Friday, 30 July 2010

Quick Update

Sorry I vanished for a bit guys. You'd think not being able to walk would give me optimum writing time, but rather I took the opportunity to lie around and not do anything... I had to cancel my work experience which is most definitely a sad time, as there was no way I could manoeuvre my way around London in the state I've been in.

I just thought I would let you all know that I am performing at Summer of Love and Music Festival this weekend thanks to my magical girlfriend. I'll be on the acoustic stage tomorrow afternoon. If anyone lives in the area it's only £20 for the whole weekend including camping and money goes to charity! Win. Or I think it's a tenner per day.

Also, me and Laura have begun work on our horror screen play. We've not written a screen play before so we're excited about what we might come up with. If anyone has any ideas they wanna throw at us, put them below =]

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Just My Luck

Saturday was Kaity's Mad Hatter's Tea Party. It was the most amazing party I have ever been to in my life. There was a piƱata, bubbles, Twister, Jenga, sword fights, fancy dress, party hats, edible tea cups, a trampoline, poi, frisbee, some other ball type toy thing to throw, vodka jelly, bowls and Ring of Fire around a bon fire. As well as lots of booze. What more could anyone possibly ask for from a party?

How about a cake?

Anna spent ages making THE most amazing cake ever. I wish I had taken a picture from a different angle so you could see just how great this cake was. 

At the end of the night some friends were leaving and after saying goodbye we remembered they had the only pack of Rizla. I was sent on a mission to catch up with them and ask for it before they left, so off I went, running down the garden. 
It was dark and I couldn't really see.
I've only been to Anna's house a couple of times so I'm not exactly familiar with the place. There was a couple of steps at the end of the garden that I hadn't thought about and went flying to the ground. I lay there for a moment to gain my composure then attempted standing up to continue on my mission. I'm not a quitter and figured a bit of pain shouldn't stop me from doing anything...

How wrong I was...

Standing up most definitely was not happening. I lay there a little longer then started thinking about how stupid I had been. You see, about 5 minutes earlier when the friends I was chasing were leaving, one of them had in fact tripped down the step that had just taken me out. I was there. I watched her do it. And I laughed.

I only laughed because she was ok. If she was hurt it would have obviously been different. But there I was...

When I was sure I could gather myself, I stood up and hobbled to the living room. I lay down on the sofa and just rested for a bit. Thought about taking a nap to be honest... naps and water solve everything!

15 minutes later K and a couple of her friends appeared wondering where I'd disappeared off to. Then saw my ankle. It was gross.

Before letting them put an ice pack on it I felt the need to pause and take a picture. I hope you appreciate it!

I was lucky enough to be around awesome people, so I was well looked after. K's parents took me to the hospital the next day, so I got out of tidying... plus side?
It's a torn ligament, so if I keep off it for the week it should hopefully be ok. Just need to remember to not walk. This is something I have discovered is really hard work. I realised how much I hate people having to do things for me, it makes me feel so guilty! I hate feeling like a burden.

I was sat in the hospital with K's parents, in a wheel chair and was staring at my ankle. I was sure it wasn't broken, but nobody else was. The nurse sent me for an xray and whilst in the waiting room I started thinking about how funny it looked and how funny it would be if I had broken my ankle on K's 21st birthday. Now that is a lasting memory... I burst out laughing.
For ages.
In a silent room.
I just couldn't stop myself.

I've realised how much I take my body for granted. I don't appreciate how easy it is to be able to walk around and get yourself a drink when you get thirsty. I'm just going to be limping around for a week or two, this is some peoples life.

As you know, this week is the first week of work experience... I am however incapable of doing very much. I am gutted that I have to postpone it for a week as I have been so excited about it but on the bright side, I get an extra few days with K. I was supposed to be heading back to London for a month so we wouldn't be able to see as much of each other, but I couldn't get myself back home like this.

Wednesday is graduation so tonight we are heading back together so I have someone to help me. After graduation I will rest up the best I can all week to make sure Monday morning I can make my way to the office! It also means, I get a few days at home being looked after by my mum and catching up on things I could be doing. I'll just have to make sure I am on the ball when I get to the office on Monday to make up for being so clumsy. You always want to come across as amazing in these situations and make a good impression, I am worried that this ankle thing may damage that a little bit. Hopefully when they see how excited I am about writing and working with them, it'll give me bonus points to make up for not being able to walk.

Everything will be fine. And when I can walk again I'm going to make use of those legs of mine and be a little less lazy. She says...

I'm really lucky it wasn't worse and I'm really lucky it was at the end of the night. I got to spend the whole day playing! Well, a lot of the day was in the kitchen tidying up but I took on the job with pride. I imagine Anna and K spend just as much time if not more doing the same. If I ever make it as a writer I'll be sure to hire cleaners and caterers for K's party.... I'll just throw her one for shits and giggles. It can be an unbirthday party =p
I've become that person that always looks on the bright side. When did that happen? Blame K.

Monday, 19 July 2010

In Response to 'On Wearing Less'

This is a response to my friend from Philosophia. Read his post On Wearing Less here.

I think there is something in the idea that nudity is treated as something to be ashamed of. As if the human form is some embarrassment to bare. By covering up and hiding bare skin from innocent eyes, a culture of shame is formed convincing people that there is something wrong with their bodies; something wrong with the bodies of other people. It is as though people shouldn't be comfortable in their own skin, that they need to hide behind their protective wall.

The idea of a carpet of shame and embarrassment around the human form isn't universal. This means it can't be something inbuilt in human beings but rather something created by our culture. If you look at tribal type communities, inhabitants wear minimal clothing. Women have their breasts out and nobody bats an eyelid. 

Where has this come from? Why has society created taboo's around the subject. I'm not saying people should all walk around naked or anything, simply that nudity has certain connotations. It's seedy and dark, holding a negative banner over head, drawing in negativity. The only nudity we are offered is in a perverted form; think of boys mags for example. This perverted idea surrounding nudity forces people to think of it only as perverse rather than the simple state of nature that it is. We are animals. Like animals, we shouldn't be ashamed of ourselves and feel the need to hide. We shouldn't look upon the bodies of others and judge them. 

I can't imagine a dog walking round in a pair of trousers looking down on the dog going commando... 

By only being given an airbrushed picture of perfect naked bodies we are convinced that we ourselves are flawed. That our imperfections make us ugly and we should hide our bodies away unless we can match such beauty. We are regulated by taboo and made to feel bad about ourselves and look down on others. In America everything is even more regulated than it is over here, but it's all the same thing. It has reached the point where something as natural as breastfeeding is condemned as a private activity that should be hidden behind closed doors. 

I'm not calling for a revolution. This isn't me saying, let's all walk around starkers. This is me saying we don't need to be embarrassed of being human. We all have skin. We do all look different, but only to a degree. By trying to prevent prudence and hide from shame, a culture of shame was born. 

Gok has something good going with How To Look Good Naked showing people they can be comfortable in themselves. 
This may be not so much a response to William than inspired by his post. A branch from the same tree so to speak. Let me know what you guys think on the topic and also go check out William's blog =] 

Friday, 16 July 2010

Work Experience

This one is just a quicky. Yesterday was Kaity's birthday and tomorrow we're having a Mad Hatter's Tea Party/BBQ and Bonfire. It should be amazing if the weather permits. If the weather hates us, we'll still have an amazing time, it'll just have to be in doors.

Monday is the first day of my work experience. I'm kind of excited to be doing something with myself. I enjoy having things to do and seem to create jobs for myself. Since finishing university I have made things for myself to do so I feel like I'm still achieving something and not just bumming around. Being me I've created never ending lists of things to get done and slacked on certain tasks, but I find the more I give myself to do, the more I'll get done. When I have less to do, it becomes impossible to even reach the simplest of goals.

I hope I learn lots at the Pink Paper and they get me writing articles. It'll be weird being in the office from 10-6 five days a week and is definitely something I'm not used to but it'll be ace. By the end of it I should know if this is something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life as I apply for that journalism course.

Wednesday is my graduation, which is a little daunting. I'm looking forward to seeing the other philosophers and a couple of my tutors. Over the last couple of years my personal tutor has been absolutely fantastic.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Atlantic Wolffish

I came across this and just thought it was cool, so needed to be shared.

These fish can grow up to five feet long! Standing at 5'2" myself that's a little daunting, especially when I heard their teeth are strong enough to nom through my arm... 

Check out the National Geographic Gallery to see more deep sea creatures. 

Monday, 12 July 2010

Human Leather

I came across a website selling products made from human skin thanks to the wonders of Facebook. Initially you think it has to be a joke, right? People aren't walking around wearing dead people, are they? But there are an elite few "who have everything they could possibly desire" and this company has snapped up their need to stand out and show off their wealth. They've given them something to spend their money on that very few people will have. Products sourced from the skin other people.

You can get your hands on a Human Leather Wallet from €9,000 (USD$14,000 approx) or if you're really splashing out, why not grab a pair of shoes from €18,000 (USD$27,000 approx)? Roll up, roll up, fresh out the morgue...

Obviously my initial response to this is "gross! What's wrong with people?" How is it someone has so much money that they don't know what to do with that they're willing to walk around in some dead guys back? 

Then I began to wonder how they got hold of the dead people to use their skin in the first place, so I had a nose around the website. Apparently people "bequeathed their skin" to the company before they died. The families of the "donors" are apparently rewarded very handsomely, which I imagine means a big pay off. Surely something like this opens doors to killing off sick or unwanted family members for the "reward". It's like the whole organ donor argument as to whether they should be sold rather than donated. If people need money, what's stopping them from killing off people to sell their skin or heart or lungs?

But then there's the other side... poor people can make money out of their dead relatives. If they're dying anyway, it's not hurting anyone to take money from the very strange rich people wanting to turn them into belts and shoes... though it is somewhat disrespectful. Just like, if someone has good organs and their family has no money, you may as well sell them to save a few peoples lives as well as your families when you die. Surely we'd get a whole lot more organ donations if they were getting something out of it. People find the idea of their body being chopped up and spread between the bodies of other people creepy, but if they could help their families out they'd probably be more willing to save a few lives. Most of the time nobody cares about helping anyone if they can't get anything out of it. 

For the record, I'm pretty sure I'm an organ donor and I'm not expecting monies out of it. 

Of course, lives are saved through organ donation whereas all that's happening with skin donations is rich people get to feel like they're some sort of elite. Next step is stuffed human heads above the mantle piece in between the deer heads... 

But why is wearing a person so different from wearing any other animal? What is it about human leather that makes us go "ew"? I imagine it's the same sort of notion as cannibalism. It's turning on one's own kind. It's this bright light illuminating the fact that nobody is safe. When someone is sat at a table eating a chicken, nobody thinks anything of it, because it's a chicken. But if they were eating your uncle that would be a different story. We have connections to other people. I imagine if someone was eating you dog you'd be pretty upset too. It's the emotional connections we have with things that stops us from thinking it's ok. From being able to stand objectively and say, it's just food and I need to eat. Or it's just shoes and I wanna protect my feet. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Both on human product as well as organ donation. 

Friday, 9 July 2010

Self Worth

Everybody wants to be loved. People want recognition for who they are and for their strengths. A lot of the time, if people feel as though they are not getting these things, they fall into themselves. They question their worth and their ability; question themselves. Ironically if you don't have faith in yourself it becomes difficult for other people to have any in you.

Modesty is drummed in as a virtue, when pride is seen as a vice. This confuses the situation; people proud of their accomplishments play them down to look modest. This makes others lose interest and almost agree that it's not a big deal or they see that you're wrong and lose respect for you. But of course, pride can be misconstrued as arrogance and piss people off so that doesn't do you any favours either.

So what is it people are supposed to do? What is the middle ground?

I imagine in most cases the answer is: lie.

Pretend that you think you're pretty. Pretend that you think you're skinny. Pretend that you think you're great.
Or vice versa, pretend you don't think you're that pretty or that great.

What good does lying to everyone do? Well, I'm not a self help guru. I can't help anyone out and I can't solve the worlds problems. But I have noticed that if you pretend you think you're pretty and you look comfortable in your skin people will warm to your confidence. It draws people in.

People love confidence and can't help themselves. But nobody is attracted to the fat kid pulling at his tummy. So maybe the answer is doubt silently and put on your game face when you're out and about. You'll get more friends, more work, more everything. Because those are the people that succeed in life. And heck, maybe if you lie to yourself enough, you'll start to believe it and sooner or later you will be comfortable in your own skin. Maybe if you play the game you'll get to win in the real world AND in your own head.

Nobody achieves anything sat around sulking.

You have to listen to your inner critic and instead of letting him beat you down into a dark room, prove the fucker wrong!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Underground Challenge: July 5th Recap

Inspire a Stranger Day was on Monday! I apologise for not getting this up Monday night, but by the time we got in I was knackered. So this is an apology from two fronts, one for being slow and two for already failing to keep to my schedule. I have to admit, I saw that coming. But I will be sure to write at least two posts a week, just maybe not on strict days.

Anyway, staying on topic...

Monday was fantastic! A group of us went around London (mainly on the tube but the streets got some attention too) sparking up conversation with hundreds of commuters throughout the day. Four of us donned plain white tee's with 'Underground Challenge' and 'Inspire a Stranger' drawn on the fronts and backs. We had a basket filled with sweets to hand out to people as well as passing around cards saying things like "don't forget to smile" and "you're beautiful".

We also had a poet in our group handing out his poetry in envelopes to people. Peter started the day quite shy but as time went on we noticed a change in him which was nice, as he grew in confidence! 

Most people were confused by us and kept trying to offer us money. I imagine if we accepted half the money we were offered we would have made back the groups train fare to London! Lots of people smiled with us and had a chat about how great they thought the idea was and how we brightened up there day. Some people pretended we didn't exist. 

On the way back to Paddington Station I sat down next to a man with a newspaper. It was quitting time, we were tired. I decided to offer him a sweet anyway and we ended up talking all the way to my stop. He started off by not wanting a sweet but he did take a "smile" card which he promised to put on his desk at work the next day. He was telling me all the reasons people like the silence on the Underground and why Londoners don't talk to each other; a lot of which I could understand and agree with. But he kept talking to me, even though I was willing to sit back and let him read his paper! I think he was intrigued by the whole idea and kept asking questions and telling us that up North people talk to each other all the time. Finally, he took a sweet. I call that a victory. 

In fact, the whole day was a victory!

We lost Danni and Jake on the tube as we jumped off and the doors closed before they made it. The carriage was full of school kids. Apparently they ate the rest of Danni's brownies! One kid saw "free hugs" written on the back of her tee and asked for one. Next thing she knows ALL of the little kids are hugging her! I wish we could have seen it! Better yet I wish Jake had a camera on him so we could all see it!

We got a few pictures through out the day but not too many. Peter had a camera but had to leave us for work so I was left using my phone. Nokia's are known for the camera skills... But here is an example of a happy commuter being fed =p
Quite a few people let us take pictures with them smiling away =] If you'd like to see those, head over to the Facebook Group!

You can also see a couple of photos other people took to show their contribution to the day! 

Such as:

All the way from Porto, Portugal! 

Hopefully other photos and videos come in so we can see what everyone else got up to! If you guys did anything on Monday and took a picture, please share it with us!


Friday, 2 July 2010

Underground Challenge: July 5th

Monday is our Inspire a Stranger day! This is what we've been preparing for. Cards have been handed out and left all over the place, videos have been made, pictures have been taken. Here comes the moment we've all been working so hard for. I hope to see lots of people taking part on the day, taking pictures or videos of themselves playing along so we've got some sort of documentation of our first run. The next one will be bigger and better of course, but we do already have over a thousand people involved via Facebook, plus anyone not on Facebook who we've spoken to and roped in.

This week has been push week so we've been promoting the challenge wherever we can. Hopefully get some media attention if we can. I want to see pictures and videos from you lot showing me what you got up to on the day! This is a community project, a world wide community. And where better than to share it, than the world wide web. The interweb is our portal; for everything. Let's make a change and most importantly let's have fun! Don't forget to smile!