Archive | July, 2010

My Favourite Song

27 Jul
I discovered this on the lovely Life of a Shopping Addict blog – a 30-day challenge for bloggers – and just had to give it a go! I will definitely not be able to keep this up day-to-day – I don’t know if I mentioned, but I’ve kinda got plans on 7/8 😉 – but I plan to follow the programme over the next three months.
As Emma-the-shopping-addict rightly points out, it’s pretty darn impossible to identify just one song that’s your favourite! I tried the diplomatic approach and started with the most played and five-star rated on iTunes, and that gave me…
Wow. Really? I mean, I love that song so much, but I was amazed to learn that I listen to it more than any other! The entire soundtrack is fantastic, and this song has such a stomping beat that is perfect for running. There’s definitely a satisfaction in being all serious-faced, clad in Dri-Fit and Polar, but listening to Disney soundtracks – and nobody knows what you’re listening to!
It brings back wonderful memories of baby brother stomping around the house, mistakenly singing “Sandwiches” instead of “Savages”. He’s 17 now – I’m sure he appreciates my memories.
Somehow, though, that’s not quite it. But I’ve got to commit to something. There are multiple issues that come with picking a favourite.
One is the memories attached. I will always retain a fondness of anything from Summer 1999 because of the sheer awesomeness of driving around in your best friend’s car, getting your first weekend job, having your first boyfriend… Wait. Is it weird that I can still love a song that’s so attached to such a moment in time? Or wrong, somehow? We’re both blissfully engaged to other people, and are certainly not hankering after a romantic reunion, but the music-induced nostalgia always feels like something that ought to be put in a box in the attic.
Memories can often make us forget the meaning of a song and lead you to cause something that’s angry or sad when you just don’t feel that way. The Summer I spent in West Islip, NY with my cousins is brought back in a flash with Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know. It was new to the US charts at the time, and my 13-year-old self was in teen-movie heaven as we attended pool parties where they showed old horror movies, drank beer and smoked cigarettes – just like on TV! Clueless was at the cinema; Hugh Grant was in a lot of trouble; and I didn’t care that the song was so angry and sad – life was just cool.
Ever find a song that just feels like it’s your song? Not the romantic kind – the just you kind. For me, Fiona Apple’s Fast as You Can hit the nail on the head before I even heard it. I don’t even remember how, but I saw the lyrics written down somewhere and it has always felt so fitting. I haven’t got together the guts to tell *him* that – nor have I sought out the rest of her catalogue. I’m not sure why, really. The first part probably because he’s almost completely succeeded at bringing me out of that mindset. The second part maybe because I don’t want to be disappointed and find that it’s all pretend and she uses singing about issues as a marketing technique.
One song that just feels like it’s been there all the way along is probably the one that’s my favourite – Rainy Night in Soho by The Pogues.
It has such a heart-warming, you-n-me-together-after-everything kind of feel to it. It’s not sweet and romantic, but reminds me of that old sonnet where the poet says that his love really isn’t that beautiful, but he loves her all the same. I am a big fan of their music in general, especially the ensemble nature of all the random instruments playing. They bring it out whenever they play live, and it’s just as awesome (and I generally can’t stand live music). It comes on the iPhone at the most random and perfect of moments, and I never seem to skip it. My Dad plays it whenever he’s a bit drunk and then texts me to tell me he’s done so, and I do the same back. It just makes me feel like listening to it, and that’s all you can really ask of a favourite song!
So… Pic for the sake of it time. Wanna see my dress? Here it is…

Hahaha. I’m such a tease. But there it is – ready to go to the dry cleaners, because there are only ELEVEN days to go!

What’s your favourite song and why? Are you about music, lyrics, or the whole package? Have you seen Music and Lyrics? Do you like live music?
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What A Tangled Web

23 Jul

There is a lot of meanness on the web. I’m not talking about the random trolling I used to encounter on the Facebook feminist groups (weird guys who would respond to your every argument with “well, that’s because you’ve been brainwashed to think that way”), I’m talking about the gathering together of like-minded people. “Huh?”, you say? Let me explain.

 

There’s an old adage that bullies were usually bullied themselves, and while this is easy to see in the school playground, it’s not as obvious in real, grown-up life, until you start spending time on the internet. The web’s ability to demarginalise those on the fringes of popular culture has created fun places to hang out and discover that you’re not alone, whatever those people at school tried to tell you.

 

In the early days, those who spent time socialising online were a rare breed. You’d start to tell someone a funny story that you’d heard in a forum but stop yourself so you could quickly fabricate a non-geeky source so that they’d laugh at your story and not you. It made for an atmosphere I can only liken to the Gorgonites in Small Soldiers – a rag-tag bunch of slightly odd-looking people, but always friendly and welcoming.

 

Then, as online socialising exploded, cliques began to form. Now that you can find people who share your love of anything from West African philately to obscure Swedish electropop, anyone who has felt marginalised is able to pass on that lovely feeling to someone else. A new type of snobbery seems to be raising its ugly head as people fall over themselves to have a life that’s “more unique” than anyone else’s. FYI – I am aware that there is no more or less unique. There is unique or not. Unfortunately, this means that uniqueness takes you back to solitude, so people turn it into a sliding scale.

 

The wedding world is one of the worst. I’ve encountered – and quickly unsubscribed from – a number of wedding blogs that repeatedly sneer at the decision to wear a traditional wedding dress, get married in church, have a wedding cake –  the sort of thing that normo-type people might have at their weddings. A great way to let people know exactly who is not welcome. When a fabulously talented photographer’s work was trolled recently, readers took the opportunity to reinforce the “we’re such outsiders” label with such comments as “they probably just want a nice dollop of blandness and a side dish of same old same old”. What kind of world do we live in where quality is not permitted to be commonplace?

 

Even if a blog is positive, it can occasionally attract a cliquey bride, whose description of her Big Day entails “we didn’t want this… we didn’t want that…”, referring to all sorts of things that you can guarantee someone reading really wanted for their wedding day. There are practically competitions to see who can have the smallest wedding with the fewest attendants and the lowest budget, because clearly if you invite lots of people you’re just trying to make up numbers and… the worst thing of all… “be something you’re not”.

 

In two weeks time, I plan to brush my hair, put on a frickin’ gorgeous dress and tell everybody in church just how much I love my man. That’s not “me” – I’m a scruff; I’m such a nervous public speaker that I’m actually developing a stutter, and I never wear pale colours because I miss my mouth constantly. If someone is the same every other day as they are on their wedding day, then they’re either a really exciting person, or it’s a really boring wedding. I can just picture it – and now, Mr and Mrs C are now going to sit and watch Sons of Anarchy, while simultaneously IMDBing all the actors they sort-of recognise from somewhere else. (As an aside… Don’t do that. Jackson is so hot until you realise he’s actually English and that irritating boy with the mockney accent in Green Street. He has now left my fantasies forever).

 

Then there are the healthy/ethical foodies – the bloggers are the sweetest girls you will ever meet, but there are commenters who compete to be the most puritanical about their food. It conjures up in my mind the Two Ronnies and John Cleese sketch, only where John Cleese is the fruitarian, looking down on Ronnie Barker’s vegan, who looks down on Ronnie Corbett’s vegetarian.

 

Ever act like a bit of a slob when you’re on holiday? One chap pipes up with “what a shame about your friends who eat dinner at 10pm, wake at noon, and eat pizza for breakfast… I feel sorry for them.” No, really, don’t. We love it.

 

I realise that I’m going to have to change my title to Becca Rants if I carry on down this vein much further, so I promise to perk up and live up to my original positivity purpose a bit better. In the meantime – I have resurrected my Twitter account! Please stop by and say hello – I am @littleacceb. Alternatively, leave your Twitter name below and I shall follow you!

 

Finally – I thought I’d share an old snap from Christmas 2004, of the place where my Dad currently is… Moraira, Spain. Lucky sod.

Type A or Type B?

16 Jul
Ok, ok, ok… I promise that random online quizzes won’t continue to be a regular feature, but after reading Wife Lifey’s post on Type A and Type B personalities, I just had to give this one a try. 
If you’d caught me at my Matilda-idolising stage, I’d have probably loved to be a Type A – I wanted to achieve; I wanted to be the best. My dream was to become a doctor at a hospital in Pittsburgh, because that’s where all the poorly children on Newsround went to have amazing surgeries that would save their lives. I would discover a cure for lung cancer – “so that when you get it, I can cure you”, I’d say to my Dunhill-scented parents. Along the way, I’d probably open a school for girls á la Mallory Towers with my best friend Sarah. Battling it out for first place in class was what I lived for.
Somewhere, it all went awry. I am not a doctor. University was a disaster – I struggled in class and really honed my exceptional skill of saying really, really inappropriate things when I’m nervous or intimidated. Chances are, if I’ve come across as a total a-hole to you at any stage, it’s because I quite like you and hope to make you think well of me. Great, huh?
Since dropping out of university, I’ve sort of ambled through jobs, thankfully earning a so-far-beyond-useful professional qualification along the way. Seriously, I dread to think what my life would be like if I didn’t have those four letters after my name. I have finally accepted that my heart just wasn’t quite in the ambitious glass-ceiling lifestyle I felt I should be striving for. A couple of years in London mercifully ended in March, and I’m relishing the slowness of life.
I don’t really know how to explain how wannabe-Matilda got lost along the way, but all I can think is that I just got too lazy. It turns out you can still have fun even if you’re really quite average.
So… the results of the test – 0 means Type B personality; 100 means Type A. I got 52. Clearly Matilda’s still battling, just a little. Their blurb…
“You seem to be in the middle between the Type A and Type B personality. In this case, the middle ground is good. Your attitude to life is more of the “smell the roses” kind and you know how and when to relax. Nonetheless, you realize that picking up a challenge and competing a little bit for your place in the sun can add some spice to your life. The equilibrium is important, so don’t let your hostile, aggressive, and competitive alter ego take over too often. Generally, you are easy to be around, and people tend to feel relaxed and comfortable in your presence. Yours is a very healthy attitude towards life.”
After being called a bit of a bimbo a few days ago, I feel quite relieved!
 As I don’t like the “related posts” blank pics, here’s a little eye candy. These are some gorgeous pups, one of which we are considering. Seriously, don’t you just want to pick them all up and cuddle them at once?

What personality type do you think you are, and does the test say differently? What do you think of these online quizzes – are they potentially harmful, or just silly fun?

Ivory Brollies, Anyone?

15 Jul
According to legend, if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, it will rain for the next forty days. This isn’t just a folklore thing – there are scientific reasons that explain the superstition. Apparently, the position of the jet stream at this time of year means that weather suddenly becomes completely consistent for the next month or so. As I stare outside at the dreary, grey clouds, I have to remind myself of this gorgeous wedding and how fabulous those mean ol’ clouds look.
Yes, the bottom of my perfect dress is likely to get muddy, and yes, we may be lumbered with a load of supposed-to-be-giant-but-actually-just-slightly-larger-than-usual games that haven’t even been used, but sod it, we’ll maintain that stiff upper lip and have a great time anyway. We are British after all – we’ve seen worse weather!

City Life Or Country Life?

14 Jul

With enormous thanks to Melissa Nibbles: City Life Or Country Life?

So, I started to write this in Melissa’s comment box but rambled on for so long that I thought I’d just write a post of my very own! I was drawn over to her blog after a shockingly risqué comment she made over on Healthy Living With Kelly made me laugh out loud!

Melissa sees both sides of the coin, but is more inclined to believe that city living is easier to do more healthily.

Interesting! In the UK, I’d say that it’s very different – it’s much easier to stay healthy in the countryside.

Yeah, we don’t have the supercool Wholefoods-type places, but that’s because there’s a farm shop just down the road that has always been organic, even before it was trendy. We don’t have to inhale car exhaust fumes *or* jump in the hedge, because there are footpaths and bridlepaths that we may follow. I can go out running by myself, because there isn’t a gang of hoody-wearing “yoofs” on every corner, making me feel unsafe.

Cycling becomes a pleasure rather than a chore, because the disused railway lines across the country are slowly being turned into scenic cyclepaths. Smaller communities mean that things like recreational sports teams are more common – nothing motivates my beloved quite like training with his rugby pals twice a week. In London, they didn’t have that cameraderie, so if he just ditched to stay home and watch tv, or his fitness levels weren’t as good as they should be, nobody really cared. Now, he runs of his own accord, because he doesn’t want to let the team down.

In the city, the work ethic is much more “macho” – staying as late as possible and boasting about how many hours one works. In the countryside, people just get the job done and we’re home by 6 – plenty of time to be active and cook meals from scratch. Stress levels are lower because of this improved work-life balance. You are more likely to keep a pet – proven to be a great stress-reliver.

The best thing for my health about living in the countryside? Domino’s Pizza don’t deliver; and it’s more effort to have after-work beers. Honestly – such a blessing.

Typealyzed!

14 Jul

This is probably extremely silly, but after I saw this on The Church Mouse blog, I had to give it a try.

Typealyzer says that I, as a blogger, am an Entertainer

“The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead – they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation – qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.”

I honestly don’t know quite what to think. It seems that all the blogs I love are the same (weddings, lifestyle, wit and wisdom, design), or Doers (the healthy living ones), with only a minor interest in Thinkers (generally those of religious or political nature).

This really brought me back to school, if I’m honest. There were so many girls in my class who played the ditz in public, but were secretly working really hard and doing well. It used to drive me mad, because I was always competitive and didn’t give a hoot if somebody wanted to call me a swot, so I didn’t see why the other girls were playing up to their audience. Is this what I’ve been doing?

If you blog – what was your result? Do you think it was accurate?
Whether you blog or not – what do you think of girls dumbing down in front of the boys? Have you ever pretended to be a bit dappy?

Is Something Chasing Me?

13 Jul
Because that’s the only time I ever run! Ok, this isn’t really running, just a light jog, but this morning I got up, left the house at 6 and did 5k. I’ve been faffing around with Couch to 5k programmes for so long and getting absolutely nowhere, so I thought I’d take the advice of the title of my latest blog crush, and just Shut Up And Run!
I seem to have reasonable stamina at low levels of effort, so I figured I’m just going to focus for now on getting my 5k jog up to a reasonably respectable 5k run. To do this, I did 500m warmup, jogged for 2.5km, turned round and jogged back for 2.5km, then 500m cooldown. Simple enough! I suppose what I’m hoping for is to get to the stage where that feels really natural, and so I can push myself a bit further.
So… Here’s the data! I’m not sure how exactly MapMyRun.com figures out what a lap is, but I haven’t managed to find a better site for this purpose yet.
Lap # 1 – 1.70 km; 14.30 minutes; 6.84 km/h
Lap # 2 – 1.62 km; 12.23 minutes; 7.06 km/h
Lap # 3 – 1.66 km; 13.14 minutes; 6.91 km/h
Lap # 4 – 0.85 km; 07.58 minutes; 5.80 km/h
Total – 6.04 km; 52.51 minutes; 6.74 km/h
The route I take is absolutely beautiful – there’s a canopy of trees that make it almost faerie glen-like. Once the new phone arrives (Carphone Warehouse rang to inform me that they believe that the delivery driver has stolen the one that I was due to pick up today…) I will be sure to take some pictures to share. Maybe even ones of my post workout face, á la Chocolate Covered Katie. Hmm… We shall see.
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