Spring is Springing… or limping towards us, at any rate.

How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? I hung out with my friends and ate chili, which was more of an event-that-happened-to-be-on-Valentine’s than an actual celebration. It was probably a lot more fun than some people’s though… imagine you proposed and the person said no? Imagine you turned up at their house to surprise them and they were with someone else? Imagine you went out the week after and stocked up on half price chocolates?

I’m heading out soon so might not have to imagine that at all… thankfully I have zero issues with eating confectionery declaring someone’s love. I love me, and me loves chocolate.

God, what a sentence. Still, Valentine’s being over means that spring is on its way! The darkness of February will soon give way to light evenings, birdsong and leaving the house without four layers! The sun’s out today and everything! I’ve painted my nails for the first time in forever, and I’ve been spring cleaning my room. Well, I actually took some doors off a cabinet, put a shelf in then put the doors back on, and haven’t put anything on the shelves yet – but it’s a start, innit.

I must be excited, I’ve overdone the pink again. All I need is to see some lambs trotting about and I’ll explode.

From  yahooentertainment.tumblr.com
From yahooentertainment.tumblr.com

Until the lambs start appearing, Groot will more than suffice.

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The Ten O’Clock News: Living Below the Line

I never thought I’d do the news about an article on Glamour magazine’s website, but I also thought this pose was exclusive to professional gymnasts, so if you’ve got proof UKIP’s not full of shit now would be a good time to let me know. (Please don’t let me try that outside of my Pilates class.)

Anyway.

Amanda Abbington is Living Below the Line

You guys know how during Comic Relief we sit there eating ice cream trying not to cry at all the little children living in sheds and trying to imagine what it’s like having virtually nothing to eat? Well, an organisation called Live Below the Line does a thing where people get sponsored to live, food-wise, on £1 a day for five days, so that we can start to imagine what  it’s like to live in abject poverty. Amanda Abbington’s done it and has written about it on the Glamour website (beware the distracting scroll-y thing).

To balance out all the procrastinating I did reading about Hilary Duff’s marriage, here are some fun facts about poverty! All info is from my Politics course so I don’t have sources, although I’m sure my teachers would be flattered if you demanded that I asked them to provide sources.

  • More people have access to a mobile phone than have access to a toilet 
  • It’s estimated that a country takes thirty years after a civil war to reach the level of prosperity that it held before the war
  • People tend to disagree over exactly how many people are ‘in poverty’ because if the figure sounds too high to tackle, schemes to eradicate it won’t take off. That said, poverty is relative; there are rich people in central Africa and people who can’t afford to eat in the USA. In 2005 it was estimated that about 20% of the world’s population was in poverty
  • Expanding on that: India’s effing huge general election is on at the moment and one quarter of the electorate is illiterate. Please note that India has a nuclear programme, a space programme and its own version of Hollywood
  • There is actually enough resources for everyone to have access. Or there would be if richer people were willing to share…

Okay I’m now mildly depressed and quite guilty about the amount I eat. I might try the Below the Line thing when school’s finished – has anyone else ever done it or something similar? I mean, the last time I did anything remotely selfless and food-related was when I gave up biscuits for Lent back when a) biscuits didn’t make me puke and b) I thought taking part in Lent made me a cool atheist… 

Those were the days, huh. They were also the days I could write a post without screwing with the colour scheme, so apologies if I made anyone’s eyes go funny!

Pancake Day! Or, Not.

You know those weeks when you think it’s Wednesday when it’s Tuesday and Thursday when it’s Wednesday and Monday was a fortnight ago?

Yep yep.

I also can’t remember what I wanted to talk about so let’s all talk about Pancake Day (which I thought was either yesterday or 30th March). Last year’s was my first unable to eat two thirds of the ingredients so I had a Lindt rabbit instead but I’ve found a recipe I want to try out which substitutes everything. Also found one for making your own version of Nutella, which is very tempting… I actually think I’m okay with normal Nutella.

I may make some anyway.

Right, favourite pancake toppings: discuss.

(I liked everything. Have individual flavours first then mix everything in one then for the final serving, presuming the mix hasn’t landed on the ceiling, choose your favourite and resolve to make pancakes more in the next year. Never do.)

Oh, and Scotch pancakes. Mmm. If I ever learn to cook in other ways than using a microwave, I might investigate all available types of pancake. Someone’s already done it with potatoes. Mmm, potatoes. Is there a designated potato day? Potatoes are the second-best food possibly ever and they deserve a day. Carbs and vegetables, people, simultaneously. The best food is the humble oat, because they can be manipulated to suit every meal of the day including dessert and they cost a tinny amount relative to their surface area and they cook faster than potatoes in a microwave.

I just read that back and it’s time to go to bed. I sort of want to stay up and think of puns about wild oats. Party oats.

Ruby drew some wild oats in English once. If you’re reading this please know that your face when we explained what the phrase means (as in, when Heathcliff was sewing ’em) is in my top ten senior school memories.

That said, so is the time someone in History thought Osama bin Laden was one of the Beatles.

Here’s a Half-Cut MSI Blog!

WP is being very, very slow uploading my photos and I have to go out (twice in one weekend, I know) so here is what’s worked so far. I will update the slideshow gallery thing when the rest have worked… stay tuned kids, Steve embarrassed me when I met him and only time will tell if that pizza was spiked….

Here are some pictures that deserve to be seen in full-size from the off:

This is Steve pretending to puke.

The band came out to the floor afterwards and did some signing, and I met Steve after listening him talk to a couple of guys who knew MSI from ages ago. As he was signing my ticket I told him that I made a t-shirt with his name on it for the last show but didn’t wear it because I figured I wouldn’t get to meet him. He looked at me and said “you’re a doody head.” Then he pointed down at me, looked at the other people milling around and said “She’s a doody head.” I laughed awkwardly and shuffled off.

It was like when a teacher laughs at you in class for asking a stupid question.

If you look really, really closely, you can see Lynz.
If you look really, really closely, you can see Lynz.

 

tumblr_mx2yf7hXan1qgdgmho1_500
Hollie’s dog Charlie really liked the merch the next day. (From her Tumblr.)

…  where you can read her brilliantly eloquent account of the show. Tatchiana’s thought (singular) is here.

There was a post-show hangover a bit on the tube home...
There was a post-show hangover a bit on the tube home…
... for Hollie anyway. Tatch and I were buzzing...
… for Hollie anyway. Tatch and I were buzzing…
Because here's evidence that I really did embarrass myself in front of Steve!
Because here’s evidence that I really did embarrass myself in front of Steve!

  Anyway enough about the actual show. Today I was telling my friends about meeting Steve and they said I should get “Steve, Righ? Called Mee a Doody Head” on a t-shirt for the next show and I said “I’m wearing that original shirt every show ever”. Then I looked up a jumper I didn’t get to buy at the show and searched “Mindless Self Indulgence merch 2013” and what should come up?

'Mindless Self Indulgence merch 2013'

Ah yes, the Internet is shitting on me now too.

The pizza wasn’t spiked by the way – it turns out random strangers being nice can sometimes be… random strangers being nice.

The Six O’Clock News: Children In Need, Charities and Cynicism

I mentioned last week that people can donate to the Syrian refugee crisis appeal via the United Nations, and in light of the Philippines’ typhoon and Children In Need’s imminent broadcast I thought I’d talk about giving cash to worthy causes.

Medicins Sans Frontiers is currently fundraising to support their work in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Syria, the Philippines, Haiti, Mexico, Nepal, Greece and the USA. I picked those names out of a list; you can see the map of their locations here. The World Food Programme, an extension of the UN, is present in Iraq, Sierra Leone, Egypt, North Korea, Ecuador and the Republic of Congo. Their list is here. Comic Relief has projects going in Guatama, the UK, Mozambique, India, Columbia and Bangladesh. This is their list.

I’ve name-dropped twenty countries and, shocker, they aren’t all in Africa. Some aren’t even poor. Most need help because of corrupt governments, war, shitty geographical locations or a mix of the three. (By shitty I mean “in the way of bad weather”, for the record. If it weren’t for the resemblance to a war zone, the Philippines would look very nice for a bit of winter sun.)

So how does one choose a worthy cause? By going on an aid-giving website and picking a location randomly? By picking a cause (sex trafficking, slavery, refugees, queer rights, women’s education, famine, etc.) and donating to a specific charity? By donating to a ‘general’ cause like Children In Need and letting them do the allocation? What about causes closer to home – cancer research, Jeans for Genes, the poppy appeal, local homeless shelters…?

I saw Daniel Radcliffe on The One Show the other day (nice hair, Oprah) and he said that he had to choose the causes that meant the most to him personally. JK Rowling’s charity helps out children who live in institutions, which has a passing resemblance to a certain bad guy in a certain book series she wrote. If I had to choose three charities to support I’d probably go for APEC, which supports families and sufferers of pre-eclampsia, because it’s quite literally close to my heart (yes you can make a pun out of critical illness), something that provides education to children like Camfed and something that strives to improve human rights, like AllOut or Amnesty International. But what if there was a part of the charity that I didn’t like? I’m hesitant about giving to Greenpeace, however much I love the planet, because they’ve got a habit of working against, not with, some institutions. They’re anti-GM, for example, when there are regions full or starving people for whom GM crops would help quite a bit. Humans aren’t going to stop using stuff we’ve made, like nuclear power, so we’re going to have to use our science to make sure that we’re looking after nature without compromising human rights or lifestyles that people arguably should not have to give up.

I’m going off-topic. Children In Need is on tonight and I’ll almost definitely raid my spare-change pot, but if I’m out tomorrow and see a homeless person I probably won’t give them the change in my pocket, because I have no way of knowing whether or not they’re legitimate. Then I’ll feel guilty. Should I? Should I march on the government to get them to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place? Whose problem is poor people anyway?

I don’t even know any more. Pudsey awaits.

Occasional Tea and Rarely-Spotted Cake

Lately I’ve been having a bit of a problem with starting posts and not finishing them so I’ve made a cup of tea to help with the old creative juices. I’ve consumed more today than I usually do in a month (tea is for socialising and coffee is for work; I have at least one coffee at least six days a week) although I was drinking it in a Politics lesson under the guise of working… Although to be honest, Friday Week A last period has always been a bit of a guise, especially when we did voting systems and had to count.

Today was a tea and cake lesson, because it is correct, when one reads a newspaper, to drink tea – especially if one is in a class with twenty other people and international relations needs to be taught. It was also my teacher’s last ever lesson in my school because it’s more fun/intellectually stimulating for him to finish his PhD and work in Malaysia instead of sitting in a classroom in deepest Essex explaining the history of the Liberal Democrats to seventeen-year-olds. Can’t think why. So instead of discussing international relations we gave him presents. Ah, summer.

This hot drink thing really is conducive to work… When I said tea is for socialising, I temporarily ignored my reasonably frequent coffee shop stops with Ellen and/or Isobel when we huddle in a corner of Costa and discuss everyone we’ve ever met in great detail. I do think, however, that if there were a tea shop in our high street we’d go to that instead. Actually there is a tea shop and I’ve been there once. Well, Ellen doesn’t like hot drinks anyway; maybe we should spread our custom around a bit.

Eeyore in Costa

There’s actually a great building just off the main shops that part of me wants to buy, do up and convert into a bookshop and tea and coffee place. I think it’d specialise in second-hand books, and there would be a ‘bring a book, take a book’ system for people with cash flow problems (which is everyone). The teas and coffees would also be suitable for those with special dietary needs (which isn’t everyone but I flipping miss eating those almond biscuits you sometimes get on your saucer). There would maybe be a space for art shows and one for people to just sit and read for as long as they want as long as they purchase a beverage.

I think I may have just invented the library.

This One Isn’t a Five Minute Job, I Promise. There’s Links.

  I feel that it’s been far too long since I posted a blog with words in, not least words that require thought processes, so I thought I’d sit down and have a nice little chat with all you computer-people.

  How is lent coming, I hear you ask… To be honest, I’m a bit crap at it. I keep forgetting! In Berlin I hadn’t eaten a meal all day, so when we got to the hotel and someone offered me an Oreo I practically inhaled it. I also devoured a couple of Jaffa Cakes (sorry Rhiannon) but I don’t think they count as biscuits. I ate a chocolate biscuity caramel thing on Saturday… it was a Twix, basically, but not by Twix, so I just ate it without thinking.

  Twice.

  In other news, I made marmalade yesterday. Well, I say ‘I’ and ‘made’ using the terms loosely. Mum helped and we aren’t sure if it set or not, but I’d had enough of the pan overflowing every five minutes after an hour, so we decanted it. Except the amount of liquid seemed to have grown instead of evaporated away, so we ran out of jars pretty quick. I can’t post a photograph because my camera’s batteries went in Berlin and I can’t find the spare ones. So imagine this, times about twelve, in various containers:

  A few of you may have seen the new Planetary (GO!) video which came out yesterday. If you haven’t:

  A lot of people have been saying they’re disappointed by the lack of cinema, story, etc. This is stupid. My Chem are a band and last time I checked, bands play music. So enjoy the lights and dance! Speaking as someone who was at the Hammersmith Apollo when this song was debuted, the reaction to which was what made them release it as a single, the energy has been captured perfectly.

  While we’re on the subject of My Chem, MCRmy.com has been relaunched! Yay! Let’s all go play Killjoys and Draculoids with our masks on!

  Talking of relaunching… Is it just me, or does this look rather like the Indifferent Ignorance font? Just saying.

  Happy World Water Day.