Archive Page 2

Totally unnecessary, but totally called for.

By popular demand and due to a severe amount of procrastination, here I am, writing on this blog after months of cruel disuse. A few things indicate that I’ve waited way too long to post again – one being that I’m now in my third year, rather than my second, and two being the fact that WordPress has totally reworked their website since April when I last graced the bloggedyweb. Luckily though, I have managed to find my way to the “Add New Post” page, so I guess I might as well give it a shot. I figure if I can’t help the word count on my coursework that’s due in two days, the least I can do is throw a few paragraphs up on here. (And I mean that in the least projectile-vomit-sounding way possible).

How is life in jolly old England these days? Well, to be completely honest, it’s terrifyingly quick. Sadly, this version of speedy passage of time does not have the harmless connotation of first year. No, time passing quickly these days means impending visa applications, house searching, dissertation writing, job searching, and GRADUATING. I don’t really know why I put graduating in caps there when really it’s the most harmless thing on the list (after all, how scary can any event involving something called a mortar-board be?). Every item on that list comes sooner with the passing of each minute and that, my friends, is very, very, scary.

In a way, the future is exciting. It’s where I get to find an amazing job and do what I love and start to be an adult (no, I don’t need to know that adulthood is highly overrated). I like to think that if I had the guarantee of finding a job I’ll enjoy that pays for room and board (and shoes and clothes) I’d be far less stressed about life. I’d also feel a bit closer to that guarantee being a possibility if I had ANY clue whatsoever as to what I want to do with my life. These days I find myself going through a panic phase. Suddenly, “being good at writing” doesn’t mean shit, and I feel hardly qualified to do anything more than make you a cappuccino, plate up a pasty, and ask you if you’d like ketchup or brown sauce with that. The past three months have seen three different (unpaid) blog contribution gigs come and go, and in each instance, I found myself completely struggling. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I always thought I’d be an amazing blogger. Hence, you know, the blog. But look at me! I am completely and utterly sucking at it, both here and on other peoples’ websites. How good of a writer am I when really, when it comes down to it, I don’t have all that much to say?

Now this all probably sounds a bit doomsday-ish, in terms of how I see both myself and the near future, but fear not, readers (all 2.5 of you). I am, when not spending too much time at the cafe, in excellent spirits. For one, I’m going to see the MOTHERFUCKING GOO GOO DOLLS on Monday. Yes, you read it right. In 48 HOURS, I will be front row (open floor, and I’ll be damned if I waste my one opportunity to lock eyes with Johnny Rzeznik) swooning to the Goos. Spare me your judgement as I OMG for ages. THE GOO GOO DOLLS. SO EXCITED!

I’m excited about non gig-related things as well. For example, here are three AWESOME reasons to be excited about right now, in order of arrival: 1. MAGGIE MCBRIDE. 2. LAURA WELLS. 3. KELLY HOPKINS. Now show me a person who is not excited by those three people and I will show you a blob of failure. You toss in Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and the fact that once those pass, the days will slowly stop becoming mind-numbingly short, and I pretty much cannot complain. Life is about the awesome people in it, not the random shit you have to work through, so following that logic, I’ve got the best life on the planet.

Please excuse my total lack on continuity in this post…really, it’s just a distraction from my looming essay. It seriously blows my mind how an hour ago I was immeasurably inspired and confident about those 1500 words and then, when I sit down to actually give it a go, I instantly am immersed in hopeless lethargy. And, even when I conquer the lethargy, it’s only to go on Facebook to chat with the person sitting next to me (Sam Wilson) or to hit up WordPress for a long over-due post. I’m really, really hoping that when it comes to my dissertation, my brain is a bit more cooperative.

What is my dissertation about, you ask? Why, what a good question! Sadly, my 1500 word doom is calling, and I don’t have the time to tell you about it. But tune in next time kids, because as possibly THE worst hook in blog-posting history, that’s what you’ll find out next time on the ludicrously unreliable blog of Transatlantic Kathy.

We’d like to take a moment…

Oh hi there May! I didn’t realize you were all of eleven days away. Eleven days, twenty pages of screenplay, twenty-five-hundred words of a contemporary fiction coursework, and more pasties than I want to count away. Having spent the entire day in bed catching up on season two of Gossip Girl and ignoring every bit of aforementioned responsibility, I figure I owe the world at least a bit of productivity. Do me a favor and overlook the fact that I currently consider posting on my blog a form of productive.

Before I continue down the constructive path, though, I’m going to put the last few weeks of partial lethargy to use. When I haven’t been at what I semi-fondly call pastyland, I’ve been at home alternately hanging out with Sharaz, mourning the lack of a laptop in my life, playing Burnout, Oblivion, and Halo 3, and watching far too much television. Somewhere during term time I’d sat down to lunch in front of the television and happened upon a show called Masterchef, and based solely on the similarity in title with the AMAZING Bravo show Top Chef, I thought I’d give it a go.

Some of my English readers have heard of Masterchef, but for the benefit of my American friends and the Brits that ignore Masterchef because they think it’s lame, I will briefly explain the premise. Basically they found 136 normal people who’d recieved enough casual compliments on their cooking and polite “you should totally be a chef!” suggestions that they thought they’d give professional cooking a shot. The first few episodes are classic, as 5 out of 6 competitors at a time get told, “No, no, that’s basically shit. Nice try.” My personal favorite would be the mid-uni kid whose revolutionary chorizo, tomatos, and pasta (your everyday student fodder) got shot down and owned in the face. That is, if greasy, five-minute student food had a face.

Anyway, the initial amusing elements and gradual really awesome cooking got me hooked and ultimately this led to a shameless addiction that I satisfied all the way through watching the finale over break. And also, becoming a shameless fan of one of the two runners-up, Tim! He is basically amazing, and bizarrely enough is a children’s doctor (why they never said pediatrition I still don’t know) at the Norwich Hospital like ten minutes away from where I live. So who knows? I may yet run into the nerdy-looking legend. He is basically the most amazing guy ever. I’m throwing in an early interview of him, and though nothing entirely interesting happens in the 2 minutes and 49 seconds, at least you’ll know who I’m talking about:

Now, since I know you love youtube clips so much, and since I seriously have been watching a ludicrous amount of – dare I say it – telly (totally never use that word in real life), I’m going to indulge you with a few of my favorite commercials of late. I know, I know, commercials are ten kinds of foreign to the on-demand, Tivo, and internet generation, but it would seem that some people are actually still shooting out more than decent two minute clips and somehow managing to spend their advertising pounds wisely.

First off, as sort of a clipular segue, a short advert for Gordon’s gin, featuring Gordon Ramsay, who is both capable of balancing total doucheyness with awesomeness and definitely in possession of my utter infatuation. Plus, I dig the music (credit to Switches and most sadly composed solely for use in the ad and is thus undownloadable), so basically it’s endless win-win:

Next up we have a few very short ads that I am seriously in love with. I don’t know if it’s the vaguely stop-motiony film style, the bizarrely adorable suicide, or the fact that Cadbury Creme Eggs are – let’s face it – fucking delicious. Either way, I love all combined forty seconds of these ads:

Ah, so amazing! And now that I’ve bombarded you with clips and a vague update on my life (yes, I realize I’ve said next-to-nothing about my actual transatlantic happenings), I’m going to go ahead a try and tackle that first paragraph of responsibility. I’ll be back tomorrow to write something more update-ory, I promise!

Stop, look, and listen. Or not.

This isn’t going to be a beast of a post or anything, but I had a thought on the walk to work this morning. I was about to cross the street in my neighborhood, and I checked to see if a car was coming. Lo and behold, a car was trundling down the way from a leftward direction. The beauty of tiny English roads? After it passed, I didn’t have to check for a car from the other direction, because two lanes in a residential is basically impossible when people have parked up and down the street.

Profound? No. But hey, it got me writing on here, and that is the goal! Stay tuned for way more interesting things, I promise. Just trying to go for quantity, since when I mainly go for quality, posting practically becomes a semi-annual habit.

The Disney Memo

Over the past year and seven months that I’ve been here it has come to my attention that many English people – and, I fear, non-Americans in general – have an unacceptable understanding of the various Disney amusement parks of the world. Keep in mind this is tongue-in-cheek…but a good lesson for those uneducated in the ways of Disney as well.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle, 1950's

Above, in all of it’s original 1950’s glory, is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle as seen in Disneyland. That would be DISNEYLAND, no city name attached (although it is located in Anaheim, California), because it is the original Disneyland. Opened in 1955, home of the original rides Pirates of the Caribbean (Jack Sparrow, anyone?), the Haunted Mansion (Eddie Murphy? Let’s pretend that didn’t happen), and the Matterhorn. The original Disneyland has New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Tomorrowland – oh god, just writing about it is making me smile. I don’t care what you say, Disneyland seriously is the happiest place on earth.

Disneyworld, which came after Disneyland, is epic, but not the original. It’s exceedingly larger than Disneyland and on the other side of the country and humid where Disneyland is mild and awesome. Yes, yes, I know I am ludicrously biased, but like 75% of what I’m saying here is true.

The rest of the Disneylands are fantasmic, I’m sure, and full of amazing Disney magic. I’m not saying that they are no good and subpar and that the original Disneyland is the best (it is). I just get sad every time this conversation happens:

Me: I love Disneyland!

Person: Oh, when did you go to Paris?

Me: I didn’t…? I mean the original Disneyland!

Person: Oh! Wow! When did you go to Florida?

Me: Oh, no, that’s Disneyworld. I mean the original Disneyland, in California!

Person: WHAT! There’s a Disneyland in California?

(And yes, that conversation has happened more than once. And no, I don’t get tragically sad, just the kind of sad you get when you see a lonely kid in the corner that nobody knows the name of.)

So there’s that.

38°N, -121°W

This is what I want right now:

[photo credit Erynn Embree]

That is all.

Ps. The above numerical blaaaah would be the geographic coordinates of Folsom, California. Which is the only place on the planet where you can currently secure the above photogrpahed deliciousness. Helllllloooo first stop of the summer! Speaking of summer…oh, the thought of lying out under the sun…basically, it will be amazing. Okay. Done post-scripting.

All that and a packet of crisps.

I know, I know, I know….I know. I’m a failure. I’m an absolute liar and clearly resolutions of the successful sort are not my thing. I haven’t written in more than a month – I don’t even want to check and see if I can use the plural there. So much has happened that it’d be literally impossible to pop it all on here, and even if I did, I’d say you’d get bored…because I highly doubt that if I wrote up what’s been going on since January, it would read about 1000 times slower than it actually happened. Seriously. My life since January has been about five seconds long.

Somehow we’ve reached mid-March and my month-long spring break. No more coursework until April, and even then it’s not all that much. If I’d been bothering to write on here you’d already know tons about the class I’m stoked to write for, that being my Creative Writing Drama class which is basically the most amazing class I’ve taken at UEA. You’d also know more than you’d care to about my HORRENDOUS contemporary fiction class, which with the exception of a select few is full of ludicrously pretentious assholes who think that if a novel is enjoyed by the general public, it is instantly without any literary value. Yeah. Two hours of that a week, at ten on a Tuesday morning. Indescribable fail. Counterbalanced with two hours of scriptwriting though, it’s doable.

I’ve been busy and a half giving tours and the like for the international office. Once, end of February, I even accidentally volunteered to give a speech on the social life at UEA to a lecture theater full of international students. Being an ambassador is definitely still awesome. The other day I got an email from a student who basically read just like me two years ago this time, when I had just applied and was scrambling to mail all of the paperwork and praying to god that I’d get in, despite the fact that I knew next to nothing about UEA, or living in England in the first place. It blows my mind that that was TWO YEARS ago. How much have a I changed? Oh, I don’t know. A TON. But in the best way!

Lacking a laptop since Thanksgiving has definitely not helped with the staying-on-top-of-the-blog thing…I know, there’s a library IT center full of computers on campus. I’m not gonna lie…I’ve mostly just been lazy. To be fair, I stay plenty busy with class and work at the pasty cafe, and my social life hasn’t exactly been on pause, so I don’t have the most spare time in the world. I’ve actually reached that balance of pleasantly busy, where I stay out of the house enough to truly appreciate the small amount of time that I spend in it. I’m thinking that’s a good thing, though it might get totally destroyed by spring break.

Spring break! Tons and tons and tons of time to relax, and hopefully in time to soak up some delicious weather. I’m considering getting another piercing, and it occurs to me now that I haven’t written on here since I spontaneously got my nose pierced. At least I don’t think I have? Well, if I already did, there it is again. Anyway! I’m thinking about getting another piercing, though which piercing that is I’ll keep quiet for the nonce, and we’ll see if I can resist my way through March and April.

Another thing I might need to resist…well, I’ve still been wearing my hair pixie short, but I haven’t gotten it re-dyed since December and Callum, the legend who does my hair, took a hair sample to see how light I’d be able to go. That’s write, light! As in…bleach blonde. Bum bum buuuuuum! Sounds crazy, I know, but that’s what everyone said when I suggested the pixie in the first place, and look how awesome that turned out! So who knows…I’ll have to stop by the salon this week and check out the sample, and then we’ll go from there.

I realize at this point that I’ve done little to sound transatlantic so far, but I figure since it’s been so long, I’m allowed to spend a post simply updating you on my life. You know what, beyond the title – the English version of “all that and a bag of chips” (which I will note nobody actually uses and I’ve just proudly translated myself) – I really haven’t said anything about England at all. Alas, such is life. I promise next time I come on here (and it won’t be two months from now!) I will fill you to the brim with Englishosity. Until then, though, I must give Sam back his laptop and get ready to bid him farewell. That’s right, spring break means Zach and Sam will be departing for the month. Sadface Mcgee =[

Stay tuned though! I promise to try and stay interesting. I mean, it’s sorta the least I can do after nearly two months of neglect.

One helluva week.

I’m doing my best to make do on my once-a-week promise, and it would seem I’m a little late. Frankly, though, a little late is more than I was expecting, so I’m going to keep thinking I’m awesome and run with it.

It’s finally stopped being sub-zero wear-my-gloves-all-the-time freezing in Norwich (though I hear the freeze is returning to us soon), and I have definitely flown about a million different directions this week in terms of school, friends, and general awesomeness, so I will try and pause the madness to inject some new happy ramblage into my transatlantic.

For starters, if you didn’t throw a calendar in my face, I’d have a hard fucking time believing I’ve only been in the country for a week as of today. The last seven days have been some of the longest and most ridiculous of my life, for reasons both public and private, and sometimes it just does not feel possible for time to move so incredibly slowly. I know that comes off in a slightly depressing way, implying that all of this lengthy-but-not-lengthy time has played out for depressing reasons, but alas, this is not so! I’ll start proving this to you by telling you how amazing my first classes of 2010 are so far.

Tuesdays at 10.00 AM (an semi-ungodly hour, but manageable) find me in the Arts 2 building, taking my first literature class NOT based around one of any numerous classics that the canonical world of English literature apparently finds wordgasmic. That’s right, I am finally taking a contemporary literature course! I find this very exciting, as I am one of the most un-English major English Majors out there and find myself untterly disenchanted by many of the traditional, canonical texts required of my course. I haven’t yet read anything for it (here’s hoping that’s not true about 12 hours from now when I walk into the classroom…the first book is ready and waiting for this post to be finished), but if my general contemporary experience is anything to go by, it should be an amazing class. I still haven’t quite worked out how I feel about the teacher though; I’m a lit major, but I don’t look down my nose at the people that enjoy cheap best-sellers…which clearly he does. Maybe it’s because I plan on writing something that’s more entertaining than intellectually stimulating and life-changing, but that’s how I feel. As long as people are reading, who the fuck am I to judge them?

On that stimulating classic note, though, we have Shakespeare – and I’m not going to lie, I am more than excited for this one. Lectures by the likes of Peter Womack, Joad Raymond, Tom Rutledge, etc etc – who wouldn’t be? It’s like the poster-child lecture list from the Facebook group I was just invited to join – The Thinking Woman’s Crumpet. Now that group is a blog post topic to itself, but I’ll stay on track here, and meander back to Shakespeare (who, I have to say, should he have looked anything like Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love, would fit right at home on that lecture list). It’s my one class with the epic Lewis Clark this term, so granted I always sit next to him in lecture, I will always be paying attention to the subject matter at hand. There’s that, and the fact that I have Joad as a seminar leader again, and I swear, if I make myself look like an idiot one more time in one of his classes, he really will just straight up laugh in my face. So we’ll see how that resolution goes.

Midday Friday is my favorite time of the week, as it’s my creative writing class. This term I’m taking Creative Writing Drama, specifically focused in the Film and Television realm. SO EXCITED. I’ve only had one class so far, and in one session, it’s been the most motivating, promising class I’ve taken since I got here. It really made me feel like I have a plausible future in writing, and it made me realize how amazing it would be to achieve that. By the end of the course I’ll have written my first screenplay, which won’t be impressive to a twenty-million-scripts-under-his-belt Stefan Smith should he ever read this, but I’m incredibly excited. Basically it’s the best two hours of my week!

So anyone who’s been anywhere (and wow, I mean that in the least contrived, least snobbish way possible) knows the saying “it’s a small world”. Right before Christmas break I yet again learned the truth of this statement, as via one happenstance conversation with someone at my work, I found out that I am not the only Oak Ridge High School alum working at the Chapelfield Mall. In Norwich. In Norfolk. In England. That’s right guys, even though I’ve probably walked by the guy in Raleys, I had to move to Norwich to meet him! It is seriously a small world. I can’t get over it!

On an almost equally ridiculous note, I just want to throw out a recent encounter with an object that, at least in my experience, is an entirely hot-beverage-loving English creation. It is the Instant Disposable Teacup Maker Thing. Basically, it’s this like little cup-holder that turns any Dixie disposable cup into a teacup. It’s kind of amazing. And probably exists somewhere in America, and I’ve just never seen one. But I love it, and I love thinking of it as basically an English invention that further proves their love of tea.

Another Englishy note that I failed to make last term when I first realized it was my love of having local shops. Over here, most every neighborhood seems to have a local corner store where one can pick up any foody sort of items they might need to stock up on. I have a local shop (a Co-op, to be exact), a local green-grocers for fresh fruit and (gonna be english here) veg, and a local butchers, for fresh, AMAZING-smelling meat. I’ve already heard Simon, who’s off being a jayhawk at the University of Kansas complain about the lack of a local shop. Rather, he’s had to hitch a ride to Wal-Mart (welcome to America!) to pick up snacks…like CHEEZITS, oh my god, I miss Cheezits. Simon, I hate you.

I’m realizing at the moment that while my post is sort of on the lengthy side, it doesn’t quite fit the whole “helluva week” implied in the title. I’m okay with that, though, as it is definitely the most apt description of my week, whether you’re getting the sense of that or not. And I really need to stop so I can go do some actual coursework.

So, there you have it, in it’s not exactly epic glory – my first resolution-keeping post. Now I have to go read some contemporary lit named Morvern Callar, and hope Eleanor’s not exactly positive review is just a bad joke. Otherwise, I’m up for a long night.


trans-tweets

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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie