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Camping, Catholic dilemas, MP3s etc. [Jul. 19th, 2006|08:03 pm]
[kimochi |contentcontent]
[ongaku |Philip Le Breton - Magical Encounters]

The Update:

- I went camping the weekend before last.  It was...not quite what I expected.  I expected a nice leisurely stroll through the beautiful landscape and abundant nature of Dartmoor, reasonable climate, nothing too hard, and then sleeping out under the stars.  How romantic.  HAH!  More like, an 11 mile trek over rough, hilly terrain carrying heavy equipment, new shoes that cut into my feet, no wildlife for miles but sheep and cows, and it rained like hell when we set down to camp, and the next morning.  Hrumph.  At least I took my variety packets of cereal, which kept me happy.  and now I can say I've been and gone and done it.

- My ill nanna has made a decsision.  Sort of.  She no longer wants dialysis, she wants to just receive pallative care until she dies.  Well, she's old, she's not happy, and she's had enough, so most people could understand that.  But, this is not a simple problem, because she's a deeply religious Catholic, and she's worried that deciding not to have any more treatment counts as suicide.  Which will land you up in Hell according to the Catholic faith.  She's spoken to the Catholic priest at the hospital, who's assured her that no, it isn't suicide, but she still isn't sure so she wants to see the minister from her own parish.  But he's on holiday at the moment.  And, we're worried, because he's a very strict Catholic, who values the sanctity of life over the quality, so he might tell her that she must have treatment.  It seems very hard to think that somebody could say that to an old, sick woman on what is essentially her death bed, that she would go to Hell if she wants no more medical intervention, but the whole purpose of religion is to provide a guideline that stops you from being "clouded" by emotional judgement, so God only knows what he will say.  Literally.

As you can imagine, this isn't easy on my Dad, or my Mum, who's still grieving over her own Dad, and is reminded of him every time she sees my nanna - and how she never had the chance to say a proper goodbye.  I still think that the way he went was definately for the best, quickly and diginified, but she still regrets not having that last chance to say goodbye.

- Umm, on a more positive note, we've got cool new MP3s on the Spiral website, only £3.00.  Even if you don't buy them, you may as well try out the free sample tracks: http://www.spiral.org.uk/acatalog/Celtic_New_Age_MP3s.html  And who knows, you may well decide to buy an album!  

Actually, when I say "new," they're not really.  Most are from the early 90s.  But, they're seriously good - very unique, very atmospheric, in some cases incredibly Gothic (in the classic sense of the word), and have stood the test of time well. I still listen to all of them, and enjoy them (they're very nostalgic for me, too).  You see, my Dad owned a sort of miniature record company before he started selling jewellery, so I got to know all the artists personally and even listened to some of them recording, when I was a mere wee thing.  I know just how much work and inspiration went into them. 

I can particularly recommend "Magical Encounters," "The Green Man" and "Celtic Labyrinth" :)

- I'm going to a wedding in a fortnight's time.  I don't actually know the couple, should be interesting.  And will give me lots of ideas for my own wedding.

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Ummm....update? [Jul. 5th, 2006|07:02 pm]
[kimochi |exhaustedexhausted]
[ongaku |Front Line Assembly - A Decade]

As usual for term break, I have to apologise for not being around and not replying to emails and not commenting on LJs etc.  I'm hopeless at checking up on the net when at home.

I've been INCREDIBLY busy these past weeks.  Here's what's going on:

- My grandma (on my Dads' side) is now seriously ill.  The thing is, she's always had a very neurotic streak and just before my Grandfather's (on my Mum's side) funeral, she was checked into hospital.  Now, it's fairly unspoken around here, but we all know that this was mainly a case of crying wolf.  She was in almost perfect health, for an 70 something year old (wait, it could be 80 something now...), but she's got classic hypochondria and depression, which makes her think she's ill.

But recently, she actually got an infection for real.  This, coupled with a sudden change in medication, has lead to her becoming incredibly irrational, paranoid and aggressive, especially towards my poor old Dad.  She also thinks that the nurses are conspiring to do nasty things to her, so she is refusing as much as she can to sleep, and to let them touch her.

This is complicated by the fact that she needs dialysis, but is refusing to do it by herself now, but is also now refusing an operation to put a line in her neck so the nurses can do it for her on a permanent basis at a clinic.

The future all seems very, very uncertain at the moment.

- Phil's parents (and Phil) came down to our house for the first time last weekend.  We had a fantastic time - eating lots, drinking lots, watching England losing, etc.  A lot of fun :)

- Our long-time staff member at Spiral, Jo, has left  :(   She used to to a fantastic job here, and we're finding it difficult adjusting without her.  I've taken over her job of packing and sending orders, taking care of shop stock etc but I'm finding it really hard.  I can't really compare to her!  My mate Caz (who used to work with me on Saturdays) is now employed in Jo's place, and will start work for proper next week (when she comes back on holiday), so work will probably be a lot more fun then (hey, it's fairly fun at the moment, just tough).

- I'm going camping with Phil and his mates this weekend.  Yes.  Oh my god.  Me?  Camping?  In the wilderness of Dartmoor?  With no tea???

- I'm going to Japan again!  At the end of this month!  I'll be going with my sister, first to Tokyo, then to Kyoto, then Tokyo again (we're on a budget).  So that should be fun.  And a good chance to brush up on my non-existent Japanese.


I also thought I'd do a thing I saw on skipchris's journal which made me smile.  That is, to make a random comment to everyone who's on my f-list.  Hopefully it should make up a little for all the non-commenting I've done recently!

_mikan_ - I really envy you.  For having the ability and diligence I wish I had.
girlkamikazi - When the going gets tough, just keep it up!
athena_arena - MAO!
ceilingfish - ZE GERMANS!  NINJAS!  MAO!
custos - I actually saw the book with your usericon on it not long ago...I always thought it had wings, now I know they weren't wings at all...
destiny_hikari - I really wish you were still at Durham, but acknowledge that your happiness and talent has really flourished where you are now.
eledhwenlin - Aww, I miss you!!  I'll never forget all the fun in Japan....I still tell people about the time we went down to the bookshop the morning after a drunken party, bought Harry Potter, and spent the entire day reading the entire book!
fairygothmother - One day, I WILL visit your shop when it's actually open, and I will buy a corset.
farrah_83 - I can't believe I've still never met you in Real Life.
flames_delvar - Just keep going.
frhong - ni moooooo mo zen me yang?
glassangel4 - We have GOT to go to Danse Macabre together some time!  And keep making those dolls, they're getting cuter and cuter all the time
gothichaven - I've been eyeing up a LOT of your corsets recently with a certain wedding in mind, so watch this space...
gravity1318 - Ah, I remember when you were into geishas BEFORE they were fashionable!  Good for you!
hagakaze - Whip it good...
ilyaura - Do you still use this thing?
karlthulhu - Keep taking those photos!
littlepinkfaery - You should make a website featuring all your outfits and costumes cause they're so cool!  (something like www.toreadors.com, for example)
lunagypsy - You have the coolest interior design sense EVER.
matgb - Which is cooler...pirates or Ford Prefect?
mickmercer - I'd be shocked if you were reading this.  I was shocked I got added to your list at all.  When's the next Hex Files coming out then?? 
nariko_whee - And I'm jealous of you too!  So talented :)
neo_morphesist - You still here?
onchristieroad - I can always count on you for cool entries and nice comments :)  Thanks!
painted_bird - My lesbian dolphin lover from another life!!
peffkitten - We've got to meet up in Newcastle, no excuses!
ragados - Hello there!  Hows term break going?
sasookay/severina - STOP CHANGING YOUR USERNAME!! I can't keep up :)  But keep up with the amusing entries and cool music uploads!
seso - I loves your artwork...please draw more Miyazaki-type stuff!
skipchris - KITTENS!
spiral_shop - Hello me.
spryte7 - Remember Kumamoto?? God, that was fun!
stich_inside - If you're reading this, keep it up with the cool band!  Who knows, I may actually go and see you perform one day...
stukley - I keep missing your entries....what you up to?
tamago_sushi - You still here?
lemurgoddess - SINFEST RULES!!!
tyan_powerslave - Hello stranger :)  BRAINS!  GIBBONS!
udonman - Your username makes me hungry
uglyshyla - I only just realised you added me back!  Thanks.  Keep up with the dolls and photography/modelling, it's all great.
ulorin_vex - I wish my photos were as pretty as that... and my artwork, come to that.
veil - I check out Arsenic Fashions for updates far more than is healthy.  And everyone comments on my Demonia batwing bag, which I wear everywhere!
vick_stitch - helloooo??
vision_black - See stich_inside
volty_love - ni hao ma? xianzai ni zai nar?
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Marks and More Goth Types [Jun. 24th, 2006|05:17 pm]
[kimochi |contentfine]
[ongaku |London After Midnight - Bloodspice]

I forgot to mention in my last entry that I got my exam results.  Overall a low 2:1, but with an overall of a 2:2 for my core Japanese modules.  I only got a 1st in one module, although I was expecting three.  Rather disappointed, because it means that 1) I've gone from being the top student in 1st year to an utterly mediocre student 2) There's no way I can get a 1st next year.  Not really.  I'd say that 60% of my efforts went into my core Japanese modules, which were the ones I did worst at.

But.  Anyway.  No use moping.  I'm probably going to be self-employed/freelance in the future, so no need to get an awesome degree anyway.

Oh, and I did this other Goth Stereotype ages ago:

Goth (stereo) Type No. 8: The Perky Goth

I had a lot of fun drawing these ones :)

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Back from Wales [Jun. 23rd, 2006|06:27 pm]
[Current Location |Rochester]
[ongaku |Bach - Air on a G String]

Well, back from Wales now, and things are pretty back to normal.

The funeral, as funerals go, was lovely.  Obviously an incredibly emotional occassion for all.  And, more than ever, it highlighted the big cultural gap that exists between England (particularly around London, where I live) and Wales.

In Wales, especially in small-ish South Wales towns like Llanelli (my grandparents' home) the idea of community is huge.  Everything you do is largely community orientated.  Everyone knows each other, and if they don't, they treat each other as if they do.  And they're hugely tactile.  Everyone hugs and kisses a lot.  And talks a lot.

Coming from the reserved, private culture that is the urban South East of England, it's all quite overwhelming, even now (actually, especially now).  Around here, everyone keeps themselves to themselves, keeps a nice distance apart, and speaks one at a time, and ONLY to people they know.  So, even within my own family, I do sometimes feel a bit alien, particularly if they're all speaking Welsh (which they do all the time when there are no English speakers around) because I don't understand any of the language at all.

But the funeral brought it home just how valuable this feeling of community can be.  It was the warmest, most hearfelt, and most emotional funeral I've ever been to.  Because everyone knew each other and knew Hywel, and had something wonderful to say about him.  I was glad to know that Hywel really did have so many friends who cared about him deeply.  The power of the community showed itself at its strongest.

So yes, it was a very good goodbye indeed.
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Boat Party Pics [Jun. 17th, 2006|12:09 pm]
[Current Location |my house in Durham for the last time :(]
[kimochi |nostalgicnostalgic]
[ongaku |Christian Death - The Angels]

Firstly, thank you everyone for your kind words of sympathy in my last entry. It means a lot to know that the friends I've made on LJ, even though I've never met most of them, really care.

Secondly, as promised, here's some photos from the AJS "Movie Star" theme boat party a few weeks ago:

Me and tyan_powerslave as Trinity and Neo (who else would we be??)

Thirdly, the Summer Ball pics, thanks to Arata:

Phil and I in the house's tiny front garden, drinking wine (sherry in my case!)  before the ball.

Fourthly, this is the LAST LJ entry I will be making from my house in Durham - I am leaving tomorrow :(  I will miss living out so much, particulary the wonderful people I've lived with.  Arata, Jay, Cate, Richard...thank you all for being such wonderful housemates and friends.  I will hugely miss you when we're living apart :(
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Sad times [Jun. 16th, 2006|12:22 am]
My grandfather Hywel passed away yesterday.  He had a fall last week and had been unconscious in intensive care for quite a while.  So, naturally it's been a very sad time for my family.  It came as quite a shock too because even though Hywel (my sister and I have always called our grandparents on my Mum's side by their first names) was pretty old, he was quite fit for his age - he was out the back of the house painting when he had the fall.  However, in some ways, I feel relieved that his death was relatively peaceful and dignified - the last thing that was going through his mind was probably the excitement of the World Cup starting, plus the pleasure he gets out of DIY.  I think he would have preferred to go suddenly like this, rather than be ill and bedridden for a long time. 

So, while it is a terribly sad time (especially for my Mum), I am trying to see some of the positive sides.  And remembering all the good times.  If anyone ever mentioned "Hywel" in the household, the first thing everyone would think of would be his favourite catchphrase, which was "ooooh, bloody helllll!" (needs to be said with a Welsh accent for full effect).  I can't help but smile every time I think of that :)

It still feels rather unreal for me because I haven't been back home yet, but I will be going hom.e on Sunday and going to the funeral on Tuesday.  That will give me a chance to say goodbye, and for reality to hit home.

There's a lot more to talk about too that I've done recently, including the AJS Boat Party and the Summer Ball, but I'll leave them for another entry.
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Now we are free... [Jun. 6th, 2006|10:05 am]

Been pretty busy lately...

- Exams are OVER, and have been so since Friday.  Yay!  The last exam, Chinese oral, didn't go particularly well though, so I thought it would be a good idea to start drinking as soon as the exam finished.  At 10.00am.  This turned out to be a really bad idea because, after drinking champagne at home in the evening and then go out for Kisako's birthday that night, I had really drunk too much alcohol for my liver to cope with.  I was so hungover the next day I ended up collapsing on the floor after trying to help Jay do the clearing up.  Doh.

- Phil's here.  At the moment, he's asleep.  Awww.

- There was a Durham v Teikyo football match on Sunday.  Normally, I find football the most boring game in the world, but this match was really exciting.  Unfortunately, Durham lost :(  We had a great social afterwards though at Varsity, at which the Teikyo students finished off their trophy bottle of champagne in 15 seconds, as most of it was sprayed all over the bar.  I don't think they really understood how expensive the stuff is...

More news to come...

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Another quicky (not to be confused with quiche) [May. 30th, 2006|07:36 pm]
[kimochi |happyganbarimas-ing]
[ongaku |The Cure - Just One Kiss]

So, what, if anything, am I up to these days?

- Exams are STILL not finished.  I had one today (Japanese Translation, actually went pretty well, I think) and I'll have two more this week.  Sigh...being a language student is tough, you have oral exams a week before the other exams, so you four weeks of exams rather than three.

- I'm really loving the weather at the moment.  It's been sunny nearly every day, which improves my mood so much.  It's just so much easier to get up in the morning when the sun is shining and the sky is blue.  Seriously, I can't believe how happy I've felt during the entire exam period...I think it's because I get to work on my own, at my own pace, without feeling I have to compete with others (this is by far the best way I work).  

- Most of my housemates have finished their exams now (boo hiss!), which is making revision even harder because, naturally, they're having a whale of a time with their new found freedom.

- These days, I revise in my college (Trevs) library, which is very near my house and is a nice, comfortable place to work.  However, it does have one very big distraction - books.  I've discovered the classic literature section, and in particular, "The Monk" by Matther Lewis.  I haven't finished it yet, but I'm hooked and read it every time I take a break from study.  It's an absolutely fanatastic work, so atmospheric and with characters with a lot of depth (something fairly unusual in Gothic literature!), go and read it!

- My faithful New Rocks are looking like they could do with retiring these days.  After all, they've served me everyday for two years, having endured trips up Japanese volcanos, walks along flooded Durham paths, and being vomited on more times than I care to remember.  So, I've been looking around for new shoes....and have found an absolutely GORGEOUS pair of boots.  However, being knee-highs and having a fairly big heal they are slightly impractical (but no more so than my 4 inch platforms).  And, of course, they're expensive.  But, temptation is overwhelming me...

- My last exam is on Friday, and this is also the day Phil arrives.  Roll on Friday 9:30am (when my last exam, Chinese oral, will have finished)!
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What I'll do after exams... [May. 21st, 2006|12:14 am]
[kimochi |contentcontent]
[ongaku |Nightwish - Know Why the Nightingale Sings]

- Go clubbing in Newcastle (peffkitten, can you recommend some good clubs?)
- AJS boat party (movie star theme, Phil and I going as Neo & Trinity, how original!)
- Danse Macabre
- Jen & Martyn, Dad & Mum coming to visit
- Go shopping for stuff for Trevs Ball in Newcastle
- Trevs ball!
- Go have picnic in Durham's secret beauty spot
- Take photos of Durham's incredibly beautiful cemeteries
- Make house video
- Make rubbings from the graves
- Dissertation research (booo!)
- Draw stuff
- Have random Teikyo students at our house (they're all asking to come and visit)
- Do something resembling a job, hopefully

Wasn't Finland's Eurovision song so....Finnish?!  Pretty good though :)  But still, I can't help but find it utterly bizarre that something heavy like that not only made it to Eurovision, but actually won!!

Found the ring, by the way.  Rejoice.
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Brief update.. [May. 19th, 2006|09:54 am]
[kimochi |cheerfulcheerful]
[ongaku |Mediaeval Baebes - Miri it Is]

Quick update on what I've been up to:

- Japanese exam was hard.  Very hard.  There were several things that came up that I really had no way of knowing they would.  Even more scarily, everyone else seemed to think the exam was fairly easy.  Ah, well, I'm glad it's all over.

- Been revising a little bit better recently - I've been going to the main library, Trev's library and Teikyo library to study, which is much better for concentration.

- I've got Chinese, Classical Japanese, Translation, Japanese Culture and Society and Chinese Oral still to go, in that order.

- Most of the house is currently addicted to Beauty and the Geek- Richard downloads a new episode every day and we watch religiously, at either 9.00 or 10.00pm.

- I recently bought a pricy Collide album off Amazon, only to discover it was a rather uninspiring remix collection (which was not stated on the Amazon tracklist).  Doh!

- I've lost my claw ring AGAIN.  Only this time, I'm certain it's somewhere in the house, so is likely to turn up at some point.

- I think that's it for now.

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