Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Hey, I know who this guy is, too..."

I'd forgotten how much I love Ben Grimm. Fantastic Four:True Story #1 is finally out and is was just as good as I'd expect, frankly. Cornell is fast becoming my favourite comic writer. I might have to update my "Joss Whedon Is My Master Now" t-shirt.[1]

Locke and Key #6 was also awesome and a satisfying end to this first run. Happy to see there's going to be more later in the year - I've gotten too attached to Bode especially. And the "ghost door" is an idea I am so going to steal for a game sometime. Whether I manage to run that Betrayal at House on the Hill RPG or not, I'm sure I can slip it in somewhere.

Ok, more serious stuff. I've been....bleugh. Actually more meh. Seriously meh. Failing to write more than a paragraph on my intro, even after an enthusing meeting with my supervisor; failing to write anything for some time actually. Spending too much time getting caught up in other people's agruments on an internet forum is one thing, spending time getting angry and actively offended is another. I guess it's insecurity - I don't have a good enough opinion of myself to be sure I'm not in the wrong so I can;t just shrug and say "X is nuts" because X might actually have a very good point and I might be being oversensitive to how they're phrasing it. It would help if Y didn't fall into the trap of arguing back in a similar tone though. Sometimes people just make me sick and I wish I could stop myself from reading the follow-ups when I know it's not going to end well.'s escapism and a way to avoid work.

The Terror's been driving me to tears lately too - constant whinging and grumpiness. It's probably the heat, or maybe he's not sleeping well for some other reason, or maybe he's keying off my own low mood. Whatever it is it's wearing me out pretty fast. And I suppose if I don't cheer up soon, Daddy is going to drag me back to the doctor, which I've been successfully avoiding for a while now. I just want to get on with my life, while not thinking about it too much.

[1] I don't have one. I was talking metaphorically.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

<Insert Funny Title Here>

Dr Horrible was great. Lovely downbeat ending. There are too few supervillain tragi-musicals.

The Terror went to the cinema for the first time yesterday. He behaved, although was a bit scared of the dark and bits of the film and sat on Daddy's knee most of the time. We went to see WALL·E which was just as brilliant, funny and sad as we'd expect from a Pixar film. I was nearly in tears at the end and I just don't cry at films usually.

So that's two things to get on DVD when they come out. We just splurged on a couple of games for the Wii - Mario Kart, as the Terror has been obsessed with playing it at a friends' house, and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga because, well, it's LEGO. And Star Wars. And now that has become the Terror's latest obsession and we have to put up with "Can I play Luke Skywalkers?" And he hasn't even seen the films. Guess that's something else we have to get....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Random snippets

"Tom you be the dragon, mummy be the princess. And I'm Batman."

Had a school dinner today for first time in x years. The Terror had his first ever and was mostly well behaved but didn't eat most of it of course. He was just happy to be at school and got to play with old nursery friends again. I foresee a summer of hearing "When am I going to school?"

"I climbed up that tree didn't I?"
"Did you? When was that?"
"When I was being chased by a crocodile."
"When were you chased by a crocodile?"
"When I was ten."
"But I'm four now, aren't I? And when I'm seven I can go to school for a long long time!"

Act 1 of Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is pure awesome.

I'm sure I had more to say....

Friday, July 11, 2008

Write something every day

Well it would be better if it was on my thesis, or even a story or something, anything, less self-indulgent than a blog post. But I've got to start somewhere. And who knows, maybe someone will read this....

Been rubbish few days. Rain hasn't helped. Occasionally my son being awesome and funny has, and making time to do the squelchy with my pseudo-husband looses all those feel-good endorphins which of course helps. Having someone as annoyingly logical as said SO around to combat those negative thoughts is also useful. But I still feel rubbish. Even after writing a whole sentence (which will have to be edited as it, frankly, sucks) on actual work. No really, it happens. I have the file open every day and I look at it and try desperately to concentrate on what needs to be said about "birdtrackery" and R-matrices and all that. And then I go and continue to read through the archives of Paul Cornell's blog and play Scrabulous on Facebook and stuff. At least that way I cry less. At least to start with. Then half five comes and I realise I've wasted another day....

The Terror had his visit to school this week - he had great fun and managed the trip to the toilets ok, spoke politely to the teacher, and screamed when we had to drag him away. I don't know if it's really registered with him it's different from nursery, but the emphasis to start with is very much on learning through play so maybe it won't be so different. He can't wait to start. Next week he goes back to try a school dinner. That'll be....interesting.

Also had a trip to the dentist this week. Not good news. Nothing like being told your preschooler needs fillings to ruin your day. Especially when you were busy being so proud of him for sitting quietly and letting her peer in his mouth. Stepped up our dental hygiene routine - twice a day now and Mummy or Daddy has to do it for him as well to make sure. Means I'm being better about cleaning my teeth too. Even bought some floss. No, I'm not sure who this person is either....

Just reread this Christmas story by some bloke - had forgotten I'd read it before but - ho boy. What is it with that man and trying to make his readers/viewers cry? And yet....nothing. Despite my son being four now, and this sort of thing usually gets to me. Maybe because I'm all cried out this week. Or maybe because it has a happy ending. I've had to stop reading the news because too often terrible things happen to young children and it just breaks my heart.

This is going nowhere really isn't it? Ought to go back to work. Maybe a trip to the shop for milk and chocolate. The rain is only a slightly torrential. And then maybe I'll get some work done.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Work, schmerk

So working on the assumption that writing something is better than writing nothing I've....still failed all afternoon to actually write a single thing re birdtrackery and lie algebras. So I'll write this instead.

So lots of fans were disappointed with Journey's End - well, what were they expecting? RTD was never going to kill a companion, although death would have been a blessing compared to what he did to Donna, science and, for that matter, common sense, have always played second fiddle to plot and spectacle in Doctor Who and come on! With an asset like David Tennant you just don't kill him off like that. He doesn't want to leave - not yet - and I doubt we'll see a new doctor until he does. Which might be many years away. The Rose thing - a bit sad actually but I can see why the Doctor did what he did. Although maybe I just have a hard time feeling sorry for someone who gets offered a doctor-clone and complains about it!

Rest of weekend was mostly just wet. Although we did watch Bender's Big Score which just made me realised how much I miss Futurama. And I doubt wishing I had those dvds will result in them appearing through the post like Coupling did. Even internet pixies have limited funds. Besides, still working my way through season two. ("I am the Snake of Truth and I will not be denied!") But yeah, we went to Whitby and got rained on. Stayed in Sunday playing Mario Kart which J brought round but the Terror still wanted to go to J's house. I don't understand that kid sometimes.

Still feeling tired all the time, and teary, and depressed and just wishing everything would collapse into a black hole so I didn't have to deal with it all. Bah. Tried to motivate myself to take up writing again, but even trying to make a Doctor Who comic failed so I doubt I'll ever get any use out of celtx which I downloaded yesterday. And now it's time to go home and try and be Mummy again and try harder tomorrow. I'm obviously just not trying hard enough yet.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Last post didn't really live up to it's title did it? That was partly because I was constantly interrupted by the Terror wanting help with his games and then I cut it short because it was lunch time. So let me ramble some more.

First of all, I'd better admit that I'm well aware that my own assessment of myself may be coloured by a depressive illness and the negative filters associated with it. I agree with my SO and my GP and not with the psychiatrist who apparently is the expert that I do in fact seem to suffer from clinical depression and some form of social anxiety which may be the root of it. I know that this means I'm likely to forget positive memories and concentrate solely on the bad stuff and I'm in the habit of not trusting my own critical facilities on many issues, not least of all "me". Having said that, while it's easy to recognise a thought or statement issuing from within me as possibly unduly biased, it's a lot harder to replace it with something more balanced. Not least because I'm the only one with inside knowledge to what goes on in my brain and thus have a slightly different perspective on my actions to everyone else.

So...what is it I really wanted to say about "ennui and the death of ambitions"? There's these lines from the Del Amitri song "When You Were Young" which keep preying on my mind: "Look into the mirror/Do you recognise someone?/Is it who you always hoped you would become/When you were young?" I guess we all fantasize about how things are going to turn out - what we're going to be when we grow up, etc - but I've spent so much time doing so it was really only a few years ago I realised I was always looking to the future and not paying attention to now. This is my life, it's not going to start at some point, it's happening right now and...I've missed a chunk of it. And despite not even being thirty yet I can't help but feel I've missed the best part, I've done nothing so far and it's too late. It doesn't help when you start seeing people younger than you achieving wonderful things. And yes, a large part of my unhappiness is this bitter envy I feel towards many, many talented and creative people. I used to want to be a writer but I've pretty much given up writing because I'm too lazy to stick at it and even when I do manage to hack out something it's always mediocre at best and I'm so disillusioned I just don't see the point in trying harder. A similar thing is happening with my academic work.

Of course, a lot of this laziness dates back to school when I didn't really need to try very hard at all. When you're clever and everyone tells you so you just assume you don't need to work, and often you don't. It comes easily, why try harder? If you complain that you're bored, your mistakes and faults are pointed out or you end up lumped with even more boring work, so you just learn to drift by, getting top grades with only as much effort as you feel like putting in. So when things got harder (around GCSE time) the doubts set in and you begin to think you're not so smart after all. And because everyone expects you to do well, it really doesn't mean much when you do. Or worse, you don't do as well as expected. You should have worked harder. Same thing right the way through university as well - sure everyone said they were proud and pleased that I got a First, but if I hadn't they would have been disappointed as everyone (me included) knew I was capable of it. So here I am struggling to write-up, determined to keep going only because if I give up now I'll have wasted a lot of people's time, money and effort. I have no faith in myself anymore. I know I'm lazy and bursts of writing like this are only possible occasionally and only when I let myself write instead of trying to communicate exact ideas - not any use for a thesis. But other people, more optimistic people, people in a better position to judge maybe, believe I can do it. And maybe I will. But you know what? Even if I do manage it, even if I do hack out a hundred pages or so that somehow pass muster, even if I do actually turn up for my viva and manage to say something - yeah, sure I'll be happy, I'll celebrate and I'll be a tiny bit proud. But it won't last long. I'll still feel as though I don't deserve it. Because I'm not as good as I want to be. Because I didn't work as hard as I should have. And because I was expected to be able to do it. The very best I've ever managed to do is live up to people's (including my own) expectations of me. Mostly though I fail to even do that. Talk about running to stand still.

In other areas of my life I ought to be happier. I have a wonderful, loving man who wants to marry me and an adorable healthy son. But I don't feel like a good mother, despite everyone telling me I'm doing fine. I don't like playing with my son, I'm too selfish to be a parent really. (You can't deny I'm self-obsessed, given the length of this post!) And while I spent much of my life pining after the wrong man and believing I'd be happier in a relationship with someone I love, I discovered the obsessive crushes didn't stop once I'd settled down. And that led me to almost ruin the best relationship I've ever had, and I badly hurt the person I profess to love. So I have a hard time believing I'm a nice person, despite what other people might think, and can't help but feel they'd both be better off without me. As that isn't a realistic option, I keep having to pull myself back together and try and become the person they deserve. But, frankly, I don't want to. I fail to get out of bed in the mornings because I don't want to have to go through the motions of yet another day pretending to be someone I'm not. I try and suppress all thoughts about what I want to do precisely because they don't involve my family and my family has to come first. I had ambitions but they were unrealistic and now I can't afford to think about the future too much because even the present is causing me problems and I can't imagine it getting better.

I think I've rambled enough. Time to get on and do some work. Which I don't want to do anymore, but I have to, because I have nothing else to do.

While writing this I listened to: Hangnail - Nickelback, Reject - Green Day, We're Not Going To Take It - Donots Welcome Table - Dan Zanes with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Lucy - The Divine Comedy, Seven Days - Sting, Black Night - Deep Purple, Catch the Sun - Doves, Be My Downfall - Del Amitri, Come Together - Robin Williams feat. Bobby McFerrin, Whisper - Evanescence, Don't Pay the Ferryman - Chris de Burgh, Eyes of a Child - Michael McDonald

On ennui and the death of ambitions

It's been a mixed few days.

First, the good: my supervisor wasn't as disappointed as I feared and we've set a reasonably achievable goal. He still has faith in me which is gratifying and might be enough to get me through this. Tonight should hopefully be our second WotG session after last week collapsed due to two players not making it. Got bit worried that it wouldn't happen yesterday but hopefully that's been patched up and we might have to start with only one player down. Or she could turn up, you never know your luck....Also,SFX used my summary of Pushing Daisies in their Speak Your Brains feature: "A cross between a fairy tale for grown-ups and an ice-cream sundae covered in caramel sauce!" Which goes to show maybe I shouldn't be so shy to post on the forums after all.

Second, the awesome: OMG! I'll be devastated if that truly does turn out to be the end of the Tenth Doctor, but I doubt RTD has the guts to dispatch him in such a fashion. There's the slight issue of knowing David has filmed scenes for the Christmas special....that could all be an elaborate con, or more likely a flashback or a two-doctor story (!!). To be honest, I don't care as long as next episode is good. I don't even mind a reset button a la Last of the Time Lords provided it's done well enough.

Lastly, the bad. Well the title says it all really. Last couple of days it's been a struggle just to get out of bed, let alone play, do housework or write thesis. And sitting in the coffee room earlier just reminded me how out of place I feel here. I've invested so much of my identity and dreams of the future in an academic career that having finally accepted it's not going to happen I'm left...empty. While other people rush to tell me I'm clever and capable I know deep down inside I'm not - not good enough anyway. I barely understand my own work, struggle to string sentences together when writing a silly blog post let alone a paper and have failed utterly to give a decent talk in my four and half years as a PhD student. I've not done too well on the teaching side of things either, and there are few enough jobs for people more talented than me. I'll count myself lucky to get anything once I've finished writing up - I doubt I'm employable at all. Even working as a cleaner for fifteen hours a week nearly killed me as I took to drinking vodka first thing in the morning to get me through it. It's frankly too depressing to think about. But every now and then it creeps up on me and sends me into a spiral of despair. So far, the only way I've found of getting me out of it is either a) cry until I feel sick then slowly pick myself up, or b) watch Coupling.

"I've got the key to the gates of paradise... but I've got too many legs!" Genius.

While writing this I listened to: Hey Dude - Kula Shaker, Children of the Revolution - T. Rex, Sittin' on My Sofa - The Kinks, Not the Girl You Think You Are - Crowded House, Yes - McAlmont & Butler, By My Side - Chris de Burgh