Oxi Day

Today is Oxi Day in Greece, which literally means ‘no’. It’s the day in 1940 that the Greek prime minister told Mussolini ‘no you cannot invade this country’. It’s celebrated by closing up shop and firing some canons; I think it’s become a general independence day. This is a good article if you want to learn more and read a good story about WWII.

The British don’t have an independence day, mostly because Britain was usually the country other countries wanted independence from, and it’s interesting to wonder what we’d be like as people had we a different history. I mean, we’ve got the thing about annoying the French and we were Roman at one point, but as far as I can remember, the closest we’ve come to being properly taken over in recent years was WWII (I sense a theme) so I suppose the nearest we have is VE Day?

Then again, a lot of people would probably like to say that we’re now being taken over by immigrants. But I’m in a good mood, so I’m not going to get all caps lock-y about that (I mean come on. How ignorant do you have to be to blame all your troubles on asylum seekers? Okay, okay, I’m relaxing).

I’m going to get a coffee in a minute – short walk down a hill! Past some chickens! Borrow wi fi to check Facebook! This is a very metropolitan area. It’s nice to be somewhere quiet though; at home you can nearly always hear traffic and there’s light pollution everywhere so you’re never quite sure if you’re looking at the sunset or smog. There might be another Five Ways to Celebrate post tomorrow, keep an eyeball out!

Packing – Or Not – Some Bags

I always get a bit confused after a bank holiday – the joy of long weekend is kind of negated by not knowing what day it is for the rest of the week. So to make myself feel efficient in the face of uncertanity I’ve been adapting my Society6 and Etsy shops a little bit. Etsy will be completely digital after 30th September because I’m out of the UK for a month and posting physical items will be a bit tricky. Have a look at both sites to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Oh, Francesca, where are you going?

Eh nowhere special. Just Greece.

Just kidding.

From lisce.tumblr.com
From lisce.tumblr.com

I’m excited as my friends are to be going to university, which is to say slightly nervous but ready to make an important change to long term living arrangements.

There’s so much to do. Normally I pack two days before a trip maximum, but this time I have to think about the things I don’t want to be without for a month. Apart from the dogs (apparently they have to stay home, pfft), that’s mostly work stuff.

You know, my computer.

Which is a mishmash of ergonomic writing gear, a TV screen, an external hard drive and a small-but-still-sizeable PC tower. Apart from the keyboard and mouse none of that will fit in a suitcase or be physically transportable, which leaves me with a few options:

  1. Take my iPad and beforehand find an app or piece of tech that allows me to plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
  2. Get a cheap-as netbook and plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
  3. Just get a netbook and take the risk that by using a normal keyboard I won’t take ten steps back physio-wise
  4. Attempt all business from my phone.

Personally I favour option one because it doesn’t involve taking out a loan or wrecking my muscles. I suppose I could lug everything I normally use a thousand miles in a lot of bubble wrap, but that would involve paying EasyJet a billion quid for extra weight allowance and that’s not including clothes and stuff.

Hmmm.

Okay I’m off to move cardboard boxes out of my bedroom and maybe have a shower (I thought at 10:30am “I’ll do some work then have a shower.” It’s now 5:40pm). If anyone knows where I can get hold of Hermione’s beaded bag, let me know.

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.

The Six O’Clock News: Greece & Eastern Europe

Since I got back from Greece this week, I thought I’d talk about some news stories about the Grecian part of Europe – or mostly, anyway.

Armenian Culture in Turkey: From the Ashes

The Armenian genocide comes up a few times in We Need to Talk About Kevin, which I read while I was away, and this story from The Economist was interesting. Why don’t genocides like this get taught in schools alongside the Holocaust? There’s Rwanda, the DRC conflict, all the shit Saddam Hussein did. Surely they’re just as relevant as the shit Hitler did?

Illegal Workers Arrested at Woking Restaurant

This BBC piece is a teeny tiny story that will help out UKIP, but since I recently found out that some Albanian friends of mine were smuggled out of their country and were illegal immigrants, this made me think. There’s always two sides to a story and all that…

Jamie Oliver Slams ‘Wet Behind the Ears’ British Youth Who Don’t Work as Hard as Europeans

… Especially since British people don’t seem to want to work in restaurants anyway (via The Independent). For the record, the hardest-working people I can think of are Albanian.

Sisa: Cocaine of the Poor – Full Length

I’ve only just discovered Vice, and I’ve not finished watching the video, but this article about Athens’ latest drug problem highlights that fact that while Angela Merkel and her friends are discussing bailouts, and while people are talking about how Greece “should just leave the euro” or whatever, the economic problems over there aren’t just economic – they’re social, and the longer the economic issues last, the harder it will be to fix the social issues. Just a thought for the IMF.

So Apparently ‘Kit Kat’ Isn’t One Word

I’m not sure if the stomach ache I have has been induced by the Kit Kat that was put in my milkshake earlier (who even puts a Kit Kat in a milkshake? You put in chocolate when someone orders a chocolate shake, and a Kit Kat if they order a Kit Kat shake) or if it’s because my recent email neglect has left me with forty-two messages to read, reply to and/or discard before I go on holiday this Friday.

I’m going to type really fast in case it’s the Kit Kat, because if it is then I need to cosy up to my bathroom, and if it’s the email thing then I also need to type really fast because my laptop is so overloaded with stuff that it can only stay on for a maximum of an hour and a half before something stops working. Over the past few weeks and months this has become an increasing problem so I’m going to ask for an external hard-drive for my birthday and stick everything on that. I’ve already used up two or three USBs siphoning off pictures and files that aren’t completely necessary to my computering existence, and I might delete Spotify because let’s face it, I can’t afford to stream its music any more than I can afford to buy the CDs I’m streaming – and God knows if I could then I wouldn’t be using a streaming service with a name that sounds like a ladies’ toiletry product.

Shh, little laptop. I know you have three userspaces and USBs full of extra gadgets because I have to type on a proper keyboard, and I know I’ve lost your left shift button but we’ve been through a lot together and damnit, I’m not upgrading you yet.

Anyway, I’m going on holiday on Friday, to the land of democracy and theatre, the Olympics and civilisation, kebabs and lesbians… Okay so I nicked the last bit out of an Have I Got News for You‘d piece on a Sun piece on “what the Greeks have done for us”, first published circa the recession. But I’m off to remember what it is to relax. Except my AS Level results come out while we’re there so I’ll be alternating sunbathing with nightmares about how I won’t ever finish my Politics or RS courses. (English is a done deal, as far as failure’s concerned, but even I couldn’t wrangle a career in writing with Language and Lit GCSEs, so if I can stick with it, I probably should. Then it’ll be just one more year until freedom monetary responsibility, the word’s shakiest career choice bar rock musicianship and the very real possibility of working in retail for the rest of my days.)

My stomach hurts again.

England Makes Your Tan Drown Itself in a Puddle.

Kalispera!

To those of you who were eagerly awaiting the mini-series ‘I’m Somewhere Hot and You’re Probably Not’ (let’s face it, all of you), I apologise; I pressed the wrong buttons in a fit of pre-holiday excitement. Everything in the series will, however, find its way into various blogs in the future. An upside of the site being static for a fortnight is that the Content Monster seems to have gotten bored and left us alone. That or it’s gone to Marbella for a break.

I can hear you all asking, “How was Greece, Francesca?” It was, in short, excellent. Efharisto to my extended family and everyone in Alykanas for the laughs.

Thank you also to Isobel for vandalising part of the shipwreck in Navagio Bay, one of my favourite places.

Now, on with the show. Remember I talked about a huge ten-years-of-My Chem celebration? Well, watch this place – and my Twitter. I’m going to need your help on it. Yes, you, who idly searched an MCR-related term and stumbled upon this site.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to celebrate a band whose members have such amazing t-shirt folding skills as Frank’s?

Well, This Has Been an Interesting Day Off.

“Don’t let her marry a Greek, will you?”

These are the wise words offered to my dad by my nan, about me, just as Will and Kate got married. At least, I think it was. I did rather have trouble paying attention after a while. Although the Archbishop – NOT THE POPE, ISOBEL, NOT THE POPE – and his crew were quite funny to watch, especially when the Archbishop stuck his hat back on. Harry is also hilarious, don’t you think? I was waiting for him to start pulling the moves ‘he’ did on the T-Mobile advert.

Also, Eugenie looked a bit like a moose in her hat. Sorry, love. Wear a better one at Harry and Pippa’s wedding, yeah?

Anyway, enough with all this wishy-washy wedding lark, on to some serious shit. In fact, it is so serious, I have to capitalise it: Serious Shit. This blog is called Indifferent Ignorance, but unless I’m discussing school, I don’t often get to talk about people with true indifferent ignorance. However, today I have found one. His name is Glenn Beck and I have to say, I agree with Frank. Of course SING is full of propaganda aimed at today’s youth, Mr. Beck. Next time you bash My Chemical Romance, get their fucking lyrics right. The same song hasn’t raised a load of money for the people of Japan, or anything. The band isn’t credited with saving lives or having one of the strongest and most loyal fanbases in the music industry. My Chem, obviously, are trying to form a cult and zap our brains.

Dude, you are four years too late, the Daily Mail got there first (hell yes, today is all about Britain).

Talking of Frank, here is a transcript of a conversation from today:

Me [to Isobel]: How’re Frank and Pansy?

Isobel: They’re good thanks. I need to clean them out.

Elizabeth [to no one in particular]: What?

Frank and Pansy, for those of you who don’t know, are Isobel’s pet fish. Frank, obviously, is named after me. Sadly, whenever I brought this up today, I got threatened with goat testicles.

Yes, you did read that right. My dad and brother went to Greece for ten days this easter, and as well as bringing back to usual olive oil, feta cheese and weird sweets (which I would have been perfectly happy with, efharisto) they also brought home a pair of goat testicles. They are so gross I can’t even bring myself to touch them, so Isobel’s new favourite threat is, “Be nice, Frank, or we’ll get the testicles out.”

The girls played catch with them. Arghhhh.

Mum handing me the testicles and then telling me what they are wasn’t the biggest surprise of the day, however. It turns out that I laugh like Janice in Friends.

Janice.

Oh my God (damn, I’m doing it again). I can never laugh again. Ever.

EVER.

Apparently I do a little dance as well.

EVER.

By the way, I really hope Will and Kate dress any new little royals in this. I mean, I’m tempted to have kids just to dress them in MCR merch, so…

**UPDATE** 01/05/11

It turns out Gerard agrees with Frank and I too.

2010 Things I Did in 2010 (okay maybe not)

  According to my calendar, there’s four days of 2010 left. Since it’s highly doubtful anything life-changing will take place before midnight on the 31st, I thought I’d jump on the ‘my year’ bandwagon before everyone jumps off.

  Or it’s 2011. Whichever comes first. Here it is:

  • January After three months of procrastinating, I start work on my Duke of Edinburgh award. School hands us an Ethnicity Form, which doesn’t say ‘white British’ but does say ‘white Cornish’. Ruby still has not handed her in  out of protest. I start listening to Morningwood and it snows.

 

  • February Gerard Way contracts throat cancer, I reboot my laptop by myself and realise that there’s GCSE modules coming up. I duly crap myself.  Okay, Gerard didn’t actually get throat cancer. He got a cough. 
  •  March Bob leaves My Chem, I get upset and punch a tree. Everyone hands in their options forms. I accidentally eat some of Tobi’s regurgitated leek pasta and almost puke in the school pond. A bunch of us at karate pass grading and Ellen, Isobel Jemma and I get shiny new red belts. It’s still snowing.
  •  April I start reading Watchmen, go to Belgium with my friends and somehow end up with M&Ms down my top. By the way, they stain skin.

    

  • May Duke of Edinburgh expedition. I finish Ella’s Blog: Summer Vacation with the Flock after more than a year. Coalition government promises to make Britain the country everyone voted for. Even though no one voted. Isobel and I walk the Race for Life in our socks while everyone else runs in, er, actual outdoor footwear.

  • June I finish reading Watchmen,  camp in the garden with my cousins (until Maxim’s incessant 11:00pm talking pisses me off and I go inside to bed) and hit the beach with the girls. I also manage to single-handedly lose a beach ball five minutes after we bought it, on roughly the same stretch of beach, but with some entirely different girls.

 

  • July The first ever Indifferent Ignorance production hits YouTube, I head to Greece on International MCR Day and resolve to never use a Greek computer again as long as I live. This resolution is broken in October.
  • August I attend my first ever funeral (RIP Pa) and start knitting a scarf. I move my bed to vacuum under it. The bed breaks.
  • September Geography field trip to Scarborough, Art is the Weapon gets released and this blog reaches 2000 hits. This means I have to redecorate. I finish Duke of Edinburgh award.

                       

                                           

  • October MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE SHOW!!! Probably my favourite day of the year. Shortly after it finishes I go to the airport for Greece wearing a t-shirt that reads ‘Mindless Self Indulgence’ on the front and ‘I ♥ Steve, Righ?’ on the back.

  Oh, the irony.

  • November MCR release Danger Days (are they rushing it?) and there’s another grading in karate. I learn to never doubt Sensei’s judgment again when I get an A – after asking if I had to grade because I wasn’t good enough. It snows.
  • December Blog gets 3000 hits (I AM NOT CHANGING THE THEME AGAIN) and I wrap my family’s Christmas presents in The Daily Telegraph.  I see Pendulum live, get a medal in karate for – quote – “Plodding on,” and finish my scarf. The final of The Apprentice airs and Maxim becomes a vegetarian, possibly for a bet.

  Happy new year.