Poultry drama

Posted by September Blue Saturday, 26 January 2008 1 comments

The hens I'm looking after get let out of their little hen-house when it starts getting light, and put themselves to bed again when it starts getting dark. For the rest of the day, they wander around the garden doing hen things. Just before lunchtime, they'll usually make an appearance at the patio doors and demand food. So, at about twelve-ish today, I look outside for the hens. I see no hens. I think, "Hmm."

Go outside. Call hens. No hens. Search garden (which is quite big, and has a lot of places for a hen to hide should a hen so wish). Call hens. No hens.

The hens are not shy. You call them, they come running up in the hopes that you have food for them. To see neither feather nor beak is... unusual. So I check their hen-house to see if they've gone back in there, which they haven't. I check the garden yet again to see if they've got stuck somewhere, which they haven't. And as I'm searching, trying not to think of foxes, I notice a section of the fence that's blown down in the wind.

We're in the middle of the country, here. There's woods and fields on all sides, and in the distance I can hear people shooting pheasants ("Miss, you bastards! Miss!"). There are dogs. There will be foxes. I search in widening circles around the house and the surrounding land, but there is no sign of the hens.

Go back to garden in hopes that hens have returned. Search garden. Call hens. No hens. Go outside garden, try to think like a hen, give up, settle for searching everywhere, calling for hens as I go. No hens. No hens at all. How far could they have got in three hours? How far could they have got in three hours in a fox's mouth? The people I'm housesitting for love these hens to pieces. I'm dead.

Trudge back to house ("Good Saint Anthony, look around..."). Wonder if hens are bright enough to return to hen-house when it starts getting dark. Wonder where the hell else a hen could possibly hide, anyway. Wonder how this one's going to sound when the house's owners come back. Notice backside of hen disappearing through missing fence section, back into garden. Notice other hen ahead of it. Fix fence, return to house, slump in armchair, allow self to breathe.

Notice hens by patio door, demanding food.

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Posted by September Blue Friday, 25 January 2008 2 comments

I'm house-sitting out in the country, with a stack of books and no TV and a coal fire and assorted birds to look after and a storm that hasn't gone for four days, except (kindly) for long enough to let me get to work and back without getting a faceful of sleet yesterday. Other than that I've stayed inside, and so would you have. The wind is howling like wolves out there, throwing bits of tree around in the rain and sleet. It's the kind of weather that draws you to stand with your face pressed to the window just watching, even though the part of your brain trained to ascribe metaphysical significance to the weather tells you the world's ending.

It's the kind of night Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights:

About midnight, while we still sat up, the storm came rattling over the Heights in full fury. There was a violent wind, as well as thunder, and either one or the other split a tree off at the corner of the building: a huge bough fell across the roof, and knocked down a portion of the east chimney-stack, sending a clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen-fire. We thought a bolt had fallen in the middle of us; and Joseph swung on to his knees, beseeching the Lord to remember the patriarchs Noah and Lot, and, as in former times, spare the righteous, though he smote the ungodly.
Rainstorms in cities and towns don't feel like this. There's too much artificial light, I think, and too many people; you don't get the same sense of being very small in the middle of a big, angry universe. What you get instead is the kind of atmosphere Dylan Thomas describes in 'The Followers':
It was six o'clock on a dingy winter's evening. Thin, dingy rain drizzled past the lighted street lamps. The pavements shone long and yellow. In squeaky galoshes, with mackintosh collars up and bowlers and trilbies weeping, youngish men from the offices bundled home against the thistly wind:
"Night, Mr Macey."
"Going my way, Charlie?"
"Ooh, there's a pig of a night."
"Night, Mr Swan -"
and older men, clinging on to the black, circular birds of their umbrellas, were wafted back up gaslit hills, to safe, hot slippered, weather-proof hearths, and wives called Mother, and old, fond fleabag dogs, and the wireless babbling. [...]
A flat, long girl drifted, snivelling into her hanky, out of a jeweller's shop and slowly pulled the steel shutters down with a hooked pole. She looked, in the grey rain, like she was crying from head to toe.
But this, this is Bronte weather. And although I'm meant to be working on an article, all I want to do is sit by the fire with my arms wrapped around my knees, listening to it.

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"The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep..."

Posted by September Blue Thursday, 24 January 2008 1 comments

Flames, originally uploaded by victorianitas.

I think there's a Balrog in this picture, standing just to the right of that big lump of coal.

Laz can't see it. (And Laz thinks, I fear, that I am going mad.)

So I throw this one open to the floor. Can anyone else see the Balrog? Dark chest and head, bright legs, appears to be on fire somewhere around the knees on both of them, wing-like flame behind it that may or may not be wings? And, on an unrelated yet intriguing note, why have I only just noticed that Tolkien's hatred of industrialisation comes through in the Mines of Moria as well, when that's the chapter I used to read over and over and over again to scare myself stupid at a young and tender age? If everyone else already noticed it and this is going to be like the time I noticed the word 'Beat' in 'Beatles' and pointed it out to people as if it was news to them, nobody tell me, because we don't want to relive all those conversations, and anyway, enough about me, back to the Balrog. It's there! It is! Isn't it?

(Laz and I are agreed, though, on the existence of Blaxploitation Banana in the lower left corner there.)

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Because I may be a beggar, and you may be the Queen

Posted by September Blue Sunday, 20 January 2008 2 comments

When my friend L was redecorating her spare room, a lengthy and tiring job that required large amounts of furniture-moving, spider-chasing and junk removal, she told me she wanted the whole thing to happen in a montage. Painting done a chunk at a time to the sound of some chirpy pop number, interspersed with shots of L and her boyfriend wiping sweat from their foreheads, sorting old shoes into pairs, polishing floors, laughingly flicking paint at each other - and the whole thing over and done by the final bars.

So I've decided: I'd like the next few months of my life (post-PhD, pre-finally getting a job please God please) to go by in a montage, too. This is not a particularly productive or interesting time, I'm fairly sure all the important stuff could be crammed into four minutes or so, and it'd be much less tedious and much more cheerful to watch in light-hearted, quirky montage form.

It'd have to start off with applying for jobs, of course (chin in hands, staring miserably at CV?). Coffee cups building up around the computer. Running for the bus in the rain, umbrella flipping inside-out in comical manner; scrabbling between sofa cushions for change; marking student work with my eyes closed; ringing the closing bells at the library (which could also connote 'Gradual Dissatisfaction With Minion Job and Minimal Pay', so there could be a few of these - first time, ringing bells after carefully reading time-list and checking watch against main clock; second time, ringing bells after glancing at watch and rolling eyes; third time, ringing bells without looking up from a book); flipping through depressing 'There have been no jobs matching your chosen search criteria' e-mails from jobs.ac.uk; dancing round the living room in pyjamas to the tune from Flashdance (I don't do this, but what the hell, it's a montage, I could); washing dishes; throwing away bank statements unread; turning sofa upside down and thumping it to see if it'll dislodge any more coins; staring glumly at the goldfish; typing madly away at an article, then deleting 17 out of the last 18 sentences; shaking head at CV in sad, resigned manner.

The tune should be the Fratellis' 'Whistle for the Choir', which gets the mood just right, and also fits really nicely for the job application process ('Is it out of line / if I was to be bold and say would you be mine? / Because I may be a beggar, and you may be the Queen / And though I may be on a downer, I'm still ready to dream...')


Posted by September Blue Thursday, 17 January 2008 0 comments

"So, how's the job hunt -"

"Fine, fine, tetchy. I was just asking."
"'m sorry."
"It's just, um. The job thing. I think it's turning me into a teenager."
"You what now?"
"Well, you know. I'm sulky, I'm miserable, my parents don't understand -"
"- you're listening to a lot of Bon Jovi -"
"- I'm listening to a lot of Bon Jovi, my personal life oscillates between boredom and drama, and I just bought some purple lipstick. Really. I've been here before."
"Are you keeping the lyrics to Nirvana's 'Heart-Shaped Box' in your graphical calculator's memory again?"
"Oh, shut up. I did that once, and I'm sure I was being ironic."
"There you are, see? If you really were regressing into teenageness, you'd have thought that was cool."
"No, but I am. There's the stupid job market, and I have no money, and I mean really no money and I am in such big trouble come summer I'll need to sell a kidney or something just to pay my rent, and then I think, well, do I really want any of these jobs anyway, because it'll mean moving to somewhere else, which I don't want to do, unless it means working somewhere near here, which I don't want to do either -"
"Um, I'm, um, sure it'll work -"
"I'm not FINISHED."
"And do I really want an academic job anyway? I mean, I do, but do I want one enough to move to a part of the country I don't know where I don't know anybody? And that's the best outcome here, isn't it? So, what if the best possible outcome is a bad one? You know when Anna Karenina had that thought, she threw herself under a train -"
"Anna Karenina?"
"All right, I'm not going to throw myself under a train, but I -"
"Anna Karenina? You're comparing your life to Anna Karenina?"
"You see how teenage I'm getting?"
"Okay, yes, that is quite teenage."
"And basically I just want to curl up in my bedroom and paint my nails black and listen to, I don't know, whatever the indie equivalent of a campus novel is."
"You feeling any better now?"
"Actually, yes. And I have coffee."
"...well, okay..."
"No, seriously. Rant a bit, make some coffee, dance around the living room to Franz Ferdinand, and I'm all fine."
"If only Anna Karenina had thought of that."
"If only I'd thought of that back when I was a teenager. Jesus, angst is tiring. How did I ever keep this up?"

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How we know we've been working here too long:

Posted by September Blue Tuesday, 15 January 2008 4 comments

1. All library minions must now wear name badges. This year's recruits embraced the stupid flippy plastic things with a shrug and a smile, but we grizzled old veterans - especially we grizzled old veterans who used to work in retail - are Drawing A Line.

My boss spots me and Dr K, badgeless, heading down to the bindery. Sighs. Says "Oh, well - everyone knows you two work here by now."

2. And Dr K's been here even longer than I have, which is why it's Dr K, and not me, who's developed a habit of muttering "Books at Shawshank... books at Shawshank... books at Shawshank..." as he shuffles across the floor with the morning's book trolleys.

3. But it's our workaholic senior colleague, the Amazing D, who's giving us cause for concern. Technically, the Amazing D is part-time; in reality, D works 70-hour weeks at a mishmash of different jobs within the library. Has for years. Place would fall apart without him, if only because then they'd have to actually pay someone a reasonable amount to do what he does and cover all the odd-end shifts on half an hour's notice. Most terrifyingly enough, D actually likes it. In him, we see our future.

And today, sitting by the help-desk people, I heard this conversation:
Technician:"I take it that's just a generic voice?"
Librarian: "Oh, no. That's D."

We're one small name-badge away.

Tonight we're going to party like it's long past our bedtime

Posted by September Blue Friday, 11 January 2008 0 comments

In honour of passing my PhD, I fell asleep at a party. A party that some friends threw especially for me. I am either a) getting old, b) getting boring, or c) getting a well-deserved kicking from my sleep-deprived body and mind, and whichever it is I'm glad for friends who don't mind dropping their plans to go out dancing in favour of the much-maligned Quiet Night In. But, still. I have not been the world's best company this week.

In other words, it turns out that passing one's PhD is something of an anticlimax.

At least, it is at first. That's wearing off now, and I'm a much more cheery soul. At first, though, it was days and days of shaky, nerve-jangling jumpiness, punctuated by falling asleep at odd moments. I was warned about this, but since handing in the PhD felt great, and since I've grown tired of hearing people take all the fun out of my PhD-student life - "Ryan Adams is not really your boyfriend" this, "Sweetheart, I don't think your library minion job actually is cover for your espionage work within a black-ops division that may or may not itself be cover for a mercenary organisation obsessed with a fifteenth-century inventor prophet" that - I disregarded the advice and then wondered why I wasn't bouncing over rooftops singing some celebratory song with 'Doctor' featuring prominently in the lyrics.

To the nearly-there, do not be disenchanted: it wears off, it gets better, and writing the damn thing is, on balance, probably all worth it. Just don't expect too much of yourself to start with, and make sure you've got somewhere comfortable to curl up at parties.

"Happy Doctorate To You"

Posted by September Blue Wednesday, 9 January 2008 6 comments

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Posted by September Blue Sunday, 6 January 2008 0 comments

This is Moby.

"No pictures! No pictures!"

Excuse him - he's camera-shy.

I did have three goldfish, but moving house twice in four weeks didn't suit them, and thus they died. I tell you this because nobody else believes me. Everyone who's seen Moby in person is convinced he ate them. This is is slander and lies - Moby is as sweet as a ringletted toddler eating candy-floss - but I can sort of see their point. You can't quite tell from the photo, but Moby is, well, let's just say, quite big. Really big. And it's all muscle, too. Believe me, that tail-fluke could kill a man.

Moby started out tiny and very cheap. I know, I know, you probably shouldn't buy cheap goldfish from petshops because they're all diseased and violent and will break as soon as the warranty runs out, or something, but I couldn't afford the huge tank of tropical fish I wanted, so I walked past all the tanks marked with things like "Disco Eel - £59.99" and "Perpugilliam Fighting Fish - £99.50 the pair, KEEP THEM IN SEPARATE AQUARIA AND DON'T SUE US WHEN THEY EAT YOUR DOG" and stopped at a huge vat with a sad-looking label saying "Goldfish - £5.99 £3.99 £1.99 ea." Surprisingly, or maybe not, Moby's deceased former tank-mates came with more prestigious pedigrees.

That was two years ago, and since then he's grown, and grown, and grown. People keep telling me they grow to the size of the tank, but nobody knows what this actually means - is he going to end up two foot long with square corners? Should I start keeping him in the bath? I tried to convince my mother to take him for her pond, but she doesn't want her fancy-fins koi mixing with company like Moby.

He's also the only pet I have, not counting assorted furry and finned things that live with parents. This is unusual. I used to have a bad habit of buying pets to cheer myself up - goldfish, gerbils, more gerbils, the jird I smuggled into university residences that time, a Chinese hamster named Ezekiel, and a bunch more goldfish named after all the characters in the Oresteia who - ha, you'll never see this one coming - all died. These days, I only have Moby, who now has a tank to himself. (As you've probably gathered, he's a bit too big to share.) Maybe I'm much less miserable these days, or maybe I'm an older and wiser person, or maybe I've finally got a landlord who's really not kidding about the no-pets-bar-goldfish policy. I'm still not sure, but Moby and me, we're okay with that.

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Posted by September Blue Friday, 4 January 2008 2 comments

Because January pay is bad pay, I am gathering together books to sell.

This makes the situation sound a bit on the melodramatic side. I will start again.

Because January pay is bad pay, and because I'm still at my parents' house along with all of my books that don't live in mine, and because it's occurred to me that books I have lived without for five years are probably books I don't need, I am gathering together books to sell. Most of them are Philosophy textbooks from my undergrad years, and I can't justify hanging onto them for any reason beyond liking the subject. When I can get around £15 per book for six books on Amazon Marketplace, I can't afford to like the subject.

However. However. Can I justify holding on to my best secondhand bookshop find ever? It cost me £12 for the set, nearly new, and £12 is a lot, really, but I picked it up because I thought that Lives of Victorian Literary Figures looked like the kind of thing I'd appreciate having on my bookshelf in years to come. Plus, there's a lot of rare material here. Plus, I love this series. So I bought it, and then I idly Googled it a few days later to find out if Part II would ever be within my financial reach, and then I blinked at the screen in silence for a while, and then I carefully moved the books to a less precarious shelf.

I mean, I'm broke. Very broke. I have no guaranteed teaching for next semester, and no guaranteed work of any sort for the summer. I can just about afford the rent on my flat. Can any academic investment justify keeping hold of a three-book set I could get £200 for on Amazon or AbeBooks?

But maybe, by letting me find them as I did, the whimsical fates of academia were giving me a chance to own books I couldn't have afforded new. It's probably bad luck to turn down good luck like that.

And maybe, by letting me find them as I did, the whimsical fates of academia were giving me £200.

The debate rages on inside my head. For now, they stay on the bookcase.

And also, the Cube was a stupid idea.

Posted by September Blue Thursday, 3 January 2008 1 comments

I have been arguing computers with my brother. He does not use Macs. He does not understand.

Which isn't to say that what he doesn't understand is the obvious superiority of the Mac, because we can take that as given. Besides, he gave it away with the smirky "but I thought you loved Apple?" when I was ranting at them for something today. That's the issue, see; he honestly thinks ranting at Apple shows a chink in the Mac-user's armour.

Here's what he doesn't understand: in the same way that Star Wars fans hate Star Wars, Apple fans hate Apple. My brother claims he can't stand all things Apple-related, but what he means by this is what most non-Mac-fans mean by this, i.e., he thinks iPod adverts are sort of annoying, and he used a Mac once and couldn't work out how to uninstall an application, and he thinks it's truly idiotic that my computer has flowers - flowers! - all over it. That's not hatred. That's irritation. And on a dissatisfaction-with-Apple scale, that's pretty amateur, as well.

All right, maybe we don't hate Apple. We are, however, in a general state of annoyance with Apple over a great many things. Tying the iPhone to one network. Tying the iPhone to one network and then sabotaging hacked iPhones with an 'update'. Not letting the new iPods run on systems earlier than 10.4, for no reason anybody can tell other than 'cough up, suckers - about time you updated'. Scrapping FireWire on the iPods. Making stupid adverts. Charging a ludicrous 'shipping fee' for 10.1 (I have not forgotten this). Selling computers with extra RAM they seem to be allergic to (nor this, either). Scrapping 'iPod download'. Scrapping the dogcow. Being bad at marketing, then being good at marketing. Safari. The way we always feel slightly betrayed, as if the great new boyfriend we found handed us a wad of cash in the morning and shouted "Thanks!" as he walked out of the door, except Apple don't hand you cash, Apple sell you computers that won't talk to the hardware they've also sold you. That time Software Update messed up the whole system. Safari, again. We've mostly forgotten about dealing with the Chooser these days, but sweet God did it drive us mad at the time. You don't hate Apple by rolling your eyes when that "I'm a Mac!" "I'm a PC!" adverts come on ("Hey, Mac! How come the new iPods work fine on XP, but you need 10.4?" "Because I have Mac users, and they'll stick with me anyway, even if it means screaming tantrums and bitching on the Apple Support discussion boards and working out elaborate procedures for getting a released-on-DVD-only-because-we're-bastards software update onto computers without DVD drives without paying a small fortune for a software update they shouldn't even need!"). You hate Apple by loving Apple. There is no other way.

In case you hadn't gathered, I'm having some minor compatibility issues with my new iPod and my old, old, old iMac.

"That's why I hate Apple," says my brother.

No. That's why I hate Apple. Him? He'll never understand.

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Project 365

Posted by September Blue Wednesday, 2 January 2008 0 comments

I'd have loved to do this last year, but never quite got round to it. The idea is to cover a year of your life, in photos, one per day (and I know, I know, it's a leap year, but 'Project 365' is just what it's called now). I love the idea of recapping a year in images, especially since the year ahead is a little... blurry, shall we generously say? - in terms of plans, and I have no idea who or what I'll be at the end of it. My Project 365 blog is at Victorianitas365.

(because what else am I going to do, read the thesis like I should be?)

1. Will you be looking for a new job?
I will be hanging around universities holding a "Will Teach For Food" sign. And if the academics who've reassured me about the job market with comforting tales of post-RAE retirements and departments wanting cheap labour turn out to be mistaken, that will not even be a joke.

2. Will you be looking for a new relationship?
I try to avoid ever looking for relationships. Like looking for snow. I mean, if it happens, it happens, and sometimes it's wise to start laying down grit and salt just in case, but as a general rule, not something to go chasing.

3. New house?
Well, see. If I have to move, it'll be because I have a job, which will be good; except then I'll have to leave my lovely new place, and actually, well, move, which will be bad. So I hope so/hope not/hope so/hope not.

4. What will you do differently in 2008?
I don't know. I won't have a PhD to write, or at least hopefully I won't have a PhD to write, so I imagine I'll be spending large chunks of my time differently, but trying to imagine this is like trying to imagine the limitations of time and space. I look forward to it.

5. New Year resolution?
On reflection, maybe I should have some of these. So: to get at least one new article written, and to get something accepted by a decent journal.

6. What will you not be doing in 2008?
Not staying up until stupid o'clock in the morning sorting out bibliographies, that's for sure. Not sleeping in my office. Not getting into arguments with people I actually like, which I seem to have developed a habit of this year. Farewell and good riddance to all such activities.

7. Any trips planned?
Sadly, no. The diary is willing, but the bank account is weak.

8. Wedding plans?
I think not.

9. Major thing on your calendar?
The dreaded viva in early January. And then (maybe? hopefully?) graduation later in the year.

10. What can’t you wait for?
Somebody to call me 'Doctor', and I am quite willing to legally change my first name to 'Doctor' if I don't get the PhD. Either way, this is going to happen.

11. What would you like to see happen differently?
I'd like the jobs sections of the THES and the Guardian to be inches thick. We'll see, yes?

12. What about yourself will you be changing?
I plan to be a more productive, less stressed person. We'll see about this one, too, but it's got to be easier to achieve with no PhD to write. Unless I have to make substantial corrections, in which case bah.

13. What happened in 07 that you didn’t think would ever happen?
I finished the PhD! This was far from certain for a long time, and I came very close to asking for a three-month extension, but nope. Done.

14. Will you be nicer to the people you care about?
I plan to be.

15. Will you dress differently this year than you did in 07?
I seem to be entering a knee-length skirts and heels phase, so yes, probably.

16. Will you start or quit drinking?
I try not to mess with things that are working fine as they are.

17. Will you better your relationship with your family?
I get on well with most of my family most of the time, so I'm happy with this one. Hopefully I'll be able to see a little more of them, though.

18. Will you do charity work?
Probably not, no. Sadly. Unless we're counting emergency unscheduled office-hours as charity work, which we might just be.

19. Will you go to bars?
'Bars' implies somewhere upholstered in chrome and white leather charging £5 for watery Coke and cheap vodka, so probably not, no. I will, however, be spending time in pubs.

20. Will you be nice to people you don’t know?
I think I am already fairly nice to people I don't know. Maybe I'll smile more at irritating patrons at work.

21. Do you expect 2008 to be a good year for you?
I've finished my PhD and a bunch of my friends have moved away, and now I have no academic job but a lot more free time, so it really could go either way. I'll vote for 'yes', though.

22. How much did you change from this time last year till now?
I'm a lot happier about my academic work, and a lot more confident about my own ability to get things finished.

23. Do you plan on having a child?
No! Not unless I can talk it into marking essays for me once it reaches 6 months, which I believe is generally frowned upon. (Which isn't to say that I'm anti-children as a policy, or as a future life choice, but this is Not A Good Time.)

24. Will you still be friends with the same people you are friends with now?
I hope so.

25. Major lifestyle changes?
Obviously, I plan to walk into work every day, cook all my own meals, and produce one article every couple of months, but as this is January, well, we'll see.

26. Will you be moving?
After carrying all my books up 61 stairs? Not if I can help it.

27. What will you make sure doesn’t happen in 08 that happened in 07?
I'm going to back up every single important file 18 times, so that I never have to spend an afternoon trying to retrieve something that vanished into the ether. I would also like to not get trapped inside my living room with a very angry hornet again, but there is very little I can do about this except for prayers to the hornet gods, and the hornet gods do not seem to listen to the prayers of the unwinged.

28. What are were your New Year's Eve plans?
I watched Will Smith fight vampires, and then I went to a party, played Anti-Karaoke (for which, I'll have you know, my 'Someday I'll Be Saturday Night' done in the style of Kylie singing 'Santa Baby' came a joint first with my best friend's boyfriend's metal version of 'Hungry Eyes'), danced on the floor, got glitter in my hair, and threw wads of Silly String at people. A success.

29. Will you have someone to kiss at midnight?
I did, in a platonic sense.

30. One wish for 2008?
Doctorate. Pretty, pretty, pretty, please.

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Happy new year

Posted by September Blue Tuesday, 1 January 2008 2 comments

I began 2008 with a headache, a cryptic text message sent ("Ah [my name, spelt wrong] cd save numbeqt!") and the final season of Alias pressed into my arms. Could do worse. Could do much worse.

(A brief interlude for the downside of last night's party, and of this town in general, as related to me on the porch in the early hours of the morning. One of my idiot brother's friends (you can choose yourself there whether 'idiot' modifies 'brother' or 'friends') got into a fight with one of my friends at a pub a few weeks ago, which involved someone getting headbutted in the face, and now I have been told that my brother is hanging round with a bad crowd and I should do something about that, but then also told thirty seconds later that possibly the headbutted friend was asking for it, since he's being a bit of a prat lately, and did anyone tell me about the time he got drunk and stoned and ran round someone else's flat naked and hooting and then had to be pulled off this girl, but see that bit's okay, no, stop looking horrified, because the girl was all over him thirty seconds later, but the thing is that now his girlfriend wants to give her a kicking, and then my boyfriend threatened your brother, no, not that night, the other night, and he doesn't usually threaten anybody, so now things are a bit awkward, so just so you know. DEAR GOD GET ME OUT OF HERE. Anyway.)

I have no resolutions. I never keep them, anyway, and what would be more depressing than to begin a new year with a promise you're sure to break? So here's to a positive start to 2008, which I am expecting to get its act together much quicker than 2007 did. Cheers.

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