Hair scares and Toodle-pip!

Age plus ammonia plus peroxide have finally wrought havoc with my trademark long red locks. In the past two years I’d estimate the lengths have lost about half of their thickness and this makes me rather sad. Sadder still when I recognise that my hairdresser is right and I will indeed have to chop the whole lot off if I continue with this 6-8 weekly bleaching bonanza on my already traumatised mane. To clarify, I’m not balding yet but hair is snapping off in a most distressing way. I’ve never had to have hair cuts more often than once a year before, and now I’m on a 3 month call back and bank account draining,borderline prescription strength kerastase products and snag free invisiblobble hair ties. I’ll be popping some perfectil tablets, eating more protein and keeping those bleached lengths red in the meantime using some nice conditioning semipermanent direct dyes and just dealing with the fact that my roots are disappointingly brown and a little bit grey. Roll on two or three years when all this damage has grown out and maybe I can start afresh (but no more luminance for me). Sigh.

It’s been a blast writing these entries here but now I think it’s high time to put this blog to sleep for a well deserved (perpetual?) nap. Anonymous ranting and whingeing is overrated, unhelpful and frankly (despite the above paragraph of woeful hair lamenting) I’m getting rather bored with the sight and sound of my own inane blathering (hence the scanty entries of late). Maybe some time in the future I’ll rekindle this sparkly nonsense but more likely I’ll focus on something new elsewhere. Yay! New things! Ciao!

Fuelling the festive chasm

Let’s not beat around the bush here, I’m pretty sure WordPress hasn’t missed me complaining and I haven’t missed being here because too much urgency whirlwinded into 3D life again. There is, however, something about Christmas with someone else’s family that forces my hand back into typing. I had hoped this time it would be different, and I’d like to say the turning point wasn’t when a statement from the hostess to me began with the words ‘if you have a big poo..’ but I’d be lying. It is a veritable wonderland here. Those xmas things you see in the shops, singing dancing trees, flashing lights rudolf lights and the like appear to have sufficient appeal that some people buy and display them.  ho.ho.ho.indeedy! 

The culture shock is always somewhat stark for a snob like me when we come here. The welcome of someone having a pungent christmas morning piss in the shower so that everyone else can smell their urine while they try to wash under the weakly dribbling showerhead is not a custom with which I am familiar. When watching an ensemble performing Leonard Cohens hallelujah which reminds me of someone dear who is no longer with us (she used to sing along really badly!) my remembrance was interrupted by ‘eugh, is that a couple of pooftas?’..and giggling about the over the top costumes and apparently nauseating sentimentality. There is nothing nice to say in response to that really. 

Sigh. it’s going to be a long day and I’m waiting to see whether the current degeneration into teenage rebellion status will manifest in anyone’s attendance at the dinner table complete with headphones and ipod again; at least then I guess the claims that the wine (albeit very average to questionable quality) gifted from us was off and would make people ill, wouldn’t need to be heard. 

Merry yuletide with YOUR local weirdos, you lucky sods. I can feel some sparkly pompom earrings of allergenic origin calling…

Short and sour

Remember how I was saying that I couldn’t pass an eye test? Well now I’ve done 4 and they are all different. So much so that this new optician has referred me to an ophthalmologist. Not only that but they stipulated some degree of urgency that I can only assume is code for “suspected maggot infestation of visual cortex”. 

The maggots may have ventured further still because last night after a bathroom trip in the dark, I mistakedly walked into the spare room and wondered where the hell that cd rack came from and where the fuck my bed was!

I’ve had to look at some childhood photos for a family project and it has made me realise once again that I am a very weird looking human. I think this has triggered that relentless recurring dream to descend; the one where I’m single and no-one is interested in me because I’m so hideous and awful. Today I’ve put on my frumpiest jumper to prove a point. 

I’m incapable of taking an eyetest and not all news is good news

My left eye is a menace. It refuses to behave in eye tests so I’ve been to the optician 4 times during my ‘holiday’ and have had new glasses made twice; I’m still not convinced that the correction is right. I’m to give it another few days before I’m allowed a third test with a more experienced optometrist….I’m getting all the spiel from the regular staff about adjustment periods etc while I’m sat there wondering just how far away they are from my face and how bad the cross eyedness will be when I remove them this time. The first left lens was the wrong power and I suspect the second has a marginally wrong axis or centre of vision does not align, or, y’know, both, or neither. Lets face it, I don’t like change. 

The staff clearly think I’m some kind of nutter…the way this should work is, you get your new glasses, accept everything’s been done perfectly and just deal with the headaches, you don’t tell them all about it for god’s sake, and not repeatedly! I hope they are right and I don’t fall off my bike tomorrow.

What a nice headache-inducing way to spend my time off work. Sigh.

………..

It was my intention to be creative these two weeks, make something, create something, but inspiration has not been abundant and playing ‘ori and the blind forest’ took precedent. I’m shite at computer games at the best of times, but one on a PC without a controller is well beyond my skill level even on easy.much swearing has passed. 

So instead I downloaded a karaoke app that lets you record yourself singing along to the songs on your phone. So I did that, and recordings  (so far only k’s choice) are only available for a laugh on request because I kind of hate my voice and don’t want it here for posterity. I will say though that it’s annoying how few contralto alternative, indie and (+/-pop-) rock singers there are out there to copy ;p

………..

Also the depressed, anxious and otherwise unpredictable and neurotic dachshund who I was playing with, picking up and generally bonding with last week viciously bit the damned gardener on the leg on my birthday so considering her age and deteriorating behavioral problems, she was sadly wished all the best in her journey to the doggie afterlife ūüė¶

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It is upsetting but being small and cute doesn’t mean a dog is immune from being dangerous. Responsible dog ownership means making difficult decisions. In a weird way, I’ll miss my mum’s snappy, growly little fluffball, but not nearly as much as she will.

………

In other news, for a change and to build my confidence, I rode the Highland pony today while my friend rode ‘the beast’ that is Buster, but they were both like lazy angelic horses the whole ride so that was lovely and relaxing for all. 

Now thanks to said pony my knee injury that I’ve been trying to ignore for a few weeks is niggling again. Dammit. 34 and griping about my joints and singing karaoke at home alone. How did it come to this??? 

Indecisive miscellany 

At the traffic lights a middle aged woman siddled up to me and positively beamed about the Rolls Royce that had just driven by. Wasn’t it glorious! Her brother had owned one back in the day because he was quite well off, don’t you know, but not she. Oh no, she was a humble lady, proud to have built up her organisation by talking to 750 people in 32 different countries, and not a smart phone in sight! Not like those immoral noxious drivers who won’t change their selfish habits until they kill someone. 

And then the lights changed and I bid her farewell.

I really need to stop making eye contact with strangers while my bike is static.

Pickledsparklymooseprincess et al. Is out at a reputable journal near you now. It comes with metrics too, some kind of mesmerising social experiment on manuscript popularity and self-indulgence….so exactly how many people have tweeted about my findings, how many news sites are relaying our message? More importantly, why do i care? The work speaks for itself, the scientific community will either accept, digest, cite and build, or disagree, overlook, or seek to prove us wrong. And yet I keep on checking of anyone has ‘liked’ that tweet by #healthypartidgesnutterideology*

I’m favouring the Oxford comma these days. For no real reason except a dry need to jazz up my punctuation parties.

(I’m wearing the parenthesis costume so don’t even think about it.)

This ongoing dietary adventure is somewhat of a sideshow. All “gluten-free” this and “dairy-free” that and all I want to do is lay in bed eating apple pie with icecream chased by an Irish coffee. When hunger strikes it’s not a lesson in exploration but in stock-taking and problem-solving. An academic exercise in keeping myself preoccupied with anything else but fixation on this shameless digestive oppression. 

A word of unsolicited advice if I may though: when at a wedding and rolling your eyes at everyone throwing themselves around to the likes of ‘five’ or ‘sclub7’ don’t be pulled into telling anyone what kind of music you like because to a wedding dj, rock/metal/electronica is a metaphor for Bryan Adams and bloody Bon Jovi. And having effectively ‘requested’ this shit, someone’s dad is gonna make damned sure you dance to it even though you’re dying inside. 

*fictional, or at least presumed fictional. 

Ps. It is probably clear that I  don’t know how twitter works…please don’t mock me, at least I didn’t draft a 400 character tweet (I’m looking at you boss lady) 

I didn’t think Poland was too bad until I got cream in my juice and anchovies instead of artichoke

As you might guess, I’m in Poland.

Right now I’m not ecstatic to be here.

Upon arrival everything seemed fine. Flight, train and taxi stuff was fine, hotel is nice, I met up with some people. Then I lost my cardigan somewhere and we went to a dinner with host lab members that I was expecting to be tomorrow, but nevermind. I thought it would be fine as I’d breezed through the whole traveling bit without any panic or even strong anxiety, I was a-ok.

At the restarant (feeling a bit chilly from my absentee cardigan) I decided to tell people that I don’t drink alcohol so I wouldn’t get pressured to drink, and picked a ‘fruit cocktail’ which from the name,I understood would be fruit blended together….but what arrived was about 50% cream. I can’t digest lactose, so after a couple of tastes I decided I’d have to get another drink but as I wasn’t paying I felt guilty, so just had water….

Time to order food then, so i picked a pizza and listed off my four chosen toppings: spinach, black olives, pines nuts and artichoke.

Fab.

Then the food arrives but this wasn’t any kind of artichoke ive ever seen…I mean, it looked fishy…so I enquired and yes it was anchovies…..so I politely said that I has asked for artichoke not anchovy (I’d even pointed to the word on the menu) ane the waitress just looked at me and and said ‘is that a problem?’ so I had to say, yes dear, yes it is…I am vegetarian, I don’t eat fish!

So grumpy faced off she went to fetch me a replacement…it turned up quite quickly and I had a quick scan and no, they hadn’t just taken off the fish and added artichoke because this one didn’t have pine nuts…OK close enough. It tasted fine even though it probably had someone’s spit in it. The problem was then that I’d got hungry waiting and was shivering, and making terrible conversation through my pained expressions of embarrassment and anxiety.

The afternoon started off so peacefully and degenerated into something monsterous thats going to give me a belly ache.

Wish me luck. I have to navigate breakfast without any surprise lactose or meat products and then give a presentation to an unknown sized crowd tomorrow (n>10) without meltdown. Maybe forgoing valium was a bad idea.

Sigh. Challenging anxieties isn’t always triumphant is it? :S

Everyone secretly wants to be seduced by a supernatural being and that’s ok

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I read a lot of science fiction, horror and fantasy books.
I watch a hell of a lot of trashy sci-fi / horror TV shows and films.
What I have learnt is that deep down, everyone has this base desire to be seduced by a very powerful creature – preferably immortal.
In some cases it is a human, one that seems unattainable and awe-inspiringly strong, brave or skilled, but then those are altogether too relatable as stories go. I don’t really like that in a fantasy story because it makes me think about real feelings and shit like that, I want to be taken somewhere that I can’t possibly go in real life.
So within the pages and vicariously we secretly wish that we could become the object of some mythical creature’s desire. Can you imagine if something so powerful and beautiful chose you over all others….That’s got to boost your self esteem some hasn’t it? Plus we are led to believe that those with supernatural powers are somehow exceptional lovers, so…
I don’t think the feeling of wanting to be the centre of someone elses world is particularly new or weird, it’s central to human nature…but to want that attention from someone or something with a fascinating weirdness, who could choose ANYONE in the world? It’s not something that people are going to freely admit because of the shit tons of pride and parallel fragility that such thoughts stem from. It’s something about proxy to power isn’t it? To be desired by a symbol of strength makes one feel strong, no? All this reminds me of something Tori Amos said about wondering whether Jesus would be a good lover. I think that the desire to be loved by an all-powerful God amounts to pretty much the same thing as wanting to be seduced by a vampire (psychologically speaking). There are ‘spiritual’ nuances that I’m glossing over, but its all the same to me.

So you fantasise about being whisked away by a Witch, by a Mystif, by an Angel or superhero? Hey, that’s ok, as long as it doesn’t come at the cost of real relationships – maybe you need to work a bit on your self-esteem (most of us do) but ultimately everyone else does the same thing in the privacy of their own mind, and I know what you are thinking but, no, the fact that these humanesque creatures in question aren’t quite human doesn’t mean we are talking about beastiality, which is pretty much universally not ok (even in Germany now). Imagination and the unknown are such potent ingredients, who could help but wonder?

Ps. If you have a partner or two in the real world, remember that they have the superpower of putting up with your annoying shit, so don’t take that for granted.

Incidentally the painting at the top is mine (from some ten years ago). It might not be very good but don’t steal it without asking ok?
(c) Accidental Tentacles

Mingling with anxiety

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Dear person who I have not yet met,

When I first see you I am intimidated, I see all the traits that you have and I do not. My heart races regardless of who you are.

When you make eye contact with me I want to run away because I believe you are either about to humiliate me, or have mistaken me for someone else.

When you walk towards me, my stomach flips over and I want to vomit because I’m afraid that you are going to do or say something that will make me feel inferior.

When you speak to me, I can’t focus on what you are saying because I’m too busy forcing myself to stand still and not shake.

When you smile at me, I can’t breathe and I feel paranoid that you are actually laughing at me, or smiling at someone else behind me.

When I need to reply to you my mouth fills with the sand that is trickling out of my brain. I’m so scared of saying something stupid that I crack a ridiculously poor joke instead, then replay what I’ve just said over and over, thereby missing what you said next :/ sorry…

When you try to ask me questions about myself I give short answers because I don’t think I’m interesting enough to warrant longer ones. I’m also too busy stopping myself from fidgeting to remember much more than my name and date of birth.

When I ask repetitive questions about you I’m not obsessive, I just need a few seconds to gather my thoughts because my cerebral hamster wheel has got all tangled up.

When you look over my shoulder at someone else I panic that you don’t like me, so I do something weird to grab your attention, like pull a strange face or say something inflammatory that I don’t even mean.

When I look over your shoulder at someone else it probably isn’t because I’m bored it’s because I’m looking out for assassins and trying to get respite from your focus.

When you walk away I can breathe again and recommerce being awkward without an immediate audience.

When you walk away I wish you hadn’t left so soon

I know there are more interesting, intelligent and attractive people out there for you to meet who won’t require so much effort.

Damn, meeting new people is exhausting when you crave social interactions but yet are terrified. It was so much easier when I could drink alcohol. I wonder, does everyone else feel the same?

If you know me already we can hopefully (but not always) skip the foreplay and I can just stand awkwardly and limpet-like beside you while you roll your eyes until such a time as it is almost socially acceptable for me to run away and hide.

Symptoms, hanging tasks and collecting useless bunches of thoughts

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Thank-you very much universe for bestowing upon me a migraine of duvet requiring proportions. I had today all planned out but you stole those hours and left me in the dark just hoping and waiting for the pain to ascend. I could have been more productive in my studious efforts to watch all of “the collector” TV show before it gets taken away from Amazon prime, and I could have taken out the rubbish and recycling that’s been glaring at me all week and has therefore spontaneously overflowed into numerous ominous looking bags.

I’ll thank you not to call me lazy.

No horses today as my friend is sick. This makes me sad on many levels.

It’s been a pretty tumultuous week, running the gamut of tears, anxiety, panic, fear, sadness, exhaustion, shoulder acne and night sweats. I gave my talk to 70 people during which I came this (squishes two fingers together) close to using the word “voodoo” to describe how a piece of equipment works. Yay Science!! Nonetheless I’ve made it to the weekend intact aside from the little part of me that was hiding the whole anxiety issue from the boss lady, buuut….I had to tell her what’s up because I’ve reached the top of the list for CBT. Sadly the offered the ONLY time that I could not make, due to weekly meetings. After filling in the blanks and enquiring, my boss was understanding and said I should just take the slot…but…of course the NHS is most efficient when you don’t want it to be and in the time it took me to blink and ring them back, I’d been irreversibly placed back on the waiting list. Thanks. That’s just awesome. I admitted frailty to my boss for nothing….OK…not nothing, I suppose it’s out of the way at least. She knows I’m a bit mental and let’s face it, there was no hiding that meltdown in the meeting that I described before.

I’ve been asked by a company to travel to Poland to give an academic talk (all expenses paid) and I’m umming and arring about it (that phrase looks wrong when you write it down). I want to because it’s good experience, I like the person who invited me and it’s a country I haven’t been to but….what if I make myself (more) ill over it? I mean…how many days of valium does a normal person need for that kind of thing? What if security alleviate them from me!! And is there enough bog roll at the airport to cope with my anxious tummy? What if I sweat so much that I shrivel up to a crooked husk because I’m afraid to ask for some water? These are very real considerations!!! Giving a talk=easy. The week or two building up to it=hellish corporeal rebellion.

I’ve thought about the divergent books a lot, and I’ve decided that I really didn’t like the character Tris very much. She might have been brave and kick-ass but she was actually quite selfish and irritating(especially in books 2 and 3). I’m not annoyed that she died per say, I’m just aggrieved about the way it happened. So there.

I should have completed a task at work this week but I put it off because that would mean interacting with someone who had been off with norovirus. No. Fucking. Way. I therefore have the mystery of the unfathomable blot problems to deal with on Monday. Plus explaining to the boss lady why I chose instead to obsessively reanalyse some old data instead (fucking good job I did because I discovered a fuckup). Mmm, Western blots: my favourite unsatisfactorily borderline artistic and non-reproducible technique

Ps. I have a note stuck on my mac at work saying “fix your moronic mistakes re: algebra” someone should almost certainly revoke my a-level maths…¬† strike that, I’m not worthy of GCSE.