Tuesday, 31 August 2010
So what have we learned this month? Well...
- I write more when I'm taking part in an externally, preferably Internet, organised writing event.
- The reason I thought I wasn't good enough for Cambridge was because I wasn't.
- America has a lot of wasteland that I can describe very badly.
- Baseball is awesome.
- I really, really like Dr Reid Oliver but I want Nuke endgame.
- John Green is awesome.
- I am too socially awkward for YouTube gatherings.
- It's not a good idea to get a tiny piece of headphone stuck in your laptop.
- I am definitely an atheist.
- When your friends get mugged at gun-point, it's scary.
- Harry/Severus slash is awsome.
- Nothing good happens after 3am, even my blog posts.
- I always feel better with a plan.
- I am very bored a lot of the time.
That's it. August over. I have an epic (possibly too strong a word) plan for next year I intend to blog about soon. Thanks for reading!
Sunday, 29 August 2010
So I'm tired, again. Holidaying really takes it out of you.
Today we went out to Plymouth, the place where the Mayflower landed. We got the train from South Station to Plymouth Station which turned out to be miles out of town. Like, properly far away. The old train sheds were falling down, the Walmart was shut up and everyone who got off the train got straight into a car. We hailed this local bus and went in a massive circle all around town. We passed through about eight outlet malls and everyone else who got on the bus knew the driver well enough to kiss his cheek as they got off.
It was weird. It reminds you that most of America is dead space between populated areas. Highways and out-of-town furniture stores and big yellow traffic lights. It looks exactly like you want it too as well; orange wasteland with scrubby green trees, bright blue sky and smoking black road.
Finally we were in Plymouth town. They had this waterside festival on which was like Queens Park Day times one hundred. Most of the stalls were kid orientated but we did manage to pick up a Red Sox bobblehead.
The bobblehead story is one of those family private jokes that I assume siblings share but, as an only child, I can only talk about with my parents. Basically my mum had a Yankee bobblehead that I broke as a child. About the only thing I ever broke so it became quite a big deal. So glad to have a replacement - and I carried it around all day like some weird form of punishment.
So we went on the Mayflower II and a boat ride around the harbour and then back on the train. I fell asleep a little bit but I woke up in time for some good food. There were a lot of screeching women but otherwise a very nice place.
I am going to fall into bed now - I've wacthed all the OnDemand episodes if 30 Rock so I know it's sleeptime.
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Before we got out I finished my book 'Trout Fishing In America'. It was definitely the most American book I have ever read. It was very strange but not alienatingly so, and the narrator had a genuine and unique voice. It was one of those books filled with ideas and strong images which will haunt me forever. I'm reluctant to recommend it though because I can see it's strange enough that most people would not like it.
So we started the day by booking a trip to Cape Cod; I am so excited to go! Then we went to the public gardens and got on a swan boat. It was powered by one poor college student pedalling but it didn't last very long. There was a boy in front of us telling inappropriate jokes very loudly. His dad tried to distract him by pointing out ducks and taking about a trillion photos of him.
Then we wandered around Beacon Hill, a very beautiful part of Boston. It was exactly what you want New England to look like. And I got to order a grilled cheese in a cafe - I felt so American! Then my mum bought a Red Sox Christmas decoration - and we're back to tourist. Then did a quick shuttle boat trip to get a look at the harbour, which displays a beautiful skyline.
Then we went to an American restaurant. And I mean really American. Like neon signs and dimly-lit bar with bottled beet and free re-fills if coke. It served Boston Beans and lobster rolls and cheeseburgers. The background music was stadium rock and the TV screens were showing the Red Six game (which I got quite hooked too) and high school American football. It was perfect: especially when the waitress gave us free clam chowder because we'd never had it.
Now it's OnDemand time. Until tomorrow fair readers, until tomorrow.
Friday, 27 August 2010
Watching a whole episode of As The World Turns for the first time. Liveblog!
- Reid is so cute with his little OCD ways.
- Luke - could you be more obvious? Although you have a fair point...
- Since when were Will and Gwen in town?
- I don't know how any of the people are related. Whose Gwen's mum? Whose Will's mum? And why are they staying with Emily?
- I've always liked Henry. But am I supposed to be happy about him and Barbara or creeped out?
- Also, did not know Paul was her son. I need some kind of Oakdale family tree. Although it's a bit late now.
- Oh, Barbara is Will's mum too. So Paul is his brother.
- Wait, Paul is Henry's brother too?! So much incest in this town.
- Just because Chris wants to lie to his partner-person doesn't mean he should force or expect Reid too.
- Luke advising people to let people worry about them?! Shocker (!)
- Reid is sweet but a bad liar. Just tell Katie!
- It's weird to watch this in decent quality.
- Reid has the cutest facial expressions. I just wanna pinch his cheeks.
- I feel tension between Barbara and Emily. Power struggle for Paul's affection.
- How often have Henry and Barbara been on/off?!
- Those are some seriously shocked and awed faces.
- Also, Will and Gwen have been in town and not met up with Luke? Rude...
- There are A LOT of adverts. And they are weird. Do they have to read out the possible side-affects of nasal spray? It makes it sound scary.
- Way to attempt to cheer everyone up Emily. It's a bit like doing a cheerleader routine at a wake.
- What's Fairwinds?!
- 'You're in and out of heels.' That did make me lol.
- The show is ending soon Paul. I doubt there's enough time for them to marry AND divorce.
- You tell him Reid!
- It's not all your fault Luke. Chris is acting like a twat. I do not like him.
- I've always liked Will and Gwen. They're the Nathan and Haley of Oakdale.
- That was one sunshine smile Luke.
- Very true Henry. No one in Oakdale should be casting stones.
- What, so Barbara is about to marry her ex-husband's son? To give Paul his credit, that is weird.
- They do have to read out all the possible side-affects. How do they ever sell medicine?!
- Dear Activia, 'desserty' is not a word.
- Luke and Noah are still together in the bumper. That's so sad.
- Ooh a political ad. That's weird to see.
- Wait, Parker is Will's brother too?! This show makes my head spin.
- So Hal is Parker's dad? The cop who got shot on the job? Or did I make that name up?
- Aw Reid, how romantic (!)
- Okay, they are really cute.
- 'The whole enchillada'? That's some beautiful, elegant imagery there Reid.
- Man, another kiss and a half!
- Cockblocked by a rattle, that's a new one.
- 'To be continued...' That sounds like the kind of thing someone says before they die.
- Your sunshine smile's not bad either Reid.
- Is this pre-school just on the road in Old Town? Is there anything Oakdale does't have? An airport, a hospital, multiple daycares, a university... not bad for a small town.
- Emily doing adverts?! Ha ha ha.
- There was a really sudden lighting change...
- Gwen is totally the voice of reason.
- Luke has a good mock-serious face. A worse lie-to-Katie face though...
- The Bold and The Beautiful looks way worse than As The World Turns. Why isn't it cancelled?!
- Surely Chris is not gonna keep lying!
- Who's John Dixon?!
- Why are Henry and Barbara living at The Lakeview?
- Henry, I don't think you're allowed to withdraw marriage proposals.
- Wait, I still don't know who John Dixon is?!
So there you have it. See you tomorrow for something a little more cultural. Maybe.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Then onto breakfast. We went into a diner we passed last night and I had a breakfast called 'Emergency Room'. Two pancakes, three scrambled eggs, three sausages, home fries and White toast. It sounds like a lot (and it was), it was not as bad as the one below it called 'Intensive Care' which included a 10oz sirloin steak. The diner was called Mike's and it was awesome. Might buy a t-shirt if we back.
It had rained all night and so yesterday's Red Sox match was called off. We though todays might be as well but they had to play because they go away tomorrow. So it was a doublehitter and we were at the first afternoon game. It was really fun. The game is exciting and the crowd was mixed with a good atmosphere. I got quite into it, might keep following it if from a distance. I have a baseball cap and badge now as well. You can see I'm a diehard fan.
More rain meant we ran into an Irish pub, the only place that would let me in without ID. Then we went to a really nice bistro where I had the best carbonara ever. And then lemon tart. Heaven.
I'm tired so I'm feeling a couple of OnDemand TV shows and an early night. No idea what tomorrow will bring, only that it will be American.
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
It's very exciting. The plane wasn't as painful as I thought it night be. Turns out my ability to not sleep despite being really tired helps me fight off jetlag. We didn't have our own TV screens so I had to watch Bounty Hunter. It was bad. But I did get to watch 30 Rock, The Office and two episodes of Parks And Recreation. So, not all bad.
Got into Boston to pouring rain. Bit of a shame but the buildings are still beautiful and New-Englandy. We did some wandering around and it's really America. Diners and 7-11s and those crazy Skittle flavours.
The apartment is nice too - my parents gave me the master bedroom because it has it's own TV and all the Harry Potter books. I've already TiVoed the next Luke/Reid episodes. Everything is massive though, the cups are like bowls and the armchair makes me look like a midget. He's also left a lot of personal photos around which is kinda awkward.
Red Sox tomorrow - will update then.
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
But now there's a lot of pressure on Boston to be a brilliant holiday. More brilliant than it had to be before. When I get I'll have literally hours before I have to register at college (I kind of like that I get to say 'college' now rather than 'school'. It's a step up, if not the one I was expecting). Then three days before I actually start learning all over again. And then four months in which to do an entire A-Level.
So basically it's going to be hectic. So hectic I'm not sure about my ability to complete NaNoWriMo (but I'll see how I feel, no promises!). So Boston needs to be good and really relaxing and really fun all wrapped into one. I am very excited.
The other thing about this trip is that it'll give me chance to read. The most exciting thing about (hopefully) having some time off next year is that I can read loads of books. And especially if I wanna study English, that is a major plus. I'm bringing five books, two very short, two medium and one quite long. They are: Trout Fishing In America, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, The Secret History, Wonder Boys and Silence.
So yeah, Boston. Hopefully I'll have something to report tomorrow. And because of the time difference, I have no idea if the posts will come up on the right days. Or if I guarantee to get them up at all. Either way, see you soon!
PS: I am very excited to watch ATWT on a real TV! I hope this apartment has TiVo because I doubt we'll be in at 2 on Thursday. I may be excited enough to Liveblog.
Monday, 23 August 2010
I have a plan for next year - I'm going to do an entire Government and Politics A-Level in 4 months. The college think I can do it and are willing to help so I'm going to go for it. It takes the pressure off for results because I'll know for sure by March, I'll have more than six months to do something more interesting and I've always worked better under pressure.
And I think I'm definitely going to apply for English. I love History but applying for it again would involve applying to many of the same universities and I think a fresh start will be better. It'll throw up some different places, which will hopefully get me excited about going again, and it's subject I equally love and enjoy.
I do want to have a tiny mini rant about the BBC. I was watching an old Have I Got News For You on iPlayer (because, shockingly, there's nothing on at 2am) and Quentin Letts was a panellist going on about how the BBC should make more Lark Rise to Candleford and less Jonathon Ross (you can tell it's old then). I am very defensive of the BBC generally but surely we can all see what's wrong with that statement - a broadcaster cannot constantly broadcast shows that everyone likes, especially when it's a national broadcaster whose remit is to provide something for everyone. The BBC does a lot more work than anyone gives it credit for and if this government cuts it the way it has always threatened to do no-one will be sorrier than us to see it go.
Back to real life. Now, with a plan, I think I can finally relax. I'm going to go to Boston, watch the in-flight movies, enjoy myself (I'm finally getting excited) and even though I have no time really between coming back and starting I'll be so pleased to get it out of the way.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
I have an informal interview at a college tomorrow. No idea what will come of it but I imagine they will be very informative and helpful, and be able to answer the myriad of questions I have. Like, does it look bad to apply for a different subject? How can they trust the predicted grade of a subject I've never done before? You know, general panicking stuff.
I do have awesome friends though. Like really awesome. I had a great evening with Charlotte and Alice where we chatted about all our lives and ate Indian food and home baked cookies and watched Gosford Park (one of my favourite movies). I love having people in my life where there's no pressure and we can be honest and it's easy and fun. But it's not just my best friend people - everyone has been great about giving advice if they can and wishing me well and shooting V's at the system along with me.
I think my parents are more freaked out than me because, like me, they don't know what's going on it the future and they just want me to be happy and on track again. They're looking up colleges and printing out questions and talking about ringing up their (albeit limited number of contacts) to get me something to do when I'm not studying which will enrich my application/CV.
Basically, it's done now. It still smarts a little but it's fading fast. I'll be very glad when it's gone; thankfully, I'm sure Boston will be the perfect medicine.
Saturday, 21 August 2010
And I'm getting better at the 'seeing things in perspective' stuff. I've talked to a lot of people and they've all be saying basically the same things: that I'm not stupid, that it's not the end of the world, that in a few years this will be a distant memory, that it's an opportunity to think things through, everything will eventually turn out fine. And this is all good and true advice and I'm getting better at seeing it like that.
But it comes and goes. It is slightly hard to admit that the massive life change you were preparing for and, indeed, incredibly excited about is not happening. And the way it is not happening (and the scaremongering news surrounding it) makes you feel, albeit temporarily, as if it is never going to happen.
Essentially I have turned into the heroine of a Victorian romance novel. Most of the time I am well-spoken, calm, measured in my emotions and angry at a society which is not permitting me to do what I want. And the other half of the time I am so overcome with emotion I want to take to my bed with smelling salts in one hand and an embroidered handkerchief in the other.
I have three options (assuming, and I have been told essentially to assume, the Cambridge pool is a no go):
1. Keep the grades I have (A*, A, C) and apply... wherever will take those grades. Essentially somewhere which will take you with a C meaning that you might as well not have worked for the A and A*.
2. Re-do the Spanish unit which is an E. That would involve going to a college, probably from January to June and hopefully getting my grade up to an A. The plus side is it would not feel like giving up but the down side is I kind of feel like giving up.
3. Start and finish a completely new A-Level in a year. It would mean, essentially, I couldn't get a job (unless I went to night-classes which would make predicted grades and therefore UCAS difficult) or do anything but more studying. However, it's not Spanish.
So yeah. If I pick 2 or 3 (and let's be honest, I will) I'm going to have to go to some kind of private sixth form college who can provide this with some guarantee of results (which considering all of this, I would really like). I don't really want to but then the only way this situation is going to improve is to work my way out of it. It might be depressing (and it is) but it's necessary. And I don't deserve to go to university if I'm not willing to fight for it.
Friday, 20 August 2010
I'll just say this: today could not have gone worse for me. It was a disaster which has, essentially, left me with a year of my life I didn't want to spend here doing the stuff I am now going to be forced to do, whatever that turns out to be.
And I appreciate that, once the disappointment of getting in NOWHERE has receded I'll be fine and probably wax lyrically about how this gap year helped me find myself or whatever. For a start, it looks like English is the way to go. Can't fault those UMS marks.
So yeah, in the future I'll probably look back on this year with fondness. But in the end, I didn't want it. And I really wish I didn't have to do it.
There really is nothing make failure to make you feel like a failure.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
I was going to talk about panicking for results, which I am doing, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow. Needless to say when people talk about it, I can feel my stomach bubbling and dropping at the same time.
I am, for maybe the first time in BEDA, talk about Luke/Noah/Reid. I really want to clarify my position. Reid has quite literally split our happy fan community down the middle. Half the people (some new, some long-standing fans, some who faded away when the storylines were particualary slow) think Reid is a godsend to the show and the other half think he's a betrayal, and a lazy one at that, by the writers.
I am torn. The reason I love Luke and Noah is that, unlike many others, I like the soapy, ridiculous, fluffy aspect to them. It amuses me and entertains me and, coming for Europe, it's a novelty to me to watch something so unashamedadly dramatic. Luke and Noah are genuine opposites in many ways, which made for (some of the time) a realistic dynamic. It's also important when building tension: soap couples break up a lot, and Luke and Noah are treated no differently in this respect.
But I like Reid. Genuinely. He's like a PG-13 Brian Kinney (so without all the sex). He's snarky and funny and believeable. I think he's incredibly well-rounded considering the time he's been in the show, well-acted and his being gay is not his defining feature. Saying that, it's not ignored and he and Luke have had some of the hottest kisses on the show ever. You know, in my humble but scarily well informed opinion.
I, unlike people who have @ replied me on Twitter, do not think this is because Luke and Noah did not have chemistry on screen. I think it's because, predominately, Luke and Noah has been a love story first. While waiting for sex was a drag, I do respect that they were portrayed as a couple willing to wait for each other.
So, my loyalities lie with Noah but I do have a massive fan-crush on Reid Oliver. So I'm torn. a lot like Luke in many ways. And I can see the pros for Reid:
- He challenges Luke on many levels Noah does not.
- He's opening himself up to Luke in a very uncharasteristic way - shows deep emotion.
- He's funny and witty and the kind of guy Oakdale needs.
But then Noah has upsides too:
- He tolerates Luke's obsessive need to be needed with more grace than Reid does.
- His love for Luke got him out a wheelchair and got him his own sight back. That's the kind of love you hang onto. Or bottle.
- Luke and Noah fit together in a way which seems much more comfortable - Luke's fought enough battles.
- They both want the same things out of life - excitement when they're young, a family when they're older.
- Noah is not an emotionally unavailible workaholic. He's more committed to Luke than anything else.
- After everything they've been through, and how groundbreaking they are, they deserve a happy ending.
So there you have it. It's Luke and Noah ftw. Let's just hope (and they haven't got long left) that they handle it well.
And yes, I am mainly using them as a distraction from the fact my fricking life gets decided in a few days. Humour me.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Monday, 16 August 2010
1. I watched the first two episodes of Sherlock, which I thought were as interesting, brilliant and eccentric as their namesake.
2. I spent the evening typing up the cheapest, easiest recipes from all the cookbooks in my house as soon I'll going to have to cook for myself.
3. I'm currently watching 'Vexed' on iPlayer (which means I can't do anything else on my mum's laptop) and it's quite a good mixed of serious and comedy, although a far cry from Holmes.
4. I had my dessert at, like, 1 am, because I am such a maverick.
5. After the John Green talk yesterday, I was all inspired to write and spent ages awake in my bed thinking and I think I have a NaNoWriMo idea; basically.
6. I watched a lot of How I Met Your Mother and concluded that 'Showdown', 'The Stinsons' and 'Slapbet' are my favourite episodes.
7. We've got more plumbers and builders coming tomorrow but I refuse to get up even when they turn up.
8. I found what I thought was a lost Friends DVD which means I don't have to buy the whole series over again: rejoice! 9. Got a really interesting e-mail from my friend Alex which left me both excited and intrigued.
10. I cannot believe it is 3am; why stay up on a day when nothing is happening?
Well, at least it looks a bit longer than it would be if they were all in one paragraph. Promise to come up with something vaguely interesting to talk about tomorrow. Well, maybe not as strong as promise. I'll try.
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Oh, and I met John Green.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable but weird experience, in the same way seeing any YouTuber in real life is weird but to a greater extent because he is like the king of YouTube. I knew, academically, that he was real and did things other than occasionally make videos for our amusement, but it was strange to see him standing there in 3D wearing that Catcher In The Rye t-shirt I really want but can't afford. And the irony, as pointed out by someone in the audience, is that Paper Towns (and so a lot of what he said) is about how important it is to imagine people complexly, as more than the sum of the things they do for you.
The talk was a defensive of reading to a certain extent, about how it's relevance in the modern world is as the only medium that still truly allows you to experience the world through eyes other than your own. It made me want to read things and write things and I found myself in an excellent daydream on the bus thinking all these things he'd conjured up. And I think that was the intention. Nothing is more magical, to say something I've already said on this blog once before, than reading one of your own thoughts as transcribed by somebody else.
The section he read is one of favourite in the book because it's strange and evocative and yet somehow so real. It's one of the few images that I carry around all the time, of two teenagers leaning up against a single pane of glass, trying to decide if the world looks more real or more fake from far away. Truly moving. He spoke so passionately and eloquently about reading and books and interactivity and empathy and humanity that it was as much an intellectual experience as a fangirl one.
But it was a fangirl one, at least to a certain extent. Everyone after having their book signed came out of the room and 'sqeed'. Even one of the people who worked on the event was all flustered at the prospect of him signing her copy. And of course we were: John Green is someone to admire on two levels. The level of making excellent YouTube videos and the level of writing great books. To meet anyone who has influenced you in two different ways like that is enough to make you want to squeal a little bit.
Fangirling in general makes me uneasy. I'm not sure if it's because I am so socially inept but the idea of doing anything remotely... memorable, I guess in front of someone I admire is painfully frightening. For example, there was a Luke And Noah gathering in Paris in the summer I did not go to, not because I am not enough of a fan, bu because even if all I had to do was stand next to Van and Jake for thirty seconds, that alone would be too embarrassing. The trap is always to sound too eager or too trite and, in the end, all the things I have to say are almost implied by my being there. What's the point in gushing to them? It makes everyone feel uneasy. I would rather be forgotten by someone than remembered as 'that person that did something stupid'. In the end, I am simply too awkward to
endure any awkwardness.
So again, YouTube brings to light my vast emotional failings. Maybe I should go back to reading books.
PS: What a rambling post this is, too many thoughts at too early an hour. I blame BEDA. Sometimes nothing to say and then, all at once, too much.
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Woke up at Amy's to Charlotte's foot in my face. Apparently I am a bad person to share a single bed with because I steal the covers a lot. In case any perspective partners are reading this, I'm sure I would be much more hospitable in a double bed! Either way, I had a pretty good nights sleep and left at about 11 having left Amy a note because she was, blissfully and with a slight snore, still asleep.
Then I came home to an empty house for the first time in ages. I used this blessed opportunity to... watch Friends and Come Dine With Me which is my massive guilty pleasure show this summer. I could be outside enjoying the sunshine (or, if it's like today, intermediate showers) but instead I'm inside watching boring people confusing being rude with being entertaining.
Then my dad called and invited me on a Fopp binge. It was a pretty good haul but we both feel we've outgrown it. Not because it's not a good shop; it's brilliant at selling the cheap staples that everyone needs in their record collection and for new releases. But me and my dad found very few of the things on our respective lists. Maybe it's time to go back to my old familiar friend Rough Trade.
Then Amy came round to take some things (mostly YouTube music) from my external hard drive. We spent a couple of hours talking and, inevitably, it turned into a Harry Potter chat. That always happens to me - it's because I have awesome nerd friends!
Sorry if there are mistakes in this of the spelling or grammatical persuation: I'm typing this out on an iPod Touch. I also have to stand in my bedroom doorway to publish it: the things I do for you BEDA! Tomorrow I'll probably use my mum's laptop because I'm going to meet EFFING JOHN GREEN so I'll have a lot of gushing to do.
Friday, 13 August 2010
Thursday, 12 August 2010
I got up late, very late and just had time for a shower before *another* builder came to look at *another* leak in our bathroom ceiling. Same old, same old. I do miss showering in the middle of the night though; I'm not sure if I do this because of some deep-seated but subconscious insecurity or I'm too lazy to be bothered before 2a.m. Somewhere in the vast middle ground between those probably, where all things I do lie.
I had lunch, got dressed and changed the cartridges on my new wireless printer. I did warn you I'd done nothing. I then moved my shoulder funny and now it really hurts, enough to make me gasp when I try and sit up straight. I blame it for my terrible posture rather than the aforementioned laziness. And then I started a new Harry/Severus slash fiction. I can talk about this! Finally.
A surprising number of people are interested in my love of gay television and, later, slash fiction. Or they at least indulge me as I talk about it. Lots of things make people outside the fold find certain things impossible to swallow, and I share their view on most. Harry/Ron, Wincest, Twincest, MPreg. But everyone, and I mean everyone, also hates Harry/Severus.
I did as well, for a long time. And there are still some, the poorly written ones mostly, that I don't like. But now I think it is probably my second favourite pair in the fandom, beaten only by Remus/Sirius which is so awesome it's basically canon. I can see why everyone is a bit wary of it - Severus is old enough to be Harry's father (literally having gone to school with him), holds nothing but resentment for Harry for being born, is generally greasy in appearance. How can he and Harry be a good couple?
Well, there are several reasons why I like this pairing. The first is that Snape is, by a mile, the most interesting and intriguing character in the Harry Potter verse. He epitomises evil in so many ways: his appearance, his demeanour, his house, his subject. And yet his story is one of redemption, a man who loved passionately and who saved so many, did so much good for a cause that belittled him. And even connected to Harry is story is, in essence, one of goodness. He saves Harry more than anyone else, physically and emotionally, because he treats Harry as badly as everyone else, maybe worse, where others might have stroked his ego.
A major motif of Harry/Severus is Harry coming to teach DADA (which should have happened in the epilogue but whatever) and Severus realising, as he never got to in canon, that Harry is more than the man he pegged him for. He is not arrogant or hot-headed but mature and self-sacrificing. And more like his mother than his father.
Another story (which occurs a lot in Harry Potter slash) is, for some reason, Severus and Harry *have* to be together. They've been accidentally bound or purposely bound to help Harry win, they are destined to be together etc etc. All the plot is pretty boring but the idea of them being *forced* together is another way in which Severus is forced to see Harry as the man he really is. And Severus may be a hard, cold man but we know he is not evil. And Harry is, to some extent, able to melt everyone's hearts. They are truly opposites and fit together well. Severus (unlike Draco who I admit can also fulfill most of these requirements) is old enough and sensible enough to save Harry from himself. And, unlike Harry/Sirius which I hate, there is no other emotional connection (other than misguided animosity) to hold them back.
It also allows for a lot of angst - 'I'm not good enough for you. You're young and beautiful and could have someone better' or 'I am unlovable and not worthy of you, a man much braver than me.' Lots of bad dreams and war wounds (another thing they share). And angst is a good bedrock for slash fic, I enjoy it much better than fluff.
Another major motif is 'inner-beauty'. Severus is not an outwardly attractive man but he has many qualities which make him incredibly sexual - his hands, his voice, his elegance, his movements. In this way, it is easy to make him a school-boy crush of Harry's as, compared to the other teachers, he is the only character to possess these qualities.
But above all, the relationship between them in good HPSS slash is one which is more complicated than most. It's not instantly happy or smutty or fluffy - it's a complex amalgamation of their characters which is both compelling and unique. They do not live happy ever after - they banter and they argue and it's explosive and mature and something people on the outside often cannot understand.
So there, my terrible defense of Harry/Severus. I truly believe it works and if you are remotely persuaded here are some of my favourite Harry/Severus which are a much better defence than this could ever be, although most are quite long. They persuaded me, maybe they can persuade you.
Pains and Contradictions
The Fifth Act
Runes Of War
Union Of Doom
The Scios Totalus Of Legend
A Question Of Circumstance
Light On The Dark Side Of Me
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
After I left you last night, probably right after at 2am, I managed to damage my most prized possession: my MacBook. My stupid Apple headphones were on the fritz and a little bit broke off in the jack and so not only can I not use the jack but there's no sound because it thinks there are headphones in. And now the sound is like, frozen, but I don't know why. Basically, I wanted to cry.
I went online after Googling my issue and I felt less stupid knowing other people had been in similar situations. The advice differed between 'Take it to Apple if it's in warranty' to 'Use medical tweezers' to 'Put a bit of glue on the end of a cocktail stick and let it set'. In the end, I set up a Genius appointment, the earliest in London being on Thursday at the new store which I wanted to check out anyway.
Because I already had an irrational fear of all my music and photos and applications just disappearing, this was a good opportunity to buy an external hard drive so (bare in mind this was the middle of the night) I did literally ten minutesof research and ordered a 'Western Digital My Passport for Mac 500GB USB 2.0 Hard Drive - Charcoal' and picked it up in PC World.
PC World scares me. They have someone sitting on a throne by the door who stares at you to make sure you're not nicking any printer paper or something. I had to go to the one in Tottenham Court Road and it was deserted and still it took ten minutes to see I was standing at the 'Collect@Store' desk. I got my hard drive and was out in a flash.
I used Time Machine for the first time as well - I like it. It's simple and effective but I can't help panicking that despite it saying everything is fine that something will go wrong and I'll still lose everything. I think I'm just generally paranoid about data - it's why I like CDs, they are a lot harder to lose.
I wish I had something more to say about today. I've managed to conjure up something most days doing this but basically I've just been freaking out about my MacBook. I am expecting it to last for a bit longer. And by a bit I mean years. It's perfect for me - the right size, the right speed, not too complicated. So I'll be really depressed if it has to get sent off somewhere.
Anyway, goodbye until tomorrow. I'm going to turn on my slow and elderly PC to watch Luke and Noah (sorry, Reid) and listen to Nowhere Near News.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
I started the day by going out to Kensington with my oldest and dearest friend Karimah. I love our days out; we essentially do the same thing every time so it's like moving on autopilot around the high street. It's comforting in a way, a routine. We see each other pretty regularly for our 'fat days' as they were christened very early on and it's nice to chat with someone I know so well and love so much but who is, mostly, outside of the social circle I see all the time.
That paragraph, that one you just read up there, is exactly why I hate blogging about my real life. I know to a certain extent that is the point of a blog but do you guys really care? Maybe you've already closed the window/tab. If so, you'll miss (although I guess it's they'll because you must still be here to read this) an amazing rant.
Well not amazing, short because I think I contracted death from Amy at the YouTube gathering. Let this be a lesson to you: never share a water bottle with someone who has lost their voice. I know: that's a newsflash so surprising it nearly tops Breakfast News' "Did you know thickly sliced bread has more calories than thinly sliced bread?"
And while we're talking about BBC News (which I generally love, trust and cherish) I think 'Information is Beautiful' was badly represented by Newsnight tonight. It's a website a friend turned me onto not long ago and I've seen their graphics all over since then, each time more staggered not only by the statistics themselves but the new, inventive and, above all, informative way different pieces of information are presented.
The thread of the argument seemed to be 'To make information beautiful is to take away from the seriousness of the message'. I disagree. For a start, while 'Information is Beautiful' is a good name it is not entirely accurate. Yes the information is presented beautifully but it is also presented well, not in a way which impedes your interpretation or understanding of the data but which enhances it.
Secondly, too often people separate design from function, whereas I would argue you cannot be good at one and not the other. These graphs (and that is what they are - graphs - pictorial descriptions of data) are nice to look at but they also work as a description of data. They are not, as I think the man opposite David McCandless said 'A puzzle you could easily get lost in'. Instead, they are a puzzle which fits together perfectly and are presenting pure facts in a way which makes them engaging to a wide audience.
It is wrong to assume data has to be a stream of numbers - we've known that ever since Florence Nightingale invented the pie chart. Different people look at and understand information in different ways and as we move closer towards a web-savvy society more and more people are going to have an understanding of graphic design/fonts/graphics like there to name but a few. Because online, as in life, the things which are designed well (and, to some extent, look good) are the most functional. Much better than those flashy, inefficient joke websites.
As you can probably tel from this post, I am no expert and am not well-versed in graphic design at a serious or academic level. But I can tell you this much - 'Information is Beautiful' is a great website making interesting, beautiful but above all informative graphs which makes information easier to digest and often brings it together from different sources to show you the whole picture.
And it does no detriment to the whole picture that it's a pretty picture unto itself.
Monday, 9 August 2010
I am currently going through my Tweets to see if something even vaguely interesting occurred to me today to blog about. Hmm... I bought my dad tickets to a gig in October that I really want to go to but I can't because, all things being well, I will be at university. It seems not to have quite sunk in for him yet considering he asked if I was up for it. Oh well, I am the only child and all that. I don't think any of us have quite got our heads around the fact I won't be around but we haven't got long to get there before it's really happening.
Yeah, that truly is the only thing of merit that happened today. Most people would look at today and see a humongous waste of time, mostly because today has been a humongous waste of time. But I like days like today, especially after the week I've had. Since we came back from interrailing it's been a non-stop barrage of ceilings falling down and YouTube gatherings and parties and muggings and credit card fraud. I barely feel like I've recovered. That's why it's taken me until today to properly unpack and tidy-up. (Well, that and my perpetual laziness).
Also, in general, I think everyone needs days like the day I've had today. It's the kind of relaxation most people enjoy after paying hundreds of pounds for a holiday to Spain so I like to think of myself as both thrifty and green when I have days like today. It's the kind of nothingness that you feel better for afterwards. And, all things considered, I might not have many days like this this summer.
Well, I got quite a lot of milage from my nothing day all things considered. Tomorrow I go out for lunch with my oldest friend for the last time in I dread to think how long so I'm sure I can get my self emotional whipped up for a post about that tomorrow.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
I had a good day, nay a great one. Tasha and Amy are the perfect gathering companions because they are funny and awkward as me. Because this is the thing about YouTube gatherings (and having been to three I feel I am an expert) they are fun. But everyone else looks like they are having *more* fun.
I guess the weird thing about gatherings is the weird thing about YouTube in general. We (and by we I mean the plebs) watch them (and by them I mean the shiny but normal members of YouTube royalty) because, unlike normal celebrities they are our age, attainable but somehow superior to us and a little bit of us believes with the right amount of time and alcohol we could be the best of friends. So you watch their videos, laugh, chat to your friends about them and before you know it, they are a part of your life. A small part, granted, but a part nonetheless. You know things about them too - the TV shows they watch, the instruments they play, the posters on their wall. And here in lies in inequality - they don't know anything about you. When they talk to the camera, it might look like they are talking to you but they are talking to the camera.
I find this (because I am an emotional basketcase) all too much to take. Clearly I don't wait for them to introduce themselves but do I just call them by their first name regardless of the fact they do not know mine? Do I talk about something from one of their videos but then, I already commented so...? So I complement them, that sounds simple. But it's also loaded - am I sucking up, am I looking for an endorsement on their channel? I'm not, I just wanna say hi but how do I convey that? It doesn't help (although I do really like it) that they are all a pretty tight-knit friendship group themselves, at least in the UK. Why would you wanna talk to me when you could talk to the people I wish I was talking to?
And all this is exacerbated by the fact that I am socially awkward enough with people I know, let alone strangers I admire in varying degrees of intensity. There were many times today I could have spoken to many people whose videos I watch ad nauseam - got a glass of water right next to where Johnny Durham was standing, Alex Day stood behind me the entire Blue Skies set, bought a t-shirt off Jazza etc. And it's not that I think if I go up to them they'll be horrible because I'm sure they are all really nice; at least all the evidence points that way. But if I start the conversation it will also be my duty to sustain it and I am not a good small talker at the best of times.
It's also true that lots of vloggers started making videos because they themselves are not very good at social interaction. So two people, neither of whom are any good at casual chatting about nothing with total strangers, is just the right ingredients for an incredibly awkward and in the end dull exchange in which both walk away wishing it had never happened. I'd rather point Charlie out in the distance than make him feel uncomfortable because of my inability to chat with him like a normal human being.
But despite all this, I did genuinely have a good time. I got to see some people I haven't seen since last years gathering, met lots of people as awkward as me, got soaked in the rain and enjoyed every second of the gig: including afterwards when The Luminaire was transformed into an indie disco. And the gig was really awesome - I love going to see bands where the audience know all the words and dance and sing along. Like the entire event, the atmosphere was really lively and laid-back and it helps that everyone who played is ridiculously talented. The point of going is not to meet famous YouTubers necessarily but to enjoy yourself amongst a group of people who, like you, know all the words to Indigo including the colour verse and who are wearing the same Johnny Durham t-shirt as you. And it's fun to meet new people and chat about things normally only a few of your friends care about. It's fun to play 'Spot The YouTuber' when you're in a massive circle for Duck Duck Goose. To some extent, it's fun to embarrass yourself. At least it'd make a good story for your blog (better than this one).
I'm going to go now because I can't hear myself above those people talking at the back and I need to give Jez some birthday beats. (That's another good thing about gatherings - the private jokes).
Saturday, 7 August 2010
I want to talk about the big elephant in the room (and by room I mean my life) but I want to start by ranting about my real life. For a change. Because, let's be honest, what's the point of a blog if not to occasionally get angry and feel like you're doing something constructive with it when, in reality, the only people who will read the post will be people who, due to friendship or familial commitments, are predisposed to agree with you?
Anyway, my bathroom ceiling has become a massive saga. We started with a leak coming through our bathroom light fitting, which spread across the ceiling and down the wall. We had one builder, who came in looking like an extra from Dawn of the Dead, and fiddled with the toilet upstairs. But nothing stopped. So someone came and bashed a massive hole in our bathroom ceiling and pointed at a leak. Thanks for that. The insurance company then got funny about doing the work and we've been waiting for days. Meanwhile an electrician has come and switched the fuse off so none of our ceiling lights work. Today, someone came and basically refused to touch anything because it the man upstairs' responsibility (despite the fact they are going to be billing his insurance company) and then, despite the fact it is the least urgent part of the job, offered to take our ceiling down. And then, when he saw some Artex we plastered over years ago, cried asbestos despite the fact no builder we have ever had has mentioned it before.
And now we're back to fiddle-with-the-toilet builder to come back tomorrow to fix the pipe. Thank God I'm going to be out all day at Summer In The City.
Right, elephant in the room before my laptop dies or my dad wakes up (having fallen asleep next to me watching Old Grey Whistle Test footage) from my tapping of keys. The Elephant in the Room is... well, Cambridge. Or it would be the elephant in the room if people abided by my rule of no talking about it which no one has. But anyway, it's there. I've been going over options and e-mailing them and generally getting swept up in the prospect of going there which I've been trying desperately hard not to do.
I know, I know. They wouldn't have given me an offer with the Spanish grade I had if they weren't at least maybe going to let me in without the perfect grades most other people going will undoubtedly have. And, let's be honest here, of all the people who applied to Cambridge, I wanted it the least at the time of sending UCAS off. I thought it silly to pin my hopes on, thought that there were plenty of great universities who had none of the pressure intrinsically connected to Oxbridge. Including Exeter where I would be more than happy to go. It's awesome.
But I have to be honest, with results day only a few weeks away, I am realising that I do want to go. A lot. And maybe my reluctance has less to do with the fact I might not get in (which people, despite your sweet protests to the contrary, is a possibility) and more to do with the fact I'm not sure if I'm enough for it.
I'm not going to be overly-humble now - I know I'm clever. I have a string of exam results to prove to me I'm not stupid and if I get in, a panel of people who look at some of the brightest brains in the world will have decided I am, in fact, good enough.
But there's lots of stuff I don't know that somehow I feel I *should* know. Maybe I'm overestimating Oxbridge undergraduates but a part of me thinks that, to get in, you should be able to spell 'include' without spellcheck (which I can never do) or know when the French Revolution was without looking it up, should know more about The Peasants Revolt and less about Old Grey Whistle Test footage and gay soaps from Germany.
I don't know. I think even if I get in I won't be convinced I am good enough until I graduate and even then I'll do that annoying thing where I talk about 'scraping my result'.
Maybe all this is just fear of going from a big fish in small pond to a small fish in a massive pond full of people who, by a lot of measures, probably know a lot more about my subject than me.
And despite all this, and all my doubts about the grades and the snobbery and antiquated nature of the system, really want to go. I want, essentially, an academic experience from a university before anything else. I want to be stretched beyond my imagination and I want to read until I want to burn every history book in the world.
I want to get in. And even if, on the day, I act nonchalant, I will be very disappointed if I don't.
PS: The title of this post - three of the worst titles for children's books ever?
Friday, 6 August 2010
All in all, a boring day.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
First of all, I watched 10 Things I Hate About You which I concluded is just the best film of all time. Every scene is a moment unto itself, every joke hits the nail on the head, every performance the right blend of subtle and commanding. It even manages to tam that elusive beast: the teen movie soundtrack. It's not trying to be cool and failing because it's not trying at all. Just timeless guitar riffs and lyrics which fit the moment without cliché.
But then the really great news, the new that warrants happy dancing across the world and pride-flag waving in the streets. Proposition 8, which I have blogged about here before, has been ruled to be unconstitutional with some brilliant lines from the presiding judge:
"Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society. Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs' objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy -- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages."
Of course, this is not the end of the fight by a long shot. But what it has proven is that the sometimes the facts speak for themselves. Equality has won despite the many things (namely rich Christians) fighting against it and this ruling has the potential to make a massive impact on the similar rows taking place across the country.
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Due to my day being quite boring, I thought that I would try and write about something interesting not about my life. But I've come up a bit blank. So I might talk about my Interrailing trip because at least it's happy and I feel with everything that's happened since I came back (my card cloned, bathroom ceiling leaking, friends mugged) there's been little chance to bask in it.
We started off in Copenhagen which was lovely. Small enough that we could wander around easily, plenty of places to buy sausages and in general a truly beautiful place. I've never been there before and it struck me as an incredibly relaxed place. On the rest of our travels, people would say to us 'Copenhagen, that's very expensive' but at the time, we didn't notice it, possibly because we're used to London pricing. In fact, we probably spent the least there. Of course, alcohol is expensive but we only had a couple of beers. What was nice about our time in Copenhagen was it was beautiful enough that wandering around was entertainment enough. Not that we did nothing - we went up the Round Tower, saw Hans Christian Anderson's gravestone and went into the castle. Basically, it's a wonderful place.
Next was Berlin. I went to Berlin a couple of years ago with my parents and loved it. It's how I imagine London was before mass gentrification and one of the most interesting things we did was the 'alternative' walking tour whose major theme was gentrification. As interesting as it would have been to visit Berlin when the wall was up, I think this is a good time to go because, relative to other European cities, it's in the early stages of development. It's unique history also means there are lots of genuinely touristy things to do - Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorial etc. But possibly the best part of Berlin was the hostel. The people were knowledgeable and helpful, the other people staying there friendly and we went out for a couple of really good, big and cheap meals with the people there. I think that Berlin is my favourite European city and I'll be interested to see if it still is in a few years.
From there we went to Prague. We had an unfortunate journey spent in the aisle but our hostel could not have been closer to the station or more central. It's (and I think this is a phrase which will be repeated throughout this post) a beautiful place but in a more historic way that Copenhagen. We spent lots of time in the Old Town Square, sipping cheap beer and eating pizza slices and joining the mass of tourists who want to watch the Astronomical Clock go. In our only full day, we went up the castle which is incredible and it's awe-inspiring cathedral, around the Senate Gardens, across the St. Charles Bridge, off to John Lennon Wall and back for some time in the Old Town Square. It was a little bit rainy but overall I had a good time there, albeit short.
So then we moved onto Vienna. This is the only other place (besides Copenhagen) I haven't been before and it was truly beautiful. We spent our first evening having the weirdest meal I have ever experienced - we went to a pizza restaurant who seemingly had never met an outsider, gave us the largest pizzas I have ever seen, were playing Spanish christmas songs and gave us roses they'd plucked out of vases. Our first day was spent exploring the ring in the centre of Vienna - the Parliament building, town hall, theatre, Old Stock exchange etc. We went to see another clock go - this time the art-noveau Anker Clock and then another Jewish Memorial. From there, we went to Naschmart and Charlotte has some world class falafel. We spent the end of our afternoon in the Museum Quarter looking at Klimt's and an impressive Keith Harring exhibit. Had a traditional Austrian meal that evening and then an early night. Spent our last day at Schonbrunn Palace which was lavish on an epic scale. Then we killed some time back at the hostel before our night train, which was an experience unto itself.
And lastly, Venice. When we arrived it was under a raincloud... literally! But it did manage to wash away a lot of day trippers and we had a quiet, dry evening wandering around St. Mark's Square with pizza and ice cream (our entire diet during our time in Italy). Then, much like our first stop in Copenhagen, we spent our sunny day just wandering around. It's such a beautiful place, exactly how you would expect it and we did the typical things. Too cheap for a gondola but we did get a water bus, cross the Rialto which was right by our B&B about a thousand times, eat more pizza, cross endless bridges. It was boiling hot and we got bitten to death but it was very different from the other place we'd visited and was a good end to the trip. One frantic trip to the airport later and we were home and dry.
So that's it - a short summation of a trip that lasted 11 days but felt like 11 months. In a good way. I had a fantastic time and I hope my memories are not tarnished in the future by what we came home to.
Until tomorrow fair readers (not that I have any proof I have even one).
Monday, 2 August 2010
Two friends of mine last night walking home from a party were mugged at gunpoint. Everyone is physically okay although I'm sure the phrase 'shaken up' is not enough to describe how they're feeling emotionally. Pretty aptly sums up how I am feeling though. I got a phone call from Charlotte's aunt about half an hour after they had left and there was a terrifying few seconds and then lots of adrenaline and worry.
I am just really glad they are okay. I suppose most people would thank God but last night pretty much confirmed to me that I am definitely an atheist. There were lots of things I wanted to do: cry, throw up, give them both a hug; but I didn't want to pray or thank anyone in particular even though I was incredibly thankful. Incredibly thankful.
Essentially last night was tiring. Obviously this story has very little do with me and much more to do with them. Going over for a half hour or so basically to give Charlotte a half-hour long hug and then my plan is to read all day and rest and try and shower off this feeling of... I don't know. I wouldn't say I'm afraid to walk home alone anymore but this is the first time anyone I've been really close to has experienced crime. And real crime, not TV crime, is a lot scarier and less glamourous than even the dark fantasies you have in your head.
Just so happy everyone is okay and hoping (but not praying) a quiet day will be enough to shake my shaken up state.
Sunday, 1 August 2010
BEDA, if you don't know, stands for Blog Every Day In April. Except this year it is Blog Every Day In August so the organiser (young adult author Maureen Johnson) could take part (although due to VALID REASONS she is not doing it anyway but by this point lots of other people planned to do it anyway).
Okay - August 1st. Woke up a little bit fragile after a crazy night last night; my best friend turned eighteen and had a whole big party. It was equal parts fun and emotional. Then, in order to make me feel less fragile, I went to see Toy Story 3 and cried pretty much all the way through. So now I still feel fragile.
I really enjoyed the film. I think the great things about the franchise is that it seems like such a simple idea, one that seems so obvious you can't believe it hasn't been done before (incidentally, this is something I universally feel about good art whatever the medium). The characters are so well drawn, each with a unique personality even those who have limited screen time or dialogue, like the three-eyed aliens whose mantras of 'The claw!' and 'You saved our lives, we are eternally grateful' are seeped in humour and emotion.
But what made this film particularly sad for me at this precise moment in time is that, like Andy, I am about to pack my childhood away in boxes and go of to university. In the same way that Andy is saving his toys in boxes for an undisclosed future when he might want to dig them out again, I have tonnes of relics from my past stored away. Not only have I grown up with the films but now I've grown up with Andy. A little part of me though, the same part that is terrfied of the real world, wants to go back to when the first one came out; to go into the Disney Store and buy a new Woody doll and play with it for hours. Because Toy Story itself is a relic from my childhood, albeit one I still enjoy. The way Andy wants to hold onto Woody, I want to hold on to Andy. That simple truth makes every poignant moment even more potent. Or at least that's my excuse for bawling like a baby.
Beyond that though, it's a wonderful film and I would recommend it to anyone.
So that's it. My first BEDA blog. Guess I'll see you again tomorrow.
PS: Promise to think of some interesting things to write!