Thursday, 24 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
After consulting Wikipedia (so naturally the following knowledge is perfectly true), I found that it is an idiomatic term first used in 1918 to describe 'a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, in a small space, with nothing to do, for an extended period'
Following the snowfall that came on my 21st birthday (december 17th), I had, somewhat optimistically, foreseen frolicking walks with leaping dogs (our dog has been dead for over 2 years), snowball fights, sledging, warm fires and a rosy glow from being outdoors all day. However, the extended period of time with my immediate family has made me long for lanes that have been gritted, or a house not in the middle of nowhere.
Everyone has retreated into different rooms by way of coping - I am now in the attic, feverishly typing and trying to ignore my mum's constant commentary of 'well, now at least you can get some work done.' such is my stubborness that I am now going to spend the rest of this afternoon slumming around, resplendent in my unproductivity. Wishing everyone a pleasant few wintery weeks - hide the axe in case it all gets a bit too The Shining
*side note: I love how, ridiculously, Eli Roth was inspired to write this after he got a skin infection on holiday. Because, obviously, that's identical to your screenplay, and not at all lame. also, I could rant about the horrible exploitation-fests that are Hostel I and II, but maybe will save that for another post.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
For starters, I'm sure she earned her place in every teenage girl's heart with her lovable persona, created in large part from her character in 'Clueless', and further cemented by roles in light rom-coms such as 'Just Married.' She was the doe-eyed ditz that we identified with as the klutzy 'Tai', who tried to break out of her typecasting by her roles in Sin City and 8 Mile. It's interesting that, though Perez Hilton loves to chart in minutiae the lives of screw-ups such as Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love, he left Murphy, for the most part, alone.
her husband, Simon Monjak seemed an atypical choice for Murphy; overweight and with a shady past, accused of conning women out of money. Hardly the perfect choice for a Hollywood screen star. TMZ is now reporting that he does not want an autopsy performed, an action that, for a woman accused of a drugs overdose, seems suspicious at the very least.
Perhaps Murphy's perceived naivete was really a truism, leading her down an unfortunate road with the wrong man. Perhaps she was in trouble from the very beginning, and managed to stop gossip blogs such as Hiltons' publicizing this by not giving them any evidence. Whatever the case, the death of a young woman is tragic and must be respcted whatever the circumstances; a nuance that TMZ et al. will surely not grasp in these upcoming days.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
As per usual, I have been back at university for nearly two months now, and any physical delights are being reduced to a bare minimum (apart from sex, of course) Riding and working outdoors in the steady drizzle has become but a fleeting memory, something to mull pathetically over while I am chained to my desk in the library.
I have become like Inga in 'Greenvoe', reducing myself to an intellengtsian, romanticized view of the outdoors, and probably pissing off the rain-soaked factory workers that I run by in doing so. My new favourite activity is to look out of the window, and as as soon as it starts to rain, I start to run. Through puddles and peaty paths, feeling the water come through my trainers as they make a pleasing 'slap' on the ground, feeling the rain soaking through my thin t-shirt and making me into a prime contender for a wet-tshirt contest (though I doubt other contenders would be wearing sports bras underneath)
I feel like Sillitoe's runner as he tears off the bark from a tree and devours it - at one with the elements, all-consuming, devouring mother nature. Pretentious as that may be (actually, pretentious as that is, it's the closest thing I can get to my work down South, mucking out stall after stall, and watching the steam rise from the manure in my wheelbarrow.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
I have been working a whole bunch - my shifts at the learning grid, a 24hr service for students at warwick university, show no signs of letting up during exam season: in-fact, I seem to be working more and more as the term continues. Part of the problem is I can't turn down shifts: those dollar signs flash beofre my eyes and I am powerless to resist (actually, I get paid in sterling but no-one sees pound signs flashing in front of their eyes- that's just silly.)
I've decided to make a concerted effort to improve my riding technique, and so booked some lessons at the Warwick International School of Riding. Having almost no English experience other than what I have taught myself (or have been taught, by a pony who has blatant disregard for my washing line reins and lack of leg contact ;) ), I was a little nervous when I rolled up. However, the place and facilities were so beautiful, and the people so friendly that I was sufficiently distracted. It bears testament to their professionalism that every new rider is instantly made to feel as if they belong. Janet, the owner, remembered my name after just one lesson. Now, as my boss of four years still calls me every name under the sun rather than my own..lol...this was a nice change!
The horses are really nice, from what I can tell. There doesn't seem to be any of the usual riding-school trickery - cut corners, napping to the back of the ride etc., and all three horses I have ridden: Dylan, Sooty and Senor, are very light on the forehand and quick to accept the contact.
My third lesson, with Janet rather than sara (? - I think), was definitely a change of pace! Now I understand why everyone looks shellshocked after her lesson - lol. Although I have never been shouted at as much in an hour, it really gives you the drive to ride to your potential. I fell apart a bit, resorting to my old technique of standing up for a stop, but her enthusiasm really motivates you to work hard.
I have some goals that I need to make clear in my head:
- a more secure lower leg. I thought I had a good seat from all these years of riding babies, but in sitting trot and canter my feet are literally falling out of the stirrups! Anyone got any tips for me?
- I was told that I was moving my arms too much. However, I think I can forget about this as I did a lot of crap in that lesson, most of it from anxiousness to please!
- deeper seat - again, I think I was tensing from nerves.
All-in-all - RELAX. damm, this english thing is hard! Jumping was amazing though, despite our taking every fence at a trot. I'm glad Sara taught me two-point before Janet's lesson, and I have to say that it far surpasses sitting upright over fallen logs in a western saddle, throwing ur reins out and hoping for the best.
I read that the Cavalry, when jumping was first conceived, were advised to 'sit back, close your eyes, kick with your legs and shout 'hup!''
Times are changing, it seems.
Friday, 8 May 2009
I've decided to include Emile Zola's 'Germinal' for what I think is a more accurate depiction of hard physical labour. Don't get me wrong, I was enamoured with Tolstoy's description of the peasants, but 'Germinal' really brought the crushing realities of working with your hands home.
I will post my essay up on here shortly - maybe a struggling student will find it (and feel very free to use it! I understand your pain)
Sunday, 26 April 2009
I can't even begin to describe how frustrating any kind of interaction with my mother is. Phone call today, the last of maybe seven this morning. I sighed, picked up. Cue several minutes of inconsequential chatter about friends that I don't know/distant relatives. fine, I can cope with that. Several, "how are you?'s that I always find difficult to answer, despite the person asking. If you taught me to answer, "fine, thanks", what do you think my natural fallback is gonna be?
Then a discussion of my friend, who my mother saw in town. How pretty she looked. I agree, yes she is very pretty. Pause. "Oh when the family was round we all looked at pictures of the wedding. It's a shame there weren't any good ones of you." Silence on my end. How am I meant to respond? And I know a therapist or similarly enlightened (and perhaps American) would tell me to express my hurt/anger, but I'm middle-class British ok, we don't verbalize that shit.
I've just gone back up to Uni. As a leaving present, my mum bust into my room proudly waving a young photo of herself. "I look like Matthew (my brother), don't I? It's a shame you take after your dad's side of the family, darling. " A little-too-hard pat on my head, then cue exit.
As I said, AAGGHHH.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
There's a quote in Virginia Woolf's Orlando, a quote which I would willingly tattoo onto myself if only I had the space. 'For what more terrifying revelation can there be than that it is the present moment? That we survive the shock at all is only possible because the past shelters us on one side and the future on another...'. This quote came to haunt me, one sunny afternoon, sitting in an English lecture at University. Whilst the lecturer had been talking, pacing from one side to another, I watched his feet. Half-pass on the right rein, then piaffe; a nervous, jerky step on the spot that made the brown leather of his shoes squeak. Then side-step, side-step, across the diagonal, then a pivot, and on he marched on the opposite rein.
I thought back to two weeks previous. Another Easter, another month at the stables. Becky was moving in with her boyfriend and his kid. They were waiting for the council to allocate them a flat. Maria was married; came down to pawn off her baby to us while she rode her mare. Becky's sister visited, proudly showing us her second child. 'I wanted a girl, but once you know it's hard to feel disappointed.' Nat, after a three month hiatus, was back with our boss' son, staying on site till they found a cheap flat nearby. As we sat, smoking, eating, drinking tea, dogs sniffed around us, playing dead until they had us in fits of laughter and we felt honour bound to give them some crusts. We got up with the dawn, often staying at each-other's houses. Mornings were spent feverishly creating mental lists of things to do, tack to clean, horses to vet. Or, more often than not, hungover, grimly recounting the events of last night whilst clutching cups of tea to our heads. By 8am Becky would slink off to attend to the dogs , and me and Nat would set a goal to finish mucking out.
By ten, itching to ride, chucking the last slabs of hay into boxes and slinging water into buckets, the lunge line would appear and so began the unenviable task of exercising the babies. Razor, an appropriate name considering his huge neck wound, would be done first. A colt, he had quietened considerably after the accident. Syringe, bute, bowl of warm water, paper towels. We would gingerly approach. 'ewwwwww. it's got even more pus than before.' I would try, unsuccessfully, not to look, then watch with fascinated horror as black, crusty scabs and pus were picked off and the wound was drained by catheter. He seemed to take a secret pleasure in being a martyr, enjoying the attention he received from two females. 'Bless your cottons, Raze, you're such a good boy.' Next was Tulip and Levi. Levi, Nat's showjumping prospect, dances around like the goon he is, a swinging trot punctuated by fits of bucking and snorting to worry his owner; 'you'd better not do that while I'm on, Levi.' Tulip, a barbie-esque palomino, quietly accepts her western saddle, always circling the lunge at a floating trot, however hard we try and make her jog. Lighting the first of many Lucky Strikes, we mount, taking the gravel path at a trot and turning right onto the road. As usual, the horses snort in alarm at the motorbike in a driveway they pass every day.
The woods, which will later blaze red and gold at sunset, are a soft green. We stop on occasion, listening for quad bikes or tree-cutters, but mostly let the horses pick their way through the undergrowth. Tulip babyishly climbs the banks, unwilling to muddy her feet in the swamp. Levi, the eternal prankster, hops over logs and randomly breaks into canter. Both washed down, we turn to the next two: DJ, a potential racing arab, and Reg, another jumper. I ride DJ, excitedly jogging on the spot due to a rigorous fitness regime and too many oats. As Reg, a 17hh giant, extends up the hill, I urge DJ on in two-point position, my hands almost by her ears. The ride is fun, filled with laughter. I take most of it at a canter, the incentive to catch up increasened by Nat's endless stories. They are filled with tales of drugged-up horses, shady deals, randy showjumpers. I recognize names I've heard at the World Cup Qualifiers, Hickstead, even the Olympics. I tell her how envious I am. "Well stay here then! You could borrow one of mine, I'll teach you how to jump proper. I reckon you could qualify for 1.10m at Hickstead by the summer."
Back in the lecture room. The sun, instead of energizing me, as it does at the stables, fills me with a leaden sleepiness. I suddenly realize where I am. Surrounded by my own existential crisis, I realize everyone is moving on. Having babies, moving in with boyfriends, starting business ventures. Where am I? What am I doing here, and why? For a terror-stricken ten minutes, thoughts of my road in life, the path of higher education I've taken, the very bad mark I've just received for my essay, and my incredible debt ,flood my brain. Looking down at the quote sheet, I see it. 'The past shelters us on one side, the future on another.' The future. Settled once more, I lean back a little in my chair, letting my mind drift to a world ten years from now, a world populated by huge barns, a cross country course, solariums, horse walkers, and a couple of big, powerful eventers whickering in their boxes. There's still time.
Monday, 20 April 2009
click on the link if you can bear the slightly overblown prose of the reporter
Sunday, 12 April 2009
How's this: every morning I attend to Razor's neck wound, where another horse kindly left his tooth. The catheter attached to the wound needs to be syringed with warm water, and then I have to PICK OFF THE SCABS AND PUS to keep the wound open. You know when you do something for so long you forget how disgusting it is? (This is my theory for how people can change nappies ten times a day anyway. ) Its like that now. Actually, its like watching a car crash: revolting, but fascinating. I can imagine myself missing it when I go back to University.
I'm trying to remember the name of the novel where people get aroused by car accidents, but the name of it escapes me.
Speaking of novels, I really should read some. The only thing I've read in the last month is 'Think Harmony with Horses', by Ray Hunt. Somehow, don't think thats gonna get me a 2:1.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
From now on I shall refer to the context of these musings as an o.j. - online journal.
actually, I've just thought about that and it conjures up disturbing connotations with the crazed OJ Simpson. cyber musings? screw it, I'll think about it later.
Sooo... Anna Arkadeyvna Karenina. The main protagonist in the Tolstoy epic, aptly named 'Anna Karenina.' The book, as some would lead us to believe, is a love story - Anna falls for the dashing (if balding) Alexei Vronsky, and, as love dies away *MASSIVE SPOILER AHEAD*
throws herself under a train, as she realizes she has lost everything - her place in society, her child, Seriozha, and her lover. However, being a subjective reader, I really feel the novel should have been re-titled 'Levin'. Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin is the novel's other main protagonist, and his idelogical struggle, for me, makes up the entirety of the book. This is not a love story - it is a social commentary about Russia and its relationship to the Westernized Europe in the late 1800's, and more importantly, an ideological struggle in one man's brain. I leave you for tonight with a quote from the man himself, as his attraction to the physical intensifies. To set the scene: Levin, to his brother's horror, decides to join the peasants workming the fields on his farm, in a distinctly Marxist move. more tommorow.
'Levin kept between them. In the very heat of the day the mowing did not seem such hard work to him. The perspiration with which he was drenched cooled him, while the sun, that burned his back, his head, and his arms, bare to the elbow, gave a vigor and dogged energy to his labor; and more and more often now came those moments of unconsciousness, when it was possible not to think what one was doing. The scythe cut of itself. These were happy moments. Still more delightful were the moments when they reached the stream where the rows ended, and the old man rubbed his scythe with the wet, thick grass, rinsed its blade in the fresh water of the stream, ladled out a little in a tin dipper, and offered Levin a drink.
"What do you say to my home-brew, eh? Good, eh?" said he, winking.
And truly Levin had never drunk any liquor so good as this warm water with green bits floating in it, and a taste of rust from the tin dipper. And immediately after this came the delicious, slow saunter, with his hand on the scythe, during which he could wipe away the streaming sweat, take deep breaths of air, and look about at the long string of mowers and at what was happening around in the forest and the country.
The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of unconsciousness in which it seemed not his hands that swung the scythe, but the scythe mowing of itself, a body full of life and consciousness of its own, and as though by magic, without thinking of it, the work turned out regular and well-finished of itself. These were the most blissful moments.
It was only hard work when he had to break off the motion, which had become unconscious, and to think; when he had to mow round a hillock or a tuft of sorrel. The old man did this easily. When a hillock came he changed his action, and at one time with the heel, and at another with the tip of his scythe, clipped the hillock round both sides with short strokes. And while he did this he kept looking about and watching what came into his view: at one moment he picked a wild berry and ate it or offered it to Levin, then he flung away a twig with the blade of the scythe, then he looked at a quail's nest, from which the bird flew just under the scythe, or caught a snake that crossed his path, and lifting it on the scythe as though on a fork showed it to Levin and threw it away.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
I know, I know, I hate following links too, especially if you have a browser that, if it was a person, would have been smothered with a pillow years ago.
However, wasn't that worth the effort??
You didn't do it, did you.
I'm only going to ask one more time
Whats not to love? Just when you think Elmo cannot possible be out-gayed, Chris Brown plays the trump.
I feel quite ashamed that for the last 24hrs I've been humming 'closed....op-en' quietly under my breath. damm brown and his catchy melodies.
Friday, 23 January 2009
Anyway, enough with the domestic abuse metaphors, this is meant to be a light-hearted blog, and I am determined not to bog it down with details of my mums breast implants, or how I got away with killing that old lady (a spiked bundt cake and rubber soled sneakers - for sneaking)
I realise that 'The Beginning' for the first post on a blog sounds a bit pretentious/biblical, and in any case, this is by no means the beginning. I have pootled along quite happily for 20yrs without feeling any need to document my life.
Recently I was reading an article which claimed that the reason Generation X was so dissatisfied with their lives was the endless memorialization of them by their parents.
Case in point: my nieces, and nephews in Florida, who every year are lovingly documented in a calendar showing them at christmas, skiing in Vermont. Them trick or treating in October. Them on beach pony rides on the beach. This, the writer claims, is dissatisfying because it leads each of us to believe we're important, a belief which is promptly shattered when we reach 18, and noone seems that interested in a scrapbook of our first steps. Call it cognitive dissonance, if you will - a gap between our perceived beliefs (that we are significant people in the world), and known reality (small fish in a huge ocean)
I was thinking about sites like twitter, myspace, facebook - each of them allowing us to create a persona, details of the minutiae of our lives that we think people will be interested enough to read about. For instance, a friend of mine recently updated her facebook status to read 'Nadine is eating a meatball and cheese panini'. Now, I don't mean to be rude (actually, I do), but WHO CARES?! Who on earth is actually interested in reading that?
Which brings me on to my first resolution for my blog - there will be no unnecessary details about the terrifying ordinariness of my day-to-day life. I realise this is probably easier said than done, but by God, I'm gonna try it. I don't know why I'm capitalising God, by the way, because I'm an atheist, but it just feels so right. Next, I will try not to veer off onto a tangent, which neither my readership, nor myself five minutes later, can follow. Again, this might be a hard one to stick to, and I want to delete that bit about God because it doesn't exactly segue, but by deleting it I would be breaking my next rule: not to edit any streams of consciousness that may prove insightful, or provoke discussion. So above, we have a potential argument for the existence of a higher power; not bad for an opener eh?
So to sum up (and for those who will have skipped that last bit out of boredom)
1) no pointless details about my mundane existence
2) no segue-ing (sp?) off into crazed tangents - no one wants to read that shit
3) no deleting anything that could induce discussion/heated argument
I want to add:
4) become familiar with at least the basics of HTML, but I fear that is a road that will not be travelled.
So, thats my resolutions done, and I urge you to poke me with a sharp stick if I don't keep to them, much like the MTV stick used to prod Audrina from The Hills from a comatose stupor into a semi-interesting being (they lost that stick in series 2, in my opinion) This is off-topic (dammit, thats 2) broken already), but did anyone see that deleted scene from The Hills where Audrina's friend was trying to talk to her about the particle accelerator in Geneva? She explained a basic outline of the project - how they were going to try and create a particle which would, in effect, create matter out of nothing, thus proving the Big Bang Theory. The downside, of course, was that it had the potential (1/million chance, but still) of creating a black hole, which could end Earth as we know it. Audrina's reply? 'Isn't it funny that Lauren's in Italy while this is happening?'
Quite, Audrina, quite.
Anyway, thats the beginning done and dusted. I realise I have not yet outlined the purpose of this blog, nor its intriguing title (anyone guessed it?), but I am amused at how I'm already talking as though someone is actually reading this.
tara for now,