Sunday, 30 November 2008

Still sleepless...

One sleepless night is bad. Two is horrible. I don't know how people survive more sleepless nights than that! I have newly discovered awe and sympathy for insomniacs.

My message to the world is: No matter what... sleep!

If that means disposing of loud and annoying neighbours who decide to start their loud chatting sessions, complete with cheers and squeals and yells, right under your bed at 3am, thus waking you up and effectively preventing any chance of getting back to sleep again, well, so be it! No one will notice the freshly dug soil in the garden... it's all fiiine.

I'm off to attempt to find some desperately needed sleep.
Wish me luck! For the sake of my sanity, and for the sake of my neighbours' safety.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Need sleep!

So... tired!

Looong day at work, I did 10 and a half hours total, and after a mostly sleepless night. I'm going to do a little uni work now, just to avoid losing what little momentum I have, and then I'm going to sleep. Early. Very much early. Yes.

*yawns*

Friday, 28 November 2008

Groups.

Last winter term our main project was to make a documentary. Our production group, making a documentary on video-game addiction, came together quite spontaneously and ended up being the most group-like group I've had since college. Our meetings were the envy of all the other groups once the photos started hitting facebook. We managed to have 5 hour meetings that included light-sabre duels, salsa lessons and general larking about... as well as actually getting work done.

So, I was very happy when the suggestion came that we get together again for our final video project next semester. Ideas are bouncing around already, and everyone is very into it. Also, we have the advantage of already knowing everyones strong and weak points beforehand, instead of having to get used to each other as with a new group. This video will be far better than last year's. A final project to be proud of for sure. I've decided.

But I guess in order to get to that project all the faster... I must now stop procrastinating and work on my current assignments... *sighs* Okay, off I go.

But first:
This is our video from last year. It has a few massive flaws that still make me cringe (the sooound! *shudders*), and plenty that could have been better, but overall I'm proud of it.


(Game Overdose)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The joys of a de-junkified room and brain.

Ah well, so much for blogging every day this month. I did so well, then it all went a little downhill. I've had a very "what's the point of all this anyway?!" week where pretty much everything is concerned, and it spread to my blog.

Today is a better day.

My mum came by with the car yesterday and spent the day with me, taking everything old or extra out of my room and back to the house. I'm left with space I haven't had in ages, only books I want to read, only clothes I want to wear, only art materials I want to use. It makes such a huge difference! And the welcome side-effect of a clearer environment is a clearer mind. After a long sleep in a cozy, peaceful room, I seem to have woken up with my mental block in pieces. I am back to taking my uni/work crises as challenges, steps along my path, whatever path that ends up being, rather than just a lot of confusing and stressful things around me.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A day of Bleh.

Today is one of those days where it seems impossible to do anything. Every moment I've been awake today I've felt like I shouldn't be. Not only tiredness as such, I just feel.. I don't know, drained I guess.

I was woken up this morning by my home phone ringing, tried to get up to answer it, failed from sheer exhaustion and went back to sleep, only to be woken again 20 minutes later by someone else calling my other phone. I have a headache that only appears when I think of the work I have to do for uni, and I'm lacking enthusiasm for any of that because of the complete and utter lack of support we're getting for teachers. The opposite in fact, they actually seem to be going out of their way to discourage me. It's so frustrating!

I went out for a walk this afternoon in an attempt to shake this mood off, and it worked wonderfully while I was out. It was a lovely, cold autumn day. I walked most of the way to Greenwich Park and got the bus the last bit of the way. The park is all green and brown and full of whistling, bustling wind.

I was feeling wonderful, until I walked back through my door. My headache came back with a vengence and I just can't bring myself to fight through it and do anything useful. It's half past 6 in the evening and I'm seriously considering just going to bed and making a fresh start of things tomorrow...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

To you.

Today is the birthday of an amazing friend, in fact, the bestest friend a girl could ever wish for. I've only known her five years, but I can't imagine how I made it through the previous eighteen years without her.

Today I've been thinking about how important friends are... A true friend is someone with whom you can share anything. Someone to enjoy good times and joyful news, or someone with a shoulder to cry on when things are tough and to help you straighten your head out when it's tangled up like spaghetti. Someone who believes in you when you forget to believe yourself. Someone you can rely on no matter what, and who knows that they can always rely on you. And especially, someone who knows and loves you for who you are, and would never want you to be anything else.

I am fortunate enough to have a small selection of friends like this. To each of you, I just want to say how happy and proud I am to be able to call you a friend. Thank you for being you, and being so amazing.

And to you my sweet, a great big, giant Happy Birthday!! Welcome to the time-beyond-the-teens! I hope you've had a wonderful day. Oh, and a phone call is needed very, very soon so I can hear all your new job gossip!

Much love! xXx

Sunday, 16 November 2008

What-ifs

Watching my brother graduate yesterday reminded me of how fast my own graduation is approaching, and left me questioning how I've ended up where I have. I'm second-guessing choices I made years ago, it's not a good plan. I'm so scared that I should have done things differently. I thought I knew that what I'm doing is what I want to do, and where I am is where I'm meant to be... but is it?

I know this is probably just into-the-real-world jitters. At least I'm hoping that's what it is. I don't know what to do if it's not. I need to sit down and assess my situation. I need to work out what I'm happy with, and in which areas I'm not satisfied. Then I need to work out what to do about it. I still have time to adjust things if I need to take a different route in life, right? Right.

No need to panic *breathes deep*
(Hindsight - my little gallery)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Class of '08

Heehee, so proud! My little brother graduated today with a Higher National Diploma. He still has another year of studying to make it up to a full BSc degree but he had his first graduation ceremony today, and he got there before me. I graduate in June next year (eep, soon!).
He looked every bit the graduate in his gown and mortarboard. We had a family photo taken, then spent the morning mingling and taking photos then went to the ceremony. The official photos will be uploaded by the college soon, can't wait to see them.
As they were called up on stage, my brother and his classmates got a special mention for their "juggling skills and entertaining the college as they learn". 7 out of the 10 of them have learned to juggle while there and spend their time juggling in corridors and classrooms.

Twas a good day.

In other news, the woman at the supermarket checked my age when I bought Hocus Pocus. It's a Disney film! I may not always look my age, but not that much younger!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Porridge

I have here in front of me a bowl of steaming porridge swimming in milk, with a light sprinkling of demerara sugar to finish it off with a sweet crunch.

"What's so amazing about porridge?!" I hear you ask.

I haven't eaten porridge in about four years, simply because I've refused. No particular reason, I think it was just me being stubborn. But during the past week or so I've been craving it (At least half my cravings tend to be strangely healthy things, like broccoli. Probably a good thing) so out I went to re-stock my oat supply. Since then I have had porridge every day for breakfast, a light midday meal, or when I get home and can't be bothered to make anything else.

To me it feels like the ultimate luxury food. It's as easy to make as a bowl of cereal.. a blessing for hectic a student lifestyle. And you can be as creative with it as you like, or just use milk, oats and a pinch of salt, depending on your mood. Just a small amount keeps you full all the way till lunch, without a single thought of needing anything else in between. And it feels healthy. Not the "five a day" kind of healthy, which you know is good because it's logical and everyone tells you so. But the kind of healthy where you can feel the nutrition running into every part of your body from the very first spoon.

My current favorite indulgence is to sit and watch the people walking quickly past my window, bundled up to the noses in winter clothes, hurrying to their destination in the brisk winter sun or in the pouring rain, while I eat hot porridge, feeling the warmth and goodness spreading through me all the way to my toes. Anything I do in my day from then on is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

Go forth and eat porridge!
Or find your own personal luxury food and eat that. Whatever works for you!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Norman Conquests

I've just come back from the second of the The Norman Conquests plays at the Old Vic theatre, starring Stephen Mangan (as in Green Wing) and Jessica Hynes (as in Spaced). The first play was hilarious (I watched it with a friend about two weeks ago, it was so great that we went straight to the box-office the next day to get the next tickets) so this had lots to live up to, and it didn't disappoint. Very very funny. Amazing cast and script.

And I *heart* the Old Vic theatre! It's so cute and cozy, with a lovely elegance about it. And most of all I love their "under 25s" offer. I have a ticket to the final play booked for the 19th of December (can't wait!), and for all three plays we have front row seats. In the current setting front row really is front. We were literally about 2 feet from the actors, a foot from the stage, which is only a little above floor level. It's a round stage at the moment, with the audience sitting in a circle around it, so depending where you are you get a completely different view of what's going on. And. The greatness is that these front-row seats of perfection are only £12 each for us youngsters. I love it.

Okay, I'm being a bad hostess. Must be off! Otherwise I could rave about it for ages more.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Mission: not-entirely-impossible

I heard my first Christmas music of the year today. In Starbucks. It's still only the start of November! Give us another couple weeks at least, please?!

My top-secret mission was a whole lot bigger than I expected. The "something" that needed moving was the whole Paperchase department in the House of Fraser on Oxford Street. The day started out as mysteriously as it sounded yesterday.

Me and one of the ground floor boys from our store arrived at 10 o'clock sharp, but there was no one to be seen. We waited for a while, then at quarter past we took the advice of a builder who was putting up and went to ask security to let us in. Thing was, we couldn't actually find security. We walked slowly around the building once, then had to go back to the builder to ask for more specific directions. All he said was, "It's a door... look for buttons." So around we went again, checking every door we came to. Finally we found a little nondescript grey door hiding in a little alcove, with some small buttons nearby. We pushed one, and the door was unlocked for us.

We were met by a very stressed and frazzled manager. He reminded me of how I must look lately when irate customers are claiming my time and managers are breathing down my neck to get a mile long list of tasks done in an hour.

I'm used to working in the flagship store, one of the two largest in the country. I never realised how spoiled we are! We have three huge floors of space to play with. The section that we were moving from today was about quarter of the size of the ground floor in our store, if that. And the section we were moving to was even smaller.

When we first started I wondered what on earth I'd got myself into. I was being given several huge crates of things at a time, things that in our store each have massive amounts of display space, and then was shown to a single table or shelf unit and told to make it all fit on there. It honestly looked to me like an impossible task. I just stood there and stared at the stock, and then at the shelves, then at the stock... then I took a little walk, and came back, and stared some more.

After a couple hours of cramming things into spaces they just didn't fit, I just wanted to run away, home, back to my usual store, anywhere! I was tired and fed up. Then I went for lunch, and when I got back I had more energy. Instead of looking at it as a chore, I took it as a challenge. I began to get into it, determined to prove to myself that I could do this impossible task. To my astonishment, and with a hell of a lot of rearranging, re-rearranging and creative condensing, it actually began to fit. And then it began to look presentable. And theen it began to look actually good!

I'm glad I went today. I’ve always had a block with arranging displays, but now I know I can not only get the job done, if today is anything to go by, I can summon miracles! Well, that’s what it felt like.. At the start of the day I couldn’t wait to leave, but by the end I was actually enjoying myself. I've got a much greater appreciation for the things I take for granted at our store, like space to walk five steps in a row. It was also nice to be somewhere new for a while.

Now I’m home with a bowl of porridge, a few feet from my very inviting bed. I think I’ve earned an early night. And a hot water bottle for my cold, cold toes.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Customers.

You know what I love about working in a shop? I love the customers. Working in such a large and popular store in central London, you meet fascinating people. Lots are lovely and occasionally inspirational, some are incredibly rude and snobbish, while others are just plain bizarre.

We get celebrities too on occasion, usually very minor ones who only one or two of us actually recognise, while the others (usually me) do "discrete" walk-bys to see if we can work out where they're from.

Okay, this seems to want to be turning into a rant. However much I truly adore my customers, today we had a couple of the worst kind. The type who look at you and see a faceless person who is hired to serve them, and who is there to pander to their every demand. Okay, yes, so that's our job, I know that and I take pride in my customer service, but some people have this talent for making you feel like you should be paying them to allow you the privilege of assisting them. When you come into our store we're not trying to make things difficult for you, we have everyone available working to find all the things you want (after you've already paid for one lot and mixed everything up several times might I add), and we're really not going to break your stuff or short-change you... so why the suspicious looks?

But I had one of the sweet kind also, so she made it all okay. She was funny, contradicting my reactions to what she told me. She was stocking up on our 70% off Halloween goodies for her niece next year, and was telling me how "unfortunately" she buys everything in sale a year early. And I said, "Oh, that's the best way! Buy it cheap, and no rushing about next year." But she said, "No, no, its unfortunate." and I just said, "Oh, okay." Then she was telling me how she's making advent calenders for her grand-kids and grand nieces and nephews, and I said what a lovely idea that was, and she said, "No it's not." and once again I said, "Oh...". She was very nice though, buying lots of tiny toys for the advent calenders, and the strangest little things she could find. She also told me that my service was excellent (sadly she waited till about a minute after my manager walked out of earshot... why are managers never around when you're complimented, but aalways when you make a mistake?) and was very gracious throughout.

I'm being sent off on some mystery quest tomorrow. I have to go to the mini Paperchase inside House of Fraser to help out. All I've been told is that they're moving something and need someone "with a head firmly on their shoulders" from our store to help... or something. All I know is that I have to be standing at the escalators at 10am and they'll come and meet me. It feels like a spy mission. Yay, I like adventures.

Friday, 7 November 2008

And all's well.


There was an eerie orange sky this evening, not the usual flaming sunset orange, a dull orangey orange. Of course my camera was charging today, so all I had with me to capture the moment was my horribly inadequate cameraphone. This photo really doesn't do it justice.

My proposal is handed in and I have no more deadlines until mid-December. I have a little time tonight that's mine mine mine, where I'm not ignoring a thousand other things I should be doing. And I have bread baking in the oven. I'm feeling rather contented.

My internet is playing up though. Not ideal for only the first week of NaBloPoMo. Hopefully it'll last. Maybe I'll think about actually upgrading to an internet service worthy of this centuary, like, more than a 1mb dial-up connection..... my only excuse is that it's cheap.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

So sleepy...

For some reason I can't pull all-nighters. The closer I get to deadlines, the tireder (word?) I get earlier in the day. Seriously, at the end of last semester, when I had deadlines coming out of my ears, I was barely able to keep my eyes open past 8pm. If I try to fight it, it does me no good at all. I can't keep focussed on the screen, and sentences jumble and the meanings dance away in front of my eyes. I end up having to give in and go to bed ridiculously early, while all my classmates are typing away madly, then get up early and begin working just as they're all collapsing into their beds.

And that's what I'm going to do now. Sleep now, then up early for polishing, bibliographising and printing. And handing in. Then no more dissertation deadlines till it's due on the 1st of May. Joy.

G'night!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

For not a moment must be wasted.

My second post tonight. I'm not procrastinating. Sure, I have my dissertation proposal due in two days... and sure it's going on 10 o'clock at night, with my cursor flashing at me from an empty Word document (To be fair, it's not completely empty... it says, "This is my proposal." A strong start if ever I saw one) and I have one full day without lectures to get it all completed. But. Procrastination? Naaah.

And now that we've established my complete innocence on that count, I believe it's crucial that I immediately make a prioritised shopping list. Three in fact. Can't live withouts, can live withouts but would really rather not, and things I want but am not allowed. Vitally important to do tonight in case.... I..... need it... Yes.

Walking and bangy, lighty-up things.

Walking is a wonderful invention. It gets you from place to place, and it lets you think while you're getting there. Or to listen to music, or a story, or the latest gossip. It lets you mull over ideas, or, as in tonight's case, it lets you wear off a bad mood.

There are times when I need to walk. I feel it bubbling deep down in the bones of my arms and legs and I have to drop everything, put on my comfiest shoes, and head into the great outdoors. I just wish I had nicer places to walk. There are some lovely places around London I guess, but I miss greenness! And a horizon further away from me than across the road.

It's bonfire night. I can hear the bangs and crackles starting in earnest. I think I'll go out and take a look after writing this. I like fireworks... all bright lights and colours, and noise of course. I like the big ones that sparkle and the little ones that make fountains of light. I want to actually buy some sometime. So far I don't seem to have grown out of being little and told not to play with fireworks or they'll blow me up. I just watch from a distance. I haven't quite realised that I am actually old enough to buy them now. Maybe I'll get some, just to show myself that I can...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Halloween aftermath.

I've just discovered a side-effect of living on your own at Halloween...

Being the lovely person that I am, I bought chocolate and goodies for the neighbourhood trick-or-treaters. Thing is, not too many stopped by this year, leaving me with an awful lot of leftover junk food, and only me to finish it off. It seems that when chocolate is minified (hehe, just looked that up and discovered it is a word!) I don't notice that I'm eating it. So here I am a few days later, so sick of chocolate I can hardly look at it. And yet I still have maltesers, toffees and Terry's chocolate oranges surrounding me, and a giant bar of turkish delight chocolate, among other things. Methinks it's time to go back to my old habits of stashing it in boxes under the bed until I feel ready to eat it again.... say, in a year's time?

Monday, 3 November 2008

A smile at a time

A friend told me yesterday that you can never over-estimate your power to change the world, but you can nullify it by choosing to ignore it. Everyone has the ability, if only they use it. And you know what? I think believe him. So, I want to change the world, even if it's only the world around me at first.

If you meet a stranger and smile, make their day that little bit brighter, it might spread. Ripple effect. If you can climb above the bare minimum requirements when talking to whoever you come into contact with throughout your day, and see real people instead of faceless figures milling about around you. If you can over-ride your bad mood and not take it out on those you talk to. If you can notice a person who feels invisible, look at them and see good things that others might not bother to see, and reflect these things back to them. If you can show them that you believe in them, or, even more importantly, show them that they can believe in themselves, that they're capable of more than they might realise. If you can do any of these simple little things you will have done something great, and just maybe the person you touched will pass it on to the next person they meet.

To change the world, you have to begin with the people living in it. Without happy people even the most beautiful surroundings and greatest wealth are useless, but with people who are satisfied in themselves and in each other there can be happiness in the most difficult of situations.

I have hopes and dreams of things to do in the future, but for now I'm starting small. I'll change the world just a little at a time. Care to join me?