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Tay Writes Sometimes

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About this blog

A collection of rambling and writing by Tay Inkwell (pen name).

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One Idiot's Trip To The Bay Area

If you've paid attention to me recently, you'll know I went to Oakland in February. I wrote a thing about it here: https://wander.media/from-scotland-to-oakland-with-rage-and-love Please go read! (or at least click on the link and leave it open for a while) I really enjoyed my time there, and I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity, although there's still so many places I'd love to visit. I missed out on a Cover Ups show by about a week, which is frustrating, but at least I got to see Mt. Eddy. I might write something else about the trip here when I have time. 
 

New Year's Resolutions: Resolved

One of the most common new year's resolutions is to exercise more, a change that could be implemented at any time of the year. The beginning of a new year feels like the perfect excuse for a fresh start, and to change something about yourself you've been meaning to for some time. But of course the popularity of this gives rise to offers, which makes more people leave it until the start of a new year to go to the gym. And thus the circle of new year's resolutions continues ad nauseam.  One Hogmanay, standing in our garden watching the fireworks celebrating the start of 2012, I I had a magical moment.Thinking about the upcoming year, the end of high school, the beginning of university, my prediction of a new Green Day album in september (I didn't quite predict the other two albums they released that year though). Would I manage to make friends?  I started making lists of good things that happened in the year, and thinking what the coming year could bring. Five years of Hogmanay parties later, and I'm back living with my parents. And back to the old Hogmanay traditions. A game of monopoly (this year Edinburgh edition), and outside watching from our vantage point the various locations that set off fireworks across the city. Hearing people from other gardens yelling "happy new year" and yelling back at the strangers. The live broadcast on tv.   This time. This time, I started the year by considerably thrashing my family at monopoly, although any other year it would be my sister that would win.  So my 2017? I finally saw Green Day live – twice, although it was meant to be three times. I graduated university with a masters in chemistry. I made friends.  And 2018? That's another story. My hopes are that I finally start HRT, I go to Oakland (if we ever decide where to stay!), I get a tattoo, and hopefully I get a job. I also aim to write more, but I'm unsure how that project will end up. 

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

Camping for Green Day: A Poem Inspired By Last Weekend

There's many ways the write about your first time seeing your favourite band live (Leeds, 05/02/17), an event I've waited for for over half my life. I chose my favourite: rambling, inconsistent poem, filled with references you may or may not get.    cover the streets  in your plastic garb throw your blankets out and run inside rain for cover like a stampede of unicorns know your enemy never forget the fallen king sized hopes and pocket sized regrets the confetti of the crystal maze dreams are made as others crushed time moves too fast what are you waiting for? drunk italians in the night constant changing colours to feel warm again the sleep that evades us all chasing a new high wrapped in foil feeling faint but still alive pinching yourself because you're still breathing shake your fist at escalators tour the world in your rucksack check in check out live on the road buses and trains start another chant we are the unreleased songs the unplayed tunes the stolen tapes we are the cereal bars in the morning the doughtnuts in the afternoon the McDonald's in the middle of the night we are the waiting blue hair running up and down waving sticks mouth is dry feet are numb heroes thanking heroes cursing politicians all we need  is love and positivity and another encore . . . anyway, here's wonderwall

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

How Music Made Me

To go along with this blog, I made a playlist of music, trying to make each song a song that meant something to me during each year of my life, while also having a relevant song title. It ends with honourable mentions that didn't quite fit in elsewhere.   Music means something different to each of us. Each song makes your heart beat in a different way, as you find your own way to relate to it. We dance through life with the help of the songs that keep us going. Since we all have different life experiences, the music that get us through it all is varied and complex. I’m going to talk about what music means to me, and my life. How have songs impacted on my life? Let’s start at the beginning.   The first time my parents properly spoke to each other – and indeed started dating – was after a screening of Live Aid, when my dad offered to drive his coworkers home. It makes their anniversary rather easy to remember. My mum was (is?) a massive Bay City Rollers fan, coincidentally moving from a village in Germany to Edinburgh, the city the band is from, as soon as she possibly could. My dad grew up in Edinburgh, and went to a variety of concerts at weekends.   Fast forward to the mid 90s. I’m a baby, the fourth child in a slightly messed up family. My mum takes me to Bay City Rollers concerts, bundled up and strapped to her front. She gets in front of the barrier. She goes back and talks to the band. Years later she’ll tell me she doesn’t think they knew she had a baby on her.   Growing up, some of the first songs I heard were from Scottish artists. We had a compilation CD called “The Best Scottish Album in the World… Ever”. Classic songs like Caledonia, Stuck in the Middle With You, Shout, Donald Where’s Your Trousers?, Let’s Go Round Again, Mull of Kintyre… There was the Proclaimers, and Big Country. There was Flower of Scotland and Auld Lang Syne. These were the soundtrack to many long road trips over my childhood. It blended with the scenery we passed, reminded us of the great accomplishments of our small country.   There was also the Beatles, because of course there was. I remember watching their film Help! on TV and finding as amazing and ridiculous as I still do. My dad introduced me to ska: Madness and Bad Manners. He once gave me an entire recording of a Madness concert, excited to find someone else in the family that enjoyed it as he did. When dad would drive us to school, he’d play music from the various mixtapes he had lying around. “It’s My Party” resonated with me for some reason, perhaps it just sounded like something I would do. And have done. Cry at my own party, I mean.   By the time I was nine, my older siblings were old enough to start discovering music for themselves. The brother five years older than me started recording songs off the radio, and then buying CDs. There was punk, and metal, and funk. I was almost ten when American Idiot was released, and my brother recorded those singles, and Green Day’s previous singles that were getting increased airtime, off the radio. For years I had a six minute radio edit version of Jesus of Suburbia. At this point we had computers, and each our own accounts for them. Our own iTunes library. My brother bought Dookie, and I listened to Longview as an innocent ten year old that didn’t yet know what masturbation was. In the years to come, this brother also introduced me to the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Linkin Park, Wednesday 13, Good Charlotte, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Blink 182, Bowling for Soup, Sum 41… He never got too focussed on one artist, but my heart fell for Green Day.     The lyrics were simultaneously catchy and meaningful. They appeal to people of any age, and the songs carry enough variety that there is always a song you are in the mood to listen to. When we got internet, I spent hours on youtube listening to Ha Ha You’re Dead and She’s a Rebel. Youtube was a great way to let me, still a child with no spending money of my own, to discover more music by myself. When I started high school, I quickly became friends with another Green Day fan, who gave me Green Day albums for birthday and christmas presents. My first real foray into the community that surrounds the fanbase began when I was 12. I joined a forum, and a year later, a quiz making site. Someone messaged me on the quiz making site saying they liked my Green Day avatar, and initiated a long conversation about life. My mental health wasn’t always great, so knowing there were other people like me really helped.   My sister, three years older than me, preferred more pop style music: KT Tunstall, Sandi Thom, Lily Allen, the Holloways, Pink… When I was 15, my sister convinced me to visit her at her first year halls at university by taking me to see Bowling for Soup acoustic. It was the first concert I had chosen to go to, and it truly was an experience. It was an intimate show, but still introduced me to the chants of rock concerts in Glasgow (“here we, here we, here we fucking go”).   High school, and the friends I had there, introduced me to Simple Plan, Tokio Hotel, My Chemical Romance… No major change in what I liked, but always people to talk to about the music. The first CD I actually bought was Foxboro Hot Tubs’ Stop Drop and Roll!!! 21st Century Breakdown came out when I was 15. I had to do a talk on a person I would save for English, and chose Billie Joe Armstrong. I was surprised by the number of people in my year that knew 21st Century Breakdown. People talked about going to see them live, but I hadn’t even considered that being possible for me. It wasn’t like I really had the money or independence to be able to. I vowed to see them live one day, and tried not to be too jealous. My little brother was about eight, and loved the music video for Know Your Enemy. He started off very picky with music, only keeping the few songs from albums he definitely liked.   Near the end of high school, I stumbled across Emily’s Army (later to reinvent themselves as SWMRS), and later asked my friend to buy me their debut album as an early birthday present. Them being around my age made them more relatable, but them growing up rich made them less relatable to me.   University brought many new joys for me: student loans giving me the money and independence I needed, new friends, new opportunities… The next concert I went to was a wizard rock concert in 2012. It was an event held at the university, party to raise money for charity, with a variety of Harry Potter themed bands. I had become a regular member of another Green Day forum, and gained close friends there. There were skype calls and birthday presents. I had an opportunity to see Green Day live in London, but assumed they would be back for a full UK tour later, and chose to stay in town and do something for a friend’s birthday instead. I later regretted that decision when their tour was cancelled for various health reasons, and I stopped talking to said friend.   The next year, Emily’s Army announced something I had not been expecting: their first UK tour. I bought a ticket to the Glasgow show quickly, and was easily persuaded to take the long journey down to the Nottingham show as well. I stayed with people I’d met on a Green Day forum, and without them I probably would never have had the courage to get photos with, and hug, the band members. I had a cleaning job that summer, and the Emily’s Army concerts meant twice arriving back home well after midnight when I needed to be in work for 9am. It was exhausting, but very much worth it. They played Loch Lomond in Glasgow, declaring “I haven't had a full body sweat since the first time we played this song”. Being american, their pronunciation was a bit off, but the effort was appreciated. The Nottingham show featured a “wall of hugs”, but that wouldn’t work in Glasgow. The first Emily’s Army show in Glasgow was the first concert I went to by myself. My confidence has grown since then.   Not long after a friend had been talking to me about Emilie Autumn, I was flicking through the programme for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and noticed she was playing a show. In many ways, this wasn’t just music, it was theatre. The final concert I went to in 2013 was a Bowling for Soup concert with a large group of my friends, and my sister. It was referred to as their Farewell tour, the last of many consecutive years of UK tours. Some of the people I was with were so worried about getting caught up in the mosh pit that they moved back towards the bar. They wanted us to stay together in a group, but some of us wanted to be closer to the stage rather than further away. It made me realise that often it is better to go to concerts alone. Or at least with people that enjoy the music the same way you do.   Twice during 2014 I went to concerts purely because one friend or another had asked me to go with them, and not because I particularly cared about seeing the artist live. Those nights were more about drinking and chatting than paying attention to the music.   Emily’s Army had another UK tour, so naturally I went to the Glasgow date and met the band for the second time. I had a resit that summer, and bought the ticket without knowing if I would have an exam the next day. Thankfully, halfway through an interrailing holiday, I received the news that the exam was the day before the concert.   One way I have discovered music is through podcasts. “Man of the Hour” in my early teens onwards, from a guitarist of Simple Plan and their old merch guy. “Full Frontal” later, from half of All Time Low. I would listen to them while playing games, or walking to work. Every so often a song they’d play would resonate with me. I’d cut the song out from the podcast, or look the band up.   I’ve loved pirates since I was little, so stumbling across Alestorm was great. Scottish pirate metal is one of those genres that is so me that Alestorm went from being unknown to me to one of my favourite bands almost overnight. I thought dressing up as a pirate for the “Pirate Fest” they headlined in Glasgow was going too far, but regretted that as soon as I saw the line. It was a wild night. Despite the reasonably large crowd, I did get almost to the barrier for a while.   In 2015, I went to one concert. It was “Weird Al” Yankovic, and it was his first time playing in Scotland, as far as I can tell. It was wonderful in a whole different way from most of the concerts I’ve been to. Clips of him appearing in, or being mentioned in, various TV shows and films were played on the screens between songs. This gave him and his band time to change outfit, which they did for almost every song. Afterwards, Al sat on the step of the tour bus looking exhausted. Someone stood between him and the line of people who had stayed outside the venue, announced that he would sign one thing from each person, but no photos were allowed.     2016 came, and SWMRS emerged. Their “debut” album took a couple of listens, but really showed them growing up and finding their way. They ended up in the UK twice in the same summer. First in May, during exam season. Thankfully my exams were over, and as a bonus I was escaping the victory parade after the football team closest to where I lived won the Scottish cup for the first time in 114 years. I sat in the bar beforehand with a drink, and Max Becker smiled at me as the band walked past. After the show, I got a photo with the Beckers, and awkwardly talked to them. I noted how much we had changed, but mostly just to become ourselves. Next came August, and they finally came to Edinburgh. It was just after the fringe festival had finished, and I had an internship: nine to five, four days a week. I would have tried to go to both Scottish dates, but both were on work nights, and it took long enough to get back from work. The concert tickets still being around £10 was very useful. The Beckers still hang around after shows. This time, Cole was wearing a dress and drinking Irn Bru. They had been told how great a hangover cure Irn Bru is. I waited for other people to talk to them before going up to them in turn. I got a selfie with each of the Becker brothers, along with multiple hugs. They are honestly some of the loveliest people I’ve met.   Despite how terrible the politics had been, and how many great people the world lost, 2016 still brought out some great music. SWMRS, Blink 182, Against Me!, Green Day, Madness, the Interrupters, Sum 41… and I’m just listing the ones I bought concert tickets for. A youtuber I follow, NateWantsToBattle, released a cover album of pop punk songs, and I was pleased to find he had censored the word “fags” from his version of Green Day’s Holiday.   On my 22nd birthday I listened to a leak of Revolution Radio, the newest Green Day album. I had heard the first single from it as soon as it was released while sitting at work and hoping the woman I was interning for wasn’t going to show up before I heard it. That was a special moment. The second single ended up being Still Breathing, a song that meant a lot to me. A man that had essentially kept me alive for years was singing about still being alive. The new album brought new tours, and a new opportunity for me to finally see them live. I had signed up for the official fansite just to get the presale. The “UK tour” turned out to be three dates in England, but for this band I wasn’t too sad. Leeds on a Sunday night with a friend I’ve had for over a decade. Not too bad. February can’t come soon enough. I looked up the support act: the Interrupters. Ska punk, another genre so me I had to download all their music straight away. The song “By My Side” made me not want to die. As more tour dates were announced, I also bought tickets for Hyde Park (with my little brother, it is on his 16th birthday) and Glasgow (with a Green Day fan I had stayed with before) in July. I’m trying not to think about the money I’m throwing at them, but if anyone deserves it, they do.   December brought two rather different concerts. The first was Against Me! Their first support act was Mobina Galore, two women that surprised me in how much I liked them. After the show, I thanked them and they thanked me and it was just us thanking each other. I’m very bad at conversations. Milk Teeth paused their set to talk about mental health. Laura Jane Grace was wonderful, Against Me! have given me a great soundtrack to my own transgender dysphoria blues. The mosh pit was incredibly friendly, especially for Glasgow, and there was a clear place to stand if you didn’t want to join it. Yelling “the revolution was a lie” with the rest of the crowd was a beautiful moment, one I wished I could pick up and keep in my pocket, ready to relive whenever I need it. I waited around afterwards in the hope of meeting the band, but needed to leave to catch the last bus back home. They probably came out ten minutes after I left. That’s the sort of thing that happens to me.   The other concert in December was Madness. My dad was sure to tell me of when he would see them live in the ‘70s and ‘80s for less than a fiver, when I was paying almost £50 for a ticket. The music industry has changed since then, we agree. Now bands get more money from concerts and merch sales than from the album sales. Madness was the largest concert I’ve been to thus far in my living memory. The support act didn’t come on until over an hour after doors. Most of the crowd were the same age as my parents, some having brought their kids. It was a different crowd from what I often saw: instead of brightly coloured hair, they wore trilbys and fezes. It was the only time I’d seen anyone post facebook live videos during a concerts, and I could see three separate people do so at once. I only really knew the greatest hits, and the latest album, but still recognised almost every song played. They made good use of the screens and lighting.  The hits had everyone bopping – literally a house of fun. Between the main show and the encore, they had a pipe band come on stage and play the national anthem. The crowd sang along to Flower of Scotland.
2017 will bring many more adventures in music. I already have bought tickets for six concerts: Sum 41, All Time Low (with SWMRS as support), Blink 182, and Green Day (three times). Each time I see Green Day will be in a different city, with a different person. There’s a lot to look forward to, and keep me going. These bands, and the communities that surround them, have been there for me all my life. When I ask why I’m alive, I know the answer. It’s music.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

Landmarks of My Youth: A Poem

I've lived here all my life I know all the landmarks Yet somehow I see them still As the landmarks of my childhood The blockbuster on the corner Though it has long since Become another shop Shall always be The blockbuster on the corner I return To places I have tread And expect To still see my footprint There Forgetting the many footprints That have obscured mine Expecting a clear print Where now there is only A memory These landmarks of my youth The parks The river The bushes cut away Like cuts against my flesh Even the street I grew up in No matter how Child like I am The time keeps passing And the places do not remain The abandoned house The one I assured myself Was haunted Despite never Having set foot on its grounds My thoughts The only evidence Of my conviction I watch As the overgrown Vegetation Disappears I hold on To these places And let them Haunt me still They are shadows In my mind As I once more Walk Where I once did This journey is constant A look at a past Memories I may not wish To remember Yet they hold on to me As I hold on to Them

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

This Is Not A Sonnet This Is A Godammed Blog Entry

No really this isn't a sonnet. But it isn't really a blog entry either. It's a poem. It was /meant/ to be a sonnet. It's not. But I haven't updated this in forever. So here: It is strange to think how soon we shall go Leaving nothing but a wretched old foe For many this will be a brand new low Once upon a time you'd pick up your bow But as no hero with no superpowers You will drift away from your lonely tower Not that you were ever known to go cower Will you be as forgotten as you think? Will they remember what you used to drink? We sit and question all our existence

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#32 The Blog Inwhich I Finally Conclude 2012 Was A Year.

Hey, remember that year...? Oh shit, maybe I should have gotten around to writing this earlier. To make the jokes about not washing all year. Nope, this is the day I eventually get around to doing all those things I should have done days, if not weeks, ago. Months ago in some cases. So let's start at the beginning. Always a good place to start. That moment when 2012 started, when I was standing outside watching the fireworks go off and thinking about the year that was just starting. 2012. It was going to be the firsts and lasts of so many things. There was that nagging possibility of a new Green Day album, even at this point I guessed September. My time at high school was ending, there was prom and my 18th birthday and university. Nervous excitement; the knowledge that this would be a year that would change my life. It had been a long time since I'd had to make friends myself (or at least outside of the internet), I was worried I wouldn't be able to. Yet still I wanted away from the friends I'd had for the whole of high school, even through primary school... To stick with people I already knew for Fresher's Week was hardly how I wanted it to be. But through this perhaps, perhaps it would have been similar by myself, I met someone in my degree. By the time my birthday came around two weeks later, there was a small crew of us, people doing the same degree, a surprising percentage of home students. One I had met at a quiz, recognizing her and bonding over having learnt to read from the same series. That night I dragged an old friend to the SciFi and Fantasy society series night, swigging vodka and Irn Bru and munching on cake. The pub afterwards, always the pub. Here I met many new faces, people I know now. My friend left (she still hasn't turned 18 and is hardly one to stay out late and party) and I spent the night drinking with people I had just met, staying over at someone's flat even. The flat parties and nights out since, all things I never thought I would be part of. To finish the year playing ring of fire in a flat, with a tequila shot at midnight... 2012 had some great moments; making a million on Neopets, almost being killed from Nazi gas, meeting and hugging Alex Day, prom, the Green Day trilogy, skype chats, convincing a drunk friend to try the cinnamon challenge, receiving a letter from Maria Gloria, getting a job, buying various geek t-shirts using student loan money, societies at uni, spam threads, watching american idiot the musical, getting back at 7am, drunk in the playground... I feel like people who thought they knew me in high school would think I've changed now, but I'm just being myself, something I never thought I could be before. Finally there are people who will accept me, not care what obsessions I have. It was a good year, I can see that now and I saw that to start off with. There were low times, there always are, but that's the way the story goes. What about this year? What will it bring? Who knows. Let me wait and see as this unicorn rides away.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#31 Bobcat likes Wizard Rock.

Saturday 1st December, 5.30pm I met a couple of friends in KFC for some food before the Snow Ball. We'd planned this well in advance. Exchanging glances due to the family of chavs yelling across the room. Another friend arriving. Leaving, I swung my cloak on. Off to the student union, which yes looks a little like Hogwarts. In the entrance, our friend joined us. Our party complete, we made our way up the twisting stairs. On the top floor, to the left. Showing our tickets gained each of us a glow stick, a wristband and a candy cane. Inside the debating hall, with its high ceiling, was the Snow Ball. Along the edges were stalls for merch for various different people. The raffle, a huge Hogwarts cake and the Harry Potter society at the right; the bands and Cancer Research UK at the left. We dumped extra layers and desperately tried to convince ourselves not to buy everything. I did, of course, give up and buy a Fred and George t-shirt, a strip of raffle tickets and a Harry and the Potters (Voldemort can't stop the rock) t-shirt. There were other people I knew around, and some interesting costumes by many. Dress was anything from casual to ball gowns to wizard robes. The stage was set, the previous entertainment leaving. Now time for the actual acts. Riddle TM, Siriusly Hazza P, Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons, Remus/ that guy from Draco and the Malfoys, Harry and the Potters... In between the acts, the organiser came on to explain the charities and talk about where everyone was from. I was mighty pleased to hear him use my favourite word, "sassenach" to describe the english people. To try and summarize. Siriusly Hazza P were a little odd, not my favourite by far. But one awesome moment was when they brought on "Fawkes": Neil Bird, the organiser. Because it was Scotland, they played (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles to the loudest singing along. Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons was amazing, I loved her cover of Gryffindor Rally Cry by Ministry of Magic. "Who are we fighting for? Gryffindor? This is battle, this is war." All the songs sound so much better live. The guy from Draco and the Malfoys played a song about how everyone died where no one knew whether to laugh or cry "they're all my friends and they're DEAD". He also played "my daddy's rich and your daddy's dead". Harry and the Potters. Fuck that was a long wait. They joked that it was nice to not have to travel far to a show "normally we play shows in the US, which is thousands of miles from Hogwarts". The guy from Draco and the Malfoys (Brad? Was his name Brad?) was their drummer. He was wearing glasses but got so into it the glasses kept falling down his face and at one point ended in his mouth. The guy on keyboard/vocals got to the point where he was lying on the floor by my feet yelling random names. The guy on guitar would play it behind his head sometimes. The audience interactiveness was brilliant, the number of times people would be rushing through the crowd instead of staying on stage. At the end, the played a song like "he's the greatest professor", everyone swaying in a circle as the organiser was pushed in to the middle. At some point the cake was cut, people queuing up for a piece. Nom. Finally, the raffle prizes were collected. I got a CD, The Butterbeer Experience. My collection of items from the night: The stage at the end: Here is a album of photos from the night that are a lot better.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#30 Random is my middle name. Actually it isn't, but here's some poems and stuff.

Just some things I've been writing while at the university's creative writing society. In no particular order. Prompts for fire and books turned into this: Fire Burning Twisting flames Licking flames The pain The pain Stumbling through Fire Burning The heat of a thousand suns The strength of a truck The agony The agony Falling through Fire Leaping flames Fierce flames Pages turning Paper Leafs Time disappearing Hardback cover Stories Words Infinite universes Journeys through the unknown Printed and binded The end of the world The start of another Pages turning On and on An anti love-poem. Ish. In my head I see it as an all-singing-all-dancing youtube music video. So as we sit here With our laptops I’d just like to tell you I know it’s hard to hear I hope you feel the same way As me 1,2,3 I tolerate you And that’s okay I don’t mind spending time with you But much more than this And I’ll surely go insane I tolerate you We can work together You’re not the greatest Or worst You’re okay And I tolerate you We have no similarities Besides this reason That means we’re here But at the end of the day I tolerate you Your presence isn’t distracting Or a gift You’re pretty useless And I can deal with that You’re no genius Or an idiot Just you You and your silly ways The feeling This feeling Better be as mutual As facebook friends I tolerate you More than Justin Bieber And internet trolls Isn’t that a note of love To keep forever For some odd reason, a poem from the point of view of a fairy godmother: Not another wish Not another dream Shall I grant it, Happy as can be? The worthless child It’s always the materialistic ones What need is a dress, or a ball? We all know how this will end I sigh I wave my wand I let her have her every wish Be back by midnight That’s the rule I roll my eyes as she appears late Every time We all know how this will end Mice scamper away Munching on pumpkins What was the point of this? The needless need For a gown and a dance This is the fair maiden That receives the prince’s hand This is the fair maiden That likes to stick with the crowd A sheep in her place Never to fear from much But being different The mistreat was obvious But this ought not to be the way To make it better Did anything really change? Or are we creating more selfish princesses? This, in case you were wondering, is a "stream of consciousness" inwhich you just write what's in your head. My head is weird, I know, but not that weird. Nothing was real or true or anything. Everything was upside down and wonky. Everything was fucked up and nothing could change it. Everything was turning around and around and dizziness and weirdness. No one knew what was happening through all the lives lost and all the battles won, nothing like this happened more often than every decade and twenty years. Fucked up but won. Fucked up but dead. Was anyone ever alive? Were we existing in the first place? There was a hurricane, a storm that could blow atoms apart. Infinite distance is where it’s at. That where the cool people stay, In their cool houses with little windmills and crazy flower beds with actual swimming pools for garden hoses. This is where it’s at and it’s where it’s always been. Where could we go? Computers click and turn in the air, crashing against each other and throwing up on the walls.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#29 I felt like explaining cancer from the point of view of a benzene molecule okay.

There you lie, as flat as can be, slouched out in your bottle next to the hundreds of millions of brothers and sisters you have come to know. Flat. Not just flat, but incredibly thin. The top is twisted off the bottle. It's like a breath of fresh air. Heck, it is a breath of fresh air. Up, up you spiral, dizzying spins through the air. The first thing you come into contact with, you can easily sail through. but now it's dark again. Through into a cell. What kind of cell? Who cares. Here's a nice place to rest, but you manage to float over and through into the nucleus. Damn. Now you're scared, wanting to get out again. You saw your siblings not far away, but none made it this far. Twisting, you cut a strand of DNA. Oops. Now you lie flat once more, but the DNA you cut doesn't seem to be healthy. You wish you could help, but you'd probably just make it worse. The DNA is replicating, or at least one half of the strand is. It continues replicating, just making more and more copies of itself. And all you can do is sit there and watch. Gradually, a lump appears, a swollen mass of deformed tissue, constantly increasing in size. If only you could do something. But you sit there, guilt-ridden, as this monster grows in the cell. You hope the mutation hasn't spread. You hope the body, the body made of all these tiny cells, realizes before it's too late.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#28 Scientists in an Adventure with Life

This is something I've been considering writing for a while. Science is that magical realm that enthralls everyone, even those that don't recognize it as such. Pretty colours, fire and explosions, what's not to like? The past of this obscure subject shows the true magic is itself. Forget wands and spells, magic was and is a kind of natural philosophy called Science. Where does this obsession stem from? Ancient Greek philosophers, loathing change, sought to bring meaning to the bleak world by finding a "theory of everything", a theory even today is hidden if it truly can exist. The trouble, for them, was the way they thought, some out-right denying change could exist, others desperately trying to account for all types of change possible. Some ideas were accepted widely, others were not. Copernicus, the first to believe the Earth went around the sun, had his book banned from the church. His ideas seemed to say the heavens were not, as the church would say, perfect and unchanging. Many, many scientists, whether well-known or not, were not truly appreciated for their efforts until after their death. That is not the only problem standing in the way of these great people. The number of scientists that have had mental illnesses or have committed suicide from the thought of their efforts never succeeding is amazing, but horrifying. Possibly the worst story of this sorts is of Turing, the man responsible for breaking the Enigma Code, who was convicted of "acts of gross indecency" i.e. having sex with another man. His punishment was chemical castration, the humiliation of which drove him to eat an apple laced with cyanide. Edwin Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio, was so convinced his plan would fail he jumped from the 13th floor of his apartment. Ludwig Boltzmann, contributed much to the fields of thermodynamics and atomic theory but took his own life, most likely suffering from bipolar disorder. Viktor Meyer was a highly gifted chemist that had a series of mental breakdowns before finally killing himself with cyanide. Nikola Tesla, the man who invented AC current along with various others, was an unusual man to say the least. It is likely he had OCD, becoming obsessed with the number three. He never married, kept to himself even though women wanted his affections. He was claimed to have never slept for more than two hours at a time and had a photographic memory. He had a specific routine for each day and stuck to it. For example, he would refuse to be served by any other than the head waiter in the specific hotel/restaurant he was at, and had to have the dinner ready by ten to eight in the evening. What am I trying to say by all this? I'm not sure. Maybe we should stick through life, remembering the great people before us who can now be remembered and think of how people will remember you.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#27 Boobs, Friends and Booze

I've never really considered myself good at making friends. Primary school was a blur of short friendships, people I considered friends but rarely saw outside of school. Only one person from primary school stayed my friend through to high school, and was the base cause of me meeting and becoming friends with more people. We had a small group, but normally there was just the three of us, worse if someone was off. But the strength of the bond was far greater, knowing each other better than you possibly could with a large group. Starting university I worried whether I would continue to stay with just these two best friends, my social skills ridiculously low. Thankfully, people did talk to me. And slowly I began to realize that there can be a place for me, because university allows for more nerds and less NEDs, the extra letter making a serious difference. So now I have a series of friendship circles; whether it be from a society, a class, old friends from high school or indeed the internet. The internet has a wonderful power to bring people together, in a way that so many miss out on. Maybe these people don't need it, maybe they do they just don't know it exists. And this brings us up to my 18th birthday, on Thursday the 27th. "Legal" Whut. As you can imagine, my memory of the night is a little fuzzy around the edges, but I'll try my best. The day started like many others, with a 9-fucking-am lecture. I was wearing my new skinny jeans and sky blue Soft Kitty t-shirt because awesome. I arrived early, as I normally do, and was sitting with my laptop open when the people I normally talk to came in, some wishing me a happy birthday. J sitting behind me wearing her red "Moriaty was real" t-shirt she had promised to me the night before she would wear. Casual net-surfing had to be done before the lecturer felt the need to start. Ant, Cat, L, Cheese Girl and some others were all there. I hadn't bothered trying to squeeze my laptop charger in my smaller bag so it was clearly started to die, the battery isn't able to hold charge as well as it used to. Coming out of the lecture, our little crew stopped to chat and discuss what to do in the next two hours. Two hours until a maths lecture for almost all of us (L took Chemical Physics, so does a different maths course). Having decided on a "maths party" in the library, we were about to leave when the lecturer tripped over the steps on his way out. "I just did that to make sure you were paying attention" Of course. I'll miss that lecturer and his irrelevant rants about his wife before lectures, his part of the course had been taught already. This was the first time I had gone into the main Uni library, and was unaccustomed to the method of entrance, swiping the student card to get through the barrier. We wandered through to the group study section, the seven of us picking an area to sit around a screen. The stool were like mini-sofas in their comfort, but only helped slightly against the dreaded maths tutorial questions. Having discussed that google has the same birthday as me (it's so young, only 14), J suddenly realised it was my birthday. She took her pen and scribbled "happy birthday" on her lat bar of Galaxy chocolate, left over from when Galaxy had been giving out free chocolate bars in the campus. Much of the next hour and a half was spent trying to do maths while googling random guys to stare at. And discussing everything from Sherlock to Pokemon. "You don't like Sherlock? Okay I can't hear a word you are saying anymore. Don't get a tumblr, they will find you and kill you" "She hates everything." The disappearing to get an Irn Bru from the library cafe. In total I managed two questions, but that's two more questions than I was planning on doing. We left the library at 11am, and were soon distracted by a charity selling cupcakes. Om nom nom. That was a good cupcake. Bye bye student loan. J and I reached the outside of the lecture hall first, confused as to where the others had gone. The maths lecture is always crowded, hundreds of people who are more keen than they ought to be for maths. It was tough to work our way through the crowd, some on their way out of the lecture hall, some starting to go in. Up the steps, around the corner. J and I sitting a fair way up, the only place with enough seats for everyone. Despite this, Cat, Ant and Cheese Girl sat near the front but decided against it due to the lack of desk, turning to finally find us further up, with their seats taken. They sat behind us, blaming Ant. It didn't matter where we sat though, the Thursday maths lecturer was difficult to understand, in his accent and explanations. Much of the time was spent texting and trying to teach ourselves from the textbook. Eventually, we stood to leave and I started on my way home, planning to drop off my maths textbook and eat birthday cake before leaving to my History of Science lecture in the evening (oh why did I pick the elective with evening lectures?). But of course I got distracted by GDC, them choosing the perfect time for a spam thread. A great way to spend a few hours anyway. It took a while to drag myself away from the craziness that is spam, and to go find mum for cake. And present. (Presents aren't of too much note, except the bubble wrap and the Vodka Irn Bru) Had to wait until my little brother arrived back from school before I could blow the candles out and cut up the cake. By this point, it was getting late for me to catch the bus. In order to hurry up, I took two pieces of the birthday cake and the raspberry cake from a few days before and the bottle of Vodka Irn Bru with me. The bus got me in only five minutes late, but still I was confused by the subject. Oh fuck, he was covering Astronomy. GDC. Oh fuck, Flo's sig. Changes tab and hopes no one saw it. Attempts to take notes. Sat by a table, charging my laptop and joining the spam fest again until my friend showed up. She brought with my presents in a bag. Raspberry coloured jeans I'd picked out the day before, a t-shirt and three pairs of socks (hedgehogs, ice cream and lol pandas). At some point between seven and half seven, Sciffy (Science Fiction and Fantasy Society) started their series night. Sitting in one of the lecture theatres, munching cake and drinking, watching episodes of four different series'. Firefly, Cowboy Bebop, The Big Knights (it's hilarious, you need to watch it) and Darkplace. After this, I had finished my bottle of Vodka Irn Bru, and we went with the majority to the student pub, ten minutes walk away. Here, I stood in line for the bar, hoping they accepted cards at low quantities. They did, and I bought a bottle of Bulmer's. Chatting to some random people from Sciffy, my friend and I found seats near the rest. One guy, Jack, joked about looking like a paedo, how he "had sweets in his van" and asked my friend (not drinking as it's still four months until her 18th and she's shy, staying for a while before getting a bus back home) to guess his age: "33?" "what? No, guess again" "13?" " No." "23?" "Fine. I'm 28" Later: Jack: So where are you from? Me: here Jack: but you sound American Me: everyone says that, I guess I listen to too many Americans, like in bands Jack: there aren't any good American bands. Name one good American band Me: Green Day Jack: Oh, fine, yeah.... And of course, Jack announcing how he likes to think woman spend their time feeling their breasts. "If I had boobs, I'd just stay at home all day" "But I wouldn't want to be a woman" There were numerous others I was introduced to, and discussions about a picture of Jack's penis he used to have on his phone entertained me until my friend left. Second bottle. People changed position, some leaving or coming back. Sat in the corner of the booth was Dan, who looked unbelievably like my old Geography teacher, with his massive width and brown hair and beard, the glasses sitting on the edge on his nose... Someone played Gangnam Style on their phone, a tiny screen watched by eight people around the tiny pub tables. "Anyone up for a Tequila shot?" The Tequila hadn't been there before, the new staff had forgotten to look in the bar next door for the bottle. Now, I joined Rachel, Andrew, Sarah and Steve for a Tequila shot. Salt, tequila, lemon. Sure, that seems easy enough. It wasn't a fail, but it wasn't exactly a win either. Steve just laughed and said it went about as well as it could have. Decided to go back up to order my last bottle of Bulmer's just before they stopped taking orders. This gave me the slight problem of having to finish it in a ridiculously short period of time. Along comes the man when there's still a quarter of the bottle left at least. And tells me there's one minute left. I know what you're thinking. What I should have said (but would have got me chucked out a lot sooner) was "one minute? one fucking minute? I've been here since quarter to fucking ten. I'm not fucking Chuck Norris you motherfucker! I've got one minute? Oh, look now I've got nothing. I'll show you what one fucking minute means to me. *smashes bottle across the room* One fucking minute. God fucking bless you all. I'll be back." Seriously, though. Someone suggested I down it. This wasn't even something I wanted to try, not yet. Instead, I tried to drink as much as I could, then passed the rest onto Dan, who had been drinking the same earlier. He, of course, managed to finish it. Now we were leaving, picking up my bag fleece and presents, following the road off to the bus stop, having said my goodbyes. The journey was odd, I was a little unsteady on my feet. All the same, I ended up standing at my bus stop, acknowledging the time for the next bus I could take home. It was half eleven. The time passed in a way which confused me, skipping half of every minute. But as we all know, time isn't linear, it's a ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. Anyway, I stood there, my child dayticket in my hand, three minutes until my bus, and noticed a group making their way towards me, a group of people I had met earlier at the Sciffy group in the bar. "Hello again, we're off to Opium. You coming?" Ach. How could I refuse? I had been hoping to go to Opium, but had never found anyone wanting to go. It's an alternative club/bar, like a night club with rock music. Free entry and cheap drinks, what's not to like? I did wonder how I would get home with no change, and somehow managed to get twenty quid out. I don't know why I thought twenty, not ten. I don't know how I managed to remember to take both the money and the card, but I did. We went to tesco, Rachel, Steve, Sarah and Dan. I hope that was everyone. Someone, I have no idea who, bought orange juice for gin (it took a while for me to realize, but they couldn't have bought the gin then, alcohol can only be bought between 10am and 10pm in normal stores). Some people drunk some, then we set off. Mostly I was following everyone else, my state of confused drunkness didn't help my almost complete lack of a sense of direction. Outside Opium, we stopped, some sequrity guy checking bags for alcohol, I guess. By this point, the alcohol was starting to kick in properly, this wasn't bad drunk, but I didn't want to be throwing up on my birthday anyway. A trip up the twisting stone staircase to the toilets, led to reading some interesting graffiti. Having stood around a while, Dan pointing out the "slag" by the wall, flirting with some guy, someone decided we were playing pool. The pool room was less crowded, and had a sign on a door which amused us greatly as it looked like it said "oral" as a word went over two lines. Then Josh appeared. Josh, I found out later, had licked Steve's face. He was a "friend" of Steve's, the kind that only shows up when at least one of them is drunk. Josh put the triangle on my head, telling me it was my halo. We picked teams for pool, having already had to get someone to get the white ball back out. I, the worst player, was teamed with Dan (and maybe some one else, who knows) against Steve and Rachel. I think. Our main aim was to hit the right coloured ball. Jack, of course, made jokes about my bad ball-handling skills. Josh stole my glasses, Rachel finally passing them back. He decided my hair was soft, but seriously, his was softer. And the way he talked about hair made him seem stoned. There were times where I thought I recognised songs, but it was difficult to work out the lyrics, so I couldn't be sure, all I could tell was there was definitely some drums, guitars and bass. Which is what counts really. The game of pool ended with *dun dun dun* my team as the victors. Fuck yeah. No idea how that happened, Dan must be good. We hugged. We considered going dancing upstairs, leaving all our bags together, but it was too crowded so we gave up and left at half two. Jack walked off in the opposite direction. It had been decided that me adn Steve were crashing at Rachel's flat. We said goodbye to Dan, then Sarah. At a corner, at the bottom of a hill, Steve sat down, he had kept squeezing his eyes shut all the way to this point, and didn't look well. I could still taste the salt from the shot. Rachel, the most sober of all that had been to Opium, flagged a taxi down. We took a short ride up the hill to the street her flat is on. The fare was paid by Rachel and Steve, I had no change, and Rachel felt guilty having insisted I come with them in the first place. Four fucking floors. Rachel lives on the fourth fucking floor. And I was still wearing my little black pumps, and new skinny jeans that tend to fall down a little. Her flat was dark, you could tell that if anyone was home, they were probably sleeping. We sat in the kitchen and Rachel poured us all some water. We talked. Aaand Johnny appeared. No. Wait. Was it Joe? Joe appeared. Joe sounded like, I don't know, Noel Fielding. I said something like this and was told he was reminding me of someone really camp. But with long black hair, and a little drunk himself. I had a 9am lecture the next day. Or that day. Whatever. Steve slept on the sofa in the kitchen and I slept on the mattress in the box room, with two little lights on, as the room had no windows and the dark kinda scares me. It gradually grew less comfy as the night went on. The first time I woke up, and sneeked into the kitchen to get my phone from where I had left it, it was already almost 10am. Clearly I wouldn't make it to my 9am lecture. My sleep was broken, on and off, texting back and forth to various people. There came a point where all three of us, me, Rachel and Steve, all stood in the hallway, having just exited a different room. It was probably around half twelve. We considered food, but didn't feel up to it enough. It wouldn't have been brekfast anyway, it would have been brunch. "That reminds me of something *rushes off and brings back a box* would you guys want a dinosaur?" A box full of tiny plastic dinosaurs. Fuck yes. We spent a good while searching through the box, laughing at the one that looks like a kangaroo. Steve chose his favourite, a Triceratops. He called it Steve, then noticed it said China on the bottom. "That means it already has a name" "But they all say China" So Steve removed the party cups from his jacket and announced his dinosaur was called Party China Steve. So we stayed entertained by his antics with Party China Steve, balancing the plastic toy on cup or light bulbs and making up stories about him. He genuinely made more sense drunk. Johnny came back from his shower (I didn't mention that, but pretend I did, he's Rachel's other flatmate) and words were made with the magnets on their fridge. Johnny was more sensible than Joe, but was a more obsessive gamer. He gave me change for the bus. And was informed by Rachel that Steve thought their kitchen had a drinking problem. "There's a party in my drinking problem, and everyone is invited. Put that on the kitchen door so everyone knows." It was at least half two by the time I finally left her flat, stopping off at the campus then topping up my phone before finally arriving home. The fucking end.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#26 Every Story Is Sperm: How It All Began

Once upon a time I was a little kid. Shocking I know. Anyway, I kept some of the jotters with my stories from the age six to nine and felt the need to share with the world the obscureness of it all. I can't take a photo of them, there's no way you would be able to read it. I will, however, keep the same awful grammar and spelling. So here's a lovely selection. The Ice Mountins (dated 06/02/02, aged seven) The talking snowman (dated 06/03/02, aged seven) Queen for a day (dated 24/04/02, aged seven) - we were asked to write what we would do if we were the Queen for a day Detectives (dated 19/01/04, aged nine) - better at writing, and much longer but I had a phase where I wrote everything slanted, like in bad italics the story doesn't finish, and neither do most of the other ones in that jotter. The ones that do end, tend to end with me dying. Some stories I would get very into, and make little drawings and stick them in. Three lives (dated 21/06/04, aged nine) - My favourite of the ones in which the person telling the story dies, of which there are about four There you go, a mildly disturbing journey through my childhood stories.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#25 A Pirate's Life For Me

Random fact: when I was little, I wanted to be a pirate when I grew up. Anyways. On to the poem. The eve of time dawned with our ship creaking on the horizon We are but ghosts on the sea Poltergeists pillaging the lands We are your dreams and nightmares altogether Storm clouds follow us Time stands still as we enter the battle field Cannons yearning for use Our home creaks Waves crashing upon its solid exterior Like magpies we advance Swords glinting in the moonlight We are monkeys swinging from the mast of our pirate zoo Rum is the fuel of our treasure quest We drink to our health Our freedom Our lives Out there on the open sea Life is a merry dance The elixir is the vast expanse of water Our flag tattered But our hearts true To a cause never forgotten Through mutiny and savage wrecks We pass without a care We are the stubborn ones The ones that stopped caring Here We travel by uncharted lands Here The place where rules never formed

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#24 The Multiverse Theory AS A FUCKING POEM

Once spoken, a million times heard Rip the space-time with your ignorance Through a looking glass To another universe So alike, yet so very odd A butterfly’s wings against my hand Another world Every choice, every action A quizillion universes All of your own Let your heart beat faster In the bubbles of infinity Somewhere, your perfect life Question unpredictable Where do your dreams really die? Here, in the other universe One of so many Is your head spinning From the choices you could have made? Here, there, all the same All the one universe Just a little different

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#23 Every Story Is Sperm: Whatshername's Journey

This story was started on this blog months back. People begged me to continue, so I did. You guys only brought this upon yourselves. I'll warn you now, I'm not that happy with the ending. It's weird. I could go on about how I could use this as a metaphor etc. but that would be boring. I'll just let you read it. The girl stood on the shore, the sand crunching between her toes, a welcome feeling after so long. She turned, letting her dress spin around her. All around her was silence. The grass stood shock still, daring the non-existent wind to conjure up an attack. The rocks held their breath, waiting expectantly for an unexpected event. The ocean gently swirled onto the bay, patting it reassuringly, insisting everything will be okay in the end. The bay was deserted besides the girl. The girl in her sodden dress. She pulled seaweed from her tangled hair. The girl was still bobbing as though in water as she stumbled up the beach. She sat on the warm sand in the shade of the dunes, pulling up pieces of grass. It was hard to tell where she had come from, or where she had been trying to go. Her hair was slowly drying in the sun, but clouds were gathering. Fearing rain, the girl sighed. She got up, stretched, and tried to work out where she was. Picking her way through the knee-high grass, the girl noticed a road ahead. Her legs were scratched, her knees bruised. Her dress soaked and her hair tangled. The girl, a complete stranger to this community she now found herself in, walked on with her eyes fixed on a goal. A goal to find somewhere to spend the night. Somewhere warm and dry. Somewhere she would feel safe. The road twisted and turned into a village, a short scattering of houses, a few shops. The girl shivered as she heard the crash of thunder from behind her. Fastening her pace, she followed the road a little further. Everywhere she looked was quiet. The silence told of a past, hidden from strangers. The silence told of evil at night, the village completely still so early in the evening. The girl walked on, looking out for this unknown danger. She limped slightly, stumbled and fell. As she was getting back on her bleeding feet, she turned her head sharply. A woman had been peeking out from behind a curtain, watching her. The front door of the house opened, and the woman stepped out tentatively. She offered a hand towards the limping child, who stumbled towards her. BANG! The woman looked up in fear, and gestured towards the girl once more. The girl stared up the road, unsure. She was hesitant, but knew the house would be the best sanctionary. There were so many questions she wanted to ask, and most went unanswered. The woman was silent as she offered food, drink, dry clothes and a bed. The girl was happy to accept each in turn, wondering why no questions had been asked as to who she was and how she had got there. More confused than before, but now with a full stomach and dry clothes, the girl gratefully clambered into the bed. It felt softer and warmer than any other bed she had slept in, yet it was probably mediocre. Her head was rested on a pillow made of clouds and it was seconds before the girl fell asleep. Her night was an unsettling one, dreams filled with the screams of the past. She was back on the ship, crouching in a corridor with her hands over her ears. She didn't like the yelling. She didn't like the screams. She didn't like the way the ship was moving, lurching in the swollen ocean. The way the spray would reach the deck. The way the water made sparks, bright flashes of light in the swaying rooms. There was water on her dress, the water was up to her ankles now. People were rushing past her, people were shouting... She closed her eyes and wished for this to stop, for someone to come over and tell her everything was going to be okay. She kept them shut, ignoring the world while she whistled her own little tune. She only opened her eyes when someone grabbed her arm and told her to go. In the brief glimpse she had of the man, she saw his unkempt beard and tiny, beetle-black eyes. He was a member of the crew. The girl got up, shaking. She tried to follow the man, but the ship lurched again and she fell back down the stairs. She woke with a start, sitting straight up in the bed. The memory of the last few days was still raw, close to the surface of her mind. She didn't understand most of what had happened but she didn't want to forget it. The first rays of the sun were seeping into the room, bringing colour to the room's many mysterious objects. Beside the bed stood a small chest of drawers made of dark hardwood. On top there was a lamp, a wooden box, a bear and a tiny rusty key. The girl stood. Her arms and legs ached, but she was used to pain. She stretched, then looked at the variety of bruises she obtained. Some were deep blue, tinted with purple, like the sky at night. Some were yellow. Some had no colouring, they just hurt. Her feet were scraped, but the blood had dried now. She tried to tease the tangles from her hair with her hands, but it was no use. Having looked around the room, she tiptoed downstairs. Two major questions still played in her head. Why had they left her behind? And where was she now? Her brain felt as though it had been through a washing machine. Somewhere in the silent house, an answer must hide. Hidden in a cupboard or drawer or under a bed, having tea with the bogeyman and discussing how best to terrify the girl. She wandered into the living room as a snake of fear slowly began to rise in her chest. Where was that woman from the night before? She couldn't have just disappeared. Hurrying, she checked the other rooms. Yet still she couldn't find her elusive saviour. The house stood there, refusing to tell the secrets it so obviously hid. The girl sat on the carpet, trying to make sense of it all. Perhaps she was out. Maybe she would come back if she waited long enough. But did she want to wait? She looked around her. The oak furniture, the strange patterns on the carpets, the moth-eaten curtains... She had known as soon as she had stepped over the threshold that she wouldn't stay long. Outside, the sun was fully up, spreading thin rays through the broken cloud. A few patches of blue sky could be seen. The girl stood, looking out. She had enough experience with weather to think it was unlikely to rain soon. Grabbing the pen and paper from a worktop in the kitchen, she wrote a short message, incase the woman came back and was worried about her. "Thank you for everything, I will be going now" That should do. Stepping out into the street once more, blinking in the bright light of the day, she started her long walk on down this same road from the night before. Why she thought the answers were down this road, she didn't know. Her home was somewhere in that direction. Not knowing the neighbourhood meant nothing more than a longer walk. Somewhere deep down she knew her innocent, naive way of thinking wasn't right. If she never found her way home, hopefully there would be some place she could make a home. Your home is where your heart is after all, that's what everyone says. One lonely road stretched out in front of her, one path on. She didn't know where it would take her but for now she was willing to just follow it. On either side of the road, there was grass and little plants. Every so often, there were paths up to houses that stood alone, free-standing and independent. But lonely, like everything else. Around a corner, the girl found a small cluster of shops. One for food and little necessary items. One for clothes, although the choice appeared limited. One for DIY items and bigger things. They were just opening up, half a dozen people scattered there, opening shutters and talking. Some looked around, surprised by the presence of the girl. But she walked on oblivious to the whisperings behind her. The main road was fully tarmaced, but either side the road just faltered away to nothing. Gravel, stones and grass. There was no path at the side of the road, none was truly needed. Here, the road just stretched to the horizon, it’s future as uncertain as the girl that walked along it. The sun had risen enough to give her a warming pat on the back. It was comforting, in a way, made her think that everything would be okay. One day, somewhere just past the horizon, on an undiscovered ground, there would be a place for her. It had been a long time since she had eaten and the rumbles from her stomach were reminding her. She continued to walk though, passing trees and bushes on her way out of the village, walking over a stone bridge, turning with the road and following onward. Some hours down the road, she began to feel like she was just a point following a line, where there was no beginning and could be no end. Time lost all meaning as she walked on, conscious of her energy slowly wearing down. The process may have been gradual, but eventually she found her head filling with cotton wool and her legs becoming lead. She lay down on the grass at the side of the road, deciding that she could go no further without rest. Her head hurt, her throat hurt, her feet hurt. She curled up on the grass, imagining a lullaby as she drifted off to that other land, the one made of candy floss clouds and sheep jumping over gates. But even in this land there was trouble. There was water seeping through her clothes and the ground under her was so uncomfortable she might as well have been lying on bricks. Her head hurt and her legs were twisted at odd angles. It was the ship. The ship was rocking back and forth atop the waves, stopping her from getting up. A man picked her up, his rough hands tangling her hair as he slung her over his back. She couldn’t see the man, she didn’t want to. Her eyes were held tightly shut, blocking out the world. She could feel the man going up the stairs, but she thought there were more steps. She could feel him placing her down. Was he putting her on a lifeboat? Was she safe? There was blanket put over her, and an engine started. Still tempted to open her eyes, but too exhausted to actually look, she turned a little and fell into a deeper sleep. Waking hours later, the girl sat up, confused. She wasn’t sitting on dew-covered grass at the edge of the road. She was sitting on a couch in a big room filled with photos. Her movement had startled a man who was sitting nearby on a chair. He smiled at her, his old eyes crinkling at the edges, his beard laced with grey. His head shone with lack of hair. His clothes were the colour of moss. He had seen the girl pass by his shop, and upon seeing her sleeping at the side of the same road after the shop was shut up, he took her home. The girl was scared. She had been since she first got to this island, but now everything was becoming more frightening. The man seemed friendly enough, yet she wasn’t sure who to trust. She could be independent, but she had never been around strangers for this long. In this mysterious place, there was nothing familiar left to hang on to. It wasn’t that she wanted to be back with the family, but she didn’t know anything else. Could there be a place for her somewhere else, when it had never left like she had a place there? Everything was becoming so confusing, and the worst thing was people trying to help her. They didn’t know what happened. She wasn’t even sure if she knew. The girl stood up, her head spinning. The man, the man looked kind. He had photos of children. Grandchildren? But the girl blundered past him, out of the room. The man tried to stop her. He yelled, he put his arms out and told her she couldn’t go outside. What was wrong with outside? That man was weird. She was free, and she could do what she wanted. Holding her head, she wrenched the door open and stumbled outside. It was dark now. The girl stood beside the road for a while, trying to combat her fears. It would be so easy just to go back inside and spend the night on the sofa. But she wanted to feel in control. So bad she would risk the unknown in this walk through the dark. Night was creeping on and a moon shone above, a bright coin in the sky. The girl walked, humming a nursery rhyme to herself. The moon was a small comfort to her on her endless journey. She was far from the man’s house, but ahead she could see nothing but shadows. Her legs hurt badly from the walking and her stomach was growling for food. But she had to go on. There was no giving up. She couldn’t admit defeat. The fear she felt gave her enough of an adreniline boost to continue. The darkness was surrounding her and choking her. She could barely see the ground beneath her feet and her head felt like it had been wrapped in cotton wool and left out in the rain. Nothing made sense. The shadows in front of her seemed to be moving, dancing before her eyes. Vague shapes were forming and disappearing. All she could see was slightly different shades of black, mixing, churning, spitting out an outline of a person. All light in the world was gone, leaving a horrible collection of shadows. But how could there be shadows if there was no light? She had keep putting one foot in front of the other. Closing her eyes, wishing it all away. Hoping for some light for her journey. The moon had even gone. Vanished. Maybe it was hiding behind a thick cloud, laughing at her misfortune. Laughing at her for being scared without it. The shadows. They couldn’t be shadows. But they were moving. She stopped. They were definitely moving. Coming closer. Reaching out, shapeless, terrifying figures. It wasn’t the moon that was laughing at her. It was the shadows. She took a deep breath and told herself they didn’t exist. There were no scary monsters. The bogeyman doesn’t exist. It was just her. On this road. Nobody could hurt her. She kept repeating it in her head, as though it would make a difference. The girl started walking again. Slowly, each foot testing the ground in front. Slowly, trying not to think about what creatures were out there. BANG! She had walked right into something. Something very solid. Toppling over, she could just see the shadows forming into people before her head hit the ground. Stars were spinning in her head. She could feel the lifeboat moving. She could hear the people screaming. She could feel the waves as she was pushed off the boat. She could feel the the chunk of the ship as she held onto it tightly. She didn’t want to let go. But she couldn’t hold on. She was drifting away, barely keeping her head above water. Her knees were getting scraped by the sand. She was lying, coughing up water, on the beach. There were stars spinning in her head. She looked up. And blinked. The darkness was gradually being displaced by rays of sunlight that briefly flickered over the horizen. The clouds were gone again. The girl stood shakily in the middle of the road. She was in a town, there were houses and shops. And people. She saw the town from her blurry point of view. The people with concerned glances. Some came closer. One or two nodded in her direction, sympathy radiating out. It was like everyone understood, even when they couldn’t possibly understand. A girl her age, smiling and telling her she had been there before. The girl had no words. No possible way to explain her situation. The beautiful part was, she didn’t need to. She felt like she had found her home. *** It took her a few days to fully understand this island. There was a problem with the night. Perhaps it was only children that saw it at first, but when children disappear, adults get scared too. The girl had never thought that adults could be scared. She had thought they would always be able to protect. But sometimes, no matter what you do, there is no such thing as forever. So she was happy to live in the town. She had some close escapes, but people looked out for each other there. No one would be left out at night. She would still wonder about the family, if they were even alive. The past had its problems, but it was long gone. The future has its demons too, but most can be fought.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#22 Tears In The Blackhole

This is a poem I wrote. Just about now. You dream your life away Wishing you were somewhere else Living another life If you could take the pain away, you would You would push it underground And try to carry on Battling through the fears But your strength is failing you There are too many secrets to hide Everything falling around you A black hole gaping beneath your feet Heads over heels into the darkness You’re out of control The blackness that surrounds you is infinite Trailing off into the end of time You don’t know how you got there There’s a vague memory of a happy past You don’t know how to escape No matter what anyone does A hand reaching through the darkness Someone to tell you They know how you feel Everything will be okay Somehow A light from a new future Get away from the past A new life in a new place Wasn’t that what you always wanted? Life isn’t simple It’s tough to get through minefields There’s no ending in sight But a series of experiences Along the way So, yeah. Comment and stuff. If you want.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#21 A Child's Paradise

As I sat on my bed, putting the sheets on, I pushed the soft toys to one side. I should get rid of them. I wish I could. But each one has a story attached to it, a series of childish memories. There's an odd collection on my bed. Kazina, my leopard. Given to me by my mum after I helped with the photo albums. Nothing important, but I like that leopard. I can distinctly remember yelling and racing after my sister when she took it. In my head, as a child, I would tell everything to my toys as I hugged them. There's Rabbit. Yes, the one from Winnie the Pooh. A birthday present from a friend from near the beginning of high school. She gave it to me at school and I spent the whole day with Rabbit in my bag. And I wondered why I was unpopular. There's a monkey wearing a dress I got for my second birthday. I call him Billie now. The dress is truly horrible, the kind only a cross-dressing guy would wear. He resurfaced recently from some hiding place and has since had pride of place in my bed. As a kid, I had a high bed. I mean, I still do. But my old bed was higher. So high I could lie on my back and reach the ceiling. So high, I was above everyone else. So high no one really bothered going into my bed. From an early age I would hide there to escape from the world. Like that morning when someone tried to wake me up, so I put the covers over my head and said I was in the kitchen. There's a Winnie the Pooh, part of a Christmas present from another friend. Last Christmas. Knowing someone as long as I've known her, you tend not to give up little things. I have scraps of paper with our doodles on, all in a box hidden at the back of my cupboard. There's Taz. From Looney Tunes. I feel like he is my namesake, in a way. One of my many nicknames is Taz. Although that came more from making my original email address, it suits me perfectly. Not that I am a crazy Australian animal. Because of the memories. Those blissful memories of watching Pokemon Movie 2000 on our video, and the short cartoons that came before the actual film. The memories of getting up at 6am to watch a crappy TV show, but trying to sneak back to bed before anyone else got up. There's a Dalek pajama case, used for something else. Not much to say about that other than the fact that I can accidentally bash it in the middle of the night and its choice of phrases are interesting. The Doctor Who theme, exterminate, you are an enemy of the Daleks... There were others, and for some reason it worries me that I can't remember all their names. The beanie babies, long lost in the sea of time. The chameleon. The various dalmatians, proudly showing to the world my love of 101 Dalmatians. A true classic. The memory of reading the book in class when I was about eight. I had to read a part that said, to paraphrase "Then he tried to feed the puppy the phone and put the bottle to his ear" but I was laughing too much, having already seen that bit. These memories won't go away if I give the toys away. I just like having them there, for just now at least. My memories of my Barbies, now gone, won't fade. Each one I played with (and I had a large collection) had a specific name. Whether they were based on people I knew or people I wish I knew, I don't know. But I remember Tim and Tom, the brothers but a year or so apart (two or three years old?). I remember Louise, Jennifer, Charlie; all names of girls I had been friends with. Charlie in real life had a lisp. Charlie the Barbie had braces. The older Barbies; Melanie, Melissa... There were two men. One was an average Ken, the other had black hair and a wet suit. And a dolphin. Maybe I'm psycho-analyzing my own childhood, but I feel I didn't care so much about the names of the adult Barbies because as a child, you don't tend to care about the names of adults. Well, what a wonderful trip down memory lane that was. Might do it again sometime.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#20 An Ode To A Magikarp. And Other Songs.

Yeah. That's right. I'm moving my shit over. An Ode To A Magikarp My first original song/poem/thing that I actually like. Wooo. (This is backwards chronological order btw) Transition Metal Complexes (parodying the original Pokemon theme) Alkanes and Alkenes (parodying Stuart and the Ave.) Paranoid Substitutions (parodying Basket Case) Know Your NMR (parodying Know Your Enemy, duh) Yay! (Incidentally, I'm also writing a "short" story, but I won't post it until it's finished.)

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#19 The Dark Side Of Night

It takes a lot to admit to this. This one basic fact that can sometimes change the decisions I make, the way I go about my day. I'm scared of the dark. I always have been. As a kid, I had a night light for a while, but it didn't really help. I remember running up from the bathroom in the middle of the night, not feeling safe until I was under my covers. I guess everyone has a fear, however small. My sister would make fun of me if she knew I still let it govern my life. About a year and a half ago, the youth group I am part of decided to do an electricity-free weekend. Food sponsors to be given to the homeless. But it was coming up for prelims, and I was stressed about other things too. My friend tried to get us all to sleep over at hers when I blurted out that I couldn't do it. "Why? What could you possibly not live without for one weekend?" Oh god, she thought I was being vain and thinking of my phone or internet or music. "Light." I don't know whether I did the right thing there. Is it right to confront your fears? Or should you just embrace them and carry on? In our house, it's a little easier because at night the kitchen light is left on. This at least means I won't freak out if I need to go to the toilet in the middle of the night. It also brings me to possibly the most embarrassing story I will tell the internet. One year, before I'd started high school, somewhen between me discovering Green Day and me getting an mp3 player. We were on holiday on a little island off the coast off Scotland. For the second week of the holiday we were staying in a big house, right next the beach (although you can't get that far from a beach there), in the middle of fucking nowhere. No lights were on at night. To go to the toilet in the middle of the night was pretty freaking daunting. One night I did. The room I was in was pitch black, all I could make out were vague traces of windows and doors. It was hard enough to find the door handle, never mind the stairs. And the toilet. After that one terrifying trip, feeling my way through the darkness as my heart beat in my mouth, there was no way I would do the same again. But another night I woke up needing. Oh, you can see where this story is going. Of course it'll be fine, I don't need that much, I'll go in the morning. What a lie. If only I had had the intelligence then, or the bravery, to just put the landing light on so I could see my way down. My parents were furious. Especially as I didn't tell them. And it was a rented house. I slept the rest of the time in a sleeping bag. Most recently, I cycled with my mum and little brother from Edinburgh to Falkirk. (It's way too long, and muddy, don't try it.) Just before Falkirk there is a ridiculously long tunnel. Sure, there were light on the ceiling. Sometimes. But it was still dark. If I hadn't been so creeped out by it all, the walls would have been a thing of beauty. Did I mention you were supposed dismount for this tunnel? It went for fucking ever. Me just staring ahead at that spot of light in the distance, hoping it would come closer.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#18 Pokemon, What If You Were Real?

Okay, so this entry sort of spawns from a book I'm reading, "Physics of the Impossible", where the author attempts to explain the physics behind popular science fiction and whether or not it is possible. He covers topics such as telepathy, phasers, teleportation and robots. I'm currently reading the chapter on robots, and part of it really got me thinking. (I should point out that by 2020 Moore's Law is likely to collapse as the age of the silicon chip is coming to an end). Fair enough, you say. Well, what if we do create such animal-robots? Would we use them as companion, to help around the house, or to battle others? And slowly, the world of Pokemon appears. If such creatures existed, different people would choose to use them for different means. How about that question, appearing so often in memes, why do Pokemon hurt themselves when they are confused? If a Pokemon was in fact a highly evolved robot (learning both from top-down and bottom-up approaches*), the opponent attacking its "brain" would affect the circuit enough to make it hurt itself instead of its opponent. *Maybe I should explain that more. One refers to building up a catalogue of everything it needs to know, then letting it run loose. The other refers to letting it learn through its surroundings, like a baby learns how to speak and act. By combining both approaches, the most effective robot can be made. In the first two years of a human's life, they learn more than in any other two year period of their life. After a while, they will begin to learn from books and teachers instead. With comparing to Pokemon, remember that you can catch a wild Pokemon with a few attacks, but by training (and use of TMs or HMs) it can learn more attacks. A major problem with robots is how hard it is for them to be programmed in common sense and so be able to keep up a conversation. Pokemon will only say the name of their species, sometimes in different tones. In a similar way to close family being able to interpret what a small child says, a Pokemon trainer soon becomes able to tell what the Pokemon is thinking. Emotions can be programmed in further in the future, making the nature of the Pokemon (lonely, quiet, brave) and affecting the choices the creature would make. I feel this is an optimistic hope for the future, but why not? And who the hell wouldn't want a Squirtle or Togepi or Munchlax?

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#17 Kill The DJ. Or Dance With Him. I'm Sorry.

Friday night was prom night. Oh the excitement. I was picked up at 1pm from my house by my friend and her parents. At her house, her sister did my hair and make up. The hair took almost three hours as she was curling it in small sections. And used half a can of strong hold hairspray, which I swear is still in my hair. At about 5pm I changed into my dress and put on my jewelry. I own so much jewelry it fills three boxes and lies on my desk, but still the jewelry for prom was either bought or borrowed. Finally we were sorting out our clutch bags, wrapping our shawls around ourselves and putting on our heels (not something either of us are used to). Her dad drove us to the venue, picking up another friend on the way. The prom was held at a massive posh hotel. Not because it was posh but because it was one of the few that previous sixth years at our school haven't got us banned from. Although there are stories of how close they have come. Throwing up down the main stairs and passing out in a locked toilet stall are only stories from the year above ours. There were various umbrellas involved in getting the three of us from the car to the hotel without getting our hair wrecked. Someone was playing a bagpipe. Well what did you expect, it's Edinburgh. Inside, a smart, plainly dressed woman showed us the way to the right, where a queue of our year was already forming. The girls in dresses, varying from floor-length to knee-length to 50s style. The guys mainly in kilts, complete with sporan. The occasional guy in a suit or their national dress. The queue was for a sheet which enabled you to get your free professional photo, taken in the main hall where we would later dine and dance. The photos were quick (had to be considering the number of people there). They must have taken at least three of each person. We then went to get our champagne (hey, we were paying £80 for this shit, there better be drinks involved). Another friend arrived later, with her mum insisting on taking photos of all of us. She had come from her cousin's wedding so arrived a little later than us. We decided to go find the toilets. Down some stairs (ridiculously hard to go down or up in heels even without drink) there was a huge lobby area with four (really comfy) sofas. And a TV. The TV was only playing football, which later attracted various guys and members of staff. Once the game was finished it was turned off. Shame. The toilets themselves had an insane number of flowers painted all around. The walls and the sinks. Who puts flowers on sinks? Anyways, we chatted with others, everyone complimenting everyone. I swear more photos were taken in the toilets than anywhere else. The champagne reception was in the bar upstairs and it was here we waited for dinner. Chatting, taking photos and discussing the size of that maths teachers shoes. She said she would soon change them for the trainers she had with, but kept them on for much longer than I expected. Huge pink heels, but a black dress. We also saw the girl who had made her dress from old pillow cases and sheets. It looked fucking epic, 50s style white with flowers. It was 7.30pm by the time we were allowed back into the main hall for dinner. I had left my shawl on my seat and now our table had been laid with the posh cutlery, plates, bread and wine (white and red). We shared our table with a chemistry teacher, a music teacher and the active schools co-ordinator (no, I don't know what that title actually implies). A history teacher was supposed to be there but he was marking exam papers and had said he would be late. He didn't turn up in the end. The last call for group shots came with the staff leaving for one big photo together. It seemed like forever before a door opened and in came a long trail of waiters with our starters. A soup of some kind. The name was odd, but it turned out amazing. The chemistry teacher came round with the white wine (the red turned out to taste horrible, far too bitter). There was a pause before the main course. It was chicken with creamed potatoes, cabbage, carrots, mushroom and sauce. The break after this course was longer, as many people couldn't finish it. Finally, the desert. A chocolate terrine with cherry sauce. I was annoyed that the desert had been changed from the ice cream (just because people thought rosemary ice cream didn't sound like it tasted good), but this was delicious. The final part of the meal was petit fours (tiny cake-like things on a little tray) with tea or coffee, perhaps an attempt to sober some people up. At some point during the meal (I forget when), music started playing and various members of staff and some pupils got up to dance to YMCA and the Time Warp. While we had been eating the ceilidh band had been setting up. With the lights dimmed slightly, the first dance (the Gay Gordons) began, at least one of my friends getting up to dance. I have never been a big fan of Scottish Country dancing, especially the sort done at the school christmas parties where no guys would ever want to dance with you. But it's a lot more fun with a crowd of half-drunk people who really don't care. The first time I dance was with a friend and a history teacher, who had come over to our table for the last course. Don't bother asking me for the name of the dance, the dances are now well forgotten. Names like the Flying Scotsman, the Canadian Barndance, St. Bernards Waltz... I have but a vague memory of them. That night I danced with a few friends, and some other people. Well, there was the music teacher who had been at our table and was pretty drunk. She thought we were doing great, but I got stood on by the guy in front because of he. And then there was the DJ. An old, balding guy who told everyone what to do in the dances. He came over and asked if I wanted to dance. Never being any good at making quick decisions and not wanting to seem rude, I accepted. The dance was fairly humiliating. There did come a point where we chucked our shoes aside. And then the dancing changed to disco. The first song (no doubt suggested by our year) was Call Me Maybe, with the guys yelling it. Not much dancing to be done there, except for the Cha Cha Slide. We spent our time drinking and going done to the toilets (it was much cooler there). I'm unsure when, but the friend I was staying over with got a little drunk. She kept apologizing because her voice would go high in the middle of a sentence. The final part of the night, returning to scottish country dancing, with less staff and more drunk people. There were a few more dances before the final hurrah: Auld Lang Syne. Joining hands in a huge circle around the room while the DJ "sung" the song. The constant moving back and forward bashed me (and my friend) against a pillar. There was then "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" aimed at the teachers. And Three Cheers, which turned into six cheers (for six years). But no one seemed to be sober enough to actually count. The soberest of my friends said it was seven, but I would guess anything from four to nine. I really had no idea. So now the band were packing up, and we had to start leaving. It was about midnight when the last dance finished, but we stayed for another half hour at least, despite having phoned a friend's dad to pick us up. Talking to the few teachers left, with hugs from our old year head, and many other drunks along the way. Suggesting to an english teacher she ought to spray paint a massive painting on the wall, so as she could use a friend as a lawyer. We stumbled into the car, exhausted. At my friend's house the living room was already set up with air beds, sleeping bags and bottles of water. But it was still a long time before I could switch off and sleep.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#16 My Trophy Is So Cool It Wears Sunglasses

Last night was my high school's awards ceremony. I have been once before, and the memory of that night didn't exactly make me look in favour of going again. The man that had been there to give a short speech and hand out the prizes went on for almost an hour. Then we had to sit through most of the awards before I even had to go up, eventually getting a lift home from my friend's parents well after ten o'clock. This time, things were a little different. It was my last year of high school this past year. So it was near the end of exam time when I recieved my letters regarding the awards. The first was for the school's award for Science, Mathematics and Technology. The second for a departmental award. The latter being much more vague as so many are handed out. Going to the awards ceremony did mean one thing however. I would have to wear school uniform one last time. If you don't/didn't have school uniform you don't know that wonderful feeling of taking of those horrible clothes for the last time. Let me just run through the uniform for our school. Black trousers/skirt. White polo shirt/shirt. Black school jumper/v-neck. Blazers for Prefects and above. A tie (with school badge showing) for use with shirts. Black shoes. My parents (and ten year old brother) had agreed to come this time. Dad was getting off work early to drive us there. Definitely a strange feeling changing into school clothes at 6pm. My brother complained he would be bored. Which is actually a fair point, I knew I would be. Arriving in time for the last spaces in the car park, but too early to go into the hall meant awkwardly standing around for half an hour. Leaving my family as soon as I could, I found some people from my year. None of us knew what to do, as rehearsals would normally be done during school time. The head boy for our year ended up asking a deputy head, who just told us to sit in the back right of the hall. One guy claimed the new head teacher was a Nazi "you should see her office, you can't move for swastikas". There's always been some weird people in our year. Sitting in the back of the hall, hoping it would start soon, I learnt from the program that it was Biology I had a departmental award for. Funny, the teachers were shit. The ceremony started with an introduction from a deputy head, who passed it on to the music department. Half an hour of music in which I learnt the bagpipes can never be tuned and the string band to a mean Pirates of the Caribbean. The head boy "plays percussion sometimes, it's a rock start kind of thing". The guy in the year below who has a massive obsession with Doctor Who sang a song from a Phantom of the Opera sequel. That guy can sing. And the guy who won the school's talent show did a little street dance. The hype about him was right. I began to think the awards would be given out, then the (acting) head teacher stood for a speech. The most boring half hour about consumerism or something. Then five year's worth of awards before it even got to our year, never mind me. Distinctions (for people who have merits in at least 75% of their subjects) then Departmental Awards (one for each subject for each level) then the special awards. We went up to the stage a few people before our names were called. The awards were handed out by a retiring PE teacher. My friend received three departmental awards. I had to wait until almost the end for my big award. The last award is the Dux of the school, and just before that was mine. The head boy won the special award for music, and a guy called Danny who does epic graffiti art got the special award for art. Finally I was at the bottom of the stage, waiting on my name being called. For departmental awards, you get £15 in a book gift card. Some special awards came with trophies. This was what I wanted. Sounds stupid, but a physical trophy to show how good other people think you are at something is pretty special. So I was standing there, with the sudden realization that the two trophies left on the table were the ones for art and humanities and science mathematics and technology. I walked proudly across the stage to pick up my trophy, a fairly heavy silver cup with a plastic base. My friend turned to me as I went to sit back down, asking to swap her £45 of book vouchers for my trophy. The final award was for Dux of the school. Everyone stood for her as she rushed up the length of the hall, returning embarrassed through the cheering and applause. With a medal. Nevermind, I have a trophy. I left the school with my old maths teacher congratulating me. The trophy now sits in pride of place on my desk. Wearing my sunglasses.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#15 Every Story Is Sperm

Writing stories is something I've always been good at. To an extent. I can do description well, but my plot always gets messed up. There was a story I wrote when I was about seven, where we had been told to write a story that ends something like "they woke up and it was all a dream". Needless to say, I thought that whole concept sucked. So I wrote a story (that had always intended to end that way) about some kids at a space museum ending up on Mars because of some red dust and having an adventure with some aliens. It went on for about 12 pages (very long when you are seven) and never really got to its ending. I should look out the stories I wrote back then, they were odd. No other way to describe them. Anyways, I got bored and wrote this off the top of my head. I might finish it some day, but I've said that about a lot of unfinished things. The girl stood on the shore, the sand crunching between her toes, a welcome feeling after so long. She turned, letting her dress spin around her. All around her was silence. The grass stood shock still, daring the non-existent wind to conjure up an attack. The rocks held their breath, waiting expectantly for an unexpected event. The ocean gently swirled onto the bay, patting it reassuringly, insisting everything will be okay in the end. The bay was deserted besides the girl. The girl in her sodden dress. The girl pulled seaweed from her tangled hair. The girl still bobbing as though in water as she stumbled up the beach. She sat on the warm sand in the shade of the dunes, pulling up pieces of grass. It was hard to tell where she had come from, or where she had been trying to go. Her hair was slowly drying in the sun, but clouds were gathering. Fearing rain, the girl sighed. She got up, stretched, and tried to work out where she was. Picking her way through the knee-high grass, the girl noticed a road ahead. Her legs were scratched, her knees bruised. Her dress soaked and her hair tangled. The girl, a complete stranger to this community she now found herself in, walked on with her eyes fixed on a goal. A goal to find somewhere to spend the night. Somewhere warm and dry. Somewhere she would feel safe. The road twisted and turned into a village, a short scattering of houses, a few shops. The girl shivered as she heard the crash of thunder from behind her. Fastening her pace, she followed the road a little further. Everywhere she looked was quiet. The silence told of a past, hidden from strangers. The silence told of evil at night, the village completely still so early in the evening. The girl walked on, looking out for this unknown danger. She limped slightly, stumbled and fell. As she was getting back on her bleeding feet, she turned her head sharply. A woman had been peeking out from behind a curtain, watching her. The front door of the house opened, and the woman stepped out tentatively. She offered a hand towards the limping child, who stumbled towards her. BANG! The woman looked up in fear, and gestured towards the girl once more. The girl stared up the road, unsure. She was hesitant, but knew the house would be the best sanctionary. There were so many questions she wanted to ask, and most went unanswered. The woman was silent as she offered food, drink, dry clothes and a bed. The girl was happy to accept each in turn, wondering why no questions had been asked as to who she was and how she had got there. More confused than before, but now with a full stomach and dry clothes, the girl gratefully clambered into the bed. It felt softer and warmer than any other bed she had slept in, yet it was probably mediocre. Her head was rested on a pillow made of clouds and it was seconds before the girl fell asleep.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

 

#14 Last Day of Shenanigans

Tuesday was my last official day of high school. There's still the dreaded exams, the leavers' lunch and the prom, but it was the last day of "classes" before exam leave. As would be expected, there was a fair amount of hype about it, and the build up to the last day was filled with various discussions as to pranks. The first prank noticed upon our entrance to the school, and the one I was most interested in, was one guy's attempt to bubble wrap the entire library. We went straight to the library to check in on this attempt, reportedly started almost 2 hours before school. However, as we entered, he came out followed a senior member of staff. Later, we found out what had actually happened. He (and his volunteered helper) had bubble wrapped the floor, bookshelves etc. Then the librarian had come in, pretty angry with them. The janitors had to take all of bubble wrap up, and the two boys had been sent to a teacher, who would have told them off had he not found the entire tale hilarious. The next little prank noticed was the outline of a body made on the foyer floor in duct tape, originally with tape surrounding both it and the stairs nearby. Much of first "lesson" (which I would have free anyway) was spent in the foyer, with most of the year getting their shirts signed. And the few who actually cared tried to organize the flash mob supposed to be occurring during break. There were vuvuzelas, bubbles, silly string, water balloons and water guns. Just a small hint of what went down. There was even a point where some teachers chucked us outside, ordering some people to mop up from the spilled bubbles and water. During the time outside, a few guys were chosen for target practice while others threw water balloons at them. Break arose with me rushing off to see friends (who had been forced to stay in class first thing). The supposed flash mob started half-way through break and quickly turned into a mosh. The song, in case you were wondering, was a mash-up of various suggestions, everything from 5,6,7,8 to Call Me Maybe. Break ended, with our year being told to go to their actual classes. I turned up to Maths long before anyone else in the class. Standing and chatting to the teacher, silently hoping the others would appear soon. When they did, it was only to ask for the teachers to sign their shirts, trying to spray them with water guns and telling stories of the day. It's not like any of the teachers expected us to even turn up. As we were leaving the Maths corridor, a boy holding a giant inflatable banana was chased across the corridor by another boy in a monkey one piece suit. Our year of course. The full story included a boy in a tiger one piece chasing him and a boy with his zookeeper hat and badge chasing him. Apparently a group of people ran into a classroom yelling "There's a troll in the dungeon!" before leaving. The teacher found it amazing. So the rest of the "lesson" was spent back in the foyer. Gotta admit I got a little bored. When the bell rang for the next "lesson", the majority of our Chemistry class decided to go up to Chemistry. Although this was mainly because there was work that some people still hadn't finished that had to be in that day. We were all sitting there, talking about what we are doing next year. Our other Chemistry teacher came in, asking if someone had requested "the Jelly Baby experiment". For those of you that don't know, it's basically where he puts a Jelly Baby in a boiling tube, while telling a little story, and eventually blows the Jelly Baby up using chemicals. One of the most requested demos at that school. Just as we were getting excited for this, my friend burst in, telling us that we were going to set the balloons off now. So instead we had to hurry back to the other block. On a room on the first floor most of our year had already gathered, along with a few teachers and over a hundred helium-filled balloons in various colours. There were a few speeches from the teachers, then we all rushed for the balloons and took the back stairs out. Standing outside, we counted down and released the balloons. It was a lovely ending to six years. The problem was finding out later that some eejits in our year had tried to hide a rape alarm in the library. And filmed it, including the discovery of the hidden camera.

It's Splash Time

It's Splash Time

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