Monday, 31 July 2006

Anonymous phone call

People; why are they so aggressive?

Sudiegirl asked the other day about mindfulness.

So little space, so much anger
Mindfulness is a form of meditation which focuses on sensory experience of the here and now, on peacefully being in your own body and in the moment, without passing judgement.

Therapeutic mindfulness, as practised by my dear J, is similar to, but distinct from, mindfulness as practised by Buddhism.

Babies and young children, I guess, are always mindful. A baby will cry because it feels hungry, or cold, or because the wet diaper feels uncomfortable.

At some point though, I guess we all start adhering to constant orders of having to wait for gratification, to 'put up with things' and pull ourselves together.

And all of a child's actions are usually met with a "oh, that's great" or "no, that's bad".

Which obviously help develop useful coping strategies for adult life, but it also means that we distance ourselves from the moment, from just being without being judged.

How much time every day do we spend thinking about 'other stuff' rather than just 'being'?

Thinking about the laundry we should be doing while eating our dinner, thinking about unpaid bills during sex, worrying about exam results while out on a date, being annoyed with past arguments while on the phone to a sick parent... the list goes on.

Mindfulness is about giving your mind a break from the past and the future, and staying in the present.

It sounds simple, but is surprisingly difficult. Whenever I try to practise alongside J, I find that my mind wanders off in all kinds of directions almost immediately.

Buddhism advocates mindfulness as a way of life. You can do your dishes mindfully (feeling the warm water, smelling the soap), you can garden mindfully (watching insects and birds).

Sometimes I'm shocked to find that I've driven long stretches in a car without actually noticing anything around me because I was too preoccupied with thinking about something else.

And inevitably the 'something else' would have been less important than not running over any pedestrians.

Like today on my way to work for instance. I was cycling (admittedly without any lights...) along an empty road in the dark when I heard a car come from one of the side streets as I was crossing it. I stepped on it as well as I could, and just about avoided getting smashed by a massive BMW.

Half of me was mostly preoccupied with the acid smarting my thighs from cycling uphill, but half of me also wondered why someone would be in a rush so late on a Sunday evening.

The car sped to the top of the hill, did a u-turn and parked in the middle of the pavement next to a phone box which I'd never noticed before.

Which again made me wonder what on earth anyone would need to speed to the phone for at this day and age of mobiles.

A guy rushed out of the car, into the phone box and had time to dial a number by the time I passed him again.

He was shouting down the phone at the top of his very aggressive voice. "Put her on the goddamn phone, I have the right to fucking talk to her if I want!!" and so on.

Someone has obviously been banned from calling someone, maybe their number even blocked, and so has to resort to calling from anonymous phone boxes, as a witheld number probably wouldn't be answered.

It was pretty intimidating, and I cycled past as fast as I could, lest he come out and give me the same treatment. I considered taking the number of his car, he sounded serious, but didn't.

And without wanting to oversimplify things; there is no way to build up that kind of hatred and anger (it really was hatred in his voice) without stewing over something for a long time, unable to move on and leave the past in the past.

Rather than being sometimes in my head, I guess I should aim to be "always in the now". But it's difficult.


Bonus Technorati tag:


More about Mindfulness :: from Wikipedia :: from Oxford uni

Sunday, 23 July 2006

How to be happy?

I know that being happy makes boring blogging. But today I really am quite content. A big, fat 7 out of 10, I think. Which is a lot better than I have been lately.

"All these days that came and went... Little did I know that they were Life"
I agree with my reviewee; blogging about when you feel miserable is mostly a waste of mine and everyone else's time, as I just end up being bored to tears and ashamed of myself for complaining when clearly so many people around the world are worse off than me.

Take the Lebanese, for instance. Or the people in Mogadishu. Or a girl I just spoke to who lost her baby about a month before it was due.

What are my complaints? I don't have a job for much longer, I haven't had sex for over a month (eek!!) I don't know if my boyfriend wants to stay with me forever, I just had a cancer scare, I miss my family desperately, and I think my tummy is slightly flabby (J thinks not), bloated and crampy.

I should really just shut up. About the unhappiness, I mean.

Another reason I'm happy today (other than I think I should be) is that J came over in my lunch break at work, bringing crispy duck and other Chinese takeaway pleasures. We ate it outside , where the sun was setting, while reading the Observer and enjoying the for once comfortable temperature. I could live like that.

J has been practising his mindfulness meditation this week, at the behest of his therapist. I really think it makes sense. We spend so much time worrying about our future, past or the unwashed dishes, that we forget to sense the grass between our toes. It sounds simple and obvious in a 'stop and smell the roses' way, but it's really very hard work.

I've been trying to be 'mindful' myself, and although I think I'm a more naturally 'mindful' person than J in general, it's really hard to just stay in the present for more than about 30 seconds at a time.

I rememnber noticing at about the age of 14 that I felt less 'present' than I had used to when I was a child. I guess growing up unfortunately means a tendency to get completely wrapped up in yourself instead of noticing life as it passes.

I am planning to give him a 'mindful' blowjob as soon as I get a chance, as a reward for his hard work. Or just as a reward for myself? It's hard to tell the difference.

Bonus Technorati tags:


Saturday, 22 July 2006

Thunder and tennis lessons

Did you hear the thunder last night?

J and I were asleep with the window and curtains open in the stifling heat.

I woke from flashes of light, and thought our mad neighbours might be having a photosession in the garden.
Shelli likes halters; I have a teal version
But it was lighting. Constant, like the red carpet ahead of the Oscars.

I couldn't hear any thunder yet as it was so far away, but the air was icy and you could smell the rain coming. I love that smell, of wet dust and parched earth turning into mud.

I thought I'd managed to avoid waking J, as he was sleeping with his back towards me and the window, until he suddenly reached out for my hand and squeezed it.

"I think the thunder is coming," he said.

His hand was warm and dry, but his belly slightly damp from the sheets and the heat when I stroked it.

So we lay there, hand in hand in the dark, only lit up by the lighting, and the thunder came closer and closer, almost inaudible at first, but then louder and louder, almost constant.

But it didn't pass overhead. It passed about 5km from where we were judging by the sounds of it, and it didn't rain.

I lay awake until the lighting and the thunder were almost 15 seconds apart, and then I drifted off. It was a lovely way to spend an hour in the middle of the night.

I made us a smoothie for breakfast.

In the afternoon, J gave me a free-of-charge tennis lesson (I think he learnt most of his tips from watchin Wimbledon just a bit too much, but as a lower-middle-class child whose family could never afford pony riding lessons, ballet lessons, violin lessons etc, I can dream away about being daddy's little spoilt girl on the court).

An added bonus was that J has to bend over to pick up all the tennis balls I fail to hit correctly, meaning I get a good long look at his ass every five minutes.

Sometimes he's just wonderful.

Like today when we were driving along the M4 in the downpour, me with my feet on the dashboard (he likes to stroke my legs while driving, which I suspect is not very traffic safety friendly).

We realised we both like "Hotel California", and he doesn't mind if I sing at the top of my voice in the car.

In line with the later tennis lesson, we went to see a mutual friend earlier for a pool-and-cake party, and he was swimming around in the pool and squirting the others with a super soaker.

A year ago he would barely take off his shirt in public because he was so shy. Sometimes I really think there might be a way forward.

And before the cake party, he spent all morning with me in department stores, looking for accessories for the lovely dress I bought for the first of this summer's wedding parties.

No complaints, he was happily contented with reading the Guardian Sports section while waiting, and only wanted an M&S eccles cake as a reward (not realising what an enormous OD of sugar the cake party would turn into later).

Only a few more days at work before he whisks me off to the countryside for the wedding... and some sexy games in a chinzy B&B, if my cervix allows.

Life is sometimes quite great, you know. Maybe he even actually loves me.

Bonus Technorati tag:

JGF rolls the dice II :: Media student grows up

Yup, it's that time of my shift again... If you would like your blog reviewed, leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

BOUDICA OF SUBURBIA

Overview

Boudica is a half-Ukrainian comfortably reciding in Middle Class England, or at least I assume so since she can afford to do work experience for pretentious magazines (don't go there, medear... Oh well, you'll learn).

I also think she might be a recently graduated media student ( hates Tories, reads the Guardian and supports the BBC) ...

She is, as one might expect, occasionally slightly feminist, but since it involves discussing pubic hair, it is all very endearing and reader-friendly. She has also flashed her pubes at the Beeb.

Otherwise, she blogs about the usual; her life, sex or lack of such, music and current affairs. And she's from Reading. OMG. My condolences, dahlin.

Media whore in the making, indeed. Follow her from feeble student to respectable IT employee (are you at Oracle, hon?).

Content

It's a diary. But a good one.

Boudica has been blogging, on and off, since 2004. This means she has had time to find a voice. But even the early ones show intelligence and insight.

Which one might not expect from someone who is also generally preoccupied with getting laid/drunk/a job (why is it that everyone who blogs seems to have ample time for this?).

Also went through a year-long Half-nekkid Thursday Phase, so some part of her does live too much in the realm of bloggers. Yes, males, if you look through the archives, there will be nipples.

Boudica doesn't use long words, or winding sentences. But she gets to the point and does it very well, too. She also has a sense of humour, reviews porn and doesn't take herself that seriously. Brownie points aplenty.

She keeps half an eye on current events, and covered the Orange Revolution back in 2005. And she has a heart. Bless her. In 2004 when she was a way less frequent blogger than she is now, she did Tsunami post. I like that kind of thing. I like people who are brazen on the outside and kittenish on the inside. Because that's what I'm like...

However, I don't think she's sharing all with the audience. For instance, she suddenly mentions a meeting to Depression Anonymous. There are also hints of possible self-harming?

A little secrecy is no bad thing; I don't think people should be obliged to bare all. Still, it makes you wonder what else she is censoring, as part of the blog's appeal is that it seems honest and earnest. There is a general feel that there's a lot she is not saying.

All in all, this is a well rounded personal diary. I like it. Possibly because it reminds me of my own blog.

But most likely because the writing stands it above the rest.

I'm not entirely sure she knows what the next post will be, but that's the beauty of it, yah?

Template

Could do better

I assume B has changed her template a few times, not realising / caring that it leads to posts like this one being completely unreadable. Bit of a bummer.

As far as I can tell, this is an edited Blogger template. Which is OK, but a bit lazy, since I think she has the IT skills to do something better.

However, great links and a considered and carefully selected blogroll earn bonus notches on the bedpost.

Needs permalinks, clearer headlines/dates. Could be easier to navigate. And the links at the bottom of the page are a complete waste of space, as well as looking messy.

Layout, spelling and grammar

That degree was worth it
Layout is pretty standard.

She occasionally uses colour/font variations to her advantage, like in this rendition of MSN conversation with sad horny man. More of that, please.

Sometimes Boudica does photo posts, but even better, she does MS paint illustrations. I don't know if that was just a phase, but more of these, please...

For some reason some posts have tons of empty space in them. Which is better than cramping, but honestly, scrolling isn't that much fun. What's the point?

Spelling & grammar are generally very good, save the odd lazy lacking apostrophe.

Conclusion


Oh yay.

She has a damn good blog which is not audience-pandering, yet enjoyable. Get thee there now, gentle reader.

You'll know quite soon whether she's someone you'll want to get to know better, and if that is the case, this blog is a very good way in. You, the reader, will be left feeling like you're her bestest friend.

This girl is me, about 5 years ago (down to the frame of her glasses. She even watched Mean Girls (mentioned in my previous post) within 24 hours of myself watching it. What is this, the lost blog of my youth??!).

What can I do, but give her a big, fat dice roll of that very number.

Bonus Technorati tag:

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

The cool people

Last night, after J and I had enjoyed a lovely two-course dinner (courtesy of J and Waitrose) and a board game (which I of course lost) in the garden, I came inside to find a message from my ex-flatmate on my phone.

So, are you a Heather or a Veronica?

"Yet another lovely summer evening, yet another lazy pint," it read.

"I have to do my therapy homework," J said. "You should go."

So while he was upstairs struggling to deconstruct his unhelpful thought patterns which lead to stifling feelings of social inadequacy, I headed off to see my friends.

By the time I got there, it was already quite late, but the Thames looked quite glorious in the late night sunset, and my friends were already quite well underway to becoming ridiculously drunk.

One of them, a very extroverted girl who works for a major national radio programme, was talking about how she used to be really shy and insecure around people her own age.

"I was terrified of cool people," she said. "The cool people were always so witty, they always had such sharp comebacks.

"Even though the popular girls in my school were no Heathers, I was still mortified at the thought of meeting them outside the classroom."

In junior high, I was lucky enough to be among the 'cool' people in my class, and not only that, my group also contained the cleverest students, and so managed the rare feat of being loved by teachers and feared by co-students.

We were never really mean to anyone, we didn't bully them, we just dominated every classroom discussion, got the best grades and therefore got away with murder, went to the coolest parties at the weekends and generally ignored anyone we deemed less clever and interesting than us.

I didn't consider myself one of the popular and cool people until I was told at the age of 24 that we were 'the cool people' and had 'bullied' other less clever kids. It still baffles me today.

Maybe we shouldn't have posed people questions we knew they couldn't answer when they were doing classroom presentations... But we just thought that was their own fault for being too lazy to prepare properly.

Anyway, when I went to high school, separate from my old friends, I largely stayed out of socialising with my fellow students. They were largely American, and really, it was like being in a teen movie. "Clueless", eat your heart out.

For the first time in my life I experienced people who actively were seeking to be 'cool' by striking fear into others. Being 'cool' or 'popular' was a goal in itself, and more important than anything else.

It was amazing to see how there were all these very shallow and boring stereotypes available, and people were just dying to fall into them. Even the 'outcasts' were clichee outcasts. It was a rather sad situation.

I was generally respected because I had, as opposed to most of the US girls, a neat ability to befriend guys and say 'vagina' out loud without blushing. It didn't really take much.

Yet I still cringe when I think of the horrible social hierarchy that reigned there.

Sometimes when I read people's bitchy blogs, I have to think of the (exceedingly crap) film 'Mean Girls', based on the book 'Queen Bees and Wannabees'.

It's as if people haven't moved on since high school; they are still obsessed with judging other people because deep down in their self-obsessed and warped teenage mind think that other people are obsessed by judging them.

Or so it seems. But it's not how it is.

Adults are preoccupied with whether they'll be made redundant or have their contract extended, whether they can overcome the sexual abuse they experienced as children and how they'll put the next meal on the table for their kids. Generally.

Most teenagers, fortuately, move on.

My friend said there was a moment, at 24, while travelling in the Middle East with a group of students in their late teens, when she found herself singing at the top of her (very good) voice in a restaurant.

"I realised I hadn't thought about whether other people were staring at me," she said.

"And, more importantly, I realised I didn't care.

"I had come to the stage where I thought, well, cool people, I have standards too. How about you make an effort to live up to my standards, rather than me being paranoid."

And on that note I promise I will forever stop chasing readers for my blog.




Bonus Technorati tag:

Monday, 17 July 2006

JGF rolls the dice I :: Aussie seeks identity, cock

J's Gf makes her first foray into reviewing! Well, not really, I used to review stuff at university, but soon found that I was too vindictive to do it well. In addition to preferring to create rather than write about things created by other people.

But hey, it used to get me freebies... Hint, hint, Alicia. Send me that Murdoch rag, now.

Alicia, you said you wanted me to review "you". Well, that's therapy, hon. Gonna cost ya more than a copy of The Australian...

If you, dear reader, would like a similar review, pls leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I'll get around to it another day when my own life is too depressing to blog about.


JUNIORBRIDGETJONES

Overview
I used to think that all Australians are laid-back and chilled-out; how wrong was I.

This is the blog of a 20-something student trying to
A) get laid (which she does, but apparently not often enough)
B) make it as a journalist.

The quality of this blog is highly variable, but I get the impression that it is a fair reflection of Alicia as a person; she is rather immature for her age and seems to be desperately searching for recognition and identity, be it through getting laid or getting her work printed.

Content

Strongest point but inconsistent
The blog is quite new, so maybe it's no wonder that it wobbles a little between being a personal ranting diary, a wannabe chicklit-style column and a search for public redemption for Alicia's actions (which display remarkable lack of self-insight for a girl her age... Although that is I guess part of the charm).

The writing is at times a bit repetitive and self-absorbed. If I wanted to read more chick-lit (which I btw detest), I'd be buying it...

However, there are definite gems there, notably when Alicia takes a break from talking about herself. Her 'boys 101' entries are hilarious, and the story of how her grandma lost her soul mate is very touching.

Also, there is an entry about her feelings for her "stepmother", which seems a rare display of genuine emotion. I get the impression that the whole blog would be better if Alicia stopped trying to project a persona, and just was honest.

Maybe she is being honest and has just overdosed on chicklit at a stylistically fecund point in her 'carreer'. In which case, get thee to a book store and get some proper reading, gal.

Recently she's also taken to posting entertaining photos, presumably from email forwards, which seems to clash a little with the tone of the rest of the blog. Unless she made them herself, in which case, good work as they prove that the humour of the 'Boys 101' entries was not just a fluke!

Template

A bit lazy...
It's a standard blogger template, and although I generally think the writing of a blog is a lot more important than its design, I think it could do with some TLC. At least change the 'edit-me' links in the side bar to something a little more imaginative, and insert permalinks somewhere so people can more easily link to posts (yes, they may want to!)

Could do with links to posts explaining the main characters involved. Alicia states below her photo that all we need to know is that she wants to get laid, but I disagree. A little more background, or at least links to a few crucial posts, would have been very helpful.

Alicia says she works as an ed ass., meaning (in most cases) that you have about 6.5 hrs per day between coffee making and photocopying to play around with some pretty snazzy software.

If you want to be a journalist, use the downtime to become proficient in PhotoShop etc. and make your own header image. Or at least google something.

Layout and organisation

Not too bad
As a budding journalist, Alicia seems to instinctively know that stuff online reads better in small paragraphs. However, I think they could be even smaller.

The blog appears to be very actively aimed at an audience rather than just being a private journal, and if that is the case, it is important to facilitate people's reading of it.

I also think Alicia should settle on using one text colour for regular text, rather than varying it wildly. Variations in colour online usually means it is a link or something especially exciting, and if it's not, it disappoints the reader.

Because this blog (I suspect not unline Alicia herself) appears a bit scatterbrained, it would probably help to have categories or tags so people could more easily follow storylines and toics.

Grammar and spelling

The spelling abilities of a true journo

I always thought 'crutch' was something you leaned on when your leg is broken. Apparently it also exists between Alicia's legs. 'Pseudo' is thus spelled. Who am I to say; I'm not a native English speaker. There are various spelling mistakes, so entries could possibly do with a spell check before posting. Grammar is generally good, though.

Conclusion

One to watch

With some work and some reining in of the self-pity (she's 22, relatievly attractive; if she wanted to get laid I'm sure she could. she can afford to do work experience; some people have to slave in pubs and supermarkets just to pay their rent*) this could be a really good blog.

Just like Alicia, given some perspective and a few more years of experience, could probably be a good writer and lucky in love. Interesting as a work in progress.


Bonus Technorati tag:



* There is an indication that Alicia herself realises that self-pity generally puts people off, as she says "Some crappy, self involved, "woe is me, I am such a victim", posts lately. I will return to my tabloid trash in no time and be sure to post some porn."

Yes, please.
Or at least put some parental guidance on the most major whining

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Yes, indeed you do...

...talk too much, I mean.

I am referring to a recent review I just received from one of those "I can't think of anything to write about so I'll review other people's blogs"-blogs.

I find the courgettes in my garden strangely sexy at the moment... OK, so I'm clearly not getting any.
Although mostly thank you very much for driving so much traffic to my blog!

For you people who arrived by 'recommendation' of the self-proclaimed bitches at I talk too much, I recommend reading the first post ever to find out why I'm 'J's girlfriend'.

Maybe I should review some blogs myself? Yes, I want to.

In fact: If you want your blog reviewed; honestly but thoroughly, leave a comment on this post and I'll try to get around to it.

Remember, you'll get lots of traffic from it, even if it is a bad review, apparently.

I received no spanking from the Bitches, which I guess is good since I technically speaking don't like to be spanked. I generally stick to giving great blowjobs, but thank you for offering.

Not to mention, I'm articulate and write for a job, so may actually manage to get a point or two across...

OK, enough with the bitterness; I should really not be blogging about blogging, because it's the number one thing that really puts me off when reading other people's blogs.

I have been feeling a lot better today.

I've just gone through one of those phases lately where everything feels crap, you can see your life imploding on top of you and there seems to be a smudge covering the pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel.

There's been the cervical biopsy and all the gory complications including being forced to become a born-again-virgin; J feeling depressed, me being jobless soon...

Sometimes it all gets a bit much, even for the Girlfriend.

But today I slept in until really late, had breakfast in my beautiful garden and then went for one of those indulgent, guilty Tesco trips where you get everything you want and spend 1/2 hr contemplating what kettle descaler to get.

I cooked a lovely sauteed veg and tuna pasta salad for dinner and then spent a little while playing Final Fantasy X. And before you ask, I really do have friends, honest! but sometimes it's just nice to spend time alone.

Now I'm at work, and strangely, watching other people desperately apply for jobs I don't want seems to have a calming effect.

I feel lucky today.

Maybe I'll even get laid later...

~~~~~***** Bonus *****~~~~~

Tuna and sauteed veg pasta
(serves two generously)

Ingredients

Pasta, cooked to perfection (preferably something that holds oil well, such as Fusili or maybe a good penne rigatone)

Large clove of garlic
Good handful of green beans
Two large handfuls of chestnut mushrooms
1/2 medium salad onion
Two good handfuls of wild rocket
Sundried tomatoes; dry or in oil
Antipasto roast peppers in oil (optional)

Tin of tuna in oil or water

Some balsamic vinegar, ground salt and pepper to season
A squirt of lemon juice if you like

Parmesan to serve


Procedure

Boil the pasta in salted water; take care not to overboil. Drain and rinse well in cold water.

Fry garlic until golden.

Top/tail and chop the beans in half, quarter the mushrooms and slice the onion. Add seasonings and sautee with garlic until soft.

Add the rocket and sundried tomatoes, stir until rocket wilts.

Toss in warm pasta with rest of ingredients.

Drain tuna and add carefully so that it stays a little chunky.

Leave to cool a little.

Grind over parmesan and more pepper to serve.

PS! I recommend using either tuna or tomatoes in oil; if they're both in oil it can become too greasy.

Bonus Technorati tags:


Saturday, 15 July 2006

Timewasting

Click here to see my naughty time wasting links.

I got really pissed off with J today.

Why is it that men have this ability to just peacefully sit on their arse while you [the woman, ed. remark] are running your own off??

We both went out this morning to do our bit for Sport Relief (as should you; it'll come again next year like an evil mother-in-law to bite you on the arse).

We've socked it to poverty; click here to find out how you could raise money by not sitting on your arse quite as much
It was actually really nice; I ran my mile in about 8'30", which is not that speedy, I know, but I could actually talk when I crossed the finish line.

J timed me and met me with a concerned "get some water, you need to drink something", despite the fact that we run at least three times as far on a regular basis when jogging together.

Then we hung out in the park, read the Saturday Guardian (or at least the bits that weren't gone with the wind) and had ice cream and I had a mechanically recovered meat hot dog which I'm now really regretting.

And then we got home. I had only about 90 min i which to shower, get ready for work, put on laundry, do the dishes and take care of the garden which needs watering at least twice a day when it's this hot.

J nipped out to get some lucozade for himself, and I started on the watering, which is quite time consuming due to the hose pipe ban. Not that I own a hose pipe anyway, but still.

Then J got home, and he just plopped down on the sofa, declared out loud a list of things he'd do "later", and started reading the sports section.

Now, I know it's unfair of me to get pissed off about that, because theoretically speaking nobody, least of all J, was keeping me from doing the same (obviously I couldn't really read the sports section at the same time as him, since we only buy one copy of the Guardian to save trees, but hey, I like the family section too).

But I just get soooo irritated! I don't know exactly what it is that I get irritated about.

Partly it is because I feel he just expects me to do stuff while he can just sit there, although I know this isn't the case. He always asks me if there is anything he can do, and although he does it "in his own time", it does usually get done eventually.

What he doesn't realise, though, is that instructing someone to do something is almost as annoying as having to do it yourself.

It makes me feel like we don't really share the responsibility for housework etc; it's like he thinks he's doing me a favour by 'helping'.

Which in a way he is, because he doesn't have the same standards for cleanliness as I do. As long as all the remotes are placed perpendicular to the table, he doesn't see the dust on the TV.

But mostly I think it makes me feel that we don't really have a home together. It's been a long time since I mentioned this, but don't think for one second I forget that he isn't quite sure if I'm "The One" material or not.

And so, I blow little things like this out of proportion, because I'm always searching for clues one way or the other.

If I knew he loved me, I think I'd be more relaxed about it; I might still get annoyed but it wouldn't hurt as much.

Not to mention, I really hate procrastination.

So I did all the work, hung up the laundry and then napped for 20 min in a chair in the shade of my newly-pruned and watered garden. Bliss.

And that laundry better be folded up and taken in when I get home...

Bizarrely, though, as soon as I'm at work, I feel I can waste as much time as I like; I don't feel guilty about it. Because it's not my company; they pay me to be here and any work done should be seen as a bonus. I wonder sometimes if that's how J feels around the house.


******~~~~~~~~ Bonus ~~~~~~~~*****

My favourite time wasting links of the moment:

  • Popcap web games: None above, none on par... The funnest web games around.
  • Handbag: It's like Cosmo online, except less interesting. Lots of competitions in which you'll occasionally get sent things like cheap, crap mascaras for free.
  • The BBC website: Read about the news. Learn Spanish. Get a Buffy quote. Check what that nasty rash on your scrotum might be. If you tire of this site, you've tired of life..
  • Gamefaqs: Plan how to get Ribbon armour in Final Fantasy, learn that there is no way to escape a certain zombie train in Silent Hill. Develop strategies for timewasting when you get out of work.
  • Wikipedia: Did you know there was this much to say about Discworld? Me neither. And it should stay that way.

Bonus Technorati tag:

    Wednesday, 12 July 2006

    Born-again virgin

    As of today I'm up to one month without penetrative sex. Unless you count oral sex, obviously. Oh let's not get into the whole Clinton / Monica thing, pls.

    True Love Waits... but not for more than three weeks, surely??
    More about the effect of virginity pledges
    My friend pointed out to me yesterday that I only have two weeks to go before I am officially a born-again virgin.

    "It's like a muscle that doesn't get used; it becomes a lot tighter," she said.

    I reminded her that the vagina is not like a muscle that doesn't get used, it is a muscle that doesn't get used.

    And it certainly does get tighter. Which is of course nice. But so not worth the wait.

    My friend, coincidentally, has a clinically depressed husband (although this is not the only reason for our close bond), and dismissed my complaints of having to go without for a month as "a regular occurrence" for her.

    In which case, how do you cope, I ask?? They're married and everything!

    Which brings me on to the real topic of this post.

    The Silver Ring Thing.

    And all other similar chastity-promoting, abstinence only-programmes.

    As you might remember, an English schoolgirl was recently banned from wearing her Silver Ring to school, as it broke the school's no jewellery policy.

    Which I'm sure it did, but I suspect that the head shared my view of chastity programmes.

    Now my math isn't the strongest here, but I know that although chastity programme kids on average postpone their sexual debut by six months (which is actually a lot when you're 16 with a perpetual hard-on / moist virginal), they are also much more likely to have unprotected sex once they take the plunge.

    Simply because they don't know any better.

    The chastity programme which visited my high school (I don't know why they were allowed in, but then again the school was dominated by strictly Baptist Texans who took their kids out of English lit because there was too much talk about sex), for instance.

    They did this exercise where they gave every kid a card with either of the letters A, B, C, D or E on it.

    As we were all sitting in the auditorium, they asked the "A" person (there was only one) to stand up.

    "You have HIV from a blood transfusion," they said.

    Then they asked the "B" people to stand up. There were about four of them.

    "You had sex with "A". You're infected."

    Then the C's, who had sex with the B's, had to stand up, and so on. You get the picture. Until the whole auditorium was "infected".

    Which is of course terrifying, and a very strong image, but also completely wrong.

    In heterosexual vaginal intercourse, as far as I know the transmission rate is about 1/100.

    In other words, if those four who had sex with A were all one-night-stands, the chance that they would all be infected is a lot smaller than 4/4.

    They also gave the old adage about condoms having holes in them that HIV viruses can jump through.

    And yes, occasionally a condom fails, or is faulty. But very rarely.

    And then, of course, there is the chance of getting pregnant.

    Because the chastity-only people are also invariably 110 per cent anti-abortion, this is as horrible of a prospect as HIV.

    I therefore wonder, if any of my readers are more mathematically apt than me:

    Is a 'pledging' couple, owing to their less frequent use of contraception, not more likely to get pregnant or spread infections than a 'non-pledging' one? Since, oddly, when they do have sex (which they almost inevitably do), they are of course much less likely to use contraception.

    They are also much less likely to see a doctor if they suspect they have an STD.

    Not to mention the mental trauma of a 15-year old 'virgin' engaging in anal sex because that is perceived as 'allowed'.

    I don't know why it is that conservative religious people always have to resort to scaremongering in order to get their point across, be it threatening with hell, HIV or pregnancy.

    Surely Christianity's central tenets are tolerance and love, and what is love if not informing your kids so they can make their own informed decisions about sex.

    Rant over.

    Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the re-growth of my hymen for the next few weeks. Sob.

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    Monday, 10 July 2006

    Holiday trauma

    As promised, a gory and detailed description of my lovely holiday with J to follow.

    You may remember my recent medical history of a tendency to spread my legs in front of NHS staff.

    J, looking for somewhere romantic to take me for a meal
    I had a biopsy done due to severe pre-cancerous cell changes on my cervix about three weeks ago.

    The doctor who did it was very friendly, and we were chatting about my upcoming holiday. She mentioned nothing, I repeat nothing to the effect that I couldn't go swimming to my heart's content.

    And, since we had chosen to travel to a tourist trap full of hot weather, lovely beaches and cool ocean, that's just what I did.

    As J stayed in the hotel room doing his therapy exercises one evening, I took the opportunity to go swimming on my own.

    The water temperature was perfect, probably around 20 degrees; warm enough to allow me to stay in for as long as I wished, cool enough to be refreshing.

    I hadn't brought snorkelling equipment, but wore regular swimming goggles which allowed me to become closer friends with the fish who lived near the cliffs and seemed quite happy to swim alongside humans.

    J came to pick me up as the sun was setting. We spent the rest of the evening dining at the seaside and watching the World Cup semi-final on a big screen outside our hotel. It was actually quite romantic.

    Until I woke in the middle of the night because I felt something trickle between my legs.

    Still half asleep, I staggered to the bathroom, thinking it may be my delayed period.

    As I sat down, I felt something quite sizeable drop out of me. I looked down and saw the whole toilet bowl covered with blood.

    I woke J, who was very worried, and we took a taxi to the hospital which fortunately was only five minutes away.

    We first went to the ER. The woman who saw me simply said "there's too much blood. I will call the gynaecology department."

    Her colleague walked me there, and by the time we got there, I could feel blood running down the inside of my leg. Fortunately there was no pain, but I was starting to feel a bit dizzy, and my blood pressure was dropping.

    A local doctor who spoke very little English asked me sarcastically if I'd had my biopsy done in China (not sure if he was being racist or merely appalled at the NHS's handiwork). He proceeded to stuff 1.5 metres of gauze up me and told me to stay in the hospital until the bleeding stopped.

    Fortunately for me (again), the bleeding stopped quite soon after me lying down. I shared a room with amongst others a sizeable woman who managed to snore despite lying on her side with her mouth closed, so didn't get much sleep until 6 am when the nurses woke everyone to take their temperature.

    J, the sweetheart, returned as early as he was allowed to with supplies of food and reading materials. I slept almost all day while he sat by my side reading an old copy of the Observer.

    The next day I was discharged, still feeling a bit weak but much better. The doctors told me strictly no swimming, and no baths only showers, for at least four weeks.

    It also turned out that because the biopsy is considered "a pre-existing condition", I'll have to foot my own hospital bill.

    I am seeing my doctor tomorrow, and will in the kindest of ways ask why I wasn't told not to swim, even three weeks after my operation.

    And, of course, this means another 3-4 weeks of no sex. Which will bring me up to about 6 weeks in total. It's sheer torture, especially with J being all tanned and lovely.

    I know, I know, there's other stuff to do, but really, it's not the same without the icing on the cake. Or in the cake. You get the picture.

    I'm not feeling bitter that I had to stay in hospital, and with the exception of that one doctor, everyone was really friendly and helpful.

    However, it was just luck that we were staying in a civilised area right by a hospital. We could have been camping on an island, hours away from help. And God knows what could have happened then.

    Watch this space for a transcript of "J's girlfriend yells at GP - The Blockbuster".

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    Sunday, 9 July 2006

    The pain!

    And I don't just mean Italy winning the World Cup. That was, in itself, absolutely tragic, especially since I secretly harbour a soft spot for Zidane.

    Now I'm worried that I inadvertedly have a thug fetish.

    Although J says that the player who got him sent off has links with the far right in Italy and has probably said something very contentious and racist. Not much comfort for France, though.

    Otherwise, as you can probably tell by me posting, I'm back from holiday.

    It was wonderful to have my parents here, I only argued properly with my dad once during the whole week, and even then I managed to bite my lip after about 10 min. Being the mature one can be rewarding.

    I took them for a nice long walk in the English countryside, we almost got hit by golf balls crossing fields and waded in neck-high rapeseed flowers.

    Why all these public footpaths don't get used more by the Brits is beyond me. We went for a 10m walk and didn't see a single other person out walking all day, despite the weather being completely glorious.

    J and my dad also bonded over the football (I am also wondering why I think Zidane "must have been provoked" into the headbutt, while I just think that Rooney is a simple, unsympathetic thug).

    My mum and I went shopping, and even my sister wasn't too much of a pain in the arse most of the time, although the first whole sentence she uttered after arriving was "this mattress is really uncomfortable" (about the bed we had bought (albeit cheaply) especially for her).

    Then, J and I went on holiday together, which was rather traumatic but also extremely traumatic. That was the real pain. More about this later...

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