Monday, 31 December 2012

I guess this means goodbye, 2012

I have a lot to be happy about this year. I was able to afford a plane ticket to visit my family in South Africa for the first time in fifteen years...even turned 18 over there. I petted cheetahs, white and yellow lions and white tigers, and actually got the chance to bond with my Auntie Monica, which means a heck of a lot to me. Meanwhile in England, I've been given the chance to intern in India for two months in the summer, I've FINALLY finished my Hell Levels (sorry, A Levels) and I'm now at university studying Aerospace Engineering (I discuss more about my year here).

Now this year, 2012, I didn't really do the whole New Year's Resolution thing (personally I consider New Year's Day to be a bit like a wedding - a day where people make promises they can't keep), but since we're turning another page I think I'm going to try and keep to some...goals, as opposed to resolutions:


1.  Treat my body better. Now I'm not a slut, so if it was something inappropriate that first came into your mind, think again. I want to treat it better in the sense of healthy eating, exercising more. That kind of rubbish that sucks balls (thanks, now you've made me inappropriate!). Only I'm not going for the whole "I'm gonna eat at least five portions of fruit or veg a day" because I know I won't. Instead, I'm going to try cutting down to two choccies/treats a week and exercise for at least an hour at least twice a week. Every two months I'm able to do that properly, I'll treat myself to two boxes of brownies, because then I've got a reason to stick to it.

2. Gain some experience. I want to be an engineer, yet if you mentioned horsepower, mid-engines or transmissions to me, my face would be blank. 2013, I'm going to start asking garages nearby if I can learn from them and work for them for free. I'll also start reading more motor vehicle magazines so I don't seem like a total dingbat when I ask around.

3.  Organise my ass. What with my degree, my job, LUTheatre, streetdance, LUSH radio, writing, and my hopes to help out in a garage, I'm really gonna need to draw up a schedule to follow so that I don't let myself down, or anyone else - I let you guys down since I still haven't finished those two stories for y'all. So yeah, hopefully by being more organised I'll find more time to write stories for you guys.


What are other people's goals/resolutions? Let me know in the comments section. In the meantime, happy new year and bring on 2013!

Keep smiling!


Claire

Monday, 24 December 2012

My life is over

Adulthood has given me an early Christmas present: a slap in the face in the shape of a filling. Yes, after 18 years of having perfectly healthy teeth, I had to have my first filling today. It sucked balls. There's nothing like having the numb feeling and metallic, dusty taste of failure in your mouth; I have failed that tooth, and now - at 18 - I have a damned filling.

Also, since the craze had calmed down a little, I had decided to see what all the fuss was about a certain book called '50 Shades Of Grey'. Pfft! More like '50 Shades Of WTF'! I'd thought to myself before reading, "How bad can it be?". 123 pages in, I feel traumatized beyond repair and have given the copy back to my mother, murmuring, "I can't even...I can't even...I'll go back to my Steven King novels". The writing is dreadful (I can imagine E.L. James didn't even know what a thesaurus was) and the words were so bland they were boring me to tears even before the more erotic stuff came to burn my eyes out of their sockets. Nope, erotic novels are definitely not for me, especially erotic novels inspired by freakin' Twilight!

The movie shall basically be porn. Enjoy fellas!

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all, and I will hopefully be able to post finished stories by the end of the day for you all seeing as I've failed to meet this first deadline. Writer's Fatigue is setting in again...

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Claire

Sunday, 23 December 2012

At least the turkey's fat!

Can't say the same for this Santa's sack! Seriously, it's past midnight, Christmas Eve, I'm wrapping presents, aaand there are many people who I still need to buy gifts for.

DAMMIT!

People who don't know me are probably thinking, "Well surely you'll only see most of them AFTER Christmas anyway". That's not true. It is a tradition for me to play Santa on Christmas Eve, travelling on foot through five towns giving gifts to my friends. And feed the homeless (but I do that anyway). Why oh why did I leave Christmas so late this year?

And I need to finish my Christmas present to you guys as well! Yes, since you've all been amazingly supportive in viewing IBitThePiranha - a blog which must've really disappointed you at times due to the lack of biting piranhas...not to mention lack of posts - I'm rewarding y'all with at least two new stories! I'm too kind! After Christmas I might even treat you guys to my very first (and probably last) video. If this does happen, don't expect too much - I stammer, I'm a total goon, and I'll probably only be boasting about what I got for Christmas because I'm a brat like that.

Of course what's more important than Christmas presents is family. I only got home from university yesterday, and I cannot tell you how great it feels to be back with my Mumma, brother and Grannyma. My dog hasn't let me out of his sight since! I think he must've missed me.

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas filled with love and the wonderful smell of home cooking...or take out if it's bad! I hope that you all get the gifts that you wish for, and are able to appreciate the gifts that maybe you didn't wish for, and most of all I hope you will not throw out the neck of the turkey because that's the best bit!

'Till later today, old chums, keep smiling!


Claire

Friday, 21 December 2012

Fifteen minutes 'til midnight. Time for...


Film Review: Sinister



Would you move into a house that was the scene of a whole family's murder and a little girl's disappearance only nine months before?

That's what true-crime author, Ellison Oswalt, does. Determined to find the answers to this mystery, and write another bestseller on the grisly deaths, he and his oblivious family move into the house. But when Ellison discovers a box of Super 8 home videos in the attic that hold footage of the gory deaths of families in their own homes, including the family that lived in the house previously, things start to get a little...sinister...

Now I'm not going to spoil it for people who have yet to see it, but I will tell you one thing. I have watched a lot of horror movies in my time, and I haven't batted an eyelid as I eat my snacks and watch the characters go through hell. But this film...wow! My friend (who also loves horrors) and I were curled up into tight little balls in our chairs in the cinema. It was a horror movie that was actually scary!

Maybe I found it scarier than other horror films because it was the first one I'd seen at the cinema, I dunno. But the plot, the delivery of the story, the acting...it was all so amazing. It wasn't predictable; I was constantly guessing. I jumped, I gasped, and I hugged my knees 'til they ached. I loved it! Can't say my friend enjoyed it - she was peeking through her fingers for most of the film. The point is, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill wrote something fresh, and took the story down some really interesting twists and turns.

And the music used! Oh my God, that freaked me out all on its own!

Of course, the film isn't flawless. It isn't as amazing as 'Insidious' and it undermines itself in areas. For example, the idea for Ellison to move his wife and two children into a house where such a recent crime took place can perhaps be considered a lazy path drawn by the writers to introduce the Super 8 films. Would a father really move his family into a crime scene for his benefit? It's more likely for the answer to be no. But Ethan Hawkes' portrayal of Ellison made sure I didn't bat an eyelid at first concerning this. Ellison appears to be a fairly egoistic man who knows what to say to make people - himself included - believe that he is doing something selfless and morally good, so although it is shocking that he would do such a thing, it is somewhat believable that he did do it. He says he's after justice, yet really he's just desperate to be famous again.

Another thing is the usual, "Will you PLEASE turn on the lights!" Why do the characters in horror movies forget that there are lights that can be switched on when mysterious noises are coming from inside the house? It's infuriating! Another thing is that the movie only scrapes the skin in showing how staying in the house is affecting the children, a factor that seems to be very important for the end of this movie.

Overall though, if you like horror films, are sick of the usual gore and are looking for something that has you either on the edge of your seat or curled up tightly in it, watch Sinister. Though it is far from perfect, it is a film you can really get into.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

My brother did panto...


'Nuff said.

Look who's on the Blogger!

My good friend Adam has just made a promising new blog, Adam Made A Funny, and trust me when I say he's funny! So yeah, follow him, nurture him like a little seed and he will grow and bloom out laughter for all!

That is so beautifully poetic.

Link to his blog is HERRRREEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Link to his YouTube channel is HERRRRRRREEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep smiling!


Claire

Breaking Up These Days


Yup, I saw this just now and I remembered how much it sucks to be dumped via social networking.

I was dumped in March via Facebook:


So we have to ask ourselves:

Why are the generations becoming such heartless bitches?

Seriously, why do people think that it's okay to do this? It's one of those things that lacks sincerity and sensitivity in what could have been a very meaningful relationship to the other person. Luckily for me, my relationship had only lasted...what...not even two whole months, so it wasn't that heartbreaking. I didn't feel sad or hurt or anything like that, just disappointed. Disappointed that, although he may have needed to break up with me, he didn't do it the decent way. Why couldn't he send me a text saying that he wanted to talk and dumped me face to face? Why did he think it would be alright to just wake up the next morning and find out, "Oh, I was dumped last night"?

It's just common decency, surely, to dump them face to face. I wouldn't have even minded if it was on the phone. But to dump someone via social networking is just...it's the coward's way out.

If you've been dumped via social networking, or if you've dumped someone via social networking, or you just have an opinion on the matter, feel free to leave a comment.

Keep smiling!


Claire

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Song Of The Week!

Yeahhhhhh! I think I'm going to start a 'Song Of The Week' post for you guys (ooooh you're gonna hate me for it!). Some of the songs you'll know, some of them you won't. Some you'll like, others you'll hate. I like a lot of different types of music.

So this one I doubt many people will know. It's called 'When Your Body Breaks' by Max Vernon. I love the harmonies and message it delivers: when you feel yourself falling apart, remember "you're gonna be fine, but it'll take time". It's beautiful.

Let me know what you think of it in the comments section!


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The choice is yours...

A shepherd’s failure;
A lamb so fragile
But the wolf he grins
As he breaths in
The hurt and anger
And yet you expect
For me to watch?
A devil’s grin
Claws scratching at heart;
Your tears don’t smile
With your lips…
We whisper to you
But he whispers louder
A song that serenades
And woos and rips you
From gentle grasp

Do you feel like a rag doll?
Or do you purposely
Write an ‘F’ on my words
And ride winged snakes
Into the night?
Do you paint a clown
Upon my face?
Or wear earplugs in the day
And dance to his song?
Do you expect me to wear
A blindfold you hold?
Expect me to laugh
And smile with his smile?
Do you expect me to offer him
A hand to slice you?
For it’s your blood or his
And I’ll be damned if it’s yours.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Pursuit for...Rubber Bands?

Yes, I am a dirty scrubber who looks for rubber bands on the floor and wears them.


My logic? I was inspired by Van Hansis, and I totally agree with what he says:


Ever since I started doing this at the beginning of the semester, I have felt more confident for the future. Okay, I don't find a rubber band every day, but if you look at the bigger picture, the more important things that you pursue are going to take more than just a day to get.

Van Hansis, as you may know, is another person on the list of people who inspire me, and in the video above not only does he explain the rubber band theory but he also talks about not following the trends and just being yourself, which is what I went on about here (check it out).

So ja, there you have it: Claire goes on the pursuit for rubber bands every day!

Do you guys have any theories like this one, whether it's original or inspired by someone else? Let me know!

Keep smiling!


Claire

My Thoughts On Marriage

So I'm not writing this for people to go all political or religious or whatever on me, I'm writing this to get people thinking. I understand people follow different religions or have just been brought up in a particular way...or just like the idea of marriage.

Me? I don't believe in marriage.

And it has nothing to do with my mum's divorce. Actually, maybe it has a little bit. It probably helped me open my eyes just that little bit more to the fact that you can't be 100% certain that a relationship is going to last forever. And also, divorce sucks. It takes too long (my brother and I were constantly nagging my mum, "Are you divorced yet?") and for couples divorcing where there is actual heartbreak involved, that must be AGONY. And then you have the whole talking through lawyers thing which can cost a BOMB, aaand...yeah. It's just nasty. I would much rather not get married, and then if my relationship breaks down and crumbles to nothing, we can just cut ties ASAP and go our separate ways; the end. And then we can heal quicker instead of sprinkling salt into our wounds.

Also, why do people who are in crappy relationships believe that a wedding will make it all better? You're wasting your money! Not all the pretty poetry in the world is going to make it better. You're just tying your hands behind your back and denying the fact that you're just not good together! And then it may seem great at first, but it will fall to shit, and then you will be going through the inevitable: divorce.

"But I've been in a relationship for ten years and it's still great." Well good for you. This brings me onto my next argument: If it's good, why tamper with it? Maybe it's going well because it's more chilled out - you're not putting pressure on one another to act a certain way, or to tie one another down. It's called freedom. I don't mean you're free to cheat or anything - you still need to commit - but you're not handcuffed to the person you love by a wedding ring. I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who thinks that marriage just adds pressure to a relationship. What do I know? I'm 18. But that's my thoughts.

I'm not saying, "I don't believe in marriage so I'm gonna hate everyone who's married". If you want to get married, go for it - I'm not going to judge you. I'm just saying that I don't believe in getting married. I don't understand it. Don't get me wrong, if we were still in the 1940s I would probably still want to get married because it was so much more...I dunno...romantic and classy and just...nice. These past few years marriage has been violated so much that the value of it has just flown out the window. Now it's just a piece of paper that people are so quick to sign. Slow down! Think about what you're doing first! Don't act then ask questions later - it's too late! Do you really want to be one of those people who has been married six times, like Henry VIII? And remember, you cannot legally kill off your spouses like he did! And then a lot of people who do get married... Oh lordy! How can a person have that much money to spend on...not even 24 hours of their life? Damn, I work as a waitress at a hotel where they do weddings, and I just look at the decorations, serve the food, look the bride up and down, and think, "Couldn't all this money be spent on something better?"

Maybe I'm just a cynic - a super cynic.

And this confuses me the most: it's all about the bride! What is with that? It's not just the bride's day - there are two people in this marriage! It's supposed to be a day which two people who love one another very much (or so it's supposed to be), so surely it's their day...well...half a day.

And then all that money - we're talking LOADS of money - is gone just like that. It's all done and dusted, quick as can be, and the newly-weds spend their first year of marriage in debt.

Wow.

And now I want to go to the other end of the spectrum: if you want to get married, you should be allowed to, whether you're a gay, straight, black, white, pink, dyslexic, have no hands, whatever. Discrimination's a bitch. So why discriminate? I just don't understand it. And why is it called a 'civil partnership'? No, just call it marriage! It's marriage! So what if it's two women or two guys? It's no one else's business except their own! How many babies are going to be eaten my piranhas because two men got married to each other? 0. How many...priests are going to melt because two women got married to each other? 0. Hell is NOT going to take over the world because of gays - we established that when we accepted them. If they want to get married and put gold handcuffs on their left ring fingers, they can be my guest.

I'm sorry for my outburst on here, but I just had to go on and on a little more than usual because I was waitressing like a doe-eyed waitress at a wedding last night, and all the other girls I work with were confused why I wasn't going all 'aww' at the pretty fairy lights and diamonds and candles going on in the room. So now, if someone asks me why I don't believe in marriage, I can save my breath and direct them right here.

I'll get more views that way as well *evil genius moment*

So let me know your views on marriage, because as I'm sure you can all figure, there is no wrong answer on this topic. And I'm not going to judge - everyone's entitled to their own opinion, right?

Keep smiling!


Claire

Short Story: Circus Politics

Geoff pushed up his tie and sighed at the sight of his reflection in the mirror. What was the point? He’s merely be spending the night with a bunch of people he cared nothing about, confirming that they had been right nearly fifteen years ago – he was a freak. He tried straightening out his jacket, smoothing away non-existent creases in his shirt. No, he wasn’t going. There really was no point.

“Honey, what are you doing?” his wife frowned when she entered their bedroom to see him removing the jacket and loosening the tie. “The taxi is going to be here in about five minutes and you’re...” She trailed off, a slight frown still present on her otherwise flawless face. She looked dazzling her long brown hair a perfect contrast to her blue dress. Geoff loved the way she could get ready so quickly and effortlessly and still take his breath away. “Second thoughts?” she asked.

“I don’t know why I decided to go in the first place,” Geoff grumbled. “They’ll all be saying, ‘Oh, I have my own business’ or, ‘I’m an engineer’ or accountant or whatever – normal jobs. Can you imagine the amusement on their faces when I tell them, ‘Hey, remember me? The freak at school? Yeah, well now I’m an act in the fucking circus!’”

“Geoff, look at me. Look at me.” He locked eyes with her; the blue pools washed over him with love. “You are an acrobat in the circus – so what? It’s a job you enjoy, and that’s all that matters. Plus the pay is good, which is an added bonus!”

He couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped his lips before sobering up again. “But what if some of them have seen me perform?” he asked anxiously.

“Then they will most probably be awestruck by your talent – just like I was when I first met you.” How did she always know the right thing to say? “Come on, let’s sort that tie out and loosen the hold on the demons of the past and stop being silly, okay?”

“Okay. Yeah, let’s go.” She gave him a gentle peck on the lips before leaving him to it.


***
“Names?”

The lady at the desk looks down her nose when addressing them, her beady eyes watching them, judging them.

“Geoffrey Pinall,” Geoff replied coolly, “and this is my wife, Sandra.” He took the stickers with their names on and, squeezing Sandra’s hand momentarily, walked through the double doors to the hall. “Like a lamb to the slaughter,” he grimaced. A huge banner hung from the ceiling with the name of the school and the year they graduated. He looked to his left and saw notice boards up with high school photographs pinned to them, and to his right a buffet. He took his wife’s hand and led her to the buffet. He could do with the distraction of food right now.

“Wait!” Sandra laughed. “I want to see pictures of little nerdy Geoffrey!”

“Later,” Geoff blushed.

“No, come on, Geoff! Food can wait!” She knew food made him feel safer, calmer. Why was she being like this?

She dragged him to the notice boards and instantly went to work searching for her husband’s younger face. It wasn’t long before Geoff was cringing at the little shout of shock and laughter that came from his wife and he forced himself to walk over to her and meet his former self again. God, no wonder they always thought he was a freak – what the hell was he wearing? His eyes were framed with black eyeliner, and his hair was black with a blue tinge to it. And his clothes! They were so...

“Wow!” Sandra chuckled. “Your fashion sense was, ah...a lot different to the way it is now.”

“Yeah,” was all that came out of his mouth for a while. And then, “God, I really was a freak!”

“You were different,” Sandra corrected him, cupping his cheek with her hand, “and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“Why if it isn’t Geoffrey Freak-all’,” a familiar voice came from behind Geoff. He turned around to come face to face with an older version the former football captain who had always talked down to him at school. “How’ve you been, Geoff? I must say you’re looking good.”

Geoff accepted the outstretched hand and made sure to shake it firmly. “Thank you, James, and very well. How about you?”

“Good,” James smiled. “Great actually. I was recently hired as a commentator for the local sports in Gloucester last month so I’m one step closer to the Premiership.”

“That’s great,” Geoff smiled, despite the fact that the 17-year-old part of him was disappointed that the man before him was doing so well. He remembered his manners quickly when he felt his left hand being given a supportive squeeze. “Forgive me, this is my wife, Sandra. Sandra this is James.”

“Nice to meet you, James,” Sandra gave her best smile as they shook hands.

“Likewise,” James smiled before turning his attention back to Geoff. “Look, Geoff,” he cleared his throat, frowning at the floor. Was the tension between them really that thick? “I know that I was a real arse to you at school...”

“Yeah, you were,” Geoff deadpanned.

“I want to say that I’m sorry for that. Because I am, really.”

Geoff smiled and offered his hand which James readily clasped in his own, nodding his sincere apology. It was...nice. Geoff finally felt accepted.

“So anyway, what do you do now?”

Why? Why did this have to come up?

“Well...” Swallow. “Well...ah...” Swallow. “It’s funny you should ask that...”

“James Hicks, is that you?” A woman came scurrying up to the trio, her stout little arms held up as if she was rollerblading and surrendering at the same time. “It’s me, Ashley. Ashley Peters? We dated for like a year or something.”

Geoff’s jaw dropped. Last time he’d spoken to Ashley Peters it was during their last week at high school. He’d given her some grand speech about how much of a bitch she was and that he would get somewhere in life while she’d end up sitting on her fat arse all day watching as friends became former friends and boyfriends became ex-boyfriends. It seemed that was exactly what had happened to her.

“Ashley,” James gasped. “Whoa, hey, how are you?”

“I’m good, I’m good. You?”

“Yeah, not bad thanks.”

She nodded awkwardly before turning to Geoff. “And you are...?” She squinted at his name sticker. “Geoff.” She frowned as she tried to remember him; her eyes widened suddenly. “Geoffrey Freak-all? Oh my God, you turned out to be so hot! I knew behind the blue hair and tragic makeup you had potential to be a total girl magnet.”

“Thank you, Ashley...I think.” She smiled at him, fluttering her eyelashes flirtatiously at him, just like she used to in high school. That bad, huh? She was the tragic one now, wearing an unflattering dress smiling that unflattering smile that reeked of unflattering desperation. Geoff almost felt sorry for her. “Ashley, I want you to meet my wife, Sandra.”

He watched as the grin slipped slightly from Ashley’s face as she shook hands with Sandra. “How long have you two been married?” she asked.

“Nearly six years,” Sandra smiled. “Six in February.”

“Wow,” was all she said for a while. It was pretty awkward, just standing there, waiting for the conversation to take the turn it eventually would. Ashley finally asked the question: “So what are you guys doing with your lives?”

“I’m currently a commentator for the local sports in Gloucester,” James informed her proudly.

“Oh my God, James! That’s amazing!” She positively beamed at him; Geoff wasn’t sure if it was in the hope that he was single and still finds her attractive or genuinely because she was happy for him. Maybe both. He visibly jumped out of his pondering when Ashley then turned to him and asked, “What about you, Geoff? What do you do?”

Geoff felt his heartbeat start to race and Sandra’s hand slip slightly in his due to the thin sheen of sweat that had quickly formed. Why did he still care what these idiots thought of him?

“I, ah...” he swallowed. “I’m actually a...”

“He’s an acrobat,” Sandra finished for him. “And a damn good one at that.” She smiled proudly up at him.

“An acrobat?” James repeated incredulously.  “As in, what, the circus?” He laughed out loud, making Geoff flinch and a red flush creep up his neck. “The circus!” He began to shout for the attention of everyone else in the hall. “Hey! Hey! Geoffrey Freak-all is now an act in the circus!”

Everybody was laughing. Geoff just wanted the tiles on the floor to open up and swallow him whole.

Except that didn’t happen.

“An acrobat?” James asked incredulously. “As in, what, the circus?” He paused and thought about it for a moment. “That’s good going, mate. I could never do any of that stuff.”

“I thought I recognised you,” Ashley exclaimed. “Like, okay, we went to school together, but what I meant was I took my kids to the circus on the outskirts of town last week. You were one of the acts weren’t you? You were amazing! My kids loved you!”

Geoff blushed modestly. “Thank you,” he said softly.

“Say, acrobats earn a lot of money, don’t they?” Ashley asked. “You must be minted!”

“I wouldn’t say we’re loaded,” Sandra told her, “but we live comfortably enough.”

Geoff couldn’t get over the reaction he had just received. James and Ashley were now asking him questions about how he got into the circus and if they moved a lot, and he just couldn’t help but think that this was a hopeful dream he was having right now. He caught his wife looking at him with a knowing smile and shot one back at her.


***
“Well?”

“Well what?”

“You know what. How do you think it went?”

Geoff chuckled and wrapped his arms around Sandra’s waist. “Much better than I thought it would,” he admitted.

“I told you. I said that you were being ridiculous, didn’t I?” she teased.

“I guess you were actually right.”

“Don’t sound so surprised!”

“I’m not.” He paused, frowning slightly. “It was so weird how much everyone had changed. They weren’t trying to shoulder barge me every chance they had, nor did I get bog-washed… I didn’t even insulted once. It was nice.”

“So, now what?”

“Now… I never have to see those people again!” They both laughed. “No, now I feel at peace with them. I never thought I would receive a sincere apology from the most popular guy at school – that was a shock! I feel like I have finally – as you put it – ‘loosened the hold on the demons of the past’.”

And with that he kissed her.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Girls annoy me when it comes to guys...

So I was just on the phone to one of my friends and she got onto the topic of guys. She likes this guy, yet she doesn't even talk to him.

Okay, I admit, there's this guy in my lectures who is pretty cute and I haven't spoken to him at all, but I don't want to date him. She wants to date his sorry ass!

When did I start using the term, 'to date someone'? Americans...

Anyway, she wants to date this guy, but he wouldn't even know who she was if she was to go over and slap him across the face. So I told her to go talk to him, work out whether or not he was worth it, become friends with him and in time ask him out. She freaked out when I suggested she talk to him; she freaked out even more when I suggested she ask him out.

"I can't do thaaaat!"

Why the hell not? As everyone keeps reminding me, IT'S THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY! Surely it's acceptable, perhaps even encouraged, that girls can ask guys out. It's infuriating that for years the female race have been going on and on about equality...yet they still expect men to make the first move. I just don't get it. Don't get me wrong, that one time I asked a guy out didn't go quite to plan (he left me hanging for two days and then I had to hear from his friend that he didn't want to go out with me), but I'm not letting that stop me from asking guys out in the future. It's either yes or no, and then you can get on with it either way.

What is the problem?

If you have something to say about this matter, please comment with your views.

Keep smiling!


Claire

Saturday, 1 December 2012

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

My blog buddy, Keith, wrote a post about thankfulness in time for Thanksgiving (you can read it by clicking here) and it got me thinking:

What does it mean to be thankful for something? And what am I thankful for?

Does it mean that you're thankful every time that you say "thank you"? Maybe sometimes we say thank you because it's just manners and it's what is expected of us, or because the assistant was completely off topic with what we were talking about and we're just saying thank you to make them feel like they did help us, just to spare them the humiliation.

In my opinion, being thankful for something is not to do with comparing lives, or saying something along the lines of, "Things could be worse" - I don't think it helps at all. It just seems such a backward method of comfort, and maybe even an injection of guilt for ever thinking you had it bad. "It could be worse" only translates to "Who do you think you are?" even if you have the right to feel upset or even depressed.

Gratitude is more powerful than just thanking your lucky stars that something bad that happened to you wasn't as bad as what happened to someone you read about in the tabloids. Whereas the phrase "It could be worse" demonstrates a negative insight on life, gratitude is all about the positives, and embracing the emotions you feel as opposed to suppressing them due to 'respect' for those less fortunate. Gratitude is the acknowledgment of something good you have or are going to receive.

Which brings me to what I'm grateful for, and as cheesy as it may sound, I'm grateful for being on this planet, with red blood running through my veins, being able to breathe fresh air and watch birds and squirrels, and hear the rustling of the trees as the wind runs its fingers through the leaves. I'm grateful for my vivid imagination, even if it does go against me at times, and I'm grateful for where I am in life: at university, studying the subject of my dreams, and being able to write and have people like you reading posts like this that I have put on my blog and my Hubpage.

I want you all to know that it's the comments and fan mail I receive that motivate me to write, and when I'm feeling a little low I can just come on here or Hubpages and remind myself that there are people out there - people that don't even know me - who believe in me. That is most precious to me, aside from my family.

So thank you.

And keep smiling.


Claire xxxxx


"What the f*** are you wearing?!"

I get that a lot. Ever since four years ago when Lady Gaga taught me I can stop giving a damn what people think of me and stop following the crowd. I think my this-is-my-style-deal-with-it outfit was a non-uniform day in year 10:


Minus the strange makeup and blue highlights though (this is a more recent photo; last year methinks...).

You can't even see my blue highlights there. Damn. They were niiiiice!

Anyway.

From that moment on, I started to come out of my shell more. My mum was great, so supportive of my newly found fashion sense (probably because before then I'd hated shopping so she wasn't getting the girly days out she's always dreamed of). She even gave me some of her clothes from like the 80s. Like this blazer for example:


I can't tell you how much I love that jacket and those jeans...sigh...

Although I do get a lot of stares out in the streets, and back home I did get a lot of comments along the lines of, "What the fuck is she wearing?" I have also had a lot more people tell me how they admire me for being myself. In fact it's rather odd how when I tried to fit in I was the "weirdo" and the "freak", and now that I dress wacky and just embrace my inner loon, I'm just...Claire. I was still Claire at prom as well. I hated shopping for prom - my mother would thrust all these stupid dresses under my nose and okay some of them were nice, but I wouldn't be caught dead in them. Prom is supposed to one of the best days of your life, the wrap up to years and years of turning up to lessons and working hard to get the grades you want. It's supposed to be fun, and wearing one of those dresses would not have been fun. So I went for something I would be comfortable in: a jumpsuit.



...and I didn't look any less formal than the others, did I?

I'm not saying that you should show your true identity through clothes - after all maybe your fashion sense is just considered the norm, or maybe you don't give a monkey tush what you wear. I'm just saying that you shouldn't try to be something you're not. For far too many of my school years I tried to be someone I wasn't, and it just didn't work out.

I also hope that this post has opened people's eyes that the whole 'coming out' thing doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a closet. Okay, so some people are gay or bi or transsexual or whatever and they should feel comfortable to be that way, but straight people also have to embrace who they are.

Just saying.

The way I dress is my way of expressing myself every day; my body is my canvas to paint (not that I'm considering inking myself anytime soon), and all those other quotes that talk about the freedom to do what you want to your body. As far as I know, my fashion does not offend anyone and my outfits are not revealing or inappropriate for the places I go to. Whenever I did practical in Engineering during GCSEs and A levels I wore the type of clothing that engineers are expected to wear for health and safety reasons - apron, strong and sturdy shoes, goggles, etc - and whenever I worked as a waitress at Ribby Hall I wore the uniform as it was supposed to be worn and didn't have any jewellery or nail polish on. I'm not a rebel, merely different: Suis Generis.




Do any of you embrace being different in some way? Maybe you have your own fashion sense as well, or maybe you have a hobby that isn't considered the norm. Whatever it is, let me know!

Oh, and keep smiling!


Claire

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Well done, Ben!

Persephone was amazing, so I just want to say this:

Well done, Ben Rushton; you are truly a remarkable writer!

The set was awesome, the acting was awesome. Everything was awesome!

The play has been filmed, but I don't know if it's going on YouTube or anything. If it is, I will post a link so that you guys can watch it. I'm not promising anything though.

In the meantime, keep smiling.


Claire

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Educate. Employ. Empower.


“No ifs, no buts, no education cuts! No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!”

That was the voice of thousands of students as they took to the streets of London, banners galore, expressing their frustration concerning the eye-watering £9000 tuition fees and the crushing numbers of unemployed youths under the leadership of the National Union of Students (NUS).

Being one of the many first-year students who already have a £9000 debt looming over their heads, not to mention the fact that I have got nowhere in finding a job, I jumped at the choice to march, the words of the consultants in job centres I showed my CV to echoing in my brain:

“You don’t have enough experience.”

How am I supposed to gain any experience if nobody is going to hire me? And the hums of agreement I received at the march were not that much of a comfort. What with the retirement age being increased, and the constant undeniable discrimination against adolescents, youth unemployment is at a record high with over 1.4 million 16 to 24 year olds unable to find work. Meanwhile, funding for services such as the Job Centre and Connexions – facilities which provide young people with advice on getting into work – has been cut.

This, along with the tripled university fees, has left students feeling betrayed by the government. With proposals to abolish the education maintenance allowance (EMA) for the poorest students and to remove adult learning grant (ALG) for second-chance learners, the student financial support has been described as “a joke”. According to NUS, the gap between the potential government support students can receive and the actual cost of being a university student has grown to £8,566 per year for those studying outside of London, and £8,112 for those in London.


So on the 21st November of this year we, the students, provided a voice. We assembled at Temple tube station and marched to the Oval in Kennington, chanting and demanding change to the unfair dismissal of the needs of the younger generations.

The march started off well – the weather was cold but clear, extra banners were handed out and the chants were loud and unmistakable in their meaning:

“No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!”

“They say ‘cut back’. We say ‘fight back’!”

“Bring back EMA! Bring back EMA!”

It was amazing to see how many people had turned up for this event, and the amount of press about was even more encouraging since that’s what we needed: good publicity. A voice.

It was as the crowd neared the Houses of Parliament that things got a little out of hand. The route that the NUS had planned for us to take brought us just shy of the building before turning us towards the bridge instead. A small minority of the crowd were especially angered by the “spineless” demonstration plan, some even resulting to throwing eggs and fruit at the head of NUS, Liam Burns. Although I understand their frustration at this – after all we were marching to make the government take notice of us – I can also understand why we were directed away from the Houses of Parliament after what happened in 2010 on Whitehall. We needed this to be a peaceful, mature protest, to show the public as well as the government that we are serious about this, and that we do have the right to be heard.

We continued to walk the rest of the way in the wind and rain, voicing what we were marching for to the media and, of course, chanting. Although by the time we made it to the Oval we were wet through and shivering, we were satisfied overall. Now we have to hope that the government take notice and with time make the necessary changes to the legislation and policies. We know that this is not an overnight change, but it’s about setting the agenda for education, and saying as a united student body that the current state of play is not acceptable for students and for young people in general.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Very random but...

...today I had a Good Hair Day! Look at it y'all!


Sorry, I haven't got anything worth reading for you guys at the moment, but I've just finished my sketches for Engineering...



...so now I can concentrate on writing something for you guys! And I already have an idea!


Bear with me guys! BRB.

Procrastination is a jerk...

Procrastination is a jerk, plain and simple. You're supposed to be doing a piece of coursework, or revising for an exam, or drawing a 13 Amp plug (don't ask; last time I checked I was studying Engineering, not Fine Art), and before you've even got started you're on Facebook or the Xbox, or in my case watching a relative of Gollum dancing to electropop. Anyway, before you know it you've been messing about for four hours and you're just like...

Shit.

You haven't done your work, fool!

And don't worry, because I've been terrible this week for it! I've had Blackboard exams, and golly have I found it difficult to stay focused! There's only so long you can go locked up in your room trying to revise for these poopadoops, as I have been finding out. Every day I'm like, "Right. Today I'm going to finish that bitch of a drawing, that bitch of an article, do some bitchin' notes and start that bitch of a report!" and then three hours later I remember that I'm supposed to be doing work, not rocking it out to slow songs like a loonatic. Or taking pictures like this:
















Anyways, it's 9pm. I have 12 hours to finish two sketches for my Engineering Design assessment. Who knows, in about an hour another short story might be chilling on here, and then you'll be able to smile and say that jerkass word:

Procrastination.

Keep smiling, guys!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Just came across this while researching a magazine...

The story's called 'The Trickster's Bones' by Kenneth Kao and it kept me hooked from the very beginning. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.

Here's an extract to make you go "Oooh!":


“Nothing,” Dad called back.  “Charlie just wants to talk.”  He closed their door.  “What’s going on, Tiny?”

“Would you come with me to the playground?”


Dad sighed.  “It’s two a.m.  Can’t it wait ’til tomorrow?”


“He died two years ago tonight, and I’d really like to go back.  Please?”  I hadn’t told them that I’d seen Darwin alive the year before.


“You’re going to have to let him go,” Dad said.  “I know it’s hard, but death is a part of life.  We all go through grief, but it’s how we move on that matters.”  He took my hand and held it between his fingers.  “Two years ago was the most frightening day of both our lives.”


“But I didn’t die,” I said.  “And…and Darwin did.”


Dad nodded.  “I know, and I celebrate every day that I didn’t lose you.”


“I just want to visit him, one last time–to help me get over him,” I added.


I noticed that my vision was blurry, and I was crying.  I didn’t want to lose my chance again.  Dad blinked and ran his fingers through his hair.  Then he hugged me.  He pecked me on the cheek.  “O.K., Tiny, let’s go.”


This time, I brought rope and extra flashlights and shovels.


“What’s with all that?” Dad asked.


“Just in case,” I said.


He looked at me curiously but didn’t argue as we walked back to the abandoned playground.  I kept moving so fast ahead that I had to wait for Dad to catch up several times.  Unlike last year, it was dark and cloudy, and the moonlight didn’t show much.  But right as we got there, I spotted Darwin with my flashlight.  I whooped and yelled.  “There’s Darwin!”  I ran toward Darwin, but Dad grabbed my arm just as I was about to pass the invisible border.


“Be careful,” Dad said.  “That’s not Darwin.”


“Yes it is!  I saw him last year just like this.  We played together all night.  That’s why I brought the rope, to bring him home, because last time I wasn’t big enough to drag him home, and then he disappeared the next day.  I think he’s got something wrong with his brain.”


Dad wasn’t listening.  He had a really big frown on his face and was staring hard.  “It looks like…can’t be…”  He twisted his flashlight to see better.


“It’s him!” I yelled.  I tore from Dad’s grip, running inside the playground.  Just like before, Darwin saw me, and his tail went wild as he ran for me.


Dad dashed in front.  “Get back!” he yelled.  He kicked Darwin across the head.


I cried out as Darwin yelped, his neck bending sideways.  Darwin shook his big head and snarled.  His hair bristled. His ears dropped flat.


“It’s not Darwin,” Dad said.  “It’s the biggest hyena I’ve ever seen.”


“He looks nothing like a hyena!  Hyenas don’t even exist here.”


“I don’t know what you’re seeing, Charlie, but get back NOW.”


Darwin lunged at Dad, and Dad swung his flashlight at my dog.  It struck and flashed and went out.  I whipped my own flashlight toward them.  Darwin had grabbed Dad’s hand like he did when he was playing.  Except that Dad was yelling in pain.


“Darwin!  Let go!” I screamed.


Dad kicked at Darwin over and over, and then he tripped.  Darwin dragged Dad across the earth.  My dog was big, but I never imagined he could pull someone like Dad.  I ran forward, but as soon as I came near, Darwin snapped at me.


Dad rolled and almost got his feet underneath him, but Darwin bit an ankle, yanking Dad across the playground.  I threw the rope at Dad.  Darwin somehow intercepted; he caught it between his teeth, and I was thrown to the ground.  By the time I got back up, Darwin had dragged Dad to the playground’s boundary.  Dad screamed at me to run, his fingers clawing at the dirt.  They crossed the border, and like mist, both disappeared.


I still heard Dad’s screams, though, and a hyena’s maniacal laughter.


I ran forward, tracking the ground with my flashlight.  Paw prints evaporated past the invisible line.


The screams abruptly stopped and with it, the laughter.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Short Story: Horror Movies with Franklin

A person's sanity is a very delicate thing. Look at me for example - I am trapped in a manic fear that makes no sense whatsoever. Fear used to give me an adrenaline rush. Now it keeps me locked in my room with the lights on, the curtains shut, and unable to close my eyes. I know I've lost the plot. I know I need help. But I can't leave. The shadows will get me. I will die, either by something physical, something supernatural, or my own damned fear.

It's 4.38am. I haven't slept in four days. My hair is greasy and clings to my baggy sallow face. My phone lies shattered at the foot of one of the four walls I live on the inside of. The wash basin reeks of excretion despite my efforts to scrub it clean. Or maybe it's my imagination and the basin does smell fresh. Maybe I'm getting close to ending my life like Lady Macbeth. No. Lady Macbeth threw herself off a cliff. Cliffs are outside. I can't go outside.

I've missed so many of my lectures. My parents thought that university would do me the world of good. I wonder how many missed calls I've got from them. I wonder if they're going frantic with worry yet. I can't find out - the phone is broken.

I'm trying to study but I imagine long demonic fingers curling around the hem of my curtains and a face to match the finger opening its maw of a mouth and screeching at me. It's a scary image. That's why the window is locked and my desk is now propped on the windowsill.

Crazy is perfect word to describe me right now. Psychiatric ward is probably the perfect place for me right now. But I can't leave. He'll get me.

I called him Franklin, which doesn't make him sound so scary, but it's merely a deception of sorts. He lingers everywhere. Before I resorted to staying locked in my room, he would follow me wherever I went. I would watch at night as he murdered my shadows with his bare hands, and I would run up to my room, being chased by him. He can't get into my room if the lights are on and I stay awake. I have to stay awake. Or else he'll get me.

I remember nights curled up in bed, trembling as he pressed his cold skinless cheek to mine, feeling the sticky wet flesh and muscle leave a bloody print there for me to remember him by when he eventually left. I would get up in the morning and scrub my skin red raw in the shower, trying to remove him from my skin, from my mind. It never worked.

He burned my clothes once. I wedged some in the crack underneath the door so that he couldn't get in. He retorted with a match.

It's ironic. I used to love horror movies. I was able to eat without batting an eyelid while watching characters being tortured in the Saw movies, or curl up in the middle of an empty cinema and watch psychopaths or supernatural spirits prey on innocent families. I'd read books about rapists and serial killers before I went to bed, and I would write poems and stories with the darkest story-line I could muster up. Horrors, and being scared. They were once my favourite things in life. Ironic.


-


I beat Franklin. I went outside and imagined shooting him with a M20B1. I watched with my jaw clenched as his rotten body exploded into a flurry of flames and screeching, and the stench of burning flesh reached my nostrils. It smelt good, like freedom.

My parents drove the five hours to the university campus to check on me, and I cried into their chests and told them of Franklin. I told them that he was keeping me prisoner, and that I couldn't escape. That's when my dear father thought up the clever idea as to how I could kill Franklin. After all, Franklin is a figment of my imagination, so I should be the only one able to destroy him.

I kept a firm grip on my father's hand as he led me outside. I could feel eyes on me as the odd puzzled person watched through their window trying to figure out why a nineteen-year-old university student was clinging to her daddy like her life depended on it. They didn't realise that my life really did depend on holding on.

Franklin was waiting for me. He grinned like a bloodthirsty monster (wasn't he just that?) and stretched out his arms towards me. I felt the force of his pull and held even tighter to my daddy's hand, and pushed Franklin away. I caught him off guard with that one - he did not expect it. That's when I imagined the bazooka to materialize in my hands, and I rested it on my shoulder and fired. He's dead. I'm free. My friends are relieved and quite frankly so am I. I have caught up in my lectures and I have a new phone. My parents have decided to stay nearby for a few weeks in case I need them.

I'm gonna be okay. I won.


-


Franklin is imaginary so he can't just die. He is therefore immortal - an immortal part of me. He knows this, and he knows that he has power over me that way.

He was mad that I shot him. He wanted me to pay.

I'd been enjoying being free of Franklin for about three months. See, he's patient, cunning; he bides his time. My desk in my room was back in the corner where it belonged, and the window from time to time was wide open, letting the cool breeze ventilate the small area. I'd go outside and smile as the wind whipped my hair behind me, and I would laugh - actually laugh - with friends.

And then he tapped me on the shoulder one day.

I froze. He grinned.

Remember me?

He turned me towards the waves.

Jump off that cliff. Like Lady Macbeth.

I stuttered out a no. He silently dragged me to the edge as I kicked and screamed. I could hear my friends shouting and running after us, but he's too fast, too strong.

I didn't beat Franklin. Franklin beat me.


Sunday, 11 November 2012


Somebody rise
I plead, I beg
Sense my fear
Break down the door
I am trapped
Save me, please
Hush me, tell me it’s okay
Think me not as a child
Or do, I don’t care
I still am, sort of


My eyes are shut
But behind the eyelids
He creeps
His face is in mine
Visible even in the dark
Even when closed
His grip on my wrist
It hurts
He wants me to look
Open my eyes
He’s scaring me
He knows it
He likes it
That’s why he’s here
He’s here to make me tremble
I try not to
I do
He wins
He stays

It’s cold
And dark
And I need more
Than just a cushion
I need arms
Warm arms
Holding me
For I am alone
(So alone)
I need to feel secure
I need a friend
A close friend
A friend who can hold me
Hold me tight
At night
Who can scare away
The creatures in my head
Who threaten me
I need a friend
To snuggle up to
To feel close to
To feel warmth from
That is all

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Monday, 5 November 2012

24-Hour Play: Done!

And boy was it awesome! I was going to write a post about it as soon as I got back to my Halls at 9 on the Saturday night, but I needed to recover, and then I needed to do some work for Engineering (yeah, no fun and games there!), but here we are now!

Seriously, I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to work with - they were all amazing, all so fantastic in their own way. The talent...wow! The 24-hour play was the perfect way for me to get to know some of these people, and now they are chilling in my friends list on Facebook. Boo-yah: more friends!

We had so much fun planning and writing the play (though we had a tough time sticking to deadlines). The idea we all decided upon was the idea of 'Theatre Through The Years' - a group of LUTheatre students would travel in time and experience theatre in different times: Greek, Shakespearean, Victorian, and Modern.

And *insert chicken noise* this was the outcome:





















Seriously, it was immense!

Thank you to those who came to watch, and thank you to everyone who was in it - you guys are already beginning to feel like a second family to me.

Anyway, now I need to do some work for Proteus. Golly I'm a busy bee! If you want to read more about my experience during the 24-hour play, feel free to check out my hub about it here! <--- click it click it!

Keep smiling guys!


Claire x

Hollywood Trips Into Diversity

Progress is finally being made in Hollywood! Viola Davis won an Oscar for Supporting Actress in Fences , and thus became the first black ...