Eurovision fancy dress party next year!

The night kicked off in style with a rockabillyesque version of "Satellite" by last years winner, Lena, who was back to represent Germany again this year. This was followed by the first entry, Finland, who I'm sad to say wasn't quite as sparkly as the opening act.

Don't get me wrong, it was a nice enough little song, certainly better than some of what was to follow. The singer was so sweet you could wrap him up and sell him as toffee. Or pack him up as a doll, Ken's little brother or perhaps Action Man's weedy secretary. Either way I'm afraid Finald, who ultimately came 21 out of 25 was a bit of a shrinking violet and so far removed from their jaw dropping winning entry from 2006 (Who would be Lordi, as if you would forget that!). He just got all washed out by the rest of the glitz, glam and spectacle of Eurovision.

The show picked up with the second song however, an entry by the typically eccentric Bosnia & Herzegovina. Their show piece this time round? A random, trumpet wielding hobo (though I don't recall him actually putting the trumpet to his lips...if anyone recalls this do let me know!) who could well have been Ali G dragged up from a ditch after a week long bender who seemed to, around and leap elegantly from one end of the stage to another like a...graceful Bosnian deer...


Denmark continued in a happy bouncy but unremarkable fasion, and Lithuania was fourth on stage, and was the first country to showcase what I like to call the "Eurodiva". The Eurodiva, if you have never watched Eurovision, appears every year. Her song is heartfelt and soulful. Towards the end she begins to scream somewhat. She is clothed in what is supposed to be an elegant gown and usually appears on stage on her own or with an instrumentalist or a troupe of crazy dancers of some description. In typically elegant Eurodiva style, Lithuania appeared with a grand piano. There were various Eurodiva's tonight, and there was nothing specifically special about Lithuania's diva except that she happened to be the first on stage.

Fifth was Hungary, who at first had the potential to be the second Eurodiva but her song was much too cheesetastic pop and her blue lame dress much too short to be classy. Perhaps Eurotramp would be the best way to desribe Hungary's offering, and the rest of Europe seemed to agree...she came 22nd in the end, even lower than Finland's pretty wallflower boy.

Sixth I had more of an interest in because sith on stage was Ireland, represented by Jedward. Now, it's us in the United Kingdom who are really responsible for Jedward. It was us (well I say us, it wasn't me personally I must press you to understand) who launched them to fame via the X Factor. They already have a relatively impressive (I suppose) fan base here in the UK and were always going to recieve our 12 points. Their performance was typically flamboyant. They wore matching sparkly red suits with the most humongous foam shoulder pads that made them look very tense and stiff throughout their eccentric dance routine which mostly involved them jumping up and down like a pair of angry leprechauns...and I'm not even being racist towards the Irish when I say this...their costumes paired with their trademark hair do and random leaping up and down (I don't know whether or not it was actually intended but this dancing and leaping up and down was not in sync with one another, or with the music) made them look like a pair of angry creatures from fairy land. Rumplestiltskin comes to mind, actually. As for the song itself, I have to admit it's now stuck in my head, but I don't recall actually hearing them singing it. The backing singers were very good though! A memorable performance, certainly, however.

Seventh onto the stage was Sweden, who looked at one point like they were going to win it (alas, they did not). The song was another catchy one, about being popular. Not my particular cup of tea, and the performance which involved him standing at one point in a glass cube (no idea why but this is Eurovision at the end of the day, why do any of them do anything?). This entry was the male opposite of the Eurodiva; the Eurohunk. Nice looking fella strapping around on stage and giving you the eye through the camera. Once again, he was not the only Eurohunk on stage this evening, but probably the most memorable.

Next came Estonia's entry, one Getter Jaani, whose bone structure and overuse of makeup and tan made her look about thirty dressing to be thirteen in a hot pink baby doll dress the likes of which wouldn't go amiss in the lolita fashion stores of Japan. As a matter of fact, she's 18 years old and is a prime example of why you should stay out of the sun to prevent premature ageing, and why sometimes less is more when it comes to makeup. Still the song (which is what we really watch Eurovision for, right?) was pretty decent, catchy Euro-stock.

Greece was next. Oh dear sweet Jesus. What gets me is that this song ended up coming seventh place (proving the Eurovision political voting machine is still as healthy as ever) despite being absoloutely dreadful. It was slow and dirge like. The rapper...well..couldnt rap...and the singer was sub par. I seem to recall Greece using this same formula of Eurohunk singing what is supposed to be an epic, soul stirring anthem in previous years, and being shit then as well, but this year was by far the shittest. Come on Greece, let's see some actual talent next year.

Greece was followed by Russia who won using the formula at which Greece fails miserably a couple of years ago, but if I can be honest I can't remember anything about their entry. I may well have been cooking my pizza at this point, which tells you all you need to know about it. They were followed by France, who were tipped by bookies to be the favourite to win (followed by Jedward). The song was certainly not your usual cheesy pop and was rather operatic in sound. Still despite the pretty boy with his pretty hair blasting his lungs out best he could there was something not quite right about it, something a little bit off as if he was slightly out of tune or out of time with the backing track...I can't put my finger on it...still after the hype of hearing that France was gunning to win this year, I was sorely dissapointed.

Italy on the other hand was very much a delightful song. I've never heard jazz sung in Italian before. If you were to ask me, I'd say France's entry should have been Italian and Italy's entry should have been French. Either way, a definite thumbs up from me and Ben here, we were toe tapping all the way through except on a couple of notes where he felt the need to immitate nails on a chalk board using his vocal chords. I'm glad I'm not his vocal chords tonight.

They were followed by Switzerland, another Eurodiva type act whose song would have won me over had it not been for the fact that whoever had written her song for her had run out of words half way through and just filled the space with "Na na na na na na na na na na na". After Switzerland came our entry, good old UK. Sadly I havent much to say on them because the band has been around since I was in school and were as bland and boring then as they were tonight. It came as a huge suprise to me when they were briefly leading on the score boards, but apparently they're known to a few of our European neighbours.

Then came Moldova, and my first thought upon seeing them was "GARDEN GNOMES!". Their particular brand of Eurovision was as wacky and fun as you expect, and they were even joined halfway by a Garden Fairy on a Unicycle. As for the music, it was upbeat and cheery. Ben describes it as "Gnome Ska" although to my ears any ska influence was only slight. Either way, I loved it!

Germany was up after Moldova with a repeat performance by their winning songstress from last year, Lena. This song was not quite as cheerful and toe-tapping as Satellite and I think she may have hired giant silver sperm people to be her dancers, but it was ok. It was average, despite Ben jumping up saying "I would" as soon as she came on stage. I don't know....

Germany was followed by more "average" and unremarkable acts from Romania, Austria, Azerbaijan and Slovenia. I don't really recall the Slovenian entry but Romania was of the Eurohunk Band variety, Austria was a Eurodiva and Azerbaijan was a Eurodiva/Eurohunk ballad. Iceland followed with another bland but nice song. There was a touching story behind it which endeared me to it even more; it was originally written by a fellow who, of course, intended to enter it for Eurovision but before he could perform it for Iceland's selection people he went and popped his clogs. A band of his friends got together and played it on his behalf just so it would be heard and Iceland decided after all that they should go on to represent them which I think is lovely. I don't know what kind of a guy this person was, whether he was a dick or a saintly sort but I hope wherever his soul resides now he's got a little smile.

After Iceland came Spain who have historically done very poorly. They ended up coming 23rd but I thought this particular act was worth much more than that. Spain was followed by Ukraine, another Eurodiva with another generic Eurodiva song, but she was accompanied by a sand artist...if you didn't watch it it's hard to describe but basically instead of a pre reorded animation baking the singer, the sand artist made pictures with sandon a back lit work bench on the stage and a camera feed of this hooked up to the screen was certainly different and very endearing! But like I said...generic song was generic.

The last two acts were worth the wait, but I think by this point people were getting tired and the audience wrestless and as such they didn't get half the pop they should have. The penultimate was Serbia with a real 60's feel pop tune (and by sixties feel I mean the clothes, hair, makeup and set were done up like this too!) which once again I personally would have given a higher place than the 14th place that it got. The final was Georgia who was a bit of  a Linkin Park/Evanescence cross. This appealed to the teenager in me, and I think I'm probably the only person other than her who actually really liked her dress...Ben also liked it, but I think that's more because it wasn't heesy pop. He's still a bit of a musical elitist underneath it all (Which he will no doubt adamantly deny but hey :p)

While the votes were counted and verified, Dusseldorf really let itself down. Usually at this point in the show, there is some kind of stage act. This has been circus and acrobatic type acts or massively choreographed dance troupes. Yes there have been music acts, but always accompanying the visual spectacle. This time it was all about the singer. I couldn't tell you anything about him, and his backing dancers were pretty generic. It could have come straight out of the contest itself and was a bit of a let down (I always anticipate this part of the show!)

Anyhow the results were then called in. As usual, for some reason some presenters feel the need to hog a bit of limelight. Poland's presenter demanded people "guess" who they gave their 12 points to and there was an awkwards silence for about 10 seconds or so before the German presenter insisted she hand it over or so. However, the point giving was still rather exciting because unlike recent years, there was no clear run away leader, and for a little while the UK was top of the leader board!

In the end it wasn't to be for our bland performance. Azerbaijan won (to a comment from Graham Norton that they are one of the countries who can actually afford to host it, still being relatively oil rich...ouch...) despite there equally forgettable contribution. I suppose the rest of Europe disagreed with me. We voted for Moldova (for the Gnome tastic performance) who came 12th, Georgia (because Ben wanted to) who came 9th and Iceland (because their dead man story endeared them to me) who came 20th.

Our bland Blue boys ended up 11th all together, which is a massive improvement on our recent positions, whilst our pointy haired Irish cousins came 8th. France, hotly tipped to be number one came 15th (I sure hope he didn't listen to all the hype that had surrounded him up till that point) and last years winners pipped the UK by only one place, comming 10th.

So that was the Eurovision Song Contest of 2011 anyhow if you didn't see it yourself, and I just can't wait till next years!


Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Something to look foreward to

So these past couple of weeks I've not been very well and I feel like I've been walking around like a zombie on automatic pilot since Friday. I can't seem to shake the feeling, however Ben has finally agreed that we shall save up to go away on holiday together which has really brightened my mood up right now.

And by holiday I don't mean going to see his mother or mine, or do what we did on our honeymoon and stay in a b&b outside of the city for a couple of nights, but actually to get on a plane and jet set off somewhere away from here and away from everyone we know, away from responsibilities and realities for a couple of nights. You know. An actual holiday.

It started because, for some reason I don't recall, he was talking about something he read in the paper (I assume) about Amsterdam bringing in legislation to stop foreign drug tourists. I mean it must be bad for them...I personally can't remember the last time someone told me they were going to visit the place and they didn't mention going for "coffee and cake". But then again that may well be a reflection of the people I know.

Anyhow I jibed about how glad I was to have had the chance to taste "that side" of Amsterdam years ago and that we should make a quick getaway so Ben could experience it too. To which Ben, whether trying to be clever or not I don't know, said well, he didn't fancy that side of it at all (which is true) but he wouldn't mind going just to visit and see the sights.

This had two effects on me. The first effect was suspicion. I've mentioned going over a couple of times before because there are direct flights from Liverpool and so, more than anything else, it's cheap, easy and convenient. Also being that last time I was there (coming up to six years ago) was pretty much one big party...which is all very well and good up to a point...but now that I'm no longer 18 years old and have developed a taste for things other than those that come with the %vol on the label (and also can barely keep my eyes open past 1am anymore)...I actually want to go and see more...grown up things (come on now, drag that mind of yours out of the gutter, I want to visit some museums and ride on some cannal boats!). And, you know...would also like to be able to remember more than half of it...but until now, Ben has never shown any interest in it, and has seemed indifferent at best.

So anyway. The second effect was excitement. Does he really mean this? Might I be able to squeeze a holiday out of this? The answer was...yes! Ben turned around and said yes, we shall go on holiday!

This is a picture of Amsterdam, because it's not a valid blog entry without a picture!
 We're looking at going some time next year, probably not in peak season. Our anniversary has been touted as a possible date. Of course now that I'm typing this up it occurs to me that we could have chosen somewhere else and I'd have been able to strike off another one of my 101 in 1001 list but hey never mind...either way I'm just trying to figure out a ball park figure of how much it'll cost. Flights and hotels aren't to pesky to calculate, just doing the straight up research on the internet can reveal this, but spending money and food are proving to be a problem. First off even if I could remember what I took with me six years ago, the exchange rate has wobbled things around a bit since then, secondly the nature of the trip is completely different. We may be going for a much shorter period of time but I doubt grabbing a random slice of pizza out of a window for tea is gonna cut it this time round.

Anyhow, whenever we go (I don't think we'll be booking until we've saved up what we predict will be the hotel and flights cost plus at least half of what we decide upon for spending money) is irrelevant, I've managed to convince Ben to go and that is half the battle won :D Now we just have to save, and once I get a job (Oh God, please help me get a job!) it'll be even easier. Simples!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

"The Lunacy of Windfarms" - or the lunacy of Sian Lloyd?

If there's something that pisses me off in the world it's the selfishness of certain (though not by any means all) country fucking bumpkins. They want all the privilege of modern life (and why not?) but none of the downfalls. They are the first to complain that the price of living their idealistic good life is much too expensive and the first to complain that services such as mobile phone coverage doesn't reach them in sufficient ammount. Oh, and also the first to complain when terrible eyesores such as phone masts and windfarms ruin the view they feel somehow entitled to.

Now this isn't an argument about whether or not Windfarms are better or worse for the environment, it's not a campaign for renewables because we're all on a sinking ship having been shot in the hull by global warming. It's about the economics of energy and self sustainability for the future.

I for one have no desire for the UK to be dependant on foreign oil and gas forever. For a start, as soon as push comes to shove, do we really believe that Russia and the Middle East are going to start selling valuable resources they need themselves when the wells start to run dry? What happens after, are we going to continue to buy all of our energy from Europe for example because we want a pristine landscape?

I'm not saying windfarms are the only answer. I'm not saying they should be, because they shouldn't. We've put all our eggs in the fossil fuel basket for long enough so we should know better from our past mistakes. But given the location and resources that we have here in the British Isles in abundance, free for the picking...let's not pretend that windfarms aren't going to play a big part in supplying our future energy needs. It's not just a matter of replacing our current dirty oil gas and coal burning power plants either, our population is growing. We need more energy.

So short of imposing a Chinese style restriction on families we really do need to start planning for the future. Sad thing is, apparently those who live in areas which are ripe for the picking are starting to get pissed off. I'm not saying I don't understand where they're coming from, but come on, we all need to do our bit here. They're happy to live off the juice of dirty power plants that other people have to live in the shadows of, happy for other people to live next door to nuclear power stations so long as they can watch TV and put their washing machine on without having to think about the danger (however slight) other people live by for their sake. Heaven forbid they have to look at a substation or a turbine. Good God what ever were we thinking, enforcing such a terrible fate upon these poor innocent country folk?

If you're wondering, I'm rambling on because Welsh weather woman Sian Lloyd was just on the BBC saying "Thank God the people of central Wales are finally waking up to the lunacy of windfarms"

Oh and let's now thank God preemptively that the people of Cumbria and Hartlepool and all the other places throughout the British Isles living in the shadow of nuclear wake up to the "lunacy" of nuclear and turn them off and the people of central Wales, now deprived of their wind farms and nuclear are left in the dark. Yes, let's thank God.

It's not that it isn't a shame that pristine landscape is affected by this, but if we want our modern conveniences without paying through the nose for it, wherever we are be that the Welsh valleys or the inner city, it's something we have to put up with to be honest. Everywhere that there is now a power plant (of any kind) was once pristine until we humans came along and trampled all over it. Why not, you know, just rip it all up and give it back to nature and live as our primitive hunter gatherer ancestors did?

No? No one wants to do that?

Well you could have fooled me the way you're making a fuss about windfarms.

That is all.


Six Word Saturday (along the lines of a dieting rant)

Why has my willpower forsaken me?

I don't want to turn this into a ramble of self pity. Oh woe is me. I'm guilty. There is only one person who forced me to eat 90% of a loaf of bread within 24 hours, leaving the other 10% for my poor exasperated husband, after all, and it wasn't an evil leprechaun on my shoulder whispering temptation my way. Also, I understand that may sound a little bit over the top, but I'm not exaggerating, it's not the first time I've done this (though hopefully the last).

What it is is just pure disbelief at myself. I've often said there were two me's. There's the me that gets emotional and upset, the me that gets depressed and thinks silly, silly thoughts from time to time, the me that, well, binges on entire loaves of bread.

Then there's the me which doesn't run on raw emotion, which knows, logically and sensibly, this isn't going to help anything. It's the higher self, the part of me which sits and observes (I always imagined this part of me as a little white fairy which flits around, hovering just above and behind my head) and is the source of my intellect. The lower is just me, my body, the primal beast running on an auto pilot which has been programmed by millions of years worth of evolution and about 24 years of bad habits. The little fairy watches the brutish beast and she can scream all she wants, when the beast is on the hunt there is nothing that can stop it except tug on the frayed stringy leash of will power.

Sadly, the little white fairy seems to have lost the leash of will power, or else it has frayed beyond all repair and broke as the beast tugged too hard, driven by its terrible primal instincts.

Today's post is brought to you by the little white fairy that hovers over the beast's head. She would like to point out to the beast that after a wobbly start to the week, she did really well up until Thursday. But even then it didn't have to be all bad. But no. One bad day...

But this got the little white fairy thinking (as she is prone to doing). How badly does one bad beastly day mess the diet up? She counts the beasts calorie intake fastidiously these days, through the good days and the bad she is there with a pen and paper (or she just tugs on the beasts strings and the beast sits down to type it up) to scribble down her calculations and she knows that the beasts body does not live on a given number of calories a day and then stores what is the remainder each night. The body is more complex than this and calories are used and burned and stored and released over longer periods of time.

So a little glimmer of hope that when all added up together, the calories consumed by the beast this week add up to almost exactly her roughly calculated basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories the body requires to maintain the status quo and keep its basic functions ticking over if it lay down and didn't move) so since the beast has not just sat around motionless all week, the fairy hopes that this will equate to a loss in the beasts mass, or at least to remain the same and not have put on...

But still, all this talk of fairies and beasts aside, I was quite releaved to see that overall not too much damage was done this week calorie wise, but I'm still struggling to loose and I can only hope that things will pick up next week. I've already planned my meals out and on the understanding that I keep to my resolve and my willpower, I'll be well on my way for a loss next week. Fingers crossed!


Monday, 2 May 2011

Fanfic, and the horrors that await the uninitiated.

In my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days one of the tasks is to write a short story.

I like writing, I find it to be soothing. When I write, I can see the events take place in my head like the ultimate fantasy movie of mine. But because it's my fantasy, no one else gets the little nuances (because they can't read my mind...also because I don't let people read it but hey, I imagine that if someone were to read it they wouldn't understand why x is x and y is y) and I end up getting quite long winded trying to explain everything. When it comes to story telling, I'm not so good at condensing things down. I feel the need to explore the world at large and it just refuses to be squeezed down into the space available.

But then I thought hmm...why don't I just do what thousands of people already do? I don't need to create a world or a situation that needs explaining. I can just rip someone elses hard work off with the knowlege that the reader, in theory, already knows as much as I do about the setting. I can write a FANFIC *shock horror*

The thought of using that in order to achieve my goal only occured to me after having read Ben's blog post from last night in which he mentions his own torrid past in fanfic (ok so it's not completely in the past but it's mostly in the past) and also one of possibly the most disturbing and poorly written yet somehow if you can take the joke hilarious pieces of fiction in general that has to exist in which Jesus gets err...down and dirty with Hitler.

I've never looked into fanfic before, and I'm pretty sure that Hitler Jesus slash fic is no doubt the very extreme lower end of the spectrum in both taste and writing quality. But you know, I always said that before you dive into something new, research is required. So I went off to dig up some of the more serious fan fiction specimens to determine how I should go about doing my own little piece so I can tick off one more goal on my list. For anyone else new to the world of fan fiction or having never really looked into it before now, here are my findings.

  1. People will fanfic just about anything. I was worried that I'd end up doing something that no one actually would get. I sure as hell do not feel the need to write a Twilight fanfic (God knows there are already 180386 too many Twilight fanfics, and that's just from first glance at - I shudder to think how many are floating around unnoticed on the wider internet) or a Harry Potter fic (I was put off when I read a Hermione/Rita Skeeter sex scene...ugh...). But looking at all the categories at it turns out people really will rip anything off. Including the Bible. I kid you not. There are at least 2921 Bible fanfics. Granted, the Hitler Jesus Romance is one, and one that I've seen is a big rant by someone for whome English is clearly not their first language as to why athiesm should be illegalized (really folks, what else is Blogspot for if not for rants? Why is this on but there are some honest to God (if you'll pardon the pun) biblical fanfics there. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't a moral outrage or anything like that, it just seems odd...but I suppose that's just me being closed minded...or something.
  2. A good portion of fanfics are porno fantasies. Let's just go back to those Bible fan fics. If you set the filter to "M" (that is, I assume, for mature) it comes up with 127. Ok that's only a fraction of all the bible fics out there but when you consider how prudish a book the bible is, it's gotta take some pushing to make an M rated bible fic. Admittedly a lot of them will be trolls and spoofs. So lets go take a look at something which draws a more dedicated fan base. Twilight pops out 54,624 rated M. Harry Potter holds 94,639 (of 503,704). It's not all of them. It's not even most of them. And this is just the out and out opposed to that which is only implied or alluded to.
  3. Nothing is sacred. That should be obvious from the Bible fics. But there is gay rated M fan fics based on To Kill a Mockingbird. How do you even come up with something like that?
  4. You'd be suprised at what passes for "fan fiction". Some kid wrote a story about some random Unicorn he meets in a forest infested by killer wasps (which are lime green) called "My Pet Unicorn, Steve" and posted it up as Greek Mythology fanfic.
  5. Honestly, I thought most active fanfic-ers were teenagers. My hubby updated his last on some 12 days ago. Apparently it's much more widespread amongst more mature audiences (is in age mature as opposed to "look we can write Harry Potter Porn" mature) than I first thought.
Am I scared? Hells yeah. Am I still going to do it? Yes. But first I need to figure out who I'm going rip off. Will I hide with my shame? Most probably, yes. What have I learned from my reconnaisance mission? I need not worry about content, correct grammar or spelling, substance or common decency. It's all pretty damn good in the world of fan fiction.