Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The awkward moment when Tomorrow never comes...

I cannot tell you how sorry I am for being such a major letdown! I have been so damned busy, but I think I have finally got on top of it all...until this weekend when I go home for my Grandma's birthday!

Anyway, Friday I was in Reading. Why was I in Reading? Because I had applied for an event at Microsoft to find out a little behind-the-scenes information about the company, and find out more about their internships and graduates scheme. With expenses paid, how could I say no?

So yeah at 6.16am I was jumping on a train so that I would be in Reading for about 9.11am, giving me plenty of time to get the shuttle bus to the Microsoft Campus. I met two other girls who were going to the Microsoft event, and this is where the woman comes in threatening to call the police.

Basically we couldn't find the bus stop that the shuttle bus would be waiting at so I went up to her and politely asked her if she could help us. This was her response word for word:

"As a matter of fact I do [know where the bus stop is]. I'm not going to tell you though. Go away. Get away from me or I'll call the police."

So...that was that. It amuses me every time I think back to it, but I also hope that the lady is okay.

Moving swiftly forward, the event was awesome and I could definitely see me doing an internship there someday. I've never considered Microsoft as an option before because software engineering isn't really my thing, but now what with the new Windows Phone and the Suface out, you never know, they might be building their own aircraft ten years from now!




We also got tonnes of freebies, including a Microsoft t-shirt and sweets, so that totally won me over.


So yeah, that puts you up to date with that then. Other than that I have been the most boring person in the world: working, meeting coursework deadlines, sleeping when I can...I also tried fitting through a hanger at some crazy point...




I failed.

Oh, I also FINALLY got my LUTheatre hoodie so now I'm always really snug.


Speaking of LUTheatre I'm training up to be a techie, sooo...yeah! I'm sort of keeping to my goals for this year. I know this month I have done absolutely GARBAGE at updating my blog with stories, and I am still writing the last part of Timeless Words, but exams, work and coursework assignments come first. Plus I still have Writer's Fatigue. I have, however, already taken the first step to start afresh in time for February:


Yes, I have been lame enough to draw myself a schedule that outlines how I'm going to spend my hours each day. Told you I had no life! But I have designated hours where I must write something, even if it's really rubbish, so you will be getting something in the near future.

So how are you guys? What have you been up to? Let me know!

In the meantime, Song Of The Week is The Reflex by Duran Duran because it's just...SUCH a good song! Fle-fle-fle-fle-flex!



I love you guys, I'll be posting again Thursday (as in tomorrow but daring to make sure it actually IS tomorrow!), and keep smiling!


Claire

Friday, 25 January 2013

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Getcha some bunting!


A friend's mum has started making these fabulous buntings to sell and let me tell you now, they are FABULOUS! My otherwise boring room in Halls has just been jazzed up with one, and I must say I love it!


There are lots of different designs to choose from for all kinds of occasions, so befriend Bunny Bunting on Facebook, get browsing, and get your little paws on these quality buntings!





Keep smiling!


Claire

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

I will give you a story tomorrow (I promise!)

Hey guys!

I'm sorry, still no stories because I'm still not able to finish any. Writer's fatigue SUCKS. So instead I've been watching films, attempting to write reviews for the not-so-well-known films and just trying to cleanse myself of all negative energy by just writing random things on here that probably make no sense.

Anyway, I have started a short story that should be done for tomor- No, it WILL be done tomorrow. You guys are getting a story tomorrow. Pinky swear.

In the meantime, song of the week is Wrinklecarver by Gobble Gobble. Again, it's not a very well known song, but I just love this song, and since it was this song which inspired me to write, here you go!


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow still sucks but at least I was laughing while being cold

So last week it started snowing and my friends at uni learned very quickly that I hate the snow. They should've figured that out already since I told them that I hate winter and would gladly swap countries with my two friends from Singapore, but whatever. They know I have Raynaud's disease and that I therefore just want to hiber-

What in the holy crap is Raynaud's disease?


Raynaud's disease is a genetic condition that causes the blood vessels in my fingers and toes to go into a temporary spasm when they get cold and as a result cuts the circulation to those extremities. This causes the affected area to change colour to white, then blue and then finally red as the blood flow returns. I like to say that my fingers and toes are "defrosting" when the blood starts flowing again because I'm just...weird. And it hurts like hell when I'm defrosting so I try not to frost in the first place...which is nearly impossible.


Now what was I saying... Oh yeah. I would much rather hibernate than go out in the freezing cold and have snowball fights, build snowmen, etc. I've tried it all because it looks so much fun, but I have no circulation in my hands and feet after a while and my fingers throb like sheeeeeesh! during and after.

Anyway, yesterday was the 19th January, making it 3 years since Dr Reid Oliver, the man of my dreams, first came to Oakdale on As The World Turns (a former American Daytime TV show). So when one of my darling friends text me asking if I wanted to go bike sledging (there are no decent hills in Leicester so we need a bike to pull the sledge along) my initial response was no. It's cold outside, I'm in the warmth watching ATWT on YouTube - no. But since I've been in my room all week due to exams I thought I'd better get out the house a bit before I end up the same way Danny Hill did in the film Occupant (review coming soon!).

I have to admit that although afterwards I was in absolute agony, I really enjoyed it. But I doubt I'll be doing that again this year. Maybe next year when I've forgotten the pain. In the meantime I will curl up in the warmth as much as possible with a mug of coffee or hot chocolate at hand.




'Scuse me while I rant...

*Deep breath...*

Why the HELL am I still in education? Why did I bother to study Aerospace Engineering at university? Honestly, the engineering department is full of incompetent arseholes...and I'm just talking about the staff! Everyone else has got their timetables, except us engineers. We got this email yesterday:

"Please note that teaching starts on Monday 21st January 2013 for year 1 and Year 2 Students. Teaching for Year 3, Year 4 and MSc students starts on Monday 28th January.

Because of some issues with putting the timetable together, it is not yet complete so we will be putting daily timetables both on here and in the Engineering Building Foyer as soon as is possible.

Please accept my apologies for the last-minute and incomplete information - we are endeavouring to get things together as quickly as possible."

We still haven't got the temporary timetable for tomorrow.

It has never failed to piss me off when members of staff at school or college have turned out to be complete and utter hypocrites, telling us to hand in our homework and coursework in on time, ridiculing and intimidating us when we fail to do so, only to not give us our marked work back until a week before the exam, or even lose copies of important documents that we have handed to them (both have happened to me) and they think that a simple thrown-about apology will make it all better. It's highly unprofessional and isn't very comforting that even they can't stick to deadlines; what's that saying to the unmotivated students? Deadlines don't matter?

And now it's happening at university as well! I should have known that they're all the same...

Another thing that's been driving me up the wall at university: my housemates. My housemates in Halls are inconsiderate and I've never felt like I fit in with any of them. The girls in my corridor knock on one another's doors and go to meals together...well...they knock on everyone's doors apart from mine. I find myself always eating on my own in the dining hall, or knocking on their doors only to find that they've already gone without me.

Now I know you're probably thinking, "Tell them, Claire. There's no point telling us." The thing is I have told them on more than one occasion. And they will knock for me for a couple of days and then not bother again. I understand that okay, I'm not always in when they have knocked, but surely it's just common decency? And this past week I've been in my room near enough every dinnertime, and not ONCE have they bothered to knock on me. I've given up.

Another thing is the noise they make. Week seven and week twelve I told them that I had exams on so I would need peace and quiet to study effectively. Like hell were they quiet! They did the usual running down the corridor screaming and laughing, shouting to one another...

WHYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I know I nowhere near have the worst housemates in the world, but they're not making this year in Halls a good experience. At least I have my rubber crow to keep me company.



At the moment I could rant on and on about university, how sometimes I feel like I'm in a parallel universe where there are only imaginary numbers and vomiting is the equivalent of getting laid, but I've taken up enough of both your time and my own with this post. I think I'm just feeling very emotional and down because of the cold and my sinuses flaring slightly. But I had to get all that out.

So I guess this gives you guys the chance to rant as well. You can tell me to man up, and how your lives are worse or whatever if you want - just go for it.

Keep smiling!


Claire

Film Review: Struck By Lightning (2012)

I'm very easy to please when it comes to films. If the film is well written, transits smoothly and makes me feel something that doesn't relate to boredom or annoyance due to the lack of dimension to the story, I am happy. With most critics, there are a lot more boxes to tick. But I'm not a critic as such. Not professionally at least. Either way, Struck By Lightning was one of those films that simply ticks all the boxes for me.

Struck By Lightning tells the story of Carson Phillips, a high school student who is killed by a bolt of lightning at the beginning of the film. From there the film takes us back to Carson's last year of high school when he blackmailed the school to submit pieces of writing for a literary magazine that would better his chances of getting into the university of his dreams, Northwestern, and escape the clutches of his hometown, Clover.

Now before I watch a movie I more often than not read the book first if it is based on one, and it isn't very often I find a film that I don't snort at when I read "based on the book by..." in the credits. I'll admit, since Chris Colfer both wrote the book and was the lead star in the film, it was probably difficult for the directors and producers to stray from the original story. Needless to say, I liked that. I don't know if anyone read The Saga Of Darren Shan books or watched the unfaithful adaptation of the first three books, The Vampire's Assistant (they chopped and changed so much of it that it ended up only just touching the books), but I could have ranted on for hours concerning it. If you're going to make a film based on a story that's already been written, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would appreciate it actually relating to the book. The only movie I have found to be better than the book is The Woman In Black, so go figure.

I like the way that the main character, Carson, is realistic in the sense that he is a normal school pupil, yet at the same time he is exaggerated so that various groups of people can relate to him. He's highly ambitious, an outcast at school, his parents are divorced and don't get on, he has to put up with his alcoholic and highly medicated mother, and his grandmother has Alzheimer's. I think Carson is a character that some people wish they could be more like in the way that he doesn't apologize for the way he is and is very open about what he thinks of people. He doesn't let people walk all over him, no matter how much they dislike him. However his attitude makes it difficult for the other characters - and perhaps even the audience - to like him.

Although the film includes the usual cliche high school groups like all other high school movies, what this one includes that others don't is the recurring idea that most people want to spread their wings and move away from home, but only a mere few feel able to. Some can't move away due to responsibilities at home. Some are too scared to in case they fall. And others choose partners over reaching their full potential in life. Carson is the only one determined to move away, frustrated at the way he expected to conform to the ways of everybody else, and since no one will help him he turns to blackmail to get to where he wants to be.

To conclude, Struck By Lightning was a film that made me laugh, cry, and reflect on what I'm doing with my life. If we want to get somewhere, we have to be dedicated and work for it. We can't rely on wishing on stars and praying to get what we want out of life; we're more likely to be struck by lightning.


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Writing is something that has always been there for me, through thick and thin. I've had some really hard times in the past, and writing helped me to escape those dark corners. It's like drawing, but easier and takes less time and patience because you don't need to be skilled with your hands as well as your mind. It's hard to explain. And then there's the audience you're writing for. I know people say this all the time, but if you can affect one person with your writing - just one - you're the most powerful person in the world.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Saying goodbye to my social life and sleep is possibly one of the hardest things I've ever had to do


Seriously, it sucks being an engineering student for this exact reason. And I have literally NO motivation, whatsoever. Anybody got any tips on how to get motivated? At the moment I'm just surviving off energy drinks, and they're not doing much to keep my eyes open.


I'm currently on my fourth can of Monster and I'm still dozing.

Anyway, during one of my procrastination sessions I came across this:


If you didn't figure it out, it's about a man with OCD. If he's to open one door, all the other doors have to be closed or something bad will happen; in this case it's a curse that would set a demon free to attack as many humans as it pleased. And it made me wonder:


Why do some people develop an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

I'm sure the majority of us feel the need to have something a certain way; my compulsions include spelling and grammar (I even used to correct my counsellor)  and wearing odd socks (I can't not wear odd socks!). But when and how does something so trivial start to take over a person's life? And how do we define the line between taking over a person's life and not? Are all strong compulsions a form of OCD and some can make more of an impact on a life than others?

So many questions, Claire!

I know! But surely I'm not the only who asks these questions. Right? ...Right?

So following Dr Internet's assistant, Mr Google, I found some interesting stuff:


"The experience of having unwanted, intrusive thoughts are very common. The question is therefore why for some people this gets out of hand and becomes so troublesome. Research is still at an early stage but there seem to be a number of answers to this question.
First, it appears that people with OCD may simply be more likely to become tense and anxious than most people are. So any upsetting experience may be worse for them than for someone else.
Second, people with OCD often have extremely high standards, particularly in the areas of morality and responsibility. This means that a thought which someone else would just shrug off is extremely distasteful or unacceptable to the person with OCD. Third, we know that upsetting thoughts become worse at times of stress. OCD often begins at such times, especially if it involves coping with extra responsibility (for example around puberty, when starting a new job or when having children. After OCD has begun, it usually gets worse if the person is under any kind of stress. Finally, we know that people find worries harder to control when they are very distressed. The result of all these effects is that people with OCD become very distressed when they have certain thoughts. This distress then actually makes it harder to just dismiss the thoughts, as someone else might. Thus people with OCD, trapped between severe worries and their inability to control them, look for some other way to cope. They tend to develop 'rituals.'"

And then there's even more information here, which is also pretty interesting if you fancy reading it.

So what have we learned from looking through these webpages?
  1. People who are more likely to become stressed and anxious, or have extremely high standards, are more likely to develop OCD.
  2. Some people may find that obsessions appear or get worse when they are depressed.
  3. Minor obsessions and compulsions are really common but they don't necessarily affect the person by causing unwanted thoughts, or by affecting their daily life. OCD affects a person's daily life.
  4. A lot of research is still needed to be done for us to understand OCD better.
Now I'm sure, especially looking at the last link, there are people thinking:

"Oh Lordy hell! I have OCD!"

I was too. My obsession over spelling and grammar makes me triple check all my emails, texts, blog posts, etc before I send or post them. And sometimes there's still a mistake afterwards and it's the END OF THE WORLD. And if someone asks me to read something they've written I nowadays have to refuse because I will correct the whole freaking lot!

I'm sorry, Heather! I CANNOT read any more of your stories until you invest in an editor!

It's a shame because her stories are actually pretty good once I decipher them...

Anyway, back to the point. There are probably a few people now freaking out that they have OCD.

Relax!

Has it really affected you? No? Then you have nothing to worry about. Is it quite severe? Go talk to your doctor. If you're still in doubt and it really matters to you that much, go talk to your doctor. I was merely procrastinating.

Do I have OCD? I don't know. The fact that I have to at least triple check stuff I write before sending/posting it, and feel I have to correct all mistakes other people make points to yes. But I don't know. It's a tricky one. Of course it's nowhere near as severe as Albert Whale's in the video, but perhaps it is OCD. I'd rather think I'm just a perfectionist...but isn't that a form of OCD?

OCD is quite a controversial subject if you think about it...

Anyway I'd best get on with my CAD coursework that's due soon. In the meantime, what do you guys think about OCD? Let me know in the comments section.

Keep smiling!


Claire

Monday, 14 January 2013

Song Of The Week, yo! And an apology for my uselessness...

I know guys, I haven't posted much at all. I have already broken like...ALL of my goals this month, but I'm letting myself off since it's due to January exams. So yeah, give me the chocolate, the alcohol (yes, I'm drinking again after several months of giving it up...though I prefer caffeinated drinks to keep me alive), the caffeine, and don't whine that I haven't updated in what seems to be forever except to give you weird songs you're not interested in listening to. I have a whole free week next week though, so fingers crossed I won't be too depressed after exams to lose all inspiration. I can't see that happening though, the not-being-depressed thing I mean - I had my maths test today and I ended up crying because my life is over due to my IQ diminishing with every hour I'm in Halls. Sigh...

Anyway, I'll leave you with a song I heard in Subway during my final days back home. It's called 50 Ways To Say Goodbye by Train. I think it sounds quite like Train's other song Drive By with a bit of Phantom Of The Opera thrown into it. The reason for this song being my song of the week is because it's really cheered me up while I've been studying, and the lyrics are just hilarious, not to mention the music video. One word: Hoff!

So here's you go, y'all (why am I going American?)! Seriously, the music video is just hilarious! Unless you have no sense of humour...


I hope this sort of makes up for my lack of stories. I suck.

Keep smiling, for your sake if not for mine!


Claire 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Help Eastsiders get the Kickstart they need!

"Eastsiders" is a new webseries written, produced and directed by Kit Williamson following the aftermath on a gay relationship when Cal (Williamson) finds out his boyfriend of four years, Thom (Van Hansis) has been carrying on an affair behind his back. With drunken rows and the side story of Kathy's (Constance Wu) frustrating relationship with boyfriend Ian (John Halbach), the first two episodes have been viewed 53,857 times on YouTube alone (I've posted both episodes at the bottom of this post).

Unfortunately, they need money to keep on going with this season. On Kickstarter Kit Willamson explains:




So far they have raised over $4000, but they still need all the money they can get. So feel free to make a contribution, like me, to help them out.

Thank you, and enjoy the first two episodes.

Keep smiling!


Claire


Song Of The Week

Yes, it's time for the musical piranha to post itself! This week's song is "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons. I wish I'd heard this song when I was first going to university because the lyrics really fit that sort of scene. And I did promise everyone that "I'm never changing who I am".





Like/dislike this song? Let me know! And if you have any favourite songs at the moment, also let me know.

Keep smiling!


Claire

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Short Story: Downcast Trails (Chapter One)

Running.

The thick blanket of snow was flawed with stumbling footprints and flecked with droplets of red. Richard followed the trail of blood cautiously, his heart racing, throwing itself at his chest in a bid to escape. He turned a corner and another one, noting the splatters of blood becoming larger and heavier, soaking into white and sparkling like rubies amongst diamonds in the morning sun. The trail led him to an old abandoned church, walls crumbling and not a single window left unshattered. Why here?


Richard tentatively rested his ear on the door to the church and listened. A slight creaking noise could be heard coming from the other side of the door but otherwise nothing. He turned the door handle and entered to a bloodbath. The walls and floor were streaked with red. Bodies hung upside down from overhead beams; some of them skeletons, others still decomposing, leaving a putrid stench to hit Richard’s nostrils. The trail he’d been following had helped form the wet red carpet on the floorboards, but Richard didn’t need it anymore. He spotted her, end of the front row, streams of blood making their way from the gaping slit in her throat, over her face, into her hair, onto the floor.


It was only partially due to the emotional shock and pain in his heart that Richard fell to his knees...but not completely. His eyes flickered down to the bloody hole in his shirt and a metallic taste started to tickle his taste buds. He gurgled a few times, causing blood to trickle down his chin, before shuddering out his final breath.


Above a figure dressed head to toe in dark green swooped down to land directly in front of the slumped body. A hood concealed its face though from the snarling that came from beneath it, it was apparent that it wasn’t completely human.


It lifted Richard’s lifeless body with ease and added him to the dozens of other hanging bodies hanging from the beams. It turned to leave but stopped, looking back at Richard. Pulling out its knife it took great care not to get blood on its clothes as a deep slit was made in the neck. Wiping the knife on Richard’s trousers the figure chuckled darkly and walked back out into the snow, leaving the hanging bodies to sway in the wind, the figure’s sinister laughter to dance in the air around them.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

I hate buying mobile phones...

Seriously, why can't they just have phones that...I dunno...work properly?

I had a cracking phone when I first got my contract - the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro. I loved it. It was beautiful: the touch screen worked, the keyboard made it easy for me to text and write stories on the go, it responded quickly, the battery life was okay...it was just perfect in my eyes. This was last year. I got it free with my contract, which was great, but HELL I would not have bought it on pay as you go - £200 SIM-free! £200! Are you kidding?!

Why do we have to spend that much money to get a reasonably good phone?

That £200 phone ended up breathing its last breath last month. Now I'm stuck with the LG Optimus L3 which seems more like a Megatron and is trying to chop off my right arm. It is so slow at responding and the touch screen is frustrating as hell! It cost me £49.95.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!

If you can give me any tips whatsoever in getting a good phone at a good price, please let me know. In the meantime, I'm just gonna curl up in my sock drawer and sleep for days.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

One day, I will master these dances and be wowing everyone in the clubs...




That's all I wanted to say.

Damn! I forgot to do my Song Of The Week!

Last week's song of the week was any Christmas song, so I didn't really need to post anything then.

This week, I think my Song Of The Week has to be 'They're Coming To Take Me Away' by Neuroticfish because I haven't heard it in ages, it's catchy, and it's what I found myself singing today when police sirens were going off (what is wrong with me?!)

Anyway, here you go. Enjoy!


Thought I'd share this with you...

So I had this idea for a verrrrry short screenplay when I met up with two of my friends from primary school and we went to the arcades. It's not a grand thing or anything, but I thought it'd be nice to get a little bit of feedback from you guys, seeing as I can trust you to tell me what you really think of it as opposed to what I want to hear (also, I've only just learnt how to embed files in my posts so I wanted to try it out!). I've also added the script that I did for Proteus a while back in the post that I mentioned it in about Celtx and the likes. If you're wondering what the hell I'm on about, you can find it here.

Without further ado, here's the script for the screenplay. Enjoy!


Pennies Drop

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 ...