i have adventures (sometimes)

Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Mattress of Existential Despair

After spending a delightful Christmas with family, I set off for London, where the cars are FAST and the people are RUDE and the lights are BRIGHT and the supermarkets are ENORMOUS and the shops stay open AFTER DARK.

It's so shiny!
EVERYTHING is shiny!
Ok, so maybe I’ve been in York too long. You’d never guess I was a Jo’burger until four months ago.

But anyway, Emily lives here, so I guess that’s pretty cool.

gif make

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Interesting Things by Real People

In the past week, I've written two sets of study notes and first drafts of two assignments (and it only took five days of chaining myself to a desk and dozens of rice cakes illicitly eaten in the libary). So although I am an absolute boss, I'm too exhausted to even be properly proud of myself.

Someone pat me on the back. I can't lift my arms.

So basically, I'm not in any state to be interesting, unless you're particularly intrigued by how many hours I spent in the library this week (um, lots), or the morning I decided I had meningitis and would die in four hours before I remembered that I'd fallen off my bike twice* the day before, which was probably why all my muscles were stiff.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Capslock and Tinsel

Christmas feels Christmassier when it's winter. Maybe it's because all my previous Christmases this side of the equator have been while I've been away on holiday, and so it all feels that much more exciting. Or maybe it's because Christmas imagery is so entirely Northern hemisphere-centric that despite the fact that I've lived my whole life in South Africa, I'm still a little sceptical of hot Christmases.

I see no snowmen here.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Yes, We Know it's Christmas

21:55 Posted by Ali , , , , , No comments
A song which I've only recently discovered, but which has fast become my least favourite Christmas song of all time, is Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World),* a title that really captures all the subtlety and thougthfulness of the song itself.

Don't call the Hyperbole Police when I tell you that it makes me want to staple my tongue to a cactus. A moving cactus. Which is on fire.

It's Christmas time, there's no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade

But in our world of plenty, we should spread a smile of joy!

Throw your arms around the world at
Christmas time
But say a prayer - pray for the other ones
Christmas time, it's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you

And there won't be snow in Africa this christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows

No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Here's to you, raise a glass for everyone

Here's to them underneath the burning sun
Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Feed the world

Let them know it's Christmas time

Oh, Feed the World, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Some Sort of Dreadful Pun

21:06 Posted by Ali , , , , No comments
Today, my dreadlings are a year old. Happy birthday, little guys!

No actual dreads were set on fire in the making of this birthday candle.

My dreads have been with me through existential crises of varying severity, two very different overseas adventures, two brief experiments with full-time jobs, one disastrous foray into dating, meeting people I'll never forget (and one or two I'd quite like to), working out what I might actually want to do with my life and my linguistics degree, screaming my heart out for two of my favourite bands, one brush with depression, and a whole lot of times when I've been happier than I've ever been in my life.

Monday, 12 December 2011

For Whom the Bells Toll

It's starting.

At first, it was just peripheral. It was only people who were older than me. Then it was people I used to go on camp with. Then it was people I sort of knew from varsity. Then it was girls who were in my year at school. And... it was ok. Sure, it was scary. Sure, every now and then I'd log on to Facebook and scream, but I got over it fast enough.

And today, it finally happened.

One of my school friends is getting MARRIED.

Hint: it's not me.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

200 Billion Stars and 6000 Miles from Home

I'm glad that I live in a world where science-comedy-music shows are a thing. Because I am a massive nerd, and, more specifically, a massive nerd who is becoming increasingly aware of just how gosh darn exciting science is, I decided to go to Manchester on Tuesday to see some cool people talking about cool things.*

All right, it was mainly to see Tim Minchin. But I was also interested in the science.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Probably the Best Blog Post in the World

The main point of this entry is to share this picture:

This is probably the most English sign in the world.

I wish I could blame the fact that I haven't had time to blog on how hard I've been working. But that would imply that I've been working hard, and that would be misleading. I've been baking hard, and going to gym like a boss, and mostly remembering to do my laundry and stuff, but I definitely haven't been working myself to the point of nervous collapse, which is a really nice change from Honours. So anyway, I'm not really sure what's been keeping me busy, but I suspect it's mostly the internet.

And Sinterklaas!

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Only Way is Arguably Not Essex

Hey look! Today's blog has a guest star!

But she doesn't appear for another 13 paragraphs, so don't get too excited.

A few weeks ago, my lecturer sent around an email saying "There's a LADO workshop in Essex! Who's interested?". So, being the massive nerd that I am, I said, "Oooh, me!"

Well, actually, that wasn't quite how it went. Being the massive student that I am, I first asked "How much is it?" And when he told me that the fee would be covered and I could claim back for transport and accommodation, then I said "Oooh, me!"

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Monday, 21 November 2011

Wanna Ride BIKES?

00:39 Posted by Ali , , , , No comments
If I've been overusing the word "lovely" lately, it's only because of Luna, my very lovely new-second-hand bike. My bike is lovely. Cycling is lovely. York in the autumn is lovely.*

See? Lovely.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Talking About the Weather

I just made the mistake of checking the hourly weather forecast for today.

That's right. The most exciting thing I can hope for today is two different colours of cloud. I can only assume the question mark in the corner lets you submit a "WHY GOD WHY?" to the deity of your choice.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Tyranny of Lettuce

I just made a salad. And then laughed alone with it.

Ahahaha! Spinach!

Which brings me to the subject of oddly-specific tumblrs that make me laugh. If it's not Women Laughing Alone With Salad, then it has to be Nick Clegg Looking Sad. Which brings me back to salad. (It actually doesn't, but I wanted to talk about salad some more).

Sunday, 6 November 2011

24.6% More Mysteriousness, 65% Less Sleep

I was all prepared to blame NaNoWriMo for my disappearance from the blogosphere this month. And instead, I'm blaming varsity and general real life busyness for my disappearance from NaNoWriMo.

I actually am up to date with my word count (12k), but my heart's just not in it this year. I'm going to carry on anyway (because finishing is how you win, and I really really like winning), but I feel like I'm aiming to reach word count, not write a novel. I feel like writing a novel would require a little more in the way of plot and a little less in the way of lengthy discussions between my characters about how I have no plot.

And then real life got so busy that I didn't even have time to blog about it. So here is a post with more photos than words, because I have real work to do (and it's definitely not just that I'm too tired to remember how words work).

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Recommended Reading

I spend a lot of time on the internet. Like, a lot. And because I do this and spend a lot of time with people who inhabit the same bits of internet that I do, I've been told that I make references to things that may not make very much sense to other people. So here is a recommended reading list. Most of it is internet stuff. Some of it isn't. I hope it's helpful.

1. Hyperbole and a Half

Allie Brosh is my hero.
Why do I keep saying "ALL THE THINGS"? What's up with "going to the motherf*cking bank like an adult"? What on earth is an Ability to be Responsible Trophy? The answers can be found in this post, which had me and pretty much every other young adult I know going "Yes! That's my life!" The whole blog's so amazing that I'm wary of linking to it in case you give up on mine and just go and read hers instead, but this post is the one I'm bound to make a reference to every time I do anything remotely grown up. Or, in fact, every time I don't do anything remotely grown up. INTERNET FOREVER.

Friday, 28 October 2011

The Festive Pumpkin

The interesting vegetable of the week is a small pumpkin. How festive! I would carve a face in it if I thought I could do so without stabbing myself. As much as I appreciate it when things go comically wrong and give me something to blog about, I draw the line at stitches.

Yes, I did carry a pumpkin outside and take photos of it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Freshers' Flu (Dramatic Thunderclap)

Productivity eludes me.

Meep meep.

Well, to be fair to myself, not all productivity. Only the relevant kind. Domestically speaking, I'm totally awesome. I clean and cook and vacuum and buy groceries and do laundry and take out the recycling and remember to water the cacti. I've even done really really grown up things like buying insurance and remembering to pay rent.

High five, me.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

One of Those Days

It's cold.
This cold.

Apparently my laptop feels the same way I do, because my desktop weather forecast has got stuck on -1, while Googling "York weather" tells me that by now, it's actually all the way up to 4 (with a whopping high of 10 by 4pm! Exciting times!). At least the sun's shining. Now I can stop staring intently at the kitchen wall for hours every day.

Yesterday was One of Those Days. By which I mean One of Those Days When Things Go Comically Wrong Apparently to Give Me Things to Blog About.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


15:17 Posted by Ali , , , No comments
With three members of the Wits Latin Club in the country at the same time, how could we not meet up for picnics, fun times, and hopeless attempts to translate Latin inscriptions? I argued in favour of York, but Oxford won by virtue of being in the South (and, all right, because it's prettier). So Robyn and her sister Kerith came from London, and I got up at the crack of dawn so that we could all converge on Andrew in Oxford. It was cold.

It turns out that the early morning is really beautiful. It's a pity you have to get up so early to see it.   

Happiness, Sadness, and Happiness Again

Some time last week, I hit a peak of happiness. As I was walking home from the health food store with my oat milk, I had a moment of such perfect joy that I had to resist the urge to spin around and sing on the street, because (to my ongoing sorrow) I still don't live in a musical.

And then, as tends to happen, I fell into a happiness trough.* I had my department induction, which was fairly interesting, and I met the people in my course, who seem really nice, but I felt like I'd turned back into my old, socially awkward self, and I found that I just wasn't excited about actually starting. Or maybe my brain just suddenly registered that I was seriously sleep-deprived and I hadn't seen the sun for a solid week. So from a narrow brush with street singing, I ended up in my room in my pyjamas with my flauschige Teddybären, trying to remember what the sun looked like, and eating peanut butter out of the jar.

Monday, 10 October 2011

My Life in Photos

23:32 Posted by Ali , , , No comments
My life is cool. Here is my cool life in photos (and video, nogal!).

My block. Our kitchen looks out onto the walkway because otherwise it would be inconvenient for our neighbours to stare at us while we eat.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Attack of the Phantom Ukelele

14:28 Posted by Ali , , No comments
There was a picnic scheduled for yesterday afternoon, but the weather was horrible, so we decided to have our own picnic on the kitchen floor instead. Our yellow wall is a pretty good replacement for sunshine. Or at least, between that and my vitamin D supplement, the closest thing to sunshine I'm likely to see for the next six months (infinite sadness). But to be fair to the wall, it is a very nice wall.

The earlycomers.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Time Warp and Tea Parties

12:08 Posted by Ali , , , , No comments
Not that I’m a junkie, but getting my internet fixed sort of did make the shaking stop. I spent four whole days without the internet in my room before I finally managed to get hold of IT and take my laptop to them to be fixed or configured or reconfigured or whatever it is they do. They fixed it in under half an hour, and, even stranger, they weren’t creepy. Not even a little bit. This really is a magical land. I will do well here.

Except for the fact that they have squeezable Marmite.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Wolves and Bears


Is my life really exciting enough to warrant caps and, not one, but two exclamation marks? No, not really.

(I’m just kidding. It totally is.)

Mum and I arrived in York early on Saturday afternoon, by which stage I was excited to the point of bouncing up and down in my seat, although that may also have been the coffee. I really should stay away from that stuff. Or drink more of it.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Filler Post (with Dinosaurs!)

11:33 Posted by Ali , , , No comments
Madness? No. This... is... a filler post! Hooray!

I promise a full and detailed account of my adventure to Norwich to get my hair done once I have photos to accompany it. But while I wait for Abbi and Paul to upload the pictures, here is this filler post, which is not very exciting, but which does at least have dinosaurs in it.

Because dinosaurs are always exciting.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Not Even a Little Bit Murdered

Ro went home on Monday, after a very heteronormative day in which he went out looking smart for an important meeting, and I stayed home like a dutiful wife, baking pot plants, tumble-drying babies and airing the ceilings (I may not be entirely sure what dutiful wives do). But then the time came for us to part, so I saw him onto the correct tube for Heathrow, and waved through the window as he disappeared.

Although he’d actually stopped looking by that time, so I ended up waving at the woman next to him, who looked very confused by this state of affairs.
Live long, prosper, and catch the right train.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Onslaught of Cute

19:56 Posted by Ali , , , No comments
After arriving in London yesterday morning, Ro and I vaguely meant to do lots of cool things. But Lizzie roped us into helping her colour in some flyers, and we found it strangely therapeutic, so we spent a while doing that with our tongues sticking out in concentration before eventually tearing ourselves away to face the outside world.

We set out with no real destination in mind, planning to walk and go exploring, or at least walk to a restaurant and explore the menu. We stopped to have a look at one of the tacky tourist stores Ro loves so much, and that was when it happened. I fell victim to... the Onslaught of Cute.

Could you say no to this face?

Saturday, 17 September 2011

And Lashings of Ginger Beer!

I should warn you, if you are under 13 and/or of a sensitive disposition, that this blog entry contains one naughty word. So read through your fingers so that you can cover your eyes at the right time.

Anyway, Cambridge!

The source of the well-known expression "happy as a snail in Cambridge".

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Taking Stock

Today was my last full day in Edinburgh, and so I planned to go on exciting walks, discover new places, eat interesting food and meet cool people.

I was going to be this guy.

Things I didn't factor in when planning included galeforce winds, waking up late, running out of clean clothes, getting a cold, and being really really lazy.

So instead of doing anything I'd planned, I did laundry, bought groceries, made ginger tea (which I hate, but it does seem to help with the cold), and then lurked in Cath's flat all day, catching up on life and taking stock.

So here is some stock.

Travel injuries: 1 bruise (source unknown), 2 grazes (slip-slop, falling over), 1 lump on head (counter at hostel), 1 mild sunburn (sun)
Celebrities stalked: 2
Books read: 1
Cups of coffee drunk: 4
Cups of tea drunk: c. 25
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 2
Chocolate eaten: 220g
Pieces of fudge eaten: 1
Pieces of millionaire's shortbread eaten: 6
Pita breads eaten: c. 15
Days of eating breakfast for supper: 2
Grocery stores visited: Innumerable
Uses of scarf: Pillow, towel, cushion, headscarf (and even to keep my neck warm, once or twice)
Photos taken: 415
New friends made: 1
Coach trips: 4
Train trips: 0
Boat trips: 1
Acid trips: 0
Laundry days: 2
Spontaneous tickets purchased: 3
Hikes hitched: 2
Couches surfed: 3
Hostels stayed in: 2
Skype calls: 3
Times deciding that THIS song is the best song ever for long journeys: 9
Moments of homesickness: 1
Moments of wanting to stay here forever: 1
Really really sad moments: 1
Really really happy moments: Lots

Next up is Cambridge. So far, I only have a ticket to get halfway there, but I'll figure out the rest of the way somehow. Maybe tomorrow I can be that guy! Brb, buying khaki.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

My Totally Spontaneous Adventure

Ro left for Oxford on Friday morning to present a conference paper about monsters for other smart people, leaving me to work out what to do with my life until we meet up in Cambridge next week. Friday was a spectacularly unproductive day, in which I hid from the rain in an amazing coffee shop all day, ostensibly to work on my NaNo novel from last year, although I ended up planning my weekend trip until Cath joined me, after which we drank coconut lattes and smoothies like richer people than we actually are.

It was probably for the best. My novel's terrible.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Shake Bacon Crown!

On Tuesday night we decided to be totally daring and go out at night. So we went to the pub across the road, where I learned that alcohol is so expensive that I could have bought two slabs of chocolate for the price of my drink. The drink in question was actually quite nice, but given the choice, I'll take the chocolate, thanks. Cath joined us later, and we hung out on grubby sofas at the hostel until late.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I Blame Prince Philip

22:14 Posted by Ali , , No comments
Today we decided to do the free walking tour (which I've done before, here and in Prague), but it was just starting to rain as we got close, so we chickened out and went for coffee instead. The coffee shop we were passing at the time of out-chickening happened to be the one where J.K. supposedly sat and wrote the early Harry Potters, so it seemed too good to pass up.

Plus, it was cold outside.

HP graffiti in the bathroom.

You Think, You Wink, You Do a Double Blink...

21:25 Posted by Ali , , , No comments
 Hey look! We're in Edinburgh!

O hai!
We had a very long and uncomfortable overnight coach trip to get here, after which we were sore, sleep-deprived, and hours too early to check in at our hostel, so we dropped our bags and went out into the city, fuelled only by painkillers and chocolate.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Just Freezing in the Rain (Not a Glorious Feeling at All)

22:08 Posted by Ali , , , No comments
We had another late start this morning, and after packing our lunch like the good thrifty students we are, we set out around mid-morning for Camden Town. Since it seemed warm enough, we did so in jeans and tshirts (can anyone tell me what foreshadowing is?).

This awning and this shop seem weirdly mismatched. Or are those just seriously badass pretty dresses?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

More London Left, Less London Right

20:12 Posted by Ali , , No comments
Today we had another day of perfect weather, and we walked until our feet hurt and then we walked a little more. And then a lot more after that.

We wandered along Fleet Street and down to St Paul's before crossing the Millennium Bridge and taking a walk along the South Bank.

From the garden at St Paul's. Yeah, hygiene, Mary Poppins.

A New Adventure

Every time I start anything new, I want to sing Les Mis. So here it is, another blog, another destiny! This neverending road to... cookies and Sherlock season 2, hopefully.

For those of you who've missed the story, I've just moved to the UK to do my MSc in Forensic Speech Science at the University of York. I fear that my days of spending ages explaining to people that no, I really do mean York, not New York, are only just beginning.