Sorry I didn't write y'all sooner. A curious combination of being theoretically terribly busy, but in reality almost completely inactive has led me not to write anything for quite some time. And now it's May already? May the 7th? Wow. Time really does fly when you're almost entirely inert but simultaneously very stressed.
Let me explain myself. I have been theoretically very busy these last few weeks, which is to say I have had a lot of work to do. Most notable among this is the 6000 word research project I was supposed to be writing for Sheffield over the last 8 months, but (in classic style) completely neglected to do. So I have been terribly busy with work. Theoretically.
Unfortunately, I have actually been completely inactive. The fact that 'I'm very busy with work' stops me from going out and doing anything exciting, because I should be working. Unfortunately it doesn't stop me from wasting hours and hours of time in front of the computer listening to Kate Bush and looking at funny videos of stupid things.
So that is how I have spent the last few weeks - staying in, stressing about work, but making no meaningful effort to get any work done. Hence I've not really done anything blogworthy, hence no blog.
But I felt I probably owed it to all of you to write a little something, just to keep you all interested and make sure you're still paying attention; none of you sleeping at the back of class.
So - what have I been up to? I have started school again (huzzah!). Yes, school continues in a frustratingly badly organised and uninspiring way. My language classes this semester are actually much better - I'm not re-covering stuff I learnt three years ago, and some of the assignments are actually quite difficult (!) - but my other classes seem pretty dreadful. Fortunately, I'm allowed to fail all the classes apart form language if I want to and Sheffield Uni won't really mind. Still, I'll not aim for a fail, and will continue to gambarimasu, which is a wonderful Japanese word meaning 'to persevere'. They use it in place of 'good luck' or 'do your best', because in the mind of the Japanese luck is of no great merit, nor is how well you actually do something. All that matters is that you persevere, even if you're utterly useless and have no skill or talent whatsoever. Because of this, someone with no great talent who spends years drudging away mediocrely is more respected than someone with great natural talent who can do whatever it is easily straight off the bat.
One of the most cutting remarks you make to someone if they ask you how well they did something is yoku gambarimashita - 'you persevered well'. That's about as close as you can get to saying it was absolutely bloody awful in this back-to-front language. The only more direct put-down I can think of would be chotto... meaning 'a bit...', or maa... - 'umm...'
So I'm back at school. That's about it. My big Year Abroad Project is due next week, and I finally got round to actually writing it today. I'm at 3000 words which I rekcon ain't too bad for a day or two's work. Should have it finished within a couple more days, with a spot of luck, and then I expect I will get very drunk.
Which is actually something I've been doing rather less often these days. Growing financial concerns, ongoing health and lifestyle concerns and two 'incidents' - the details of which are not spectacular, but nonetheless I'll not go into them here because my parents would read it and disapprove - have spurred me to curtail my wantonness significantly.
Now, 'curtail significantly' is clearly a relative phrase. Those of you who do not know me well might not realise quite how much wantonness I habitually indulge in, but for me 'significantly curtailed' still includes getting very drunk at least once or twice a week. At least drunk enough to regret my drunkenness and not quite know where all my money went, although I have at least been staying away from the all-night-karaoke first-train-back get-home-smashed-at-noon-the-next-day kind of behaviour. That sort of activity is just silly.
But yes - only drinking once or twice a week! Me! Shock! Horror! Stop the presses!
What a turn-up for the books, eh?
So not drinking much, still not smoking, going to the gym 5 or more times a week: it's all very surprising. I really didn't expect it to come to this.
In fact I seem to making bold steps towards my New Year's Resolution - dedicated readers might remember - to 'sort my life out'. Let's review the resolutions and see how I'm doing...
- Study more, work harder, be less lazy - okay, this one still needs some work. Let's move on.
- Drink less booze, less often and be less drunk all the time - check. So far not doing too bad on this one.
- Exercise more, eat properly, lose loads of weight - Exercising more - yes; eating pretty well- yes; losing loads of weight - remains to be seen, but I'm optimistic
- Have more sex - *ahem* Nope. Total fail.
Britain's Got Talent. Now I may not technically live in Britain at the moment, but that doesn't mean Britain hasn't Got Talent, nor does it mean that I shouldn't be enjoying Britain's much-vaunted Talent to its fullest.
I know I'm not the first one to point out that Susan Boyle is not actually that amazing of a singer. Admittedly, amongst the standard of those who enter BGT she may well be one of the better singers, but compared to actual singers - professional singers who can actually sing - she's really not much more than a fairly decent club singer. I'm not trying to be a party pooper -she definitely put a smile on my face when she turned out not to be a completely embarassing tragic crazy lady, but she's not really that great a singer.
Jamie Pugh on the other hand - now I really liked his voice. Tempered by extreme nervousness, of course, he sounded rather mouselike and timid, but there was something to it that I actually really liked. Out of interest I started listening to professional versions of these Les Miserables songs, and whereas Susan Boyle compares as decent enough, but just not as good as the pros, I thought that Jamie Pugh sounded very different to the professionals, but had heaps of merit all his own. He just has a lovely voice. I think the word 'melifluous' describes it quite well in a neat linguistic cliche.
So in summary, Jamie Pugh FTW. Although I actually reckon it'll come down to a Susan Boyle/Jamie Pugh double act singing the hits of Les Mis to win in the final. Just a hunch.
Oh and Jamie Pugh also has the most adorable face. So sad and droopy. Like a slightly melted Rafa Benitez. Like a cross between Neil Morrissey and a potato. What a lovely man.
Anyway, all this Talent got me listening to Les Miserables. I've downloaded the soundtrack, and I've decided that i want to play Jean ValJean in a production of it. That is my decision. So I'm thinking about taking up Am Dram once I get back to Sheff. Of course, I probably won't actually end up doing any Am Dram, but I'll certainly talk about it a lot and my friends and family will say how good I would be at it but then I'll not actually bother. It's a lot easier that way, I feel. Less stagefright as well.
So the last point of business for the day, I think, shall be my tentative foray into the world of horticulture. Regular readers will recall that I planted some tomato and chilli seeds about 6 weeks or so ago. Well, as the saying goes: from tiny tomato seeds, mighty tomato plants grow. Or something. But the point is my teeny-tiny little seedlets have grown into this fairly impressive jungle:
That's tomato plants potted up individually on the right, chilli plants still in their seed tray on the left (although I really ought to pot them out by now). The tomatoes have gone a curious dark shade of green because I rather rashly put them out onto my roof rather too soon. They got a little sunburnt and overexposed, I fear, but I've brought them back in now and they seem to be recovering.
I have just noticed, though, some strange white fuzzy things growing at the base of the stems of both my chilis and my tomatoes. The look rather like roots, but they're growing above ground. I think this might be because the humidity in my bedroom is so high that they actually think they're underwater half the time, but the other possibility is that it's some kind of killer fungus that's going to take them over and kill them, then grow to a monstrous size and attack me in the night, sucking all my vital force out through my toenail, leaving me a dessicated beige husk until I erupt into a fountain of new fungal spores transforming all of Tokyo into braindead fungus drones.
I hope they're just confused little roots.
That's about all I think I have to say for today, so I will bid you adieu. I realise that today's post has been a little dry - not much multimedia presence - so to make up for this shortfall, I'm going to treat you to some funny pictures of me!
Okay here's one of me now, sitting in my room, writing a blog, eyeballing a bunch of bananas.
Here's one of me Oli kindly took while we were travelling around Japan.
I reckon this one might have been while waiting for a train, possibly Tokyo to Kyoto. Not sure.
I'm sure you'll all agree it catches me at my very best.
Really brings out my gums and blackheads and nosehair in a way that most photographs just don't do justice to.
And finally I'm going to treat you to a photograph from my youth.
Seriously, brace yourselves.
This is, as far as I know, the only surviving photo of me from when I had long hair.
That's right, I had long hair.
I reckon I'm about 16 in this photo.
No, I'm not in drag.
For your information I'm in fancy dress.
As a pirate.
And that is my real hair.
And did I say,