Things Learned in April

  1. If you have an alarm in your house, turn it on and learn how to operate it, no matter how complicated it is.
  2. Police in the North East of England will use “me” as a possessive pronoun. Go with the flow and enjoy the northern charm.
  3. There is nothing charming about having to clean up after other peoples’ cats.
  4. Good weather will appear when you have to do tiresome things. This is a common part of sod’s law, but worth reiterating. So be off to do your annoying tasks and take a break in the ensuing sunshine.
  5. Solo road-trips are better when it is lighter outside. Even if you are on your way to deal with tiresome things.
  6. Car-singing will make everything better.
  7. Burglars will go to hell. Alternatively, for the non-religious, they should have to take at least one rail-replacement bus for every train journey they make.

Leap Day!

I know a few people who are turning seven years old today. A very happy birthday indeed to you! By the time you turn eight, we will have swapped out that tens-digit in our ages, and hopefully be all the better off for it. The question is whether people young(er) and old(er) – although mostly the old(er) – will still have an appetite to chide “millennials” for all their miscellaneous sins?

February’s main takeaway is that you’re not invincible. Or at least you’re not invincible all the time, and especially not physically so. Eat well, sleep well, exercise, and go for all your health check-ups. Eschew one of these at your own risk, it may well come and bite you in the rear when you least expect it to.

Who am I to tell you? The other day I made a stack of pancakes for breakfast, and finished it with a great big blob of strawberry jam. Delicious.

But I also ate all of them in one sitting.

So. Full.

So who am I to tell you? Somebody who makes both good and bad life choices and tests them out for you so you need only do the good stuff. That’s who.

January Summary

Still alive. Just.

There is a large number of Capricorns in my circles at the moment – what we think of astrology is an entirely different matter – and I am currently quite grateful that their birthdays are here to brighten up an otherwise literally grey month. The rain and flooding of pre-Christmas seems to have subsided to be replaced by hail. (Except one only gets “real” hail during the summer.)

The research project is projecting.

My attempts to eat better are now aided by the having of a rice cooker.

An exercise class has been bought, so watch this space.

Double-booking myself is still an issue.

In what is certain to be a tumultuous year, how does one find peace of mind? After all, that seems to be the most common piece of advice given to you when you are stressed. Calm down.

I am not calm.

(But I do want to be.)

Happy New Year

We’ve just crossed into 2016 in my timezone, so HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

May 2016 be for you a prosperous and joyful year, filled with everything you like, less academentia, and no leaf coriander (personal preferences pending).

Here’s a wish from me that 2016 will contain all good things, and – I try to practice reckless optimism but I was born to highly pragmatic parents – only the minimum number of bad things to provide a suitable balance to the good things, which in turn should make the good things really feel GOOD.

You look like

When you fill in a form for a formal procedure, the most recent one to come to mind was registering for the new academic year at university, there is usually an optional page for your ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.* That is, things are usually kept for statistics (probably for marketing purposes), but should not impact your user experience. (There is no telling of whether or not they will.) If there is an option to click on a question mark or asterisk next to a question to further explain what the form-provider wants you to reply, the resulting window will tell you that ethnicity is how you identify yourself according to beliefs, ancestry, culture, traditions, and so on and so forth. Dictionaries will add that ethnicity is a hereditary factor.

I have been called a banana – yellow on the outside, white on the inside – and the perhaps more politely twanged yang2 wa2 wa (literally a straw doll kind of toy; in this case a play on words: wa2 wa, 娃娃, means doll or child, and yang, 洋, as an adjective, means Western). I have naturally inherited my outward appearance, which remains unaltered and distinctly Chinese**, but like all third culture kids, I have also amassed a social inheritance that means I skype my parents in January/February each year*** to bow and give my New Year’s greetings; I will lament that pancakes, no matter how dressed up, will never overtake the semla as best Shrove Tuesday confection; I will also complain when my tea has gone cold, and be on the fence about drinking it at all.

While I will dutifully tick the box for “Chinese” (or sometimes, “other – Chinese”, which makes me feel roughly “wow… okay… thanks”), I would very much like to know what form-providers would like to achieve with this information, other than have a heads-up on what I might look like****. Especially when I also have to fill in my name, nationality, and language skills anyway, which should give some clues (all on top of being unsure whether this sharing of information will play to my favour or not).

With that, I wish you a happy beginning to December. It’s not the “end of the year” yet – you have a whole month in which a lot of things can be accomplished. So get going.


Potential cans of worms to open:

*New addition to the registration form this year was “gender identity”, and the form does not let you register with any blank answers. Is this moving towards a new openness and awareness towards lgbt+ or inviting more trouble?

**Except I do not look distinctly Chinese after all. It is a very large country with many strands of DNA. Being Han Chinese, I have been asked in recent years whether or not I am Korean. I do not really know what to make of this so I remain happily indifferent.

***I talk to my family more often than just the once a year. Sometimes I even buy a ticket to visit them. Imagine that.

****According to a football-goer on a train a Saturday morning earlier this term, I found out that I apparently also look like a mail-order bride. I did not know that they had a look. That said, I will treat this as a reason to delve further into the world of young(ish)-men-in-groups (especially when going to large sporting events), as opposed to anything relating to my appearance.

Happy Halloween!

This year we’ll be dressing as an evil Victorian woman: showing of ankles and declaring of vote.

(I had a rather serious post coming up, but somehow Halloween seemed like the wrong day to post that. Have a happy, safe time out in the rain, and we will speak later.)