Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Other People Rant

Sorry, but this is a rant.

Why do people have so much difficulty not understanding that I do, in fact, have a life? You know, one that doesn't involve waiting around all day for them to grace me with their presence. Or hours of boredom only relieved by their phone calls. Seriously, I have a life! EERRRGH!

A friend who lives a way away called me to arrange a meet up. Great! Only she's just got in town and is going away again in 2 days. And I'm supposed to shift my schedule around to suit her spontaneity? I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong, I like spontaneity, but sometimes you have to plan fun things out, too. You can't always just roll out of bed and decide what to do. You especially can't do that if you have scheduled lessons to teach and a short 2 week holiday filled with places to go/see.

I just find it so insulting when people phone up thinking I've got nothing better to do. That I'm just waiting around for them to drop by when it suits them. And, to make matters worse, I hate that I come across as the ultimate b*tch for turning them down. Which I do, obviously, because I HAVE OTHER ENGAGEMENTS!!

*Deep Breath*

Ok, I feel better now. I enjoyed that rant.

Anyone else have the same problem? Or maybe something to rant about? Please, feel free to share.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trapsing around Roman Ruins (Long Post)

Being in Africa, Algeria's history goes back a long way. In the southern regions there are caves with drawings by early men, in the Northern regions there are the much more recent Roman ruins, throughout the country you can see architecture from the Ottomon era and from the French occupation. All in all, there's quite a bit to see, and because we're having a 'staycation' - we're not going away anywhere this spring break - my family and I decided to pay the Roman ruins in the nearby province of Tipaza a long over due visit.

It was a beautiful day, with some lovely views on the way down:

The ruins are of a city from the late 2nd Century-early 3rd Century, and it was amazing to be able to walk in the footsteps of people who lived there nearly 2000 years. You can climb up the steps of the temple, walk through the doorway of the ampitheater and stand in their rooms. It was incredible.

We saw the ampitheater:

A couple of temples:

Some houses:

With this amazing tile detail on the floor of one of the rooms of a ruin:

There was also a fortress:

And a theatre:

By this stage we were all totally cream crackered (cockney slang for knackered), so we headed off for ice-cream and then home. Everyone had a lie-in the next day. ;)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Film Review: Julie & Julia + Blogging

Ok, so last night I watched Julie & Julia. I've been wanting to watch it for a while because it stars Meryl Streep (gotta love Meryl), it's about a blogger and everyone keeps going on about how great it is. So, I finally sat down to watch it last night with my little sister. In all honesty, I didn't really enjoy it. I mean, I did. But I didn't. Overall, it was just kinda meh.

First up, the positives: Meryl Streep's performance was amazing, of course, and Amy Adams looked suitably knackered throughout the film, which was appropriate, considering that her character (Julie Powell) works a job and cooks for hours by night. Also, the portrayal of a blogger was really good - it's like so much that I've come across on my reader. lol. I liked the fact that things went wrong for Julie - not because I'm mean, but because it's realistic. Things don't always work out great.

(For anyone who's interested, Julie Powell still blogs here.)

What I really didn't like? Let me count the ways:

1) There's no real story. It's just one woman blogging about cooking and another woman first learning to cook then trying to get her book published. That's it. Whoopee. Nothing else happens. I mean, I know it's a drama and all, but something has to happen. There has to be a reason for the story. But there isn't.

2) Too much making out. I mean, really?!?! It didn't add to the film. At. All. It wasn't demonstrative of the two married couples' relationships, and it honestly just felt like a filler, just something interesting to put on the screen during a talk-over.

3) It made me feel like a crap blogger. It also brought up that whole, should-I-have-a-central-theme thing again. Although this initially bugged me and got me down, it really prompted me to start thinking about my little bloggy, which lately I've been feeling needs a total re-vamp. So, I guess this aspect of the film really turned out to be a good thing. It made me think about how I want to change my blog around, and what I want to focus on, if I want to focus on anything.

Therefore, over the next week (I hope it won't be longer) I'll be changing this blog around - just messing with the design, fonts, colours, etc, as well as deleting some of the rubbish I once wrote a while ago. I might also pick a central theme, because I think I'm having a growing epiphany on that subject.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Scientific weight loss videos

I recently came across this really interesting, scientific approach to what does and doesn't work with weightloss. As someone who leans towards the nerdy side of life, I like to know not only what works, but also how it works and how they know it works.

This is a 10 minute clip of a programme, which is continued in about 6 other clips on youtube. You can watch the rest if you want to from there on.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break, I love thee.

Last week was a bit of a nightmare. It was the last week of term, which means that I had a load of exams, plus a research paper due. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to give up exercise, sleep and sanity. It also meant that I wound up clicking the 'mark all as read' button in my Reader a bit too often. Oh dear.

The exams seemed to go ok and I don't get the results until early April anyway, so I'm not going to stress out over them. What's done is done. All my revision was last minute, but it wasn't anything too difficult and I understood the lectures in situ, so I'm sure I did the best I could have done - even if I'd been revising for weeks.

As for the paper, I finally finished it at 3am the night before it was due in. I know, I know, that's really last minute, but part of my problem is that I'm a bit obsessive and perfectionistic. This means that it's almost never going to be good enough. I finish it, I'm happy with it and then I think of something else I could add, delete or tweak. Grrr!

Anyways, I finished the paper, dragged my backside out of bed a mere 3 hours after climbing in, and revised for my last exam on the bus in to uni. When I went to hand in the paper, I was informed by my lecturer that the deadline has been moved to after the holidays. Lovely. Pity he couldn't have told us before the exams.

I'm glad, though, that it means that I don't have to be working on my paper over the holidays. Now I just have to resist the urge to change it. :D

So, what do I have planned for this Spring Break? Well, this first week I intend to catch up on all my major chores and then next week: RELAXATION. I can't wait!

Do you ever get really perfectionistic with tasks, so that they just drag on? How do you deal with it, if you do? And, on a nicer note, what are you looking forward to in the next week or next few weeks?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Arranged vs. Non-Arranged Marriage

I love this picture, I think it's so cute! Image found here.

I've mentioned before that I've decided to go for the arranged marriage route. (Sorry, but I can't be bothered to find where to link to it! I'm aiming to tidy up my blog over Spring Break next week, anyways.) I find it hard to explain why sometimes, as it is such a complicated decision that depends on a lot of different factors, especially when you come from/live in the West.

I came across this article recently, in which Sheena Iyengar, a Sikh-American, mentions the whole non-arranged vs. arranged marriage thing. Here's an excerpt of her interview, which was actually about choice, by the way, not marriage:

One significant cultural difference, with regard to choice, is the way people find their spouses. You looked at non-arranged and arranged marriages in the book, and came away surprisingly positive about the latter.

The model is so different that it makes it very tough to compare them. The arranged marriage will lead in theory to less quarrels because you know, for example, what religion you’re going raise your child in. In the case of a love marriage, love is supposed to conquer all, but what do you do when you have different opinions about how to feed your child or save money? What we can learn from the arranged marriage is the importance and value of compatibility. I think what the love marriage can teach is the importance of shared understanding.

I really like her perspective about what we can learn from both models of marriage.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Big Loss

On Wednesday, at 4:30am local time, my aunty Aisha passed away. Although not my biological aunt, she was very much an aunty to me growing up. I went to see her family and got there after the funeral - in Islam people are buried very quickly. The reason for this is that we believe that the dead start to enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the after-life before Judgement day when they are buried, so we want to hasten them to that restful peace.

I didn't realise that losing aunty Aisha would hit me the way it has. I think part of it is that I've never really lost anyone before that I was really close to or was such a big part of my life as a child. Because my extended family were so far away when I was growing up (Ireland and Algeria), my true aunties and uncles were my parents' friends. Aunty Aisha was a huge part of that. I used to go stay over with her and she'd come over and stay with us, and for a good couple of years or so we all used to meet up every single weekend. She really was an aunty to me.

Another thing that makes it so hard is that I keep think about the last time I got to see her on the Friday before she died. Thank God, we both got a chance to say our goodbyes, and the last things she ever said to me were: To not forget her, to tell her son about her, that she was glad to have got to see me grow up and to make the most of my life.

Just thinking about that makes me cry.

The feeling of loss really took me by surprise. Although I've only seen her a handful of times over the last 9 years, I always knew that she was there. And the fact that she isn't anymore is just so hard. Her smile, her voice, her look when people said things that were a bit silly (really, it'd crack anyone up!), her outlook on life, her cheerfulness. It's all gone.

I'm pretty sure that soon enough, the hurting will stop, and I'll be able to just remember all the good times.

But one thing I know for sure: I will never forget her, I will tell her son about all my memories of her and I will make the most of the rest of my life, God willing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Of your current hobbies, which would you choose to spend more time, money, and effort on? Why?

This is tough. I'm gonna go with blogging, because I'm really beginning to enjoy it and I'm starting to realise just how much is out there that you can do. I think it's a really fascinating world, that links into so much else: photography, web design, programming, networking, writing (duh!), etc, etc. I'm actually hoping to block out some time in my upcoming Spring Break to redo my blog.

2. List the two other hobbies/habitual activies (not chores) besides the one listed above that you regularly do now and didn’t choose in question one.


3. Why are you spending time on the above two hobbies/habitual activies at all if you really wanted to spend your time on the first one you chose? …or to put it another way, what are these two hobbies/habitual activities fullfilling that the first one doesn’t if you don’t want to put all your effort into the first hobby?

Exercise: I need to do for my health and, I'm realising, my sanity. It also helps inspire posts - you wouldn't believe how many posts I write in my head during a workout!
Reading: This is absolute relaxation time for me. It requires no effort and I can go have an adventure anywhere in the world whilst snuggling comfortably on the sofa.

4. Ready John 3:16 in the bible… In what way does this passage affect you? What are your feelings towards these words, positively or negatively?

Ok, I had to google that verse. No offense to Christians, but this verse is why I'm not Christian. I don't believe that God had a son - I believe Jesus was a prophet of God. Furthermore, I believe that whoever believes in God, and worships Him alone in this life will have go to Paradise.

5. M&M’s: nuts, no nuts, or peanut butter?

I don't really like any of these. I'm just not a nut person. And I don't really like the no nuts M&M's either. :(

6. Putting away the feeling of pride being a bad thing; what secretly/openly are you proud about yourself?

I don't believe that pride is a bad thing - there are some things in life that we should all be proud of: our identities, our strengths, our talents, our accomplishments. That doesn't mean lauding it over everyone else, but to acknowledge it to ourselves and truly enjoy it.
Now to the question :D, I'm proud that I'm fluent in two languages with a working grasp of a third. I'm also hugely grateful for it, as most of the work didn't come from me, but my parents.

7. Given one room in the house to do with what you want, not changing the actual size of the room and with all the money you would need, what would you do, and be specific? (this can range from bouncy floor,walls & ceilings; to hard wood floor with wood paneling and purple ceiling with a chair; to nothing)

My bedroom. I'd get new furniture, get my posters framed and hung on the wall, paint the walls a denimy shade of blue, get me a treadmill and a set of those oriental screens. I'd like to divide my room up into separate areas, but give it an overall feel of uncluttered relaxation. Which it really isn't right now.

8. What’s the next movie you’re going to see? Not what you’d LIKE to GO see, but the next movie you realistically are going to watch.

Umm, The Two Towers - I'm currently re-watching my Lord of the Rings DVDs. As for the next movie that I've never seen before? I truly don't know. It could be anything at this stage.

9. Use the keyboard only and make your best smiley/funny/cool face –> like this! 8^)

:D Lame, I know, but I like that one!

10. What makes you cry? What makes you pray? What makes you laugh?

Cry: PMS, death, films (movies), onions and crying men. That last one is my kryptonite. They don't even have to be crying, in fact, if I see a guy with tears in his eyes that's even worse. I will be blubbering wreck. And I don't even need to know why he's crying!
Pray: Religion, feeling lost, stress, feeling cornered in life, trying to improve myself, worry.
Laugh: RomComs, my friends on Facebook, good chick lit, my little brothers and sister, the rest of my family too, people.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I'm not in a writing mood, or even an editing mood to post a draft, so instead I'm just gonna do some bullets on random things that have been in my life/head recently:

- Bitchiness:
I hate it when people are bitchy. I hate it even more when they try to bring me in on their bitchiness. I mean, I can be bitchy, but I like to think it's not in an immature oh-my-God-she-said-something-mean-about-me-and-I-feel-sensitive-so-now-I'm-not-gonna-be-friends-with-her-and-I'm-not-gonna-be-friends-with-anyone-who's-friends-with-her way. Seriously, this has happened to me in the past week and all those involved were grown women. It's ridiculous. What's worse is the amount of behind-everyone's-backs whispering and tale-telling and whatnot. It's just plain sad and sick and infuriating when I get dragged in. It's so childish.

- Internet Connection:
Or rather, the lack thereof. It comes, it goes, I waste time. You see how that's frustrating? Anyways, it's here now. For now.

- Jinxs / evil eyes:
You know, this could probably be a post all by itself, but I can't be bothered doing the necessary research. In short, the evil eye is the belief that people's envy can affect things in your life. A jinx is pretty similar. And of course, you can give yourself both. Why is this a problem? It's a problem because I keep doing it to myself (unless one of my readers is...?). Everytime I write something on here that's good - like starting to exercise again, or buying a treadmill, or whatever, something goes wrong. This week my schedule has gone out the window, taking with it my exercise routine. Factor in a lot of cream cakes and we, my friends, are in serious trouble with the scales. And my treadmill is currently on hold.

- Routine:
My routine has gone clear out the window. Some weeks I totally nail it: up early, exercise done, work started / left home early, etc and plenty gets done. Not this week. And I have exams next week and a paper due. So naturally, I'm on here blogging.

- Masters:
I've been having serious doubts as to whether this is what I want to do. I'm not sure research is my thing. The only reason I haven't quit is because a) I don't want to be a quitter and b) I know that I pipped a lot of people to get a place in my course, and I owe it to them to not quit. I think that I'm gonna have to write up a list of reasons as to why I want to be in my masters course, why I want to succeed at this thing. An idea for another post.

- 2012:
I watched this film the other day and would just like to say that it totally sucked. Really, I thought this was a terrible film. I don't mind the whole end-of-the-world genre (I loved Independence Day!), but I found this film predictable, unbelievable and actually kinda sad. You can guess who'll die and who'll live within the first half an hour, and the dialogue is just meh. The only redeeming factor was John Cusack's acting - I do think he's good - and the cute Russian pilot eye-candy (played by this guy). However, I don't really think that either justifies watching the entire film.

- Nail Varnish:
I'll admit, I always underestimate the power of coloured nails. So much so, in fact, that I haven't bothered to wear nail varnish for over a year. At least. Last week, I decided to break this habit and just paint my nails. And how feminine and rocking did I feel afterwards? Yeah, I gotta do this more often. But not in bed - I spilt a bit of varnish on my bedspread and it really doesn't look that good. Any ideas as to how to get nail varnish out of duvet covers? Anyone?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Introvert / Extrovert Epiphany

image found here.

All week I've been mulling over my loner tendencies. I like my own space, my own time, and I can't be around people all the time. That said, I have no problem talking to people, making friends with people, being the centre of attention (must admit: I totally kinda love that one!), etc, etc, etc. In short, I appear, to all intents and purposes, to be a people person. But I'm really not. I can go weeks without seeing/phoning/chatting to people, and I'm not exaggerating - I have actually gone weeks without social interaction. It's fine by me. What's more, I hate it when I have to interact with people for extended periods of time, or worse: for undefined periods of time. I need my own little bubble of space and time to just be.

Basically, I'm not shy or reserved (if you ever met me in person, you'd know just how true this is) and I do enjoy being with people to a degree, but there's one very big but: I need recovery time from being with people.

Today I read something that suddenly makes sense out of all of this for me. It was this post on Ben's blog (Ben, by the way, is a hysterically funny guy).
What he wrote was:

"... an introvert is someone who loses energy to social interactions unlike extroverts who gain energy from them."

Cha-Ching! Perfect sense. It's an epiphany! I'm an introvert because I lose energy from my social interactions, even though I'm kind of a people person in the sense that I interact with ease.

Well, with ease when I'm not offending/bugging anyone.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


This idea was totally stolen from Nora today. I was going to do the Ten on Tuesday post yesterday, but my internet cut out before I managed to even finish reading the posts in my Google Reader. We've been having issues with our connection recently. :(

Love: the fact that it's going to be Spring Break (yeah, that's capitalised now - according to me) in two weeks time.
Hate: I have a research paper due in before then that I haven't finished yet, and at least 4, maybe 5 exams too. Yikes!

Love: It's warm outside, so I only have to wear a light jacket.
Hate: It's really windy, but I can't wear a coat to stop me from blowing away! We live near the sea - seriously, the wind is an issue.

Love: It's spring, so I'm coming out of hibernation. Seriously, I don't do winter. I don't like to go out much, or see people, or even phone them. Basically, all I want to do is stay in bed. All. Winter. Long.
Hate: Now I have even less time to myself, cause I'll be making up for lost time.

Love: My students are starting to make real progress and I'm unbelievably proud of them.
Hate: I have to start preparing lessons that really target their weak points to ensure that they're 100% ready to move on to the next level. That involves a lot more research, imagination, creativity, time and energy. I don't really have much of any of that right now.

Love: I'm close to being able to start driving lessons. FINALLY!
Hate: I'll actually have to learn to drive. It'll be something else to stress over.

Love: I think I might be getting a treadmill sometime soon.
Hate: That it's not certain. Otherwise, I'm thrilled!!!