NOTE: Reading this will probably be a waste of time.
I briefly refer you to this post which I wrote a year ago. I still don’t know how I pronounce it. Someone needs to take me by surprise and make me say the word “February” before I realise it and start getting all self-conscious. We all know that’s never going to happen, but if it did then I’d know. I’d really know.
It’s nice to see you again. How are you? I have a very sore throat (it’s a bitch), but I’m not not going to mention it. No one likes a whiner.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, as much by planning as by accident.
Two weekends ago, I went to Glasgow to stay with Ruairidh and to attend the Great Birkbeck Block 2 Party of 2010™. It was great fun – I think this photo of him downing a shot of Jägermeister pre-party sums up the night quite well:
The party ended at 2am when the fire alarm went off. Some suspected conspiracy with the swift arrival of the firemen, but I – the guy who actually didn’t get that drunk – reckon that those people are idiots. I was asleep by 5.
A+++ party, would attend again.
On the way, Neil Oliver got on my train at Stirling and sat next to me. I think he was reading and editing a speech on A History of Scotland. I thought he’d appreciate knowing that I like his work, so I told him. He seemed like a nice guy. I later realised that I must have stunk of garlic after eating 1½ garlic baguettes at Ruairidh’s. I hope he didn’t mind the smell.
When I got home I made some chili. I froze three portions and put the rest in the fridge; I wasn’t hungry. I had a kilo of mince, and it looked particularly fatty, so I decided to cook the meat separately before adding to the chili so that I could drain off the fat. I managed to remove a tin full of fat. I measured it as 320g1 – a whole third of the meat! Sick! And the packet said “typically 18% fat”…
Then last Tuesday I was on a bus, reading “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. I’d read from about page 100 to page 150 on Saturday morning in Glasgow, and then some more on the train home. I finished it a few days later and then watched the film. It’s a wonderful book and the film’s not bad either; I’ve been meaning to blog about them both.
Anyway, we were out in the countryside and it was sunset. The sky was nearly cloudless, and that let the sky display its full range of colours. Everything bar the sky was silhouetted in black. It looked like something from a movie. The Sun must have been obscured2 until, whilst sitting on the back row of the top deck, facing East with my head in the book, I realised it was a lot brighter. The bus was filled with a warm, soft, yellow light. I turned and looked out of the rear window, and saw the Sun sitting on the horizon, its light burning through a row of trees at the edge of a field. I told my brother to look behind, too.
I decided then that I would blog about it, and the result was this masturbatory post written that same day, just after I’d been out to look at the stars and before I went to bed. I knew as I wrote it that it would come across as pretentious, but it’s what my thoughts were and it’s what I had to say, no matter how embarrassed I knew I would be.
In any case, I stand by my sentiments in that post. I find stars fascinating – the Sun in particular. Just think – if you rub your hands together, that warmth that you feel comes from the Sun. Without the Sun we couldn’t exist. Seeing the Sun just floating there behind the trees, I was awestruck. I could have stared at it for days. I know you’re not supposed to do it, but looking at the Sun is like looking at nothing else. It’s the same size as the Moon but it has some sort of shimmer, a burning quality. It’ll probably turn out that that experience is the actually the destruction of my retinal cells or something, and I know I shouldn’t look at the Sun (even at sunset) but for just a couple of seconds at a time, I think it’s worth it.
It’s spectacular to look at, but what’s more is that we can comprehend what it is and what it’s doing. A ball of nuclearly fusing gas which could fit 1 million Earths inside it. The Sun’s an amazing thing.
Last Wednesday I hung out with George for a couple of hours and took this picture of him:
Then last Thursday, a week ago today, I gave my first speech to Perth Speaker’s Club. For perhaps the first time ever, I hadn’t been nervous about the prospect of speaking publicly and/or formally. Perhaps it was because there was nothing riding on it: no exam result and no one3 that I knew very well who would revel in my failure, but I prefer to believe that it’s because I’ve matured and got over the nervousness involved with speaking. Now I just need to learn how to do it well.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from spending way too much time on it. The majority of my time between returning from Glasgow on Saturday and giving my speech on Thursday was spent thinking about, writing, editing, memorising or practising my speech. It was the first time that I’d had to work to a deadline since leaving school, and although I managed it fine I was disappointed that I did procrastinate somewhat. I thought I might have banished it althogether. Apparently not. And my old rule that if I have a whole day to write something, it will take the whole day to write it seems to hold true. That’s where last Monday went. Fuck it.
Still; I’m proud of my speech and glad that I still have it in me.
I helped my mother with grocery shopping last Friday.
I don’t remember how I spent last weekend, and that’s probably the most worrying thing about my gap year. I’m sure I spent my time in a constructive way and I’m sure I didn’t waste my time, but living in a way that allows me to not know what day of the week it is means that I often lose the time attribute of my memories. When I ask my brain “what did I do last weekend?” I have no fucking idea – though if someone mentioned whatever it was I was doing, I’m sure I would remember that event well.
Thinking a bit harder and making some deductions, I think I spent the majority of one of the days programming4, and I remember that at some point on Saturday I went to Tesco and bought ingredients for a curry5 and then I made one. Sunday, therefore, was probably spent eating it and washing up.
On Tuesday, I was woken up to learn that my Uncle, David, was here. He wondered if I wanted to walk his dogs with him. I love his dogs – Milly and Nina – and I enjoy walking, so I did. As I write this it’s getting a bit late in the day to go into much depth6, but we had a really nice time up Moncreiffe Hill, and I got a load of photos, one of which I will share with you now:
I’ll say more about that walk in a blog post in the near future.
I went to bed early on Tuesday night (in bed by midnight, asleep by 1am!) but I woke up at about 4am on Wednesday morning (yesterday), and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I had a terribly sore throat, the one which I still have and am not going to mention. Maybe that’s what woke me. Being the opportunist that I am, I decided that, as there was a clear sky, I would go up Craigie Hill to watch and photograph the sunrise. That was indeed a great idea, and I need to adjust and upload those photos before I can write about it.
When I got home, it was about 9am. I spent the rest of the day on the internet, watching QI and Newswipe, and then I went to Tesco and got a chicken and roasted it for tea. It turned out OK, though I feared the very bottom may have still been slightly undercooked (despite cooking it to the instructions and successfully testing the breast and thighs for clear juices) so I condemned that bit. The rest – along with the sweet potatoes and stuffing – was delicious.
Today, Thursday, I woke up at 11:30, after sleeping about 10 hours (recovering from the previous night’s 3). After a few hours of reading and eating and showering, I had to go into Perth to pick up a package and do some shopping for my Mum who is currently away being a Grandmother. When I got home I watched some Kenny vs. Spenny7 and American Dad with Alan (my younger brother). Afterwards I spent some time sowing seeds into little pots with today’s newly purchased compost whilst finishing the audiobook version of “On Writing” by Stephen King again. I planted some coriander, basil, beetroot, onion, spring onion and garlic. Then I made my tea and washed up, and was done by 9pm.
I didn’t intend to blog about any of today’s events8 and I don’t know why I did. I’m sure you care a great deal about it all. Now I’ve spent the last three hours of the day blogging. I enjoyed it at least.
One common theme of the past couple of weeks is how often I’ve intended to write, spent much time in bed thinking about exactly what I will write, but never actually writing anything. Most recently it’s been because I’ve been ill and unable to properly focus, before that because I’ve been doing other stuff (watching films, programming, spending time with others) and last week whilst it was because my brain was completely fucked after spending all my effort on the speech. I’m loath to say that this will change, but I can try9…
Before I go
- I mentioned I’ve watched a lot of films in the last couple of weeks. You’ll also have known this if you’ve looked at the Movie Ratings widget in my sidebar. The films include The Invention of Lying, Soylent Green, Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup, Moon and The Road. The Road aside, I think I’ll only write about Loose Change, just because it pisses me off the way people make these ‘documentaries’. The people who believe in these (well, any) conspiracy theories piss me off too. By the way, I know a guy at the Speaker’s Club who believes virtually any conspiracy you could name, including that the Holocaust was not real. He recommend the site What Really Happened to me. Wow.
- I’ve been getting more and more searches about French speaking exams the closer we get to that time of the year10, so I shall endeavour to complete that section of this website.
- I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to start all of my sentences with a statement, but then I follow it with a comma and then carry on the sentence with a “but”. Now that I’ve seen it I CAN’T UNSEE IT.
Next Wednesday I’m going to stay with my sister and brother-in-law for a week to see my nephew and help out.
That’s the end of this week’s State of Wilf’s Mind address.
- Not including the tin! ↩
- I don’t whether it was behind a cloud or some land or something else ↩
- Well, just George. ↩
- Statistics and graphs – really rewarding. Seriously. ↩
- I bought a boneless rolled shoulder of lamb, £5. ↩
- The time is 23:41 on 18/02/2010. ↩
- Who Do Black Guys Like More? Pt. 1 and Pt. 2. ↩
- Except I might write about “On Writing” again. ↩
- And yet again this turns into a blog post about blogging. ↩
- This time last year all I was thinking about was my upcoming Advanced Higher French speaking examination. ↩