Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

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Learning to cook – the journey begins…

January 4, 2012

In my New Year resolutions for 2012, my first resolution was to learn to cook a new dish every month. Now, I haven’t decided what the month of January will hold yet, but just to give you an idea of what starting point I’m at… it’s basic. Things that I can cook include lasagne, mushroom risotto, pasta, a range of ready meals, sandwiches and toast, and combinations of microwaveable foods. I’ve never been very inspired to cook anything more complicated than this because a) I find the process of creating a meal frequently tries my patience, and b) why should I cook a meal for one which takes longer to make than it does to eat?

I am in the very lucky position of being in a relationship with a fantastic cook. He is in the equally lucky position of being in a relationship with someone who enjoys cleaning and household chores. So why should I even bother learning to cook? Well, I’m an adult now – no longer a student, or living at home; Toby comes round my place nearly as often as I stay at his, and I want to be able to make meals that are tasty, interesting and also occasionally healthy. Eating out is expensive, and eating takeaways can get unhealthy and uninspiring. Perhaps I’ll lose some weight and get healthier along the way? I also want to add to my skill set, and I kind of feel that cooking is something I really ought to learn, as a worthwhile (and sociable) human being.

I’m not a natural chef (see: lack of patience; lack of understanding what foods go together; issues around eating and weight), but I did have some cookery lessons at school. I made things like pasta carbonara, quiche, bread, triple chocolate upside-down cake, and they always turned out well – however, I might attribute some of this to my desire to succeed in a classroom setting, rather than any potential I had as a cook. The only thing I ever did mess up was crème caramel, because I burned the caramel in the oven. (I later found out that I didn’t really like crème caramel anyway.) But for the most part, I had a recipe which I always followed to the letter, and things always turned out fine. However, Toby has discovered that there are some basic things that I didn’t know. For example, don’t lick your fingers when you have been handling raw chicken or raw egg – this is bad for you. He asked me, “didn’t you have food technology lessons at school?!?” To which my reply was “No, we studied Latin instead.” I think I was due to have 6 weeks of cookery lessons in 6th form, but instead I was chosen to be a peer mentor and had 30 hours of training in mentoring and listening skills from a psychologist.

Moving on… Last month, I made a lovely meal of honey and mustard roast chicken breast (courtesy of Waitrose), with chips, salad and croutons with caesar dressing. I was pleased with this meal because I picked the ingredients in the supermarket myself and created the dish in my head as I walked through the aisles. It was delicious. Tonight (and this is not counting towards my dish per month resolution), I had a go at making steak pie (courtesy of Sainsburys) with steamed baby corn, beans and boiled potatoes. This presented some challenges to me as I have never steamed vegetables, and I have never boiled potatoes.

The easy part – I shoved the steak pie in the oven for 35 minutes. This gave me 35 minutes to:

  • discover that one of the hob rings on my mini oven doesn’t work when the oven is on;
  • boil the potatoes on the other hob;
  • realise that supermarket estimates for cooking are not always to be trusted;
  • learn how to steam vegetables in the microwave (thank you Google);
  • find out that it’s not worth using tablespoons to measure out water.

After accumulating all of this knowledge, dinner was served:

steak pie, potatoes and steamed vegetables

It was yummy! The pie and potatoes (after the initial panic that they weren’t cooking on the hob) turned out very well. If I could do it again, I would have steamed the vegetables for longer in the microwave, as the beans were quite crisp and fresh-tasting; but the vegetables were still perfectly edible. The whole point of this, and my cookery journey, is that I am going to learn skills I didn’t know (however basic they might be) and improve my culinary capabilities. I am not ashamed of being such a novice cook, because I am doing something about it. And if you are reading this and thinking that you can’t cook either, then let’s take this journey together. I will be completely honest about my failures and lack of knowledge, and hopefully the fact that I will be able to make successful dishes in spite of these will be proof that even though we aren’t all born chefs, we can all learn to cook something simple, yet tasty and interesting.

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The King’s Speech – review.

January 23, 2011

I went to see The King’s Speech with Toby last night, and thinking about the experience, the main sensation that I feel is guilt. Guilt that midway through the film’s second third, I surrendered to sleep; guilt that I could not concur with the film’s largely glowing reviews from critics and friends alike; guilt that despite the actors’ invariably fine performances, there was just something lacking. It didn’t take me long to put my finger on what the main missing ingredient was, but first, allow me to expand.

The King’s Speech is a smug, self-satisfied film that surrounds itself with a certain air that says to its audience, that proclaims  to those who see its advertisements, “You are watching this because you are intelligent, because you are interested in History. Feel congratulated, feel superior to the hoi polloi.” This air of self-importance is perhaps fitting with the film’s focus on early 20th century royalty, but is certainly at odds with the flat cinematography. In Lionel’s basement, this cheapness, this absence of depth between the background, the foreground and the actors can perhaps be forgiven as it is evocative of the speech therapist’s relative poverty – all the more pointing out with a wry smile that the future King of England has had to go there, to such a lowly place (after all, it is in a basement that can only be accessed through a cramped lift) in order to find his redemption. But when in more royal quarters, how can you really feel a sense of majesty when the decor, the scenery does not evoke this? The film’s rather small budget of $15 million reveals itself early on. And yet, Firth’s previous film, the sumptuous A Single Man, was made on half that budget and both looks and, more importantly, feels like a million dollars. Go figure.

Nevertheless, the actors all provide stellar showings – none more so than Colin Firth, whose stammer never feels affected or artificial; whose frustration, anger, silence, tenderness towards his family, fear of and eagerness for being the country’s king ring true at every turn. Geoffrey Rush plays Lionel Logue with sincerity and humility, and while I much prefer Helena Bonham Carter as a sexy temptress à la Fight Club or a ridiculously pompous Red Queen in Alice In Wonderland, she more than does her part as Queen Elizabeth here. The King’s Speech is certainly not lacking in fine performances.

But unfortunately, the crux of the problem is this – characters cannot do anything without a story. The plot of The King’s Speech is as follows: the King has a stammer, so he gets some speech therapy to fix it so he can deliver speeches (thus the title’s double reference to the king’s ability to speak, and the film’s final speech – his ultimate test). That’s it. This plot is less than linear – it’s a dot. It goes nowhere, it does nothing unexpected or even notable. As mentioned earlier, I fell asleep for 20 minutes in the film’s second half, woke up and events were more or less where I had left them. And even worse, 99% of the film’s audience know the entirety of the plot before even entering the cinema! Even if you are not au fait with 20th century British history, the British monarchy nor the stories of wartime Britain, you will know how the film ends – for the pure fact that nobody under the age of 15 is going to see this film of their own accord, and the vast majority of those over 15 know that there has never been a king who died moments after being crowned during a World War, nor has there ever been a king whose stammer prevented him from delivering speeches. If either of these things had happened, they would be etched in our history in such a way that everyone would know about them, just as they know of the death of Princess Diana, of her wedding to Prince Charles, of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, of the Queen’s two birthdays. It would be another elementary fact. Thus, this means that it is inevitable that the King gets his stammer cured, or at least is able to manage it in order to perform his duties.

There is nothing approaching a subplot in the film to maintain interest. Edward abdicates in order to pursue love, and the audience is expected to just accept this because that’s how it happened in history – there is no attempt to probe beneath the façade of pompous dignity to question whether Edward is actually doing the right thing, the brave thing, pursuing truth over the pretences inherent in being a monarch (according to King George V himself). The film has only room for one triumphant victim, and that is Firth’s character – even when he is acting like a snobbish, spoilt moron, the viewer is not invited to feel repulsed or even more than mildly annoyed at his presumptuous pride, because he is the film’s Hero, the country’s King, and thus must not be questioned. If you are choosing to question him and other aspects of the film, then good for you – but you’re going above and beyond what the film requires you to do in order to get to the final triumph and achieve your gold star. Any attempts to psychologise the King’s speech impediment are completely reductionist – is it the absence of Daddy’s affections? The taunting of the mean big brother? Peer pressure? The King’s Speech expects its audience to overlook this simplicity because it is British, it is Royal, it is Historical – but if these explanations were transposed to an American rom-com or a Channel 5 drama, they would be seen and derided for the facile clichés they are.

Ultimately, The King’s Speech is a simple film that contains faultless performances, and whose stars should be amply rewarded for their acting. But nevertheless, it is a film that is a plotless puddle, all the while proclaiming itself a majestic ocean.

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the rules of attraction.

October 4, 2009

So one of my close friends at uni started asking about my love life, and I answered honestly but somewhat evasively (as the “gay” thing hasn’t come up yet, and it looks like it’s going to be up to me to break the ice) that I’m not really focusing on that, I’m just concentrating on doing a good job of the course (which is going so so well so far!) and getting myself stable and sorted.  I mean, after my events this year where I realised I wasn’t into L when he was so into me, and then I fell for D too quickly only for his ex to snap him back up, and then R thought… well I don’t know what he was thinking, but I am not going to be anybody’s bit on the side; after all of that and more, I definitely am not eager to just run into somebody’s arms.

Nevertheless, I think that a lot of us can relate to the feeling when you’re on your own late at night, and you just wish that you could rest in somebody’s embrace and have them hold you until the morning. At uni with all of the straight older guys on my course, it’s really quite maddening because I know that girls have had crushes on me and find me attractive, and I can appreciate that all the guys on my course are older but they are really solid and normal and genuine-seeming and nice – their partners are really lucky!  Gay guys, by and large, are the total opposite of this – trying too hard to be something they are not, or abiding by the laws of a stereotype or rebelling too hard against it.  I guess maybe it’s a maturity thing (I’m the youngest by a fair bit – the average age of the students on my course is 30 or thereabouts), and I’m certainly a work in progress too, but I just want a guy who feels comfortable in his skin and can give me his all and accept my all in return without either playing games or clinging too much to me.

I was on msn the other night and suddenly B comes online.  By this point, it’s been a month since we even spoke, and I just presumed that he had gotten bored of me or wanted his own space or had better things to do.  After all, I have better things to do than just wait around for him to be in the right mood, so I guess our drifting apart was natural; I had moved on.  So he tells me that he has been meaning to contact me for a while and had felt bad for leaving it so long (what, was his phone broke? He had been online at the same time as me on other occasions in the interim, and I had noticed his online profile on the dating site I’ve been frequenting a lot less recently), and that he is currently seeking a diagnosis for adult ADHD.  He asked me to google it, so I looked it up, and I don’t for a second think he is lying – he’s been fairly upfront from the jump about his emotional and psychological instabilities. His current difficulties with a new job at his local salon (he was previously a mobile hairdresser so it’s a promising progression for him) and what I know of his previous problems all tally up – it makes sense to me, and I try to be as supportive as I can without crowding him or suggesting that he can rely on me – after all, although at one point it looked as if things were gonna get popping and that I was developing strong feelings for him, it fizzled out because he kept disappearing on me.  I mean, with a condition such as depression or ADHD, it is understandable and I can accept his excuses and reasons… but the question remains, What am I supposed to do about it?  What does he want from me?  Does he want just a friend?  Does he want something more than that?  Does he think that I am just going to wait around patiently while he sorts himself out and decides?

I don’t know what to do about it, but I guess the best thing is to do nothing.  I have uni to concentrate on, I have driving lessons to buy, I have my part-time job and my weight to keep down (still don’t know where the gym is going to fit into my current schedule :S) and my friends and family and my music.  I don’t need to worry about whether B is ok, when he’s going to talk to me next, and what he’s going to tell me.  I sincerely wish him the best, and maybe in the future something could work if our circumstances mesh and he comes correct.  Until then, I’ll chill with my new friends at uni, and wish that I could meet someone who was real and mature and funny and cool like them, but who would also like me back without being the wrong gender!

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self-control.

September 7, 2009

The past couple of days, I have been in various situations which have prompted me to think about the values of restraint and self-control.  Most of the time they are positive: I have a spreadsheet on my computer to track my evening snacking, and in the last 6 months I have managed to reduce my evening snacking to only 29% of a month (this is more difficult and more impressive than it sounds, believe me).  Restraining from this has complemented my gym regime and I’ve lost weight and toned up as a result.  I’ve been restraining from spending too much and buying too many pretty things because it’s only now that I’ve got money coming in again, and despite enduring desperate cravings for certain items, I realised that these cravings pass and I don’t need the things I think I need as much as I do.  (I am still getting that Gucci bracelet in the next month or so, make no mistake.) After wrecking my Nintendo DS during a bout of throwing a Naomi I have been making a conscious effort not to get so annoyed at Street Fighter IV on my PS3, and just taking a breather when I get frustrated.  I have been cutting down on my cigarettes only to preserve my voice, and it seems to be helping (or at least not getting worse), and I don’t feel quite as guilty.

Today at work, I seemed to be having a good day, working for my two bosses Cass and Kerry.  I was mainly helping Kerry today with endless spreadsheets, and I’ll continue doing that tomorrow.  However, Cass popped his head around the door after lunch and asked me if I could help him move some boxes from one room back to another (where they originally were, and where I moved them from right at the beginning of my job about 6 weeks ago). I felt sorry for him when he found out they had to go back, and it turns out that when I agreed to “help” him, I would actually be doing it by myself.  Fine, I said, I would go and do it when I came to a break with Kerry’s stuff, which I did.  I was barely physically able to move one of the cages full of stock (there were 6, Cass had told me there were 5) – Cass envisioned the whole task would take an hour or so, and then I could reload the cages once I was finished.  After 2 cages, the second of which I had to get a policeman to help me with when it came to pushing it up the slope towards its destination, I was aching and drenched in sweat.  And quite pissed off!  I couldn’t do any more, Cass had gone for the day so I couldn’t explain that the cages were just too heavy for me to physically move (and I am no weakling), and there was no way it was possible for me to empty them all before the end of the day, let alone fill them up with more stock.  (I am also quite confident that Cass did not fill up the cages himself, otherwise he would not have asked me to transfer them all within one hour, because he would have realised that that was an unrealistic and fairly dangerous demand!) I felt that I might let him down in some way (though I hope he will understand, he is usually very reasonable) and I hope that he knows by now that I am the farthest thing from workshy.  It’s just not physically possible for me to do, especially not within tonight’s time constraints.  Tomorrow if I have half a day to do it, and the cages are split into (much) smaller loads, it might be possible.  We’ll see.

In addition to this considerable irritation, I was trying to call my mother at work to get a lift home on her way back, since I was staying at work later than usual; it took me over an hour to get through to her work on the phone, and even then when her colleague answered the phone, he asked me to call back again in 5 minutes (I said no, and told him that I would rather my mother called me back – I think I had been calling that shop enough for one day).  So I was quite annoyed about that, although in both cases I know that nobody was deliberately at fault, and that I should keep my rapidly rising anger in check.  Somehow, I managed to do this, and me and my mum exchanged stories about our frustrating days on the journey home.  I bought 2 dvds at Tesco (Bride Wars & Notorious) and plan to relax with some chocolate Mars drink and good pudding (tonight will be a night where I probably will snack – I plead extenuating circumstances!) watching one of them.

The final straw tonight was when I got home from work with my mother, only to have problems deleting a message from our answerphone (which hates me); apparently, it senses my finger on the delete button and refuses to work, though I have witnessed my mother deleting messages and she does nothing different from what I do.  My parents both made a comment and I exploded, prompting my father to mock my “grumpiness”.  I stormed off (I was definitely grumpy, but there was no need to point it out – what do you think you are going to achieve by highlighting my bad mood?  Certainly not make me feel better…) and sat in the small computer room on the floor, and my mum came in and said that just after I’d left, he had done the same thing to her (her day had not been great either).  I didn’t have a massive explosion of anger, but there just comes a point where you can hold things in and hold things in and be aware of not pushing your anger or frustration or emotions onto other people, but just holding your tongue and taking deep breaths and dealing with frustration calmly and rationally… and it all spills out anyway.  Some people just don’t seem to realise that they pile burden on top of burden on top of you, and I’m not superhuman – eventually, after enough pressure, I snap, just like anyone else.  Is that a fault of mine?  Should I have more self-control?  Or is it an issue where I restrain too much and let things build up? When is it right to not say anything and deal with your issues by yourself for fear of upsetting or alienating someone else, and when is the time to speak up and say “I can’t take anymore”, before you explode?  How do you know when the right time to do that is?  In short, how do you predict when enough is enough?

As I said at the start of the post, although I recognise I have a temper (which developed due to Street Fighter and also due to various trying situations at the Perfume Shop), I am fairly good at controlling it, especially around other people.  But yesterday, discussing Jill’s death with my parents, I think I was the one who put my foot in my mouth.  I was asking about what kind of cancer she had died of – a reasonable question, I thought.  My mother didn’t know.  I found it odd that Jill’s husband, despite the fact he had spoken to my mother at least 3 times in the past couple of weeks and had asked her to pass on updates of Jill’s health to mutual friends of hers and my mother’s, had neglected to mention what type of cancer she was actually suffering from.  I understand people being private, especially in times of suffering and grief, but I thought that generally, people suffer from lung cancer or breast cancer or cancer of the womb or cancer of something.  If you say “She has cancer”, the automatic question is surely “cancer of what?” I found this weird that nobody seemed to know, and that Graham had not passed on this vital piece of information to my mother, especially if my mother was then supposed to inform other people herself.  And yet, my parents were both like “you don’t ask that kind of thing!” I understand not wanting to probe into someone’s grief, but I found it strange that the question had not been asked, and even stranger that my mother hadn’t been told in the first place!  Yet after our discussion, I felt like I was somehow unfeeling or tactless, and that I had said the wrong thing (my father’s sister also died of cancer – to this day, me and my mother know very little about it).  I guess that everyone deals with death in their own way, and I understand that grief is a private and individual process that not everyone wants to share or shout about.  But I don’t understand people not asking basic questions; I later spoke to my mum about it and she said that I hadn’t upset her at all, but that as you get older, you learn more and more as you get older not to disturb others’ fragile emotional states.  I understand this already, but I just don’t know the rules about what you talk about and what you don’t talk about in times like these.  If we don’t speak up and ask questions, even about fragile or poignant situations, how do we become better informed? Is it more respectful to be silent and remain in ignorance? Is restraint really the better option in this instance?  I don’t get why people don’t talk about these things.  If we did, then maybe it would clarify, if not ease the grieving process / understanding of exactly why Jill died.  So I don’t really know at all just how much restraint or self-control is a good thing after all.

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psychoanalysis.

September 5, 2009

It’s come to the point where I look forward to my dreams to see what twisted scenario my brain is going to spit out at me while I’m sleeping.  When I wake up and I either haven’t had a dream (to my knowledge), or I already know that I have forgotten it, I feel somewhat frustrated and cheated, although there’s nothing I can do.  But the past couple of weeks, as you’ll know if you’ve been checking in here from time to time, I’ve been having an extraordinary string of weird, convoluted dreams.  Last night’s was more a reversion to type, where I had been with my mother and my nan in town, except for some reason I had to catch the bus up to my nan’s house by myself.  I remember I was smoking at the bus stop, anxiously scanning the streets to make sure that I wasn’t caught by my family.  The bus was taking an extremely long time to turn up, and just before it did, this girl from school that I used to know, called Kate Noble, appeared and began to stalk me, circling the bus stop and grinning in my face (in a creepy way).

I thought I had shaken her off when I got on the bus, which looked more like a coach. The driver indicated that the only free seat was the one directly behind him (right at the front) so I sat there, only to discover that Kate was sat behind me, wearing a knitted black shawl around her head and shoulders so as to make her look like a creepy gypsy, with her heavy black eye makeup and violet lipstick with blinding white teeth.  She kept trying to steal things from me (at one point, the driver of the bus turned round and indicated to me that she had stolen my gold and silver ring, a plastic piece of jewellery my father had bought me as a misguided Christmas present a few years ago), and after a while I turned around and started threatening her to leave me alone, I swore at her and called her a cunt, and she just laughed at me.  That was about it, although I remember a knife being involved, though I’m not sure if I tried to kill her or if she intended to murder me.

I often have dreams where I’m being stalked, where there is a murderer or killer or evil person chasing me for some reason.  I have always loved horror movies, and when I was a child I used to watch the murder mysteries and movies that my mother would tape from the nights before.  Looking back, I guess I was quite young to be watching those kinds of things, but I only occasionally got scared and I found the stories quite exciting and absorbing, as well as psychologically stimulating.  Trying to work out who the killer was, what motivated them to do what they did and their methods was like a detective game for me, and I look back fondly on those times I shared with my mum watching programmes in the mornings when I was off from school.  I never felt like I couldn’t handle watching even the scariest films, and it’s come to the point where none of my friends want to watch a large part of my DVD collection because I have a lot of twisted, scary films.

During my waking hours, watching these kinds of thing doesn’t affect me in the slightest, so perhaps my dreams are a manifestation of that? Not to get all Freudian, but it would make sense if the violent and twisted things that I watch are replicated (in a more abstract way) in the dreams that I have, because luckily in reality I have yet to be stalked by a serial killer or be fleeing from my family who had been turned into vampires or even be followed by a compulsive thief.  Right now, I am watching American Psycho, because I am about a third of the way through Bret Easton Ellis’ book and loving it, so I wanted to revisit the film.  The main character, Patrick Bateman, is quite twisted and yet extremely hollow, actively conforming to a yuppie stereotype and exhibiting no further ambition beyond collecting money, designer clothes and achieving a perfect physique; his addiction to hardcore pornography and penchant for violently murdering beautiful girls is perhaps the most edgy thing about his life which is a qualified success beyond all measure, and yet an utterly heartless and one-dimensional façade.  Perhaps this is why he has developed this irresistible urge to violate, to cause pain and end people’s lives… it’s the most impactful thing that he can do, although the impact is obviously negative.

Despite this, the film is hilarious at the same time as its ideas are interesting and vaguely shocking.  I recognise a world where you are supposed to achieve a checklist of things in order to be “successful” or “happy”: car, well-paid job, trendy social circle, relationship, house… These are all things that I genuinely want, but at the same time I don’t have complete faith that once I’ve achieved these things, I will be any happier than I am now.  I think that most of us seek a way to achieve our wildest dreams while also working towards a more realistic success – one doesn’t necessarily negate the other, but there comes a point where we choose one over the other.  Because not everyone can be famous, most of us go for a realistic, modest version of happiness which is possibly more stable; but either way, nobody knows how much happiness lies at the end of the journey.  I guess that nobody wants to be predictable or mundane, so we search for ways to make us edgy.  Rather than murdering or raping people (as does Patrick Bateman), I choose to have killer fashion sense and make my own music (that’s also in pursuit of achieving my dreams of being a singer, so I try to keep my dreams alive while living an everyday life).  That’s the way that I set myself apart from others, even in my own head.  We all have our own ‘thing’, I guess…

But at the end of the day (I don’t know if this is true in American Psycho the book, as I haven’t even gotten halfway through it yet), it remains to be seen whether it truly satisfies us.  All I want, which is part of the reason why I want to entertain, why I love to sing and create music, why I want to be a Careers Adviser for my more ‘realistic’ vocation, is to make a difference to people’s lives, to have an impact on society, to be important and remembered; to matter. I guess that Patrick Bateman is driven to choosing to murder people (I know it is a paradox to be “driven to choose to do something” but it’s the best, most immediate way I can think of to express how we are at once responsible and moulded by society and environment for the choices that we make) in the same pursuit : to break away from mundane ordinary life, and to make an unforgettable impact.  I hope to do the same, but in a more positive and less damaging, psychopathic way!!!   I hope that my dreams just stay as dreams, because they are exciting, interesting and yet utterly harmless.  I guess that I enjoy Street Fighter IV in the same way – it’s edgy, violent and satisfying, but it’s just a game and I have no desire (96% of the time) to kick anyone’s face in.  I suppose all I am trying to say is that while murder is inexcusable, I can also see how current society, employment and the hierarchies which exist within each can drive somebody apparently successful and balanced to do shocking and unbalanced things.  I just hope to do things which shock people in a good way, rather than in a bad (or illegal) one.

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so sexy.

September 3, 2009

Tonight I have had sort of 10 cocktails & far too much food, so I’m not feeling at my intellectual peak.  However, I’m going to blog anyway!  As much as I’m feeling buzzed off the alcohol and also off having had a lovely evening with my friends, I do have something to say.  We were at Giraffe in Cabot Circus from 4:30 until 6:15ish drinking drinking drinking, and Karina has a friend who works there.  I will save his embarrassment because I don’t actually know how to spell his name, but he was foreign and incredibly cute (and talkative too!).  And perhaps it is part of the whole façade mentality that I have, where you have to project the best possible image and attitude of yourself at all times, but I found myself trying my hardest to be cool and aloof and funny all at once.  He probably didn’t even notice, but it seems to be a “flirt autopilot” with me.

And then, at Frankie & Benny’s (where we consumed all of the aforementioned food), a group of guys came in while we were eating dessert (cinnamon waffle crunch mmm-mmm), and my head nearly span off its axis.  Again, I blame the drink, but I can’t help but notice when someone is attractive to me.  Normally, I try to act as nonchalant as possible, because I don’t expect any comeback off it, and it’s just the same as when you know somebody is checking you out, you act as if they don’t exist because you don’t want to call attention to them nor give them the slightest impression that they have a chance or that you think they could possibly be on your level.  I don’t know if it’s a strategy of playing hard to get, or just being as ice-king as possible (I prefer to believe it is the latter), but I would never expect someone to return my stares, and I would never acknowledge anyone’s interest or flirtations with me.  Perhaps it’s just another one of my counterproductive “I want a boyfriend but I refuse to settle for just anyone, but why am I single?” stratagems.

Which gets me to thinking, I have many, many celebrity crushes.  Singers, actors, models, Brazilians, footballers… I have been addicted to them all for many years now.  And perhaps that is why my standards (and the standards of those people who are like me) are so high, perhaps too high… We expect visual perfection.  We expect floss and ice.  We expect the finest things. We expect a heart of gold within a body of sin.  And when we go on dates and take people out, that is what we try and provide to the best of our ability.  But all too often, somewhere along the line our expectations are just too high, and people fall short.  I think it takes two, and perhaps I should be more realistic as much as my date should step up to the plate and put in a bit more effort… but then in real life, after a phase of disappointment, I start to relax my standards and appreciate the “everyman”. Be they scruffy, unshaven, slightly damaged… we become more accepting of flaws before we really stop and think what we are letting ourselves in for.  All too many times while I was working at the Perfume Shop, dates of mine would stop by to meet me after work / during lunch / to say hi, and my friend Henna would always tell me after they left “What are you doing? Did you see how he looked? You could do so much better.”  And ultimately, between immature boyfriends and disinterested players, she’s been proved right every time.  Despite my attraction to guys whom I might more feasibly find in Bristol, and feeling that this attraction is a bit more realistic and accepting of real people’s flaws and quirks… I’m disappointed every time, so I go back to the high celebrity standards and looking out for those model-ready rich boys.  And the cycle begins again.

I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say in this post, beyond a dual acknowledgement of the hotness of so many guys in the Bristol area (the genuinely hot and the somewhat hot), and the fact that so few are truly eligible for me, be it because of the flirting games and unspoken protocols that exist or because I put up with too much shit before realising it can’t go on.  If Karina’s friend wants to call me, he definitely can 😉  But you know, I’m sure that it wouldn’t work.  And that’s more than just the alcohol talking.

h1

addictive.

September 1, 2009

(Check out my new single if you haven’t already: Touch Me)

I wrote a blog a while back detailing some of my vices and addictions.  Well, I’m going to add another to the list (well,two if you also want to add writing on this here thing – I am pretty much daily! 😀 ):  Street Fighter IV Championship Mode.  The past week or so, I have been putting in a fair amount of time (while obviously doing other things such as work, socialising and generally having a life – I promise you I am not too geeky!!) on my Playstation 3 playing Street Fighter IV.  Today, after gym, researching for my Careers Guidance course (starting in 3 weeks, aaaaahhhh!!! so excited!), visiting the library and having pizza with Hannah, I bought the game strategy guide.  I haven’t actually read much of it yet, but tonight I spent a couple of hours with Vega and Chun Li (my two favourite characters; Chun Li is my main) kicking some ass (and also getting my ass beat quite a bit! What goes around comes around, as they say…).

both in one picture - how economic!

both in one picture - how economic!

I always maintained that I could not sit at a game for hours on end, but tonight I had to tear myself away!  As an only child, I got pretty used to playing against the computer and nothing else.  Having friends round was a luxury where I could play against a human opponent, but it wasn’t really satisfying because they didn’t know the games that I would play, so there wasn’t much competition.  But now, on my PS3, I have online play. Which means that from the comfort of my own bedroom, I can fight against a plethora of opponents.  Some of them really piss me off because they only do one thing and spam certain attacks (it’s cheap and it’s unsatisfying whether you win or lose), others are really impressive and I don’t mind losing to them, and it’s thrilling when I win (all too occasionally!).  I realised that I am not a bad player, but there are thousands of people who are much better than me!  My response to that is that I have better things to do than practise playing Street Fighter IV 24/7! 😛

It is really addictive because once you find a character or two whom you click with (Chun Li is not ranked badly, but Vega is pretty much one of the least-favoured characters… I like the speedy ones who jump around a lot!), you really want to hone your skills and kick some online ass at the same time!  I feel a lot of respect for those players who are really good, and I don’t mind losing to a genuinely skilled player, because that’s how you improve and sometimes they teach you a little bit of tactics.  I guess that I have always gravitated towards fighting games since I was a kid (although I enjoy puzzler games, platformers and old-school arcade games, because they remind me of my childhood and the Amiga!) because it’s cathartic to beat someone up, even just a person on a screen; the moves are ridiculous and enthralling to watch (people spinning like helicopters, creating fireballs, jumping and teleporting… if only we could really do those things!); and there is something simple, immediate and yet satisfying about going head to head with another character (be it computer controlled or a human opponent) and just going at it.  Sometimes it becomes more of a mental matchup, trying to second-guess the other person and psyche them out.  So maybe it’s a little bit like a relationship!!! 😉

I’m sure I’m just in an “on” phase with the game at the moment; there are weeks which go by without me even touching it, and then suddenly I get hooked into it again.  I think that even though games like this addict me, and I know that there are people who literally wake up and breathe Playstation or Xbox or whatever until they sleep (btw, my father is still into that Evony game!  He’s getting very powerful apparently… I don’t understand it though!), I couldn’t be like that because I have too many commitments and responsibilities, plus my attention span is far too short to sit still all day! 😉 I like to think that there are elements of real life (e.g. my music, my money, my relationships with family and friends) which are much more ‘addictive’ and hold my attention even more than Chun Li et al.  If life is just a game, then a game is just a trifle… you know?  We’re all allowed to have some fun, but at the end of the day you have to go hard and play serious with life because that’s what really matters.