20 Dec 2009

Christmas Meme

I got tagged by the resident traveller


1. Wrapping or gift bags? Wrapping. Whatever I wrap usually ends up looking deformed but wrapping is more fun. Of course the ideal present is wrapped AND in a gift bag.

2. Real or artificial tree? Real. I don’t think we’ve ever had an artificial tree... that would be cheating. Plus it doesn’t smell as nice.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually something like two days before Christmas – I think we used to put it up a lot earlier a few years ago but then all the candy on it was long gone by the time Christmas rolled around and that kinda put an end to putting it up weeks in advance.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after New Year’s... whenever the council goes round collecting the trees off the streets. Mid-January I guess.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not sure if I ever tried it... but I like egg liqueur, if that’s anything like eggnog. I don’t think that’s really a Christmas thing though.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A couple of days ago I realised that I don’t remember any Christmases at all, except for the most recent one. I’ve no idea what I got as gifts as a child... the only present I ever remember receiving was my Nintendo 64 which I loved very much, but I got that in the middle of summer for no particular reason.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope. The closest we come to that is this wooden musical box... if you press a button, it plays some Christmas song or other and the three Magi and a shepherd and his sheep move around Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Two pens from my paternal grandparents last year. I sure felt the love.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither, really... You probably wouldn’t even get a ‘Merry Christmas’ from me if you met me in the street.

10. Favorite Christmas movie? I don’t have one. The only one I can think of is A Christmas Carol, which I don’t like very much.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Hmm... how about next week? I don’t even know what to get yet. It usually ends up being the same thing for everyone every year. On top of that, half my family’s birthdays are around Christmas so that means having to buy even MORE gifts.

12. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? The only special thing we eat around Christmas are cookies... although I haven’t seen any so far. I like Yule logs too.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear. Clear lights everywhere, not just on the tree... I’m not much of a fan of these epilepsy-inducing lights you see in most windows.

14. Favorite Christmas song? Hmm... Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmas Time. It’s really not a special song but it puts me in a Christmas mood like no other.

11 Sep 2009

The best places to fish in New York

I’ve been neglecting my blog quite a bit and my excuse only covers ten weeks so it’s about time I did something about it. I really couldn’t think of anything to write about, but luckily I stumbled across (read: googled) a random blog topic generator. No cheating, I’ll blog about whatever that generator is going to suggest first.
Let’s see – today’s topic is...

...

The best places to fish in New York.

...Yeah. My specialty. I’ve never gone fishing, and I’ve never been to New York, although I do want to go to New York City someday. Ok, that’s not true, I’ve gone ‘fishing’ as a kid, but that involved a tree branch, a piece of string and whatever we used for bait. Nothing, I’m guessing. In fact, I have had so little to do with fishing and fishermen that whenever someone mentions fishing, I am instantly reminded of Stargate... Colonel O’Neill liked to fish in Minnesota, you see, and I spent a whole lot more time re-enacting Stargate with a (slightly mentally challenged) friend than I did fishing. I suspect that I wouldn’t like fishing even now – I know I’m very big on emphasizing how little I like people and I certainly don’t exaggerate, but half the time that I’m away from the internet there’s this nagging feeling at the back of my head that I might be missing SOMETHING. So sitting peacefully with my feet in the river and a little dead – what do they use for bait anyway? Do people still use worms? -- with a little dead worm dangling off my piece of string would probably not work out too well.

As for New York – see, my idea of the state of New York inexplicably involves this large, yellow, completely flat piece of land, with lots of farms and fields and nothing else. I have no idea what NY really looks like, but I have a suspicion that I’m mixing it up with the Midwest. No matter, New York seems like a rather odd place to fish to me (unlike Minnesota) because lakes simply don’t feature in my mental picture of the place. I suppose you could fish in the sea though, so this is my very educated contribution to the topic – the best place to fish in New York is the sea. That being said, I can’t imagine fishing in the sea to be a whole lot of fun. Either you take a weekend off, drive to a nice river, put up your tent somewhere in the wilderness and then waste the day holding on to your fishing rod, staring at the forest opposite and trying to locate the beer cans you put somewhere in the water a bit upstream, or you sit on a boat where your movements are very restricted and there’s nothing to see once the initial excitement of lots and lots of water and lots and lots of sky wears off. So I think I’ll refine my recommendation a little – the best place to fish in New York is where a river joins the sea. One second, let me look this up on google maps... ooh, dammit. New York’s share of the sea is tiny and half of it is occupied by NYC. ‘The best place to fish in New York is Connecticut’ doesn’t fly, does it? Alright. I suppose these lakes they’ve got over there are so big they might as well be the sea, so let’s shift our attention to Lake Ontario.

It’s official – the best place to fish in New York is at Sterling Creek. You heard it here first.

15 Jun 2009

Writing my memoirs way too early, Part II

The sequel to, you guessed it, Part I.
And again, credit goes to the groovy Ziggy S.

1998
– I realised I forgot to mention that I discovered the Beatles in 1997. That’s very important because it’s where it all began for me. I think I was just bored and had a couple of empty cassette tapes, so my mother (who doesn’t even care for music) helped me put Beatles songs on them. I still remember her suggesting and me rejecting Nowhere Man. I soon acquired the remarkable ability to identify any given Beatles song within one second. And there are lots of them.
Fast forward to February 1998 – my little sister was born and I was rather unhappy. Everyone else was thrilled and I eventually got a grip on myself too, but I was not exactly a model big brother for quite a while. Let’s just hope she forgot all that. She seemed to like me though and never cried with me around, though perhaps she was just paralyzed with fear.

1999 – I really can’t think of a single remarkable thing that happened that year. Oh yeah, New Year’s Eve 1999/2000 was probably my least favourite New Year’s Eve ever. We spent it in Northern Ireland with my parents’ friends. I didn’t know anyone and fell asleep before midnight (they woke me up in time, though).

2000 – The year we moved to England. I made a repeat performance of my - almost - skipping a grade in 1995, only this time round I moved a class down. In my defence - I wasn't that stupid, but curricula were quite different and I'd already started to struggle at maths and science. It took me a couple of years to really settle down – people were quite different and a year younger than me on top of that. I don’t have a lot of fond memories of that time. However, I believe this is the first time I ever really came across Oasis – they released Go Let It Out that year and when I heard it again several years later I somehow knew all the words without actually remembering the song.

2001 – On September 11th I broke a finger playing basketball at school, and my friend (who, coincidentally, had broken HIS finger playing basketball at school not too long before that) accompanied me to the doctor’s office, where news about NY had just started trickling in. Apart from that, all I remember is doing a presentation on earthquakes (or was it floods?), and, I believe, starting French at school. Some people took other languages instead and they all learned (harmless) swearwords in their first lesson... all we could defend ourselves with was “la tour Eiffel” and “tu es mon voisin”. Yeah.

2002 – The year I went to Spain on a holiday. I don’t really remember anything about Spain, but what I certainly do remember is that we went on a day trip to Morocco to see Tangier. Never in my life, before or after, have I been this fascinated by a city. We didn’t even see that much of the place, there’s only so much you can see in a day, but it was utterly fascinating and so very different. I’ll have to go back there someday.
Oasis released Heathen Chemistry that year, and seeing Little By Little on MTV once made me ask for the album for Christmas... and the rest, of course, is history.

2003 - I just can’t think of anything that happened that year. I turned 16. I went to school. I met friends. I worked a few hours a week and regularly got stuck in the freight elevator. What else? Ah yes - one major thing happened. On the 1st of April, some of my parents’ friends were staying over and decided to watch the Woodstock movie. For lack of anything better to do, I sat down to watch it with them – and saw the Who. See Me Feel Me was the most hypnotic and fascinating piece of music I had ever come across. But this was two years before youtube and getting into a band still involved lots of work – if it hadn’t been for a chain of lucky coincidences (MOJO magazine releasing a special edition on the band, a documentary on them being re-released on DVD and so on) I don’t think I would’ve got this far.

2004 – A friend, well, random acquaintance from school had a cat who had kittens that summer. They didn’t know what to do with them and I spontaneously suggested I’d take one. My father doesn’t like animals and my mother was a little surprised too, but hey, there’s no going back on promises, right? He was so tiny he could sit on the palm of your hand. Now he’s a huge thing that really does the panther he is named after justice.
In July, I went to Paris with my French class from school. Those three days were incredibly stressful. We arrived on a Friday quite early in the morning, and spent the whole day walking, until 9pm. That’s when we climbed the approximately 50000000 stairs up the Eiffel Tower... and the next few days were even worse. But we did see all the sights and I can now tell everyone regardless of whether they want to hear it or not that Paris is incredibly dirty.

2005 – My family and me went to Canada for three weeks. A cousin of my father’s relocated to Nova Scotia a couple of years ago and started a kayaking business on the Bras d’Or lake on Cape Breton Island. It’s a huge and very nice lake and because we’re family we got a nice little cheap hut and a few boats. And because I’m particularly awesome I got one of his best kayaks. I’ve never had so much fun in my life on a holiday. The weather was great, I fell in love with that place and you haven’t got the faintest clue of how much fun kayaking is. I also went surfing for the first and so far only time in my life, because the Atlantic Ocean was just an hour’s drive away and that cousin is involved with just about everything to do with water.
Later that summer, a few friends and me went to Prague for a few days. I wasn’t so enthusiastic at first, but it was lots of fun. Clubs spread out over several storeys, cheap post-war 30-storey hotels, even cheaper food for the most part and the seediest places I’ve ever seen. I don’t remember all that much though because the alcohol was equally cheap.
Nice architecture, too.

2006 – This one was quite an eventful year, or maybe I just remember more because it’s so recent. I finished school that summer with ABD a-levels (German, French and Biology... the latter was more of an emergency choice since taking three languages – the first two and English – seemed a little too extreme), and even though I’m quite sure I could’ve got three As if I’d put some effort into it, I can say that my time in school was really nice. I especially enjoyed the ‘modesty and humbleness’ courses.
Right afterwards, we moved to Manchester. I quite looked forward to it since Cheltenham wasn’t exactly the most exciting place to be and I already had a friend there. He had great taste in friends (obviously) and I hit it off right away with pretty much everyone I met.
That summer, I also went to see The Who – my grandfather attempted to bribe me into staying home because it was so hot (?!), but of course he did not stand a chance. Good thing. Although I’ve got to admit I was so overwhelmed it didn’t hit home at all who those people on stage were.
And of course the football world cup took place that year – all my teams failed spectacularly, and while I’m sure the Italian side of my family was very thrilled, my sympathies were with Germany.

2007 – summer 2006 - summer 2007 really. Without a doubt, the best year of my life so far. That summer was just absolutely perfect. Nights spent roaming around the city with my friends, nothing much to do since my year at work was just winding up and eventually finished completely, and lots of other things to keep me occupied. The only down points were going to Limerick for a weekend and seeing the house I grew up in again and how it just didn’t look the way it used to at all, and things with my girlfriend of a few years coming to a rather sudden end, but I will admit unashamedly that there were plenty of pleasant things to more than make up for all of that. I used to say that if I could go back to any given point in my life, it’d be to when I was six or seven, but now I’d definitely choose summer ’06 – summer ’07.

2008 – Yeah, not so great. 2008 was bound to be disappointing, and in that respect, it really didn’t let me down. I spent one month working at a car plant of sorts – I never knew how persistent the smell of oil could be. Same with oil stains – I had black fingers for days. Uni happened too... I switched majors from English and Language & Linguistics to Psychology for a couple of reasons, and learned just how stressful flat hunting really is.

2009 – Very boring so far. Nothing has happened – I did not move, I did not get a job, I did not really meet any new people. Things WILL happen very soon though so all’s not lost yet. And from September onwards I’ll have to seriously battle my laziness because that’ll be the first honours year.

16 May 2009

Smile, you're on Google

One of my favourite things on the internet, apart from Instant Messaging and wikipedia, is Google Street View. I think it's just brilliant. They seem to be going to great lengths to neatly avoid all the places I've ever lived in or frequented, but I've seen those a few thousand times anyway. I've got to admit that I was naive enough to think that everyone shared my excitement, but alas, quite a few people think that posting pictures of their streets online is a breach of their privacy.

I’m not sure what their problem is. Sure, if you happen to be photographed in a compromising situation in a place where you shouldn’t be in the company of someone you shouldn’t be with, then that sucks. But you could argue that it’s your own fault anyway – and what are the chances of someone actually spotting you on Street View? Perhaps it’s just because all the neighbourhoods I’ve ever lived in have yet to be added, but apart from quickly checking out my university and the local supermarket, I much prefer exploring places where I have never been. Chances of me finding someone I know are close to non-existent, never mind the fact that chances of you actually being photographed by a Google car are probably somewhere in the realm of 1:1000000.

As for the privacy issue – Not too long ago, Britain introduced CCTV to most public spaces; we are being monitored by the government 24/7. Two years ago there was one CCTV camera per 14 people, and if anything, that number has increased. According to a recent study, the only countries in the world in which governmental surveillance is worse than in England and Wales are the usual suspects; namely China, North Korea, Russia and Belarus.

Now then – crime. Does anyone really think that Street View is going to make criminals’ work easier? Any self-respecting criminal knows all the affluent parts of their city by heart, and they’re not going to travel across the country because a certain building they detected on Google looks particularly yummy. Also keep in mind that the pictures are neither live nor being updated regularly – judging by pictures of my university, they were taken sometime in the summer of 2008. Street View doesn’t provide any kind of indication whether or not people are home. As far as aiding crime, Street View is about as helpful for criminals as Google Maps on its own, and I have yet to see someone complain about that.

They should all just go back to minding their own business, and perhaps Google should hurry up a little. I want to know what my house looks like now. If they need more drivers, they should just contact the governmental surveillance unit and I’m sure they will know exactly where to find me.

5 Apr 2009

Book meme

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list on your own blog so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)

WATCHING MOVIES DOES NOT COUNT!!!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (Soon... very soon. Too soon. Before April is up. Whatever you do, don't take 'Revolution to Revolution: British Literature 1640 - 1780' courses.)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (it took me an eternity to finish too. I read the first few chapters a couple of times, gave up and watched the movies. Picked the books up again and this time finished all three.)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird (because it;s one of those books you just have to read)
6 The Bible (well, sort of... it was a children's bible)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (I stopped reading after Heathcliff or Cathy or someone else wandered over green meadows for the 564th time)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (again, this is one of those books you just have to read, but Charles Dickens?)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I'm not quite THAT mad, but I've read a fair amount.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (it's entertaining, but the later chapters are boring
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (I am man enough to admit that I read AND kind of liked it.)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (I don't even know why. I'd probably hate it)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (I started it too. It's the most confusing thing I've ever come across)
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (John Steinbeck is great)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (of course! Through the Looking Glass too)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (I've seen the movie, I've read A Thousand Splendid Suns... now I've to read this one too)
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (so what?)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (don't like him at all, or Piglet for that matter. I only like Tigger and Eeyore)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I am going to read this if it kills me)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (yeah... no. Actually, hang on a minute... do we have to read Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility?)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (I think this may be the most disappointing read I've ever had)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (I was on a holiday with my family and had finished my own books, so I had no choice but to turn to my sister's...)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (long long long ago)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (don't remember a thing, but it was disappointing too)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie (one of my favourite books. I read it last year)
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (I read the first few chapters)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (alright, I'm still reading it, but how many people out there can truthfully claim to have read one third of it and survived? There you go. And I will read the rest too. Just give me another year.)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (about 50 times writing an essay last year)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (some of them)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (about 50 times writing an essay last year)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute (sounds nice. And I was wondering why his name sounds so familiar... turns out he wrote On The Beach, which I liked very much)
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

30. Not bad! And I tag the Bespectactled One for obvious reasons.

12 Mar 2009

Writing my memoirs way too early

Ziggy posted a very nice update earlier this year when she turned the same grand old age as me - and so she's not the only one spilling precious details of her life, here's mine.

1987 - I graced the world with my presence in time for tea. Right away I threw everyone into a state of turmoil because I wasn’t the girl everyone expected – but at least I think I was better off than a friend’s cousin whose parents bought tons of pink stuff, only to then realise, way too late, that the child was actually a boy. I don’t think people even bought pink stuff back then, and for some reason we were particularly backward so I’m sure it all worked out fine. In fact we were so outdated that there are only three or four pictures of me between the ages of 0 and 2 – and they’re all in black and white. 
1987 is also as far back as my memory reaches – I remember crawling into the kitchen where my grandmother was cooking. I also remember the awful orange carpet in my room, which must be where my aversion to that colour stems from. Or perhaps not.

 1988 – The only thing I remember from that time is the smell of poppies. They grew near a couple of garages which don’t exist anymore today. My grandfather used to work on his car there and I’d play with my toy cars. (Alright, the toy cars are poetic license; I haven’t got a clue what I played with). Apart from that, nothing out of the usual happened... I probably learned to walk and talk and such. 

1989 – That’s the year a horse nearly bit off my thumb, or that’s what it felt like. Disappointingly, I didn’t even require medical attention.  And I’ll never forget the neighbours’ dog – I remember it as a huge hairy thing blocking the entire corridor, but apparently it only came up to a grown person’s knee. Oh well.
I also had to do some sort of strange exercises every night because my feet were flat – you’ll be happy to hear that they’re beautifully arched today.
 
1990 – I started going to playschool. The only thing I remember from that time is how I ate snow in winter and was told off, so I moved to a different corner of the garden and continued eating. To this day the teacher seems scary to me, even though everyone reassures me she was really nice and actually liked me. That summer we went on a holiday somewhere in the west of Ireland... I’m sure it was very nice as such, but I wasn’t exactly on my best behaviour. First of all I told a local farmer that my grandmother had said he looked like an onion (wrinkly, in case you were wondering), then I fell into a lake from a pier without being able to swim yet, and then I disappeared without a trace on a trip to the city. A frantic ten minutes later it was discovered that I’d spontaneously decided to join a local nursery school class on their way to somewhere else.
I also remember some guy milking a cow. He kept alternately shaking and nodding his head... I thought that perhaps some of the milk was good and some wasn’t, and was quite fascinated by it. In hindsight I’m pretty sure he suffered from Parkinson’s.
 
1991 – That year my grandparents and me moved to Limerick, half an hour away. All I remember of this is arriving late at night and the smell of the car, as well as sitting on some sort of hand woven basket in the bedroom, waiting for someone to help me go to bed. That house is the nicest place I’ve ever seen – I remember every single detail, down to the smell of the curtains and the sound of the light switches. Unfortunately there’s strangers living in it now, so I can’t even visit it. I’m not sure I’d want to anyway.

1992 - I went on my first holiday abroad that summer, and got my first real taste of mosquitoes and the beach there, which seemed to be miles away. Coincidentally I walked past that very same hotel a couple of years later... the beach was really only ten minutes away. However, I also learned my first word in a foreign language then – kalimera - and was rewarded with cookies that tasted so horrible I still remember their taste. Ugh. 
And I got one of my favourite toys – a giant plush huskey called Christopher that was almost as big as me. A friend of my parents had bought it, then felt silly carrying it home so he gave it to me. I also bit into a glass, which in hindsight is quite admirable since it was one of those really thick pint glasses and I still managed to break the glass instead of my teeth.

1993 - That year I started school. On the first day of school my friend and me managed to secure the table right in front of the teacher’s desk. As you see, I started off very promising. That day we took quite a few pictures, very unusual for us, and while we’re all dressed to kill with a nice background my grandfather is carrying a glaringly white plastic bag, for reasons only known to himself. That probably isn’t funny to anyone but me but we certainly never let him live those pictures down and that’s why it’s worth a mention.
  
1994 – Once again, I moved. This time on my own, and in with my parents and older sister. Considering that I’d only seen them once in a while before that, it went surprisingly smooth. So smooth in fact that I remember next to nothing about it.
I also had some infection of sorts and wasn’t allowed to eat sugar in any shape or form for half a year, and only one or two types of artificial sweetener. It was a year of extremely healthy food and porridge without sugar or honey for breakfast every single day.

1995 - That year, my genius was finally recognised. The teacher suggested I skip third grade and move straight on to fourth grade, but I refused and became so worried about the possibility of having to leave my friends that my grades steadily started dropping. Damn, I wish I hadn’t been such a sensitive kid.
 
1996 – One of the most vivid memories of that time is that a friend’s mother or sister had vast amounts of old editions of the Sun stored in their bedroom. Our favourite thing to do was sit in his room and read the scary stories in it. I remember tons of them. Something about a woman who suddenly discovered she had a tick the size of her back attached to, well, her back; a bride farting at her wedding and then being so embarrassed she had a heart attack and died; and just about every freakish kind of death and accident you can imagine. They scared the living daylights out of me. They had very nice Russian snacks though. Russian cuisine is very much underrated.

1997 – what happened in 1997? The only thing I remember for sure was my first sleep-over. In school. I don’t know what the point of it was but it was fun, even though some of my classmates showed off all sorts of tricks and I was very jealous because I couldn’t do anything. Useless child. Apart from that it must have been quite boring... although of course turning ten was a huge deal then.

27 Feb 2009

Life 2.0

In some ways, online life - or even just MS Word - is superior to real life. There are so many things possible on a computer that don’t exist in real life – but I wish they would.  Here are my Top 5.

5. First of all, there are screenshots – more than once I’ve wanted to take a screenshot of something I was looking at. I felt rather silly for obvious reasons, but then someone on bash.org encountered the same problem, so while I may not be in the most desirable of companies, at least I'm not the only one. It's this far down on the list because while they're a lot faster and you would be able to use them anywhere at any time, we still have something very similar - it's called a camera.

4.  Then there’s Undo. I don’t tend to regret things, what’s done is done and I’ll just have to deal with it, but once in a while an undo function would be nice. I dropped something, I said something stupid… one click or flick of a switch and I can start over. And of course, I can get a lot better at it, because I’d have an infinite number of tries. I suppose life would also slow down considerably if everyone undid things all the time, but sacrifices have to be made. Alternatively I wouldn’t mind being the only one with access to those functions. 

Speaking of which, I just accidentally deleted an entire paragraph and can't find an Undo option. This is what I get for praising the internet.

3. Another thing I really miss is a search function. There have been occasions when I was skimming a book or some other text, looking for something, until the brilliant idea to just press Ctrl+F hit me - imagine my disappointment when I realised that real life lacks that function. 

2. We also desperately need an Escape button. No long, drawn-out conversations with someone you don't want to talk to, no awkward encounters, nothing at all that you don't want to happen or that you don't want to be involved in... "Sorry, my life crashed".

1. And of course then there’s the soundtrack. It's less useful than all the other functions, and perhaps Escape is the one we need the most, but I’d dare you to be sad for long if dramatic strings started playing the second something unfortunate happened to you.