situation normal all fucked up

like a plastic baby in a faberge egg

HELLO LJ. Long time no see.

I have meant to update upon you for NIGH ON A THOUSAND YEARS. Actually it very nearly IS a year, isn't it? There is a stage of LJ-notness where it feels rude to start talking because of the extreme... notness, and that is the stage I inhabit. Also, I can't help being aware that I am basically a totally different LJ-person to who I was two or three years ago, and why would you lot want to talk to a stranger? But probably neither of those points are worth worrying about overmuch. I notice that most neurosis things tend not to be, which is depressing because I have spent the lion's share of my energy on them for most of my life. Actually I notice that quite a lot of people are changing in the way they use LJ. Life in four dimensions is weird. I still haven't entirely got used to it.

Anyway! This is what has been happening with me:

1) I finished medschool. I CANNOT BELIEVE I DID BUT I DID. I could write pages and pages about this but they would all boil down to "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??!?!?!?!?!!!!!" and "I CAN'T BELIEVE I GOT THROUGH THAT" and "YES FUCKING YES FUCKING YES".

2) Then I, uh, went to Peru. Yes, I know. Does anyone know much about carbon offset schemes? I went to one of the Gold Standard certified places and calculated the carbon footprint of the flight and quailed. I WON'T DO THAT AGAIN. The flight, I mean, not the emissions calculation. I know buying carbon offset credits is more than a wee bit morally unattractive (Pay for the environmental cost of my holiday, third world people! Pay with your solar panels! I can still continue to do what I want because I can BUY peace of mind! Ahahaha! Ahahahahaha!) but, uh, it will have to suffice for now. My life is carbonappalling, I know it. It is a thing to work on.

3) Then I packed my boxes and left Birmingham FOR EVER (residentially speaking at least. pleaseIhopefingerscrossed), then I bounced between Birmingham and Scotland for a month, then two and a half weeks ago I moved to London.

4) I started work last week.

5) FUCK FUCK FUCKING HELL FUCK FUCK FUCK. FUCK. FUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. FUCK. FFFFFFUCK.

6) I love Steptoe and Son.

That I think, at present, is all. I am sorry I cannot make words. I have been so busy that it has scraped all the excess energy off me like a pumice stone. Also I am loathe to become one of those people who tells entertaining stories about pancreatitis. Once I have stopped being in rebellion against my new identity I will presumably be able to speak. And once I feel like I know how to do my job. At least the paperwork side of it. That bit is the most challenging really. At least for the other stuff you can always ask someone.

London is the most wonderful place in the world. It is weird not knowing anyone or anything. I feel wiped out by newness. I hope I settle. I really love London. And Steptoe and Son. Did I mention?

Man oh man.

I hope you beauties are all VERY WELL. I send love.

(no subject)

Also:

Remembrance Day is making me want to be sick. I just thought I'd mention that as a counterpoint to all the people behaving like it doesn't make them want to screech and swear and smear poo on public monuments. I cannot believe Remembrance Day. Cannot believe it. I cannot believe it has somehow been implemented that the one day of mass-consciousness raising about war we have a year is mostly focused on a war that happened ninety years ago, and pretty much all of it focuses on war in a way COMPLETELY DEVOID OF POLITICAL CONTEXT. I know it's really obvious but the more I think about it the more I just CANNOT BELIEVE IT. It is like someone strolling in and burgling your house right in front of you. I don't mean that I think that there's anything wrong with people observing it or anything, it's mostly the way the telly and papers and stuff carry on, and I do get what it's about, I do. But I still can't BELIEVE that members of the current government can wear a poppy without being spat at on the street. I can't BELIEVE that they've made a whole new definition of the word remembrance that is something like "the opposite of learning from history". I cannot believe how often things work out to the advantage of politicians. I hate it. I just wanted to say.

DEAR BABY, WELCOME TO DUMPSVILLE, POPULATION: YOU

Back to school on Monday. Oh, how I don't want to, HOW I DON'T WANT TO. Last week I was all YEAH, LET'S GET THIS BITCH ON THE MAT, LET'S GO, but now THE BITCH IS NEARLY ON THE MAT and I DO NOT WANT IT TO BE THERE. NO, I WOULD RATHER THE BITCH BE ON SOME OTHER MAT FAR FROM ME. Oh god. At the refresher course a few weeks ago I discovered that, among others, I had forgotten the words for "pneumothorax" and "blood culture". It is going to be a MASSACRE.

Heigh ho. Anyway, Ethiopia, one more post and I'm done, just because, the monastery murals, I CANNOT BEAR not sharing the monastery mural pictures with EVERYONE I KNOW. They have been the one thing I have consistently shown to EVERYONE, regardless of HOW VERY MUCH THEY DON'T WANT ME TO. They're not great quality (in fact, the more sensitive might describe them as AGONISINGLY BLURRY OW OW OH GOD MY EYES MY POOR EYES THEY CANNOT FOCUS) because it was dark and I don't have steady enough hands for long exposure, but what they lack in non-blurriness they make up for in HA HA OMG WHAT SO AWESOME. It may be that I am over-selling these a bit here but I don't care.

A bit of background: the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible has more books than the standard international one, because Ethiopian Christianity was cut off from the mainstream before the Council of, er, Nicea I think, or it might not have been Nicea but one of the ones around that period, where they decided which books would be part of the True Proper Bible and which books would be left out of it (left out of it: stuff written in Greek; stuff written by the Gnostics positing that since the god of the Old Testament was clearly a TOTAL BASTARD, perhaps he HAD created the world, which would explain, oh, WHY IT SUCKED SO MUCH; and stuff with dragons). Hence the Ethiopian Bible has lots more dragons, and marginally more batshittery, than our standard one.

Point the second: the islands of Lake Tana have lots of 14th century monasteries on. These monasteries are full of things like the mummified bodies of past emperors (which we weren't allowed to see, because we're GIRLS, MUCKY GIRLS), ancient relics, and loads of art. We got shown lots of ancient books, and special outfits for monks and nuns and hermits (who knew that there were special outfits for hermits? You would not have thought that it would be a fashion-conscious profession.) and lots and lots of HUGE WEAPONRY, for when there was strife or unrest or invasions, at which point all the monks and nuns and hermits would leave their lives of saintly contemplation and go forth to OPEN A CAN OF WHUP-ASS on the invaders.

And the murals. The ones I got to take pictures of were, I think, mostly about six or seven hundred years old. That's what the guide told me, anyway, but he could have been wrong. I think they're definitely from medieval Ethiopia, anyway, the odd suspiciously Italian-looking figure aside.

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AND THAT CONCLUDES MY MONASTERY PICTURES.

are you still jumping out of windows in expensive clothes?

Helloooo. It's fast receding into the mists of time, but I feel a bit guilty that I didn't manage to say anything very cheerful about Ethiopia. It's rather a bugbear of pretty much everyone who ever goes to Ethiopia that all people tend to know about is the 1987 famine and TV coverage and Bob Fucking Geldof, and they get a bit shrill about how IT'S NOT JUST A LAND OF STARVING PEOPLE! REALLY, IT'S NOT! IT'S GREAT! THERE IS [insert awesome thing here]! AND CRAZY UNIQUE ANCIENT CULTURE OF AMAZINGNESS! AND THERE IS FOOD AND IT IS AWESOME AND MOST PEOPLE AREN'T STARVING, REALLY! YOU SHOULD GO THERE AND SPEND YOUR TURISTA DOLLARS! It's perfectly true. So, here, holiday snaps!

NOTA BENE BABY: I took 1200 pictures, and have been finding it very veeeery difficult to prune them down, there are approximately FIVE THOUSAND here and that is still leaving out ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED. I also keep wanting to explain things but my words make everything seem flat, FLAT AND DEAD. Ethiopian history and culture and everything about it is far too interesting and spooky and I can't possibly do it justice. DID YOU KNOW it's been an independent country for about 2000 years? It's the ONLY self-formed sub-Saharan African state and the ONLY indigenous literate sub-Saharan civilisation and the only African country apart from Liberia that was never colonised? DID YOU KNOW that Rastafarianism is based on worshipping Haile Selassie??? (Ras is a title, it roughly means "prince", his given name before his ascension to the throne was Tefari: Ras Tefari) Apparently he didn't like them much though, being the good Orthodox Christian boy he was he thought they were BASICALLY CREEPY. Ethiopia is so different from other places it's a bit like a joke. It seems much much further away than the Horn of Africa.

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the tao of what's really going on

Disclaimer: I wrote this and then felt like a bit of a knob. But I'm posting it anyway. Ho hum.

So! Hello! I hope you are all well. I went to Ethiopia for ten weeks!1 It was very interesting. Now I am back and having slight culture shock. I was not expecting that. F was all "oh my god, I don't understand England, I'm scared of going back" and I said "mmmm" and internally rolled my eyes because for god's sake, it's not like we have been EXILED TO THE ANTARCTIC FOR MANY YEARS, but yet here we are. Anyway. Yes. Ethiopia! It is very poor and there is not much there. Oh, I don't know how to talk about this. Perhaps some illustrative anecdotes.

1. I should clarify what I was doing: I've spent this last academic year intercalating in International Health. Second term you get to do a research project abroad. I intercalated almost entirely for the opportunity to travel, and to get away from medicine for a year before I cracked up, and my research project was conceived at the last minute and generally shoddily executed - I just want to clarify this in case anyone is tempted to give me karma points. Anyway, the research involved interviewing the urban poor, hence why I got to go to people's houses and talk to them. When I wasn't doing that I was having an extremely nice time laughing and eating cake.

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I was cross that I couldn't show pictures because of confidentiality, then I remembered that I have pictures that aren't of the specific people I've mentioned here, so it should be alright to show them.

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in which I witter

Hello darlings. Haven't read anyone else's reactions yet. Normally I tend to tidy and edit my reaction posts for clarity, but I have no time and if I don't post now I won't bother, so THIS IS LARGELY RAMBLY, REPETITIVE, INCOHERENT AND REPETITIVE.1

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Annnd now I must go and do my shift at the bar, and when I come back I will read everyone else's reactions because FANDOM IS LIKE RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS. Thank you.

I reached the top and had to stop and that's what's-a botherin' me

Remember I mentioned monkeys? Well I am NOT DONE WITH THEM YET. I put all my monkeys in a SEPARATE POST omg so they may be skipped over WITH GREATER EASE. This is that post. THIS IS MY MONKEY POST.

The thing is, the monkeys like to HANG AROUND in India. My favourite monkey is probably still my first monkey, which I saw sitting on top of a stall in a shabby little market somewhere in Connaught Place. It was sat so hunched and sullen and shabby and not at all aware and interested that it was a MONKEY sitting ON TOP OF SOMEONE'S STALL in a PLACE. Omg. My second favourite monkey is the one we saw wandering along the road at 6a.m. on our bus trip up to Manali. It was trotting along in a grumpy busy way, like "Another day at the grindstone! Up at the crack of dawn, off to do my many tasks, oh, what a hard life, this burden of constant toil is crushing me!" It seems unlikely that the monkey really laboured under a burden of constant toil, but what do I know? My third favourite monkey was the one that I thought at first was a dog. Etc.

I didn't get pictures of most of these monkeys, however. Most of my pictures of monkeys came from THE MONKEY PALACE. This is a complex of abandoned Hindu temples in the DESERTY HILLS outside Jaipur. It is like something out of the Jungle Book but MUCH AWESOMER. And the monkeys live there and splash in the reservoirs and eat all the bananas and nuts that people bring for them and do nasty things to each other with their LITTLE WIZENED FACES. The thing about monkeys is they really are like horrible little people. And they sort of move and act in a way that's enough of an echo of humans that it's disconcerting. And they sit in a horrible hunched-over way that makes me laugh and laugh, OH THEY ARE TERRIBLE, I LOVE THEM.

My pictures of monkeys are not National Geographic-esque magic. They don't quite rise to the semi-focused heights of some of my other efforts. But they are distinctly monkeyoid. And here's the betterer thing, I also have VIDEO! I finally found the benefit of my camera's video function with the monkeys. Because monkeys RUN AROUND and they have NASTY LITTLE FACES. David Attenborough it ain't. But it is REAL TIME PROOF OF THE MOVING NATURE OF THE MONKEYS. (You will have to excuse the continual background burbling in my extremely slappable voice. It turns out that I never stop talking, ever. This is another thing I have learned about myself. All my video clips have this continual wittering in the background, regardless of whether I was actually addressing anyone or actually had anything to say. I now understand why Noble Travelling Companion (a.k.a. HM#1) often wore a somewhat strained mien. I SUCK, yes.)

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how to tell if you're under mind control: #6, your eyeballs are all swirly

Hello squigglies! I am home. Actually I've been home for about three weeks, I came back early for funereal purposes and have since been spending the intervening time wandering around like an apathetic food-poisoned zombie. But no more. Henceforth I intend to wander about like an apathetic food-poisoned zombie... WITH TALKATIVE TENDENCIES!

You might think that my time abroad would perhaps have made me a more interesting person. Perhaps a person with amusing anecdotes, and a different, broader perspective on life. Maybe even a person with a wordly air, and a DEEP NEW SPIRITUAL WISDOM.1 HOWEVER, this is not so. But let us focus on the key thing here: in India, THERE WERE MONKEYS.

Yes. Contain your awe for a moment: MONKEYS. Okay, stop containing your awe, you can run around in circles screaming "MONKEYS??? Were there really, Rebecca? MONKEYS? Are you sure? MONKEYS????" YES, MY FRIENDS, MONKEYS. MONKEYS WERE THERE! MONKEYS WERE THERE AND I FED THEM PEANUTS WITH THESE VERY HANDS! More on this later. MONKEYS! Yes indeedy. MONKEYS! ! !!!!!! !! !!!!!!!!!!!1

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!

Now - HOLIDAY PICTURES! There is no reason in the world why you should want to see my holiday pictures. I'm just a little bit excited at actually having some for a change. I've been a pretty slow initiate to the art of photography. For years I tended only ever to take them when I had nothing else to do, meaning that I would repeatedly come back from jaunts to strange and fabulous places with rolls of film of car parks, train stations and the view from my hotel window in the rain. But this time, no! I got a digital camera and a big memory card and I actually took some actual pictures! Lots of them! In fact, I have run up against a whole new, different problem now: I take too many pictures, and they're all of the same thing, and I cannot bring myself to delete them because omg, pictures! To add insult to injury most of these pictures are of masonry. I took over a hundred pictures of the Qutb Minar in a single morning, and ALL THOSE PICTURES WERE OF MASONRY. And one sleeping dog. It turns out I fucking LOVE masonry. The things you learn about yourself, eh. Anyway. I don't feel too guilty about posting holiday snaps on LJ, since you can always just not click on the cut tag. Unlike in person, where you have to sit through every single blurry snap of brickwork going "mmm" in a tone of "gadzooks! What fresh new delight is this that assualts my jaded palate??"2

I've only got the last week's worth of photos, because the rest are stored on NTC's mp3 player and she's in Italy. I found it quite hard to winnow them down. But I tried.

1. That one's definitely out. I have concluded, after a certain amount of horrified observation of the many, many hippies out there, that I don't have a spirit. And just as well too.
2. Actually, so far only Nicola has bothered to do this. Everyone else rapidly lapses into a discouraged silence, occasionally piping up to say things like "Is that blurry thing a monkey or a dog?" and "Is it real?"


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I should probably clarify that India is the best and most amazing place I have ever been to or could ever even conceive of existing. It is possibly many powers of ten more amazing than the human mind can perceive, plus, it has friendly donkers roaming the street and SOMETIMES THE DONKEYS LOOK A BIT LIKE HARD WAYWARD GANGS. It is ace, is what I'm, saying. REALLY VERY ACE. I recommend it most highly.

I hope you are all thriving merrily. Kisses!

(no subject)

OMG EVERYONE LUNAR ECLIPSE RIGHT NOW! I suppose everyone knows. I always find out these things late. Or forget about them until the last minute. You're all not here, aren't you? Tchah. Well, I hope that's because you're all LOOKING OUT OF YOUR WINDOWS! OMG THE EARTH IS A RED SHADOW ON THE MOOOOOOON! If you stood up tall enough in the right place on the earth, maybe you could see YOUR OWN SHADOW ON THE MOON, WAVING!

over-reactions r us

Hello darlings. Happy new year. Am back in Brum, back to work, real life continues apace, but bugger all that for the moment because Collapse )

Good night!