Crunch

As the saying goes, it never rains but it pours. Of course, the saying is an enormous lie, since we very rarely get torrential rain in Hull. However, it’s been rather cold the past few days, which is not good when you hear about your gas and electricity bills going up 22%. Probably why last night I had a dream that I went into one of my housemate’s rooms and discovered that he had a gas fire all to himself. Hmm. Warmth. That would be good.

But it won’t happen today. Or anytime this week. The bad news that the weather is going to get colder was met with disappointment from all in the house, including my friend whose bedroom is like a fridge no matter whether the heating is on or off. I’m hoping this will be the last phase of evil weather we get before the spring starts setting in. Oh, for a day where the temperature goes above 10°Cs.

Anyway… the scale of my work for the next few weeks has just hit me. In under three weeks time I have a 4,000 word research project to hand in, plus two 2,500 word essays. And the week later I have a 3,000 word essay to do. I’ve done some work on the research project, but I discovered yesterday that what I’d done was not quite right, because I should have been entering the raw data into my database, instead of just calculating the end results. Bah.

All this has come at a time when I was rather wanting to go into some local primary schools and see if I could help out. Or at the least, just see what it was like for a day. But I now have officially zero free time. There is now no time whatsoever for me to do the theory test I kept pretending to myself I was going to book. I really do tell some serious lies to my brain…

However, I did buy some rusks last night. Rusks are good. I used to steal the rusks off my brothers and sister when they were babies. There really should be adult versions of these wonderful creations.

And, of course, there is always time for Deal or No Deal…

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Double Day

The past couple of days have been a useful diversion. After a very unconvincing drubbing at Quiz Night on Tuesday, I could do with something to cheer me up…

I’d forgotten that my parents had said they were going to conduct a quick visit this week. It’s half-term at home, so they brought one of my brothers and one of my sisters with them too. They turned up on Wednesday night, so we went out for a meal, and then came back to watch the new series of the Apprentice. This was compulsive viewing in my family, and my student “family” too, last year although I can’t find any reference to it in this blog from last year. I guess I wasn’t too keen on talking about my TV watching habits.

Anyway, that was a lot of fun, and this morning they came back so we could do some stuff today. I told them that I needed some smart clothes for an upcoming visit to London, not to mention for all of next year… so a shopping trip was on the cards. I normally enjoy shopping, but this one went on for so long that it was extremely tedious by the time I’d put together all the things I needed. My bank balance took a hit, but I’m glad I’ve got that sorted… I was getting rather worried about it.

After that, we made a trip down to the Humber Bridge for a stroll… in the freezing cold wind. That was entertaining, to say the least. Amongst all this, I did most of the driving in my parents’ to get in some much needed practice; I thought it would help to keep building on my experience. I feel pretty confident at the wheel now, and although there are still a few mistakes, such as me getting a bit complacent with the clutch and stalling twice in a row when I hadn’t stalled in the hour or so of driving I’d clocked up, I feel I’m starting to get there. I’ll probably… maybe… come back to this after Easter.

It was great to see my parents, and my brother and sister. I sometimes feel like I’m not expressive enough in my gratitude to them. I said, “Thanks for coming down” as my mum was leaving, but I’m not sure she heard. Bollocks. I’d hate for them to think I’m ungrateful. You know… sometimes I feel like I’m not like other men, in that I’m a lot more expressive and acknowledge my emotions than them… but for some reason, I don’t think I’m very good at saying “thanks” to my parents. There’s also a side reason (excuse?) in that I know that if, say, I sent my parents an e-mail saying “thanks for coming, it was good to see you”… then I know my mum would only get extremely emotional. I don’t like to do that to her. It was bad enough going through leaving home. But either way, I’m extremely grateful. I just need to make more of an effort to say it in person.

In other news, I have a tedious presentation tomorrow – a presentation I wrote weeks ago in a moment of boredom. So that will take minimal effort to deliver. But I should… possibly… think about working on one of my essays this weekend. Or failing that, do much work on my research project. If I could make some considerable academic progress, I think I’d feel a lot better. At the moment I reckon I’m storing up trouble for the next couple of weeks. I’m going to have to start motivating myself on this. And there are still many important decisions I need to take…

And yes. I have changed the name of this blog – slightly. I decided “All Grown Up Now” sounds a bit stupid. Not to mention it is quite close to the name of the Rugrats cartoon. So it’s become “A Grown Up Now. In Theory.” I think that fits a little better. You aren’t imagining it.

The Mystery Drink

The past few days have passed by mercifully quickly. As I said last time, one of my housemates invite a lot of friends to this house over the past few days. There was much drinking, noise and stupidity, including one incident of them banging the front door and ringing the bell at 3am because they couldn’t open it. What is it with drunks and the loss of ability in using a key?

They were a decent bunch… some of them extremely annoying (including one who had drunk so much that he was still drunk when he woke up the next morning, and then wandered around the house making a high pitched noise), but most of them were good. I went out for a drink with them on Sunday, to a bar I’d never been before, where I was had the simple pleasure of sitting near someone who was clearly high as a kite, who had a bit of a thing for pouring glasses of water over his head. He was – eventually – chucked out, much to my amusement as he made a lot of random noises on the way out.

Later that night, we moved over into the corner of the room, which had just been vacated. The seats were much better over there, so the choice was obvious. But left on the table by the previous occupants were a multitude of unfinished drinks.

Of course, dying to return to childhood days of “cuppie tea” – which involved pouring leftover tea from one mug to another – I had little choice but to take all these drinks and aggregate them into a single pint glass. The result was an amusing reddish pink stodgey liquid, almost like tomato juice, yet obviously not. To top it all off, a couple of cigarette butts were added to the drink, which floated on top of the newly created head of the “pint”. It was, truly, a masterpiece.

We started to get annoyed that the drink – now titled the Mystery Drink – was not being picked up by the bar staff as they did their endless searhces for empty glasses. So, to get rid of it once and for all, we first fished out the cigarette butts, and then placed the Mystery Drink on the nearest empty table.

Suffice to say, it was soon picked up by a barman. The barman was amazed at the sight of this strange drink. He stared at it for some time, and eventually picked it up, taking it back to the bar for disposal.

But once he got there, he proceeded to, apparently, have a discussion about this drink with other bar staff. They collectively held it aloft to inspect the contents, sometimes sniffing it to see if they could work it out. None of them seemed to know what to do with it.

So the original barman did the most obvious thing, and drank some of the Mystery Drink.

Silly man. Maybe he hadn’t been working there for very long. I would have thought that bar staff know not to be testing the remnants of drinks, but maybe curiosity got the better of him. Suffice to say, the Mystery Drink failed the taste test, and we can be sure it won’t be being mixed up as a cocktail in future. The barman gave a startled grimace, and poured the drink away. The concoction of so many drinks drank by so many people must have contained masses of germs. I hope he isn’t ill. But then again, he was stupid enough to try it.

It was one of those moments where I wish I had a camera. A picture of the Mystery Drink would demonstrate that maybe it would get the better of most people’s curiosity. But now it is no more. For shame.

Life, as always, continues in its infrequently amusing way…

Winning Yet Losing

Just a quick post to take note of the fact that once again, we won Tuesday’s Quiz Night at the Student Union, with a massive 53 out of 60, and the nearest contenders at 48.

So, to celebrate this win, we decided we would pick box number one of three this time. And yes, once again, we picked the box without the cash prize in it. In fact, we picked the booby prize again – a small yellow pen.

Two wins and two booby prizes now. A 1 in 9 chance of doing so. Not good.

In the meantime, one of my housemates is having such a long birthday celebration that not even the Queen could compete. Five days as a build up to the actual birthday on Sunday is a bit ridiculous. I’m told there could be 17 people in this house at the weekend. There’s barely enough room to swing a cat as it is, and there are 9 people here at the moment. I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time in my room for the next few days. Boredom awaits.

Motivation

In life, I feel like the motivation is sapping out of me. I went to a presentation and a couple of stalls at a fair on teaching today… and afterwards I came out with a determination to pursue a career in primary teaching. To be honest, I’d been thinking about this anyway, and it seems to have confirmed it. Only now, with the benefit of no more than a few hours hindsight, and after digesting all the material and how difficult it is to get on these courses to qualify to teach, let alone getting into a school in the first place, I once again feel like I’m not up to it…

Everything seems to be such an ordeal at the moment. I can’t get myself to do anything work related – and the looming essay deadlines of a few weeks time aren’t having an effect yet. I can’t see how such a person could ever be a teacher, which only then continues to discourage me from this path. Given the amount of experience they want, I’m now more than a little pissed off that I managed to talk myself out of applying for the Student Associates scheme that gives 10 days worth of experience in a local secondary school. I am an idiot.

I’m guessing I’m just in one of my many ruts. Well… I’m hoping that anyway. This now, of course, makes the summer decision much more difficult. I might actually find it much more useful, once I’m done with this hellhole for another academic year, to go into a few primary schools and offer some voluntary help.

That requires courage. That requires determination. It requires commitment.

I have a feeling that’s what I’m afraid of. I know if I take this decision, it leads to tonnes of consequences that will be difficult to reverse once I’m on the slope. Perhaps if I can utterly convince myself that teaching is for me, then I would not have a problem with came after it. It’s just that making that decision is so hard. It’s too adult for me. Once I make up my mind, I feel like that’s it and I’m setting out my life plan for the next 40 years. Of course it won’t be as simple as that, but I feel the metaphorical slamming of doors behind me as I choose to give myself direction in life, setting course for an unknown destination.

No longer can I say, “I could be anything that I want to be” and people couldn’t say “You can do anything if you put your mind to it” to me.

That’s probably what scares me.

A Problem Diagnosed And A Problem Solved?

After spending a few days worried about the mental state of one of my friends, I eventually had to say something. Not to him at first, but talk it through with the rest of my mates to make them sit up and realise how big this problem is. The friend in trouble has recently started smoking, and now drinks a lot almost every day. Not good.

Eventually, I managed to get the point home and me and one other friend agreed to speak with him separately on different days to try to work out what was going on. At the end of this process (which first involved me saying something in a much too confrontational manner to him, which made me apologise later) we’ve made some progress. He claims he’s in control, which I think is a little doubtful given that he told me drinking “makes the days shorter”. There’s a deeper problem in there somewhere which I don’t think he’s prepared to admit to. I hope it doesn’t get to that stage, but, after me explaining to my other friends about the fact that it is only ever me who seems to notice these things and think we should do something about it, maybe now I’ll get a bit more support. It weighs heavily on my mind, especially as his mum and dad asked us to keep an eye on him last time this happened. Either way, we’ll just have to see what happens from here…

In other news… I have sacked my driving instructor. I’m probably going to take a break from it for a while now. It was just too much of a distraction and a constant annoyance in my brain for it dragging on for so long, one hour a week. When I come back to it… maybe in a couple of months time, I will definitely want to finish the whole lot off quickly with an intense course. In fact… just as I had originally planned for it to be. Oh well.

Just Like Heaven

I have never woken up from a dream before and celebrated the fact that it wasn’t real. This is what happened the other day when I woke up from a particularly disturbing dream…

My brother, 11 years old, was dead. I don’t know how it happened. It was just an accepted fact of the dream. Everyone in my family was distraught. I was. I love my brother (and the other one too, and my sisters…) and so this was naturally quite a distressing fact. It was accepted in the dream, yet it also felt rather unreal. My dream itself felt extremely real – I could feel the anxiety in myself about it – but the state of existence within the dream actually felt like I was dreaming within that.

During this period of mourning, for some reason, I sat in the garden with my mum and dad. I brought out a portable CD player and played them the song “Just Like Heaven” by the Cure. They didn’t seem to know the song before (I’m sure they do in real life… they used to be fans of the Cure) … and I pointed out that the song bears some similarity to “Inbetween Days”, by the same band. The song itself is a reasonably happy one. But now I can’t listen to it without thinking of this dream, so it’s taken on a rather sad significance. I remember hearing the lines “Just like a dream… just like a dream” and thinking that was important.

Seems strange that in a dream about someone dying, my brain decides to pick out a song with the words “just like heaven” and “just like a dream” in it. This didn’t occur to me during the dream

I left the garden and went upstairs… where, to my surprise, my brother comes running out of his bedroom. Yet, I know he’s dead. This was a ghost of him, except it didn’t look like one. Indeed, I was so happy to see him that I picked him up and spun around with him. I felt like I was being given one last opportunity to talk to him, play a game with him and say goodbye.

Next thing I know I hear a loud vibrating sound in two pulses, just like my mobile phone would make if I leave it on top of a table or desk. It wakes me up.

Realising it was all a dream, I punched the air in relief and celebration. The time? 8:20am. The last time I was awake? 8:00am, when I switched off my alarm. I tend to get my most vivid dreams if I fall back asleep after I’ve turned off the alarm clock.

The weirdness would have been complete if I’d gone over to my phone and noticed I’d got a text message… but there was nothing there. The vibration sound must have been inside my dream as well.

This dream has left my slightly disturbed. I miss my brothers, sisters and my nephew a lot… and this is something I barely considered last year. Suddenly, they seem to have a lot more significance to me.

This Time Last Year

I have just noticed that this time last year, according to this journal, I was going through a phase of endless dreaming. What with me being the sort of person who rarely has dreams, this was worth noting.

The odd thing about it is that I am currently going through exactly the same. I’ve had dreams about all my teeth falling out, one by one… which annoyed me so much because I’m quite proud of my teeth. Then I had a dream about some undercover operation I was on… but the details escape me now. Another that my University timetable changed without me knowing, with “hilarious” consequences, plus a couple more which I’ve forgotten about because I didn’t think they were significant.

But now I’ve spotted this pattern from last year it just seems a bit weird.

I also noticed that there are some extremely cynical posts in there. I consider myself a cynical person, for shame, but this post surprised me. I still believe most of what I said there, but it just shocks me how I managed to express that in such a scathing way. Sometimes I feel like my powers of expression are just not all there, but by looking back on this, it’s almost being written by someone else. Yet, it is me… so I can critically analyse it just to see what I am after all. Hmm…

The other thing I’ve noted is that I used to post a lot more regularly. So this is my attempt to correct that. Two posts in two days is so unusual that I expect I’ll not post for months now. September, here we come.