Mini metro – if you needed another reason to curse public transport

It’s half past eleven and I’m stuck playing minimetro. It’s so addictive but frustrating! The game is that you create a metro system that keeps getting bigger and bigger. You start off with a number of “stations” shaped as squares, triangles and circles. There’s smaller symbols next to these stations that are the “passengers” and the shape of their symbol indicates where they want to go. As the game goes on it gets harder and harder to get your trains to all the stations in time, before they become overcrowded. Once a certain number of of passengers are waiting at a station, it’s game over. It’s not a very realistic game in the sense that you can completely re-route your metro lines as many times as you like. Unfortunately, you can’t do an emergency re-route to pick up passengers at an overcrowded station, because the train will follow a ghost-track before it starts going on the new route. Super annoying, but a total time killer. I put on Darkbloom by Grimes and started playing and then suddenly the music stopped and the album was finished. I don’t know where that time went!

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Leaving London

Yup, tomorrow I’m leaving London “for good”, or at least the foreseeable future. I got two bags alá 20 kg ready to go.

I’m in general not a sentimental person. Terrified of change, yes, but not particularly sentimental. I won’t miss the flat we live in; it’s tiny and has an odd shape. I won’t miss the car alarm that goes off roughly 3-5 times a day, 24/7, outside our window. I won’t miss the pimps and their customers, or whatever they are, scaring the SHIT out of me by ringing our door bell everywhere between 8 pm – 4 am. Apparently there’s a travelling brothel in the neighbourhood, which is not quite like a travelling circus. If I had to stay here any longer I’d do a Sebastian Horsley and put up this sign:

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I will miss the copious amounts of ready-food, cheap and easily available just outside our door. We had Indian take-out from Sangri yesterday, which was fucking glorious, and we might go across the road tonight and get fancy ice-cream. The reason is that we have a jar of coins that we’ve been meaning to spend for ages and now that I’m leaving we need to get on it. Here’s some food porn for you from yesterday:

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The wine is called the Hedonist. We bought it because it had a pig on it and we had already tried the one with the cat on it.

 

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A trip to Edinburgh (Edin-burrah?)

One thing I’ve never quite understood with big bloggers is this: To get interesting content, you need to go out and do interesting things. But when I’m out doing lots of interesting things, I don’t have time to blog, because I’m too busy doing interesting things!

So this is basically me assuring you that, despite the lack of activity on this blog recently, I actually go out and do things. Really. <_<

Well, I have managed to squeeze in a mini-holiday in Edinburgh, an evening at the theatre and a afternoon-evening recording of QI in under a week’s time. I’ve also bought a new phone. All that won’t fit in one post though, so let’s start with the trip to Edinburgh:

I got up at 4 am in the morning to go in to King’s Cross. I arrived something like 1 ½ hours early since I get hopelessly stressed about travelling and the only thing that soothes my nerves is to have plenty of time. I tried to stealthily take a photo of the Harry Potter-dedicated statue, but it didn’t turn out good.

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The train ride up to Edinburgh took roughly 4½ hours. My friends met me at the train station and we went to leave our bags at the guest house. The guest house was far better than anticipated! It’s called the Claymore Vegetarian Guest house. The room was big and nicely decorated and the lady who ran the place was incredibly helpful and kind. Plus, the breakfast rocked. I don’t think anyone could claim that there’s not enough to eat with a vegetarian diet after staying at that place.

So I won’t go through everything we did during our trip, but here are some highlights:

Camera Obscura. I loooved the floor with the mirror labyrinth and light tunnel. I spent a whole minute thinking I was talking and looking at my friend, only to realize I was talking to a mirror image straight in front of me and that she was actually standing to my right. She did the same thing. Loved it. The photo below is my new profile picture on Facebook.

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Walking up Arthur’s seat. I saw several parents going up and down with toddlers. Why do they do that to themselves? It sounds horrible. Or maybe I’m just unfit because I felt pretty sweaty and out of breath by the time I reached the top, and I can’t imagine doing it all over again with a toddler.

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Going for a hike. Everything went fine going up, but as we were heading down I decided to run down a part of a hill and somehow injured my elbow by waving my arms too violently. It was pretty painful for the rest of the day, but went away after a night. Strange!

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Bought this ridiculous fox sweater from Hoochie Coochie that I have fallen in love with. I think I might be subconsciously dorking it up to prepare myself for doing a ph.d.

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Went out clubbing. Not really my thing but I didn’t think the scene was particularly good. Café Voltaire was OK, but we made the mistake of leaving to check out Espionage. What a weird place! Not many people were there and there was like a 9/1 ratio of men/women. There was literally only men on the dance floor, desparetly trying to get our group of girls to join them as some guy was doing what looked like push-ups on the floor. What is it with guys thinking that shit like push-up, arm stands, boxing, flexing, stretching and jumping jacks is anything REMOTELY acceptable when dancing??! I think everyone that isn’t a trained professional looks perfectly ridiculous when dancing, but come on, those guys are doing their absolute most and the saddest/most hilarious part is how confident they must be to even think about doing it. I’ll repeat: Doing training exercises is not, I repeat NOT, a dance move!

We ordered a fishbowl which only tasted of pineapple juice. I hate pineapple 😦 Admittedly it was my own fault, since the ingredient list clearly said ‘pineapple’.

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The evening ended with me getting annoyed by some Scottish guy who made the most pathetic drunken move on me that I’ve ever experienced. First he made a dismissive hand gesture and half-shoved, half-wedged himself between where me an my friends were sitting. As he said down, I sarcastically greeted him with “Oh hi, I think you meant to say ‘Would you mind if I sat down, please?'” because I was already quite annoyed, to which he drunkenly replied with putting his arms around my shoulders. Greeeaaat. He then continued for something like 10 minutes to nag me to go dance with him, sort of in the same style as a three year-old asking for ice-cream, while slurring incomprehensibly. Eventually I more or less told him to fuck off, which was the highlight of the evening for me. I will give this advice to anyone: Don’t tolerate people who make you uncomfortable just because you think you need to be polite and nice. Just tell them to fuck off. Most people know they’re making you uncomfortable and are just using a façade of niceness and the fact that people “don’t want to be seen as rude” to get away with it.

We walked around the city. I love city walks, I could probably have spent an entire trip just walking around in Edinburgh. I thought the incorporation of the old and the new in Edinburgh fascinating. Most of the modern buildings really didn’t fit in. I thought this building was quite cool though:

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Phew! I have plenty more photos but I don’t really have the patience to upload them and I don’t think you have the patience to look through them. Keep posted for more stuff later in the week!

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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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Here’s a tidbit of truth that I realized today: I think I would be really bad at saving money if I wasn’t so picky. I think most things are ugly or useless, which keeps me from spending too much money. The things that I don’t find actively ugly, I usually find too bland and boring to buy.

Another reason why I don’t buy more than I do is that I don’t buy more than one of the same item, unless I have a VERY good reason to. I remember saying to a friend when we were in college that I was tired of dragging a suitcase of items back and forth from mum to dad every weekend and she asked “Why don’t you just keep one item of each at both their places?” and I don’t think it had ever occurred to me before. I think it led to me purchasing an extra alarm clock. This is the direct opposite from my boyfriend, who I often make fun of because he has like three kitchen spatulas, when I would probably be quite happy with just owning one spoon, one fork and one knife.

Reading that you might get the impression that I’m very frugal, which certainly isn’t the case. I’m not very good with money, I just know I would be even worse if my personality was different. I spend far too much on food and going to coffee houses, for example. Most of the clothes I do buy are a bit on the expensive side. I don’t buy high-fashion brands, but I buy shirts for somewhere between £20 – 50.

I don’t think I “get” fashion, I think high-fashion is the most ridiculous and absurd thing on the planet, and plenty of the designer brands out there are just awful. The worst brands I know is Marc Jacobs and Ed Hardy, but the latter is so universally hated and mocked that it’s not fun to make fun of them anymore. Marc Jacobs is in comparison inoffensive, but their jewellery looks like it belongs in H&M yet it costs ten times the price. I dislike Burberry’s plaited clothing and accessories, the other stuff is OK even though I hate preppy fashion on men (at least the trend with orange/red/green jeans).

I think the only thing more annoying than badly designed, but expensive brands is #normcore. I added a hashtag because it feels like it fits with the generally try-hard-ness of the term and the people who subscribe to it. So you basically dress as ugly as you possibly can and commit every fashion crime in the book; that’s just unfortunate, it’s not a fashion style! Or maybe that’s extreme normcore, since regular normcore is basically… just dressing really blandly like everybody else. But on purpose and for some special snowflake reason. Done ironically, it is at the very most mildy amusing, but more often just sad and offensive. Is this really the best next fashion trend that we can come up with, 2014?? Is it??

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A fashion rant + so #normcore! *vomits*

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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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I went into town and did some shopping today. I ended up spending £1, but received stuff worth £13, which is not really typical for my shopping days! The explanation is that the last time I shopped at Victorias Secret, they gave me a complimentary voucher for £10. I had planned to use it to buy underwear, but the underwear they had was not my style and quite frankly not very nice-looking, so I used it to buy an £11 body lotion instead. I’m not sure if the girl in the register was impressed or embarrassed on my behalf, but hey, almost-free-stuff is awesome. I also used an O2-offer and got free chocolate from Hotel Chocolate. Sweet!

This is the body lotion I bought:

While in town, I walked past St James Park again. It’s a very nice park but it was packed with tourists today, it was horrible. The pelicans had decided to lay down in the middle of the walk way. Eventually they stood up to stretch their wings, and no one dared to walk past in case they would lash out and bite. I got by fine. Google isn’t really helpful on the topic of pelican bites. When I typed in “does pelican bites hurt” wikianswer replied with “maybe”… thanks.

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Cheapskate shopping and pelicans

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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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