Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oh Shit...

Note to self-do NOT bid more than you can possibly afford on ebay. Repeatedly. Even when you are bidding for sexy sexy sock yarn, even when it's dyed with natural products, even when sock yarn is all you have thought about for days. Especially not when you know that large amounts of yarn from various different places is currently in the post for you. Especially not when you are going to Texere tomorrow. And especially not when you know that you won't be getting any more significant amounts of money in your account until after you've moved to Italy, and there's a whole summer to get through before that.

Oh crud, the internet is dangerous during times of high stress or relief and major knitting desire. I have never been that type of woman before-that type that spends large amounts of money on luxurious yarns. I've always prided myself on making my knitted items out of pennies worth of shitty acrylic or something dug up from an old lady's wardrobe, so that my hobby can count as thrifty and clever rather than an expensive obsession fueling the capitalist machine......I don't know what has happened recently. Oh well, no beer for me tonight.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tomorrow morning I have my final exam, a French oral. Since it is less than 24 hours away I should really be preparing for it, but I just don't want to. I don't really think there is anything I can do, other than find someone to speak French to, and that would just be silly (despite being a university level language student I have a real fear of actually speaking any language other than English. It's a bit of a problem). If I still cared about this module then it might be different, but I really don't anymore. I just want to get all the exams out of the way so that I can concentrate on knitting, sewing, learning Serbo-Croat for my holidays, and improving my Italian for...err, moving there (aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Three months to go!). French is just an irritating distraction at the moment, I should have known I don't have the brain for studying 2 foreign languages at once.

Anyway, after having a nice chilled weeekend I'm not really in an exam kind of mood. What with the Eurovision shenanigans on Saturday (oh my, that was truly fabulous. The arockalypse is here....), and full on Sunday relaxing yesterday, I'm not sure I can manage academic thinking now. Yesterday Iz and I went to the Leeds Veggie Fayre at the Common Place, which was really fun, despite the half hour walk in the pouring rain we took to get there (I was sodden-it's that fine rain, what soaks you to the skin...). There was so much yummy vegan food, both free samples and on sale for very reasonable prices, and lots of veg propaganda. I have littered our flat with anti meat leaflets for Graeme-I am one of those evil girlfriends who tries to convert their significant other to vegetarianism, no luck so far unfortunately, although he eats vegan slop 6 days of the week without complaint so I should be grateful. And I got lots of anti milk stuff for me, as a bit of incentive for me to stick better to my veganish diet. Some of the vegan literature annoys me, with its blatant twisting of the facts (especially anti honey stuff), but I know that it is mostly motivated by strong compassionate beliefs, so I can rationalize it to myself. But sometimes I do think that being too vehement, with any kind of activism/propaganda, can really turn people off what you are trying to say. It's a trap anybody with strong ethical beliefs can fall into, and really hard to avoid.

Anyway, lots of yummy food hooray. Including divine vegan rum truffles. Mmm. And even some raw nettle pesto, which was surprisingly good (although raw foods is something that will never truly tempt me-I just think life is too short.....but each to their own). Speaking of yummy food, I think I should probably go and knock up some Sosmix burgers and cous cous for my lunch. Study fuel, obviously...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Art and Fiddles

Last night was great-two very different experiences in one evening. First, Caroline's exhibition opening. I was very impressed indeed. There was very little work that left me completely cold, and for any contemporary art exhibition that's quite a feat, never mind for a BA show. Her work was brilliant, which was good as it meant I didn't have to feign enthusiasm (unlike at Graeme's show, but that's a different subject...). The space was great as well, and the whole thing had a really professional feel to it, much better than I expected. Plus there was free wine, and lots of fancy crisps with nice dips. I was the greedy person standing next to the food table for at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted snacking, cramming food into my mouth because it's FREE! Yes, I have no social graces whatsoever when it comes to any sort of buffet.

After an hour or so of being cultural and wafting around looking intelligent in front of paintings (and trying to hide the trail of crumbs that inevitably follows me), we set off to the Drunk In Public gig. There is quite a contrast between these two events. The exhibition was full of 22 year old art students in expensive dresses trying to explain their work to their rich but interested suit clad parents. The gig was full of 40 year old crusties and stoned 18 year olds. Guess where I felt more at home.... Anyway, it was awesome (as are all Levellers gigs). Who would have thought that four middle aged blokes with acoustic guitars and a fiddle could make people dance like that?! Drunk in Public gigs definitely have a different vibe to full on Levs gigs, but there's still the same rowdiness. You've gotta love a folk mosh pit-well, it's not exactly moshing, more everbody trying to jig in the same few square metres of floor space. I felt I held my own quite well as one of the only girls in the most 'lively' bit of said floor, and was quite thankful for my year of being dragged unwillingly to Leeds metal clubs for my moshing apprenticeship (it's all in the elbows). But it was good humoured and I even had a topless skinhead bloke thank me for dancing with him. It was also the most exercise I have had in a long time and I got seriously knackered, which is somewhat worrying.

Really looking forward to Beautiful Days now, and all the summer festies. Ahh summer, please come back to us! It has rained non stop all bloody week, after the tempting glimpse of how beautiful life in Leeds can be in the sunshine. No matter. We are supposed to be going to a barbecue this evening, I think it will be more of an indoor shove a load of things under the grill type affair. But I get to watch Eurovision!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ooh Get Me...

...with my fancy new blog template! Felt like changing it around a bit since it was shoddy and old and the about me bit was somewhat embarassing. Now it is spring like and good. And, if anybody actually reads this, they may notice the title has changed slightly. Yes, I realised that it really wasn't very good Italian before...really not at all. So, although I thought my Italian exam went well this morning...maybe not so much.

Procrastino troppo...

The last week has not been much fun. I have had so much to do, but have been doing so very little, and not even enjoying doing little, just feeling bad about not doing the things I need to do-and yet still not doing them. Hmph. But my essay got completed and handed in (20 minutes before the deadline-nice. Funny thing is, even 2 hours before the deadline I was still wasting time on the internet. Clearly i have masochistic tendedncies). And three of my four exams are now over, leaving only the french oral which I don't really care about. My exams went.....erm, they went, at least. Yesterday's was horrendous, and really highlighted the fact I haven't read a single book for my International Organisations module. This morning's Italian went surprisingly well, considering when I tried to do a past paper last night I had to look up every other word. And the French listening this afternoon was just farcical, but that's what I expected.

Anyway, I have been more productive on the knitting front during this very stresful week than for several months during which I've had little to do-what a surprise. I have a photo of my first sock! Being camera-less is upsetting, but the lovely Caroline sent me some snaps of an afternoon we sent sitting in the park (when it was summer, which seems to have passed now and been replaced by the much more expected constant rain), when I took along my lovely socks to knit. Eccolo:

Now I am working on a Clapotis for me (yes, I am the last person in all the world to knit it-this is why I am not a knit blogger), Graeme's lopi Fuzzyfeet (on hold due to tragic running out of yarn, more was ordered at great expense online but we weren't in when it was delivered and now it sits sadly in the Post Office in bloody Sheepscar), and the interminable burgundy hoodie. But I have a feeling this summer will be one of great things knitwise.....I have hankering for fancy shmancy yarn. And lace. And cables. And socks, so many socks... We will be doing a lot of travelling, lots of long long bus and train rides, lots of festivals, lots of lazing, so I'm thinking of making a big list of all my summer projects, accquiring or digging up yarn for each of them, and making sure that I have it all to hand. I'm going to be somewhat displaced over the summer, and I sure as hell don't want to miss out on an 8 hour journey's worth of knitting because my yarn is buried under all my boxes of crap.

I have an exciting evening ahead-Caroline's exhibition opening, then off to see Drunk In Public (Leveller's acoustic band) play in Holmfirth, thanks to last minute tickets from Graeme's little brother, then a house party if we aren't too sleepy (we are getting old now, and don't seem to have much stamina....)

Monday, May 08, 2006

It burns!

I truly am I great big moron. Just made the schoolboy error of rubbing my eye after cutting a chillie. I mean really, everyone knows not to do that. At least I didn't have my contacts in. Anyway, now I am squiniting with tears running down the left side of my face, and feeling like a complete fool.
The last few days have been most unproductive, mostly due to the sunshine. I got my Renaissance essay in on time, just, then decided not to do anymore work and spent most of Friday sitting in the park drinking copious amounts of alcohol in the sun. It was amazing. I lost my shoes. Good times. And despite my hangover on Saturday, me and Graeme spent most of the day at the allotment with other people from the collective, digging, barbecuing tofu and Sosmix, drinking homebrew and soaking up the last of the sunshine. When the weather finally broke late Saturday afternoon I was almost relieved, as I have an absolute inability to be inside and studying when the weather is halfway decent. Sunday it pissed it down, but it was OK as I had to work in the bar, then went for a lovely meal with my friend and colleague Kate. And once again, I did no work.
I did, however, finish my second sock. Woo! Just need to graft the toe. I am proud. They took a lot longer than they should have done, and have a lot more mistakes than they should have done, mostly because of the fact that I kept taking them out, getting horribly drunk and fucking them up. Is it bad when alcohol affects your knitting so seriously? Do I have a problem? Shit, I've just realised that if it wasn't for the drinking I would be a hugely accomplished knitter by now, rather than simply mediocre. Crap. Perhaps I should seek help. Anyway, I love my socks because they are a bit of a milestone for me. And they are green like spring grass. Wish I had a camera still.
Today has been a bit of a washout so far, one of those days when everything seems to be against you (hmm...I seem to have rather a lot of those). Cycled into uni to do 2 simple but important tasks-get a new student card (aagh can't believe I've lost it, I can't go the library or do my effing exams without it), and order my fruit and veg box from the co-op. Firstly, cycling whilst wearing a skirt on a windy day is not advisable. As a somewhat inexperienced cyclist, I did not realise this. Some people seem to be able to do it without a problem, but I ended up with my upper thighs on view to the world, struggling up the hill trying to yank my skirt down, but veering into the path of cars and pedestrians when I did this. Fun. Then I spent about 10 minutes trying to find Central Student Administration, which is very definitely not central. Queued up for a while, filled in my application for a new card, then realised I didn't have my debit card, and I don't know the PIN for my Visa, even after 3 tries. So I couldn't get my card, which I desperately need so that I can get some damn books for my damn essay, and I also couldn't order my veg because I had no cash to pay for it. Well done me.
So yeah, bit of a meh day once again. The only task on my to do list that I have completed is posting my parcel for the Glitter candy swap, which I really hope gets there as I put a lot of effort (and money!) into it, and it's my first ever real swap. Exciting! So now I suppose I will try and get some work done. Unlikely.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stress, stress and more stress

Last week was not a good one, all things considered. I had horrendous PMT (of the weepy, edgy variety), vast quantities of uni work that I just couldn't find the appropriate levels of motivation to get started on, worked the worst shift yet in the bar, during which I was reduced to tears by my utter arse hole of a deputy manager because my pint of Grolsch was too bubbly, and skived several important classes because all I wanted to do was stay in bed and mope. On Saturday I went out on the voluntary project that I co-ordinate, taking older people for a day out shopping. This is always moderately stressful, because I'm not great at organising things, but the reward of seeing them enjoying themselves and having a good old chinwag with some spritely 80 year olds normally outweigh the stress. However, this week it resulted in one of The Most Stressful Situations Ever.
I had planned for us to park the minibus in a shopping centre car park, as the wheelchair hire shop was actually inside the car park. How convenient! Going into the car park, there was a height barrier of 2 metres. There was nothing inside the vehicle that said how tall it was, so we edged through carefully. I even got out to check that it would fit, and it did, just. So we drove in quite merrily, until just round the corner we heard several enormous crashes. Yes, the minibus full of old people was fully wedged under the ceiling of a multistorey car park. Woo fucking hoo.
Long story short, we got the older people and all the volunteers except me and the lovely but quite distraught driver off, and they set off on their shopping trip whilst we spent an hour and a half extracting the bus. This was not an easy task. All the tyres had to be let down, several larger Yorkshire blokes had to jump up and down at the back to weight the bus, and poor poor Jess had to do the scariest manouveure of her life, reversing the bus slowly whilst the clutch burnt and the roof practically sliced in half. Oh, what fun. Once it was free, there was smoke pouring from the engine, filling the car park, and getting sucked into the air conditioning. We even got the manager of Next coming down to complain. Nice.
Thankfully, once the bus was free and the tyres were pumped up by the helpful security guy, the engine was still operational, and we got it to a garage to get the tyres fully up. Whilst we were there, I climbed onto a wall to have a look at the damage. The whole length of the roof looked like it had had a tin opener run along it. It had almost gone right through to the interior, but thankfully not quite. The back doors were also screwed, and there was smashed glass from the light that we mashed up all over the top of the bus. There was without doubt many, many thousands of pounds worth of damage to it. Impressive. It did get us back to Leeds, which I am incredibly thankful for because having to load eight old ladies onto the back of a tow truck would have been a bit much. But the noises that were coming from the roof all the way home were not at all encouraging, and I kept having visions of it caving in on top of everyone. Seriously, I think I've taken years off my life from my heart beating so fast all day.
Anyway, we got everyone back safe and sound. I don't think the older people realised the full extent of the damage and the severity of the situation we had been in, which is a good thing, and they all had a nice day out I think. So maybe it was worth it. We had to go round to the Action (the uni voluntary organisation the project is part of) co-ordinator's house to grovel slightly, she was surprisingly good about it, although she didn't actually get to see the roof which may explain why. I spent the rest of the evening drinking as many stiff drinks as I could find, and groaning. It was, I suppose, a character building exercise, but I can think of more fun ways to build character.
So, yeah, an incredibly stressful end to a stressful week. Today is a new week, and a new month, perhaps it will be better. I do have to write an essay on a very very long (2000 pages) Renaissance Italian poem that I have not really read, before Thursday. So that will be stressful. Nevermind, I'm going to Bradford for beer and curry this evening. Things will get better.....