Monday, 27 April 2009

Library Etiquette

Don't yawn, I'm not going to chat about not pulling books out by their spines, or not folding the corners of the pages over. No,no, in this day and age of technology wizardry a whole new kind of library etiquette comes into play, and it's all about personal space.

The computer clusters of our library aren't the most pleasant places. Especially not the underground ones. They smell like a hot, slightly clammy mixture of rotting food and student-clothes musk and of people who've been sat in a place that smells of that for too long. I'm fortunate enough to have my own computer, and therefore only occasionally have to use them.

I appreciate many people are not as lucky, and rely upon the university's thousands of computers to do their work. No biggie. However, the university does not provide you with your own personal desk in such clusters, contrary to what the 'Your Space' area may suggest.

I'm not a personal space freak. I like hugs, affection etc. I don't even get hugely bothered when someone's armpit comes into contact with your face on the tube on a day in June. It's not pleasant, but nobody's died.

However, there is a minute gap between two computer desks for a reason, and it should represent the acceptable amount of space between two strangers. Therefore, to swivel the chair round so that your foot, knee, thigh and crotch are all on my side of the gap is somewhat awkward.

I only noticed this breach of library etiquette after several other breaches by the same criminal had been made:
1. Loud finger tapping.
2. Large long hair/upper body swishing.
3. Anchorman-style paper shuffling.
4. WEIRD bubble-making mouth noises.

All of the above were very, very loud. What's more, so engrossed was my neighbour in Cesar's Gallic command (his paper was that close to the keyboard) that he had no idea I was staring at him pointedly for about 45 seconds.

Then I realised the reason behind the unacceptable invasion of the desk gap - his side of the desk was taken up with banana skins, apple cores, a giant button packet and a bottle of lucozade. Mate, IT'S NOT YOUR PERSONAL DESK. Makes me feel a little icky inside...had my keyboard too been tainted with the fruity saliva of another person's apple core?! Even on my own personal desk I've only got an empty chocolate bar wrapper and some moisturiser amongst books.

Either I'm massively anally retarded about cleanliness, which, seeing as I haven't washed my hair for half a week I doubt, or there needs to be new library etiquette lessons. Is this a habit sweeping the nation?

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Speaking of Food...

Doesn't that just look amazing? Plus, it's got an egg on it. I don't even like egg.

After procrastinating by means of style blogs has become my recent obsession, it's refreshing to find one that makes food (something not so evident amongst size 6 girls) look so pretty.

Ai's blog, it will stop raining*, makes everything look so lovely and yummy in that near-perfect style the Japanese get so right. Think walking into Muji, but it being all food-orientated...yeah, that's how I'd like my tea to look too. Shame I just slop it on a cold plate as fast as humanely possible in the break between Come Dine With Me and Hollyoaks...

Upon returning to Studentdom.

It's my last day in the 'Shire for a while. After a month of middle class home comforts: theatre trips, gastropub lunches, walks; and olives, grapes and a newspaper relevant to that day permanently on the table, I embark the five hour coach return to middle class student survival: nightclub stumblings, pub toasties, last-minute cycling; and stagnant mugs, fag ends and a takeaway leaflet relevant to that day permanently on the table.
One aspect of middle class student survival I intend not to return to, however, is the habit of leaving the house in trackies, pajamas, or even, that 'student staple', a hoodie. Along with a number of fairly questionable reasons for not partaking in this recreation, I have far too many clothes to spend most of my time not wearing them.
Wierdly, however, I guiltily love indulging in such attire at home. In fact, I rummage through the abandonees of my wardrobe, leaving aside those I brought down with me. There is something seriously comforting about tracksuit bottoms I last wore playing schoolgirl hockey, tee shirts I lovingly bought, sweatyfaced after gigs too embarrassing to mention, and hoodies that Gok Wan would hang on that washing-line of humiliation in Trafalgar Square.
It's not just the comfort, although that is a major benefit, it's the fact that I can relish in ugliness in a middle aged society that wouldn't turn a blind eye to it. And why should they?
Although this attire is usually restricted to the house, and to the vision of my parents and occasionally the postman, there was one incident when I entered Tesco in it, and left with utter shame.
I'd replaced the trackies with men's 80s jeans, and the hoodie with my ever-faithful men's padded shirt, but I still essentially looked horrific. My partner in crime was in Jack Wills trackies and a man's shirt (all my home friends and I have a nasty habit of accidentally dressing the same). We popped in for the purpose of buying 'girltime' food, which consists of bars of cheap chocolate and buckets of M&S ripoff snacks. In Studentdom, such activities would occur entirely naturally and guilt-free.
But alas, we were the 'Shire, where the only other participant in similar actions was a morbidly obese woman carrying a bottle of Rioja and a tub of mini muffins. It was as if the ghost of Christmas Future was rattling his chains in our face and laughing. And, the 'Shire consisting of tiny provincial towns, we were witnessed by approximately 5 ex-school mates, none of which we knew well enough to greet, thus adding further social awkwardness to the worsening situation.
All in all, while middle class students will happily parade around in PJs in supermarkets in Studentdom, ironically, it is seriously frowned upon in their hometowns. I've never shovved comfort food in my canvas shopper faster.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Novelty Cat Pining

Novelty Cat enjoying a butterfly-inspired leap. Note the double chin.

Before I embark on this cat-related post, I'd like to establish a couple of facts:
- I have never been particularly feline-fussed.
- I have no intentions to turn this into a blog solely tracking the activities of an animal, or,
worse, pretend the aforementioned animal is writing the blog itself.

Ok, right, I will now explain the novelty cat thing. We're a non-pet family. We don't murder animals or anything, we're not even particularly averse to them, it just never got further than hamsters.
As a result, I seem to have developed an innate repellent of animals, mainly feline, much against my own will. I don't like seeing my friend's cat literally scream and run out of the room when I enter, nor the public humiliation of going to stroke a cat in the street and see it scampering away, terrified.
Bro has wierdly escaped the familly anti-cat repellent, to the extent he actually owns one. So, having no-one to look after this fluffy little creature, Novelty Cat came up with bro over the weekend. Having not been cat-trained from an early age, my reactions to cats are unsurprisingly toddler-esque. You know, screaming/giggling maniacally, clapping, hand-flapping, trying to catch it, stroke it, lift up its really isn't all that mysterious why they hate me now, actually.
Once I'd calmed myself down, my eyes were opened to the catty wonder. No longer those grumpy, sullen creatures who only pretend to love you for food, they have become pieces of fluffy cuteness who perform all kinds of human-entertaining tricks. Like this little number above - a mid-air clapping motion at something fairly undesirable, like string; or frenetic chasing of a bit of cardboard under newspaper. Amazing.
Plus they're really cute - Novelty Cat in particular as she has pretty stripes and her legs are disproportionately short and she makes herself a double chin when looking at stuff.
I am officially in a state of NCP - Novely Cat Pining. I want her back. I want her to love me. I want to poke her double chin...still not got rid of the inner three-year old.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Procrastination = Selfloathing

It's another beautiful day. It didn't take long for the sun to rise me out of the grumpy stupor I was in yesterday morning and join in with the mass family pond clearout. Surprisingly satisfying, picking up dead, sludgy leaf mulch and running down the garden with a wheelbarrow. Looked a little like this, except everyone being aged by about fifteen years.

After four days of avoiding the small mountain of books thrown into a corner of my room, I've decided to sit down and look like I'm doing something. Instead, I figured I'd just check out a few current fave style blogs, such as, and ; only to realise that, even if I did have their wardrobes, I would never have their thighs, and if I did there is no way I'd be munching on pizza. This conclusion made all the more painful by arises whilst shoving large chunks of easter egg into my mouth.

On a good note, Keats, Hunt and The Cockney School's looking really attractive right now.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Bank Holiday Mondays

...somewhat of a British institution. And, much like many a British institution, always victim to disproportionate amounts of pressure to be 'jolly good'.
So far, this Easter Bank Holiday Monday is winning a few BH (Bank Holiday) points because not only is it not pissing it down but there is even a tiny amount of sunshine peeking through the clouds. Imagine how many people woke up this morning, joyously witnessed the bright skies, and instantly pictured the short-sleeved and lightweight jackets they were going to don and the ice-creams they were to munch. We may talk incessantly of the weather, but it's nice that such a tiny thing can make everyone so much happier.
I'm an exception to this. So far today I have done some hand-washing of vintage cardigans, read some of the paper, eaten some muesli and played with Novelty Cat. (Will explain later). Not because I'm anti BHs or anything, but rather am 3/4 of my way through a month-long university holiday and this four-day long BH has resulted me in not tackling my giant workload at all. Rather than being excited over the anomaly of a near-sunny BH I am instead feeling a little guilty. And bored.
I have no desire to enter into the rammed shopping centres, attend any family-specific activities, or indeed eat ice-cream (that's due to general Easter-related overeating, rather than BH bitterness, mind). Maybe when I have a proper job I might happily indulge in such activities with my precious free days off, but until then I intend to revert to grumpy teenage mode and avoid such things. Until I'm dragged out on a family walk around the village perimeter this afternoon, that is.