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!!