Category Archives: Uncategorized

Still waiting for “2nd-hand embarressment syndrome” to become the diagnosis of our generation

Most people I know have at some point jokingly suggested that I’m on the spectrum, but I’m pretty sure I’m a bit TOO empathetic sometimes. Or what do you call it when you have to close your eyes and cover your ears when something embarrassing happens to fictional characters on TV? I got told off yesterday by my boyfriend who yelled “No! You have to watch! Seriously, you can’t be cripplingly embarrassed by an animated children’s movie!” Well, yes I can and yes I was. I find comedies terribly hard to watch for that reason. I know some people mute the TV during the scary bits in horror movies, and that’s basically what I do but with rom-coms or pure comedies instead.

And what is that thing called when you subscribe feelings to an object incapable of having feelings? I feel really guilty when I forget to water my plants. Sometimes I move my stuffed animals around in the flat “just so they have something fun to do”. I also feel bad when I think of how every terrible thing my mind can come up with has probably, statistically, happened to someone at some point. My empathy is haywire. I’m probably confusing the word empathy with sympathy again, but it’s too late in the evening and I’m too lazy to look it up.

I like doing personality and IQ tests so I took the Baron-Cohen empathy-systematizing test just for fun, and then I made my boyfriend do it. Some of the questions were really weird or stereotypical, but it could be that they’re dummy questions. Anyhow, I was amused to find that we received nearly identical scores. I think he got 22 and I got 23 on the empathy test and we both got 31 IIRC in the systematizing bit. It’s not really a result I’d humblebrag about on Facebook, but hey, we’re well-matched in our deficiencies.

In the end I’m not too fussed, seeing as I can enjoy this chocolate frog without feeling like a horrible human being:

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No more egg jokes, please!

And I’m not eggsagerating! I’m getting tired of all the yolks!

My biggest fail this Easter was trying to replicate something I saw online, namely painting eggs by using spring flowers and onion peels. I only had the pictures to go from, so instructions were scarce. The first problem was keeping the flowers in place as I pressed a piece of onion peel on them. The second problem was keeping all the peel from falling off as I tried to bind the eggs together. I imagine this bit would be significantly easier if I had used the peel from larger, white onions. Using smaller onions meant that I had to use several tiny pieces of peel that kept breaking or falling off. I tried to cheat by using a bit of tape to get everything to stick together, and I experimented with covering one of the eggs with aluminium foil. The egg covered with aluminium foil actually came out looking the best, even though that egg was far less nice looking than the ones in the instruction photos.

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Fail eggs.

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Sunny Spain

I just got back from a holiday with my family. We went to Alicante in Spain, where my dad recently bought a flat. It was great, the weather was pleasantly warm and the sea was warm enough that we could go swimming without TOO much painful hesitation. I imagine the water was around 19c/66F. I brought a video camera and tried to make an old-fashioned family holiday movie; you can expect some horribly shaky footage to be posted later. Today has been pretty hectic so you have to make do with a few photos until I get time to post some more:

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Fox paws – the funny brain

… or faux pas. I’ve heard it both ways >_>

I’ve been thinking about how confidence changes pretty much everything in a social situation. That’s hardly an original thought, but I’m starting to think that people easily fool themselves into thinking that their perception of themselves is the right one, but everything about that self-image is based on confidence, or the lack thereof. I’ve been thinking about a really simple, harmless situation that happens to me quite a lot. It goes like this:

Quentin (talks fast with his head turned away): Ophelia, could you go down to the office and tell Gary that the tramumble mumble photocopier in five minutes?

Ophelia: Sorry, what?

Quentin: Gary, in the office.

Ophelia: Sorry, I didn’t catch-

Quentin: Gary, the guy with dark hair and glasses.

Ophelia: But what was the last bit?

Quentin: Tell him the transport to fix the photocopier will be here in five minutes!

I hate not understanding what people are trying to tell me,- who wouldn’t? I think it’s incredibly embarrassing to have to ask people to repeat themselves several times. It happens to everyone, the only difference is how confident we are. Bear with me on this:

If Ophelia has low confidence in her social ability she will probably perceive the misunderstanding as her fault. She thinks it’s embarrassing that she couldn’t hear what Quentin was saying, and to make it worse she thinks she phrased her following utterances wrong which made Quentin believe that she wanted him to clarify a different part of his question.

If Ophelia has high confidence in her social ability, she will probably perceive the misunderstanding as Quentin’s fault. How embarrassing of him to fail to communicate a simple question, and to make it worse, he interrupted her and misinterpreted her questions for clarifications twice!

Obviously, it’s a made-up situation and it doesn’t really matter who’s “fault” it is. I don’t think anyone thinks twice about it when someone else makes the “error”. What matters is that the interpretation is different depending on the level of confidence. I feel like it’s damn near impossible to break the pattern, because if you have low confidence in general, you’re always going to perceive situations in a way that conforms to the idea that you are less than good. To make matters worse, as soon as you take on the “responsibility” for the faux pas, people pretty much accept that it was your “fault” too and strengthens that belief. And vice versa, although if you have a sound confidence you can probably accept that you mess up every once in a while without thinking too much about it. Speaking from personal experience, I can think about situations like that in a completely rational way, but there’s always a part deep inside of me that feels ashamed and embarrassed no matter what. It’s the same part of me that says “They’re lying”, “Oh, he’s just being nice” or “I’m an imposter” when someone gives me a compliment.

I think the only true way to overcome social anxiety is to stop giving a fuck what people think, or view life as a great social experiment. I’m not sure if it works but at least it makes things more interesting!

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We’re having a noodle off

Who made the best noodles?

We used this recipe for egg noodles (yeah it totally looks like pasta. tasted alright tho).

Exhibit A)

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Exhibit B)

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if you cream i’ll kill you

I woke up the other night by my boyfriend screaming “CREAM! CREAM!” at me.

Apparently I scratch myself so intensely in my sleep that I wake him up and he thought this was an appropriate way of telling me that I need to moisturise.

Life is surreal sometimes. 😛

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Also known as “Thursday”.

WAH! Today did NOT go as I had planned. I woke up around 7:30 am and thought to myself “I’ve been putting off getting my birth control prescription refilled for too long. I will go down to the walk-in clinic as soon as they open and hope that I can be seen early”. I looked up the times on a NHS website, which said the clinic would open at 10 am. The clinic is just a 10-15 minutes walk from our flat. I went down, but when I arrived it turned out that the clinic didn’t open until 11 am. This was written on the leaflet they had on display in the reception, but not on the website, which was annoying.

It didn’t bother me too much though, as I decided to go to Nero and get a cup of coffee before sitting down in the waiting area. I had expected to have to wait an hour or so, so I had brought Anathem, a book I’m currently reading. At 11 am, the receptionist came and around 7 people started to flock around the reception. I knew I had been there before some of them, but didn’t really attempt to get in front since I thought we were few enough that it didn’t matter. One nice woman was kind enough to point out to the receptionist that I had been there before her.

Anyway, I really should have been quicker because I had to wait for aaages. There was a note in the clinic saying that “it may appear like patients are called out of order”. No fucking shit! I have no idea what the system was, but it certainly wasn’t chronological. I think I waited almost 3 ½ hours. When I finally saw the doctor she explained that it had to do with the new computer system, which is an reasonable explanation, but it just pisses me off that no one took the time to explain this to everyone in the clinic. If someone tells you “You will probably have to wait 3 hours before you will be seen”, then you are prepared for it. I waited and waited and didn’t know if I would dare to leave to go to the bathroom or the reception out of fear that they might call my name while I was gone. GRR!

Once I finally got out of the clinic with my pills, it had started hailing. It’s been weird weather recently. My boyfriend Tom has said all winter “Just you wait! It’s going to snow!” The last time he said it was a couple of weeks ago, when I yelled “OH GIVE IT UP IT’S 19C AND SUNNY! IT’S NOT GOING TO SNOW!” Of course it started snowing yesterday. Get a grip, England. Anyway, by the time I was out of the clinic I was starving. My original plan had been to go down to the clinic, get pills, go back home for lunch and then back into town for shopping. I ended up getting a panini and walking around the mall window shopping.

I literally window shop when it comes to jewellery. It just looks so expensive and serious that I never actually enter the shops themselves, I just stand outside looking in. I would totally buy myself expensive jewellery if I didn’t feel like I had to justify it to other people. I’ve been enamoured with Coeur de Lion necklaces lately, which go for about £100. I have the money to buy it, but every time I give it some serious thought I end up feeling guilty because “But that’s more than twice what I spent on a gift for x, y or z”.

I did get a small handbag for £27. It was in one of those weird shops where the shop assistants are overly keen to help you and at least 3 of them approaches you and asks you if you need any help. I had been looking at two bags and ended up putting one of them back. I had switched a bag that I had picked up for one that was a bit further down on the row, since the one I had picked up had a stitch that had come undone. I don’t know if one of the shops assistants saw this, because she approached me and said “Would you like me to get a new one for you?” to which I confusedly replied “… what, is this one not new?”. She said that she could get one that hadn’t been fingered by other customers. I said, uh, sure. I’ve never had anyone ask me that before. It’s a very strange offer which begs the question, how filthy are their customers’ fingers that they need to go down to the storage to get an untouched bag to sell? I should point out that the one I had wasn’t a display bag, there was four or five of the same bag on the shelf. Maybe it’s a normal thing shops keepers do, but it left me flabbergasted. Man, I’ve been dying to use that word!

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Above image displays an untouched, virgin bag.

 

Slursday

Birthday madness

We celebrated Tom’s 26th birthday a couple of days ago. I love birthdays, I know it’s not ‘cool’ to like birthdays anymore, but I do. Mine and other people’s. I’ve said it before about Christmas, that a lot of people just want a tradition as an excuse to show each other some extra attention and affection. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their birthday in March except me. We call them ‘midsummer children’ in Sweden. If you thought that ‘midsummer children’ sounded a bit like ‘indigo children’ or anything spiritual/hippy, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It basically applies to the overwhelming amount of children who are conceived on midsummer’s eve, when Swedes get drunk and fuck around. Not as cute as “Valentine’s children”, I suppose.

Anyway, I had to work a morning shift on the day of his birthday, so I went up at 5 am and inflated some balloons and decorated before having my breakfast. I put a card on the table saying which present could be opened in the morning and that there was a surprise breakfast in the fridge in a white bag. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell him to read the card when he woke up, which ruined the surprise. Once I got home, I ran around cleaning the flat, baking a cake and cooking supper for when Tom would be home from work. Once again my plans were foiled by the fact that I couldn’t get the wine bottle (one with a cork) to open, which I needed to make red wine sauce. Anyway, Tom managed to get it open once he got home and dinner turned out fabulous. I’m pretty proud about the cake as well. It’s a traditional Swedish cream and strawberry cake.

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After dinner and a glass of wine, I immediately felt my eyelids getting heavy. I hadn’t slept well since I had to get up early and I had a fairly restless sleep. Most of the time I can manage on a few hours sleep, but this time my body just said “SLEEP. NOW.” without much room for argument, so I ended up snoozing pretty heavily on the sofa just before 10 pm. Good thing Tom unintentionally fell asleep at the same time. Man, we’re getting old.

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Schrödinger’s q-tip

I cleaned my ears with a q-tip after showering. I stuck the stick in and jiggled it around and something felt weird. I took it out and saw that there’s no bud on it, and now I’m left wondering whether the bud is stuck in my ear or whether I didn’t notice that the stick didn’t have a bud before putting it in.

I feel like the entire experience needs to be rewritten in poetry. 

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GOT season 4: What will happen with the “other” big scene

I can finally start to see the end of the tunnel in regards to the year long GOT hiatus. I’ve read all the books and the upcoming season is the only season where I genuinely don’t have a clue how they will write a very pivotal scene from the books. I’m not talking about the purple wedding, I’m talking about… [SPOILER WARNING IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOKS]

… the one where Tyrion kills Shae.

First of all, his actions in the book are triggered by Shae seemingly betraying him during/after his trial. I say seemingly because it’s not unlikely that she was coerced by Tywin or Cersei, but book!Shae’s actions makes a lot of sense even if she’s just acting out of self-interest. Shae’s character in the books was a lot less sympathetic than show!Shae. We didn’t know much about her and it was always clear that she was a prostitute who was payed good money to act as Tyrion’s girlfriend. He took her at swordpoint and laid down the rules for their relationship when they first met, it’s not exactly the most romantic set-up. Tyrion had a lot of money and went looking for a prostitute who could give him the best “girlfriend experience” money could buy and that’s what she provided. In the show, Shae shows repeatedly that she’s genuinely invested in Tyrion and not just his money. We see how conflicted she is when he marries Sansa. Tyrion and Shae’s arguments makes them seem like a more equal couple than in the book; Shae is more like Tyrion’s paramour or sugarbabe, someone who is enjoying the benefits of sleeping with a royal, but isn’t afraid to tell him off or do her own thing.

Another difference from the books is Tyrion’s shady past. In the books, Tyrion has an extremely traumatic experience as a child/early teen, where he marries a woman he has just met, but is then forced by his dad Tywin to watch as his soilders rape her and is forced to do so himself. He was told that the woman was actually a prostitute and that the entire marriage was a scam set up by his family, which probably contributes to his issues regarding women later on in life. It’s revealed that this is a lie just before he kills Shae, the woman he married was never a prostitute and she was never set-up to marry him, something Tywin Lannister made up to punish Tyrion and/or protect the family name. While it’s clear in the books that Tyrion murders Shae in cold blood, which is indefensible, it makes sense from a character point of view due to his past experience with sexual abuse and issues with women. Book!Tyrion was always a “grey” character, who did quite a lot of questionable things. I think it’s pretty telling that book!Tyrion never expresses regret over murdering Shae, after the deed he is only obsessed with her betrayal. Show!Tyrion is lewd and arrogant, but he has been whitewashed to be more likeable and more of a good guy than in the books. His issues with women isn’t as obvious. I just don’t think it makes sense for show!Tyrion to kill Shae in a jealous fit, especially not since show!Shae is far softer and lovable than book!Shae. Not that it makes book!Shae’s murder any less reprehensible, but having Tyrion murder Shae in the show is going to cause so much more backlash towards Tyrion’s character since both are popular characters.

I don’t know how they will make Shae’s betrayal realistic in relation to the way she’s been portrayed on the show before, or how Tyrion’s actions will make any sense without any focus on his traumatic backstory. But seeing as Shae’s betrayal and murder acts as a catalyst for Tyrion’s arc in the later book, I can’t see an easy way around it without rewriting some major components. Granted, Tyrion’s arc in the latest book is pretty boring and if the show writers can come up with a more exciting story, I’m all for it. I don’t have faith that they can though. I think they’re going to pick one of these scenarios.

1. Shae is coerced by Tywin or Cersei to betray Tyrion to protect either Tyrion or Sansa. Shae is then murdered by Tywin/Cersei before Tyrion finds out the truth and he goes on believing she betrayed him.

2. Shae is coerced by Tywin or Cersei to betray Tyrion to protect either Tyrion or Sansa. As Tyrion murders Tywin, he also lashes out at Shae and inadvertently kills her before the truth is revealed.

3. Shae becomes more and more jealous of Tyrion’s marriage to Sansa and eventually betrays him out of vengeance or self-interest. In the show, Shae is very fond of Sansa so I’m not so sure about this, but something would have to chance about Shae’s character for her to betray Tyrion the way she did in the books.

Anyhow, can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. The show isn’t perfect, but I enjoy watching it and seeing the books come alive, especially as we probably have to wait another couple of years before the next book in the saga. Plus, Charles Dance makes me swoon and slightly more age-appropriate Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is an effin’ dreamboat. The Lannisters are like poisoned honey.

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