Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Please help

For those of you who don't know, I'm a member of the University of Sheffield Singers' Society (SingSoc).

Basically we have three choirs open to staff and students and also members of the public - we focus on singing to a high standard and having fun at the same time. Usually this time of year we're busy singing Christmas carols to raise money for charity.

But this year is different.

Our choir director's car was stolen on Friday night, and along with it the 160 copies of Carols for Choirs that we'd borrowed from the University's Music Department. Neither the director's car insurance or the Music Department's insurance will pay out for the books, which will cost almost £2000 to replace. That's about 2 year's budget.

So we're on hands and knees, grovelling. We already have around £300 which we collected at our last concert, but obviously there's still a way to go yet. Please please donate something to help us, even if it's only a pound or a dollar or whatever you can spare - if enough people contribute we might even get to buy some replacement books before our carol concert!

If we don't raise enough money we won't be able to afford to hire music and concert venues, or pay orchestras. We have an outreach project planned for next year, where we will create a large choir of local kids - we'd have to cancel that. If we can't put on concerts, the Society will go bankrupt. So please help us - I really don't want to lose my choirs.

We've set up a PayPal account for donations, which you can access as follows.

1. Go to
2. Sign up for a personal PayPal account - if you've used eBay you probably already have one so you can just use that, if not it's pretty easy to set one up. Just click Sign Up at the top of the page .
3. Log In to your account.
4. Click Send Money at the top of the page.
5. In the Recipient's email box, enter
6. Fill in the amount you want to donate.
7. In the Category of purchase box, select service.
8. Click Continue.
9. Check all the details are correct. You don't need to add your postal address.
10. Click Send Money.

Thank you so much for your help. :)
On behalf of all at SingSoc.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Welcome to my world

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time allowing myself to fade into the background.

I do this by:
• Keeping quiet. I join in discussions, but tend not to engage people in conversation; in particular I don’t really do small talk. I just listen to other people mostly, and just speak when I’m spoken to.
• Wearing really boring clothes. Jeans, trainers, baggy T-shirts in brown or sludge green, hair tied back in a low ponytail. Not wearing makeup.
• Pretending to be distracted. Sometimes if I see someone I know, I’ll act as if I don’t see them. If they say hello to me I’ll talk, but if not I won’t. I think it’s in case they didn’t want to say hi, and then I don’t embarrass myself by talking to them when they intended to just walk past. Which truly is stupid.
• Playing down the things that make me unique, like my intelligence and knowledge and musical ability and enthusiasm and all the little things that make me stand out. Similarly exaggerating things I’m lacking, or not so good at, and unfavourably comparing myself to other people.
• Continuing to do the same boring things I do every day, and never challenging myself with something new.

I hate how easy it is for me to lose confidence in myself. I really thought that it would just be a matter of time before I felt happy in my own skin, like once I started doing something I enjoy and am good at (i.e. studying, singing) things would just fall into place, but of course it doesn’t happen like that.

For me to explain this properly I’ll have to delve a little bit into my background, so bear with me.

While I was at school I was, while not exactly systematically bullied, teased about my appearance, and pretty much told that I’d never be able to attract men, never have a boyfriend, etc (as if that’s the be all and end all of life anyway!) so by the time I left at 16 I was pretty much settled with the idea that my brains were a deficit rather than an asset, that I wasn’t pretty and popular like my “friends”, and that while they could expect to pull on a night out I should simply resign myself to the fact that I’d always be the one left out. By that age I’d had exactly one short encounter with a guy I met on holiday, who certainly wasn’t an Adonis.

So I took the opportunity when I moved to a new school to do A levels to start afresh. New friends - real friends, more socialising, not caring what people thought and what I “should” be doing. Suddenly I got male attention, and quite a lot of it, from guys I actually found attractive. And there was confidence. I got a boyfriend, who I was with for 5 years. I flirted. I slept with guys. I did things because I wanted to do them, and I did the things I wanted to do.

I think I built up a persona as a sexy, funny, energetic, sexual person, and I realised that there are different types of attractive. I was happy with myself, I think the persona reflected a genuine part of my personality and it was close to the way I think I naturally am, if things are going well.

And somewhere between then and my depression all that evaporated.

I don’t know how, but my self-confidence was eroded away until I was back at the just-left-school no-one-will-ever-love-me stage, and even worse. I desperately wanted care and attention, but I didn’t believe the love people showed me. Anyway, I’m not going to dwell on that because I came out of it, and built myself back up again, but I’ve never quite achieved the confidence of my late teens/early twenties.

So really it’s just been this weekend that I’ve realised that I’m not happy, that I’m hiding myself because of some pitiful belief that I’m not good enough. I’m not the type to blame other people in my past for my problems today, but it’s easy to see what effect the negative views of my so-called friends have had on me, and how long-lasting it’s been. And that pisses me off, how dare they steal my real personality like that? And how could I let them?
I think that their motivation can only have been jealousy. I’m clever, funny, talented, good at solving problems and learning new things, and I have breasts. And all they had was prettiness, and fashionable clothes.

But anyway. I’m not hiding anymore. To paraphrase Boo the other day, of course I can, I am Anna.

Starting tonight, I’m planning to be me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here's the deal

I'm really busy at the moment.

Study, singing, hogs, housework. Lots to do. So I don't have so much time to devote to blogland.

I know I haven't been keeping up with your blogs, and I apologise. I still don't have my computer, but I do have a laptop hooked up at home now.

Basically I'm going to have to cut way down on the blogs I'm reading and commenting on.

And I'm deciding like this. If you read my blog, and want me to read yours, leave a comment to this post and I'll start visiting you again - a couple of times a week at least. Hog people, you're already on my list.

I'm sorry, you're all fun, but I just don't have the time anymore.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Miss me?

My computer has died and I'm not sure when I'll be back online at home.

Expect sporadic updates from uni.

And I won't be in chat for a while either, at least until I get my computer up and running or get my laptop connected to the net.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How the hell did you get here?

I thought I'd amuse you with a few of the searches that lead people to click into this blog. Because I'm bored.

I hate spiders kill - was that you Nikki?
pie wedgies - Jon??
squeamish fruit fetishes
Pergolesi's Alleluia recording
- How did that lead here? I didn't even know Pergolesi wrote an Alleluia.
download Ecce Homo Theme from Mr Bean
I hate flies
cat prosthetics LARP uk
Warhammer 40k porn
sexy snails
sex with dog
dog sex
out door sex
"ladies loo" pee wiping
- I really hope this was a cleaner. Really.
basil for ticks
mr bean videos
Mr Bean sings in church choir
joe & hayley
- Um... yeah. "Hey, you're English, right? You must know my friend Joe, he went to London once... with his girlfriend Hayley. He's about so tall?"
dog sex
- Again.
boyfriend mike anna
- Pretty vague search terms...
bruckner "locus iste" "mr. bean"
sperm in alium and tallis and free music download
- This one amused me in a childish way... it's "Spem in alium" not "Sperm". Spem means hope. Sperm... generally doesn't. Plus the "and" is completely redundant.

I wouldn't normally do this, but...

... I'm going to post here about the fact that I feel crappy.

It's just really been today. I have this unpleasant feeling that something's wrong but I don't know what it is. I don't want to do anything. I'm tired. I'm restless. I'm bored. I'm lonely. I've not been sleeping well at night, then I sleep half the day. I have jobs that need doing, the house is a shithole and animals need cleaning out and I need a shower but I can't be bothered to have one and I smell. I'm having to force myself to eat normal food because I'm only interested in cake, chocolate, biscuits and ice-cream and I don't feel hungry.

It doesn't help that Michael's not here, he's been in Edinburgh with work since Sunday and he won't be back until Friday. It's not just that I miss him, it's also that I have no-one to talk to. I haven't spoken to anyone face-to-face since Sunday, and I've only spoken to two people on the phone since then (Michael and Jan). I've become aware of how few friends I really have. Sure, I have friends, but no-one I feel I can really phone and say, "I'm so bored and feel crap, come over and we'll drink wine and eat chocolate and watch a film or something." Probably there are people who would do that. I just feel like there aren't. Plus it's too much effort to phone, or even see anyone.

And I'm starting to get worried about going back to uni on Monday. This year is going to be a lot harder and despite my good marks last year I think I'm going to be out of my depth because I missed so many classes last year, particularly in statistics and how to work and interpret SPSS (the stats program we use). I can't even begin to think how I'm going to catch up. And my essay writing sucks now too, as evidenced by my previous marks. Every multiple-choice exam I've had (apart from one which was hard and ecology isn't my area anyway), I've got above 74, while every essay exam has scored less then 67. The knowledge is there, I'm just not great at using it to write essays. And this year the marks actually count. And I want a first.

And also, I have no money until my next loan installment comes in or my house sale completes, whichever is sooner. It should only be a few weeks, if that, but it's a pain in the ass. I'd like to buy books. My Amazon Wish List for textbooks is full to bursting. And I'd also like to buy hair dye, my hair is seriously looking bad at the moment.

But on the plus side, I just spoke to Michael and he's coming home Thursday night instead of Friday! Yay! I feel a little less crap.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

At last, a psychology-related post!

I'm one of those people who's perfectly happy to re-read books, if I enjoyed them the first time round. I have a lot of books, and I've read most of the multiple times. It's actually easier for me if I've read the book before - I still enjoy it, but with a new book I find it very difficult to tear myself away and do other things, and with an old one I'm happy to put it down because I know what's coming next.

I still have a lot of the books I read as a kid, and I still read them too. I've recently come across some of my old Enid Blytons which I loved as a kid, and there's something really comforting and safe about them. They transport me back to a simpler time when you didn't have to worry about boys or clothes or being unpopular or being fat or clever (a cardinal sin at my school, one which was guaranteed to make everyone hate you - well everyone who was stupid but popular that is) or having frizzy hair.

I have a book called Married Alive by Julie Burchill, in which the main character Nicola/Nicole describes her perfect evening to her therapist. It's being by herself, having a bath and going to bed at half-past seven and drinking Tizer or hot Ribena and eating butterscotch Instant Whip and watching hours of The Singing Ringing Tree or maybe White Horses and "sort of half re-reading Ballet Shoes", "because being perfect means being a child". My choices would be different, but I can relate to that. For me it would be dandelion and burdock, Dairylea sandwiches and either the St. Clare's or Mallory Towers books, or something to do with horses, probably the Jinny series. And it would be dark and rainy outside. And no school in the morning.

Anyway, as usual, I've started in one place and I'm going to move onto another. Bear with me.

I'm pretty sure I've read almost all of Enid Blyton's childrens books. My mum used to go into town on a Thursday for the flea market, and pick up a couple of then second-hand for me every week. I wish I knew where they all were, I know I haven't thrown any away. Anyway. I found a few out the other day, and I've been reading some of the Famous Five books and the thought suddenly struck me.

George (Georgina, whatever), in my humble opinion, was obviously suffering from gender identity disorder. Check out the diagnostic criteria from the bible of mental health specialists, the DSM-IV:

There must be evidence of a strong and persistent cross-gender identification.
Well it continues throughout the books without her "growing out of it", so I'd say so.

This cross-gender identification must not merely be a desire for any perceived cultural advantages of being the other sex.
Although there are obvious cultural advantages to being male back then (and even now, let's be honest), as illustrated by the repeated use of such phrases as "almost as good as a boy" which imply masculine superiority, this doesn't seem to be the case here. George continues to dress and act as a boy even when she gains no advantage from doing so.

There must also be evidence of persistent discomfort about one's assigned sex or a sense of inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex.
Definitely. George wants to be a boy, dresses and acts like a boy, and will only answer to "George". She becomes angry and upset if referred to as a girl.

The individual must not have a concurrent physical intersex condition (e.g., androgen insensitivity syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia).
Tricky one. But I'd guess not.

There must be evidence of clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Again, the negative emotions expressed if someone calls her a girl. She also refuses to answer to "Georgina", I believe even going as far as to refuse to acknowledge such people altogether. I'd say that's social impairment. And she does express some distress at not actually being a boy.

I wonder what happened to her later, when she got breasts and had periods and such. Would the wanting to be a boy thing be a passing pre-adolescent phase, or would she go on to persue her masculine gender into adulthood, maybe even have sex reassignment therapy? Was she sexually attracted to boys, or girls? And of course there were three other girls who dressed as/called themselves boys - Jo, Henrietta, and Harriet.

You know what? I think too much.

Severely overdue OLTA update

I've gained 4lb the last two weeks.

Guess I'd better exercise.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Two lots of good news

I got my first year module results today, pretty quick as my last exam was Monday!

So here are my results.

Evolution 74
Genetics 75
Discovering Psychology 78
Discovering Cognitive Science 66

Spring (the ones I've done in August after missing the exams in June)
Population and Community Ecology 65
Genes in Populations 75
Methods and Reasoning for Psychologists 53
Memory, Skill and Everyday Life 66
Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology 79
Social Psychology 67

To translate... 40 is the pass rate. 50-59 is a 2.2 (lower second class), 60-69 is a 2.1 (upper second class), and 70+ is a first, aka pretty fecking amazing.

I'm reasonably happy. The 53 is not so good, but to be fair I went to one lecture and missed all the lab classes for that module, and couldn't get the lecture notes online so I couldn't really revise. And there was a lot of stats and I forgot my calculator. So all in all I'm pretty pleased with how these went, especially the Neuroscience/Evolutionary Psychology one. I guess I rule at evolution/genetics/neuroscience.

The other good news is that I now have a copy of a contact for my house sale. I just have to send them some more information, sign and return the contact, and once they buyers return theirs we can agree a completion date. YAY!!!


What were you doing when you first heard about 9/11?

The Kennedy assassination?

The death of Princess Diana?

The Challenger explosion?

The verdict of the OJ Simpson trail?

Chances are, you have pretty detailed and vivid memories of the context in which you first heard about some or all of these things, even though they were a while ago. Things like what the weather was like, who told you, where you were. These are flashbulb memories. I won't bore you with the details, but I find them interesting.

The most interesting thing about them is that most people think they are very accurate, perhaps more so than normal memory - perhaps because they are so vivid. But in general, they aren't very accurate at all, just like other memories. Memory is reconstructive - we add in bits that fit, change other bits, forget some bits altogether. Sometimes memories are entirely false. And that actually scares me a little... so some of the very vivid and detailed memories I have may never have happened? And there's probably no way to find out either, as no-one else's memory will be the full truth either.

That said, I wanted to tell what I remember about 9/11. I'm pretty sure it's accurate - but then I would be, wouldn't I?
* * * *

11th September 2001 was a Monday. I'd spent the weekend in Nottingham. Saturday I got a lift with Michael, as he had a ref meeting for the Mirrorshades LARP game. Chris, Owen and Emma (also refs) had just moved into a new house. Joel (another ref) was there - I don't remember if he got a lift with us, but he was definitely there, along with Chris's brother Joe. I called Jonathan, who I was really there to see, and he came to meet me.
We went for milkshake in one of those café/bookshop places, the café was upstairs and we sat watching people on the street outside. We had food in a Chinese place where we sat on tall stools eating off a bench in the window, I'm sure mine had chicken and noodles but I'm not sure what it was - it was yummy but there was a lot and I didn't eat it all, Jonathan finished it.
We went to an arcade and played pool, which I suck at. I may have had a go on a dance game. We went to a cinema and saw A Knight's Tale, which we both enjoyed.

Later we went back to the room in J's apartment building where I was spending the night. We were going to go back to his place but his wife (now ex-wife) was in a mood and said I couldn't go there. Strange woman. I'd brought three bottles with me - one was Bailey's but I forget the others - and we proceeded to get drunk and talk crap. At one point he lifted up the metal bed with me on it and I was suitably impressed by his strength. He also confessed that a couple of times he'd wanted to kiss me, and I told him I knew.

It was very late when he went home. I took sleeping pills. Bad idea on top of the alcohol - it was very difficult for me to get up the next morning.

We went for milkshake again, this time in the café at the train station. One of the shakes I had was mint flavour. I don't remember much more about the day, but in the evening we went to the Mirrorshades game. J went home to pick up his wife and I met him at the pub where the game was. Chris, who was in charge of the game, decided not to go that night, leaving the others in charge. The game was going very well when some guy called Robin (very enthusiastic but no common sense) jumped over a railing onto a lower section of floor. Somehow in this a girl (I think it was Laura) got a cut on her face, above the eye, and became almost hysterical. She was calmed down and wasn't seriously hurt but the refs decided to cut the game short and me and the refs went back to the Chris/Emma/Owen house. J went home, dropped off the wife, and then joined us.

The situation was discussed, food was eaten, and a late night alcohol place called up. They brought a van full of alcohol round and we bought loads. And then got drunk. It was a fun night. I was wearing a short green velvet dress. J kept sitting too close to Joe and pretending to chat him up, putting his arm round him and stroking his hair and stuff, to Joe's discomfort and our amusement. At one point Joe said, “But you can’t sleep with me, I’m under the age of consent,” to which J replied, “Who said it would be consentual?”

I remember lying on Chris and Emma’s bed with Emma and her shouting, “Why is my boyfriend so gay?” I’m not sure what Chris was doing to provoke that.

Renee (J’s evil bitch wife from hell) called and made him go home – she’s disabled and can’t put herself to bed.

We drank more. Eventually everyone went to bed except me, Michael and Owen. We persuaded Owen to bring his computer downstairs and hook it up to the TV so we could watch downloaded episodes of the new series of South Park. I was pretty drunk at this point. I was sitting on the floor in front of Michael’s chair and he was playing with my hair. Halfway through the episode (which I was too drunk to follow anyway), Michael went to bed, and after a few minutes (once I’d realised he’d gone) I followed him up to “his” room. I asked if he minded me sleeping in there too, on the camp bed, and he said it was okay.

I have to mention at this point, we had a bit of a history. We’d been friends for maybe 3 years, and hung out with the same group from the role-playing club. Back in the early days we’d expressed an interest in each other and had gone as far as some kissing, but he was in a serious relationship and I was just beginning a relationship with a guy I’d go out with for five years, so we decided not to take it further. Every time we slept over somewhere we’d be bed partners, because we felt comfortable with each other. And a couple of months previously we’d stayed at Gareth’s with a bunch of other friends, shared a room and rather a lot of strong cider together and without going into too much detail I’d surprised him (and myself to be honest) with my proficiency in a certain act. Let’s just say I couldn’t talk while I was doing it.

And of course on that Sunday night, things happened. We went somewhat further. A lot further. Afterwards we talked and he told me that it wouldn’t happen again because he was seeing a girl from ‘Shades called Hayley (who coincidentally I didn’t like) and it wasn’t a good idea to complicate things. I was in a relationship too; I’d been living with Chris for 18 months and seeing him for four years. Michael asked me not to tell anyone what went on between us. I told him I might tell Hayley and he was a little annoyed at that, he asked why I’d want to sabotage things for him like that. Actually I meant a different Hayley, my best friend. But to be honest, I was disappointed, because I thought he liked me.

The next morning things were a bit weird. We got up before anyone else surfaced, and watched TV while we waited for them to wake up. And in the afternoon we drove home. I’m pretty sure Joel came with us. Michael dropped me off at home, and helped me with my bag, and was just about to get in the car again when I asked for a hug, which he gave me. We were all a bit quiet.

I went inside. My boyfriend Chris was home, with his best friend Dave who practically lived with us. I didn’t feel guilty – things weren’t great between us and I was pretty sure he didn’t care for me so much anymore, but of course I didn’t want him to find out what had happened, so I tried hard to act normal and I don’t think he noticed anything. I said I was tired (which I was), but really I had stuff to sort out in my head.

I hadn’t been home long when we turned on the TV and saw the news. Two buildings. Planes. They showed the footage over and over and over. Crash. Burn. Crash. Burn. Heaps of smoking wreckage, twisted metal, fire-fighters. Crash. Burn. Recordings of telephone calls. The story of the brave people on one of the planes who’d tried to stop the hijacker. This was going to be the start of World War Three. They said another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. It was unthinkable – this was the day the world changed forever.

To be honest, it was too much for my head to take. I told Chris and Dave I was going for a walk, I couldn’t sit there and watch. I was glad to get out so I could have chance to think a bit, but when I got out I didn’t think much at all, I just walked. I thought I’d walk up past the Loggins garage (where we’d call after the role-playing club on Friday for beer and snacks before heading to Gareth’s to play DOA2 and watch Bansai), then on to Holmebrook Valley Park where I used to walk with my friend and his dog when I visited. A long way.

I was halfway to the garage and I walked past my friend Joel’s house. He saw me though the window and came out into the street to ask if I’d seen the news, then he invited me in. We had tea and sat in the garden talking about what the implications might be. He asked if I was okay. I told him about the previous night. Joel’s the kind of person you can trust with stuff like that, and he understands, he’s easy to talk to. I felt very comfortable with him, strange that even though I slept with him (another drunken night, how bad was I?) it didn’t affect our friendship in the least. I was there a while, and later his mum gave me a lift home.

When I got back Chris and Dave were just about to come out looking for me because they were worried, I’d been gone ages. I watched more news. And I felt pretty numb, like I’d overloaded or something. I didn’t cry. I just watched. And really, the actual human cost didn’t come home to me until yesterday, when I wrote my tribute to Tu-Ahn and realised that the people who died were people.

* * * *

So there’s my story. I think it’s pretty interesting really. And in case you want to know the rest of the Anna/Michael story, here it is.

Michael kept seeing Hayley for a few more months before he realised that he was doing all the running, and the relationship wasn’t really going anywhere. We saw each other every week as usual, but I tried to keep away from him a little because I didn’t think he was interested in me and it hurt. Eventually I mostly got over it.

I stayed with Chris for another year. I told him several times I wanted things to change – he’d get upset and promise to make more effort and that we’d spend time together, but it never happened. I gave him enough chances. And in the end I told him it wasn’t worth carrying on. So Chris asked if he could stay in the house until after Christmas, as he’d be very busy at work until then. I wasn’t happy but I agreed.

That summer I’d been spending more time with Michael, we’d go to karaoke together, maybe see a film. We spent hours talking in his car.

One weekend his parents were away (he’d moved back in with them for a while after he broke up with his long-term ex), and he invited a group of us back after the club that Friday night. I could tell he really wanted me to stay, but there wasn’t a way to do it without everyone knowing. When Tris offered me a lift home I had to accept, frustrated though I was. But I went back the next night, on my own. We ate pizza and watched Gladiator. It was weird, I spent the whole night waiting for him to make a move but he didn’t. I was so disappointed. When we went to bed we talked for ages and I was just beginning to think I’d got it wrong and he wasn’t interested, when he kissed me. And we had some of the best sex ever.

The day Chris and I broke up finally, we went out to karaoke as usual. I told him that I was now free. And for the first time ever, I didn’t sing on the karaoke. We just talked most of the night. On the way back to the car, we kissed again. We kept it secret for months, partly to protect Chris as it was a bit weird that we’d started seeing each other so soon after the break-up, and partly because it just wasn’t anyone else’s business. Eventually some friends confronted us, saying that it was making them uncomfortable (!) and that we should be open about it.

And I guess the rest is history.

And I’m so sorry this has turned into the gigantic mammoth post from Tomuchinformationsville.

Monday, September 11, 2006

It's that time of year again

I've just posted a tribute to Tu-Ahn Pham, who died in the WTC, in my other blog, if you want to see it.

It is possible to leave a comment there even if you're not signed up to LiveJournal, check "anonymous" but don't forget to leave your name at the end of your comment otherwise I won't know who it's from! Alternatively you could just comment here. Either way.

I'm knackered, and will be off to bed very soon. But I have to say a huge thank you to Jan, who sent me a fantastic and very early birthday present which came as such a surprise! And also a belated Happy Birthday to Nic and an apology that she hasn't had a card from me yet. You can have Dom all to yourself Nic, that's how sorry I am!

Monday, September 04, 2006

OLTA update

As of this morning, I'm 13st 4lb (186lb). That's a loss of 3.5lb this week, and a loss of 7lb in total.

Yay for me!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


On the way home from Minsmere (when we played the bird word game), I created a visual image for Michael. He recognises a lapwing (the above photo is one of his), but was having trouble remembering the name of it, so I asked him to picture the bird with a cat lapping milk from its wing. The theory being that the weird image would help him recall the name - and it worked, he gets the name straight away now.

And the other night I thought about this and was inspired to do a little drawing for him to make him smile. And here it is. I don't profess to being an artist, but it turned out okay and it amused me anyway.Mark it well, I'll be testing you later.

Also if I mention "pussy licking" I might attract more people looking for porn.

More lost ass

I'm down 1.5lb this week.

I never actually managed to play with Kinetic, but I have done some walking. Plus eating curry on Thursday night.

I do think I look a little less wobbly.

I like this

Get your own here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

OLTA update

I've lost 2lb this week.

Next week I plan to do exercise! I'm going to use EyeToy: Kinetic which I got at Christmas, and work out 3 times a week, gently at first.

Unlike everyone else, I'm not trying to win this. There's no way I can compete when I can't exercise much because of the achy muscles and pain and tiredness I get from fibromyalgia.

But whatever I lose will help my poor falling-apart body to function that bit better.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fun Day

So we took Rosey to a "Fun Day" at a local pet shop today. The idea was to raise awareness of hedgehogs and also to sell some of my little knitted hogs.

It turned out to be a nice day. There were loads of dogs, even a dog fashion show. Also stalls with creepy crawly insect pets (such as a funky giant millipede which I got to hold) and snails and such, animal handling for the kids, ferret racing and a sponsored ferret walk. And the usual tombolas, free pet food, guess-the-name-of-the-teddy-bear and so on.

Rosey spent a lot of the day in a cat carrier in the back room of the shop out of the way, and she came out for animal handling and a few other times during the day. She really did attract a lot of interest, with both kids and adults, so many commented about how cute she is and how the spikes aren't as hard as they thought, and I heard a lot of stories about people feeding them, and kids helping them over roads - it's very encouraging to hear that there are some nice caring people out there.

And we sold 22 little hogs, making a total of £47. :)

The highlight of the day for me was the couple from Sheffield who brought their pet skunk, which I fell hopelessly in love with as she was the most gorgeous cuddly thing ever. Her name's Tallulah, and she cost £500! I got to hold her while her owner spoke on the microphone about her, and she spent a lot of the time cuddled into my neck almost asleep - she's just 12 weeks old, bless. I want one. Seriously. And before you ask, she didn't smell, as pet ones have their anal glands removed - a very slight musky odour was all I got, nothing compared to stinky ferrets! They are a lot like ferrets but without the smell and the nippy teeth and the wriggliness. I will have one one day! Enjoy some pictures, but excuse the quality asI took them with my phone.

A slightly gormless-looking woman with Tallulah.

And again.

Me enjoying some skunk love!! Poor tired skunky, she's almost asleep. <3

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sorry, more sex...

I've had another visit from someone looking for "dog sex". Fantastic, makes me smile when that happens. ;)

Reminds me of an amusing story. Here goes - be prepared to be shocked...

I have starred in a porn film.

Okay, breathe. Because there's more.

It was a fetish porn film.

Breathe again.

This happened a few years ago (about 5 I think, but don't quote me), when a friend of mine (Jon, of the "Warhammer 40k porn" search fame) told me about his desire to make a food porn film, basically involving a girl getting covered in food. Weird, I though, but different strokes for different folks I guess - Jon's a roleplayer, so being a weirdo pervert's just a small step from there.

A while later he'd actually organised it - he'd got cameras, set up his bedroom as a studio (with everything covered in wipe-clean plastic), sent housemate Adam down to the cash&carry for supplies, and booked a prostitute to act in the film.

Unfortunately on the day of the shoot, his ho didn't turn up. And refused to answer her phone.

So he told me about this the next Friday night at the roleplaying club, somewhat disappointed that all his hard (no pun intended) work was going to be wasted, and jokingly asked me if I'd consider starring in his film instead - I wouldn't have to actually do anything sexual, or even get naked if I didn't want - it's just the girl covered in food that the target audience get off on apparently.

It really shocked him when I said yes.

So he lent me a video (Pie Wedgies) so I could get the idea of what we were aiming for, which turned out to be hilarious. And the next weekend we bought clothes and prepared the food (cheesecake mix with food colouring on paper plates, porridge, strawberry and chocolate sauce), and spent the afternoon filming.

Basically I sat there while Jon threw plates of cheesecake (like custard pies) at me, and pretended to be enjoying it. Actually it was fun, in a silly kind of way - not in the slightest bit sexual but in an sort of innocent, childish way. I got naked as far as topless - no-one wants to see my stomach! The cheesecake was actually really really cold so I did enjoy the warm porridge quite a lot when we got to that, but I discovered that chocolate sauce really stings the eyes.

It was an experience, certainly. I got paid for it, and a cut of the profits too. And Jon says I'm a natural, because looking like you enjoy it is the key thing.

And afterwards I imagined the scenario of the three housemates watching the film, and their thoughts.

Steve - "Mmmm, half-naked girl..."
Jon - "Mmmm, half-naked girl covered in cheesecake..."
Adam - "I could have eaten that."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Today's diet

I've been following the portion guide recommended by Diabetes UK. Today has gone okay. Recommended number of portions are in brackets, actual portions I've had, er, aren't.

Protein (2-3) = 2
Starch (7-14) = 7
Fruit/veg (5-9) = 6
Dairy (3) = 3
Sugary/fatty (less than 4) = 4
Alcohol (less than 2) = 2

Colour coding helps my brain, okay?

Get your pr0n here...

You may remember, in my recent post about Summer, I wondered if I'd get people coming to my blog by Googling "dog sex".

Well I have, already.

My SiteMeter lists a visitor who was referred from a Google search of "sex with dog".

And also two Blogger searches - one for "dog sex" and another for "out door sex".

Bet these people were so disappointed....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Good link

Diabetes UK's menu planner, suggests a sensible eating plan. And you can tell it how much of various foods you eat every day, and it assesses how healthy your diet is and makes recomendations. Very useful.

I've accepted the challenge....

I'm now part of Operation Lose That Ass.

So, some vital info.

I'm 26 years old. I'm 5'6" and 193lb as of last week. I know I should have weighed myself this morning, but I forgot all about it - I'll weigh tomorrow and update. Idealy I'd like to be 150lb or so.

As for pants size, it all depends on where I shop. Officially I'm a UK 20 (US 18) down there, but the jeans I bought from Sainsbury's the other day were way too big in a 20 so I got them in an 18 instead.

I'd like to get down to a 16 so I can buy clothes more easily, and shop in "normal" shops rather than "plus size" ones.

Foodwise, I have to consider my diabetes so I can't cut down carbs. Instead I'm going to cut out unhealthy snacks and eat loads of fruit and veggies instead, and limit cheese and red meat. Also smaller portions of chicken/fish/eggs. A typical day will look like this...

Wholewheat cereal with milk, some seeds/nuts and fruit. 100ml of juice (I can't have more juice than this as it's high in sugar).

Cereal bar or fruit.

Chicken/fish/egg sandwich on wholemeal bread with salad. Low-fat yogurt.

Fruit and handful of nuts.

Small portion of chicken/fish/veggie alternative, with starch (potatoes, wholemeal pasta/rice/bread/noodles, grains) and at least two portions of veggies. Fruit and low-fat yogurt.

Dried fruit.

I'll allow myself the occasional treat of a bit of cake or chocolate or whatever. Exercise is difficult because I feel tired and uncomfortable/in pain with fibromyalgia a lot of the time, but I will make an effort to be a bit more active.

I know, I know...

... you all think I'm obsessed with sex.

I'm not. But this entry does concern sex, and for that I apologise.

It also concerns my dog, Summer. But it's not what you think!

Summer just finished the bleeding part of her season a few days ago, so she's now in the "receptive phase". And recently we had a woman move in next door who has a rather handsome golden retriever dog, Toby. The two dogs have met and made friends, and enjoyed playing together, and now that Summer's so "attractive" she's taken to forcing her way through the hedge into the orchard, then going through the next hedge into next door's garden so she can play with her new friend.

She was whining to go out earlier so I opened the door for her and being distracted, forgot to keep an eye on her.

Two minutes later when she didn't come in when I called, I heard her next door again. I went round to collect her to find them playing, with Toby occasionally trying to mount. And she's such a ho, she was even standing and lifting her tail for him!

Luckily he's been neutered, but he doesn't know that!

Also luckily our new neighbour is very nice and didn't mind Summer being over there - we were laughing about how they seem to have fallen in love, following each other around and Toby licking Summer's ears and face.

I'm a bit annoyed at Summer for ignoring me when I call, but I guess she's just following her instincts so I couldn't shout at her or anything - besides, Toby's obviously encouraging her! We often refer to her as the "ho dog" because she'll roll over and let anyone tickle her belly, and it amused me that now she really is a ho dog.

I suppose the point of me telling this story was partly to see if I get a visitor to my blog who's navigated here by Googling "dog sex". I've had one who Googled "sexy snails", so why the hell not? And a friend of mine says he had a visitor to his site who was looking for "warhammer 40k porn". The mind boggles.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I watched an episode of The Law of the Playground at the weekend (taped from Friday night, very funny and well worth watching) and masturbation was mentioned. It reminded me of a snippet of conversation I overheard in a shopping mall few years ago.

A group of kids walked past as I was coming out of a shop. It was a mixed group of boys and girls, maybe seven of them, around 12 years old. I didn't hear the context, but the bit I did hear was a girl saying this:

"She can't masturbate, she's a girl!"

I had this almost overwhelming urge to catch up with them and explain. But then I realised how wrong that would be.

It struck me as strange that a young person of that age, old enough to know the correct terminology rather than the playground "wanking" which is more common, should know so little about the actual act itself.

It also scares me. If they lack such basic information about sex then they probably think that you can't get pregnant the first time, or if you do it standing up, or if you're having your period. Or if the boy pulls out in time.

It's about time we sorted out the sex education in this country. Kids are having sex younger and younger these days, and they won't be persuaded not to do it by a lack of knowledge, so we might as well arm them with the information they need to protect themselves from both pregnancy and STIs.

I also think that if sex was discussed openly and explicitly in PHSE lessons at school, girls in particular could be less easily pressured into penetrative sex as they'd know the alternatives, and they would be less likely to fall for the old "If you love me..." argument.

Quite apart from the fact that if they don't know about clitoral stimulation, they're gonna have a much less fulfilling sex life anyway!

Monday, August 07, 2006

More hoggy stuff

Okay, Basil's doing well now, healing nicely (if only he wouldn't keep scratching his face!) and eating properly. Thank goodness.

I'm going to a "Fun Day" organised by a local pet shop on the 19th, and I'm having a stall and taking Rosey. I'll be talking to people about hogs and how to help them and selling my little knitted hogs to raise money for hog rescues. And people will be able to meet a real live prickler.

So I really need to get stuck in making the knitted hogs. I did quite a few at the weekend so I have around 20 ready now but I'm expecting to sell a lot. Why do I have to have 3 exams and an essay to do this week, dammit?

I've been playing around with different colours and combinations (including a red, white and blue one), and last night was suddenly inspired to make tiny tiny ones too. The normal ones are about 3" long and 2" wide, while the tiny ones are just 1.5" long, 1" wide (fiddly to make!) I thought the small ones would make good keyrings, perhaps.

And last night I tried modifying the hog pattern to make a mouse - I'm very pleased at how it turned out. But now my hands hurt. :(

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Panic over

Basil's okay - sorry I haven't updated for a while, been busy.

His head's healing and he's eating a little by himself so we've stopped hand feeding him.

I'm going to try to get a camera on him soon so you guys on Yahoo can watch.

Sorry for the brevity, but I have revision to do!

Friday, July 28, 2006

"Little hog"

You know what? Basil's a lucky boy.

I don't just mean in that his injury could be a lot worse, and in us finding him on two separate occasions when he was in trouble.

I mean in the trouser department.

Of course I've had the occasional look down there to check everything's okay, and I've noticed what I thought was the penis. Have a look at the picture - these are African Pygmy hedgehogs but they are pretty much the same as their European counterparts.

Last night when Basil was looking particularly ill and floppy I was shocked to see something huge and pink and cylindrical under his belly - my first throught was that it was a prolapsed intestine until I realised how stupid that thought was.

But it turned out that what you can see on the picture was not the actual penis - the 3-inch long, 1/2-inch wide pink object that I saw was the penis.

To give you an idea of scale, Basil's body nose-to-tail is probably 7 or 8 inches. And a quick google tells me that 10% of an adult male hedgehog's weight is in his penis. That's pretty impressive if you ask me.

I'll leave you with this picture, which I found amusing. As I'm obviously in a penis mood.

Better news

Basil looks much better today. When I checked on him last night he'd moved over to the water to have a drink but looked like he didn't have the strength to go back to bed afterwards, but he was sleeping under the newspaper in the bottom of the cage this morning and pricked up when I tried to look at him (a good sign). And I think he's been in the food even if he hasn't eaten much.

I'll try to resume normal service soon and keep updating about Basil as well.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poor Basil

Basil looks ill. It seems he's inhaled too much of the alcohol in the Frontline spray and it's causing him breathing difficulties. He was hardly breathing at all earlier this evening, felt cool and was both more curled up and more floppy than usual.

Derek on the hog forum says to keep him warm and comfortable, plenty of fresh air and fluids, and the effects will wear off in 24 hours. So I've got him next to me on a heat pad and there's a fan in the room to circulate the air. He does look a little better. I'll give him some water when he's a bit more responsive.

Poor guy. As if he didn't have enough to contend with.

Vet visit

Basil scratched at his face last night and removed the new scab. Guess it's itchy where it's healing. The plus side of this is that I realised that it isn't infected, it was just that where the cut had sealed itself it was a light colour.

He was much more lively last night in general, attacking the syringe when we were feeding him, and sniffing around, even trying to wander off. He hasn't shown much interest in his food though, I'm going to try some different things to tempt him. I'm hoping as he starts to feel better his appetite will return.

We went to see the vet this afternoon, mostly because the remaining ticks are proving very difficult to remove as he has so many underneath him and they are small - plus he won't let us near the ones on his face and ears. She sprayed him with Frontline to kill the ticks and had a look at his wound, which she says is healing up fine. Apparently it doesn't matter if he does scratch it a few times as long as I clean it each time and he doesn't make a habit of it - the new skin will still grow underneath. There's no infection so he doesn't need antibiotics.

All in all it's looking quite good.

I continue to be pleased with the vet's surgery (Vets4Pets in Chesterfield) as the vet there acknowleges that she doesn't know everything about hedgehogs, asks for my opinion and discusses treatments with me. She's also very gentle with the hogs and they only charge for the medication and not for their time (cost me £6.50 for the Frontline). Also the vet nurse has rehabilitated hogs herself so she's pretty knowlegable. I'd certainly recommend them.

Summer found a little hog in the garden last night, and after what's happened to Basil (and after being pawed and barked at by a big dog) I brought it in and checked it out. She looks fine, a few ticks but nothing a healthy hog can't handle, very bright and alert and soooooo cute!! She's been named Jasmine, marked and released. I hope she'll stay around.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yet more Basil

Basil's still very quiet. The wound is scabbing properly towards the top but I'm not so happy about how it looks in the middle. Think we'll have a visit to the vet tomorrow in case it's getting infected. Poor little prickler.

And we're going to have a serious tick removal session later too. Not an easy job, and he won't like it at all. Bastard things.

He had a little nibble of his dry food last night, but not very much, and I can't tell how much he's had to drink so we'll try to get more food and water into him tonight.

I know I'm not being very entertaining here at the moment with all this hog talk, but you know what? I don't care. Basil's important to me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More Basil news

Basil's head look a little better today, it's definitely scabbing now. He's looking quite sleepy, I guess he needs to rest a lot to recover and he could well be still in shock. He seems to spend a lot of time lying down flat on his belly with his chin on the floor, probably that's the most comfortable position for him.

We've just given him a little food which I've made up - basically a think liquidised soup made with minced chicken, barley, oats, cat biscuits and peanut butter with honey, garlic (helps digestion and immune system), ginger and cinnamon (to stimulate appetite) and some child vitamins, which he seems to quite like - he licked it off his lips and didn't fight the syringe at all. I'm hoping it'll help him get his appetite back. It may be of course that eating hard cat biscuits is hurting him so I'll provide him with something softer tonight too. He's definitely been drinking on his own at least.

I'll add a picute later.

So far 60-70-ish ticks have come off, but there are still hundreds more. I'm going to oil him again later.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Basil update, aka I also hate ticks

Another warning for the squeamish - this picture's not so horrible as the last one, but still not nice.

I've just checked on Basil and covered him in oil which he wasn't very impressed with. The wound is scabbing over but it still looks horrible and sore. Compare with the picture in my previous post.

I've managed to see exactly how many ticks there are on him - literally hundreds. I'm not joking. Most of them are tiny but they are everywhere, including two right next to his eyes and lots in his ears and even a couple on his penis. I can't imagine how he's picked up so many in just a few days. I guess a week or so with those guys on him would have killed him even if he didn't have flystrike - a couple of ticks doesn't harm a healthy hog but that many.... he wouldn't have any blood left!

Ticks are now at number 3 in my invertebrate hate list. And you know me, I don't like to kill anything, but I'd happily kill any number of flies and ticks at the moment.

Fucking bastard insects. How dare they do that to my Basil?? The cute little guy I nursed for so long - the weeks of hand feeding and giving him antibiotics, the neem baths, the tea tree oil cream on his nose every night for months, his lovely furry little skirt and his pretty eyes and his snuffly nose. Even the way he used to bite me while I was feeding him (and bit me last night as I was taking him to his cage).

No fucking respect.

I hate flies

Warning - don't click the picture if you're squeamish.

Only a few night after finally going free, Basil (one of my rescued hedgehogs) turned up again last night.

He's got a huge graze on his head which looks very sore and he's covered in small ticks, maybe a hundred of them. I don't kow how he got injured, but judging by the state of the wound I'd guess it was early yesterday morning.

The most horrible thing is that he also had a load of fly eggs in the wound. Another few days and the maggots would have been literally eating him alive. The first hog I picked up had a very bad infection and maggots crawling in its ears, a sight that I'll never forget. What a horrible way to die.

So I spent over an hour removing all the eggs, which is a very ticklish job - trying to get every single tiny egg out of a very sore place on an animal full of prickles which curls up when it's scared or in pain. It's just lucky that Basil's used to us and only curled up a bit when I hurt him, poor guy. If it had been a wild hog, with a wound on the head, it would have been practically impossible. I used a combination of an old toothbrush, a pair of tweezers and cotton wool soaked in salt water. He was so good about it, even though I was obviously hurting him.

I've left the ticks for now, I didn't want to stress him any more, and there are so many that I'm just going to cover him in vegetable oil tonight to suffocate them rather than trying to remove them all manually. I'll add lavender, rosemary and tea tree oils too for their antiseptic and insect repellant properties, and to soothe the wound. The lavender will help with the pain and stress too. I like to use natural/herbal medicines wherever possible.

He's in the spare room now, in a cage with a heat pad (which he isn't using), and I've draped sheet over the cage so flies can't get in. I checked on him a little while ago and he's sleeping and the wound's starting to scab over now, thank goodness. I'm obviously going to keep a very close eye on him and if he gets an infection he's going straight to the vet. He didn't eat last night so I'll give him a few days and hand feed him again if necessary.

I've now come to the conclusion that he's too tame to live in the wild once he's better. He made no attempt to curl up when Summer found him (which could possibly be because it hurt him to do so) and he wouldn't be safe out there. He's had to be handled too much with being ill and hand feeding and ringworm treatment and everything, he's used to humans now and not so scared of dogs.

Oh and thanks to Boo for talking to me last night after I'd cleaned him up, sorry I didn't realise you'd gone to bed until later on, I didn't mean to keep you up! Brain not in gear.

I can't describe how much I hate flies. The ticks are bad enough, but at least they don't kill the hog. I have to make an effort not to think about maggots - I've had dreams about having maggots under my skin - there can be few more horrible things than being eaten by maggots while you're still alive. I know some of you hate slugs, and quite a few hate spiders (enough to kill them on sight in some cases) and I can't stand wasps (ugly, evil, pointless things), but flies are so much worse. Yeuch doesn't even begin to cover it. The idea actually makes me feel physically sick.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Snail orgy

My landing now resembles a snail brothel.

I came upstairs earlier to find not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR snails engaged in group sex.

And we're now up to four lots of eggs, presumably more are on their way, and I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I don't want to kill the eggs, it feels very mean, but if they all hatch we'll be overrun with baby snails soon and I don't know how many I'll be able to flog to the local pet shops. There are already at least 4 tiny baby snails in the nursery tank.

Anyone want any snails?? Seriously?

On a related note, my Site Meter tells me that someone came to my blog by searching Google for "sexy snails". Er.... right. Because that's a perfectly normal search.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Love is...

Michael can be very sweet at times, bless him.

We were in Padley Gorge this morning - for those of you who haven't been there, it's a wooded gorge with a stream at the bottom, huge gritstone boulders everywhere, dippers and pied flycatchers - we took the dog for a walk and tried to find me a dipper. I got one, yay, but I digress.

Being a wood in summer, there were wood ants everywhere, thousands, millions of them. I foolishly hadn't thought about it and wore my sandals. And as I was navigating a tricky little stream and feeling a little less than secure in my footing, I felt a sharp pain in my foot and looked down to see the jaws of an ant embedded in my flesh. It felt like a needle. A big sharp needle.

Michael had to seriously swipe at it to get it to let go. Maybe it was karma, I'd probably squashed loads of them as I was walking. But it hurt and I didn't like it.

And Michael (who had been sensible and worn trainers and socks) gave me his socks to wear so the ants didn't get me again.

He didn't even laugh at how stupid I looked wearing socks with my sandals, and still managed to keep a straight face when I tucked my jeans into the socks to stop the nippy little buggers from getting inside them.

He's a star.

Please note, my legs aren't really that fat, I'm just wearing very baggy jeans. Honest.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New and exciting and fun... well new anyway

I'm pleased to announce the unveiling of a new project - currently called The Bird Photography Project, but the name will be updated as soon as we think of a better one.

Basically Michael and I are aiming to identify and photograph as many British birds as we can. He's in charge of the photography, and I'm be in charge of the identifcation, since I don't know an f-stop from an optical zoom, and he doesn't know a moorhen from a magpie.

You'll find it here, if you want to take a look at our first 13 photographs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fun with words

You know how it is when you're taking a long car journey with your other half. It's hard to find something to pass the time which both of you agree to.

Sunday we were coming home from Minsmere (was a great weekend by the way, 14 lifers) and we were at a loss for something to do for 4 hours. Neither of us could read, because it makes me carsick and I was having to navigate anyway, and him because he was driving. We both hate the adverts on the radio as well as half the songs, and we'd already listened to the two CDs we both like (he's a fan of ELO and I'd rather eat my own liver, and he feels pretty much the same about A Perfect Circle). An audio book would have done the job but we don't have any, and didn't think to download one. Oh well.

But we did find a solution - we created a word game. You've probably played similar things - basically we made up clues for the names of birds, for example "female relative that is not empty" = fulmar (geddit? full ma?). Similarly "curried female relative" = cormorant (korma aunt). The other person had to guess the bird. This kept us busy for hours, a great game which could easily be modified for place names, films, whatever.

Comedy moment was when I gave Michael the clue "someone in a sexual relationship with urine" (I was referring of course to a plover) and he guessed I meant pee-shagger. WTF? Actually that would make a great bird name!

See if you can get any of these. Some are easy, some very ahrd.

1) A bird you could use as a fuel when it's raining a lot.
2) To follow someone obsessively.
3) Small orange.
4) Bond film.
5) Magician.
6) Pasttime.
7) Pear wine the same colour as grass.
8) Almost a very poor person, a gift, or quite nice.
9) Noise a dog might make.
10) A hard penis.
11) Conversation with rock.
12) Cat stops sleeping.
13) Rotation of a lunch-time snack.
14) Shaving implement which must be paid.
15) Fast. (An very easy one there!)
16) Eats bees. (I was trying to give him a chance, okay??)
17) Part of a large house which got too close to a candle.
18) Taking something which doesn't belong to you.
19) More grainy.
20) Fantastic breast.
21) Gone completely mad.
22) Not a real FBI agent. (I couldn't get this one. Even with the next clue.) Quiet ovine.
23) Hay cut into lengths of 2.54cm.
24) Half of the act of something discovered by accident.
25) Annoyed William.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Snail sex

The other day, I noticed that two of my giant African land snails (GALS) were mating.

This surprised me as I thought that there was only one big enough, but apparently I was wrong.

It's a little known fact that all snails are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female sexual organs (but it still takes two of them to make baby snailies). It made me think about whether the world would be a better place if we were all hermaphrodites. And here's my argument for it.

1) No homophobia, as hetro- and homosexuality would cease to exist.

2) No problems of gay couples having to adopt or lesbians getting a sperm donor from somewhere, and the inherent problems. So you could have your own biological children with the person you love.

3) You'd never meet the person of your dreams who was perfect for you, but by a cruel twist of fate was not of your preferred gender.

4) Both of you would share the burden of childbirth.

5) If there were no men, there would be no porn industry. Not that I have anything against porn in general, but there's a fair amount of expoitation going on there, especially animal and child porn (which I do have a problem with).

6) There would be less violence. Men tend to be violent because of an evolutionary pressure - they needed to fight off other males for access to the limited resource of females (who spend a lot of time pregnant or breastfeeding and therefore unavailable as mates, while males are always available). If everyone could impregnate everyone else, there would be plenty of mates for all. I guess it follows from there that if there were no males, we probably wouldn't have war.

7) If one of a pair happened to be unable to produce fertile eggs, they could potentially still have babies "the other way round", by impregnating their partner. So there would be fewer couples who desperately wanted a child but couldn't.

8) Everyone would have breasts.

9) The toilet seat could always be left up.

10) Your husband would understand your PMT, because he'd have it too. Ha.

11) You wouldn't have to queue for ages for the ladies' loo in nightclubs, while the men's are all but empty.

12) No sexual discrimination.

Anyone think of any others?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

That reminds me...

Rosey put in an appearance Saturday night. Summer found her at midnight and barked - I knew she'd found a hog by the way she was barking, so I went over to see it.

I thought straight away it could be Rosey because it was the right size, and then I noticed it hadn't completely curled up despite having a big dog woofing at it. When I picked it up to look more closely it quickly relaxed - not at all normal for a wild hog, but of course Rosey's used to being handled now and must recognise my smell.

By the time I'd got her inside she'd relaxed enough for me to confirm that she was indeed female, and had a back leg completely missing, so it's definitely not a case of mistaken identity! She was covered in cow manure and very stinky so I had to give her a bath, filthy creature.

I very carefully checked her to see if she was okay and she's fine, she's even put some weight on and looks very healthy. I guess it shows she's perfectly capable of finding her own food, but with her being disabled it's not fair to let her go even though she can move pretty fast when she wants to.

She's spent two nights inside while we reinforced the pen she escaped from, and she moved back outside last night. And now she's starring in Roseycam as before (if you have Yahoo Messenger you can see the cam by adding scarlett_silverleaf to your contacts list - I'm generally on from 9pm-ish GMT).

It's kind of weird having her back - of course I'm very relieved and glad she's none the worse for her little excursion!

Here she is spending a little quality time with Basil (in the background) while her home was being refurbished last night.

On being misinterpreted

Ever have one of those moments where you're doing something perfectly innocently then suddenly realise how dodgy it looks to everyone else?

It happened to me on Friday night.

I'd been at the roleplaying club and we'd congregated in the car park afterwards as usual for our post-game chat where recent topics have included zombies and whether they could really exist and how their nervous system would work (I maintain that if the flesh is dead, so it the nervous system therefore they wouldn't be animate, but I digress), chocolate, the best kid's TV shows, Star Wars/Trek and Serenity.

Several different conversations were going on at once. Jon, knowing I'm involved with hedgehog rehabilitation, asked me how hedgehogs have sex so I explained that the female of course has to be 100% willing(!) and she lies on her tummy with her back curved to allow him access without danger of pricking his, er, prick.

This then lead me to demonstrate how the male persuades the female (I've seen this on Nic's X-rated hog cam so I'm now an expert). I stood to one side of him and gently pushed him with my head. "Have sex with me!" I went round the other side. "Go on, please, have sex with me!" I pushed him again. "Come on..."

And them I became aware that the other conversations had stopped and everyone was staring at me. Including my boyfriend. Having caught only the last part of the conversation.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

No LARPing Matter...

I have a confession to make.

I'm a roleplayer.

I voluntarily choose to spend my Friday nights in a room with 14 or so other people(mostly guys), pretending to be someone else.

I've been a samurai, a wizard, a vigilante in mech armour, a pirate, a priestess of the god of magic, a woman who evolved from dogs, a fighter, a pixie, a vampire, a werewolf, an elf, a prostitute, a drug addict, a cartoon kangaroo with a pouch which contained an almost infinite number of items (some of which were larger than she was).

Friday night games are quite tame. We describe what our characters are doing and saying and roll dice to see if we succeed or not.

But I have also ventured further into this dark world and become involved with LARP. LARP (pronounced larp, to rhyme with harp) involves you acting as your character. This usually means you dress up and speak like them, perform all of their actions, and if necessary fight each other with rubber weapons or toy guns. It's so much fun.

The biggest LARP in the UK is a fantasy game run by the Lorien Trust. Their main event is The Gathering which runs over a weekend in August, and is attended by up to 3500 players. I don't go to LT events anymore (for various reasons) but I have a funny story relating to them which I'd like to share with you.

The LT events are held in a little village called Spondon, which is near Derby. Of course, all that running around in armour and casting spells is thirsty work, and players often need to go into the village to buy more alcohol (sometimes even food). The locals are used to the mad people in costume by now, and don't bat an eyelid when a guy in chainmail with a huge rubber sword goes into a shop for a case of beer and a Pot Noodle.

A friend of mine gave me a lift to the shop one time - I was in a long red flowing dress with a sword and a bow on my back, with pointy elf ears and James was dressed as a troll, green makeup, prosthetic horns, padding, scary contacts, huge axe, the lot. We were perusing the drinks aisle when I noticed a small boy of about 3 or 4 staring at us. I smiled at him and he looked a bit scared. Then he pulled at his mum's skirt and pointed to us.

"Mummy, there's a monster!" Obviously not used to this roleplayer thing.

Mum glances over. Obviously used to this roleplayer thing. Without missing a beat she replies calmly,

"Don't worry son. Even monsters have to shop."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bean and Latin

When I was a kid, the TV show Mr Bean was compulsary viewing in our house.

We all loved it, the daft facial expressions, the novel way of solving problems, the interactions with other people and the much-abused Teddy, and the Mini, the undoubted comic genius that is Mr Atkinson. Even my mum, known in our family as She Who Has No Sense of Humour, was known to crack a smile at particularly funny moments. And as for my dad and younger brother, they'd regularly laugh until they cried. We got all the videos one Christmas, and spent the rest of the holiday watching them over and over. One of the few programmes I remember we all approved of.

So why this post? Bear with me.

I was listening to a CD yesterday, one of my prized possessions, the recording of In Paradisum, my first concert with Socii Cantorum and the Ladies' Choir back in October. Mostly this was Fauré's Requiem and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, but we did other pieces as well, including Bruckner's beautiful Locus Iste (you can listen to our recording of this piece and some others at my Multipy site).

I've played the CD hundreds of times because every piece on there is so wonderful to sing - I often use it to practice and warm up. Poor Michael is probably sick to the back teeth of it by now, but he doesn't say anything, bless him.

Anyway, back to the point. After a few times of hearing it, Michael commented that Locus Iste sounds a bit like the theme tune from Mr Bean. And he's right, the first couple of notes do indeed closely resemble it.

I remembered this last night, and decided to find out what the song was that was used as the theme tune - so today I started with Wikipedia and this is what I found.

Mr. Bean is unusual amongst comedy series in featuring a choral theme tune, written by Howard Goodall and performed by the Choir of Southwark Cathedral. The words sung during the title sequences are in Latin:
  • Ecce homo qui est faba – "Behold the man who is a bean" (sung at beginning)
  • Finis partis primae – "End of part one" (sung before the commercial break)
    Pars secunda – "Part two" (sung after the commercial break)
  • Vale homo qui est faba – "Farewell, man who is a bean" (sung at end)

That really is the coolest thing I've seen today. I'm fascinated by Latin anyway, but I'm very impressed and delighted that the "church music" I remember from the programmes actually means something meaningful within the context.

I also love the idea of using a Latin choral piece to express something other than some kind of religious sentiment. Like how cool would it be to have your shopping list sung in Latin, the instuctions for assembling a piece of flat-packed furniture, or maybe your old school report? Everything sounds better in Latin!

It almost inspires me to learn Latin specifically so I can write choral pieces about mundane things.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A little about me, for new people

Just a few bits of info about me, so you new people can get to know me a bit better. In no particular order.

  • I'm 26, blue/grey eyes, brown hair, glasses, about 190lb, 5'6". I'm trying to lose about 40lb.
  • My birthday is November 13th, so I'm a Scorpio (with Virgo rising). I do sort of fit the description.
  • I'm a student at the University of Sheffield, England. I'm reading psychology, but have enjoyed taking classes in ecology, genetics, and evolution. My particular interests are evoltionary psychology and behavioural genetics. I'm currently deferring my second semester first year exams until August, as I missed a lot of classes due to illness.
  • My health is not the best - I have Type 2 diabetes, essential hypertension and fibromyalgia. The fibro causes fatigue, muscle/joint pain, impaired cognitive function, sleep disturbance and occasional low mood, but it's not really bad, and I'm pretty much okay most of the time.
  • I live with my boyfriend Michael in Chesterfield. We've been together for 4 years. We don't have kids, and don't plan to have any. We've talked about getting married when I graduate.
  • I have a black Labrador called Summer, two guinea pigs (Jack and Stan), two chinchillas (Ted and Dougal) and five giant African Land Snails.
  • Last autumn I rescued three wild hedgehogs which were too small to survive hibernation. Melissa unfortunatley died. Rosemary had to have an operation to amputate her back leg which had been partly bitten off by another animal - she recovered well and recently escaped from her pen in the garden. I didn't want to release her because of her disability, but obviously she had other ideas! Basil was very sick but pulled through and will be released very soon. Most nights I watch hogs and other animals on people's webcams all around the country.
  • This year I've started birdwatching, and I'm really enjoying it despite not really knowing much about birds and being terrible at identifying them. I also feed the birds in my garden.
  • Although I'm a scientist at heart, I like to be creative too. Occasionally I write poetry and short stories, and I knit (but only small things, I get bored easily) and sew. I love to cook and bake and I spend a lot of time reading.
  • I have a 21-year-old brother who's studying at the University of Derby, also reading psychology (copycat!). We get on well, even though he's much cooler than me.
  • I sing with the University of Sheffield Singer's Society (SingSoc), in the main chamber choir, the smaller Socii Cantorum, and the even smaller Ladies' Choir. I'm an alto, but occasionally sing tenor when I fancy a change. At the moment I'm working hard on my sight-reading, as it's not my strong point. I'd like to get a singing teacher but at the moment I can't really afford it. I really love to sing.
  • A couple of weeks ago I was part of The People's Choir, a project which was organised for a television documentry of the same name. 800 people turned up to learn, rehearse and record Tallis's impressive 40-part Spem in Alium in a single day. It was incredible, one of the best experiences of my life, and we sounded absolutely stunning. The programme will be broadcast in the autumn.

Enough for now I think!

Free will - my take

A little over a year ago, I was coming to the end of my one year A Level psychology course (for those not in the know, an A Level usually takes 2 years).

One of the papers we took was called "Debates" - we had to study the history of four debates relevant to psychology, and be able to argue both sides scientifically and critically. The four debates were "Nature/Nurture", "Psychology as Science", "Reductionism" and "Free Will vs Determinism".

And reading Responsibility inCharlie's blog reminded me of the discussion we had in class about free will.

I ventured the opinion that we always have free will, which was not popular with either my teacher or my classmates. My teacher asked me to consider a situation of a bank cashier during a robbery, someone holding a gun in her face and telling her to put all the money in the bag. Does the cashier have any free will at this point? Is she fully in control of her actions, or are they determined by the situation?

I maintained that yes, the cashier does have a choice. She can put the money in the bag, or she can take the chance of getting shot.

And I still believe it. I'm not denying that the situation, genetics, past experiences, etc., can all have a powerful influence on our behaviour, but in the end we make our own decisions and we pick whatever we think is the best choice in light of the information we have.

For me, having an "addictive personality" or having a gun to your head (sometimes they seem like one and the same thing) does not control your behaviour, it biases your decision towards a particular course of action. In this case, the threaten of violence makes you much more likely to comply with the gunman's request.

You have a choice of what to do in every situation. It may be extremely hard (in fact seem almost impossible) to do the "right" thing in light of addiction, or threat, or whatever, but "I can't help it" is never a defence.

It may be a shitty choice, but it's still a choice.

Feel free to comment, tell me I'm talking crap, or whatever - there isn't a definitive right or wrong answer here and I know for a fact there are holes in my argument. What do you think?